Death of Moses


When we read the account of Moses’ death in the land of Moab before the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River to go in to possess the land, it certainly seems as though there was no struggle in Moses’ acceptance of the Divine Decree.
Deuteronomy 34:5  So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 
But it seems clear enough from the earlier verses that Moses’ was in fact reluctant to die, so that God had to speak to him several times before he finally accepted God’s Decree.
“Go up unto this mountain of Abarim and see the land which I have given to the people of Israel. And when you have seen it, be gathered to your fathers as your brother Aaron was gathered.” Numbers 27:12
“Behold the time has come for you to die.” Deut. 31:14
“Behold now you will sleep with your fathers.” Deut. 31:16
“Ascend this mountain of the Abarim, Mt. Nebo… and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel as a possession; and die on the mount which you ascend and be gathered to your ancestors.” Deut. 32:49-50
At least on one occasion Moses appears to have protested God’s decree that he die before entering the land of Canaan. Moses reflects how he had beseeched God to let him
“see the good land beyond the Jordan” but the Lord had been angry and refused. Deut. 3:23-27
Writes Bible scholar James Kugel: “These and yet other references suggested to some [early] interpreters that Moses might not in fact have been so eager to accept the divine decree. Perhaps, on the contrary, God’s repeated instructions to Moses to die indicated that Moses was unwilling.”
James L. Kugel, The Bible as It Was (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997) 
We know that Moses lived to be 120 years old. Jewish tradition (which has no Biblical warrant) has fixed the 7th of the month of Adar as the date to commemorate both Moses’ birth and his death 120 years later.
Dates apart, what we do know is that finally, this great man of God who spoke with the Lord face to face, came to a point where he accepted God’s will, and was ready to yield his spirit to God his friend.
Moses was buried by the Lord and the place of his burial was kept secret from all men. As you can see, the Bible is very clear that Moses was buried.
Deuteronomy 34:6  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.
After his death, his body became the point of contention between Michael the archangel and the devil. Though we are not told when this occurred, it is probably at the time of his burial. This is likely to be the case because the verse above points out that no man knew where he was buried. Something was going on for God to bury him (which is unusual in itself) and for God to keep the place of his burial secret. I have often heard his hidden burial explained as being necessary to ensurethat the Israelites would not worship his burial place. But then why were the burial places of Abraham and David not hidden? They have been revered as much as Moses. I think it had something to do with the fight over the body of Moses. 
Jude 1:9  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.
I have a personal conjecture, call it my midrash, that Satan, wanted Moses’ body embalmed by fhe forces of darkness, like the Egyptian mummies of the Pharaohs, so that the mummified corpse would be carried into the Promised Land where a shrine could be erected and the mummy worshiped by Israel, thus using the very prophet of God as an occasion of sin by which they would incur the wrath of God.
I repeat that the above is mere conjecture and has no biblical warrant. 
What seems clear is that, at some point, Moses must have been resurrected and taken to heaven. I believe this is most likely, because of his appearance with Elijah and Messiah on the Mount of Transfiguration. It would be strange to have Elijah who was taken up to heaven with Moses who was still dead appearing together with Christ. Since we know Moses died and was buried, his appearance here points to a resurrection, though no scripture directly speaks of his resurrection.
Matthew 17:2-3  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 Elias talking with him.
Though his name is not used, it is likely that Moses is one of the two witnesses in the tribulation as found in Zechariah 4:1,11-14 and Revelation 11:3-6. The miracles they perform match the miracles of Moses and Elijah. For instance, they will turn water into blood and smite the earth with plagues (Revelation 11:6), obvious specialties of Moses. And, since these two men have already appeared to Jesus (as shown above), they seem to have some sort of work they do together.
Zechariah 4:1  ¶And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep,
2  And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:
3  And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
4  So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord?
5  Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
11  Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof?
12  And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?
13  And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord.
14  Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
Revelation 11:3  And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth
5  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.
6  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.
Moses and Elijah are also mentioned together in reference to the end times in the last three verses of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:4-6).
Malachi 4:4  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Of course, there are still unexplained details which lead to much debate among eschatologists.. But God’s word often tells us what we need to know at this present time, and we will have to wait for the prophesied events to unfold and only then will the people of that time be able to say, “Ah yes, now we understand.”.


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