Moses and the Forty-Year Wilderness Wanderings


 Biblical Numerology: NUMBER FOUR – Part III

 Moses and the Forty-Year Wilderness Wanderings


Type means “By way of example, RV; “By way of figure,” RV margin. Type is defined as “a figure, emblem, or symbol; a symbol or figure of something to come; a pattern.” Figure as something “to prefigure; to foreshow; to represent by typical or figurative resemblance; a pattern, emblem, type, image or imitation” A type is a literal representation of a spiritual fact.”  Taylor G. Bunch in his book, “Exodus and Advent Movements in Type and Antitype,” published by Teach Services Inc., p. 7, sets the tone of these series with these thoughts:

    “Book of Parallels. The Bible is a book of parallel events and movements; of types and their antitypes. This makes the Bible and up-to-date book from Genesis to Revelation to the very close of human history. Thus ‘all Scripture is profitable, for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.’ (2 Tim. 3: 16).

Adam, the first man, was a type of Christ, the second Adam; Enoch and Elijah were types of those who will be translated when Jesus comes; Moses is a type of those who will be resurrected at the second advent; Noah and his message were typical of the messengers and message of the second advent; so also were the messages of Elijah and John the Baptist. Jezebel was a type of the of the papacy; ancient Egypt, of spiritual darkness, and the bondage of sin; and ancient Babylon, of Satan’s false and counterfeit system of religion to the close of time.

The earthly sanctuary with its apartments, furniture, service, and priesthood, were typical of the heavenly temple and the atoning ministration of Christ.”- p. 7.

     The Guiding Pillar of the Exodus Movement.  “Exo. 13:21, 22; Neh. 9: 12. The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night was the outward and visible sign of the divine leadership of the Exodus Movement. It hovered over the camp when they rested, and went before them before they marched. Israel kept their eyes on the cloudy chariot and it indicated when they should march and which way they should go.

That Christ was the occupant of the cloudy and fiery chariot is evident from several texts: 1 Cor. 10: 1-4; Isa. 63: 8, 9, 12; Neh. 9: 6-15. It was Christ who led and preserved the Exodus Movement, and the pillar was the visible sign of His presence and leadership. It was Christ who furnished Israel with both physical and spiritual food; who gave the law [not Moses] and all the instructions concerning the sanctuary services.

     “The Advent Movement. Christ is likewise the Leader of modern Israel in the Advent Movement. 1 Cor. 10: 9, 11. Those who sin [knowingly and presumptuously] are tempting Christ the Leader. God’s people are likewise guided and protected by a pillar of cloud and fire, or light. Isa. 4: 5, 6; 49: 1-12, 22, 23.

‘I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth, and was pure in heart, was to be covered by the covering of the Almighty.’- Early Writings, 43.  What is the light that guides, and covering and shield that protects God’s remnant people on their journey to the heavenly Canaan? Ps. 91: 1-4, 9-12; Ps. 119: 105; Prov. 6: 22, 23; John 1: 4, 9, 10. ‘I am the light of the world,’ said Jesus.” – Ibid, p. 48.

Moses had three highly significant forty-year chapters in his life. The SDA Bible Dictionary, Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 8, art. “Moses,” says:

     “Moses, (the Hebrew and Aramaic, Mosheh, means “one drawn out” and probably based on ms or msw, meaning “child,” “son,” of “the one born of,” which the Egyptians incorporated  into royal names such as  Ahmose, “the one born of the moon god, Ah’; Kamose, “the one born of the deified soul, Ka”; Thutmose, the one born of the scribal god, Thoth; and the common name Ramose (later Ramses), “the one born of the sun-god Ra.”

In everyday life those names were often abbreviated to “Mose.” Similarly, the name Pharaoh’s daughter gave Moses may originally have included the name of some  Egyptian deity. Since the Egyptians worshipped the Nile, which they deified as “Hapi” and commonly called Itrw, later Irw, the princess may have named Moses Hapimose or Irumose, either of which would mean “the one born of” (or “drawn out of”) the Nile.”

“When Moses ‘refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter’ (Heb. 11: 24) he would naturally drop the reference to an Egyptian deity. . . . .Moses spent the first 40 years of his life quite likely under the 18th dynasty kings: Thutmose I (c.1525- c. 1508 B.C.) and Thutmose II (c. 1508 – c. 1504 B.C.), and Queen Hatshepsut (c. 1504 – 1482 B.C.), and a daughter of Thutmose I and on the basis of the chronology here suggested doubtless the “daughter of Pharaoh” referred to in Exo. 2: 65-10.

