From the little bit that we’ve learned about Moses thus far, he certainly seems hard-wired to want to rescue those in need. First, he rescued a fellow Hebrew from an Egyptian who was beating him.[1] Then he rescued a fellow Hebrew who was being hit by another Hebrew.[2] This morning we’re going to again see Moses–the–rescuer at work as he comes to the aid of seven sisters who were kept from watering their flock by some shepherds. Perhaps, more importantly, we’ll see how God ends up affirming Moses’ rescuing tendencies by choosing him to rescue his people from the oppression of the Egyptians.

We last left Moses sitting by a well in Midian, a city that was located in the northwest portion of the Arabian peninsula. Midian was separated from Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea. As we saw last week, Moses was in Midian due to the way in which he had chosen to rescue his fellow countryman from an Egyptian who was beating him—Moses killed the man and buried him in the sand.[3] When Moses’ deed became known, Pharaoh, in whose home Moses had been raised, tried to kill him. Therefore he fled to Midian and sat by the well mentioned in verse 15 of Exodus 2.[4] Verses 16–17 relate what happened next: “16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.” The daughters’ experience with the shepherds would not have been unusual. As one scholar notes, “Nomadic strife over water rights was common.”[5] Consequently we see how yet again Moses’ “justice gene”[6] led him to do his part in righting such an injustice against these women. When the shepherds wouldn’t allow them to draw water for their father’s flock, Moses stepped in and did so for them.

Next, as stated in verse 28, “When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, ‘Why have you returned so early today?’” Again, it’s apparent that being kept away from the troughs by the shepherds was a common occurrence that regularly caused the daughters to be delayed in returning home until the shepherds had gone. But not today. As the priest’s daughters answered their father, verse 19, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.” Now it’s interesting that they identified Moses as an Egyptian. Why would they say this? Well, as Pharaoh’s daughter knew Moses was a Hebrew baby due to his being circumcised (unlike Egyptian babies), I suspect that a physical attribute of a different sort led the women to identify Moses as an Egyptian rather than the Hebrew that he was. Having been raised in Pharaoh’s home, he would not only have been dressed in Egyptian style but he would also have been clean-shaven rather than bearded as was typical among the Israelites.[7] Therefore, though Moses himself identified as a Jew, his outer appearance would have been that of an Egyptian.

Regardless, when Reuel, the women’s father, heard about this gracious “Egyptian,” he asked his daughters, verse 20, “And where is he?… Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” Such a kindness merited a kindness in turn. Apparently, the daughters did as their father asked for the next thing we’re told in verse 21 is that “Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.” Moses was provided not only with a meal but, in due time, one of the seven daughters as a wife! Next we have another jump in time as we’re told in verse 22, “Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, ‘I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.’” As we continue to see, Moses chose a name for his son that reflected his circumstances—Gershom sounds like the Hebrew for “a foreigner there.”

Verse 23 notes that a considerable amount of time had passed from when Moses first arrived in Midian as it states, “During that long period [emphasis added], the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.” So by this point, enough time had passed for the Pharaoh that sought to kill Moses to have died. Throughout this entire period of servitude, God’s people suffered under the oppressive conditions that had been imposed upon them. But their cries didn’t go unheard for, as stated in verse 24, “God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.” God remembered the covenantal promise he had initially made to Abraham[8]—and later affirmed to his son Isaac[9]—and then to his son Jacob[10] from whom all Israelites descended. Though the current Israelite descendants may have felt as though God had forgotten them during their long enslavement and suffering, he had not. As stated in verse 25, “So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” This statement sets up the opening of chapter three of Exodus in which we see God appearing to his servant Moses for the first time.

As we turn to verse 1 in Exodus 3 we read, “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” Whereas Moses’ father-in-law was previously identified as Reuel in Exodus 2:18, here he is referred to as Jethro.[11] Yet since both Reuel and Jethro are referred to as “the priest of Midian”[12] and both times he’s identified it’s in relation to being Moses’ father-in-law,[13] it’s safe to assume that the same person is being spoken of. As was true of Jacob who even after God changed his name to Israel continued to be referred to as both Jacob and Israel, such was the case with Reuel and Jethro.[14]

The important part of verse 1, however, is when it states that Moses led the flock he was tending “to Horeb, the mountain of God.” The fact that Horeb—which is either the same as Mount Sinai or perhaps indicates the entire mountain range in which Mount Sinai was found[15]—is referred to as “the mountain of God” immediately catches our attention. And for good reason for, as stated in verse 2, “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.” This is certainly the most unusual theophany, the most unusual manifestation of God, that we’ve seen so far in Scripture. Moses, too, thought it strange for he “saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.” Imagine seeing a lush green bush engulfed in fire yet not burning up! Moses’ curiosity led him to think, verse 3, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up” (emphasis added). Upon going over, verse 4, “God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’” As we often note, this repetition of a person’s name is an indication of intimacy between the speaker and the one spoken to.[16] Moses responded to God by simply stating, “Here I am.” Moses was ready and willing to hear and do whatever God was about to say.

