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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Deuteronomy 34

Verses 1-12

  1. Intro:
    1. Well, we wrap up Deut tonight.
      1. It’s been a book of getting ready. Ready for a new leader. Ready for a new life. Ready for a new land. Ready for God...in a fresh way?
      2. Now the book ends just shy of its goal (the promise land).
    2. Big Idea: You may leave this world with cheerfulness, if you’ve known God face to face through His Son, and have had the vision of the heavenly Canaan in your eye.
  2. 20/20 @ 120 (1-4,7)
    1. ​​​​​​​In obedience to the call of God, Moses ascended Mount Nebo, east of Jordan and facing Jericho
      1. There Moses put his iPhone.06 on panoramic & took a photo of the land which God had promised to Abraham, which was soon to be occupied by his descendants.
      2. Maybe this was Gods way of ending the Pentateuch, with a sure confirmation that the promises of God would be fulfilled.
    2. God permitted Moses to see the land, which is all the Law can do when it comes to holy living.
      1. The Law sets forth a divine standard, but it cannot help us to attain it.
      2. Apart from the death of Christ and the gift of the Spirit (Rom.8:1-4), we cannot have the righteousness of the Law fulfilled in our lives. Read
        1. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
      3. We can view the land but never enter it.
      4. Those who follow Moses(the law followers/legalism) will never enter the land of blessing
    3. (7) Why do you think it says his eyes were 20/20 & he was as strong as an ox at age 120? Ask?
      1. Showing God took him/God’s timing rather than using a walker to get up the hill & ready to expire any moment?
    4. When did Moses make it into the Promise Land? Ask?
      1. On the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah. They discussed with Christ His “exodus”, that He would accomplish at Jerusalem. Luke 9:27–31
  3. MYSTERY GRAVE (5,6)
    1. ​​​​​​​When God showed Moses what he was missing...wasn’t that mean? Would you want to know what you missed out on in life? Was it something else? Ask?
      1. Maybe it was to show him the finish line?...i.e. you made it!
      2. Maybe to bless him, in that he realized the blessing of being able to push others farther than you were able to go (discipleship)
    2. The rabbis of Israel beautifully said that he died “by the kiss of God.” (The Teachers Bible Commentary, Deut.34.)
    3. God alone was present when Moses died, and God buried him. [only burial service God performed]
      1. If people knew the location of his grave, they would undoubtedly make it an idolatrous shrine.
      2. Jude 9 suggests that Satan wanted the body of Moses.
    4. (9) We tackled this this summer in Jude.
      1. This quote is believed to be taken from the book, The Assumption of Moses (also called The Testament of Moses).
      2. It is a Jewish apocryphal (doubtful authenticity) pseudepigraphical (pseude/false + epigraphē/name) work. We have a single 6th-century incomplete manuscript in Latin that was discovered in Milan in the mid-19th century and published in 1861. Most scholars date the work to the early 1st century.
        1. The account basically reads, The Archangel Michael was sent to bury Moses body, when Lucifer intercepted him to claim the body, Michael showed no disrespect to Lucifer but left the matter to the judge of all creatures, saying, “The Lord rebuke you”.
          1. ​​​​​​​Josephus said, God hid the body of Moses least it be made an idol, Nehushtan.
          2. The point in Jude – Michael, top-gun-Angel, carefully weighed his words, even against the wickedest of angels.
    5. So how about the picture of God Himself carrying the limp body of Moses to its resting spot.
      1. Could it also show God’s special heart for Moses?
  4. MOURNING A FRIEND (8)
    1. ​​​​​​​Often a leader is more appreciated after death than during his or her life.
      1. Death is hard. It often comes unexpected and nearly always stops us in our tracks. We need to cry, we need to grieve, we need to hurt, and sometimes we simply need to stop and mediate on the memories, the past. Thus, mourning is good, when we have a loved one die...for a time. For them 30 days. And then, the days of mourning were over. Oh, never to forget the man Moses...but they must move from that place of mourning…
    2. Read the 1st 2 verses of Joshua. Arise, go over this Jordan river, move forward not backward.
      1. You just know there were many talking about, “when Moses was our leader”. How just 1 generation ago “life was slower, morals were better.”
        1. Yah, the last generation was a better generation...it was just HITLER trying to take over THE WHOLE WORLD! [If the 50’s were so great, why did it usher in the 60’s?]
      2. Things weren’t better...they were different. We live in a different world.
        1. Our enemy looks & acts different. We fight our wars much differently. We deal with different moral wars in our culture today.
      3. It’s never good/right/nor more spiritual to stand staring at yesteryear. Arise, go over your Jordan.
  5. JOSHUA (9)
    1. ​​​​​​​We leave Moses, the great law giver, buried in the plains of Moab. And are introduced to Joshua/Jehovah is salvation, who is the striking type of Jesus, who would do for us, that which the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh.
      1. Through Him we are led into the land of rest...the rest of conscience & the rest of heaven
      2. For the children of Israel it was an earthly rest, for us today...it is a spiritual rest.
  6. ​​​​​​​A SAINT (10-12)
    1. ​​​​​​​A scribe adds an epitaph which stands erect over the unknown grave, marking Moses forever in the eyes of God’s people.
      1. So, Moses might not have gotten a grave marker for many to visit, but instead vs. 10-12 for ALL to read...as his epitaph (epi ‘upon’ + taphos ‘tomb.’)
    2. The book closes by reminding us of the unique character of Moses’ ministry - he was a man to whom God talked face to face.
      1. Remember where this came from - Read Numb.12:6-8
        1. God’s irony: Miriam’s prejudice - skin color; God’s justice - skin color. ;-)
      2. Moses was in good company of men who went before him that walked with God.
        1. Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham. He simply desired that all Israel would walk with God.
      3. You & I can daily climb the transfiguration-mount of secret communion with Heaven.
        1. There is where we can view God Transfigured. There is where God discloses Himself to the spiritual/discerning mind. Revealing His presence in the world, His purpose in History. (see Heb.5:14 the mature one...)
        2. Maybe this is the place when God can’t tell you (i.e. Job) but He can show you...in that secret place of prayer-summit. And then...we begin to see God everywhere in the universe, in history, & in all the happenings of our own life.
        3. Brian you sure? - Eph.1:17,18 NLT asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called - his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
          1. So, Regular, unhurried daily prayer in secret not only transforms our view of life; it corrects & clarifies & ignites our view of God. [Go do your devotions w/that in mind]
    3. Moses brought deliverance to God’s people. He brought them leadership. He brought them the revelation of the divine mind and will that at Sinai and after. Yet, these are all eclipsed by the achievements of the Lord Jesus Christ, the one saluted in the NT as, counted worthy of more glory than Moses. (Heb. 3:3).
      1. For as John the beloved disciple wrote, The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John 1:17
    4. The people were now ready to enter and claim the land, which is the story in Joshua.
    5. We said in the beginning that the Big Idea was, You may leave this world with cheerfulness, if you’ve known God face to face through His Son, and have had the vision of the heavenly Canaan in your eye.
      1. Know Jesus Intimately. Aim for heavens love all-inclusively.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 34". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/deuteronomy-34.html. 2017.