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    Chapter 31—Death of Moses

    Moses was soon to die; and he was commanded of God 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.1SP 330.3

    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.1SP 331.1

    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. He related to the people his great sorrow because of his fault at Meribah. “And I besought the Lord at that time, saying, O Lord God, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand; for what God is there in Heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me. And the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes; for thou shalt not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.” “Now, therefore, hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”1SP 331.2

    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.”1SP 332.1

    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. He related to them the advantages of the land of Canaan over that of Egypt. In certain seasons of the year, the cultivated lands in Egypt had to be watered from the river by machinery which was worked by the foot. This was a laborious process.1SP 332.2

    Moses said to them, “For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs; but the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven; a land which the Lord thy God careth for. The eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.”1SP 333.1

    Many of the Egyptians paid that devotion to the river which belonged alone to God. They acknowledged it as their God, because they were dependent on its waters to quench their thirst, and to use upon their lands to cause vegetation to flourish; and it liberally supplied their tables with fish.1SP 333.2

    During the plagues on Egypt, Pharaoh was punctual in his superstitious devotion to the river, and visited it every morning; and, as he stood upon its banks, he offered praise and thanksgiving to the water, recounting the great good it accomplished, and telling the water of its great power; that without it they could not exist; for their lands were watered by it, and it supplied meat for their tables. The first plague which visited Egypt was to come upon the waters, one of the exalted gods of Pharaoh. Moses smote the water before Pharaoh and his great men, and they saw the water which they were adoring turned to blood. It was a putrid mass for seven days; and all the fish that were in it died. The people could not use the water for any purpose.1SP 333.3

    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.1SP 334.1

    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. He said to them, “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee, and shall say, Destroy them. Israel, then, shall dwell in safety alone. The fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also, his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel. Who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.”1SP 334.2

    Joshua was selected of God to be Moses’ successor in leading the Hebrew host to the promised land. He was most solemnly consecrated to the future important work of leading, as a faithful shepherd, the people of Israel. “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.” And he gave Joshua charge before all the congregation of Israel, “Be strong and of a good courage; for thou shalt bring the children of Israel unto the land which I sware unto them; and I will be with thee.” He spoke to Joshua in God's stead. He also had the elders and officers of the tribes gathered before him, and he solemnly charged them to deal justly and righteously in their religious offices, and to faithfully obey all the instructions he had given them from God. He called Heaven and earth to record against them, that if they should depart from God, and transgress his commandments, he was clear; for he had faithfully instructed and warned them.1SP 335.1

    “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, 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 a hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.”1SP 335.2

    Moses ascended to Pisgah, the highest prominence of the mountain which he could attain, and there his clear and undimmed eyes viewed the land, the promised home of Israel. God opened before his sight the whole land of Canaan. He there in the mount fully realized the rich blessings Israel would enjoy if they would faithfully obey the commandments of God.1SP 336.1

    While upon the mount, Moses again confesses his sin before God, and implores pardon for his transgression. He had greatly deplored his sin which had debarred him from the promised land. It was a severe affliction to him not to be permitted to enter the earthly Canaan. Yet he humbly accepts the punishment of his transgression, and murmurs not at the decree of God; notwithstanding it was the continual murmuring of the people which had afflicted him, and was the cause of his becoming for a moment impatient, which resulted in his failing to ascribe the glory of the great miracle they witnessed to its true Author. This was the purpose of God in proving his people, that in their trials they would be induced to call upon him for deliverance; and he would answer them by revealing his greatness and power to them, that their faith and trust might be in God alone. Here was a favorable opportunity for Moses to adore and magnify the goodness and power of God, and to make a deep impression upon the people, while their hearts were softened, and their gratitude awakened, and a solemn, sacred awe pervaded the place. He could have exalted God before them, whose threatenings never fail, and whose promises are ever sure.1SP 336.2

    Moses, alone upon the mount, reviewed his past life of vicissitudes and hardships since he turned from courtly honors and from a prospective kingdom in Egypt, refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God. He calls to mind his humble shepherd's life, and, while tending his flock, the wonderful sight of the flaming bush, and the Lord's there sanctifying him for the work, and intrusting to him the responsible mission of delivering Israel from their oppression. He came down from point to point in his experience. He called to mind the mighty miracles of God's power in the plagues of Egypt to make Pharaoh willing to let the people go; the Hebrews’ walking through the Red Sea on dry ground, while the waters were standing as a wall on either side; the symbol of the divine presence in the pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night; the water given them from the flinty rock; the daily bread which, during the night, fell from heaven round about their tents; the victories God had given them over their enemies; their quiet and secure rest in the midst of a vast wilderness; and the unsurpassed glory and majesty of God which he had been permitted to witness. As he reviewed these things, he was overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness and power of God. His promises were sure to Israel. When they were faithful and obedient, no good thing promised had been withheld from them. But in consequence of their continual backslidings and grievous sins, forty years were consumed in their wanderings in the wilderness.1SP 337.1

    He had been disappointed and grieved because of the continual rebellion of Israel; yet he had not sinned against God until he became impatient with Israel, and spoke unadvisedly with his lips. Notwithstanding all his labors and burdens for rebellious Israel during their forty years’ journeying, only two of those in that vast army who were above twenty years old when they left Egypt, were found so faithful that they could see the promised land. The Lord had said that they should fall in the wilderness for their transgressions. They had evil hearts of unbelief. Moses’ laborious task, as he reviewed the result of his labors, seemed almost in vain.1SP 338.1