It’s interesting to note that at the time at which the burning bush incident occurred, Stephen—our New Testament martyr and de facto historian—states that forty years had passed.[17] This means that Moses was now eighty years old since he was forty years old when he first saw the Egyptian beating the Hebrew and now another forty years had passed.[18] In Exodus 7 we see Stephen’s math being confirmed as we’re told, “Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.”[19]

Returning to Exodus 3, after initially calling out to Moses God then said to him, verses 5–6, “Do not come any closer…. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” There’s a lot to unpack in these couple of verses:

First, to remove one’s sandals was a sign of respect and humility in the ancient Near East;[20]

Second, given that Moses was separated from his people and land, this self-identification by God was key for “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” was the God whom Moses, who embraced his Hebrew identity, believed in and followed despite his having been raised in an Egyptian Pharaoh’s household;

Last, the ground is said to be holy not because of any inherent quality in it but because of the Holy God who there disclosed himself to Moses. God’s presence is what made this holy ground.

Well, as a result of this self-revelation by God, the end of verse 6 states that “At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.” Moses understood well that it was none other than his Maker and LORD who was addressing him.

Starting with verse 7, the LORD told Moses why he was disclosing himself to him:

I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt

Whether he was aware of it or not, those times when Moses had sought to relieve suffering and rescue others—again, a fellow Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian; a fellow Hebrew being hit by another Hebrew; and Reuel’s seven daughters whom the shepherds hadn’t allowed to water their father’s flock—in all of these circumstances, by seeking to rescue others Moses had reflected the nature and character of the God in whom he believed. For now this very God shared his heart with Moses, letting him know that he had seen—and heard—and come down to rescue his people because of their cries in Egypt. God was concerned about their suffering. Therefore, God would rescue them from the Egyptian oppression and deliver them to “a land flowing with milk and honey.” This land, which was currently occupied by and home to “the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.,” was the one and same land that he had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And the means the LORD would use to rescue his people was through none other than Moses–the–rescuer himself. Again, as stated in verse 10, the LORD said to Moses, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

Next week we’ll discover what happened next but now we’re going to see what the New Testament writers had to say about this account of God appearing to Moses in a burning bush. For this event was so important that not only did Stephen mention it prior to being martyred[21] but the Gospels of Matthew,[22] Mark,[23] and Luke mention it as well. In the case of Stephen, he provides an interesting connection between this event and that of the Hebrew man whom Moses confronted for hitting another Hebrew in the passage from Exodus 2 last week. If you’ll recall, at the time I noted that in asking Moses, “Who made you ruler and judge over us?”[24] this man had unwittingly stated Moses’ future God-appointed role. Well, Stephen saw this first! In referring to Moses, he states, “35 This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.”[25]

As to the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all note the burning bush event by focusing upon the significance Jesus gives to God’s self-revelation to Moses as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” We’ll turn to Luke’s account of this event. As stated in verse 27 of Luke 20, “Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question.” Luke’s noting that this Jewish sect didn’t believe in the resurrection isn’t incidental but just the opposite. It tells us that everything that follows was a set-up since the Sadducees didn’t believe that the hypothetical situation they posed to Jesus was even possible! Now if that’s the case, then why bother posing their question to Jesus in the first place? As one scholar suggests, “The Sadducees clearly thought that their story made nonsense of the doctrine of the resurrection.”[26] In other words, by way of their question they were going to try to prove to Jesus that, contrary to Jesus’ own teaching, human resurrection from death couldn’t possibly be true. Clearly they didn’t know whom they were dealing with!

The set-up to their question is found in verses 28–32: “28 Teacher,… Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.” So far, so good. This is a fair summary of what Moses did indeed teach. But next they go on to press the implications of such a teaching. As stated beginning with verse 29: “29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too.” Up to this point, this appears to be a question about how the law that God gave Moses would be applied for what they’re describing is a levirate law in which the reason that a brother married his brother’s widow was for the sake of caring for her and preserving descendants for him.[27] Even prior to the time of Moses, we saw this law at work in the account of Judah and Tamar.[28]

But the “gotcha!” part of the Sadducees’ question is found in verse 33 as these religious leaders “who say there is no resurrection,” nonetheless—and no doubt smugly?—asked Jesus: “Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” Again, this situation begs us to ask: if the Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, then why, oh why, were they bothering to ask Jesus whose wife this woman would be at the resurrection?

