Moses' third speech, Part 2
Sep 01, 2012
Moses told Israel that they were not being given the Promised Land on account of their righteousness, but only because Canaan had lost their case before the divine court. He then reinforces this idea by reminding them of their failed tests in the wilderness.
In fact, because of Israel's failures, they were only given a physical land and not the real inheritance that Abraham sought. To inherit the "better country" that Abraham foresaw, those Israelites would have to become overcomers. Likewise, when we compare that "church in the wilderness" with the New Testament church, we find that the situation did not change much in the Pentecostal Age. Both churches had their overcomers, of course, but both churches as a whole were not worthy of the Promises of God. Both failed multiple tests in their respective histories.
What Moses said about Israel, then, applies also to the church in our time. Moses tells the church under Pentecost that the Age of Tabernacles is coming, in which Babylon (like Canaan) has lost its case in the divine court. The church will therefore inherit the land that Babylon has controlled for so long. However, they will inherit a lesser promise than that which Abraham foresaw. Only the overcomers will inherit immortality in this season. The First Resurrection is not for all the dead, but only for those who, like Caleb and Joshua, overcame by faith, learned obedience, and came into agreement with the mind of Christ.
The rest of the church will be given a lesser inheritance as the Stone Kingdom emerges and grows (Dan. 2:35). Life spans will increase dramatically (Is. 65:20), but not to the point of immortality. Living conditions will vastly improve, but they will still need shelter and food to live. They will be given authority and responsibility according to their works, but they will not enjoy the same level of spiritual authority as the overcomers. They will be part of the effort of world evangelism as whole nations turn to Christ, and they will see a tremendous Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but they will not enjoy the fullness of the Spirit (Eph. 3:19) that the overcomers will receive in the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
It will be a bitter-sweet experience for the church, for even though they will receive much, it will fall short of their expectations. In fact, one of the big surprises for many will be that instead of retiring on a cloud in heaven, they will find useful work in world evangelism in the earth. Then, at the end of the Tabernacles Age to come, which is described in Rev. 20:6 as a thousand years in length, the Great White Throne will see ALL of the dead raised (Rev. 20:12) for that final scene in the divine court. At that time both believers and unbelievers will be raised for judgment (John 5:28, 29), excluding only the overcomers who were raised earlier in the First Resurrection. See my book, The Purpose of Resurrection.
Getting back to Moses' speech, we read in Deut. 9:7-8,
7 Remember, do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. 8 Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you.
In other words, being "chosen" did not give Israel a license to sin, nor did it exempt them from the law's judgments. They might well have suffered the same fate as other nations--and worse, in fact, because "to whom much is given, much is required" (Luke 12:48). Being chosen, then, merely increased their liability for sin, because they despised the truth (law) that they had been given.
9 When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord had made with you, then I remained on the mountain forty days and nights [Ex. 24:18]; I neither ate bread nor drank water. 10 And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the Lord had spoken with you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. 11 And it came about at the end of forty days and nights that the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.
God also gave Moses instructions for the tabernacle (Ex. 25-27, 30) and for the priesthood (Ex. 28, 29). He called Bezalel to oversee the construction of the tabernacle (Ex. 31:2) and established the Sabbath calendar (Ex. 31:12-17). Only when those instructions were completed did God carve two stone tablets out of the mount and inscribe them with the Ten Commandments (Ex. 31:18).
In other words, it did not take forty days just to write the Ten Commandments. Most of that time was spent in revealing the detailed instructions for the tabernacle, so that it would accurately represent the pattern of spiritual truth in the tabernacle in heaven (Rev. 15:5). The details were important, because they prophesied of the precise nature of Christ and the truth of the perfected Kingdom.
