Moses had a special “axe to grind” when he spoke of God creating man in His own image. Moses was preparing Israel for a wonderful event that would inaugurate the New Testament epoch. Don’t forget that I am sending these parts of my book to you so that you will critique them. Notice carefully what I am saying here and then send me an email of your critique.
Key Theological Note on Root #1
Moses wrote about the image of God in man in order to prepare us for the coming of Jesus Christ.
Does that statement surprise you? You are not alone if it does. Even some Biblical scholars are not adequately aware of how Moses, in writing the book of Genesis is anticipating the coming of Jesus Christ. But this is a part of that splendor that we find in the COVENANT OF GRACE.
Dr. J. V. Fesko is following this Christ-centered way of interpreting Moses when he says: “Genesis 1-3 sets forth the theological significance of the failed work of the first Adam, which serves as the entry point for the successful work of the second Adam, Jesus Christ. Genesis 1-3 must be approached in the light of Christ. 17* (emphasis mine).”
Fesko’s point here is that Moses was a prophet who could see the coming Savior through God’s revelations to him. There is strong evidence for this fact which I will briefly describe here.
It is not that God revealed to Moses the historic details of Christ’s coming. But from the moment God began speaking to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3) God was revealing to him in various ways, that an
epochal event was rising like the sun on the horizon of history. Through such a celebration as the Passover with its sacrificial lambs, for instance, God was revealing to Moses “the lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.” Then, when God opened the Red Sea for Israel’s miraculous escape from the Egyptian army, God was revealing to Moses (and to all Israel, for that matter) that a time would come when God would perform a greater work of Redemption for them. He would redeem them, not just from Egyptian bondage, but from an infinitely deeper bondage, the bondage of sin! This is God’s love reaching out to Israel in their desperate need, promising that the Messiah would redeem them in the fullest sense of that word.
Surely the greatest and most spectacular forecast of the Savior’s redeeming work was given through Moses in the miracle at Mt. Sinai. From the heights of this flaming mountain God revealed to Moses and all Israel both the 10 Commandments and a design for building the Tabernacle. These 10 laws and the Tabernacle were a composite picture of Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus would personify those laws and perfectly obey all of them, qualifying himself to offer himself as the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for our sin. The Tabernacle was designed to reflect Jesus as our great high priest entering the Holy of Holies to redeem us from sin and present us to God as holy, qualified to live in that Tabernacle in communion with a holy God. In this supreme act of obedience to His Father, Jesus would display His redeeming love for all the world to see.
The manna was a picture of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and feeding his whole church with the “bread of life”. The Shekinah Glory overshadowing the Tabernacle was nothing less than the radiant beauty of Christ illuminating the desert wilderness and leading Israel to the Promised Land.
The point is that Moses was a prophet commissioned by God to reveal these amazing pictures of the coming Savior to Israel. The Passover, the crossing of the Red Sea, the revelations from Mount Sinai, the Manna and the Shekinah glory were Videos that Moses was showing to Israel to help them lift their eyes to a heavenly Savior that God was promising to send to them by way of His Covenant love for them.
Moses had told them about Adam being made in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26) so that when they read of Adam’s fall into sin, his utter failure to please God, they could look forward to this greater Adam to be revealed in later history, this Jesus-Adam who would be able to succeed where Adam had failed. As the apostle Paul would explain this in Romans 5:12 and I Corinthians 15:21-22, Adam as the “image of God” had represented Israel and all mankind when he fell into sin. But Jesus would come, the new and perfect “image of God” in order to represent all of us fallen sinners. He would not only die to cover our sins, He would also rise from the dead to restore us to perfect life in the “image of God” Colossians 3:10. Then He would Ascend to the Father, there to display Himself as our Crucified and Risen Savior and secure for us a place in that same glory.
Of course Moses could not have explained that as Paul did because he did not know the historic details of Jesus life, death, resurrection and ascension. BUT, and here is the point that many miss in the Old Testament, Moses did understand the unfolding Drama of Redemption so wonderfully anticipated in the books he wrote. The words and actions of Moses were the VIDEOS mentioned above, enabling Israel to trust in a coming Savior and follow Him to the promised land.
In this way Moses helped Israel see the magnificent potential that they possessed in their “image of God” nature. Then they would be both shamed by their failure to live up to their potential, and at the same time hopeful for a glorious restoration to the full powers of the “image” through the second Adam, the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. This is the SPLENDOR of God’s love, the SPLENDOR of GOD’S COVENANT OF GRACE shining through Moses’ words.