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 DEUTERONOMY 34:1-7

THE DEATH OF MOSES!

 

God is good to His children, even at death!

 "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me."

Yes, Psalm 23:4 is still in the Bible!

 

 

Dr. Mike Bagwell

LESSON 1, VERSE 1:

I've been thinking about this Text for weeks. I don't know that I've ever heard a Preacher discuss it. It's focus is not the most pleasant topic in the world, death! But still, death as it concerns the Christian, the Believer in Jesus Christ.

And the amazing thing about this "death scene" is that it's found in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 34:1-7 to be exact.

"And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated."

The first thing to notice here is, well, verse number one! "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan." Deuteronomy 34:1

The Lord earlier that same day, the day Moses died, had forewarned him. "And the LORD spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying, Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: and die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people: because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel. Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel."

Point is, Moses knew beforehand about his death. Even to the very day! We do too, in a sense. Not the day nor the hour, but the fact!

Apart from Jesus coming again, each of us will die. As Hebrews 9:27 so starkly says, "It is appointed unto men once to die."

Wow!

I once heard a Preacher say, "For the Christian death is not an accident, but an appointment!"

Well, the time for Moses' appointment had come.

My time will come some day as well. So will yours, dear reader.

Moses' death, it seems, has been hurried by something. By a sin in his past life. But more about that later.

Still, some specific sin or not, death is inevitable.

Back to today's verse, Deuteronomy 34:1.  "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan."

The verb "went up" is significant also. Moses expires on a mountain, the top of that mountain it appears. The noun "top" translates "rosh," the very "head" or "summit" of a peak!

And how did Moses get there?

He walked!

He was not carried.

He was strong enough and healthy enough to trek right up that incline!

Wow!

At age 120, too!

No, he did not die from poor health.

He died prematurely, even though that ripe in years!

Good health is not to be taken for granted!

To my older friends studying here today, thank God for the ability to breathe, to move, to talk, to live your lives with normality!

Strength comes from God!

Every good gift does, James says.

And though this is a death scene, God is precious to His man Moses. Look at the place God has chosen for Moses to pass away. Very near the land of Canaan, the Promised Land! The range of mountains known as "Nebo," meaning "prophet" the textbooks say.

This great Prophet of God, one of the best, dying on a mountain named "prophet!" Best as a wilderness area can be, God was hospitable to Moses, even in death!

He will be good to us too! The same truth the Psalmist claimed can be ours as well! "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me." Psalm 23:4

God certainly was "with" Moses!

And "Pisgah" means "cleft," which is just a "crack or split" in a rock formation or a mountain range!

This word picture, this metaphor, is used elsewhere in Scripture also. Once in the Song of Solomon the Groom says to his lover, his bride, "O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely." There is typology here, Solomon's Song 2:14, with those "clefts" depicting something strong, but torn! Something immoveable, but wounded!

I think it's a picture of Jesus, the "Rock" of Ages but "pierced" on the Cross of Calvary, bleeding and dying for sinners to be saved! In the verse above, the "clefts of the rock" contain "secret places," places of sweet communion and fellowship too! That's Jesus, all right!

And Moses died in the clefts of one of those rocks!

With our Lord nearby!

A "hint" of the One Who gave us victory over death, ultimate victory.

And Moses' eyesight must have been pretty good too. God "shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan."

When you're mad at someone, the last thing you're going to do is share sights with them! Or show them something lovely or amazing. And God is doing just that to Moses, a visual tour of Canaan before he dies!

Yes, Moses is dying under divine discipline, but also under diving love!

Hebrews 12:6 clearly links God's "whippings" and God's "Love!" Read it with me. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."

He loved Moses to the end!

A death scene, clothed with kindness and love and foresight!

I suspect it's this way with the children of God!

The Lord Who has been so good to us in life ... will be good to us in death!

So much so that He once said, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." Revelation 14:13.

What other religion or system of belief offers that?

Kindness, at death!

Comfort, at death!

God's Presence, at death.

What more could one ask?

This verse is engraved on a tombstone near Sister Norma's grave, Psalm 48:14. It's true, too! "For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death."

Oh, what a blessing this Monday morning, this last Monday of the year!

Matthew 28:20 promises, with Jesus talking: "And, lo, I am with you always!" And that includes the day we die!

