God likes to show his plans for the future through what he does today. God did a lot of things in the old testament that reflected his plan of salvation for the whole world. An example is asking Abraham to sacrifice his own son Isaac and then provides the sacrifice of a lamb which foreshadowed God sacrificing Jesus Christ on the cross so that the sins of the whole world are atoned for. Is it a co-incidence that Moses who is associated with the law in the Bible(Refer to his role in the transfiguration of Jesus) did not enter into the promised land but Joshua whose name is synonymous to that of Jesus(Yashua) entered into the promised land and it is Jesus who actually leads the new Israelites into the new promised land? Joshua(Yehoshua) who entered(he actually led the Israelites to the promised land) through grace and Moses not entering despite his high record of the works of the law, was God trying to show it is through grace and not works of the law that we are saved?

1 Answer 1


The basic gist of the question is Moses represented the law and therefore failed and Joshua represented faith and therefore succeeded. The clearest answer is that Moses/Joshua is a foreshadow (type of prophecy) of John the Baptist/Jesus.

There are two components to question.

  1. The title of the question infers that Moses is not in heaven - that may not have been intended by the OP but it could be read that way. The answer is yes he is in heaven. The transfiguration makes it clear Moses entered heaven, Matthew 17:2-4:

There he [Jesus] was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

  1. The second part of the question is do Moses/Joshua foreshadow (John)/Jesus. Yes, whether this is a reflection of works/"the law" (Moses) versus faith (Joshua) I am less certain. To be clear the issue of Moses, preparing the way and being fulfilled by Joshua is probably a foreshadow of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus (foreshadow = type of prediction/resemblance). That is probably what is going on in "the transfiguation" (Matthew 17:2-4) (below).

This pattern is certainly true for Elijah preparing the way and being fulfilled by Elisha. This is a direct foreshadow of John the Baptist preparing the way and his work being fulfilled by Jesus, because its a prophesy of Malachi 4:5 (long after the lives of Elijah and Elisha):

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.

The person Malachi is referring to is John the Baptist.

  • The presence of Elijah and Moses at the transfiguration in Matthew 17:2-4 is an indication that Moses is one who prepared the way for salvation (Jesus) in the same way that Elijah and John the Baptist did.

  • The issue with Moses representing the law and therefore dying before seeing the promised land is because he lost patience with the Israelites and patience and love are a key part of God's character, Exodus 34:6-7 (NIV).

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.

Thus Moses sinned. However all the Old Testament and New Testament figures sinned, except Jesus. Elijah ran away, John the Baptist had to question whether Jesus was the Messiah. The idea is Jesus is the only sinless person, thus he is the true saviour. So basically everyone in the bible sinned, except Jesus and not simply Moses. Therefore, in my opinion it's harder to make that case that Moses represented the law and therefore failed and Joshua represented faith and therefore succeeded. It is just my opinion however.

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    Yes Moses did prepare the Israelites for the promised land much like John the Baptist prepared the way for the Christ. Commented May 31, 2023 at 11:43
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    What about Joshua, did he sin at all? Commented May 31, 2023 at 11:53
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    Yes I do agree but he holds the prophetic role of Jesus, leading people into a promised place prepared by God. Was it a sin for him to ask the angel of the Lord whose side he was on, only for the angel to reply neither but the Lord's side. Commented May 31, 2023 at 12:05
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    I'm pretty certain about Joshua sending spies was sinful - because the difference between the first attempt to enter the promised land and the second, was the spy reports were good second time around but bad first time. So, maybe Joshua was no better than his ancestors? However, Joshua asking for God's help I would suggest is parallel to prayer and a response of faith. I know the passage well that you are referring - it's a theophany (appearance of Jesus before incarnation) - it's a very striking passage and I suggest this is Joshua's faith and evidence of God's approval. Separate question?
    – M__
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 12:52
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    Excellent answer, well researched and presented. Much appreciated. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 14:32

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