The Death of Moses

Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Introduction: The book of Deuteronomy contains the words that Moses spoke to Israel immediately before he died and the Israelites entered the Promised Land (see Deuteronomy 1:1; 9:1). He is preparing them to enter the land.

The word Deuteronomy means second law. This does not mean that the original law is being replaced. Nor does it mean that a great amount of new material is being added to the law. In Deuteronomy, the Law of Moses is partially repeated and it totally reconfirmed. The old generation to whom the original law was given has died in the wilderness. The law now needs to be reconfirmed to the new generation. Late in the book (29:1-9), Moses establishes a covenant with them that renews the covenant they made at Mount Sinai. 

The book of Deuteronomy dwells on the theme of obedience. Moses promises a blessing if they will obey the Lord’s commandments (11:27) and a curse if they will not obey them (11:28). Another theme of the renewed law is love. Love is mentioned a total of four times in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. Yet, it is mentioned a total of 22 times in Deuteronomy alone. The Israelites are to love the Lord their God (6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 19:9; 30:16) and the Lord expresses His love to them (7:7-8; 23:5). So even the law cannot be completely fulfilled without love. 

This lesson deals with the death of Moses and the end of his work on the earth. Joshua will lead the Israelites into the land of Canaan. Moses will only get to see the land before he dies.  

I.           MOSES VIEWS THE PROMISED LAND (34:1-4) 

A.   Moses Climbs Mount Pisgah (v.1a) 

1. The names

a.    Abarim (Numbers 27:12-14; Deuteronomy 32:48-52)

b.    Nebo (Deuteronomy 32:49)

c.    Pisgah (Deuteronomy 3:27)

2. The location

a.    About ten miles east of the northern border of the Dead Sea; it sits across from the Mount of Olives

b.    It rises more than 2600 feet above sea level; but the Dead Sea is about 1300 feet below sea level 

B.   God Shows Him the Land (v.1b-3) 

1. Naturally, the land from Mount Hermon in the north to the hills of Judah in the west and more can be seen; but the Mediterranean Sea (“utmost sea”) cannot be seen from here.

2. Supernaturally, God showed Moses all the promised land (v.1) 

C.   God Renews His Promise of the Land (v.4) 

1. Promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 15:18-21; 35:10-12)

2. Promised to their seed (Genesis 12:6-7)

3. Seen by Moses

4. Claimed by Joshua 

II.          MOSES DIES ON THE MOUNT (34:5-9) 

A.   The Death of Moses (v.5) 

1. The servant of the Lord (Joshua 1:1-2; Malachi 4:4; Hebrews 3:5)

2. Died “according to the word of the LORD”

a.    Seven-word phrase occurs 28 times in the Bible

b.    The first four times it occurs (Numbers 3:16, 51; 4:45; 36:5), it refers to the obedience of Moses.

c.    The fifth time it occurs, it refers to the death of Moses

d.    Moses lived and died “according to the word of the LORD” 

B.   The Burial of Moses (v.6) 

1. Buried by God

2. Grave unknown

3. Body fought over (Jude 9) 

C.   The Physical Condition of Moses (v.7) 

1. Age: 120 Years old (Deuteronomy 31:2)

a.    40 years in Egypt (Acts 7:23)

b.    40 years in Midian (Acts 7:30)

c.    40 years in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33-34)

2. Condition

a.    Eyes not dim

b.    Natural force not abated 

D.   The Mourning for Moses (v.8); same as for Aaron (Numbers 20:29) 

E.   The Replacement for Moses (v.9; Numbers 27:15-23) 

III.         MOSES’ STANDING AS A PROPHET (34:10-12) 

A.   His Rank Above Other Prophets (v.10a) 

B.   His Face to Face Knowledge of God (v.10b; Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:6-8) 

C.   The signs and wonders given to him (v.11-12; Psalm 105:26-38) 

IV.        THE PROPHET THAT SHALL COME (Deuteronomy 18:15-22) 

A.   The Prophet God Will Raise Up (v.15-19) 

1. Raised up from the midst of Israel (v.15)

2. Set to speak for God (v.16-18)

3. Israel required to hear Him (v.19)

4. This prophet identified as Jesus Christ (Acts 3:20-26; 7:37) 

B.   A Warning Against False Prophets (v.20-22) 

1. He who presumes to speak in God’s name (v.20-21)

2. He who speaks that which does not come to pass (v.22) 

Conclusion: This completes the five books of the Law of Moses. Israel has been delivered from Egypt and given God’s law. Now, they must enter the Promised Land and conquer it. God’s purpose is now turned over to a new generation. Are you part of a new generation that God has called to complete His will? What will you do with your commission?