The forty days that Moses spent on the Mount was also prophetic of Israel's forty years in the wilderness, in which they were supposed to learn these truths being revealed to Moses. In the same manner, the forty Jubilees of church history under Pentecost were given for the same reason. Moses' journey up the Mount served as a prophetic type of Jesus' ascension to heaven prior to the second coming. The difference is that Moses ascended at the beginning of the Passover Age, a time of types and shadows, while Christ's ascent came at the beginning of the Age of Pentecost. Hence, there were a few necessary changes as time progressed and the anointing increased from age to age.
12Then the Lord said to me, "Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made a molten image for themselves."13 The Lord spoke further to me, saying, "I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people. 14 Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they." 15 So I turned and came down from the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire, and the two tablets of the covenant were in my hands.
The full story of Moses' descent is told in Exodus 32. When he saw the people worshiping the molten calf of Egypt, he broke the tablets of stone that God had given him. Judgment was rendered against Israel, and 3,000 died that day (Ex. 32:28). This provided the prophetic template for the 3,000 who were saved on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:41. In both cases, men "died," but under Pentecost they died to their flesh through repentance, which is the merciful death penalty under the New Covenant.
Moses continues his account:
16 And I saw that you indeed had sinned against the Lord your God. You had made for yourselves a golden calf; you had turned aside quickly from the way which the Lord had commanded you. 17 And I took hold of the two tablets and threw them from my hands, and smashed them before your eyes.
Even as Israel was found worshiping the gold calf in violation of the law, so also did the nation of Judah reject Jesus Christ in favor of their own golden calves. Their rejection, in effect, smashed all Ten Commandments. The fact that 3,000 were baptized (unto death and resurrection) at Pentecost connects the type with the antitype and thus points to the overall failure of Judah as a nation. The first 3,000 died by the physical sword at the hand of the Levites. The second 3,000 repented and "died" to the flesh as they were "killed" by the Sword of the Spirit being wielded by the 120 disciples.
The question naturally arises: Under Moses, how could the people worship a golden calf while the fire on the Mount and the presence of God's glory was so visible? Likewise, there is a second question: Under Christ, how could the people reject Him when the works of God were so clearly manifested in the life that He lived and the works that He did?
18 And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you had committed in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was wrathful against you in order to destroy you, but the Lord listened to me that time also.
When Moses returned to the Mount to intercede for the people, he again remained forty days and nights (Ex. 34:28). This forty-day intercessory period represents the forty Jubilees of Christ in heaven, where, as High Priest, He "lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). According to the pattern of Moses, at the end of this forty-day period, he returned carrying the new Tablets of Stone which were NOT BROKEN. In that he arrived in the camp transfigured in his face (Ex. 34:29), the story prophesies of the Age of Tabernacles that begins with Christ's return.
The Tabernacles Age, then, will be a time when the nations will learn the laws of God (Is. 2:2-4). Order will be restored as the Stone Kingdom grows and slowly fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35). There will be no military crusades needed to convert the world. As men and women who are full of the Spirit of God will manifest the life of Christ to all nations, the knowledge of the glory of God will begin the process of covering the whole earth (Num. 14:21).
Moses tells us that Israel had provoked God to anger. This is, of course, a legal anger, indicating that Israel was subject to divine judgment. In the laws of tribulation, found in Lev. 26 and Deut. 28, that anger or wrath is expressed in terms of divine judgment. In later history, both Israel and Judah found themselves in captivity in foreign lands. In the New Testament, the rejection of Jesus as the Christ resulted in another round of judgment along with captivity in foreign lands, as Jerusalem was destroyed and the people scattered.
In Matt. 22:1-7 Jesus told a parable about His rejection and, in fact, their rejection of all the prophets before Him. Verses 5-7 read,
5 But they paid no attention and went their own way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves [the prophets] and mistreated them and killed them. 7 But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city [Jerusalem] on fire.
This illustrates the anger of the Lord on account of the nation's rejection of Christ and the prophets. His anger is seen in the fact that God is said to have sent "his armies" (i.e., the Roman army) to destroy the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and to send the people into foreign lands to serve out their sentence.
This is the second part of a series titled "Moses' Third Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones