Moses is the only man believed to have seen God face-to-face, and the only human being to be buried by God (Deuteronomy 34:16). However, he did something that displeased God before his death, denying him the chance to enter the promised land, which is why many wonder if Moses went to heaven. What happened to Moses when he died?
The Bible does not directly mention whether Moses went to heaven or not. But where did Moses end up? Did he go with the angel to heaven, or did he go to hell?
In Christianity, it is believed that the things we do while still alive will determine whether we will go to heaven or not when we die. So, before we continue exploring whether Moses went to heaven, let us first find out how he lived his life on earth.
Moses was a man who was faithful to God and obedient to His instructions. He always sought the guidance and direction of God before he did anything.
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When he was sent to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, he did everything per God’s instructions, walking as per the will of God. He recognized and obeyed God’s plan for his life and the assignment God had asked him to fulfill. It is also clear from the scripture that Moses had a close relationship with God. Exodus 33:11 says, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.”
However, towards the end of his earthly life, Moses angered the Lord (Exodus 33:11, Deuteronomy 32:51-52).
Did his last actions deny him the chance to go to heaven? Or was he justified because of the way he had previously lived his life?
Let’s find out.
Reasons We Believe Moses Went to Heaven
The Transfiguration of Jesus
During the transfiguration of Jesus, Moses and Elijah appeared and talked to Jesus.
Luke 9:29-31 reads, “As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”
Here, the appearance of Jesus was transformed, and His disciples noted that he shined and radiated the glory of God. The presence of Moses alongside Elijah signified that they play an essential role in God’s eternal purposes for mankind.
Moses would not have appeared to Jesus to talk with Him about his forthcoming crucifixion if he was not in heaven.
Daniel 7:27 reads, “Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him.”
Moses is considered one among the holy people of God. The Bible says that there has never existed a man on earth as humble as Moses (Numbers12:3). So there is a high possibility that he is with the other holy people of God in heaven, as Daniel writes.
Moses’ Importance in the Bible
Another point that shows Moses went to heaven is that Jesus recognizes and acknowledges him as an important icon. On many occasions, Jesus mentioned Moses, which shows Moses was righteous. He must have gone to heaven since Jesus cannot praise or acknowledge someone who is in hell.
Matthew 8:4 reads, “Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Jesus healed a man of leprosy and asked him to do according to what the law of Moses commands. Jesus, too, respected Moses and knew that Moses went to a better place after his death.
Furthermore, Jesus made it clear to the Pharisees that He had come not to go against the laws of Moses but to bring them to fulfillment.
Matthew 5:17 reads, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
He acknowledged Moses’s work and promised to fulfill the prophesies he made about Him, showing how important Moses was in God’s plan for humanity. He set the pace for Jesus, and Jesus came to fulfill what he had started.
Acts 3:22 reads, “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything He tells you.”
The fact that Moses likened himself to Jesus shows he was as significant, and there’s no possibility he could be in hell.
From our understanding of the life of Jesus on earth and his ascension to heaven, if Moses was a prophet like Him, they are both in heaven.
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In John 5:45-47, Jesus says, “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
Jesus says that Moses will accuse the people of not believing in Him. Moses cannot blame or judge the world if he is in hell. He must be in heaven with God so that when the day comes, he may judge humankind.
1 Corinthians 6:2-3 reads, “Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”
The scripture says that God’s people will judge the world and the angels, too. So, if Jesus mentioned that Moses would accuse and judge the Pharisees who had refused to believe in Him, then he is counted among God’s people, proving that he is in heaven.
Biblical Writers Guided by God
Furthermore, the Apostles, in their Books, spoke highly of Moses. They acknowledged him as a man of faith who focused on his relationship with God.
All authors of the Bible were inspired by the Spirit of God when writing different Books of the Bible. So, what they wrote about Moses was not their own words but the mind of God concerning Moses.
In Hebrews chapter 11, verse 24:28, the author writes, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith, he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.”
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The scripture explains that he was looking forward to his eternal reward. What other reward can a believer look forward to besides inheriting the kingdom of God?
The Book of Jude on Whether Moses Went to Heaven
We read about the devil wrestling with the angel of God for the body of Moses.
“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”Jude 9
Why would the devil engage the angel of God in a battle for the body of Moses? Was he fighting for the body of Moses because he was not supposed to go to heaven?
Let’s learn something about the story of the account of the rich man and Lazarus. From this story, we find that after the poor man’s death, God’s angel carried him to heaven, where Abraham was. We are not told of anyone fighting for his body, which shows that the body of Lazarus belonged to heaven, and no one could oppose that.
But with Moses’ body, the devil fights the angel who had come to carry it to heaven. The devil could have known that Moses belonged to hell because he angered God before he died.
However, in the last bit of the verse, the angel says to the devil, “The Lord rebuke you!” praying that the devil be rebuked for thinking that the body of Moses belonged to him, showing that the angel took the body of Moses with him.
John 3:13 – No One Has Ever Gone Into Heaven
However, others refute claims that Moses went to heaven, arguing that no one has ever gone to heaven except Jesus. John 3:13 reads, “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.”