In that case Moses would have witnessed the rise of Egypt to the height of its political power. Under Thutmose III, whose sole reign (c. 1482 – 1450 B.C.) would have fallen in the 40 years during which Moses sojourned in Midian. The Egyptian Empire extended from the Abyssinian highlands in the south to the Euphrates in the northeast.  A widespread commerce developed, and riches flowed from foreign lands to support the great projects of the Pharaohs. Cultural life had reached a high level, craftsmanship and architecture were in an advanced state, and astronomy, mathematics, and medical science flourished. Egypt had every reason to boast of its prowess as the most powerful and civilized nation of its time.

“Moses was the son of Amram and Jochebed, and a descendant of Levi in the fourth  generation ( Exo. 6: 16-20), of the family of Kohath (vs 18-20). His brother Aaron was 3 years older than he (ch 7: 7), and he had an older sister, Miriam (ch 15:20; cf. ch 2: 6, 7). At Moses’ birth the children of Israel had been in Egypt about 135 years (see Gen. 12: 4; 21: 5;  25: 26; ; 47: 9; Deut. 2: 7; 34: 7; Acts 7: 30; cf. Exo. 7:7; 12: 40, 41; Gal. 3: 16, 17).

Jacob had been dead for about 118 years (Gen. 47: 28), and Joseph for about 64 years (ch 50: 22; cf. chs 41: 46, 47, 54; 45: 5; 47: 9).

“On the basis of a 1445 B.C.  exodus (see Chronology II, 2),  Moses was born about 1525 B.C. (cf. Exo. 7: 7). On this same basis, when the Hebrews entered Egypt the racially related and friendly Hyskos kings ruled the land. However, early in the 16th century, some 50 or 60 years prior to Moses’ birth, the Hyskos were expelled by a native Egyptian dynasty, the 17th. About 1750 B.C. the powerful 18th dynasty arose, one of whose early kings, perhaps Ahmose or Amenhotep I, was probably the ‘new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph’mentioned in Exo. 1: 8.

“The Hebrews had multiplied rapidly until ‘the land was filled with them’ and they had become ‘more and mightier than the Egyptians,’ or at least the latter so claimed (ch 1: 7-9). Because the Hebrews were numerically strong, and because the Egyptians urgently needed cheap labor for their vast building projects, it is little wonder that the king of this new dynasty instituted a policy of keeping them in subjection at forced labor (vs 10-14).

How long prior to Moses’ birth the Hebrews were set to work building the ‘treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses’ (v 11) and were made to ‘serve with rigor’ (vs 12-14) is not known. But the more the Egyptians oppressed them ‘the more they multiplied and grew’ (Exo. 1: 12), and efforts to check the rapid increase in population proved wholly ineffective. At first the Egyptians proposed to grind them down by making their lives ‘bitter with hard bondage’ (v 14), but when this proved unavailing they ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill all male children born to the Hebrews (vs 15, 16).

However the midwives neglected to carry out Pharaoh’s orders, giving as their excuse that Hebrew women were more vigorous than Egyptian women and did not need the services of the midwives (v 19). Pharaoh then ordered his own people to take the matter of exterminating the Hebrew male children into their own hands by drowning them in the Nile (v 22). But in view of the many-able bodied men among the Hebrews 80 years later at the Exodus, it would seem that this cruel requirement could not have continue long in force.

“At his birth Moses’ parents recognized him to be ‘a goodly child’ (Exo. 2: 2). Their efforts to preserve Moses alive are referred to in Heb. 11: 23 as an act of faith, implying perhaps an awareness on their part that God had destined him for and important role and would intervene to preserve his life. By putting Moses in an ark of bulrushes and placing him in the bosom of the Nile, Jochebed was complying with the letter of the law that required male children to be offered in sacrifice to the Nile, which the Egyptians worshipped as a god, supposing that its waters had power to impart fertility and guarantee long life.

The visit of Pharaoh’s daughter to the river ‘to wash herself’ (Exo. 2: 5) may have been a ritual ablution designed to secure these supposed benefits for herself. The appearance of Moses floating in his little ark of bulrushes as if he were a gift from the Nile god, in answer to her prayers, apparently impressed her as a happy omen. The princess took the child as her own, hiring his own mother as his nurse.

“Moses’ home training inculcated in him a love for God and some understanding of his life mission (cf. Acts 17: 25). Under royal Egyptian tutors and doubtless as a royal prince and heir presumptive to the throne, Moses was instructed ‘in all the wisdom of the Egyptians’ (v 22). From the priests he doubtless mastered Egyptian letters, literature, science, and religion; from army commanders, skill in military leadership, and from other royal officials a knowledge of laws and civil administration. Some have suggested that Moses may have led some military expeditions into foreign lands.