No, clearly this was all a set-up. It was a not–so–subtle attempt to point out to Jesus why the resurrection of the dead couldn’t possibly be real. Yet rather than point out the hypocrisy of his inquisitors, Jesus chose to answer their question—and then some. As stated in verses 34–36, he told them, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.” Therefore:

Point #1: The age to come will not be like this age;

Point #2: In the age to come, those deemed worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection of the dead will no longer marry since marriage will no longer exist. We can’t help but wonder if Jesus’ language was pointing out that the Sadducees themselves would not be “deemed worthy of taking part in that age” given their denial of “the resurrection of the dead” which is due only to believers. Regardless, their question about whose wife this hypothetical woman would be at the resurrection was meaningless for, unlike this age, in the age to come marriage will cease to exist;

Point #3: In the age to come, believers will be “like the angels” in the sense of being immortal for angels can’t die. As one commentator notes, “At the Resurrection there will be a change in nature, and believers will have resurrection bodies like that of Christ…. [Therefore] Marriage and procreation will no longer be necessary or appropriate to immortal bodies.”[29]

Having answered the Sadducees’ question, Jesus went on to teach them—from the Scriptures they professed to believe and hold—about the resurrection of the dead. Jesus did so by referencing the account we just considered from Exodus 3. As stated beginning with verse 37, Jesus said to them: “But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive” (emphases added). Jesus here demonstrated how awesome and practical good theology can be for from this self-revelation from God to Moses, Jesus concluded that:

if God is God of the living;

then even though the earthly part of the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have ended;

nonetheless, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are now alive!

Think about it. A God who was God of the dead would make no sense. Such a God would be nothing but a pretend God, not unlike a child pretending to be god over her stuffed animals: In her imagination, the stuffed animals might be responding to her but in reality they’re nothing but stuffed toys. But God is not like this imaginative child. No, the living God gives life to all who are his whether they are currently alive on earth or whether they once lived on earth and upon dying have become immortal like angels, no longer capable of death but now children of the resurrection.

This teaching by Jesus is consistent with the Transfiguration account in which none other than Moses himself appeared and spoke with Jesus. Now that Moses physically died is noted in Deuteronomy 34.[30] Yet though he died, because of his belief in and relationship with God, he nonetheless lives. As recounted by Luke earlier in his Gospel, “30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”[31] Therefore, we can conclude that as the ground in which God appeared to Moses was declared to be holy solely due to God’s presence, so the life that Moses continued to experience after his earthly death wasn’t due to any inherent power in Moses but was exclusively due to his relationship with the God whom he knew, loved, and followed.[32] Again, as stated in verse 38 of Luke 20, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” This is no pretend God. This is none other than El–Shaddai, God Almighty, the LORD and Giver of Life who is life itself and who generously bestows his life upon those who are his. As one commentator notes, “the living,” mentioned by Luke in this verse, are “those united to [God] in an eternal covenant of grace” whose resurrection “is grounded in the Person of the living and life-giving God.”[33]

Therefore for the believer, death isn’t the end of life but the continuance of life eternally with God. This is what the Scriptures teach. This is what Jesus himself taught. It’s why he was able to say to the criminal who hung on the cross next to him, the one who asked him, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”[34] Jesus was able to make this promise because he knew God’s Word—and he, as God, was one with the God who had revealed himself to be the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob to Moses. Jesus knew the resurrection was real. He knew that death was not the end of earthly life. He came to give that resurrection life to all who believe in him. Jesus came to rescue us from sin.

For the Scriptures teach that the cause of death is sin.[35] But all who believe in Christ have had their sin taken away.[36] Therefore all who believe in Christ have been given his righteousness,[37] his eternal life, in place of eternal death. They are holy in God’s sight. To be holy is to be without sin. Therefore to be holy is to be without death. All who are holy will never die for they have become like the living God who is God not of the dead, but of the living!

Dear brothers and sisters, this is why the Gospel is Good News. Therefore, let us today and always allow these truths to be used by God to draw us away from the temptation and sin that lead to death in order that we might know and become more and more holy like our heavenly Father who made, loves, and desires us to live eternally with him through the death and resurrection of his Son by the Holy Spirit he so generously bestows on all who believe in him.

Let us pray.

