About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 27

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ch. 27:1-11   ch. 27:12-23 

Zelophehad's Daughter (ch. 27:1 - 11)


I will not comment on every verse in this chapter.  The chapter concerns the distributing of land to families in Israel , especially to families who have no sons.  Land is normally passed down from one generation to the next through sons.  It was brought to Moses' attention by a lady who had no brothers.  So she would be lost in the distribution of land.  God told Moses that women, if there were no sons, could inherit land.  If the father had no son or daughter, then the land could go to his brother.  In short, the land would go to the nearest relative. 


I will make one comment on this chapter.  It's not as an important issue now since communism is not what it once was, but back in the 1970's and earlier, the debate concerning private ownership of land was talked about much.  The question was asked, "should Christians own land"?  More socialist Christians, especially certain Liberation Theology scholars in Catholicism promoted the idea that Christians should not own land.  The idea was that everyone should be equal, and individuals owning land went against this ideal. 


Thos who opposed this socialist view to ownership of land, take certain Old Testament passages, as this one, that showed God's people owning land. 


I believe that Christians can own land if that is what they want. 


Joshua To Succeed Moses (ch. 27:12 - 23)


In verses 12 to 14 God had Moses go up on a high hill and view the land that Israel would inherit.  Moses would have no part in this inheritance because of God's command.  God already told Moses that he would not enter the land because on one occasion he did not honour Him before Israel.  This was when God told Moses to speak to a rock and water would come out.  Moses hit the rock twice.  Water did come out of the rock, but Moses did not do as God told him.  This whole event was seen as dishonoring God before Israel, and for this, God would not allow Moses to enterCanaan.


I wonder how Moses felt when he finally got to see the land that God had promised Israel from the days of Abraham.  Moses had led Israel for decades, but could not reach the fulfillment of God's plan, all because of one incident.  I think that Moses probably felt pretty bad. 


This was also a memorable time for Moses because God told him that he would now be gathered with his people.   Moses would now die. 


In verses 15 through 17 we see Moses' heart towards God's people again.  As frustrated as he has been at times, Moses always cared for the people of God.  So, he asks God to replace him with a capable man who would lead Israel out of the desert into their promised land.


In verse 15 you see the phrase "the spirits of all mankind" used by Moses.  I don't think we should get too mystical about this.  I don't think we should think in terms of any kind of world wide salvation either because Moses said these words.  I think we should just see those words to simply mean that God breathed the breath of life into Adam.  These words speak to God's  creation, and that is all.   


In verse 18 God tells Moses to take Joshua, "a man in whom is the spirit".   There two ways of possibly thinking about these words.  The words alone suggest that Joshua had the Holy Spirit living in him.  Yet for many, this can't be so, because the Holy Spirit did not come to live within people until the Day of Pentecost as seen in Acts 2.  Therefore for these people they would say that the Holy Spirit rested on Joshua with a special anointing.  Others might say that there is an exception to all things and that if the text says the Holy Spirit was in Joshua, then He was in Joshua.  There reasoning might well be that Joshua was prophetic of Jesus, and I believe that is certainly true.  Therefore to be precise in the prophetic analogy, Joshua would have had the Holy Spirit actually living in him, which would point to the Deity of Christ.  That is, God was in Jesus.


Verses 18 to 21 is what God tells Moses.  He tells Moses how he should transfer his authority over from him to Joshua in front of all Israel.  Joshua would now take Moses' place and lead Israel into the promised land. 


The whole point to Moses dying and not leading Israel into the promised land, but Joshua being able to lead Israel into Canaan is prophetic.  In New Testament terms, Moses represents the Law and Joshua represents Jesus.  It's not the Law that leads us to salvation, but Jesus.  It's not the Law that will eventually bring the rule of Yahweh to earth but Jesus.  Moses had to dy.   The Law could not get rid of sin, not even Moses' sin. 


In verse 21 you see the word "urim".  This is some kind of object that helped the priests determine the will of God.  This may sound strange to some and some liberal scholars might use this in their defense, because most civilizations had religious objects that they claimed helped them determine the will of the gods.  Israel seemed to have their special object as well, that was ordained by God.  These objects often times were used in casting lots, like rolling the dice to determine God's will.


Moses did as God command in verses 27 and 28.

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