Once, when Yeshua was accused of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul, he said something that sounds a bit odd to modern ears, “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20).
Though that might sound odd to me and you, it was not so odd to Yeshua’s hearers. They lived and moved in the world of the Hebrew scriptures. The words “finger of God” would easily call to mind a story of Moses. When Moses was working signs and wonders for Pharaoh, the Egyptian magicians kept doing the same signs to discredit him. But when Moses was able to bring huge clouds of gnats swarming in the Egyptian air, the magicians were stymied. They said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God” (Exod 8:19).
And when Moses brought down from Sinai two tablets with the Ten Words, or the Ten Commandments, on them, the writing was said to be done by the finger of God (Exod 31:18).
There is a prevalent theme in Matthew’s version of the Yeshua story. He shows us Yeshua as the New Moses. Dale Allison writes at length about it in his book, The New Moses: A Matthean Typology.
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My book Yeshua in Context: Sketches of the Life and Times of Yeshua the Messiah will be released later in 2010. Stay tuned for news and some ways to be involved.