Thank You, Lord.

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

LESSON 2, VERSES 1-4:

The Scripture we notice today is descriptive. Moses is about to die. Yet before he does, God wants to show him the land of Canaan. Here is the way it is described in Deuteronomy 34:1-4. "And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither."

Wow!

Moses can't go there, due to a previous sin.

But God shows it to him anyway!

Psalm 106:33 describes Moses' prohibitive sin in this brief way, "He spake unadvisedly with his lips!"

He got mad one day and said some pretty rough things. He called God's people "rebels" for one thing! "And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?" Numbers 20:10

Wow!

But I think, more than these things, Moses struck a rock, a picture of Jesus our Rock of Ages, when God had only commanded him to speak to it! That rock was about to become a source of life-saving water for the Jews, too. Previously a similar rock had been smitten by Moses, for the parched Jews, with the same result, water!

Lesson?

Jesus was smitten but once, on the Cross of Calvary, to give us the water of everlasting Life!

Thereafter, He must be forever unsmitten, is that a word? He died but once. That was sufficient! He will never be slain again!

After Calvary, all we need to do is ask Jesus, speak to Him, for whatever needs we may face!

By hitting a rock the second time, in anger, Moses violated one of the most beautiful pictures of Christ in all the Old Testament!

And God is ending his servant's life prematurely because of his actions, pretty awesome punishment!

That's how much God values these pictures of Jesus, especially the Cross, the Atonement, Jesus' Bloodshed!

To this day, with us nearly entering the year 2010, anyone blasphemously approaching the Lord's Supper, a pristine picture of Jesus and His Death, is going to reap God's chastisement! In 1st Corinthians 11 some of those offending saints were "sick" and some already "dead" because of their carelessness!

Wow!

Sins in the life of a Christian can be rather significant!

Ask Moses!

Anyway, God is Tour Guide today.

And God will not change His Mind about Moses' death!

He can see, Moses can, but not enter the land!

Plus, yet another possible reason.

Moses is a type of the Law!

And Moses' successor, Joshua, is a type of Grace, of Jesus, of our Saviour! Goodness, Joshua and Jesus come form the same word, the same root!

The Law, Moses, can only take us so far!

It can't lead me into the Promised Land, into the realm of Spirit Filled living!

Only Grace, Joshua, Jesus, can do that!

Another reason for regime change, I suspect!

So we might say that today God shows Moses, in a gesture of love, not spite, the territory that will soon be Israel's.

Land for which Moses had fought, all the way to its border!

Having said all this, let me summarize today's Text. Here again is the long version. "And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither."

Now the short version, Bagwell style. God revealed to Moses the land "from sea to shining sea!" From the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean Ocean! He got a glimpse of it all!

And notice this, the land is not called, its various "sections,"  by their heathen names!

But already by its coming-quite-soon subdivisions! "Here is where the Tribe of Dan will live, and over yonder Naphtali and Judah and some of the others!"

It's a literal glimpse into the future!

And let me say this. I strongly suspect that with any dying saint, God does this same thing! I believe He gives them an "glimpse" in advance, a "preview" of what's coming!

I think they see a little bit of Heaven before they get there! That's been the case with those few Christians I've seen die, anyway.

They knew what was coming!

Dying Grace, in action!

Wow!

A "look" over into Glory!

God is good to His people, even when they are dying!

Here in Deuteronomy 34:1-7, God is exercising discipline toward Moses, in a definite way!

Still, God is loving Moses, very tenderly too!

I know the word is powerfully inadequate here, but wow!

Just amazing!

He is with me in life!

He will be with me in death!

After all, He's been there before!

And He conquered the "grim reaper," too!

Every Christian can leave this old earth thinking, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1st Corinthians 15:55-57

Amen!

Paul was right, nothing can separate us from the Love of God!

Not even death!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 5:

Today's Verse must be important. Otherwise God would not have included it in Scripture. "So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD." Deuteronomy 34:5

He died just like God said he would.

He died when God said he would.

And where God said he would.

Yes, great people die, just like us common people die.

Yesterday at lunch I was thumbing through a Christian magazine, one of those twice a month publications. A pretty good one, too. They listed the notable people who had died this past year. And some not so notable as well. Everyone who lives, eventually, dies!

While I read their list, I kept thinking, I know one more who died. January 21st, my Sweetheart! She's not mentioned on their list, but she's at the top of mine!

Death, it's universal.

Nobody has ever conquered it, except One!

Jesus!

Even Elisha, the one with the Double Portion of God's Spirit upon him, died! "Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel." 2nd Kings 13:14

Since death is inevitable, best thing anyone can do is prepare for it!

Financially maybe.

Here enter the investment and insurance people!

Physically delay death as long as possible.

Now enter the medical people!

But getting ready for what's after death?

Enter the Word of God, the Bible!

Are you ready?

Do you know Jesus as your personal Saviour?

We're no different than Moses.

Well, he was 120 years old when he died.

We won't be that old!

And He died in the Mid-East.

Probably we will not.

And, as we shall see tomorrow, God buried Moses!

Likely a cemetery crew will bury you and me.

But the end result is the same.

All men die.

All ladies die.

But yet this is true of the Christian ... one outstanding prepositional phrase. From Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this ...."

That's it, "after this."

After death, for the Believer in Jesus, after death is Heaven!

After death is joy!

After death is peace!

After death, well, the half has never been told!

 "So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD."

Unless Jesus comes again to get us, like Moses, so will I die some day.

So will you.

But after that ...!

Wow!

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 6:

The verse we study today, in one the the Bible's most lucid death scenes, is unique. There's not another one just like it in all Scripture, not that I can find.

"And the Lord buried Moses in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day."

Moses has just died.

And God is his pallbearer, all by Himself apparently!

God is his mortician, too. If he needed one!

And God apparently was in charge of digging the grave, if one was dug.

Again our verse, word for word. "And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." Deuteronomy 34:6

Wow!

The verb "buried" translates "qabar," which at least implies "interment" of some kind. We assume Moses' body was placed in the ground. I'm pretty sure it was not cremated! God only did that to folks like the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. People with whom He was very upset.

By the way, when Paul takes up this concept of Christian "burial," he switches to the word "planted!" These earthly bodies are "sown" in the ground, the Apostles says!

This is good.

Anything "planted" or "sown" is expected some day to revive! To explode back into life! "Plant it" this week, says the farmer, it will "come up" two weeks later!

Get it?

Even our dead bodies will some day, when Jesus comes, spring back to life! Burial for the Believer is just temporary!

Nonetheless God has just buried Moses.

"And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." Deuteronomy 34:6

Here's something interesting, too.

God buried him "in a valley."

But, Preacher Bagwell, he died on a mountain! Yes, a significant, formidable mountain, too!

Died on the mountaintop!

Buried in the valley below!

That involved some transportation!

Amazing!

I would, naturally, have reversed those locations.

Death, seems like, is a "low" experience. Bad as it gets! Saddest moment of all in any human life span!

Put death "in the valley" and burial "on the mountain!"

But "No," God says, death is one of the grandest times of human existence! It's a "mountaintop" thing!

We humans, even in Christ, have a hard time seeing this one!

But God views death from a different perspective than we do! Ha, God views everything from a different angle that we do!

Maybe we are never closer to God, as saints, than the moment we meet Him face to face, the moment we pass out of this life into the next!

That's mountaintop, all right!

And burial, give us the prettiest place imaginable. The best the cemetery has to offer. And by all means the most expensive grave marker money can buy. And let's go there every day, at least I still do with Sister Norma's grave. Burial is that important to us! Christmas Day you could hardly get into the cemetery, here where we live! Graves that had been neglected all year, finally, got a visitor!

Yes, we elevate the burial thing!

Maybe more than God does.

"And He buried him in a valley" That's exactly what it says, in Deuteronomy 34:6.

"Valley," in Hebrew "gay," pronounced "gah'-ee" they say, means "a gorge, a steep recess!"

Wherever God buried him, it was not a "Garden of Eden" type place, apparently! No paradise!

In the wilderness!

In the desert!

And to top that off, in "Moab!"

A sinful place for sure! Remember Lot's daughters? "And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day." Genesis 19:37, incest!

Then "over against Bethpeor," the place where wicked Balaam tried to curse Israel!

All this is strange!

God just put Moses in a regular place; no mausoleum, no exclusive real estate, no munificent crypt!

Placed into a sinful environment, but still buried by Almighty God!

