Saturday, October 09, 2010

Where's the body? (DT 34:1-8)

"Then the Lord said to him, 'This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, "I will give it to your descendants"; 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." (Deuteronomy 34:4-5)
It would be another two thousand years before we would see Moses again. It occurred on a day when Jesus took Peter, James, and John and ascended up on the mountain to pray.
"And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." (Luke 9:29-31)
I have at times heard people use this scripture to justify their attempt to communicate with the dead, which is a bit funny since, in the Old Testament, God strictly forbids such behavior. "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead." (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) Nevertheless, those who use this scripture to justify their practicing necromancy fail to take note if the special circumstances surrounding the death of those two humans who now appear alive with Jesus on the mountain.

In the case of Elijah, he did not die but was gathered up into heaven while he was still alive. "As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven." (2 Kings 2:11) As for Moses, though he died, God Himself buried him. "And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day." (Deuteronomy 34:6) Along with Enoch, these were the only people who did not enter into Sheol or, as the Greeks called it "Hades", upon their death. These three people ascended directly to heaven to be with God. For Moses, this is further substantiated when Jude writes, "But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!'" (Jude 9-10)

When King David was informed that his son, the one born of adultery, had died he got up from his fasting and returned to his normal routine. Those close to him were astonished that, having mourned while the child was sick, he would now return to a normal live once the child had died. David explained, "But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:23) David understood that death was final, at least as it related to "the land of the living". That is why I don't believe that those who claim to contact the dead are really speaking with the dead. In my opinion it is most likely a daemon or failure spirit. But for Moses and Elijah, they did reappear in the "land of the living" because they never went "the way of all the earth" and entered into Sheol. This is what made them different and allowed them to appear and converse with Jesus while He was on earth.

David Robison

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