An honorable place is reserved for Moses in the history of the people of Israel. And even though he was never a Rabbi, he received the nickname “Our Rabbi Moses”. He is the one who gave the Law to our people, performed miracles and even prophesied about the coming of the Messiah. On top of that, he spoke with God face to face. But for one reason or another, there are those who try to propagate the idea, that we, the believers in Jesus, reject Moses. They claim “we believe in Moses, not in Jesus”. But there is a problem with this idea that you are forced to believe in either one or the other; we, the Messianic Jews, do not reject Moses when we follow Jesus, and as we will show you, the Bible doesn’t force this choice, and neither do the Sages.
Jesus and Moses do not compete against each other, on the contrary, Moses points to the Messiah – to Jesus.
In Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses says:
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is to him you shall listen.”
Moses tells the people to prepare, because in the future, someone else will come whom they must listen to. Rabbi Levi ben Gershon, from the 14th century, explained that this prophet is the Messiah and acknowledged that one of the roles of the Messiah is to cause the nations, meaning the gentiles, to worship God. Do you know of a Messiah through whom the gentiles are worshiping the God of Israel?
After Moses, also the prophets continued in anticipation for that one who was to come, who would be greater than Moses. Even the Sages agree on this.
In the Talmud, tractate Sanhedrin 99a, it says: “All the prophets prophesied not but of the days of the Messiah.”
In Midrash Tanhuma, Toledot 14, it says:
“A song of ascents, I lift my eyes to the hills. Who are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you are a plain; It is Messiah Son of David. And why does he call him great mountain? Because he is greater than the Fathers As it was said in Isaiah 52: ‘Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.’ Loftier than Abraham, higher than Isaac, more exalted than Jacob and more elevated than Moses… As he said : “that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom’… and higher than the ministering angels, as it was said: ‘and the rims were full of eyes.’ and who is he? It’s Messiah.”
In simple words, Midrash Tanhuma claims that the Messiah will be greater than Moses and the patriarchs.
A true and faithful prophet had two roles: First, he had to deliver God’s Word to the people, which wasn’t always an easy or pleasant task. For example, Isaiah’s first prophecies attack the morality and corruption of the leaders of the people in his time. The second role of the prophet is to foretell the future in a precise way, with specific predictions. God warned the people to guard against false prophets, whose prophecies don’t come to pass. A prophet who was wrong faced the death penalty. As with the rest of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus also fulfilled both roles: He delivered the Word of God to the people; a message that many times was not pleasant to the ears of the religious Jewish leaders who, as we know, were very corrupt at that time and therefore rejected his Messiahship. Also, Jesus predicted the future. For example, he predicted the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, which came to pass about 40 years later, in the year 70 AD. And as with many other prophets, Jesus also performed signs and wonders and healed the sick. However, unlike the false prophets, Jesus didn’t do it in the name of other gods, but in the name of the God of Israel. Also, Jesus performed the Messiah Miracles; four miracles that are reserved for the Messiah, which only He could perform. (We talk more about this in the video titled “Was Jesus a Sorcerer?”)
The Prophet promised by God, should be “like Moses”. In the book of Numbers it says that Pharaoh ordered to kill all males among the People of Israel. Therefore, when Moses was born, his parents hid him and saved his life. Similarly to Pharaoh, King Herod feared the Messiah who was about to be born, and therefore ordered his people to kill every baby in the village under the age of 2. In order to save Jesus, Joseph & Miriam fled to Egypt. Moses appeared to the People of Israel in Egypt and delivered them from slavery. Jesus also came out of Egypt to deliver his People, although this time, Jesus’ deliverance wasn’t in the physical realm, but the spiritual realm.
The New Testament documents a conversation between Jesus to some people, who like the rabbis, were not very happy with him:
“So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” (John 6:30-31) Jesus’ answer caught everyone by surprise: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.” (John 6:48-50) In other words, Jesus claimed that Moses brought you physical bread, so that your physical body may live, but I give you better bread, myself, spiritual bread, that will be a source ofeternal life for you.
The prophet Jeremiah also prophesied about the Messiah and about the new covenant, specifically in his reference to Moses and his Law:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband…” (Jeremiah 31:31-32)
Jeremiah prophesies before the People, that because they broke the Mosaic Covenant, God will make a new covenant.
To conclude, Moses performed miracles, delivered his People from physical slavery and gave our people the Law. Moses was a great and wonderful man, but he himself pointed to one greater and more wonderful than him, to Jesus the Messiah. In Him we were given a new covenant, a covenant of love.