|Topical Bible Study||March 1962|
The People in God’s Plan—Lesson V
Moses, the Deliverer
THE name “Moses” means “drawn out.” It was given to this outstanding servant of God by Pharaoh’s daughter because he had been drawn out of the water. (Exod. 2:10) Moses was born at the time when his people, the Hebrews, were in slavery in Egypt, and when the King of Egypt had decreed that all Hebrew male babies should be destroyed at birth, in order to halt the rapidly increasing Hebrew population of Egypt.—Exod. 1:7-22
Moses’ mother, seeing that he was a “goodly child,” decided that she would not obey the order of the king, but instead she prepared a special basket which would float, and put the child in it and left it near the edge of one of the small canals by the side of the river, hoping that it would be discovered by an Egyptian, and that the child’s life would be saved, which it was.
God overruled in the matter, so that Moses was taken into the home of the king, and the king’s daughter adopted him as her son, engaging his zeal mother as a nurse. (Exod. 2:1-10) Undoubtedly Moses’ mother told him a great deal about the promises of God to their people. In addition to this he became learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.—Acts 7:22
Aside from this we know little of the experiences of Moses until he was forty years old, at which time, seeing one of his Hebrew kinsmen being abused by an Egyptian, he intervened and slew the oppressor. (Exod. 2:11,12; Acts 7:23-30) The next day he learned that his act had been discovered, so he fled from Egypt to the land of Midian.—Exod. 3:13-15
In Midian Moses married one of the daughters of Reuel (also called Jethro), and for forty years attended the flocks of his father-in-law. (Exod. 2:18; 3:1) It was then that the Lord spoke to Moses at the burning bush, and assigned him the task of delivering the Hebrew people from their Egyptian bondage. (Exod. 3:2-10) In speaking to Moses, through an angel, Jehovah identified himself as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Through his mother, Moses would know of the promises of God to Abraham, and therefore this identification would mean much to him.
Moses’ forty years as a shepherd, tending the flocks of his father-in-law, had removed much of the self-confidence which earlier had caused him to slay the Egyptian who was “smiting” one of his countrymen. He probably felt that now he was capable only of performing the simple duties of a shepherd. To appear before the mighty Pharaoh and demand the release of the Hebrew people from bondage, Moses felt was quite beyond him.—Exod. 3:11
But the Lord reassured Moses, saying, “Certainly I will be with thee.” Then, as though he had agreed to accept the assignment, Moses began to ask the details of procedure. First he wanted to know who he should tell Pharaoh had sent him to demand the release of the Hebrew slaves. In reply to this Moses was instructed to say that “I AM” had sent him.—Exod 3:12-14
The Hebrew expression translated “I AM” means, “to exist.”* By extension the full thought of the word when thus used by the Creator as a name would be, “The Self-existing One.” Moses evidently got this thought, for in his psalm he spoke of the Creator as being “from everlasting to everlasting.” (Ps. 90:1,2) It was especially appropriate that the Creator should thus identify himself to Moses, for although the Hebrew people were slaves in Egypt, and Moses himself had been, as it were, a shepherd-slave for forty year, their God, and the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, still existed as the true and ever-living God who would fulfill all his promises.
* Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, reference No. 1961.
God promised Moses that he would use him to deliver the Hebrew people from Egypt, even though the king would refuse to let them go. (Exod. 3:17-22) The lesson which God impressed upon Moses was that miracle-working power would be essential to bring about the deliverance of the Hebrew people, and that such power would be used; and it was. Nine plagues were visited upon the Egyptians, each of which was lifted when Pharaoh agreed to release the Israelites. But each time the plague was lifted the king changed his mind, and the Israelites were not released.
Then came the tenth plague, which was the death of Egypt’s firstborn. (Exod. 11:4-6) The firstborn sons of the Hebrew children could escape this plague if their families followed the Lord’s instructions concerning the sacrifice of a lamb and the sprinkling of its blood upon the lintels and doorposts of their houses.—Exod. 12:1-27
As foretold, the Lord smote all the firstborn of Egypt on the might of the fourteenth day of their first month, Nisan. (Exod. 12:28-36) Not only did Pharaoh then consent to the Israelites’ leaving Egypt, but their departure was urged upon them; so much so that the Egyptian people gave them many of their valuables, apparently to help encourage a speedy exodus.
