Laying Down the Law – My Servant Moses

by | Feb 2, 2011

I have found that by studying the parabolic nature of the lives of Old Testament figures, much insight can be gained concerning matters that are shrouded in a fog of confusion. In the previous chapter we looked at the life of Hagar. Who would have known that the two wives of Abraham were intended by Yahweh to serve as testimonies of two covenants that have been made with His people? If the apostle Paul had not declared this to be so, certainly the matter would have been hidden from the eyes of most Christians.

Let us pause and consider Hagar for one more moment before passing on to Moses. Knowing that Yahweh hates divorce, and that He is a covenant keeping God, does not the sending away of Hagar cause one’s attention to be arrested? Why would Yahweh sanction divorce in this case, for truly this is what occurred. Though Hagar was not given a writ of divorce (these were not used until 430 years later when the Law was given) her husband rejected her, casting out the bondwoman and her son.

Such an act appears unjust to those who do not perceive the spiritual pattern being portrayed. How would Hagar and her son survive? All they were sent away with was some bread and water. They had a wilderness to cross on foot. Does not such an act by Abraham smack of treachery? Indeed, it would have been an unrighteous act had he arrived at this course by the counsel of his own soul. However, it was Yahweh who told Abraham to send away the bondwoman and her son.

Many Christians today view the casting away of the covenant of Law as an act of treachery. It is hard for the natural mind to justify such an action. The Law has been the constant companion of the people of God since the days of Moses. It has born fruit according to its ability. The people of God entered into covenant with the Law. How can it be right to cast it away with as apparent little regard as Abraham manifested in sending forth Hagar? Although many cannot justify such a course of action in their minds, the Scriptures reveal it to be the will of God.

Galatians 4:24, 30
For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar… Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.”

What is spoken here is very plain. The Law entered into by covenant at Mount Sinai must be cast out. Surely this offends the mind of man as much today as it would have for modern Christians to observe Abraham turning Hagar and Ishmael out of his tents. Would not any person of moral conscience chide Abraham for such an act? Apart from hearing Yahweh declare this to be His will, Abraham would stand condemned by those who witnessed his actions.

This is the way of things to this very hour. Those who have not discerned the mind of Yahweh in this matter are greatly troubled, even offended, at the thought of casting out the covenant embraced at Sinai.

Hagar’s life is not the only testimony given to us by Yahweh of His will in this matter. This is a matter we see even clearer as we look at the life of Moses, the Law-giver.

Moses served as a guardian, shepherd, and schoolmaster to the CHILDREN of Israel. Moses is a type of the Law. When Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, the Son of God was figured standing with the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). The testimony of the Law and the Prophets were given to point men to Christ. Christ is the goal, the fulfillment, and the end of the Law.

Romans 10:4
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

The word “end” is translated from the Greek “telos.” Strong’s Concordance defines telos in the following manner:

telos (tel’-os); (to set out for a definite point or goal); properly, the point aimed at as a limit, i.e. (by implication) the conclusion of an act or state (termination [literally, figuratively or indefinitely]

The Law pointed to Christ through its many types and shadows. Christ is the atoning sacrifice. He is the Passover Lamb. Christ is the firstfruit offering. Yahshua is the righteousness of God. He is the fulfillment of Sabbath rest, etc.. The Son of God is also the termination point of the Law, for when the adoption as a son is received, the child is freed from the rule of the guardian.

Seeing that Abraham’s two wives represented two covenants that the people of God would enter into, how much more can we anticipate tremendous insight to be revealed through the life of Moses? Indeed, God has used this man’s life to reveal far more than most saints today have imagined. A great mystery is unveiled as one examines the most common appellation Yahweh used when speaking of Moses.

Exodus 14:31
So the people feared Yahweh, and believed Yahweh and His servant Moses.

Yahweh chooses His words with great precision. He teaches profound truth through what man mistakes as insignificant details. Why did Yahweh refer to Moses as His servant? It is because the Law was given to men who were slaves to sin. Christ came to set them free by giving them the heart of an obedient son!

Hebrews 3:5-6
And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

The Scriptures reveal that there is a very great difference between servants and sons. It is necessary to grasp this distinction that we might recognize the temporal nature of the Law.