Of course only Moses' body was left there!

The real Moses, his spirit, has gone to another Place! Where earlier Old Testament saints had already preceded him.

"And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." Deuteronomy 34:6

Yes, for some still unexplained reason, God meant for Moses' grave site to be a mystery! Unknown! To this very day!

The word "sepulchre" is also derived from the Hebrew noun "qabar," a burial place.

Why "incognito?"

Maybe because folks would have worshipped the location. As some people do relics yet today, all pure superstition!

Maybe because God was teaching us a lesson, that death (meeting God) is far more important than burial (meeting the earth). Job had a startling view of burial. "They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them." Job 21:26 where the "lying down" is in death and the "worms" are devouring the corpse. Scientifically accurate of course, but socially crude!

Some old preachers of the past, Arthur Pink for example, did not even believe in funerals!

I do!

Still, death is far more important, for the one leaving here, than burial!

All our lives should be lived for that moment, absolutely, seeing Jesus the very first time!

We know about Paul's death! "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2nd Timothy 4:6-8

But we do not know about his burial, not a thing!

I'm still going to the grave today, Sister Norma's, the Lord willing. I want to keep it clean and uncluttered and looking good. That's one way I can still show her some respect.

But that's not the most important thing, her burial.

Her life, and her death, those are the things that mattered! A beautiful life, a dignified death, with all her family gathered around!

Let me close now.

God will not bury you or me.

But God will meet us, will be there, when we die!

That's a promise!

Hebrews 13:5 says: "For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Amen!

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me," David talking to God, Psalm 23:4.

I would much rather have that, God's sweet Presence when I die, than the best burial ever known!

Not pleasant themes on New Year's Day?

But reality, for sure!

"Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." Amos 4:12

Are you ready?

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSE 7:

The Word of God often emphasizes things that we might call trivial. God's ways definitely are not our ways! His thoughts, as Isaiah said, are higher than our thoughts!

Today's verse illustrates this truth. Moses had just died.

And right at the time we might want to say nothing negative, out of respect for the man and his family, God adds: "And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." Deuteronomy 34:7, in other words, "Moses died, but for no apparent reason!" He was not a worn-out old man!

Only after these facts have been revealed do we get normal post-mortem behavior! For example, the next verse, Deuteronomy 34:8. "And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended."

Why does God insert that startling information in today's Text?  "And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated."

There must be a reason.

Moses' age, 120 years, is not so unusual, not extraordinarily long for sure, but not all that extremely short either. When Aaron his brother died, we are told this: "And Aaron was an hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor." Numbers 33:39

As nearly every preacher has observed, Moses' life can be divided into three segments. Or so it seems. Three distinct 40 year periods. Forty years in Pharaoh's court. Forty years in the wilderness. Then forty more years leading the children of Israel.

Here's how I summarize his life. Forty years of academic training. And Moses did know science and math and journalism, obviously.

Then forty years of spiritual training, out in the wilderness. At the end of this period Moses was so "keen" spiritually he could sense of voice of God, even from a burning bush! Pretty good discernment!

The last forty years, following his academic training and spiritual training, Moses enters what I call on-the-job training! Leading the Nation to Canaan, God's chosen people, the Jews!

Well, Brother Bagwell, if you are right in your analysis here, Moses never graduated! He never outgrew his training!

That's right!

Neither will we!

Always learning!

You know good and well that if Jesus "learned" things while on earth, we can never quit learning! "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Hebrews 5:8-9

We should get up each morning, us Christians, and pray "Lord, teach me again today!"

No matter what forty year segment of life you are now living!

"Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation." Psalm 25:4-4

"Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path." Psalm 27:11

"Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes." Psalm 119:12

And these represent just a few instances.

Back to our Text.

Moses died at 120 years of age. But that's not all we're told! "And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." Deuteronomy 34:7

His eyesight was still good. The word "dim" has the idea of being "faint or weak." Moses could have passed any vision test imaginable, without glasses! At his age!

"Natural force," is in Hebrew one word, "leach," pronounced in two syllables, like "lay'-awk." It means "vigour," more literally "freshness or moisture." He was not all shriveled and dried up, no signs of old age here! Moses was 120, but not yet elderly! The verb "abated" is "nus," anything that has "taken flight!" His strength had not yet escaped him, when he died.

