Question: The battle for Moses’ dead body: “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” (Jude 9)
Answer: The following answer is taken from The Defender’s Study Bible by Dr. Henry M. Morris: “This fascinating incident is never mentioned elsewhere in Scripture; in fact, the burial place of Moses is said to be known only to the Lord. ‘So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He [God] buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day.’ (Deuteronomy 36:5-6)
“However, a pseudepigraphical work called The Assumption of Moses, preserved now only as a fragment, seems to have recorded the story, and Jude may either have obtained it from that source or received it by direct revelation. In either case, its inclusion in Jude’s inspired epistle is enough to confirm its actual occurrence.
“Satan evidently wanted the body of Moses for some purpose involving deception of God’s people, hoping, perhaps, to lead them to doubt God again, or even to lapse back into idolatry, worshipping Moses’ body or some idol spirit professing to be Moses. No one knows, but in any case God would not allow it, and He Himself buried Moses in a secret grave.
“The reason Jude introduced this event in his epistle was to stress the dangerous impropriety of speaking evil or speaking disdainfully of exalted angels in God’s hierarchy of creation, let alone of God Himself. Michael is one of God’s archangels, yet Satan (Lucifer) had once been the highest of all as the anointed cherub over God’s throne (Ezekiel 28:14). Even though he had fallen from heaven, he was still treated with great respect by Michael when contending with him.” (The defender’s Study Bible)
I would just like to add that when I have had to deal with demons, even then I would use the phrase: “The Lord rebuke you!” This is very Scriptural as we see from this passage and also Zechariah 3:2 which says: “And the LORD said to Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
The point is, we are not to speak disrespectfully of anyone in heaven or on earth. God is the judge of all including Satan. We are also no match for even one angel in our own strength, let alone Satan. Even though Satan is our enemy, and we hate him and all he stands for, we must respect his authority and power that he has now.
The only reason he has any power, even for a time, is because God has allowed for him to exist, giving mankind a choice. We can either choose the God of the Universe and serve Him or we can choose to serve Satan. If we don’t make a choice, we are serving Satan. The wonderful thing is that we don’t have to fear Satan, even though we respect the fact that he has a lot of power for the time being.
We are to fear God, and serve Him. There is a spiritual warfare going on all the time around us. Daniel was told by an angel that when he started praying his request was granted by God, but it took 21 days of fighting between angels before his request could come to pass. “And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’ While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.
Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” (Daniel 10:11-13)
For more on this spiritual warfare and what we are to do about it go to Ephesians 6:1-18. We have a Bible Study on this subject as well; go to our study Ephesians Part Five.
Yours in Christ,
Gary T. Panell
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