Jesus, Moses and the Death of the Innocents

Church of St. Anne - Transfiguration
The internal painting of the church of St. Anne, an illustration of the Transfiguration. The author – Ivan Protsiv.

There are two stories in the Bible where innocent babies die.  They are integrally related.

The first one came when Pharaoh ordered the slaughter of all of the newborn Hebrew boys by having them thrown into the Nile river.  It is as if Satan knew somebody big was coming and he inspired Pharaoh to slaughter all the Hebrew boys just in case.  In a story, that young children are told, Moses was put into a basket and was pulled from the bulrushes by none other than Pharaoh’s daughter. God’s chosen child was spared so the plan of salvation could move forward.

The death of the Holy Innocents in Jesus’ day should bring this story to mind.  Satan could tell that something was up but he was blinded to the truth.  So he inspired Herod to slaughter all of the boys under two just in case. God’s chosen child Jesus was spared so the plan of salvation could move forward.

The mission of Moses and the mission of Jesus were similar–to deliver God’s people from bondage. Moses freed them from the bondage of the Egyptians and Jesus freed us from the bondage to sin and death.

To further cement to the two stories when the Holy Family went to Egypt they needed to pass through the old territory assigned to Simeon to do it.  Simeon means “God has heard”.  This harkens to what God said at the Burning Bush to send Moses to Egypt.

Let me adapt it to Jesus.  “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt (sin), and HAVE HEARD their cry because of their taskmaster; I know their sufferings, and I (Jesus) have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians (Satan), and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with mild and honey (heaven).”  See Moses and Jesus had the same mission from God.

God through Moses produced plague after plague each time calling upon the Egyptians to repent.  They would repent briefly and then add further oppression and misery.  The plagues were actually merciful, calling upon them to repent before the final plague came upon them–the death of the first-born son.

Jesus performed miracle after miracle for the people. Moses’ first plague was to turn the waters of the Nile into blood. Jesus’ first public miracle was to turn water into wine. More miracles followed as He healed their diseases, cast out demons and multiplied food before them.  Each time calling them to faith in Him before the final judgment of death to God’s first-born son.

In each case, before God’s final deliverance, the people were to celebrate the Passover meal.  Jesus took the place of the Passover lamb.  The Israelites were to take the blood of the Lamb and mark the door with blood at the top, bottom and both sides, like a sign of the cross.  The lamb’s death was to take the place of the death of the first born son in that household, saving his life. Our lives were spared when Jesus,the Lamb of God, and the First-born of the Kingdom of God, died for us.

At the Transfiguration Moses himself referred to the Passover Passion events in Jerusalem as Jesus’ exodus.

And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.

The purpose of each Exodus was not just to deliver us from slavery but to bring us to the Promised Land.

In these days we have been witnessing a world-wide slaughter of innocents through abortion.  I wonder if that portends the final exodus?

Referenced Scripture: Exodus 3:7-8, Luke 9:31

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