Full bible text
Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigour unabated’.
About this painting
Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt. For forty years he led the Israelites through the desert, often enduring their grumbling. Numbers 12:3 says: ‘Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.’ In Heb. 11 Moses is listed among those who did great deeds through faith. Yet Moses is not allowed to enter the Promised Land, because of the following:
When the people grumble due to the lack of water (Numbers 20) Moses and his brother Aaron go from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fall on their faces. The glory of the Lord appears to them, and the Lord speaks to Moses: “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water”. However, Moses neither acts in faith and obedience to God, nor gives Him due honour. Out of bitterness at the disobedience of the people he hits the rock twice with the staff, with doubt in his heart.
Then the Lord speaks to Moses and Aaron: “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”
In the time prior to his death Moses once again presents the words of God to the people. These words are written in the book Deuteronomy (‘repetition of the law’). In chapter 18:15 Moses also prophesies of the coming of the Great Prophet; Messiah Jesus. See John 1:45, Acts 3:22, 7:37.
Deut. 34 tells us that Moses is granted to see the land Canaan from the top of Mount Nebo, but not to enter it. After he has seen the land from afar, Moses dies at 120 years old. The Lord buries him in the land of Moab. He is allowed to enter the ‘heavenly Canaan’, into God’s rest. Heb. 11:39, 40, Jud. 1:9.
The entering into the Promised Land foreshadows the New Testament entering in the Kingdom of Heaven through faith in Jesus.
In Heb. 3 we are warned not to harden our hearts like those who angered the Lord in the desert with their disobedience. They could not enter the Promised Land and so died in the desert. To us this is a cautionary example not to refuse to accept the gospel in faith (Heb. 2:3), If we accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are allowed to enter into the rest of God. Heb.4, 12 :18-29.
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”