Romans 8 explains to us that the weakness of the law is our flesh. The purpose of the law is to show people that flawed human nature cannot measure up to the perfect demands of the law. Any who look to the law eventually find failure – not success. The law does not produce righteousness; it exposes sin.

The Old Testament aids us in seeing this truth. Moses was the man the Lord used to bring the law to God’s people. After the law came in, there is only one recorded mistake that Moses made. Let’s stop for a moment and look at the accomplishments of Moses.

God called him out of the desert to lead God’s people who were enslaved in Egypt. He stood before Pharaoh, who was leading the world power of that day, and boldly proclaimed God’s purpose to set the people free. Ten times he faced off against Pharaoh until God broke the kings will through the ten plagues. When Egypt decided to destroy Israel after they left, Moses trusted God and saw the miracle of the Red Sea parting to escape the pursuing army.

Moses led the people through the wilderness. He established the tabernacle for worship. He judged the people when problems were brought to him. He interceded many times on behalf of the people when their sins brought judgement. He delivered the Ten Commandments. He taught the people God’s word and ways. He endured the people’s rebellion, and two times when a mutiny challenged his leadership, he waited for God’s help. He never exalted himself, but was known as a humble man. When his leadership was challenged, he allowed God to intervene instead of fighting for himself. But he made one big mistake.

After many years leading a nation of grumbling people, he grew weary and frustrated. They were in the desert, and no water could be found. The people were complaining and accused him of bringing them into the desert to die. He’d faced grumbling people before, but this day was worse. The people were so angry that he fell on his face to prostrate himself. For the second time, the people were ready to stone Moses in their anger, then God intervened. The glory of the Lord stood between Moses and the people, and God said, “Speak to the rock and it will yield water for the people.”

Moses had had it. He was at his wits end. He stood up, took his staff and shouted at the people. “Listen to me, you rebels! Do we have to bring water out of this rock for you?” Then in his anger, he struck the rock with all his might twice. Water gushed out abundantly, but there was a problem. God had commanded him to speak to the rock, but Moses took out his anger on the rock with his staff.

1 Corinthians 10 explains that the rock that gave them water in the desert on two occasions was Christ. Jesus is the rock the church is built upon, and once again, we see the New Testament foreshadowed in the events of the Old Testament. The first time the rock provided for the people (Exodus 17), God said to strike the rock. This was a foreshadow of Christ, who was struck down through His crucifixion (Matthew 26:31). The second time the rock stood before the people, it is a picture of Christ’s after His resurrection. They drank from the water just before entering the promise.

Even though Moses had done so many things right, his one act of rebellion disqualified him. Why? Because he was under the law, and the Bible says that if you keep the whole law, but stumble in one point, you are guilty of the entire law. (See James 2:10).

The law can never enter the promise because the law is a condemnation system. The law stands in our path and says, “Are you perfect? No? Then you cannot enter.”

But Jesus is the door into the promise. In Him, we are not under the law, but are in the promise, because He fulfilled the law, and any who are in Christ, are perfected. No one can keep Christ out the promise, and we follow Him into the promise. We can see a word picture of this truth in this illustration of Moses.

God told Moses to go on top of the mountain. “You shall behold it with your eyes, but you shall not enter in.” Moses saw the promise just before he died. The law giver took the people to the edge of the promise, but the law could never take anyone in. Look at Galatians 3:24-25:

24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Moses, the picture of the law died, and Joshua took over. The name Joshua in the Old Testament is the exact same name as Jesus in the New Testament. The law passed control to Jesus, and then Jesus took the people into the promised land, which is called the place of rest for God’s people. (Psalm 95:10-11) The only thing the people had to do was follow him into the promise.

This was a foreshadow of Christ in the New Testament.

When Jesus referred to John the Baptist, He said that there was none greater than John the Baptist, yet the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John. This seems like an odd statement. John did not perform a single miracle, yet Jesus called him the greatest prophet. How can that be? What about Elijah and Elisha, the miracle working prophets of the Old Testament. What about Moses. He was called a prophet, and he was the one to call the people out of Egypt, and lead them to the edge of the Promised Land. All of these did many mighty works. All John did was point people to Jesus and say, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” And then, how can Jesus say that he is least in the kingdom of heaven? These are odd statements until you dig below the surface.

John is the last Old Testament prophet. He took the people, and delivered them to Jesus. Then he said, “I must decrease, but He [Jesus] must increase.” He took the people to the New Covenant, and then died. Jesus then took the people into the promise of Grace. It’s the very thing the story of Moses and Joshua were representing. Just as Moses took the people to the edge of the promise, but could not enter; John took the people to the promise of Christ, then he passed away.

John did no miracle, but he was privileged to deliver the Old Testament people to the New Testament Christ. He was of the law, so he could not take them into the promise. So he delivered them to Jesus, and He led the people into the promise of grace, which is the true place of rest. That is a privilege that all the old prophets saw at a distance, but John was honored to be the final tutor that led the people to Christ.

The reason he is least, is because he lacked the perfection that only came through Christ. Until someone enters into Christ, they remain limited to the flesh. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, according to scripture. Obviously, after Jesus’ death, John’s sins were covered as well; however, until we receive the righteousness of Christ, we are nothing in the kingdom of God.

Thankfully, we do not have that problem. For us, the flesh decreases because the Spirit within us increases. The weakness of the law has been removed, and all we must do to inherit every promise is to follow Christ. As we trust Him enough to allow Him to lead, nothing is withheld, and nothing can stand. Every barrier is brought down by God. We rest, and like Moses, we allow God to work as we trust in Him.

The Christian life is all about learning how to seek Him. That is when we hear His quiet voice. The barriers of the law have been removed, and you are now free to walk in the promises through Christ!

Eddie Snipes
April 2024

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