Questions: 

1. Moses was prevented from crossing the Jordan and entering the promised land by God, because of Numbers 20. If the promised land is a foreshadow of heaven, and Moses did not enter it, are we to infer that Moses did not make it to heaven?

2. We can see how God has protected the Israelites as promised in Exodus 15 from many diseases – as you mentioned in ‘Is there a God?’ Discouraging incest (which I understand was commonly practised at the time) was one of these methods God used. But in Numbers 36, God encourages incest for Zelophehad’s daughters. Therefore, can this point be valid regarding incest?

Answer:

My answer to the first question might sound a bit confusing.  The answer is that as a foreshadow, Moses did not enter "heaven" because of his unbelief.   In other words, as a lesson to us in the future, Moses, figuratively, did not enter the figurative heaven because of his rebellion and unbelief.   Here is the confusing part.  Although as a foreshadow, Moses did not enter the Promised Land, I am quite convinced that Moses himself will be in the spiritual antitype to the Promised Land.  He will be in heaven.  I am convinced of this for several reasons, not the least of which is that Moses and Elijah were on the Mount of Transfiguration when the Father spoke to Jesus.  I definitely can see how this would be confusing to have the foreshadow involve Moses not entering the Promised Land, when in reality, because of Moses’ faith, he will be in heaven, but that is how I see it.
God is inscrutable.  I cannot claim to fully plumb the depths of his wisdom and of his detailed will in everything.  I cannot explain with absolute precision the motives for all the laws God gave to Israel or the apparent "exceptions" he allowed.  He hates divorce, yet he allowed the Israelites to divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.   God did not allow Israel to commit certain kinds of incest.  My conjecture is that this was, at least in part, because it was a helpful health measure for them.  Of course you know that I have already pointed this out.  What I cannot do is tell you why God made an exception on the case of Numbers 36, first of all because it is somewhat speculative that he gave the law to them for health purposes.  With this really long excuse for saying I do not know, let me speculate anyway (with the hope that you understand I am stepping out on a limb somewhat here).  My thought is that God was faced with a moral dilemma here.  He had to choose between two "evils."  One evil was for the daughters of Zelophehad to lose their inheritance in Israel and for this clan to disappear entirely.  Another "evil" was for the daughters to marry their cousins.  God chose the lesser of two negative possibilities.   Yes, there is such a thing as situational ethics in Christianity.  Yes, we are occasionally forced to choose between two bad options.
I had fun with this one.
John Oakes




What do you think?