Moses preaches it: “A prophet like me, from your midst, from your brothers, will Yahweh Your God raise up; you shall listen to Him.” (Dt 18:15) It’s heard at Jesus’ transfiguration, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Mt 17:5) Speaking about Jesus, Peter preached, “Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you'”—so also Stephen: “This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’” (Acts 7:37) Now, Jesus isn’t only someone that Moses is pointing forward to. It’s not that Moses is saying, “There will be a prophet who will preach God’s Word and you need to listen to Him.” It’s more than all that! It’s all wrapped up in that Word “like me.”
Through the Word and Work of Moses the people of Israel experience the grace, mercy, and salvation of Christ. A clear example of this is when the Israelites are attacked by Amalekites shortly after they’ve left Egypt.
8 Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called its name, The–LORD–Is–My–Banner; 16 for he said, “Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” (Ex 17:8–16)
Before we can see what Moses is up to in his fighting the Amalekites, we need to first understand the two men holding up his hands. The first one is easy. It’s Moses’ brother Aaron, the High Priest. The other man, Hur, is a bit of a mystery, but he is mentioned a few times elsewhere.
At one point Moses said to the elders of Israel, “Wait here for us [Moses and Joshua] until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.” (Ex 24:14) Hur, along with Aaron the High Priest, are placed in command over all the elders of Israel while Moses and Joshua ascend Mt. Sinai. Aaron is an obvious choice, but why Hur? The hint comes later in Exodus when Yahweh is working out the details of getting the Tabernacle built.
See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship. (Ex 31:2–5)
Bezalel is Hur’s grandson, but more importantly for Bezalel and even Hur is this: they’re from the tribe of Judah.
From the tribe of Judah comes the kings of Israel: David and his sons, but especially his Lord, who is also his Son, Jesus who is from the house and lineage of David. Hur seems to be Moses’ right hand man for a time, and Aaron, the Levite and High Priest, was his left hand man.
Moses, when the Israelites fought the Amalekites, held his hands out, and, whenever he did that, the Israelites prevailed. His hands heavy, he was steadied by Levi and Judah, by priests and kings, as he was stationed at the top of a hill, suffering, arms extended that his people might overcome the Amalekites and win the victory. Moses did this with Yahweh’s staff in his hand. Not that Moses is the victory banner, but, as the altar was named afterward, “Yahweh, my Banner.”
By Word and deed Moses prefigures Christ, and He, through Moses, brings His mercy, grace, and forgiveness—His Victory—to His Old Testament people. He brings the same mercy, grace, forgiveness, and victory that He gives to His New Testament people. It’s the same blessings and benefits won by His being taken to a hill called Golgotha. There our Priest and King, our God, Jesus, is fixed to His cross. His arms stretched out for the whole world. There He defeats the devil. He conquers in the fight. He who is Priest and King forever doesn’t need Levite or Judite at His right and left, but two thieves are His companions. There He is our banner even as He dies, says, “It is finished!”; cries out in victory, and breathes His last.
In His own way Jesus delivers His benefits to His people. To His New Testament people He does so through His Word, Water, Body and Blood delivered through His pastors. To His Old Testament people He delivered His benefits through circumcision and the sacrifices, of course, but He also did it through Moses. He delivered victory over the Amalekites. He delivers victory over the true Amalek, Satan. Jesus is the Prophet like Moses not just in what He says but by what He does for you and for your salvation.
Then, for all that wrought my pardon,
For Thy sorrows deep and sore,
For Thine anguish in the Garden,
I will thank Thee evermore,
Thank Thee for Thy groaning, sighing,
For Thy bleeding and Thy dying,
For that last triumphant cry,
And shall praise Thee, Lord, on high.
– “Christ, the Life of All the Living” (LSB 420:7)