Moses Part 23

Moses, the man of God

A study

Part 23

Some Important Events of the Years of Wandering – C

In this part of our study let us look into the following events which transpired towards the end of the 38½ years of their wanderings in the wilderness.

  1. Battles won and lands taken possession by Moses
  2. Land given as inheritance to two and a half tribes
  3. Cities allotted to Levites
  4. Cities of Refuge

BATTLES WON & LANDS TAKEN POSSESSION BY MOSES

When God called Abraham in Gen.12: 1, He promised to give him and to his seed a Land in addition to other blessings. The borders of that Promised Land were clearly specified in Gen.15: 18-21. The Lord remembered His promises when He heard their cry from their bondage in Egypt. (Exo.3: 7,8) Through Moses, the Lord delivered them and started fulfilling His promises regarding their Promised Land.

As the children of Israel, journeyed toward the Promised Land, they were denied passage through the land of Edom. So they had to travel a long way around that land. And king Arad the Canaanite, who lived in the south, came and fought against Israel and took prisoners of some of them. And the LORD listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites. And they completely destroyed them and their cities. (Numb.21: 1-3)

Then Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, Let me pass through thy land. We will not turn into the fields or into the vineyards until we be past thy borders. And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness and fought against Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before you. Begin to possess it so that you may INHERIT HIS LAND. And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land. And Israel took all their cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof. (Numb.21: 1-3, Deut.2: 30-37)

Then Israel turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou did unto Sihon. So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they POSSESSED HIS LAND. (Numb.21: 32-35, Deut.3: 1-11)

And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Vex the Midianites, and smite them. Because they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Balaam, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor’s sake. And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand. And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. And they slew the kings of Midian. (Numb.31: 1-12, Josh.13: 21)

REUBEN, GAD AND HALF TRIBE OF MANASSEH RECEIVE INHERITANCE

Reuben, Gad and half tribe of Manasseh had a very great multitude of cattle and they preferred to settle on this side of Jordan. (Numb.32: 5, 33) The Lord through Moses granted their request; on the condition that all their men will pass over the Jordan with their brethren armed and will not return unto their houses, until all the children of Israel have INHERITED their inheritance. (Numb.32: 16-18)

INHERITANCE OF THE LEVITES

The Levites were the descendents of Levi, the third son of Jacob. They stood by Moses in Mount Sinai to execute judgement against all those who polluted the camp of Israel with idol worship. (Exo.32: 26) So, because of their jealousy for the holiness of God, they were chosen to serve the Lord in the transportation and maintenance of the tabernacle. Later the care of the Temple was given to them. They did not, as the other tribes, have a definite portion of the Land allotted to them. The Lord God and the priesthood of the Lord were their inheritance. (Josh.13: 33, 18: 7) But the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses to all the other tribes to give them forty-eight cities to dwell in. (Numb.35: 2, 7, Josh.21: 1-8)

CITIES OF REFUGE

God also commanded Moses to set aside six cities of refuge, three on each side of the Jordan River. (Numb.32, Deut.19: 1-13, Josh.20) This was as per the divinely established provision for a man who killed another man unintentionally. (Exo.21: 12,13) Moses set aside three cities, Bezer, Ramoth and Golan on the east of the river. (Deut.4: 41-43) Later Joshua assigned three more cities, Kadesh, Shechem and Kiriath-arba on the other side of Jordan. These cities were set aside to provide a sanctuary for any man who killed another man through an unpremeditated act. The near kinsman of the person, who had been slain, would confront the slayer and in turn slay him. But once the slayer had fled to and was inside the walls of one of the six designated cities of refuge, the near kinsman couldn’t touch him. A RANSOM was provided for the life of the one found to have committed involuntary manslaughter. But there was a stipulation: The ransom could not be used until THE DEATH OF THE HIGH PRIEST. (Numb.35: 28, 32) Once the high priest in the camp of Israel had died and the ransom had been used, the individual who had previously been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter was then free to leave the particular city of refuge where he had been provided a sanctuary and return to the land of his possession. And once this had occurred, the near kinsman no longer had any claim on that individual.

CITIES OF REFUGE – A TYPOLOGY

Today, the entire nation of Israel finds itself guilty of crucifying and slaying the Lord Jesus. The Word of God, looks upon this act as an unpremeditated or involuntary act. Note the words of the Lord Jesus: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23: 34) Then note the words of Peter: “Ye men of Israel… you denied the Holy One… and killed the Prince of life… and now, brethren, I know through ignorance you did it as did also your rulers.” (Acts 3: 12-17) Consequently, the whole house of Israel is run away from the Land of their possession and is scattered all over the world. Though we see today that a minority of Jews have returned to their Land, but the majority of them still remain scattered, away from the Land of their inheritance. The Lord Jesus has already paid the ransom for Israel’s capital offence at Calvary. But the nation as a whole cannot avail herself of this ransom or return to the Land of her possession until the fulfillment of the anti-type of the death of the high priest.

THE DEATH OF THE HIGH PRIEST

Now let us see what is typified by the death of the high priest. And when will this be fulfilled?

Though Christ is not of the Levitical line, His present ministry, on behalf of all believers, in the heavenly sanctuary is patterned after the order of the high priestly ministry of Aaron. Aaron ministered in the earthly Tabernacle on behalf of the redeemed children of Israel, on the basis of the blood of the sacrificial animals. Today, any believer, who falls into sin, can come to our heavenly high priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, with humility and true repentance. And he can be cleansed through Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, on the basis of Christ’s own shed blood. (1John 1: 7-9, Heb.2: 17,18, 4: 14-16, 9: 13,14) But Christ’s present ministry is going to terminate very soon. The conclusion of this ministry can be seen as the fulfillment of the death of the high priest. After the termination of this ministry, He is going to come forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek. And it will be only on that day that events surrounding the anti-type of the death of the high priest can occur.

After the rapture of the Church, the people of Israel (and all the inhabitants of the earth) will pass through the tribulation period. At the end of this tribulation period, in the midst of severe sufferings (Matt.24: 16-22, Luke 21: 20-24, Rev.11: 2) the whole house of Israel will cry unto God in true repentance. (Zech.12: 10-14, Rom.11: 25-27) And when that day reaches the darkest hour, the Messiah will return in all His power and great glory as the great King-Priest. At that time He Himself will effect the prophesied regathering of the nation of Israel. (Matt.24: 29-31, Jer.16: 14-16, Deut.30: 3-5, Ezek.20: 34-37, 36: 24-28, 37: 11-14, 21-23, etc.)

The Lord Jesus Christ must first complete His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary and return to earth as the great King-Priest. Only then can Israel avail herself of the ransom and return to the Land of her possession.

LESSONS

We learn the following lessons from this part of our study:

  1. The Lord remembers all His promises to His people and fulfills them in His time.
  2. They didn’t have to fight for acquiring the Promised Land. The Lord Himself fought for them and delivered their enemies and the Lands into their hands.
  3. The Levites were jealous for the holiness of God. So the Lord Himself and His priesthood were their inheritance and their complete satisfaction.
  4. In the instructions of God regarding the cities of refuge, we can find central truths surrounding that future time when the present high priestly ministry of Christ will be concluded, and Christ comes forth as the great King-Priest, after the order of Melchizedek.

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