    Moses submitted to God's decree in regard to himself. He regretted not the burdens he had borne for an ungrateful people who had not appreciated his labors, his anxious care and love for them. He knew that his mission and work were of God's own appointing. When the Lord first made known to Moses his purposes to qualify him to lead his people from slavery, he shrank from the responsibility, and entreated the Lord to choose some one better qualified to execute this sacred work. His request was not granted. Since he had taken up the work, he had not laid it down, nor cast aside the burden. Several times the Lord proposed to release him, and destroy rebellious Israel; but Moses could not let Israel go. He chose still to bear the burden the Lord had intrusted to him. He had been so especially favored of God, and had obtained so rich an experience during his travels in the wilderness, in witnessing the manifestations of God's miracles and his excellent glory, that he concluded, in reviewing the scenes of his life, that he had made a wise decision in choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. He regretted not his sufferings and hardships. Only one unfortunate act marred his illustrious experience. If he could atone for this one transgression, he would be reconciled to die. He was told that repentance, humiliation, and faith in the Son of God, who was to die man's sacrifice, was all that God required. This sinless and perfect offering would be fully acceptable with God, and would link finite man, though fallen, if repentant and obedient, to his own sacredness.1SP 338.2

    As angels presented to Moses a panoramic view of the land of promise, he could take in the whole scene, and appreciate with almost divine clearness its magnificence. It was as a second Eden, abounding in fruit trees of almost every variety, and very beautiful ornamental trees and flowers. There were goodly cities, with brooks and springs of water. There were fields of wheat and barley, and vineyards, and fig trees, and pomegranates, and oil olive, and honey. The Lord had said, “Thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it.”1SP 339.1

    Moses was shown future events, especially those connected with the first advent of Jesus Christ. He was shown important, thrilling scenes in the life of Christ, and the very places where these scenes would be enacted. He saw his humble birth, and the angels proclaiming the glad tidings to the shepherds, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Moses saw that Christ had exchanged his majesty and splendor for the manger of Bethlehem. He heard the joyful voices of the shining host of Heaven break forth in that divine song, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” He saw the Saviour of the world humbly walking through the streets of Bethlehem, divested of kingly honors, without pomp or grandeur. He saw the manner of his rejection by the proud and corrupt Jewish nation. They despised and rejected Him who had come to give them life. Here was their only star of hope. He saw the great agony of the Son of God in the garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Jesus into the hands of a mob which was infuriated by Satan. He saw the cruel mockings and scourgings instigated by his own nation, and their last crowning act of nailing him to the cross; and Moses saw that, as he had lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of God was lifted up on the wooden cross. He saw him bleeding and dying, that whosoever should believe in him should not perish, but have eternal life.1SP 340.1

    Grief, amazement, indignation, and horror, were depicted on the countenance of Moses, as he viewed the hypocrisy and satanic hatred manifested by the Jewish nation against their Redeemer, the mighty angel who had gone before their fathers, and wrought so wonderfully for them in all their journeyings. He heard his agonizing cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He saw him rise from the dead, and walk forth a triumphant conqueror, and ascend to his Father escorted by adoring angels. The gates of the city were opened by angels, who welcomed their divine Commander back with songs of glory and everlasting triumph. Moses’ countenance changed, and shone with a holy radiance, as he viewed the glory and triumph of Christ. How small appeared all his hardships, trials, and sacrifices, when compared with those of the divine Son of God! He rejoiced that he had chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God, and in a small measure be a partaker with Christ of his sufferings.1SP 341.1

    It was not the will of God that any one should go up with Moses to the top of Pisgah. There he stood, upon a high prominence upon 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.1SP 341.2

    Those who had not been careful to heed his instruction during his life, would be in the greatest danger of manifesting an unsanctified grief in the event of his death, and would commit idolatry over his lifeless body if they could obtain it. God designed to hide Moses from them, where his grave would be unknown except by himself and heavenly angels. Moses had accomplished much for Israel. In all his instructions to them could be seen justice, intelligence, and purity.1SP 341.3

    The life of Moses was marked with supreme love to God. His piety, humility and forbearance, gave him influence with the host of Israel. His zeal and faith in God were greater than those of any other man upon the earth. He had often addressed his people in words of stirring eloquence. No one knew better than he how to move the affections of the people. He conducted all matters connected with the religious interests of the people with great wisdom.1SP 342.1

    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 to 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 to Heaven.1SP 342.2

    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.1SP 342.3

    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.1SP 343.1

    Moses was a type of Christ. He received the words from the mouth of God, and spoke them to the people. God saw fit to discipline Moses in the school of affliction and poverty, before he could be prepared to lead the armies of Israel in their travels from Egypt to the earthly Canaan. The Israel of God who are now passing on to the heavenly Canaan have a Captain who needed no earthly teaching, as did Moses, to perfect him for the work of a divine teacher and leader to guide his people into a better and heavenly country. He manifested no human weakness or imperfection; yet he died in order to obtain an entrance for us into the promised land. Moses pointed the people forward to Christ. He said, “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.” He continues, “The Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet, from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.”1SP 343.2

    Through outward signs and ceremonies, the Lord made known to the Hebrews his purity and holiness, and his stern justice. He also multiplied evidences of his willingness to pardon the erring and sinful who manifested true repentance, and submission to his just requirements, while they presented their offerings in faith of the future perfect offering of the Son of God. When the high priest performed his service before the people, their minds were directed to the coming Saviour, of whom the Jewish priest was a striking and beautiful representation.1SP 344.1


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