The Death Of Moses:
Why was Moses body not found? The Exodus was Moses time. And Exodus is the account of the greatest escape in history.
Over 2 million slaves flee from one of the world’s most heavily protected countries. It is an incredible story with series of miracle including some of the most well known in the Scripture.
At the time, the Israelites were led by a man named Moses. He witnessed more miracle than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob combined.
With the number of miracles occurring one after another, as God interceded on behalf of his people. Some of the miracles appear to be magic, such as when Moses rod changes into a snake.
But the majority are obvious natural manipulations as God demonstrates his power over all he has created for the welfare of his people.
Moses was a man that evaded death. After the time of his birth, the Pharaoh ordered all male children to be thrown into the river. The majority of people are familiar with this story.
The Nile river was teaming with crocodiles, and the Egyptians believed that extermination was necessary to successfully diminish Israelite numbers.
This is how the baby Moses should have died. But like Joseph, Moses was brought up at court and given the highest education at the Egyptian university thanks to God’s providence.
For the Jews, Moses was the second greatest man in the Old Testament after Abraham. His time as an Egyptian prince came to a sudden end, however, when he lost his temper with one of the Egyptian slaves drivers and killed him, after which he had to flee for his life.
Moses life statistics are fascinating to read. He spend 40 years grazing sheep on the wilderness at the age of 40 before returning the live among the Israelites for another 40 years.
God’s hand was plainly at work. Moses encounter with the Lord through the burning bush is likewise fascinating.
If not for the burning bush itself, but for Moses justifications. Because he was on hallowed ground, God commanded Moses to remove his shoes first.
Then, he told Moses that he would be the one to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses came up with 5 reasons why he shouldn’t do it.
Moses Reasons to God Why He Did Not Want To Lead The Israelites
- He said he was insignificant.
- He said that he was ignorant and had nothing to say.
- He said that he would be impotent to convince the people that God had met with him and told and will lead them. God said that his power was going to be with Moses and he will perform miracles.
- Moses said that he was incompetent at speaking, having a stammer which would prevent him from putting words together. So God provided his brother Aaron to be a spokesman.
God has not chosen to reveal much about the circumstances of Moses death. There are three references in the scriptures in the Bible to the death and burial of Moses, and each of these references lends to a sense of mystique surrounding the life of the great prophet.
It has been determined that he was 120 years old at the time of his death. Deuteronomy 34:7. Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak, nor his strength gone.
Despite his age, Moses was still in his prime when he was called home. Moses died back against the rock on the top of Mount Nebo, looking across the Jordan to the land that had promised, but in which he would never set foot.
Moses was barred from entering the promise land because of his disobedience at the waters of Meribah Kadesh.
He led the Israelites to the very edge of Canaan and was given a glimpse of the land, but he was not permitted to enter it. God gave Moses a glimpse of the land he had fled Egypt for near the end of his life.
Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah. There, the Lord show him the whole land.
Numbers 27:12-13 says;
The Lord said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Aberra and see the land that i have given to the people of Israel. when you have seen it, you will also be gathered to your people as your brother Aaron was.”
God explain why Moses was not allowed to enter the promise land in Deuteronomy 32:51-22. It says;
“This is because you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin, and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites.
Therefore, you will see the land only from distance. You will not enter the land i am giving to the people of Israel.”
God was true to his promise. He showed Moses the promise land but did not let him enter in.
Numbers 20 records the incident at Meribah Kadesh’s waters. The Israelites arrived in the Desert of Zin near the end of their 40 years journey.
The community turned against Moses and Aaron because there was no water. Moses and Aaron went to the tent of meeting and knelt before God.
God instructed Moses and Aaron to assemble to the rock. Water would come forth. Moses gathered the men and took the staff.
Then seemingly in anger, Moses said to them, listen, you rebels. Must we bring you water out of this rock? Then Moses struck the rock twice with his staff. Numbers 20:1-13.
And the people of Israel, the whole congregation came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month. And the people stayed in Kadesh, and Miriam died there and was buried there.
Now there was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and the people quarreled with Moses and said;
“Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord? Why have you brought to the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness that we should die here? Both e and the cattle? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place?
It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.”
The Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces.
And the glory of the Lord appeared to him. And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “Take the staff and assemble the congregation. You and Aaron, your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water.