Benediction: Hebrews 13:20–21 20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

[1] Exodus 2:11–12: 11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

[2] Exodus 2:13: The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”

[3] Exodus 2:11–12: 11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor.  He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

[4] Exodus 2:15: When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.

[5] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 2:17.

[6] As I stated in the sermon preached on June 27th, Groaning in Hope, on Genesis 50:15–21: I often tell Ron that I have an overdeveloped “justice gene” since I react so strongly when people—including myself—don’t always do what is right. And this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I would argue that God desires all of us to have well-developed “justice” genes. However, he also desires for us to have well-developed “grace” genes. He desires that we, knowing our weaknesses and having an awareness of the times when we haven’t done what is right, learn how to forgive and receive forgiveness. Justice and grace must both be embraced, even as Joseph did. For make no mistake. Joseph had all the power in this exchange with his brothers. Yet he chose to take the high road. He chose to take the godly road. Therefore, he forgave his brothers, knowing that God had used their evil deeds against him to save the lives of many. Joseph had well-developed justice and grace genes. He lived out what the apostle Paul later similarly testified to in his letter to the Philippians: “12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”[6] Joseph understood this in spades because he, too, whether strong or weak, had experienced the sustenance and strength of his heavenly Father.

[7] As we noted at the time, this physical difference (clean-shaven) was probably in play when Joseph first revealed himself to his brothers, none of whom had recognized him. See Genesis 45:3–4: 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

[8] See, e.g., Genesis 17:1–7: 1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

[9] Genesis 26:2–5: The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.”

[10] Genesis 35:9–15:After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.]” So he named him Israel. 11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him. 14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.

[11] According to the Zondervan NIV Study Bible, “Reuel” means “friend of God” and “Jethro” may be a title for “his excellency” (Exodus 2:16 note). The Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 2:18 further observes, “Jethro and Reuel may be variant names, or Reuel a clan name.”

[12] Exodus 2:16: Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters,… Exodus 3:1: Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian,…..

[13] Exodus 2:20–21: 20 “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” 21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.; Exodus 3: Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law,….

[14] The apostle Paul, too, sometimes went by “Paul,” and others by “Saul.” See, for example, Acts 13:9: “Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said,….”

[15] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 3:1. A third possibility is that Horeb is the region in which the mountain was located (Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 3:1).

[16] Though not the first to make this observation, the term “repetition of endearment” was coined by Douglas Stuart. See, e.g., how the LORD repeated Abraham’s name when he stayed his hand prior to his offering up Isaac, the son of promise. See Genesis 22:9–12: 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”; See also how the LORD repeated Jacob’s name when he appeared to him prior to his going down to Egypt to be with Joseph in Genesis 46:1–4: 1 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!” “Here I am,” he replied. 3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

[17] Acts 7:30: After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.

[18] The first forty years are noted in Acts 17:23–29: 23 When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, “Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?” 27 But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?”[Exodus 2:14] 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

[19] Exodus 7:7.

[20] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Exodus 3:5. It goes on to observe, “This practice is still followed by Muslims before entering a mosque.”

[21] Stephen essentially summarized what is recorded in Exodus 3:1–10. See Acts 7:30–34: 30 After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: 32 “I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”[Exodus 3:6] Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 Then the Lord said to him, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.”[Exodus 3:5,7,8,10]

[22] Matthew 22:23–32: 23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?” 29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[Exodus 3:6]? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” 33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

[23] Mark 12:18–27: 18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” 24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[Exodus 3:6]? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

[24] Exodus 2:14.

[25] Acts 7:35. Stephen goes on to note in verse 36, “He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness.”

[26] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Luke 20:28–33. Emphasis added.

[27] As noted in the Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Matthew 22:24, “the levirate law (from Latin levir, “brother-in-law”), …was given to protect the widow and guarantee continuance of the family line.” See Deuteronomy 25:5–10: 5 If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. 6 The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.

7 However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” 8 Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” 9 his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” 10 That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.

[28] See sermon preached on February 7, 2021, Unexpected Lineage of a Gracious God, on Genesis 38.

[29] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Luke 20:36. 1 Corinthians 15:35–58 is noted in support of this statement.

[30] Deuteronomy 34:5: And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said.

[31] Luke 9:30–31. See also Matthew 17:3: Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.; Mark 9:4: And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

[32] In the case of Elijah, Scripture notes that he was translated into heaven. See 2 Kings 2:11–12: 11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.

[33] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Mark 12:27.

[34] Luke 23:42–43.

[35] Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.; James 1:13–15: 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

[36] 1 John 3:5: But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.; John 1:29: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

[37] 2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.; Romans 3:22–24: 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.; Romans 5:18–19: 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.