Goodness, he even climbed the mountain where he expired! "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho." Wow, Deuteronomy 34:1, the very day Moses passed away!

Why the medical report here?

To again emphasize the fact that Moses is dying, even at 120, "prematurely!"

Because of a sin he committed!

Here's what happened. The Jews again had no water. And they were grumbling. "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them." Numbers 20:7-12

A "sin unto death," for Moses!

Still saved, still walking with God, nonetheless he died "before his normal time!"

What a warning that should be to us Christians today!

Oh yes, we are "under" Grace now.

Jesus has come and died and been raised again!

The Holy Spirit permanently indwells us!

No doubt about all that.

But still, John writes us, "There is a sin unto death," talking to the saints, to Christians, too!

Do not take your actions lightly!

Do not live as close to the "sin" line as you can!

Avoid that stuff!

It is still dangerous!

That careless move back in Numbers 20, his anger and impatience and thoughtless words, cost Moses dearly!

Lord, keep us from sin!

Do for us like you did for that King in Genesis 20:6. God there said, "For I also withheld thee from sinning against me." Amazing!

Lord, I'm praying, "Lead us not into temptation."

Lord, "Deliver us from evil."

"Keep us pure and holy, in Jesus' Name, Amen."

"And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated."

Now here's Job's death, in  just a few words. "Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season." Job 5:26

Wow!

What a difference, Moses and Job!

Our "times" are in God's Hands!

The years of our lives!

"My times are in thy hand." So David said in Psalm 31:15, talking to the Lord!

Aren't you glad God is still on the Throne?

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Oh, we might pray this too.

"So, Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalm 90:12, words that just happen to have been written by, guess who? Moses!

 

 

LESSON 6, SUMMARY:

The death of Moses, I thought about it quite a while before using these seven verses in a sermon. Or studying them here on the website.

"And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." Deuteronomy 34:1-7

Moses, in a way, has never been my favorite Bible character. I don't even know why. To me he can't even remotely compare to Paul.

But the man, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote five Books of Scripture! Big Books, at that! A total of 187 chapters! Genesis to Deuteronomy! Plus a Psalm, too.

Paul, on the other hand, wrote only 87 chapters, 100 if you add Hebrews! Then again, another view says Paul wrote 14 Epistles, while Moses wrote only 5 Books!

Still, Moses probably has had every bit as much influence on America as has Paul. Maybe even more!

And the Bible says some particularly unique things about Moses, too.

"Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." Numbers 12:3

"And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face." Deuteronomy 34:10

"And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after." Hebrews 3:5, faithful!

And Moses, according to the words of Scripture, is a "preview" or "symbol" or "type" of the Lord Jesus Christ! "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you." Acts 3:22, our Saviour is that "prophet!"

Plus, six times I read this description, this title, for Moses, "the man of God!" Not a man of God, but the man of God!

Six times!

As in Deuteronomy 33:1. "And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death."

Moses is one of the dominant individuals of the Bible.

And he dominates in another category as well, United States history.

Yes, references to Moses or the exodus or the promised land abound in our literature, on our buildings, and still around our national monuments!

He was one of the heroes of the Mayflower, a man in whose steps they were following all over again, as did the Israelites of long ago!

He's often mentioned by the inhabitants of Jamestown, too.

And Plymouth Colony!

The Continental Congress just as well had Moses as its moderator! He was there quoted often.

And his words adorn the Liberty Bell!

George Washington had his hand on the Bible, when he was inaugurated President, right on top of some of Moses' most famous words!

Even Benjamin Franklin was impacted by Moses.

And when slavery became a national issue, Moses was the emancipator everyone heeded! The book named Uncle Tom's Cabin, which Abraham Lincoln said "started the Civil War," was written by a Bible-believing, Moses-quoting, lady!

And as we all know, Mr. Lincoln was just "Moses come in human flesh!" Or so he was called about a thousand times! He set the slaves free!

And the Statue of Liberty, my Grandsons' favorite New York site, has Moses written all over it!

And one of our nation's greatest movies of all time, The Ten Commandments, centers on him too, Moses.

Then came the Civil Rights era! All over again, it was Moses and liberty and people wanting to be "free at last."

And even to this day the United States Supreme Court building, outside, has an engraving of Moses built right into its motif! Not to mention inside, where parts of the Law Moses wrote are found everywhere!

