Is Jesus the God Who Spoke to Moses?

Who is Jesus Christ? Some believe He was just a man. Few people think of Jesus as the God of the Old Testament, the One who created the universe.

But is it possible that Jesus Christ is the very One who spoke to Moses—the One who had no beginning and no end—the One who is all powerful, all knowing, and infinite?

When Moses approached the burning bush on Mount Sinai, he was suddenly confronted by God Himself. God spoke to him, saying,

“Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.  I am the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. …” (Exodus 3:5-6, NCV).

Moses was stunned, and covered His face in fear. Here he was in the presence of the holy, living God who created the stars, the planets, as well as everything else that exists.

God then told Moses that He was sending him to the king of Egypt to deliver His people (the Jews) from bondage. Moses immediately felt insecure and wondered how the people would believe him. He asked,

“…when I…say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me to you.’ What if the people say, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them? Then God said to Moses, “I am who I am. When you go to the people of Israel, tell them, ‘I AM sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:13-14, NCV, emphasis added).

Since the time of Moses, I AM, (the Hebrew name, YHWH, pronounced Yahweh or Jehovah*) became so sacred to Jews that they wouldn’t even utter it. Furthermore, no Jew would ever ascribe that name to anyone other than God.

This is why Jesus Christ’s words were so jaw-dropping to His Jewish audience. Imagine their reaction to Jesus’ words in the following conversation recorded in John’s Gospel.

Jesus had been talking with them about Himself, revealing to them that those who obeyed His teaching would never die.

This was too much for them to accept. Their reaction was swift and judgmental.

“The Jews said to Jesus…Even Abraham and the prophets died. But you say, ‘Whoever obeys my teaching will never die.’ Do you think you are greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died, too. Who do you think you are?” (John 8:52-53, NCV).

Abraham and the prophets, like Moses and Elijah, were the superstars of the Jewish religion. Furthermore, Abraham and Moses had lived hundreds of years earlier. This led the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking to regard Him cynically.

“The Jews said to him, ‘You have never seen Abraham! You are not even fifty years old.’

Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!’ When Jesus said this, the people picked up stones to throw at him. …” (John 8:57-59, NCV, emphasis added).

His Jewish opponents were furious because Jesus had called himself by the very name by which God had identified Himself to Moses (Yahweh).

But could Jesus have meant something else by using God’s name for Himself? The intense response of the Jewish leaders answers that question. They had no doubt that Jesus was claiming deity, which is evident by their reaction: they picked up stones to kill Jesus.  They realized He was claiming to be the God who spoke with Moses.

That leads to the question: are there other Scriptures that reveal Jesus as Yahweh? To find out, we need to compare what Yahweh said about Himself with New Testament claims for Jesus Christ. Let’s begin with what the Old Testament says about Yahweh.

  • “… Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me” (Isaiah 45:23).
  • “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer and Creator: ‘I am the Lord, who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with me when I made the earth?’” (Isaiah 44:24).
  • “’… You have been chosen to know me, believe in me, and understand that I alone am God. There is no other God—there never has been, and there never will be. I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior.’” (Isaiah 43:10-11)
  • “This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies:  ‘I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.’” (Isaiah 44:6)

It is clear from these Scriptures that God (Yahweh) alone is worthy of worship. That is why the Jews were so incensed at Jesus. How could this man standing before them claim to be the very God who spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai? So let’s see what the New Testament tells us about Jesus’ identity.

  • “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
  • “…for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).
  • “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures … There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).
  • “This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive” (Revelation 2:8).

The words of God from Isaiah tell us that Yahweh is “Lord,” “Redeemer,” “Savior,” “Creator,” “King,” “The First and the Last,” and, “God.”

The most astounding truth ever revealed to man is that these very same titles, describing Yahweh, are attributed to Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

There are many other passages in both the Old and New Testament revealing that Jesus is the one who spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Jesus is the one spoken of as both the Savior for our sins, and the returning King in the last days.

In the last days, the Jewish people, who rejected Jesus, will see that He is really Yahweh! Yahweh will physically rescue them in the last days when Jerusalem is under siege (see Zechariah 12:1-12). Something very dramatic and shocking will strike those who witness Yahweh descending on the Mount of Olives. It won’t only be His supernatural appearance. Even more shocking to them will be His wounds.

“At that time I will go to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. I will pour out on David’s family and the people in Jerusalem a spirit of kindness and mercy. They will look at me, the one they have stabbed, and they will cry like someone crying over the death of an only child. They will be as sad as someone who has lost a firstborn son” (Zechariah 12:9-10 NCV).

One would expect those Jews being rescued to be overjoyed. Yet the prophet tells us they will be sad. Why? It is because they will recognize the Messiah their forefathers had rejected and condemned to the cross: Jesus Christ. He will be recognized by the wounds he suffered on the cross when He died for our sins. Jesus came the first time to die. He is coming the second time to judge and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

From His throne of judgment, Jesus will say, “… It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. … Those who win the victory will receive this, and I will be their God, and they will be my children” (Revelation 21:6-7, NCV).

Jesus will judge His enemies, and reward His children. To learn how to become a child of God, read Is Jesus Relevant Today?

 

 

*Jehovah is a 12th century Latinization of the Hebrew word Yahweh.