Beginning of the End


The Death of Moses

This chapter is based on Deuteronomy 31 to 34.

In all God’s dealings with His people, mingled with His love and mercy is the strongest evidence of His strict and unbiased fairness. The great Ruler of nations had declared that Moses was not to lead Israel into the beautiful land, and the earnest pleading of God’s servant could not reverse His sentence. But Moses had still faithfully tried to prepare the people to enter the promised inheritance. At God’s command, Moses and Joshua went to the tabernacle, while the pillar of cloud came and stood over the door. Here the people were solemnly committed to the care of Joshua. The work of Moses as leader of Israel was ended. BOE 233.1

But he still forgot himself in his interest for his people. In the presence of the multitude, Moses addressed these words of holy encouragement to his successor in the name of God: “Be strong and of good courage; for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.” He then turned to the elders and officers of the people, giving them a solemn command to faithfully obey the instructions he had given them from God. BOE 233.2

As the people gazed on the old man so soon to be taken from them, they remembered with new appreciation his fatherly tenderness, his wise counsels, and his untiring labors. They remembered bitterly that their own misbehavior had provoked Moses to the sin for which he must die. BOE 233.3

God wanted them not to make the life of their future leader as difficult as they had made the life of Moses. God speaks to His people by giving them blessings, and when they do not appreciate these, He speaks to them by removing the blessings. BOE 233.4

That very day the command came to Moses, “Go up ... Mount Nebo ...; view the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel as a possession; and die on the mountain which you ascend, and be gathered to your people.” Moses was now to leave on a new and mysterious mission. He must go out to resign his life into the hands of his Creator. He knew that he was to die alone; no earthly friend would be permitted to minister to him in his last hours. There was a mystery and awfulness about the scene from which his heart drew back. The severest trial was to be separated from the people with whom his life had been united for so long. But with unquestioning faith he committed himself and his people to God’s love and mercy. BOE 233.5