Nearly a thousand years had passed since Noah’s flood, and the world had again descended into widespread sin.
The Egyptian Pharaoh was cruel to God’s chosen people, and the peoples in the land of Canaan had fallen into such sin that the time of God’s judgment was drawing near. God remembered the covenant He had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and He proceeded to bring about the salvation of Israel (and the destruction of Egypt and Canaan) through a man named Moses.
Moses was born at a dangerous time. Pharaoh was worried that the Israelites would multiply to such a great number that their force would rival that of Egypt, so he determined to reduce their numbers and weaken them, putting all of their male children to death. As such, Pharaoh commanded the Israelites to throw all of their infant sons into the river.
Moses’ parents were not afraid of the king’s command, so in faith they hid him for three months. Then his mother made an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch (like Noah’s ark), put the child inside, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.
While Pharaoh had ordered the murder of Israelite children, his own daughter rescued this young Israelite baby. She drew him out of the water, therefore giving him the name “Moses” (which literally means “drawn out”). Moses entered the water a slave, and came out a free man.
Moses was like Noah in several ways:
- Like Noah, Moses was plunged into the same waters which killed the others in his generation.
- Like Noah, Moses passed through the waters safely, because of an ark which had been ordained by God and prepared in faith.
- Like Noah, Baptism carried Moses from death into life. By undergoing this baptism, Moses passed from the danger of condemnation into the freedom of palace living.
- Like Noah, Moses became the leader of God’s people. His identity changed from being the son of a slave to the son of a princess.
- As baptism had changed Noah into a new Adam, baptism also brought about a change in this child’s name. His identity was tied to the water itself: For the rest of his life he was called “Moses,” reminding him that he had been drawn out of the water. Every time he heard his new name, he remembered his baptism.
Let us consider the answers to four questions:
- How do we know that Moses received a type of baptism?
- Who were the recipients of Moses’s baptism?
- How were the recipients chosen?
- What was accomplished by Moses’s baptism?
How do we know that Moses received a type of baptism?
Moses’ salvation through water is a close parallel to Noah’s salvation through water. Since the apostle Peter called Noah’s experience a type of baptism (1 Pet. 3:20–21), it’s reasonable to make the same claim for Moses. Also, the Hebrew word used for “ark” in this biblical account is the same Hebrew word used for “ark” in Noah’s flood. Scripture seems to demonstrate a parallel between the two.
Who were the recipients of Moses’ baptism?
Moses was the only recipient.
How was this recipient of baptism chosen?
In general, God was being faithful to His covenant people. God’s people were the descendants of Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is why Moses—a descendant of God’s covenant people—was baptized, rather than a Canaanite or Egyptian child. But more specifically, why was Moses put in the ark, instead of some other Israelite child? According to Scripture, Moses’ life was spared because of the faith of his parents (Heb. 11:23).
What was accomplished by the baptism of Moses?
The baptism of Moses carried him from death into life, from condemnation to acceptance, from slavery into royalty. His baptism conferred upon him a new name, a new future, and a new identity.
The baptism of Moses did not merely symbolize these things—it actually brought about these things:
- Without the waters of Moses’ baptism, the ark would not have floated and carried him to safety, away from the danger of condemnation.
- Without the waters of Moses’ baptism, he never would have gone from being the child of a slave to the child of a princess.
- Without the waters of Moses’ baptism, he never would have received his new identity as “Moses.”
The baptism of Moses did not merely symbolize new life. His baptism brought about new life not only for him, but also ultimately for all of God’s people.