Moses and the Promise Land Analogy: Acts 3:21-26
“21) whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. 22) Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. 23) And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24) And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. 25) It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26) For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”” Acts‬ ‭3‬:‭21‬-‭26‬ ‭
It is very important that Peter’s second message was focused entirely on Jesus Christ. After looking at His public ministry, crucifixion and resurrection, Peter then boldly proclaimed that the entire Old Testament pointed to Jesus Christ and His future time of restoration of all things.
In verses 22-23, he quoted Moses promising a future prophet and restorer that was even greater than himself. Think about this, God raised up Moses to deliver His people from slavery to Egypt and lead them to the promised land. By contrast, Jesus delivered all mankind from slavery to sin, Satan and death and is leading them to a future eternal Kingdom. This is the true Promised Land for the future redemption of all mankind.
Then Peter included all the prophets from Samual onward. (See verse 24) He pointed out that their unified voice and message pointed to Jesus Christ and a time of restoration. In other words, all the Old Testament prophets pointed to Jesus Christ.
Over time this mystery became clearer and clearer to Peter. Look what he said in 1 Peter 1:10-12; “10) As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11) seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12) It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.”
Don’t go too fast lest you miss the significance of what Peter was saying. The Old Testament prophets faithfully pointed to the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow, but they could not grasp it.
But wait, then in Acts 3:25, Peter takes another giant step backward. He pointed to Abraham and the covenant God made with him. Listen to the specific words of the covenant; “… And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” The “seed” that was going to bless the whole world pointed to Jesus Christ.
Look at how Peter wraps up this message; “ 26) For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”” Peter was saying to the crowd; “everything the Old Testament promised is happening right before your eyes.” Jesus wants to save you from your wicked ways.
Let me take a moment and dig a little deeper. Are you ready for this? Every example, analogy, sign, type, shadow, festival, promise and prophecy in the Old Testament is being fulfilled in Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 8:5; 9:24) I am speculating, but that might mean that the Exodus under Moses, the wandering in the wilderness and the conquest of the Promised Land might be a pattern for what God is doing right now and in the future.
Have you noticed the signs and wonders that took place under Moses? The same wording is attributed to the public ministry of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. So let’s see if the Old Testament analogy fits and speculate where we might be at in the story.
The signs and wonders under Moses in Egypt right through the Passover meal obviously related to the ministry of Jesus Christ, including His death, burial and resurrection. He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and He was crucified on the Passover.
Entering the promised land under Joshua may look forward to the future period of restoration referred to by Peter in Acts 3:21. That will be fulfilled in the millennium kingdom with the future reign of Jesus Christ on earth.
What was between these two events in the Old Testament? Forty long years of wandering in the wilderness and learning how to walk with God. This time was accompanied by the pillar of fire to lead them and amazing provisions by God. There were many signs and wonders during this time as well including crossing the Red Sea and daily manna. This may be a picture of the current church age and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is working to cleanse and purge the bride of Christ for His return, just like God purged the whole generation that came out of Egypt under Moses.
So where are we on the Old Testament calendar right now? After 2,000 years of wandering through the wilderness of church history, I suspect we are standing at the Jordan River ready to enter the Promised Land. Jesus is about to return and fulfill what Joshua failed to deliver; a totally Restored Kingdom. Ironically, the analogy fits and fulfills everything Peter was saying in his second message.
Time hinders us from going deeper, but I trust the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart to the mysteries and wonders in the Word of God and your walk in the Spirit. We are living in amazing days!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global