The central figure in Moses’s history is not Moses. It is the Eternal God! “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12). This succinct summary of Moses’s life in the final verses of Deuteronomy proves this point.
Yes, Moses was Israel’s first and most outstanding prophet. However, was this because Moses was a super-exceptional human being? No. It was because the Eternal knew, or spoke to, Moses face to face. The deep meaning behind this verse is fully explained in Numbers 12.
Meek and Faithful
Miriam and Aaron, Moses’s older siblings, got their noses out of joint over Moses’s God-given authority. Focused on one of their brother’s flaws, and swelling with self-righteousness, they reasoned and discussed among themselves: “Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us?” (Numbers 12:2). We should be able to recognize that their dangerous thinking and talk put them on a precarious, slippery slope. “And the Lord heard it,” concludes verse 2 with the hint of coming correction.
Moses’s siblings overlooked a character trait that God most admired in Moses. To make sure that we understand what Miriam and Aaron failed to see as important, one of God’s editing prophets added to the book of Numbers: “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth)” (verse 3). One reason God chose Moses to be a prophet was his meekness. Miriam and Aaron most certainly were not “very meek.” Are we striving to be meek? God blesses, works through, and will always do incredible things through people who are meek before Him (Matthew 5:5). God cannot and will not work through haughty, arrogant people.
When the God who became Jesus Christ heard Miriam and Aaron’s conversation, He acted quickly. He commanded Moses, Aaron and Miriam to meet with Him at the door of the tabernacle immediately (Numbers 12:4). God told them, “Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (verses 6‑8). In these verses God discusses a second praiseworthy quality in Moses’s character. Moses was a faithful servant. Can we recognize a faithful servant of Christ? Can we respect the authority God gives to faithful servants? The Laodiceans have tragically failed to do this. We must never succumb to the kind of disrespect and criticism Miriam, Aaron and the Laodiceans have displayed.
God let Miriam and Aaron know that He worked with Moses in a unique way. With all prophets other than Moses, God planned to communicate in visions and dreams. However, He chose to work with Moses mouth to mouth, or face to face. He worked with Moses in a personal way. Was Moses God’s favorite? No. God is not partial to any man (Romans 2:11). Yet Moses’s unique commission—liberating Israel, building the nation and congregation of Israel, establishing its laws and government—required God’s favor. God showed Miriam and Aaron only one man was in charge of the work at that time. Even more, He showed them they could only assist Moses if their attitude was right.
God Called the Shots—Not Moses
God left no doubt with Miriam and Aaron that Moses was chosen to do a specific work for Him. Moses was not calling the shots—God was! God, by His limitless power and mighty hand, did all the signs and wonders before Pharaoh and all of Egypt through Moses (Deuteronomy 34:11-12). Moses was simply a willing participant.
We must know and support how Christ works through His chosen servants in our time. While somewhat different than that of Moses, Christ’s end-time apostles’ offices carry Christ’s authority.
How does God reveal to His servants today? “The Bible is the written Word of God—and, for our time now, it is complete! Never have I believed or claimed that God reveals to me new truths not contained in the Bible—in addition to, or apart from the Bible,” explained Herbert W. Armstrong in a February 1972 Tomorrow’s World Personal. God taught Mr. Armstrong through the Bible. And God is directing Gerald Flurry in the same way. God is still calling the shots. Our physical and eternal life depends on how well we understand and apply this truth.
Moses was a towering figure in Israel’s history because God did His Work through him. Moses was not a man with superhuman strength and will. Moses did not command supernatural power. He was a man submitted to God’s will and Work.
Moses the King
There is an incredible aspect to Moses’s office in Israel that should be very inspiring for us. He was both a king and a prophet, a statesman and a religious leader. “Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. And he was king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together” (Deuteronomy 33:4-5). Jeshurun is a poetic name for Israel, and it means upright, just or straight. In the office of king, Moses welded the 12 tribes of Israel into God’s chosen nation. Yet even in this effort, Moses was merely the mediator between God and the people.
Exodus 18 to 24 present a written record of the governmental, legal and judicial systems God established through Moses. These chapters are the heart of Israel’s glorious constitution. “Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do,” advised Moses’s father-in-law (Exodus 18:19-20). Jethro did not establish Israel’s governmental structure. Study verse 19: Jethro admitted that he gave Moses counsel on how to rule. Yet he recognized that God would have to sanction his advice; study verse 23.
Israel’s system of judges was established by Jethro’s counsel to Moses (verses 21 -22). However, it is clear that Moses was always the top leader, or king, of the nation. In the same sense, God’s chief apostle is king over the Church, the spiritual nation of Israel (Matthew 16:18-19). God’s principle of government is the same for every age. Man can experiment with any form of government he chooses—but it will always fail. The Laodiceans are experimenting with government. Their plans will fail. The pcg stands alone in embracing God’s government outlined in Exodus 18 and restored to the Church through Mr. Armstrong. In doing so, we have been given blessing after blessing. The pcg is living proof that only God’s government works.
Moses The Prophet
While some Bible scholars and intellectuals argue that Moses was a mythical hero, the greatest statesman of our time, Winston Churchill, believed that Moses lived and was God’s prophet. He wrote an excellent essay on: “Moses: The Leader of a People.” This essay was first published in the Sunday Chronicle on Nov. 8, 1931, under the headline, “Great Bible Stories Retold by the World’s Best Writers.” You can find it on the Internet.
“[The] closing words of the book of Deuteronomy are an apt expression of the esteem in which the great leader and liberator of the Hebrew people was held by the generations that succeeded him,” wrote Churchill, sharing the Hebrews’ same esteem for Moses. “He was the greatest of the prophets, who spoke in person to the God of Israel; he was the national hero who led the chosen people out of the land of bondage, through the perils of the wilderness, and brought them to the very threshold of the Promised Land ….” Mr. Churchill was a student of history. We can safely speculate that he carefully studied Moses’s life as told in the Bible. Moses faced the same kind of nagging problems that Mr. Churchill faced in his long political career. He faced and fought—almost alone—the Nazi tyranny of the 1930s and ’40s. Moses had to face and overcome Pharaoh, the tyrant of his day.
Jesus Christ credited Moses with writing the first five books of the Bible (Luke 24:25-27). These books are chock-full of prophecy, much of it still to be fulfilled in our day. Study Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. These two chapters are a window to our world. They explain what is happening to the modern nations of Israel and show us the importance of Moses’s long life.
Moses the Priest
Moses also fulfilled a priestly function in ancient Israel. The deacon Stephen confirms this: “This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us” (Acts 7:37-38). Moses was not only king and prophet, but also a priest. How do we know that?
Moses ruled over not only the nation of Israel, but also the “congregation,” or church, of Israel (e.g. Exodus 12:3, and many other verses). Mr. Armstrong taught God’s Church for years that ancient Israel was both church and state.
Moses’s life is so astounding, we should be thrilled and excited to study it. As chief executive, he saw to Israel’s physical needs and security, and he safeguarded the nation’s spiritual security. The central part of the book of Deuteronomy consists of Moses’s final three sermons to the nation. Considering Israel’s 40 years wandering in the wilderness, how many sermons did Moses give of which we have no written record? Just count 40 years worth of sabbaths and high days—Moses could have given thousands of messages.
There is much we can and should learn from Moses. Let’s not forget our glorious, soon-coming future. “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:6). God has already made us kings and priests. Soon we will be ruling with Him—just like Moses did millennia ago.