Anglican Morning Devotion, 22 November 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion
“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, 2And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4And 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. 5So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6And 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. 7And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. 8And 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. 9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses. 10And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, 12And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.” (Deuteronomy 34:1-12; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
There was not a prophet like unto Moses until the coming of John the Baptist; yet, Moses was prohibited by the Lord from entering the Land of Promise to which Moses had led the Children of Israel for those forty years of wandering in the Wilderness. However, Moses was not perfect. He failed to glorify the Lord in striking the Rock of Horeb from which flowed forth the abundant streams of water. It is for this reason that the Lord forbade Moses from entering the Land of Promise. He would be allowed to view Canaan from the heights of Mount Nebo beyond Jordan Waters, but not allowed to enter even though, Moses was a prophet of the Lord and possessed all the authority and inspiration of a prophet. By laying his hands of the Lord’s blessing upon Joshua, the warrior who would lead the Children across Jordan Waters, Joshua was imbued with the fulness of the spirit of wisdom, – so, Moses was a prophet of the Lord from the day of His calling before the Burning Bush until he passed the torch to Joshua. No minister or prophet is perfect in his own right, but rather by the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Lord knows we are weak and feeble.
We see that Moses was led up to the slopes of Nebo and the peak of Mount Pisgah to view the Holy Land before sleeping with his fathers. Moses died on the Mount possessing all his natural strength until the last breath. The Lord buried Moses in the Valley of Moab. No man knows his gravesite. Why did the Lord do so? It is because the Lord did not desire that the grave of Moses would become a site of idle worship akin to the Golden Calf of Sinai. It was a very lonely grave, indeed, even in the land of the enemies of Israel (Moab).
Do you feel Christian sorrow for poor Moses? As a young child of elementary school age, I would read this account with unbelief that God would treat Moses in such a manner. Of course, I was looking with the eyes of the world and not with the mature spirit. With further study and understanding of Holy Scripture, I was amazed at the grace and mercy of God in His dealing with Moses. This is born our in revelations of Moses in the New Testament Gospels.
We see that Moses died on a mountain beyond Jordan. When next do we see Moses. Is it in a lonely grave in Moab that we next see Moses? Not at all! It is on another Mountain, near the source of the Jordan River – perhaps Mount Hermon – a truly high mountain for the area. The Roman church claims the site was Mount Tabor well south of Galilee, but that is not likely since Mount Hermon is located near the very area at which Christ was teaching at the time.
We see Moses next on that Mount of Transfiguration in glorified body with Elijah and the Lord. This demonstrates that only the body of Moses was buried in the Valley of Moab – His spirit ascended to God who gave it. It is of particular interest that the prophets Elijah and Moses appeared together with the Lord.
Moses was a prophet to whom the Lord gave the Ten Commandments. He represents, in all of the Old Testament, the Law of God imparted to him on Mount Sinai. Elijah represents all the prophets and prophecies of the coming Redeemer. So we have, pictured on the Mount of Transfiguration, the fulness of the Law and Prophets all of which point to our Lord Jesus Christ. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18) The Law bears the same weight as the Prophecies since our Lord Jesus Christ satisfied the terms of the Law in our salvation. In reality, we were saved under the terms of the Law.