I mentioned previously that there is a mystery contained in the fact that the people of God in the wilderness were called “the CHILDREN of Israel.” What we see in the life of Moses and the covenant at Sinai is God’s dealing with immature humanity. Although the children were called to become sons, they were treated no differently than slaves while they were minors.

Galatians 4:1-5
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Do you see a transition in God’s dealing with His people in the passage above? When we were children we were kept under the Law. “But when the fulness of time had come…” God redeemed those under the Law that they might enter into sonship.

One argument I have often encountered from those who argue for a continuance of the Law is that God does not change, therefore the Law must still retain its role as moral guardian to the people of God. Such arguments are predicated upon very poor logic. God’s character and nature do not change, but His dealings with mankind have often changed. Man existed for 2,500 years on this earth PRIOR to the Law being given. Abraham was called of God to be the patriarch of a people who would be Yahweh’s unique possession 430 years BEFORE the Law was given.

Did not God alter His dealings with man when He chose one nation to be His own people? Did He not change again when He gave this people the Law at Sinai? Previously they had only a covenant of promise. How then can one argue for a perpetual continuance of the Law based upon an argument that God does not change?

People of God, understand me clearly. I am not teaching a position of lawlessness. In Christ we have died to the Law so that we might bear fruit unto God. The Law, like Hagar, could not produce fruit acceptable unto God.

Romans 7:4
Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another – to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

If we die to the Law, but fail to enter into the obedience of the Spirit in Christ, we are truly antinomian. This is the sad state of many Christians today, and it provides much cannon fodder for those who proclaim that it is error to send away the bondwoman. Christ came that man might be enabled to fulfill the will and pleasure of the Father. The myriads who have adopted the view that Yahweh exists for man’s will and pleasure are following the “way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof is death.” To be ruled by the soul is the broad path that leads to destruction. To be as Christ we must be led of the Spirit in ALL THINGS.

Paul is testifying to believers in the body of Christ that the Law was given to the people of God while they were children. The day would come when they received a new spirit. Having received this new heart they are able to bear fruit unto God. Those who walk by the Spirit are not under the Law.

Galatians 5:18
If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

This is that which I proclaim. The Law does not end so that men can be led by their souls. It ends that they might be led by the Spirit. The Spirit will never lead a man contrary to the will and pleasure of the Father. The Holy Spirit will lead men to a far greater obedience than the shadow of the Law could ever make known. Additionally, the Spirit provides the divine life needed to walk as our Father.

The apostle Paul testifies that while under the guardian of the Law men were treated no differently than slaves. This guardianship was to continue until the children entered into the maturity of sonship. What is the line of demarcation between servanthood and sonship? It is Pentecost, the giving of the Spirit.

Consider that on the day Moses descended from Mount Sinai with the tablets of the Law, three thousand men died. One the day that the Spirit descended upon the 120 men and women gathered in an upper room, three thousand people were saved.

Exodus 32:25-28
Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side – come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, “Thus says Yahweh God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.'” So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

Remember, Moses is a type of the Law. The day the Law was given Moses gave the command to slay “every man his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.” The Law does not discriminate. The Law is a minister of condemnation and death.

Romans 7:9-11
I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.

Look at the contrast revealed when Christ sent forth His Spirit to indwell man.

Acts 2:38-42
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Yahshua Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call…” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

At the inauguration of the covenant of Law three thousand souls died. At the inauguration of the covenant of the Spirit three thousand souls were made alive. The life of Christ stands as the pivotal point between these two covenants. Christ fulfilled the Law and was put to death by men who sat in the seat of Moses. The chief priests and entire priesthood that condemned Him were of the tribe of Levi, the same tribe that Moses commanded to slay their brethren. The righteousness of the Law was fulfilled in Christ, and the penalty of the Law was paid by Christ. His death ended the rule of the Law. With His dying breath He said “It is finished.” When He sent forth His Spirit 50 days later to indwell mankind, the covenant of promise was renewed.

Moses stands as a symbol of the Law. He guarded and instructed the people of God in their childish state. In their immaturity the people, although called to be sons, were treated no differently than slaves. Such a condition can only be temporary.

John 8:34-35
Yahshua answered them…, “A slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.”

Moses, the servant of God, could not remain forever. From the moment that Moses descended the mountain, the days of his ministry were numbered. This is further observed in the fact that his face shone with a radiant glory when he came from the mountain bearing the Law of God, but the glory soon began to fade away.