So you shall bring water out of the rock for them, and give drink to the congregation and their cattle,”
And the Moses took the staff from before the Lord as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock and he said to them;
“Hear now you rebels. Shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly.
And the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel.
Therefore you should not bring this assembly into the land that i have given them. These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord.”
And through them, he showed himself holy. Water came from the rock, as God had promised, but God immediately told Moses and Aaron that because they had failed to trust enough to honor him as holy, they would not bring the children of Israel into the promised land.
The punishment may appear severe to us, but when we examine Moses actions closely, we notice several errors.
Clearly, Moses disobeyed a direct command from God. God had told Moses to address the rock. Moses instead struck the rock with his staff.
Previously, when God brought water from a rock, he told Moses to strike it with a staff. However, God’s instruction were different in this case.
God wanted Moses to have faith in him, especially after they had been so close for so long. Moses did not need to use force.
All he needed to do was obey God and trust that God would keep his promise. Also, Moses took the credit for bringing forth the water.
He asks the people gathered at the rock. Moses seemed to be taking credit for the miracle himself and Aaron, instead of attributing it to God.
Moses did this publicly. God could not let it go unpunished and expect the Israelites to understand his holiness.
1Corinthians 10:4. “And drink the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them. And that rocks was Christ.”
The water giving rock is used as a symbol of Christ in first Corinthians 10:4. The rock was struck in Exodus 17:6, “Just like Christ was crucified once.”
Hebrews 7:27. “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day. First for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people.”
He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. Moses speaking to the rock Numbers chapter 20 could have been meant as a picture of prayer.
Jesus was struck once and he continues to provide living water to those who pray in faith to him. When Moses angrily struck the rock, he destroyed the biblical typology, and in effect, crucified Christ again.
When the Lord instructed Moses to strike the rock in Exodus chapter 17, he intended to establish a picture of Christ as our redeemer.
The scripture says repeatedly in Psalms and Isaiah that Christ is our rock and cornerstone struck. For instance, killed for our sake. And he will bring forth streams of living water. For instance, salvation.
Moreover, Hebrew says Christ died once for all and no further sacrifice for sins is required. So the Lord intended Moses strike the rock in the desert only once in the scene from Exodus chapter 17, thus picturing Jesus sacrificed once to bring a salvation.
The Lord later instructed Moses in Numbers chapter 20 to only speak to the rock in order to preserve the images created in Exodus chapter 17.
When Moses chose to strike the rock again, he shattered the picture painted in Exodus chapter 17. Had God not corrected Moses error, he would have been baffled by the distorted picture, concluding that Jesus, the rock, had to be sacrificed, struck repeatedly for our salvation.
As a result, God rebuked Moses to ensure that we understood the image of the rock, preventing him from entering the promised land correctly.
During the process, the Lord created a new image to support a correct understanding of salvation. By excluding Moses from the promised land, the Lord demonstrated we cannot enter salvation, that is the promised land through the works of the law, meaning Moses, but only through the work of Jesus, for instance, by Joshua, which is a name Y’shua, or Jesus.
Moses punishment for disobedience, pride, and the misrepresentation of Christ’s sacrifice was steep. He was barred from entering the promise land.
Numbers 20:12. “Despite this, we never see Moses complain about his punishment. Instead, he continues to lead the people faithfully and to honor God.”
Deuteronomy 34:1-6. “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab under the Mountain of Nebo to the top of Pisgah that is over against Jericho.
And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead unto Dan, and to all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and to all the land of Judah unto the utmost sea and the south and the plain of the valley of the Jericho, the city of palm trees unto Zoar.
And the Lord said unto him, ‘This is the land which i sear unto Abraham, unto Isaac. And under Jacob’ saying. ‘I will give it unto they seed. I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shall 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 men north of a sepulcher unto this day. Despite being punished for his lack of obedience, Moses died in faith and honor. Moses was honored as the only man buried by the Lord.
However, a dramatic even occurred later in the word of God at this location, you will see that below.
The 30 day mourning period exceeded the normal morning period of 7 days. Most of us dislike saying goodbye to those e care about. Separation is difficult.
Whether at a school or a cemetery, we believe that it is appropriate for us to weep as God’s children. That there is no need for us to despair because we know that we have pains here and the departed have no pain there.
We may be struggling here, but the departed are not. We know that the departed are at peace in the presence of God right now.
