Moses is dead-- Let's keep it that way!

Moses is dead-- let's keep it that way!

Before you gather stones, hear me out. I love our dear brother Moses. He has taught us a lot about the Lord. Without him, we would have never discovered Christ. He was one of the greatest prophets that have ever lived, and if there were ever a man that spoke on behalf of God, it was him.

But, with the coming of Christ, I think it is time we move on from some of the things Moses taught, as with the coming of Christ, some of the things he prescribed have simply become outdated. Take for example, animal sacrifices and temple rituals. These things are considered outdated, not because of any human philosophy, but because of the work of Christ on the cross. Because of what Jesus accomplished in His death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, there are some things Moses prescribed that have faded away, and are no longer part of our faith.

Such is a very over simplistic summary statement, but as Christians we all get this... right?

If so, why is it that we continue to look to Moses and the leadership model he employed as being an example for us as a viable ministry model since the coming of Jesus Christ? If Jesus Christ brought an end to so much of what existed under the old covenant, why is it that we continue to use the "Moses on the mountain top" model of ministry for the church today?

Moses model of ministry was a pyramid, top-down, hierarchical approach to ministry. Moses heard from God. Most people did not. Therefore, if anybody wanted to know what God thought, they let Moses climb up a mountain, disappear for a number of days, then come back and tell everybody what God had to say. But, as the problems in Israel grew, and there were simply too many people for Moses to handle one-on-one. So he established some people in-between him and the people, and he would delegate the decision making and God-talking to others thing. The bigger Israel grew, the more mid-level managers were added, and the further Moses was removed from interacting with the people one-on-one. The only time Moses was consulted was for issues that were too big for anybody else in the pyramid to figure out on their own.

Such isn't by any stretch of the imagination, a bad system of government. In fact, it is quite good, and there is a lot of wisdom to it. However, there is a big problem with this form of government: Moses died, his government eventually collapsed, and it was never rebuilt.

And if you pay attention very carefully, upon the coming of Jesus Christ, Moses's ministry stayed dead. Jesus Christ did not resurrect the ministry of Moses. He let it lay in the dust. He brought with him not only new wine, but new wineskins, for the new work Jesus Christ was doing was incompatible with the work Moses did. As the book of Hebrews reminds us, Moses was great, but Jesus Christ is greater. So since we have Jesus Christ, while paying great respect to our brother Moses, let's allow Moses to stay dead. For Jesus Christ replaced Moses, and brought us new things in the process.

There is a lot of ministry being done these days that models a Moses style ministry. Superstar preacher figures climb up to the mountain, speak to us on behalf of God, then go back into hiding once they are done. If they are good enough at the entire hearing-from-Godand-speaking thing, and attract a large enough crowd, they do like Moses did, and delegate a number of leaders to stand between them and the people, and allow others to speak on their behalf.

Such preachers will seldom, if ever, talk to you after the church service is over. They vanish far too quickly for anybody to say anything. If they go to lunch with anybody after the service, they'll go to lunch with people closer to the top of the pyramid. Hanging out with the pastor in his home would be out of the question. If you get sick, somebody else will visit you. If you need somebody to counsel with, somebody else will do that. If you are lucky, when you die, the guy on top just might preach your funeral. But, chances are, he's probably too busy for that too. But no problem, the pastor's got a guy for that too.

In contrast, Jesus Christ established a new way of ministry. He preached to the masses, yet was always available to them. He gathered together a close group of people, taught them everything He knew, shared His meals and life with them, opened up and made Himself vulnerable (enough so that one of them had him killed because they didn't like what they saw!), and then taught those guys to do the same with other people.

While they were doing this, Jesus promised to be in the midst of each and every single one of them as they established their own outposts. This is something Moses could never do. Moses had to stack things the way he did, because he was unable to be everywhere all at once. He was finite. But Jesus Christ, on the other hand, can be in the midst of every group, all at once. He is infinite. He can be something Moses, nor us, can never be.

So, instead of creating our own little mini-Israelite nations, with us playing a Moses like leadership role, let us gather in community together with others centered around Jesus Christ. Moses is dead. His body is missing. Let's keep it that way! Let us not try to be Moses, and let us not try to take the place of Jesus Christ.


  1. All very valid points and just another reason I am thankful that my family and I attend a smaller church. I see one point in particular to be pertinent but from a slightly different angle. In the body today, there are too many that are content with showing up on Sunday and letting the pastor feed them from God's word and never take the time to chew the food themselves. This is dangerous because let's face it, there are pulpits being occupied today by pastors that are about as doctrinally sound as my Schnauzer.

  2. If you notice that Paul doesn't paint Jesus as the leader of a new exodus. But, as an Adam leading a new creation. Even Paul was uncomfortable using Moses as an example of Christ's new creation. Great blog!

  3. It is amazing how we try so hard to cling to the old order. Our ego so wants to think of ourselves as leaders, and cling onto mountaintop notions of ministry. So much so we create phrases like "servant leadership." Which is just another way of saying "leader." We show what we really think when we go to and read "leadership" conferences and books. But there are few conferences and books on just being a servant. I bet our seminaries don't even have servant hood as an indexed subject, but I bet they do on leadership!