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Sermon #2038 — Miscellaneous Sermons


      Title:                                 Lessons from Mt. Pisgah


      Text:                                  Deuteronomy 34:1-9

      Subject:               Moses’ Desire to Enter Canaan

      Date:                                Sunday Morning — January 20, 2013

      Tape #                 BB-01

      Readings:           Romans 9:31-10:17



In Deuteronomy 34 we read about Mt. Nebo where Moses died. Moses’ death upon this mountain was by the express purpose of God, to teach us very important spiritual lessons. We are told that when Moses stood on Mt. Pisgah and looked over Canaan’s Promised Land, he surveyed the whole land (Deuteronomy 34:1-4). We are told that he saw all the land of Gilead unto Dan, and all the land of Naphtali and Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah unto the uttermost sea, together with the south and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar (Deuteronomy 34:1-4). —— That was some vision!


(Deuteronomy 34:1-4) “1 ¶ And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that [is] over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2 And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3 And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4 And the LORD said unto him, This [is] the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see [it] with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.”


It should be obvious to anyone reading this chapter that Moses’ vision of the Promised Land from the “top of Pisgah” and his death and burial by the hand of God on Mt. Nebo. Moses’ death upon this mountain was by the express purpose of God, to teach us very important spiritual lessons.


Divine Revelation



If you care to take some measurements by an atlas, you will find that with one view, from one spot Moses clearly saw at least 60 miles in one direction and 120 miles in the other, taking in all the Land of Promise. —— That would be impossible for any man, except by supernatural, divine assistance. Therefore we read, — “I have caused thee to see [it] with thine eyes.” — That is the way it is with all spiritual things and all spiritual sight.


So, here’s the first thing to be learned from Mt. Pisgah. — Everything we know and see by faith we know and see by divine revelation, with eyes of faith given by God the Holy Spirit, eyes of faith that see eternal things. Our dear Savor is to the eye of faith precious and lovely, gracious and glorious; but to the carnal eye, “there is no beauty that we should desire him.”


Nothing spiritual, nothing about the things of God, nothing concerning Chris, his gospel, his redemption, his salvation, his grace, his Word, or his Spirit can be known by any human being, except God the Holy Spirit “cause you to see” (1 Corinthians 2:11-16).


(1 Corinthians 2:11-16) “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-16)


Everything we know and see by faith we know and see by divine revelation, with eyes of faith given by God the Holy Spirit, eyes of faith that see eternal things.


Let’s go back to Deuteronomy 34. We will pick up at verse 5. — Deuteronomy 34:5-9.


(Deuteronomy 34:5-9) “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. 7 And Moses [was] an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. 8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping [and] mourning for Moses were ended. 9 ¶ And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Deuteronomy 34:5-9)


Law’s Death


Here’s the second thing taught on Mt. Pisgah. Most people never learn this. Most people refuse to acknowledge it. But here it is: —— Moses is dead! Throughout this Book, Moses represents the law; and Moses is dead. The law is dead. Yes, that is what I meant to say. The law is dead, dead to all who trust Christ.


After taking in all the Land of Promise, after surveying the fulfilment of all God’s covenant promises, Moses died (Deuteronomy 34:8-9). Moses could not bring Israel into the possession of God’s covenant promises. Here is a picture of the law’s death. If we are “dead to the law” as God in his Word declares we are (Romans 7:4; Galatians 2:19), the law is dead to us. Moses died on Mt. Nebo, but Joshua lived. So it is spiritually: Moses is dead; but the Lord Jesus Christ our great Joshua lives! Five things are stated in Deuteronomy 34:8-9 by which God the Holy Spirit gives us a picture of our complete freedom from the law of Moses in Christ our Savior, who “is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.


1.    Moses (the law) died, having fulfilled his appointed service.


Moses was 120 years old as full of health and strength when he died, as he was when he was twenty-five years old. And the law, retaining all its strength, being fulfilled by Christ, was nailed to the tree and slain by our Savior (Colossians 2:14).


(Colossians 2:8-23) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”


“13 ¶ And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”


“16 ¶ Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ. 18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:8-23)


As God buried Moses in Mt. Nebo and all hell cannot dig up his body, so Christ nailed the law to his cross, taking it out of the way forever, and though Satan constantly seeks to raise it up, Michael the Archangel (our blessed Lord Jesus) stands by his finished work and pours out his grace and righteousness in the full forgiveness of sin upon his chosen (Jude 9; Zechariah 3:1-9).


(Jude 1:9) “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9)


(Zechariah 3:1-9) “1 ¶ And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: [is] not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. 6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.”


“8 ¶ Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they [are] men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. 9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone [shall be] seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” (Zechariah 3:1-9)


Thank God, no one can find Moses’ body and raise it up against us!


2.    The children of Israel wept for Moses and mourned.


So the natural man weeps and mourns for the dead letter of the law, ever clinging to it, always desiring to make himself righteous by the vain delusion of law obedience. All lost men and women seek to make themselves righteous.

·      Works Justification

·      Works Sanctification

·      Works Rewards


Now hear the Word of God (Galatians 3:10; 5:1-5). — All who seek to make themselves righteous by their works are lost. While boasting of their obedience to the law, their religion makes them miserable.

·      The bed of works is too short. You cannot rest on it.

·      The covers of self-righteousness are too narrow. You cannot wrap yourself in them.


3.    Joshua was full of the Spirit and wisdom of God.


Moses died, but Joshua lived on! And Christ, Jesus our Joshua, lives forever. He is full of the Spirit of God and is made unto us Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption. All the fulness of grace and all the promises of God are in him and are ours in him.


(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”


4.    Moses laid his hands on Joshua, fully approving of him.


So the holy law of God approves of, is fulfilled, and is fully satisfied with Christ. He magnified the law and made it honorable by his obedience in life and his obedience in death as our God-man Mediator and covenant Surety. And the law of God fully approves of us in Christ (Luke 17:11-16).


(Luke 17:11-16) “And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up [their] voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw [them], he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on [his] face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” (Luke 17:11-16)


5.    With Joshua as their head, the children of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses.


If you read the book of Joshua you will see that Israel no more obeyed Joshua than they did Moses. In fact, Joshua said to them, “Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he [is] an holy God; he [is] a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins” (Joshua 24:19). Yet, we are told by God the Holy Spirit that “the children of Israel hearkened unto Joshua, and did as the Lord commanded Moses” (Deuteronomy 34:9). Obviously, there was a sense in which they did obey God. — Under Joshua’s lead, with Joshua at their head, they entered into, conquered, and possessed all the Land of Promise; and the Lord God fulfilled to them all the covenant promises he made to Abraham (Joshua 23:24).


What a blessed picture of grace! With Christ as our Head, our Mediator, our Representative, our covenant Surety, all God’s elect have fulfilled all that God commanded by the law. Our Savior’s obedience to the law all the days of his life was our obedience. His death under the penalty of the law was our death. —— We fulfil the law, not by our “good works,” but by faith in Christ. Believing God, the law is fulfilled in us (Romans 3:31; 8:1-4).


(Romans 3:31) “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31)


(Romans 8:1-4) “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)


Free from the Law


Here is one more thing I want you to see. With this, I send you home rejoicing. — In Christ we are free from the law!

·      Free from Its Curse!

·      Free from Its Covenant!

·      Free from Its Constraint!


And now, in Christ, by the merit of his blood and righteousness, every believer is made an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ himself. All the blessings of God’s covenant are sealed to every chosen, redeemed sinner by God the Holy Spirit with the gift of faith in Christ.


(Ephesians 1:3-14) “Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-14)


Thus grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.




Don Fortner


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