Restored to Life — the final sign
So we’re with Moses, talking to God for the first time, and God’s talking about the Resurrection of Jesus? Say What?
The Second Sign
The Lord furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.
Now we have to keep tracking with the idea that God’s miraculous hand–the hand that will strike down all the Egyptian gods, making a spectacle of them–is Jesus, a.k.a, the God of Isaac, who embodies/fulfills God’s promises, rescues from death, and makes things which should be dead to be alive.
So far, Moses has asked for a sign and God has had Moses stretch out his hand to grab a serpent by the tail.
Next up, God gives a second sign to inspire belief and to get the people to listen to Moses. I see it like this:
- pre-existing hand gets hidden from sight,
- is revealed as doomed to die,
- gets hidden from sight again,
- is revealed as restored to life.
Let’s compare with Jesus.
- Jesus, pre-existing, was hidden as a baby in a womb.
- When He was brought forth, even at the temple as a baby, God revealed that He was doomed to die. His flesh, like a leper, would die. As an adult, Jesus bore our sins and died.
- He was buried.
- And then He rose from the dead, flesh restored to life.
Pre-existing, hidden, revealed as dying, hidden, revealed as alive. For me, that’s Jesus.
Did I skip what this sign could possibly have meant to the Israelite people at that time, what it could have meant within the context of lepers and Egyptians and all that?
Oh yeah. I did. Why? Because I don’t care. Not at this moment anyway. God is the Master not only of the universe, but also of foreshadowing, and I’m more stuck on the idea that God called this second sign “the last sign.”
The Second Sign is the Last Sign
“If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign…
Isn’t that interesting? God does NOT give a 1st sign followed by a 2nd sign. He gives a first sign and a last sign.
The first sign: hand wins over serpent.
The last sign: hand hidden, revealed as destined for death, hidden, revealed as alive.
Both the first and the last sign are about the hand.
Both the first and the last sign demonstrate that death is defeated.
Death, which came as the result of listening to the serpent and stretching out hands to pluck and eat fruit in disobedience to God, is now shown to be defeated by a hand that is obedient to God—a hand that grabs the serpent’s tail; a hand that disappears, appears and dies in obedience to the will of the Father, is hidden away, and is then restored to life. The serpent loses, the hand wins. Death loses, Jesus lives.
Are the Israelites thinking about Jesus being the Messiah when Moses shows them these signs?
Of course not. But these are signs. God can put a whole lot into a sign.
Remember this dialogue?
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth…”
I’m pretty sure Jonah never thought, ‘I’m so glad I’m inside this fish right now because God will one day use this as a sign to represent the Messiah’s victory over death.’
Jonah didn’t think that, yet he went through that experience.
Moses’ concern was that the people wouldn’t listen to him, wouldn’t believe him when he said he’d met with God.
So God gave him a first and a last sign. And those two signs were to be enough.
A Third Sign?
“If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
Before we think, ‘Oh, good, a third sign in case they don’t believe the first two,’ we need to realize that God can count and He has already declared one of “two” signs to be the “last” sign. There is a first sign and a last sign. Therefore, the act of pouring water on the ground with the result of it turning to blood is NOT a sign.
If it’s not a sign, what is it?
These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire…
In Revelation, water is turned into blood as a judgment against people being unwilling to listen to or believe the testimony of the two witnesses that God has sent.
In Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh in Ex 7, it’s the same.
Exodus 7:16, 22
… “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now.” … Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
Water being turned into blood is not a sign. It’s a judgment against disobedience and unbelief.
‘Dear Israelites, I’ve come to deliver you. I’ll give you two signs to believe, two chances to hear, see, understand and obey Me. If you refuse, judgment.’
‘Dear world, I’ve come to deliver you. I will expose the evil in your life, and I promise to conquer it and save you from death. Be obedient and choose to believe Me. If you refuse, judgment.’
No Other Sign
Jesus is the First Sign and the Last Sign. There is no other “sign” coming.
Jesus—the Son of God, the God of Isaac, the embodiment/fulfillment of God’s promise, the rescuer from death—has declared, “It is finished.” His rescuing work has been completed. He has done everything necessary to bring us out of bondage to sin, out of the doom of death.
How should we respond?
… [Moses] then performed the signs in the sight of the people. So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped.