Jesus Christ: The New Moses Term Paper

Length: 12 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Term Paper Paper: #48848411 Related Topics: Exodus, Sermon, New Testament, Last Supper
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Furthermore it is with Isaiah that one first becomes acquainted with the idea that the Messiah would die. "And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth."

The passage clearly predicts a Messianic figure who dies, in order to bring peace to the multitudes. "Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities."

It speaks directly to the fact that he will die and that this death is necessary. "Because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors."

The Old and the New Covenants

The Old Covenant and the New Covenant both explain how the Jews can align themselves with God's will, and they spell out God's law. Many people think of the New Covenant as a substantial change from the Old Covenant, but that is a misconception. Instead, the New Covenant focuses on the intent of the Old Covenant, making it clear that following the intent of the law is a more critical component than following the law without regard to intent.

Perhaps the most obvious similarity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant is the role that blood plays in both covenants. Moses is a mediator of the Old Covenant through blood, in that he used blood sacrifices in his communication and worship of God. Specifically, Moses sacrifices oxen to the Lord.

He uses blood from those oxen to consecrate the altar.

Then, "Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, 'Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning these words.'"

Jesus' mediation of the New Covenant is also explicitly through the blood. At the last supper, which is Jesus' last meal with his disciples, he passes around a cup of wine, which is a symbol of his blood, telling the disciples, "Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

Jesus' Supremacy and Authority

There are allusions to Jesus' supremacy and authority throughout the Gospel of Matthew. Anytime that Matthew is connecting Jesus with Moses, he is making it clear that Jesus has taken over Moses' role as the law giver, and, thus, the supreme authority on Jewish law. However, Jesus authority is only partially dependent upon his connection to traditional Jewish culture and religious tradition. He is the Messiah, but that role, while predicted in Jewish tradition, stands both within and without Jewish cultural tradition. Moreover, while Matthew refers to Jesus as the Son of God, the Gospel of Matthew does not contain a significant number of instances where Jesus is asserting his own supremacy. The main exception to this is in the Sermon on the Mount. It is in this sermon that Jesus makes his most sweeping assertion about his role. "In the sermon on the mount Jesus states that he has come to 'fulfil' the law of Moses, from which no smallest fragment shall pass away until the end of the age ([Matthew]5:17-18)."

He makes it clear in the sermon that he is laying claim to being the Messiah, and not simply allowing others to draw that conclusion about him.

Jesus the New Moses

When one considers that Moses was the mediator of the first covenant between God and the Jews and Jesus was the mediator of the second covenant between them, it should come as no surprise that there are similarities between the two men. However, the similarities extend far beyond their chosen roles as religious emissaries and seem to reflect the fact that Matthew was consciously linking Jesus to older Jewish traditions. Taken as a whole, they show a connection between why these two particular men were chosen to fulfill their roles. In a


In more modern times, when the Christian focus has turned to the New Testament at the risk of ignoring the Old Testament, the relationship works the other way, lending greater legitimacy to Moses' and the promises and obligations conveyed in the Old Covenant.

One of the striking similarities between Moses and Jesus is that they were both hunted as babies. Looking back at Moses' infancy, one recalls that Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had ordered that all Hebrew male infants be killed.

However, Moses' mother and sister contrived a plan that allowed Moses to live, though not in their care. Ironically, Moses grows up in Pharaoh's household, not an actual king, but a symbolic heir to a kingdom, which lends him a royalty that he would have lacked had he simply been permitted to grow up as Hebrew boy. Similarly, Herod orders all of the male babies in Bethlehem be slaughtered.

However, angel had warned Joseph that Herod would do so, and Joseph and Mary had been able to flee with Jesus before Herod's decree, so that he was the only male baby to survive Herod's plan.

Another interesting connection between the two men is that they both take flight, and the flight that they take is a similar, but opposite path. As a baby, Moses does not flee to save his life; he is set adrift, but is actually safe in the heart of danger. However, later in life, when Moses' life is threatened, he flees from Egypt to Israel.

He later returns to Egypt from Israel, and Egypt is the location where he must take many critical steps as a religious leader.

In contrast, Jesus spends much of his childhood and young adulthood in Israel. When his life is threatened, he flees from Israel to Egypt and then returns to Israel, which is the site of many of his critical steps as a religious leader.

Moses and Jesus also both engage in a type of ritual/spiritual fast. Fasting was not as unusual during ancient times as it is in modern times, so the fact that both men engaged in fasting is not, in and of itself, a noteworthy similarity. However, they both engaged in a 40 day long fast, which was unusual during that time period. Moses fasted for 40 days while he was on Mount Sinai.

Likewise, Jesus fasted for 40 days when he was in the desert being tempted by Satan.

These little details revealing similarities between the two patriarchal figures helps highlight the transition from Old Testament and Old Covenant to New Testament and New Covenant without requiring a delineation or break with ancient Judaism.

While this is not explicit, there is another, more tenuous connection between Jesus and Moses. Moses is believed to have written the first five books of the New Testament, although authorship has never been conclusively established. Jesus is not believed to have written any books in the Bible. However, his core teachings are thought to be contained in five speeches in the book of Matthew.

He is not considered the author of these passages, but the passages are considered to encapsulate the core of his teachings. Therefore, both men are believed to have five significant and distinct teachings.

The final similarity between Moses and Jesus is apparent at their deaths. Moses' death was unique in several different ways. First, Moses knew that his death was forthcoming. God has informed Moses that he will die in the Mountains after he has seen the Promised Land, but before he has the chance to enter it.

Jesus is also aware that he is going to die; he knows that he is going to tried and executed, even though he has committed no actual crime. Next, Moses died with regrets with the understanding that is was his behavior contributed to his failure to enter the Promised Land. One might even suggest that he died with regrets. While it might be a stretch to say that Jesus died with regrets, but Matthew presents strong evidence that Jesus died with something akin to regret. "Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying, 'Eli lama sabachthani?' which is, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'"

Finally, both of their physical deaths were temporary, and Moses' resurrection was connected to Jesus. The night of Jesus' transfiguration, Moses came and walked with him. Finally, the very earth seemed to respond to Moses' death and Jesus' death in similar ways. At Moses' death, the world was said to storm and the angels to mourn, and at Jesus death several cataclysmic events occurred, including the sun going dark, the temple veil being rent, the earth quaking, and the dead rising up.…

Sources Used in Documents:


Ehrman, Bart. 2008. A brief introduction to the New Testament. New York: Oxford University


Grant, Robert. 1963. Chapter 9: The Gospel of Matthew. In a historical introduction to the New Testament. New York: Harper and Row. Online. Available from Internet,

Matthew 3:15; 5:17-48; 11:27; 13:10-17; 23:8.

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