The Death of Moses
MOSES was soon to die, and he was commanded
to gather the children of Israel together before his death and relate to them all the
journeyings of the Hebrew host since their departure from Egypt, and all the great
transgressions of their fathers, which brought His judgments upon them, and compelled Him
to say that they should not enter the Promised Land. Their fathers had died in the
wilderness, according to the word of the Lord. Their children had grown up, and to them
the promise was to be fulfilled of possessing the land of Canaan. Many of these were small
children when the law was given, and they had no remembrance of the grandeur of the event.
Others were born in the wilderness, and lest they should not realize the necessity of
their obeying the Ten Commandments and all the laws and judgments given to Moses, he was
instructed of God to recapitulate the Ten Commandments, and all the circumstances
connected with the giving of the law.
Moses had written in a book
all the laws and judgments given him of God, and had faithfully recorded all His
instructions given them by the way, and all the miracles which He had performed for them,
and all the murmurings of the children of
Israel. Moses had also recorded his being
overcome in consequence of their murmurings.
Instruction to Israel
All the people were assembled
before him, and he read the events of their past history out of the book which he had
written. He read also the promises of God to them if they would be obedient, and the
curses which would come upon them if they were disobedient.
Moses told them that, for
their rebellion, the Lord had several times purposed to destroy them, but he had
interceded for them so earnestly that God had graciously spared them. He reminded them of
the miracles which the Lord did unto Pharaoh and all the land of Egypt. He said to them,
"But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the Lord which He did. Therefore shall
ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go
in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it." Deut. 11:7, 8.
Moses especially warned the
children of Israel against being seduced into idolatry. He earnestly charged them to obey
the commandments of God. If they would prove obedient and love the Lord and serve Him with
their undivided affections, He would give them rain in due season and cause their
vegetation to flourish, and increase their cattle. They should also enjoy especial and
exalted privileges, and should triumph over their enemies.
Moses instructed the children
of Israel in an earnest, impressive manner. He knew that it was his last opportunity to
address them. He then finished writing in a book all the laws, judgments, and statutes
which God had given him, also the various regulations
respecting sacrificial offerings. He
placed the book in the hands of men in the sacred office and requested that, for safe
keeping, it should be put in the side of the ark, for God's care was continually upon that
sacred chest. This book of Moses was to be preserved, that the judges of Israel might
refer to it if any case should come up to make it necessary. An erring people often
understand God's requirements to suit their own case; therefore the book of Moses was
preserved in a most sacred place, for future reference.
Moses closed his last
instructions to the people by a most powerful, prophetic address. It was pathetic and
eloquent. By inspiration of God he blessed separately the tribes of Israel. In his closing
words he dwelt largely upon the majesty of God and the excellency of Israel, which would
ever continue if they would obey God and take hold of His strength.
Decease and Resurrection of Moses
"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 Beth-peor: 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." Deut. 34:1-7.
It was not the will of God
that anyone should go up with Moses to the top of Pisgah. There he stood, upon a high
prominence on Pisgah's top, in the presence of God and heavenly angels. After he had
viewed Canaan to his satisfaction, he lay down, like a tired warrior, to rest. Sleep came
upon him, but it was the sleep of death. Angels took his body and buried it in the valley.
The Israelites could never find the place where he was buried. His secret burial was to
prevent the people from sinning against the Lord by committing idolatry over his body.
Satan exulted that he had
succeeded in causing Moses to sin against God. For this transgression Moses came under the
dominion of death. If he had continued faithful, and his life had not been marred with
that one transgression, in failing to give God the glory of bringing water from the rock,
he would have entered the Promised Land, and would have been translated to heaven without
seeing death. Michael, or Christ, with the angels that buried Moses, came down from
heaven, after he had remained in the grave a short time, and resurrected him and took him
As Christ and the angels
approached the grave, Satan and his angels appeared at the grave and were guarding the
body of Moses, lest it should be removed. As Christ and His angels drew nigh, Satan
resisted their approach, but was compelled, by the glory and power of Christ and His
angels, to fall back. Satan claimed the body of Moses, because of his one transgression;
but Christ meekly referred him to His Father, saying, "The Lord rebuke thee."
Christ told Satan that He knew Moses had humbly repented of this one wrong, that
no stain rested upon his character, and that his name in the heavenly book of records
stood untarnished. Then Christ resurrected the body of Moses, which Satan had claimed.
At the transfiguration of
Christ, Moses, and Elijah who had been translated, were sent to talk with Christ in regard
to His sufferings, and be the bearers of God's glory to His dear Son. Moses had been
greatly honored of God. He had been privileged to talk with God face to face, as a man
speaketh with his friend. And God had revealed to him His excellent glory, as He had never
done to any other.
Copyright © 1974
The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.
All Rights Reserved