One of the most important figures in the Bible is Moses. He is one of only two men who appeared, to the disciples, with the LORD JESUS CHRIST on the Mount of Transfiguration. He is the only one who ever received the tables of the law, written in stone, from the hand of the LORD. So it would be an error to disregard the ministry which was given to him by the LORD or to relegate it to a useless endeavor. Moses was faithful in the ministry (see Heb.3:2-6) which he was given but he was not allowed to lead the children of Israel into the promised land, due to the fact that his ministry (the law)was flawed by the weakness of the flesh. (see Deut.32:51; Rom.8:3)
In the death of Moses (prior to the children of Israel entering into the land of promise), we see prefigured the inability of the law to minister life unto the sons of GOD. Though the Law was good, holy, and just, there has never been a law given which could cause men to inherit eternal life. “if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” (Gal 3:21) Yet it is clear that the only thing the law could do was minister condemnation to those who were under it, because of the innate nature of each one to embrace sin which is contrary to the law. (see II Cor 3:9; Rom 7:10,11; James 2:10)
Therefore, Moses could only bring the sons of GOD to the entrance to the land of promise, as they become convinced of the weakness of their own flesh and the total lack of any performance of the righteousness which is demanded by the law which Moses delivered. This is what Paul spoke of when he said, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal 3:24) “For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Gal 2:21) “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Rom 7:7)
Moses could not enter into the land of promise for that ministry of giving an entrance therein was placed upon ONE who was ordained as the SAVIOR of the people of GOD. We know that HE is none other than JESUS, the CHRIST. The ministry of Moses was added after that ministry of the promise, since the promise was made to and in CHRIST long before Moses was ever born or the first words of the Law were carved in those tables of stone. This is what Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” (Gal 3:16-19)
So the ministry of Moses ended in his death and burial in a valley in Moab, which belonged to one of the sons of Lot begotten by incest. An ignominious resting place to be sure, but very appropriate in order to demonstrate the total powerlessness of the law to enable men to keep its demands or in anywise to deliver them from its penalty of death. So that no one could raise a lasting shrine to Moses; the LORD hid his sepulcher. This has not kept multitudes from searching for it and wandering in the same darkness which surrounded that mountain of Sinai. Religious men love “the law”, because they are blind to the purpose of it. Seeking to establish their own righteousness they seek to build an altar to Moses. (see Rom.7:9-10; II Cor 3:13,14)
Yet the death of Moses, was the occasion of the rise of Joshua (in the Greek being JESUS, or JEHOVAH is SALVATION) as that one who would take the children of Israel into the promised land. He was the captain of their salvation even as CHRIST is the CAPTAIN of ours. (see Heb.2:10). Just as a war was waged against the enemies of the house of Israel by Joshua, so too has our CAPTAIN stained HIS garments red with the blood of HIS own enemies which would dare to threaten the sons of GOD for which HE arose as a DELIVERER and SAVIOR.
Moses death testified to the temporary nature of the ministry of the law which was given to him. Just as the scripture tells us that the Levitical priests could not continue their ministry because of death, (see Heb. 7:23) so too did the ministry of Moses come to an end because of the inevitability of death to all who would serve GOD in the flesh.
Moses’ death testified to the carnal nature of his ministry so too does it testify to the carnal nature of that law which was chiseled in tablets of stone. (see Heb.7:16) That which is of the flesh will die, so too is demonstrated that the law on Sinai was temporary in nature and only designed to manifest the carnal nature and corruption of men. Having served its purpose, that which is PERFECT is now come. The LAWGIVER who has now arisen has done so with the power of an endless life and the ability to bestow life to as many as the LORD has given HIM. ONE greater than Moses is here.
Moses’ death testified that his ministry was but that of a servant, who had no inheritance. Though he surveyed the land of promise from the lofty peak of Pisgah, yet he could in no wise enter therein. He was sent (as are all of the messengers of GOD) to point to ONE whose ministry was that of a SON over HIS own house, yea even HIM whose PRIESTHOOD did not arise out of the LAW but from the power of an endless life. “For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we.” (Heb 3:3-6)
Moses’ death testified that the fear of death is removed to those who have been given faith in a risen CHRIST. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb 2:14-15) The fear of death has its roots in the terrors of the law, but CHRIST having the power of an endless life has demonstrated HIS triumph over death for sinners who have trembled at the open grave. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1Co 15:19-20)
Joshua, a man of faith, was appointed to lead the children of Israel into the possession of that which had been given to them before they were born. All of those who had come out of Egypt had died along the way, not having received the promises, yet the children of promise, born in the journey, were the inheritors of that which was given to them before they had any knowledge of it or had any desire to enter therein.
That ONE of whom Joshua is but a type, is indeed the ONE who has brought life and immortality to light in the gospel. Moses is dead, long live the KING of LIFE and LIGHT. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”(John 1:17)mam