Deuteronomy Chapter 34

Moses was the prophet who delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, through the power and direction of the Lord. He then led the people by the power of the Lord, to Mount Sinai, where he received revelation and taught the people the laws of God. With the priesthood and continued revelation, he led them for the forty years they wandered in the wilderness, before arriving near the promised land. He led their armies into battles, where they were victorious because the Lord was on their side. He taught as the Lord commanded and the people made precious and sacred covenants with the Lord. Moses had not been entirely perfect through his life, and because of a choice he made during his leadership, he was to be taken from the earth before he could enter the promised land. The Lord called Moses to go up into the mountain to die, just as his brother Aaron had previously. This chapter finishes the story of Moses. It begins:

1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan,
2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea,
3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

Moses went into the mount and saw the land as he had been promised by the Lord.

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.

Moses was taken by the Lord. In Alma 45 we read the following:

18 And when Alma had done this he departed out of the land of Zarahemla, as if to go into the land of Melek. And it came to pass that he was never heard of more; as to his death or burial we know not of.
19 Behold, this we know, that he was a righteous man; and the saying went abroad in the church that he was taken up by the Spirit, or buried by the hand of the Lord, even as Moses. But behold, the scriptures saith the Lord took Moses unto himself; and we suppose that he has also received Alma in the spirit, unto himself; therefore, for this cause we know nothing concerning his death and burial.

Here we learn that the description of Moses being buried (by the Lord), means that he was taken up by the spirit, which would explain why no one would know where he was buried. Being taken from this world by the spirit, means that Moses was translated and did not suffer through death as most men do (see 3 Nephi 28:1-9, 36-40 for information on translation). In the Bible Dictionary under “Moses”, it teaches that in order to do part of the mission he had on earth after his life, but before the resurrection began, it was necessary for him to be a translated being with a body and not a spirit awaiting the resurrection.

7 And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Moses did not die of “old-age”, as many do today. He lived to be 120 years old, but is described in such a way to say that he was not a man who was going blind or becoming unable to perform his duties. It causes me to ponder on the scriptures that teach us that men will live to the fullness of their age during the millennium, and then they will be changed to their next state as translated beings are. I am sure it is a great blessing to experience that mighty change without going through the pains and struggles of physical death.

8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

The Israelites mourned over Moses for thirty days, while they remained in the land across the Jordan River from Jericho. I can only imagine the heartache felt when Moses left them, because he had done so much for his people.

9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Joshua, who had been called and set apart, to be the next prophet and leader of the people, was made full of the spirit of wisdom. I think this is another way of saying that the mantle of his calling, rested upon him now that Moses had gone. The Israelites knew he was to lead them, and because the Lord had commanded them through the words of Moses, they hearkened to Joshua and sustained him as their leader.

10 And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,
11 In all the signs and the wonders, which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land,
12 And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.

Moses was a prophet of the higher priesthood, who led with great authority and power from the Lord. When he was taken, this priesthood was also taken from the earth. In Doctrine and Covenants 84:25 we read, “Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also;”. The experiences that the Israelites had with him as their leader, would stand as examples for the rest of time. He was Israel’s greatest prophet. They would continue to focus on him and his teachings as long as they were a nation. This was necessary in order to establish the word of the Lord among the people. Even if they would not always follow the commandments and would be scattered later as had been promised, they had been established as the people of the Lord, who had the law of Moses, which was the law of the living God. All the earth would continue to be blessed by the Israelites because of the work that Moses did. Moses was one of few men, who ever lived and knew the Lord as personally as he did, even seeing Him face to face. He was more faithful and obedient than most men who have ever lived, which is why he was able to do so many great and marvelous things for the people of his time.

I am grateful for the prophet Moses and for the scriptures which teach me of his life and mission for the Lord. I know that his righteousness and leadership was necessary for us to have the gospel as we do today. His mission did not end with his being taken from the Israelites, but has continued with the need for restoration of keys of the priesthood throughout time. I have enjoyed the study of his life and law, which has strengthened my testimony and helped me gain a greater understanding of the gospel which I live today. I am also grateful for the love of God, to allow us to have living prophets today. I know that these prophets are called for our time and to help us find our way back Home.

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