Christ is revealed most prominently in the central character of Exodus, that is, the person of Moses. Moses is the forerunner as a type of Messiah and Deliverer. Moses will deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, free them from the bondage of pharaoh, and lead them into the Promised Land. Instead of saving the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, Christ saves all humanity from the bondage of sin and death. Moses is a priest, prophet, king, and lawgiver, foreshadowing the divine offices of Christ. God calls “my son” out of Egypt, as Moses and the Israelites sojourn out of Egypt to the desert. Yet, it is Christ, with the holy family, who will fulfill God’s call—“out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1). The central promise of a Messiah comes through Moses in Deuteronomy where God promises to “raise up for you a prophet like me, you shall listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15). As St. Peter declares, the prophet that God raises up like Moses is Christ. Exodus is the paradigm of the Gospel, and Moses is the paradigm for the Messiah.
Moses alone speaks to God face to face, and Christ, the Son of God, speaks in intimate communion with the Father. Moses is the lone mediator between God and the Israelites; Christ is the one mediator between God and man. Moses is a prince who leaves the royal court of pharaoh to identify as a Hebrew slave; Christ is the Prince of Peace who leaves the divine throne in heaven to identify as a human servant. Moses initiates the Exodus with the sacrifice of the Passover lamb; Christ initiates the new Exodus with the Paschal sacrifice of himself on the Cross for all humanity. Moses receives the Ten Commandments and the Law on Mount Sinai; Christ gives the new Law of the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. Moses strikes the rock and life-giving water flows out; Christ is struck on the Cross and the life-giving blood and water of the sacraments flow out with the Holy Spirit. Moses leads the Israelites through the waters of the Red Sea to become a new people; Christ makes us new creations in the waters of Baptism. Moses through God provides manna from heaven for the Israelites in the desert; Christ gives the Church the Bread of Life in his body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist. Moses conquers Amalek with outstretched arms and his wooden staff; Christ defeats sin and death with outstretched arms on the Cross. Moses raises up the bronze serpent on the pole to heal the Israelites; Christ is raised up on the Cross in order to save all souls. Moses makes atonement for the sins of the Israelites; Christ makes atonement for the sins of the whole world.
In short, Christ is the fulfillment of the typology of Moses, and Moses foreshadows the true Redeemer of the world.
Follow along as Brian Kranick shows how the miraculous in Exodus becomes the supernatural & sacramental in the New Covenant and the Catholic Church:
- Part I: From Exodus to Easter – Old Testament Typologies Reveal New Testament Realities
- Part II: From Exodus to Easter – Jesus, The New Moses
Brian Kranick is the author of Burning Bush, Burning Hearts: Exodus as Paradigm of the Gospel. He has a master’s degree in Systematic Theology from Christendom College and writes about theological issues at sacramentallife.com. He resides with his family in the Pacific Northwest.
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