II Corinthians 3:7-11
But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious.

Moses and the Law fulfilled an intermediate role for the people of God. Moses guided the Children of Israel through the wilderness. However, he could not lead them into their inheritance as sons. It would require another to arise to lead them into their inheritance. This was Joshua, who bears the same name as the Savior Yahshua. In this a great truth is revealed. The Law leads men to Christ who alone is able to lead them into their inheritance as sons of God.

Servants do not inherit, only sons receive an inheritance. Therefore, Moses was not permitted to set even one foot in the land of Israel’s inheritance. Moses had to fulfill the type of the Law perfectly.  Yahweh was absolutely immovable when He heard Moses’ petition to be able to enter the land of promise. Only those who are of the covenant of promise can enter the land of promise.

Deuteronomy 3:23-28
“Then I pleaded with Yahweh at that time, saying: ‘O Yahweh God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’ But Yahweh was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So Yahweh said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But command Joshua (Yahshua), and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.’”

Moses fulfilled this command to strengthen Yahshua when he appeared with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration just prior to the crucifixion. How did Moses and Elijah minister to Christ, strengthening Him? They most certainly did so by reminding Him of all those things the Law and the Prophets testified concerning the suffering He must endure and the glories to follow.

Only Yahshua can take men into their inheritance. He does so by sending forth His Spirit into our hearts. This is the Spirit of sonship by which we cry out, “ABBA, Father!”

Let us therefore let go of Moses, childhood, and slavery that we might follow Yahshua to obtain possession of our inheritance as sons of God. Hagar and Ishmael were sent away. Moses died and was buried without entering Canaan.  Moses, the servant of God, could not remain in the house forever. The Son remains forever.

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Joseph Herrin
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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    while i was reading this, particularly the section concerning God's altering of His dealings with His people israel, the Spirit reminded me of how paul also understood this, in relation to the nations as well. while in lystra, after him and barnabas tore their clothes and demanded the people dont worship them/worthless things, but rather the living God, paul states, "in the past, He let all nations go their own way."(acts 14: 16) its interesting to note that even after such inspiration, such prophetic pronouncement, paul and barnabas still had a hard time stopping them from sacrifing to them. so entrenched we humans become, so stubborn to imagine God dealing with us in a way that doesnt involve our striving flesh. surrendering our will(obedience to be led by Another), is much better than sacrifice(still led of ourselves). further confirmation of God dealing different with the nations is in acts 17, when paul is now in athens, and, after an inspired, history-encompassing speech which sets forth Gods dealings with man and puts them in context, we come to v. 30, "in the past God overlooked such ignorance…" i believe the Spirit speaks cleary that we, as the church, are no different than the ignorant, idol-worshipping nations of the world when we dont understand what it means to walk by the Spirit and be made into obedient sons of God. joseph, thank you for being obedient to post this teaching. i am pleasantly surprised in my spirit each time a new one comes, for they have blessed me alot.

    Reply
  2. gibby62

    It was my impression that Hagar and Ishmael were sent away because they were not the fulfillment of Yahweh's promise, but of Abraham & Sarah's attempt to fulfill Yahweh's promise through actions of their own. A reminder to wait on Him instead of relying on self.

    I don't think my impression negates your study, but only adds an additional layer.

    Reply
  3. John

    Dear Joseph, in the first line of the first paragraph you used the word parabolic, which seems to be speaking of comparing the life of some Old Testament personality to something today. Such comparisons are certainly acceptable. I have noticed your use of this word a number of times and something never felt quite right about it. So, I looked it up today. Every dictionary I found on the internet states that parabolic has to do with the shape of a parabola. I then looked up the word parabole and discovered that that is the word to use when making comparisons. I submit this for your consideration.

    Reply
  4. Joseph Herrin

    Dear John,

    Thank you for the comments on the word "parabolic." I admit that the more common usage of the word refers to something that has the shape of a parabola. I actually double-checked the word with the dictionary built into my WordPerfect program before I used it. I wanted to be "word perfect."

    WordPerfect used the Oxford Dictionary, and it showed that this word is also understood as a reference to a parable. You can check the Oxford Dictionary online where you will find the same definition.

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/view/entry/m_en_us1275465#m_en_us1275465

    Thanks for the concern demonstrated in the comment.

    May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

    Reply

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