A Journal for Bible Teachers

The Law, Repentance, and Life – Moses: The Law (Part 1)

The Law, Repentance, and Life – Moses: The Law (Part 1)

These three prophets—Moses, Elijah, and the Lord Jesus Christ—are extremely notable, and their lives are relevant for our days. Moses represents the law, we see Elijah’s ministry is repentance, while the Lord symbolizes life. Moses and Elijah are going to come again in these last days, and their ministries are going to be manifested in the Church. It is noteworthy that at the end of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:4), we are told to remember the law of Moses, which he received on Mount Horeb, and that Elijah would return before the dreadful, awesome day of the Lord. These two prophets are called the “two olive trees” that stand before the Lord of the whole earth, whom we know is our lovely Lord Jesus. They are also known as the “two anointed ones.”

Moses, Elijah, and Christ were found on the Mount of Transfiguration with the Holy Father (Mark 9). We can receive so much from the lives of these three wonderful people, not just their lives lived in the flesh, but also what they are known for in heaven above. Indeed, may we know them in the context of 2 Corinthians 5:16, where the Apostle Paul says, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.”

 

The Law – Moses

Essentially, there are three different aspects of Moses’ life that are important for us to apply in our lives today. These aspects are covered by three of the names with which he was called—the lawgiver, the gentle shepherd, and the meekest man. He had tremendous administrative abilities, and was responsible for the compilation of the first five books of the Bible. Also, he could declare and write with absolute certainty because he saw the events pass right before his eyes as he wrote.

 

Lawgiver

We must understand that Moses, who received the Law, is one of the models for the Last Day Church. As the lawgiver, he received the Ten Commandments in the presence of the Lord upon Mount Sinai. Those two tablets of stone, upon which God himself wrote, were placed in the Ark of the Covenant. Then, too, in the Ark of the Covenant, was placed the book of the covenant. In this book was written the law, which did not only comprise the Ten Commandments, but the whole context of the Pentateuch that is relative to the Levitical law (Deuteronomy 22:36).

In 2 Kings 22:5, we see this book of the covenant was found when the godly king Josiah gave the command to cleanse the Tabernacle. Jeremiah 15:16 confirms this event: “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart…” This event brought revival to Israel under Josiah and his companions, Jeremiah and Zephaniah. In a very real sense, God is going to bring us back to the Law because the New Covenant is to have these Ten Commandments written upon the fleshly tables of our hearts.

Here in the United States, there is a battle over the Ten Commandments to such an extent that even a chief judge is being commanded by other judges to remove it from his courthouse. Why? Because Satan knows the power of those Ten Commandments and wants to remove it before the Lord begins His next move in these last days—to magnify His Law. Isaiah 42:21 says, “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.” Throughout the Word of God, just as the Antichrist comes before Christ, there is a pattern of Satan moving before God does. However, we see that it is also futile because, after all, Satan, the archangel, was created by God. Therefore, God has absolute power over him.

The power of that law is very important. In Isaiah 8:20, God said, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Anything contrary to these Ten Commandments means there is truth that is missing. At the moment, it is dishonorable in the sight of many lawyers and judges who do not keep the law. But God is going to accomplish what He has said. He is going to magnify the Law and make it honorable. Where is God going to magnify His Law? It is in and through His Church.

Moses, who gave the Law, stood before the Lord and came into His very presence within the veil, beholding the very similitude of the Lord. This is where we want to be, within the veil, so that God can indeed have those commandments inscribed upon our hearts where they cannot be removed.

 

His Garments

The garments that Moses wore are also of much significance because they symbolized essential qualities of the lawgiver. Moses did not wear the high priestly garments, but he wore the spiritual garments of righteousness. How wonderful it is to be clothed with righteousness! By the grace of God, we want to hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6) that we might be clothed with His righteousness rather than our own.

Those garments were permeated with the incense from the altar, which was just before the veil into the Holy of Holies. The constituents were: stacte (myrrh), onychia, galbanum, and frankincense (Exodus 30:34). Myrrh speaks of meekness, while onychia signifies the laying down of one’s life in intercession. This is beautifully illustrated with the thought of Esther, who said, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). Then there was galbanum, which speaks of tears. Prior to the cross and His ministry, the Lord himself besought His Father with strong crying and tears in intercession that He might not perish, but fulfill the course that His Father had for Him (Hebrews 5:7).

When speaking of frankincense in Exodus 30:34, the point is made that it is “pure frankincense.” Frankincense speaks of faith. Pure frankincense—pure faith. How important it is that our lives are lived by the faith of the Son of God! It is so important in the days in which we are living to have the purity of faith. Romans 14:23 says, “…what is not of faith is sin” and sin means missing the mark. If we do not move in faith, believing what we are doing in God’s sight is right, and doing the will of God, we are falling short of God’s mark for our lives.

 

Standing before the Lord as lawgiver

Moses, as did Elijah, stood before the Lord to receive his orders. This is the place that we want to come to also. Jeremiah prophesies on behalf of the Lord in this sense: “But if they had stood in My counsel…” (Jeremiah 23:22). This speaks of the ministers of God. If only they had stood in the counsel of God, they would not have caused the people of God to err.

As New Testament ministers, priests, and kings of God, we must stand before the presence of our God to receive our orders because we are called to be soldiers of Christ. The Apostle Paul brings up the thought of soldiers who do not entangle themselves with the things of this world that they might follow the commands of their commander. As soldiers of Christ who are given a command, we learn not to question, but to simply obey. When this is inculcated in us, we are given an order, and we obey.

Moses stood in the very presence of God beholding the very similitude of God: thus, the nature of God was worked out in Moses. We see this nature in Exodus 34:6, where the Lord descended upon the mountain after Moses had cried out, “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.” That is the cry of our hearts. We are grateful for what God is doing in Zion Fellowship, and in our individual lives, but there is such a cry in our hearts for God to do so much more. Lord, let us see your glory! We are getting a lot of indications in the world that God is moving; now is His time to move. Even though the forces of the False Prophet are moving, before he arises, the Antichrist has to come. However, before they come, there is going to be revival! There is going to be the glory of God. The Lord is far wiser than I am, and He has His timing. When we read the Word of God, and see how great God is, we cry out like Isaiah, “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down.”

Although Moses had beheld the similitude of the Lord and had seen the mighty signs of all the judgments upon Pharaoh in the land of Egypt, including the crossing of the Red Sea, he was aware that there was something more. God, we want to see your glory. After he cried out for God to show him His glory, the Lord caused His goodness to pass before him. We know the Lord descends, as it were, on Mount Horeb (Mount Sinai), and declares His Name: “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Those very virtues and attributes of the Lord permeate the very garments and nature of Moses. Power and glory are so easy for Him to give, but He has to give it to controlled vessels, like Moses, who will use their gifts only for His honor and glory.

 

His Faithfulness

Moses, as the lawgiver, is also known for faithfulness. In Hebrews 3:1-3, there is a verse that has overwhelmed me time and time again when I have contemplated Moses: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.” Moses was not only handpicked by the Lord Jesus, but molded and fashioned by the hands of the Almighty God to be the instrument God wanted him to be. Moses was faithful in all his house. Everything that God told him to do, he did. He presumed on nothing. The ten plagues and all the miracles came because Moses did exactly what God told him to do.

 

Eternal Companion of Christ

Moses stood before the Lord of the whole earth, and together with Elijah, he was one of the anointed ones who stood upon the Mount of Transfiguration. But he is also the eternal companion of Christ. As one who upholds the law of God, we too must consider our companions. When we have someone who is very close to us, that person whom we have chosen is one who has all the virtues and attributes that we want in a friend. We do not choose a friend who is obnoxious and upsets us at every moment, one who says the silliest things. Our friends are like ourselves.

In fact, this very forcibly came to us when we were on the faculty of another Bible college. When new students came in, the faculty would ask, “What do you think of this person?” The answer was always, “Observe and find out which second and third year students they link up with, and we will know exactly what they are like because likes go to likes.” This is so true, isn’t it?

There is a very important truth here—our friends are just for a certain time period, for we move on to other places, and make new friends. But Moses and Elijah are the constant, eternal companions of Christ who was given the privilege of the Co-Creator of the universe to form Moses into His specifications. “He who buildeth the house.” He who built Moses, built him to be like Himself. So when we study Moses, we are looking at someone who is a real model for us to follow because he was specifically formed by the Lord Jesus Christ to be His constant companion. Therefore, Moses has all the attributes that the Lord loves.

 

A Gentle Shepherd

Another aspect that we want to look at in the life of Moses is that of the gentle shepherd, as we must have that worked out in us too. We have just bought some sheep, and it was amazing to see the rapport between their shepherd and these sheep. He had over 120 sheep, and he knew the name of each sheep. He was constantly talking to them and encouraging them in such a gentle and kindly manner.

Referring to Moses, he had to spend forty years learning how to shepherd before he could be entrusted with God’s own sheep, the sheep of His pasture. Moses had a particularly difficult task. He had to lead perhaps two to three million people (as there were about 600,000 footmen) out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into the Promised Land. Isaiah 63:13 provides some insight into the leading Moses had to do: “That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble.” In other words, you do not ride a horse in the wilderness because it could break its leg. You have to dismount and lead it very carefully so it does not stumble. Again in Jeremiah 2:6, we see this:“…Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits…” The deep places describe pits. Pits are what you fall into. The children of Israel fell into these pits constantly, pits of criticism, complaining and grumbling, and so forth. King David fell into the pit of adultery. It does not matter what the pit is, the shepherd has to pull the sheep out. He must not leave them in the pit.

Continuing with Jeremiah 2:6, we read,“…through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt.” During the dry times when we think things have gone wrong, the shepherd must continue to lead them through. Those who are truly led by God by their shepherds go through places of drought where they become even thirstier for God. Droughts cause our roots to go deep down. A believer remains spiritually shallow if he is simply entertained in church and fed on laughter and dancing.

There is an amazing number of men of God in the Word who were led through the shadow of death. King David was one who experienced that feeling: “Am I going to die?” We have to, by the grace of God, pray through these difficult trials and gain the victory.

In Numbers 27:17, we have another truth concerning shepherding. Moses was praying for a new leader after he had been told that he had to lay down his mantle, as it were. “Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.” He was praying for the Lord to raise up a new shepherd with this qualification: “that he would go out before them.” Sheep cannot be kept in the same pasture; they have to be brought to new pastures. A shepherd cannot lead where he has not gone before. A shepherd must always experience a truth or go through an experience before he can guide his sheep through it. He has to bring the congregation into that same experience.

Moreover, a shepherd has to have such a love for the sheep. The good shepherd layeth his life down for the sheep. It is true of Moses, who said in Exodus 32:32, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Because the children of Israel had rebelled against the Lord, the Lord wanted Moses to move out of the way so He could destroy them and make of Moses a greater nation.

This could sometimes be a very attractive offer in our own lives! Finally, God is going to release us of a particularly trying congregation and give us a new one. But Moses asked the Lord to forgive them. If not, he was willing to have his name blotted out of the book of life. He, like the Apostle Paul, said he could wish himself accursed for the children of Israel. These shepherds were prepared to die, and die eternally, on the behalf of their sheep, for they knew if their names were blotted out of the book of life, they would be in the lake of fire for all eternity. Of course, the Lord well knew what Moses was going to say, and thus the children of Israel were spared. This was and is a tremendous manifestation of love on the part of the shepherd.

 

Other Responsibilities of a Shepherd

1 Thessalonians 5:14 reveals other responsibilities of the shepherd: “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” He has to warn the unruly. The faithful shepherd will not pat someone on the head and say everything is fine if the person is living a life of sin. On one occasion, which I witnessed in Switzerland, a young girl who was indeed going terribly astray, was brought by a Christian to a certain pastor. This pastor put his arm around her and told her she was a good girl. I was very shocked and said, “What?” We must remember: a sinner is not deceived. Later on, the girl spoke with me and said, “That old lady (who was another pastor’s wife) told me the truth; he did not.” We must not tell young people they are doing well when they are not. If we truly love the young people, we will not tell them they are right when they are wrong. The good shepherd warns the unruly.

He also comforts the feebleminded. Not everyone has a strong mind, and many are fearful. We must encourage them so that they will indeed persevere by the grace of God, and eventually gird up the loins of their own minds. Moreover, we are to support the weak and be an encouragement to them.

Again, in 2 Timothy 2:24, we read, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” As shepherds, we are to have an attitude of gentleness when speaking to people, and be apt to teach. We must bear in mind the need to repeat the truths of God time and again, for often people only grasp it after hearing it many times. I am a slow learner at times, and I have to have things repeated to me. I heard a conversation once, “Well, did you teach today?” The other responded, “Oh, yes.” The first speaker then asked, “How many times did you present the truth?” The other replied, “Once. I grasped it the first time; anyone could grasp it the first time.” That is not an example of a good teacher. The next verse in 2 Timothy 2, gives us the next quality of a shepherd: “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves…”

 

The Meekest Man

This brings me to one of the attributes for which Moses is so well-known. Meekness is not an option; rather, it is one of the basic foundations of a leader. In Numbers 12:3 we are told of Moses, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” The only one else who comes to that place is the Lord Jesus himself, who said, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29).

