And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. (Numbers 27:20-21)
In the sight of the people, Moses was to lay his hands upon Joshua’s head and ordain him so that his authority would not be questioned. According to the word of the LORD, he was to lead them upon Moses’ death. That being said, it was also understood that Joshua, though Moses’ successor, was not considered to be his equal. In fact, as Moses charged him in the sight of the people by the laying on of hands, literally and figuratively, Joshua bowed before his superior thus indicating that he would continue being subservient to Moses through what he had written. Later it would be said that Joshua did not leave one thing “undone” that Moses had instructed him to do (Joshua 11:15).
Adding to this train of thought is the comment, “You shall place some of your honor upon him.” The rabbinical thought on this is that the word “some” is to accentuate that it doesn’t say “all.” In other words, Joshua — “He will save” — would be a reflection of Moses but not his equal. Where Moses received revelation directly from God, “face to face as a man speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11), Joshua received instruction indirectly from God through a priest by means of the Urim v’Tummim. The distinctions between the two sets the stage for the fulfillment of an important prophecy regarding Moses’ ultimate successor and superior — “God will raise up to you a Prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, one like me. To Him you shall listen” (Deuteronomy 18:15).
In short, the Messiah would not only reflect who and what Moses was but would be considered greater than Moses. Yeshua, in fact, declared Himself to be greater than the Temple (Matthew 12:6), greater than the prophet Jonah (Matthew 12:41) and greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42). He also made it clear that, for all of the merited esteem given to Moses, everything Moses wrote about was pointing to Him (John 5:46).
Clearly, Yeshua was hinting that He was greater than Moses; He was the prophet Moses spoke of and of whom God had said, “I will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18). And so let us close with this thought that comes from Paul regarding the Messiah: “God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9). And so, let us bow before Him in servitude, and live in such a way that we are a reflection of Him.
Blessings and Shalom,