And the burning question today, according to a writer named Bruce Feiler, who calls Moses "America's Prophet," is this, "Where is a contemporary Moses?" Whom America needs so badly as we regress into days of mediocrity and a lukewarm spirit. Where is such a national leader, a Moses type figure?

Moses, in American history!

In this light maybe a study of the man's death was not so irrelevant, after all. Moses, the man of God, died.

And while God is present at the deaths of all his children, His Presence and Attention and Action at Moses' death was unprecedented. Still is, I think.

Moses, now dead and buried!

Or is that completely accurate?

Is Moses' grave still inhabited, or is it empty?

I'll let you decide that one.

But do remember this event in our Lord's Life.  "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him." Matthew 17:1-3, plus it's recorded in Mark and Luke as well.

Moses!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, MOSES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT:

Moses, a couple more thoughts about this giant of the faith, and we shall tomorrow begin studying a new Bible text.

We have seen how Moses died.  And why Moses died, at least at that precise age, in his 120th year. And that God buried him, maintaining a certain secrecy concerning the location of his grave!

"So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day." Deuteronomy 34:5-6

Today I'd like to share with you three other scriptures about Moses, about certain things said of him in the Bible, after he died!

It looks like Moses actually did get to go into the Promised Land, after all! But not until Jesus came to earth, 1500 years or so after Moses was buried!

Yes, Moses along with Elijah the prophet appeared with Jesus one day, shortly before our Lord's crucifixion, on a mountain top!

Moses sure did love mountains, didn't he?

Here is one Bible account of the Event. "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said ...." Matthew 17:1-4, Jesus' Transfiguration they call it.

And Luke's description even tells us what was discussed among the three, Jesus and Moses and Elijah! "And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elijah: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." Luke 9:28-31, Jesus' decease, Jesus' Death, Moses knew it was coming soon!

That's a "buried 1500 years ago" Moses!

The man was not in a sepulchre that day!

And that's not all, Moses is yet coming back to earth again, during the Tribulation! Ot at least most conservative Bible scholars identify Moses as one of the "two witnesses" John describes in Revelation 11:3-12. "And I, the Lord, will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them." Now I have capitalized and underlined the Moses part. To make things easier to locate.

Moses, buried by God Himself, yet back on earth at Jesus' Transfiguration!

And apparently back again during the Tribulation!

This is unusual!

Then, let me quickly show you one more amazing verse. It's in the Book of Jude, verse nine of his single chapter. "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee."

The body of Moses!

Why did the Devil have such an interest in Moses' dead body?

And why did God dispatch Michael the archangel to confront satan concerning Moses' body?

And now I'm wondering, as I told you yesterday, if Moses' unknown tomb still even contains a body!

But you may be wondering by now, "What's all this got to do with me? With my body after I pass away?"

Maybe nothing, except some day your grave will be empty!

Some day a person lots more important that the archangel will come to get you, to "catch you away" into the air! Jesus, and the Rapture!

And some day you too will see the full Glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! After you have died probably!

And some day, like Moses is right now, you will enjoy the Presence of Heaven itself!

Wonderful!

Praise the Lord!

Yes, Moses is different from us in hundreds of ways.

But, even in his peculiar death, there are similarities too.

And here's the best thing of all, for eternity we shall be in the same place Moses is!

As near him as we choose to be.

Although most of us will at first probably opt to be nearer our departed loved ones! Or so I suspect.

Yes, Moses, our precious relatives, including my Wife, and multitudes of saints thought the ages ... all in the same place.

Where?

Gathered around Jesus!

The One Who made it all possible!

Through His shed Blood!

Again I say, Praise the Lord!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Plus ...

And I do realize that our whole Moses discussion over the past week has ended in a presupposition. One that assumes the saints now in Glory already have some kind of a body.

They do!

At least I believe they do, according to Paul in 2nd Corinthians chapter 5. But that's another whole text! One we have already studied shortly after Sister Norma died. You can visit and read those lessons, ten of them, by "clicking" right HERE. Or if you prefer, go to the Site Map Page, and locate this material, 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8, Heaven!

Moses, what a man of God!

 

Some of the Death Scenes of Scripture are amazing! Including that of Moses, the Man of God!

 

 

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