[Lesson 42: The Bronze Snake] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 44: Joshua & the Land of Canaan]

Lesson 43

Moses' Final Message


Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

Over the past forty-two lessons, we have been looking into the first book of the Holy Scriptures, the book we call the Torah. As you know, it is God who implanted His words in the mind of the prophet Moses, inspiring him to write them in a book. Approximately three thousand five hundred years have gone by since Moses wrote the Torah, yet it is still of immeasurable value to us today. The Torah is the foundation that God Himself laid, so that we can test everything that we hear and discern whether it comes from God or not. The teaching contained in the Torah is pure truth from God. Any teaching that contradicts it is false. All of God's truth is in perfect harmony with what is written in the Torah. There is one thing that Almighty God cannot do. Do you know what it is? That's right, God cannot contradict Himself! In the Torah, Moses penned these words, "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?" (Deut. 23:19)

Through our study in the Torah of Moses, God has revealed to us many profound mysteries. Today we plan to conclude our journey through the holy Torah. But before we look at the final chapters, let us review what we have seen from the beginning until today.

In the first chapter of the Torah, we saw how God created the first man in His own image. God wanted to have a wonderful and meaningful relationship with man whom He had created. That is why He placed in the soul of man a mind (spirit) so that he might know God, gave him a heart so that he could love God and entrusted to him a will so that he could choose for himself whether to obey God or to disobey Him.

In the third chapter, we saw how the first man, Adam, chose to obey Satan and eat of the tree which God had prohibited. Thus, the Scripture says: "Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." (Rom. 5:12) The penalty of sin is death and eternal separation from God.

Thus, we saw how God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Paradise because of their sin. But before He put them out, God announced how He planned one day to send a Redeemer into the world, to open a door of salvation for Adam's offspring; to free them from the dominion of Satan and the penalty of sin.

Next, we learned how God called Abraham, promising to make of him a special nation from which the prophets and the Redeemer would descend. Thus, Abraham begot Isaac; Isaac begot Jacob; and Jacob begot twelve sons. Later, God changed Jacob's name to Israel. The twelve sons of Israel formed the new nation which God had promised Abraham. The ten older sons sold their younger brother, Joseph, as a slave who was taken to Egypt. However, "a man reaps what he sows." (Gal. 6:7) Consequently, we saw how all the children of Israel became slaves in Egypt. Nevertheless, God did not forget His promise to Abraham and his descendants. In the book of Exodus we learned how God fulfilled His promise to Abraham by calling Moses to free the Israelites from their bonds of slavery.

In studying the story of Moses, we read the amazing and wonderful account of how God delivered the multitude of Israel from the oppression of Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. We also read how God protected them in the desert and brought them to the border of Canaan, the land which He had promised their forefather Abraham long before. However, most of the Israelites were afraid of the giants of Canaan and did not trust God to do for them what He had promised them. That is why they did not enter the abundant land of Canaan at that time.

Because of their unbelief, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years, until all those who did not believe what God had promised concerning Canaan passed away. That was the punishment that God brought upon them because of their unbelief. Surely "the Lord is…a faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He!" (Deut. 32:4)

Now, let's complete our journey in the Torah. Remember, the Israelites were in the desert because God was chastening them for their unbelief. Every one of those more than twenty years old who had refused to believe what God had promised concerning the land of Canaan had died. Not one remained alive. Now their children were at the border of Canaan. After forty long years in the wilderness, the children of Israel were now very anxious to get settled in the land their parents had failed to enter!

Our study today is from the fifth section of the Torah, the book of Deuteronomy {Lit. Second Law}. In this final section Moses reviews God's holy law and teaches it to the tribes of Israel. This profound book contains the final message that Moses preached to the people to prepare them to enter the land which God had promised them. We do not have time to read Moses' entire sermon today, but we can summarize Moses' words in these few words: "Do not forget!"

In brief, Moses said something like this to the Israelites: Be careful not to forget that you were slaves in Egypt! Do not forget all that God did for you on the way, between Egypt and the new land which you are about to enter! Do not forget the sins that you committed against the Lord your God! Do not forget how the Lord judged your parents because of their unbelief, which is why all their corpses remain in the desert. Do not forget that God was good to your parents, but they were hardheaded and refused to believe Him. Do not forget it!

Today, when you hear the voice of God, do not harden your hearts, as your parents did in the wilderness. Will you be like your ancestors who refused to believe the Word of God, or will you believe the Lord your God? If you refuse to believe the Word of God as your ancestors did, God will punish you as He punished them. Do not forget it!

The Lord God will bring you into the land, which flows with milk and honey, which He swore to your ancestors. Do not forget your God who gave you the land, because man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord! Do not forget it!

After Moses had finished his sermon, the Lord said to Moses:

(Deut. 32) 49Go up into the Abarim Range…across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. 50There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die… 51This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites…in the desert and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. 52Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel."

(Deut 34) 1Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab…There the Lord showed him the whole land…all the land of Judah as far as the western sea… 4Then the Lord said to him, "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it." 5And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. 6He buried him in Moab…but to this day no one knows where his grave is. 7Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. 8The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over. 9Now Joshua [who replaced Moses as the leader of the Israelites]…was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses.

10Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel." Amen.

So dear friends, this is where the Torah concludes. Everything written in the Torah is recorded so that we might gain knowledge, knowledge that will lead us to faith in God's way of salvation. Truly, Moses was a great prophet. He knew the Lord God face to face. He performed miraculous signs from God. By the hand of Moses, God delivered the Israelites from the oppression of Pharaoh. Also by his hand, God has given us the Torah, the first book in the Holy Scriptures. Everyone should know what the prophet Moses wrote. Whoever does not know the Torah of Moses will be mistaken in much and is in great danger of perishing in the way of unrighteousness. Remember, the Torah is the foundation which God Himself laid, the foundation upon which God, through all the other prophets, would build the rest of His holy book.

Truly, the prophet Moses wrote amazing, profound and wonderful words. Yet of all that Moses did and wrote, nothing is more important than what he announced in the fifth section of the Torah, in chapter eighteen. In this chapter Moses told the Israelites how God planned to raise up another, even greater, prophet who would speak directly for God. Listen to what Moses told the people of Israel:

(Deut. 18) 15The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb (Mount Sinai) on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die." 17The Lord said to me: "What they say is good. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account."

By this declaration from the mouth of Moses, God was announcing the coming of another prophet who would come forth from the Hebrew nation (verses 15,18), a Man who would speak forth the Word of God in all fulness and purity (vs.18,19), a Prophet who would be a Mediator between God and man (vs.16,17). Do you know who that Prophet was? Do you know which Prophet spoke with even greater authority than Moses? Do you know which Prophet displayed works which were greater than the miracles performed by Moses? Yes, the Prophet of whom Moses spoke is the righteous Redeemer, who was born of a Jewish virgin. Concerning Him, Moses issued an early warning to the nation of Israel: "You must listen to him!…If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account."

Friends, this is where our study of the Torah must end. How can we conclude our journey in this vast and wonderful book? Let us finish with what Moses himself proclaimed to the Israelites on the day he died. In chapter thirty-two Moses said:

"Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.…I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He!" (Deut. 32:1,3,4)

With those words of God from the mouth of Moses we bid you farewell today. Thank you for listening. Next time, God willing, we will begin the holy book which comes after (and is connected with) the Torah of Moses and see how God brought the Israelites into the land flowing with milk and honey just as He had promised them long before.…

May God, who alone is worthy of glory and majesty forever, bless you! The prophet Moses said it perfectly:

"The Lord…is…a faithful God who does no wrong! Upright and just is He!" (Deut. 32:4) Amen!