The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
The Devil and the body of Moses
Here is an illustration — Biblical or non-Biblical? — to expose the evil men against whom Jude writes. Michael the archangel, in disputation with the devil about the body of Moses, is content to leave the issue in God’s hands: “The Lord rebuke thee”.
Preexistence in the “Assumption of Moses"
The Assumption of Moses is believed to be a 1st century Samaritan document, and is one of the earlier references to the usage of preexistence language in Jewish literature. In the passage below, Moses is described as existing “from the foundation of the world”:
Not Giving Heed to Jewish Fables: Michael, the Devil, and the Body of Moses
Jude 1:9 is difficult to understand on more than one count: it lends itself to supporting the idea of the devil as a person and seems to arbitrarily alter the words of Zechariah 3:2. The verse reads:
The end [of the life] of the great lawgiver [Moses] especially was surrounded with legends. “While, after having taken leave of the people, he was going to embrace Eleazar and Joshua on Mount Nebo, a cloud suddenly stood over him, and he disappeared, though he wrote in Scripture that he died, which was done from fear that people might say that because of his extraordinary virtue he had been turned into a divinity” (“Ant.” 4:8, § 48). Philo says: “He was entombed not by mortal hands, but by immortal powers, so that he was not placed in the tomb of his forefathers, having obtained a peculiar memorial [i.e., grave] which no man ever saw” (“De Vita Moysis,” 3:39). Later on, the belief became current that Moses did not die, but was taken up to heaven like Elijah. This seems to have been the chief content of the apocryphon entitled “Assumptio Moysis,” preserved only in fragmentary form (comp. Charles, “The Assumption of Moses,” 1897, Introduction; Deut. R. 11; Jellinek, “B. H.” 1:115-129, 6:71-78; M. R. James, “Apocrypha Anecdota,” pp. 166-173, Cambridge, 1893). No sooner was the view maintained that Moses was translated to heaven than the idea was suggested that his soul was different from that of other men. Like the Messiah, he is said to have been preexistent; he is thus represented in “Assumptio Moysis” (1:12-14); so too “He was prepared before the foundation of the world to be the mediator of God’s covenant, and as he was Israel’s intercessor with God during life [xi. 11, 17], so is he to be the intercessor in all the future.” While his death was an ordinary one (1:15, 10:14), “no place received his body” “his sepulcher is from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof, and from the south to the confines of the north; all the world is his sepulcher” (11:5-8). Philo also calls Moses “the mediator and reconciler of the world” (ib. 3:19). Especially in Essene circles was Moses apotheosized: “Next to God,” says Josephus (“B. J.” 2:8, § 9), “they honor the name of their legislator, and if any one blasphemes him he meets with capital punishment” (comp. “Ant.” 3:15, § 3). Against such excessive adoration of a human being a reaction set in among the Rabbis, who declared that no man ever ascended to heaven (Suk. 5a).
Assumption of Moses
Assumption of Moses, an apocryphal book so called, said to contain an account of the death of Moses and of the translation of his soul to Paradise. Some have supposed that the particulars of the combat between St. Michael and the devil, alluded to in the Epistle of Jude (ver. 9), were contained in this book (Moreri, who cites Calmet).—J. A. Fabric. Cod. Pseudep. V. T. i, 839-847. SEE MOSES.
Assumption of Moses
The Assumption of Moses (otherwise called the Testament of Moses) is a Jewish apocryphal pseudepigraphical work. It is known from a single sixth-century incomplete manuscript in Latin that was discovered by Antonio Ceriani in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan in the mid-nineteenth century and published by him in 1861.
Pseudepigrapha (also anglicized as “pseudepigraph” or “pseudepigraphs”) are falsely-attributed works, texts whose claimed author is not the true author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past. Pseudepigraphy covers the false ascription of names of authors to works, even to authentic works that make no such claim within their text. Thus a widely accepted but incorrect attribution of authorship may make a completely authentic text pseudepigraphical. Assessing the actual writer of a text locates questions of pseudepigraphical attribution within the discipline of literary criticism.