With the added light of the New Testament, the exclusion of Moses from the Promised Land doesn’t seem like much of a punishment, after all. Instead of an earthly Canaan and later an earthly Jerusalem (which for all its known history has been a place of war, conquest, and suffering), “the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22) is, even now, his home. A much better abode, for sure!
Moses was the first known example in the Bible of the resurrection of the dead. Enoch was brought to heaven without having seen death (Genesis 5:24), and Elijah, too (2 Kings 2:11), but as far as the written record goes, Moses was the first one to have been resurrected to eternal life.
How long Moses slept in the ground we don’t know, but as far as he was concerned, it didn’t matter. He closed his eyes in death, and whether it was three hours or 300 years, for him it was the same. It is also the same for all the dead throughout history; their experience, at least as far as being dead goes, will be no different than Moses’. We close our eyes in death, and the next thing we know is either the Second Coming of Jesus or, unfortunately, the final judgment (see Revelation 20:7-15).
Read 1 Corinthians 15:13-22. What great promise is found here, and why do Paul’s words make sense only if we understand that the dead sleep in Christ until the resurrection?
Without the hope of the resurrection, we have no hope at all. Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee of ours; having “purged our sins” (Hebrews 1:3) on the cross as our sacrificial Lamb, Christ died and rose from the dead, and because of His resurrection we have the surety of ours, with Moses being the first example of a fallen human being raised from the dead. Because of what Christ would do, Moses had been raised; and because of what Christ has done, we, too, will be raised, as well.
Thus, we can find in Moses an example of salvation by faith, a faith made manifest in a life of faithfulness and trust in God, even if he faltered at the end. And all through the book of Deuteronomy, we can see Moses seeking to call God’s people to a similar faithfulness, a similar response to the grace given to them as it has been given to us — we, too, who are on the borders of the Promised Land.
|Is not God, this same God, calling us to faithfulness, as well? What can we do to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes Moses forewarned about in Deuteronomy?|