God designates according to his Will certain persons and they are intended as a sign through whom God reveals his intent and sovereignty. God chose Moses as a sign. He was for building up the nation of Israel. Firstly he had to gather them from the land of Egypt. In order to strengthen the mind of the people God used him to perform wonders and miracles so his position among them would remain unassailable.
Moses was a sign: this becomes much more vivid In the light of what befell him towards the end.
They (the children of Israel) could not enter in because of unbelief.’(He.3: 19) Holy Spirit has inserted this warning through Pauline epistle for us. God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land himself. Deut.34: 4-5. He died in the land of Moab and not in the land God had promised to Abraham and his descendants. Moses also serves as a symbol in specific sense when we discuss the falling off the nation of Israel.
Ezekiel was another.
The prophet by the river Chebar in Babylonia, understood through a series of visions his role was that of a sign- God says ’Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign’ (Ez.24: 24). Much more so, when God revealed himself to him and gave him a mission, he was to be a watchman unto his people. As a watchman he was between God and the exiled nation. Despite of his personal loss he was not to mourn for his dear wife (Ez.24: 16-18). His misfortune signalled the larger misfortune Israel. God is specific in what form his chastisement would take shape. ‘Behold I will profane my sanctuary…(vs.21-24).’ In Isaiah also we read that God uses his people as signs and wonders. ‘Behold I and the children… are for signs and for wonders in Israel…’ (Is.8: 18) It is in this context we need to understand why God forbade the prophet not to mourn for his wife.’ He was a sign, suffering just as the nation under Babylonian captivity.
One curious feature of signs and symbol is with regards to the form of the Scriptures. A sign is so compelling and where its various aspects are continued regardless of time and space in another what are we to infer? When the Bible specifically bring two signs for comparison we are compelled to see the intent of God the Spirit. St. Paul says ‘he that built all things is God.’(He.3: 4). When God commanded Moses to make a tabernacle he was specific. “Let them (the Children of Israel) make … according to all that I shew thee…” (Ex.25: 9,8) So God had a pattern of the place of his habitation expressing his will to dwell with them.
The Tabernacle in the wilderness was to be built from free will offerings of the children of Israel and fit out various parts precisely as what the Lord had commanded them to do. Moses did as was commanded (He.3: 5-6).
The earth and the fullness thereof belongs to the Lord but the man who stands in the breach of God and man is a sign as we shall see from the examples Moses and Jesus.
Jesus Christ is also a sign of which we read thus,” Christ as a son over his house whose house are we…” From these two habitations, the Tabernacle and the Church every vessel, articles of use, curtain carries some significance.
For example when Jesus gave up his spirit on the cross we read that ‘the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.’(Lu.23: 45). This is a symbol for the body of Christ torn asunder for our transgressions. (He.10: 20) Whereas under the Law only High Priest could enter past the veil into the Most Holy Place, Jesus is shown as the High Priest of a new Order and he has opened up ‘a new and living way’ (He.10: 19) for us.
Where God is designated as the Doer in the scriptures, the action as well as the object shall have a special significance. It is a sign as well as a symbol.