Friday, February 17, 2012

Moses’ view of the Promised Land

“Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham Isaac and Jacob when I said, “I will give it to your descendants.” I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.’” Deuteronomy 34:4
Moses was forbidden by God from entering the Promised Land because of what happened at Kadesh. But God did allow him to see it. At the end of Deuteronomy we read, “Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land – from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar” (Deut. 34:1-3). In 2006 I went on a trip to Israel and one of our stops was Mount Nebo, in Jordan. This is the view back into Israel from the top:

Compare this with a map of Israel, with all the places Moses saw marked:

As you can see, it’s not physically possible to see the region of Naphtali (i.e. Galilee), nor the Mediterranean Sea, from standing on Mount Nebo. Therefore, what God showed Moses was something very special. He may have showed him the land in a vision, or transported him to a great height. Moses might not have entered the Promised Land, but he saw it in a way no-one else did.

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