What is meekness? It is the holy acceptance of circumstances. It is the belief in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit, which is something that we should yearn for with all our hearts. It starts as a seed and we want it planted in our hearts that it might take root, be nurtured in desert places, and bear much good fruit. It is not an option; it is an absolute necessity. God desires to perform His will in our lives. We are called to be like clay, malleable in His hands so that He can bring to pass His purposes.

In Deuteronomy 1:12, Moses is recounting all the trials that he passed through and all the heartaches he had with the children of Israel. He says, “How can I myself alone bear your cumbrance, and your burden, and your strife?” This is why the quality of meekness is so important in our relationships with people; we have to bear all the problems and vicissitudes of others.

How is meekness worked out in our lives? It is very interesting. We have to go to the Song of Songs 3:6: “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?” Looking at Moses, we find it was through the 40 years in the desert which he had to spend looking after those very ungrateful sheep, caring for them, running after those old ewes who had run off, and having to bring them back. Prior to this, he had spent 40 years in Pharaoh’s house with all the glory of the life of rulership. What a change of circumstance!

Let us understand this picture: A man who was accustomed to all the power and glory of Pharaoh’s court with all the learning and wisdom, was put in the desert with all these ignorant sheep, with no one to converse with. He had to exude all this patience with them for 40 years. He was in that desert with absolutely no hope; there was absolutely nothing he could do to change his circumstances. What changed the circumstances of Moses? It was a divine intervention! When God saw this virtue of meekness had been completely developed in Moses’ life, He knew Moses was fully prepared to enter into all that He had ordained for him. Meekness is developed in a hopeless situation where we can do nothing. God has to come on the scene. In fact, the Lord was very poignant in pointing that out: “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Yet Moses, the meekest man, was provoked by those sheep of God. It was about 38 years after the first time when the Lord had told him to smite the rock to provide water for the children of Israel (Exodus 17:6) when God told Moses to speak to the rock. The first time the water came out of the rock, the Lord said, “I will go over and stand by the rock, and when you speak, I will cause the water to flow out of the rock.” Yet Moses was so exasperated with these rebellious sheep that he called them rebels and struck the rock. Sadly, Moses did not enter into his inheritance because his spirit had been provoked by those sheep (Numbers 20:8-12).

A significant thing about God-given authority is that everything that Moses said came to pass, even when Moses was out of the will of God. Therefore, we see that God, in His humility, when placing a person in authority, will indeed honour what that person says, even though the authority might be wrong. God caused the waters to flow out of that rock even though Moses had struck it instead of speaking to it.

On the Mount of Beatitudes the Lord said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Beloved, God has given us so many wonderful promises, and we have seen some fulfilled; yet our hearts yearn for the greater things that God has promised. Some of us yearn to go to certain places, yet whom does God send? Isaiah 16:1 says, “Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land…” God is always the same: He indeed has to work in us His meekness and faithfulness so we can be entrusted with the great power and glory that He is going to clothe His Church and people with in these last days.




About the Author

Dr. Brian J. Bailey is the President of Zion Fellowship International, Zion Ministerial Institute, and Zion University. He is also Senior pastor of Zion Chapel in Waverly, New York. He has traveled to over a 100 countries during his ministry of over fifty years, teaching in Bible colleges and preaching in leadership seminars. He is a prolific author of over 50 Christian books that have been published around the world and translated into many languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, and French.

Dr. Bailey hails from London, England and left there on his first missionary trip to France. From there he went to Switzerland and became co-founder of a missions fellowship called “Croisade Missionaire.” It was there he met his wife who was herself on a missionary trip to Europe and North Africa.

After a pastorate in Washington State, the Baileys were invited to be on the faculty of Elim Bible Institute. Later they were invited to New Zealand where they had an extended ministry and participated in the national awakening that the country experienced. In 1973 they served for more than five years with World MAP, a missions organization that conducted leadership training seminars in many nations throughout the world. This led them to travel and minister in many nations. Then the Lord directed them to establish Hebron Missionary Fellowship at Waverly, NY which is now named Zion Fellowship International.

Dr. Bailey received a Doctor of Theology, Th. D. from Hebron Bible College. He received a Ph. D. in Biblical Studies form Vision Christian Bible Seminary. He also received a Doctor of Divinity, D. D. from Canada Christian College.

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