Moses the Servant of Jesus 


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. (Hebrews 3:5-6) 

St Paul recognizes the extremely important role that Moses plays in Israel’s history and relationship with God. Moses was understood in Israel to have a very unique relationship with God, speaking to God face to face as a man speaks with a friend (Exodus 33:11). Moses was honored as the one who gave God’s law to Israel, making him a lawgiver. Moses was also thought to be the author of the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, which means he also gave God’s word to Israel. 


However, St Paul recognizes that though Moses is an essential saint in Jewish history, still Moses was only a servant in God’s household while Jesus is God’s Son and true heir (Hebrews 3:1-6). Moses remains a servant of Jesus, and it is about Jesus that Moses wrote (John 5:46) and it is to Jesus Christ that Moses points (Deuteronomy 18:15).  Moses receives the Law and the word from Christ, this was the assumption of most Church Fathers who thought when Moses encounters God, he is actually encountering Christ.  Moses is thus not the main character in the biblical narrative but only part of the supporting cast preparing the people for Christ’s coming. The importance of Moses is that he reveals the Christ to us. [Interesting to note is that in St Cyril of Alexandria’s commentary on Exodus through Deuteronomy, Cyril (d. 444AD) identifies Aaron (Moses’ brother), not Moses, as prefiguring Christ, apparently because Aaron was a priest while Moses is the lawgiver.] 


“Prayer,’ then, is both these things: ‘seeing’ God and ‘holding converse’ with him – becoming his ‘collocutor ‘. For both, Moses is the Old Testament type pointing forward to the future reality, for he was indeed allowed to see God, although only from behind (Exodus 33:18). Nevertheless, he was permitted to speak with him ‘face to face, as a man speaks to his friend’ (Exodus 33:11). ‘Seeing’ therefore effects a greater nearness and directness than does ‘speaking.’ 


The full reality of what was granted to Moses as a type was revealed only in the New Covenant. For Moses did not yet know what – or rather, who – this ‘face of God’ was, how ‘seeing’ was to be understood, and how ‘speaking’ with God was possible ‘without intermediary.’ The Son who became man was the first to grant to us access to the Father, since he is the perfect ‘image of God‘ (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15) and the only true ‘exegete’ (John 1: 18) of the Father. Indeed, who could turn to the Father ‘without intermediary’ if not the Son! Man is only made capable of doing this when he has accepted faith in the Only-Begotten Son and has himself become an adopted son of the Father by virtue of his incorporation into the Son’s mystical body through holy baptism. This adoption is the work of the Holy Spirit, that ‘other Comforter’ whom the Son has besought for us from the Father. Thus, he is also who enables and authorizes the one who prays to raise the voice of the Son and like him to cry, ‘Abba, Father,’ (Romans 8:15), as we do in that prayer which the Only-Begotten One himself taught us.  (Gabriel Bunge, DRAGON’S WINE AND ANGEL’S BREAD, pp 102-103)