Moses: Deliverer and Law Giver
April 2006

“Moses: Deliverer and Law Giver,” Ensign, Apr. 2006, 38–41

Old Testament


Deliverer and Law Giver

The ancient prophet Moses is best remembered for leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian captivity. He led them in the wilderness for 40 years, during which time God gave him the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. Moses was prepared in his youth to fulfill his foreordained mission, and during his adulthood, his character was patiently tempered in the desert.

However, he was a man who, like us, possessed both weaknesses and strengths. The key to his character was his meekness, the capacity to be molded by the Lord and His Spirit (see Num. 12:3).

Eventually, he was called of God, assumed prophetic leadership, and became one of the most important prophets ever to live.

Elder Mark E. Petersen (1900–1984) testified: “The true Moses was one of the mightiest men of God in all time. …

“He walked and talked with God, received of divine glory while yet in mortality, was called a son of God, and was in the similitude of the Only Begotten.

“He saw the mysteries of the heavens and much of creation, and received laws from God beyond any other ancient man of whom we have record” (Moses: Man of Miracles [1977], 49).

Following is artwork that captures major events from the life of Moses.

Moses Found in the Bulrushes by Pharaoh’s Daughter

Moses Found in the Bulrushes by Pharaoh’s Daughter, by George Soper
“And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; … and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.
“And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him. …
“Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?
“And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. …
“And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water” (Ex. 2:5–8, 10).

Moses Seeing Jehovah

Moses Seeing Jehovah, by Joseph Brickey (© Joseph Brickey, may not be copied)
“And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, … and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.
“And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen.
“And it came to pass, … Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. …
“And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; …
“And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?
“And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, … and [the Lord] talked with him face to face” (Moses 1:25–28, 30–31).

Moses Parts the Red Sea

Moses Parts the Red Sea, by Robert T. Barrett
“And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, … God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea. …
“And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh … and he pursued after the children of Israel … and overtook them encamping by the sea. …
“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. …
“And the Lord said unto Moses, … But lift thou up thy rod and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. …
“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
“And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left” (Ex. 13:17–18; Ex. 14:8–9, 13, 15–16, 21–22).

Burning Bush on Mount Sinai

Burning Bush on Mount Sinai, by Jerry Thompson
When Moses was grown, he slew an Egyptian who was smiting a Hebrew. When this act was discovered, Moses was afraid and fled to the land of Midian. There he married, had a son, and kept the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro [Reuel], the priest of Midian: and “he led the flock … to the mountain of God. …
“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
“And … God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I” (Ex. 3:1–2, 4; see also Ex. 2:11–15; Ps. 105:26; and Acts 7:30–36).

Moses and the Brass Serpent

Moses and the Brass Serpent, by Judith Mehr
“And the people spake against God, and against Moses. …
“And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
“Therefore the people came to Moses. … And Moses prayed for the people.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live” (Num. 21:5–8; see also 1 Ne. 17:41; Alma 33:18–20; and Hel. 8:14–15).

Moses Calls Aaron to the Ministry

Moses Calls Aaron to the Ministry, by Harry Anderson
The Lord told Moses to bring Aaron and his sons to the tabernacle and to gather the congregation at the door.
“And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water. …
“And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him.
“And Moses brought Aaron’s sons … as the Lord commanded Moses. …
“So Aaron and his sons did all things which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses” (Lev. 8:6, 12–13, 36).

Moses Breaking the Tables of the Law

Moses Breaking the Tables of the Law, by Gustave Doré
“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount” (Ex. 32:19).

The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration, by Carl Heinrich Bloch (used by permission of the National Historic Museum at Fredericksborg in Hillerød, Denmark, may not be copied)
“Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them. … And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him” (Matt. 17:1–3; see also Mark 9:4–9; Luke 9:30; and D&C 63:21).

Background photograph: Karnak Temple Complex, Egypt, © Richard Cleave, may not be copied

Moses the Lawgiver, by Ted Henninger, © IRI