THE importance to us of this episode in Moses’ experience as a servant of the Lord is the scripturally established fact that God designed it to serve as an illustration of a much more important deliverance—a release from the bondage of sin and death, under the great taskmaster Satan, the Devil, whom the Bible speaks of as having the power over death.—Heb. 2:14
When the Lord’s time came to prepare for the deliverance of the Hebrews, those among them who were exposed to immediate danger were the firstborn. They would have lost their lives that night had it not been for the protection afforded them by the blood of the Passover lamb. This was designed by God as an illustration or type of a very important feature of his plan of salvation and deliverance of all mankind from death. In the New Testament the indication is given to us that antitypically the footstep followers of Jesus during the Gospel Age, the true church of Christ, are the real “firstborn” foreshadowed by the type.—Heb. 12:23
The Apostle Paul identifies Jesus as the antitypical Passover Lamb. (I Cor. 5:7) We know that it is only through Christ’s blood, that we, his followers, receive life. Apart from his shed blood we could not be assured of life during this nighttime of sin and death.—I Pet. 1:18,19
In the passover type the firstborn and their families ate the lamb during the night, and it was in the morning that the deliverance of all Israel took place. So, during the Gospel Age, when the darkness of sin still covers the earth, the true church class feeds upon the antitypical Lamb. Thus they are being prepared to participate in the deliverance of the whole world of mankind in the morning of earth’s new day, the Millennial Age.—John 6:51,63
Bitter herbs were to be eaten with the flesh of the typical passover lamb. This suggests the severe trials which come upon the true followers of Jesus as they feed symbolically upon him and lay down their lives in sacrifice. (I Pet. 4:12,13) These symbolic “bitter herbs” give us a greater desire to look to the Lord for strength and courage as we endeavor to be pleasing to him and to be made ready to share in the glory of Christ’s kingdom which is to bring deliverance for all mankind from their bondage to Satan and to sin, sickness, and death.
Moses was given the assurance that it was the God of Abraham who was sending him to deliver the Hebrew people from Egypt. It was this true and living God who had promised Abraham that through his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. The Apostle Paul explains that it is Jesus and the antitypical church of the firstborn who together constitute the “Seed” promised to Abraham. (Gen. 12:3; 22:18; Gal. 3:8,16,27-29) The church is a faith seed, and when saved from death through the blood of Jesus, the antitypical Passover Lamb, and brought forth in the first resurrection to live and reign with him, will share in the promised blessing of all nations.
What does the name Moses mean? Who gave this name, and under what circumstances?
How much do we know about Moses’ life in the home of Pharaoh in Egypt?
What circumstances led Moses to flee to the land of Midian, and with whom did he become acquainted there, and how?
How long did Moses dwell in Midian before God spoke to him? How did God make himself known to Moses?
What effect did Moses’ experience as a shepherd have upon him, and how was he assured that he would be able to deliver God’s people from Egyptian bondage?
What is the meaning of the name, “I AM”?
How many plagues did God send upon Egypt in order to force the release of the Hebrew people?
Explain the nature of the tenth plague, and the arrangement the Lord made to spare the Hebrew people from it?
What is represented by the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage?
Who among the Hebrews were in danger of being smitten by the tenth plague, and how were they protected?
Who is the antitypical Passover Lamb?
What is represented by the Hebrews eating the typical passover lamb?
What is symbolized by the bitter herbs eaten with the passover lamb?
Who will be associated with the antitypical Passover Lamb in the deliverance of the world of mankind from sin and death?
“The New Creation,” pages 457-461.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
Moses was used by God to deliver the Hebrews from their bondage in Egypt, thus foreshadowing the greater work of deliverance of all mankind by Christ—the deliverance from sin and death. In this greater work of deliverance, the followers of Jesus, the antitypical firstborn class, will share.