The study through the books of Moses ends this week. Next week we will begin in Genesis.
This week I want to focus an amazing statement in Deuteronomy 34. It is recorded in verse 7.
Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated.” – Deuteronomy 34:7
The normal process of aging evidently had not impacted Moses according to this statement. It is appropriate to ask the question, why was this so? What had happened in Moses’ years that had such an effect? Had he secretly found the “fountain of youth” and drank of its water”?
I believe that the answer to these questions lies in his experience at Mt. Sinai. Moses ascended the mountain into the cloud of the Lord which had descended upon the mountain:
And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens; darkness, cloud and thick gloom.” – Deuteronomy 4:11
This account describes the boldest coupling of heaven to earth in history with the exception of the period in “the garden” before the fall of man. As Moses climbed the mountain he nearly ascended into heaven. If he had gone any further he would have done like Elijah did some 600 years later and would have exited completely from the physical world. God must have prevented him from doing so.
Moses ascended into and remained directly in the presence of God for 40 days and nights. When he descended he “glowed”. Later, Jeremiah described the God of Israel as:
But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King.” – Jeremiah 10:10
We may think of the expression “living God” as the entity (God) that is the very source of life and from whom all life emanates. Moses was immersed directly in the presence of this life-emanating source for an extended period of time. Somehow he absorbed some aspects of the life. Even after descending the mountain, Moses continued to “glow”. We believe that Moses had indeed discovered the “fountain of youth”. One other account is given in the Bible of a similar situation. On the so-called “Mount of Transfiguration” it is recorded that Jesus’ face and garments glowed.
And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” – Matthew 17:2
This happened because He stood, evidently for only a brief period, in the direct presence of “the living God” being manifested in the cloud. Because Jesus was crucified shortly thereafter, we cannot test our theory that the aging process was reversed as a result of this encounter.
Can we discover this “fountain of life” today? This is one important aspect of worship. As local bodies of believers we can, under Jesus’ headship, approach and stand in the presence of the “Living God”. Our experience may not be quite as dramatic as that of Moses or of Jesus but we can partake of the same thing. The Bible declares:
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment”. – Hebrews 9:27
Even though the aging process can not be completely reversed, the restoration impact of the presence of the “Living God” will bring healing and restoration to our bodies as well as to our souls.
The time of Moses’ leadership ended with a transfer of authority to Joshua the son of Nun. This final section of Deuteronomy was obviously written after that transition. God had previously declared that He would raise up another prophet like Moses.
I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” – Deuteronomy 18:18
Most believe that God was speaking of the Messiah. Some argue that this “prophet like Moses” was Joshua the son of Nun. Obviously, this can not be the case since this final paragraph of Deuteronomy was written at least during and most likely after the time of Joshua’s period of leadership. The writer comments,
Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” – Deuteronomy 34:10