Centuries later, we read in the scriptures that Moses spoke with Jesus on the top of one of the mountains, but he never entered Canaan in his earthly life. He was also buried on Mount Nebo, though not by his fellow people.
In the New Testament, according to several commentators, God buried Moses in secret and without a grave marker to prevent the grave from becoming a shrine or a place of worship. This seems plausible, given the Israelite proclivity for idolatry.
Another mystery involves Jude 1:9, where we learned that when Moses died, the archangel Michael contented with the Devil over the body of Moses. This stories covers Moses and two others characters.
Satan is described in the Scripture as an angelic enemy of God. And by extension, the enemy and opponent of those who follow God.
“Although everything God created as good.” Genesis 1:31, “Satan chose to rebel against the Lord. And many other angels followed his rebellion.”
Ezekiel 28:15, and Isaiah 14:12-17.
“Satan tempted Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden, and Adam followed her into the sin, plunging the whole human race into a curse.”
Genesis 3:16-17, and Romans 5:12.
“Pictured as a serpent and dragon in the Scripture.”
Genesis 3:1, and Revelation 12:9, “Satan is a murderer and the father of lies. He promote false doctrine and craftily seeks to keep unbelievers in spiritual bondage.”
This spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Concerning Satan, the Scripture gives the following information. Satan is a personable being with a mind, feelings, and a choice, as seen in Joel chapter 1.
“He is a made being and is not equivalent to God.” Ezekiel 28:15.
“Satan does not rule hell. Hell is created as a sentence for Satan and as demons.” Matthew 25:41.
Neither does Satan live in hell, as the Scripture describes how we can enter heaven and roam the earth.
“The devil can only do what God allows.”
“Satan is not everywhere, but he does oversee a hoard of demons called the powers of this dark world and the spirit forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
He uses this network to tempt and deceive people. He vigorously works to negate the effect of the world of God in people’s hearts.
“And the blinds the mind of those who do not believe, so they cannot understand the scripture.”
“The second character’s archangel Michael.”
Michael, along with Gabriel, is probably the most well known angelic being in the Scripture. We know Michael is an archangel, but what exactly does that entails? What has he accomplished? What are his duties? And how does he fit into God’s heavenly host?
Michael is the name of the archangel. That name begs the question, Who is comparable to God?
Many Jewish and non-Jewish parents who named their sons Michael have no idea what the name means. Jude makes no further mention of this passing reference, which is sparked debate among scriptural scholars.
We don’t know when this angelic debate took place, but it was most likely during Moses burial. We also don’t understand why the devil and Michael are arguing over the body.
The devil was standing on the other side of Moses when the angel arrived. The devil claimed ownership of this man because he murdered an Egyptian.
But the archangel Michael told the devil, “The Lord rebuke you,” and the angel buried Moses. It as an incredible end to an incredible life.
Before crossing the Jordan, the people mourned him before one month. Despite the mysteries surrounding Moses death and burial, we do know a few facts.
One is that God’s word is true and his prophecies are always fulfilled. Another is that sin brings God’s discipline and no one is immune.
Furthermore, God does not always explain mysteries in his word, but here is the truth. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servant.”
There is also another lesson in Jude. In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams, these ungodly people pollute to their own bodies, reject authority, and heap abuse on celestial beings.
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander, but said the Lord rebuke you.
Yet this people slander whatever they do not understand. And the very things they do not understand by instinct, as irrational animals do will destroy them. A big woe to them.
They have taken the way of Cain. They have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error. They have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
Scripture teaches us to obey the legitimate authorities established over us, but false teachers deny authority.
In this matter, they were answerable to no one but themselves. Moreover, the group would slander glorious ones.
Jude describes this with a narrative of a dispute over Moses body between the archangel and the Devil. Michael refuse to utter a slanderous condemnation against Satan, but said the Lord rebuke you.
The false teachers by contrast didn’t understand how spiritual warfare works. They lived in a dream world, out of touch with spiritual reality.
They’d blaspheme rather than invoking the Lord like Michael did.
Because they didn’t understand that Satan is not to be taken lightly. Instead, they were like irrational animals who only operate by instinct.
Jude compares them to Cain, who gave a bloodless offering. Balaam, who only ministered for money. And Korah, who rejected the authority of God’s word.
For rebelling against spiritual authorities, all of them were judged.