As the heir presumptive [to the Pharaoh in power] he was doubtless popular at court, as well as with the army and the common people. His outward appearance, his dress, his speech, his behavior, and his culture may have been completely Egyptian, but he never became an Egyptian at heart. In character, religion, and loyalty he continued to be a Hebrew, as is evident from incidents related in Exo. 2: 11-13 (cf. Heb. 11: 24, 25).

“When he was 40 (Acts 17: 23)– c. 1485 B.C. — while Queen Hatshepsut was still reigning—Moses knew that the time had come when he must chooses between His Hebrew faith and the throne of Egypt. Inbred loyalty to God (Heb. 11: 24-26) and an awareness of God’s purpose for his life (Acts 7: 25) led Moses to cast his lot with his own people and to ‘suffer affliction’ with them rather than ‘enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season’ (Heb. 11: 25). The fact that he had refused to adopt the Egyptian religion had doubtless aroused misgivings in the minds of his benefactors.

Perhaps it was in fear that he might seize the throne, that the priests of Amon in a temple revolution at about this time placed on the throne an illegitimate son of Thutmose II, Hatshepsut’s deceased husband and forced Hatshepsut to accept this young prince as co-regent. The new king adopted the throne name of his father and is known in history as Thutmose III. Under such circumstances he would have especially hated Moses, in whom he would see his greatest rival, and thus could have hastened Moses’ decision to throw in his lot with his despised countrymen and to attempt to liberate them from Egyptian oppression.

“Acting rashly, Moses slew an Egyptian taskmaster (Exo. 2: 11, 12), and by this foolish act he played into the hands of his enemies, perhaps especially Thutmose III, who now would have a legitimate reason to bring Moses to trial and to destroy him. It is quite possible that these were the circumstances that led Moses to flee from Egypt and to find refuge in the land of Midian to the east (v 15).

“Since the Midianites were descendants of Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25: 1,2), Moses was with his relatives during his forty years of sojourn, some of whom still worshipped the true God. Among them was Jethro, a priest of the true God (cf. Exo. 18, 12, 23). Jethro was also called Reuel (ch 2: 16-18), which means “friend of God.” Jethro’s hospitable reception led Moses to enter his service, and in course of time his daughter Zipporah became Moses’ wife (Exo. 12: 18-21). Jethro was a man of sound judgment, as is evident from the counsel he later gave his son-in-law (ch 18: 12-27). During his forty years in the lower Sinai Peninsula Moses doubtless became familiar with the geography, resources, and climate of that desert region.

“Leading Jethro’s flocks amid the solemn grandeur of the mountains, he had ample time for reflection upon his past experiences. The 90th psalm, which is attributed to Moses [not David], reflects his thoughts, perhaps towards the close of his sojourn in Midian. If so, the following interpretation seems appropriate: The opening verses of this psalm seem to mirror the mountain solitudes of Sinai and the majesty of God, in contrast with human frailty in general and the great mistakes of his own life (Ps. 90: 7, 8).

“Knowing the role Providence had marked out for him (Acts 7: 25), Moses doubtless reflected that his impetuous act in slaying the Egyptian has frustrated God’s purpose and thwarted the divine plan for his life. He had already passed the mark of “threescore years and ten” and was approaching “fourscore years” (Psa. 90: 9, 10), but with his great disappointment in mind he prayed that God would to teach him “to number” his days that he might apply his heart unto wisdom (v 12). He still had faith in the promises of God to the fathers and had hoped for their fulfillment. His thoughts then turned to his suffering brethren in the land of Egypt (vs 13, 14) and he prayed for their deliverance (vs 15, 16). Finally, he pleads with God that the work of his own hands may be established, that his life may not have been altogether in vain (v 17).

“It is probably about the time of these reflections that God met Moses at the burning bush and commissioned him to return to Egypt to liberate the Hebrews (Exo. 3: 1-10). Remembering the threat to his own life and sensing his insufficiency for the task (v 11), fearful also that his own people would not accept him and doubtful of his ability to persuade Pharaoh to let Israel go, Moses hesitated to accept the call (vs 11, 13; ch 4: 1). But God patiently disposed of these seeming difficulties, one by one, and Moses unwillingly acquiesced (Exo. 4: 1-19).

On the way back to Egypt he met Aaron, whom God had sent out into the wilderness to welcome him, and together they returned to Egypt and met with the elders of Israel (vs 20-31) before approaching the Pharaoh himself (this would have been Amenhotep II according to the chronology suggested above). Their first audience with Pharaoh (ch. 5: 1-3) only made the lot of the Hebrews more bitter than it had before (vs 4-19). Ten plagues fell before Pharaoh changed his mind. With the last of the 10, the death of the first-born, Pharaoh summoned Moses by night and finally ordered the Hebrews to leave Egypt (ch 12: 29-32).”- pp. 740-741.

(Continued next week)

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