Jesus is the New Moses Who Brings a Worldwide Exodus

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

Christ lamented that his disciples were “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” about his death and resurrection (Lk. 24:25).

He expected them to know more, so he showed them how the Old Testament was all about him (Lk. 24:27).

This means that everything from Genesis 1:1 and afterward anticipates, builds up to, prefigures, foretells, and cryptically reveals God’s Messiah.

In the Bible:

  • Every story

  • Every verse

  • Every event

  • Every detail

  • Every poem

  • Every person

  • Every proverb

  • Every prophecy

  • Every lamentation

  • Everything points to Jesus

Open any page in your Bible, and it can display something about Jesus (even the Hebrew names in Adam's genealogy may tell Jesus’ story).

Early Christians realized that people in the Old Testament typified Jesus, including:

  • Noah

  • Israel

  • Adam

  • David

  • Joshua

  • Joseph

  • Samson

  • Solomon

  • Abraham

  • Melchizedek

It’s more than coincidence, and it’s more than prophecy.

It’s prefiguring.

Jesus is the New Moses

Moses is another person who points to the life and mission of Jesus.

Moses had a special relationship with God because he was the only one who spoke to him face-to-face (Ex. 33:11, Num. 12:8). Before he died, Moses said God would raise up another “prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is him you shall listen to” (Deut. 18:15, emphasis mine).

This prophet would speak to God face-to-face like Moses and authoritatively speak on God’s behalf—that's why they must listen to him.

The Hebrews had long awaited this prophet by the time John the Baptist stirred up the crowds, so the Pharisees asked him, “Are you the Prophet?” (Jn. 1:21).

No, but he pointed to the Jesus who was.

Jesus thought of himself as a prophet (Matt. 13:57), but he was more—he was the Prophet foreshadowed by Moses. That’s why the heavenly voice said Jesus “is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matt. 17:5, emphasis mine).

If Jesus is the prophet-like Moses, does Moses' life resemble Jesus'? Yes! It's littered with signs that point to Jesus.

First, as Moses was born under oppressive Pharaoh, so Jesus was born during the reign of the murdering King Herod. Herod was a lot like this Pharaoh.

They were both:

  • Gentiles (Herod was an Edomite)

  • Ruled over the Israelites

  • Ruled by oppression

  • Feared for their throne

  • Killed every threat, even children

Pharaoh prefigures Herod because Moses' prefigures Jesus.

Second, as Pharaoh killed all the Hebrew male infants to secure his reign, so Herod was similarly motivated to destroy all the Hebrew male infants in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16).

Jewish tradition held that a wise man warned Pharaoh about a Jewish baby who would overthrow him (Josephus 9:23), which drove him to commit mass infanticide. Herod also was warned by wise men that the king of the Jews was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1-3). This drove him to the same atrocity.

It’s like Herod and Jesus were reenacting Exodus 1.

Third, just as Pharaoh was thwarted in his plans to take Moses’ life, so Herod’s plan to kill Jesus also failed.

In both cases, God brought protection through believing parents and faithful Gentiles. The wise men disobeyed Herod to protect the baby king just as the Egyptian midwives did to protect Moses (Ex. 1:17-20).

Then, Moses’ parents sent him down the Nile to float safely away to Egypt, even as Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to protect Jesus.

Moses returned when there was a new Pharaoh (Ex. 2:23), just as Jesus returned after Herod was replaced (Matt. 2:15, 22).

Jesus' birth narrative even repeats some of the exact words used in Exodus about Moses:

  • Moses “fled” from Pharaoh’s presence (Ex. 2:15)

  • An angel told Jesus’ parents to “flee" from Herod (Matt. 2:12-13)

  • Pharaoh “was seeking to kill” Moses (Ex. 2:23)

  • Herod was seeking Jesus "to destroy” him (Matt. 2:14)

  • Moses returned after Pharaoh "died” (Ex. 4:19)

  • Jesus remained “until the death of Herod” (Matt. 2:12-15)

These are textual links. The Bible uses them to join stories together to make a point.

That point is: Jesus is like Moses. He is a new Moses.

Fifth, Moses mediated a new covenant with new commandments. This pictures Jesus who “is the mediator of a new covenant” (Heb. 9:15), who said, “a new commandment I give to you: that you love one another” (Jn. 13:34).

Moses spent forty days fasting before he announced the covenant stipulations (Ex. 34:28). Jesus also spent forty days fasting before proclaiming the kingdom of the new covenant (Matt. 4:1-7).

Sixth, Moses performed unique signs and wonders (Deut. 4:34). In the same way, Jesus cured the blind, healed the crippled, walked on water, and raised the dead.

God used Moses to feed a hungry multitude in the desert with bread from heaven until they were “full” (Ex. 16:8, 35), even as Jesus miraculously fed a hungry multitude with bread until they were “full” (Matt. 32-37).

And some of the people Jesus fed said, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world” (Jn. 6:14). The Moses-like Prophet that they were expecting.

Both Jesus and Moses were:

  • Leaders

  • Adopted

  • Shepherds

  • Miracle-workers

  • Intimate with God

  • Rejected by their people

  • Meek (Num. 12:3, Matt. 11:29)

  • Intercessors (Num. 11:2, 1 Jn. 2:1)

This is just a sample of the links between Jesus and Moses, but it's sufficient.

Jesus is the new Moses, but what does that mean?

A New Exodus

“I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt,” Yahweh said to Moses in the burning bush, “And I have come down to deliver them” (Ex. 3:7-8).

How? Through Moses (Ex. 3:10).

If Jesus is the new Moses, what should we expect him to do?

Bring another exodus! Jesus does just that.

The idea of a new exodus (ironically) wasn’t new.

Isaiah wrote to the Jews who were about to be exiled to Assyria with hope of deliverance. He described this hope in terms of a second exodus:

“And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of this people, just as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt” (Is. 19:1).

This new exodus wasn’t ultimately about the Hebrews returning to Israel. It was a grand exodus when “all the nations will flow to” the temple of Yahweh (Is. 2:2, 19:18-24; see also Hos. 2:15, 12:9, Mic. 7:15, Zech. 10:10).

Here, all people will love God and one another (Is. 2:4).

This is the heavenly paradise city, Jerusalem, that comes down to unite with earth after the King of Peace returns (Rev. 21:1-4).

So also, this isn’t about freedom from Pharaoh’s slavery—it’s more! The new Moses delivers his people from slavery to sin, Satan, and death (Matt. 1:23, 1 Jn. 3:8, 1 Cor. 15:26).

There’s more.

This international exodus includes freedom for all creation: “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God…the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:19-22, emphasis mine).

This is referring to the resurrection: the forgotten hope of Christianity.

God will destroy the old creation decayed by Satanic and human corruption then replace it with a “new heavens and a new earth” that will last forever (Is. 65;17, 66:22).

The curse on the world will be reversed. The spell of death will be broken.

This is the climax of Isaiah’s vision for a worldwide exodus.

Jesus will do this when he:

  • Kills death

  • Destroys Satan and his agents

  • Resurrects the saints

  • Remakes the creation

Jesus is the new Moses and he brings us a greater salvation; he delivers us from a worse enemy; he frees us from a deeper slavery; he leads us out of a larger Egypt. And he will give us a better land (Matt. 5:5).

Now, go read the gospels with this lens, and praise God for all the gems he shows you!