"Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
When Moses arrived near the borders of the Promised Land, the aged leader knew that the time for him to be gathered with his people had come near. As a father does before the moment of his death, Moses gathered the people of Israel around him, a people that had grown as numerous as the stars in the sky (Deuteronomy 1:10), to give them his final word of advice.
Except for himself, Caleb, and Joshua who was to succeed him, the whole generation that came out of Egypt had now died. Moses was surrounded by a people who had been raised in the desert under the sole nurture and admonition of God through Moses. Their only diet was manna; their sole drinking water came from the Rock that ‘followed’ them. Egypt was a distant echo they had only heard of.
Moses knew that the people were difficult to lead (Deuteronomy 1:12). He knew that after his departure they still needed leadership so he reminded them of their leadership structure. These had been trained under Moses top take charge over the different matters between people, and they would need to continue to do so when in the Land.
The Father has often compared us His people to sheep. Sheep need human leadership and so do we. We may rebel and chaff against it but we do need leaders to define the right way for us and even enforce it at times. The saddest words in the Tanach could be, In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6). The Book of Judges is s sad testament to what happens to us when we are left to our own devices, without authoritative earthly central leadership.
Today our congregations and communities are scattered and divided, and like in the days of the Book of Judges, everyone does that which is right in his own eyes, trying to obey the Word each one according to his own perspective. This has caused deep divisions, problems and hurts within the congregational body of Messiah. Hopefully, this state of affairs may not be long, for soon One day the King will return and along with his disciples as the appointed Sanhedrin, as Moses did in the desert, He will sit and judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28) and their myriads of disciples throughout the nations (Matthew 28:20). May it be soon Abba, even in our days!