A Prophet Like Moses
The words of the previous verses of Deuteronomy 18 dealt first with the priests, the Levites, who minister in the name of the Lord, and the responsibility of tending to those who would officiate in this capacity at the place the Lord chose for His name to dwell.
After that, came the warning against allowing any who would employ means of seeking out spiritual revelation in any other way than that authorized by the Lord. There were to be none who made their children pass through the fire, none who practiced witchcraft, no soothsayers, and so on.
From this point, Moses next turns to the office of the prophet. It is this office which will actually build upon the word of God. Although priests or Levites might be prophets, they might not be as well. The priest or Levite who was not a prophet was to get his evaluation of the word of the Lord solely from the recorded word of the Lord or those who were known to be true prophets.
However, the prophet (if a true prophet) – whether from Levi or from another tribe – would continue to speak forth the word of the Lord. From there, the record of his words was – at times – to be added to Israel’s canon of Scripture and evaluated as such.
In other words, what they spoke forth was to carry the same weight and authority as the Law of Moses because their words are derived from the same Source – the True and Living God.
Text Verse: “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:19, 20
Isaiah looked back to the words of Moses and referred to them. Instead of going to what the law had forbidden, they were to seek God as He had authorized – to the law and to the testimony! God had given them the words of life (see Leviticus 18:5) and in rejecting them, they would find only darkness.
Among these words of life is the idea of the Lord raising up for the people a prophet like Moses. That verse will open our passage today. Of that idea, the scholar Keil states the following. Is he right, or is he wrong in his analysis? Listen and decide –
“‘A prophet out of the midst of thee, out of thy brethren, as I am, will Jehovah thy God raise up to thee; to him shall ye hearken.’ When Moses thus attaches to the prohibition against hearkening to soothsayers and practising soothsaying, the promise that Jehovah would raise up a prophet, etc., and contrasts what the Lord would do for His people with what He did not allow, it is perfectly evident from this simple connection alone, apart from the further context of the passage, in which Moses treats of the temporal and spiritual rulers of Israel (ch. 17 and 18), that the promise neither relates to one particular prophet, nor directly and exclusively to the Messiah, but treats of the sending of prophets generally. And this is also confirmed by what follows with reference to true and false prophets, which presupposes the rise of a plurality of prophets, and shows most incontrovertibly that it is not one prophet only, nor the Messiah exclusively, who is promised here. It by no means follows from the use of the singular, ‘a prophet,’ that Moses is speaking of one particular prophet only; but the idea expressed is this, that at any time when the people stood in need of a mediator with God like Moses, God would invariably send a prophet.” Keil
Is this correct? When Moses refers to “A Prophet like me,” is he merely referring to the line of prophets who would come under the Mosaic covenant to speak forth the word of the Lord? Or is he referring first to a single Prophet, who will come in a special class and category, and then only later is he speaking in a secondary sense of Mosaic Covenant prophets in general?
Can we know? If so, how? It can be done, and it is the way we should determine all such things – by taking in the whole counsel of God, meaning the entire canon of Scripture. Keil is wrong as we will see in our evaluation of Moses’ words.
But more, it is wholly unreasonable to assume (as Keil does) that God would “invariably send a prophet” when they “stood in need of a mediator with God like Moses.” In fact, that would be considered the exception and not the rule.
This was the purpose of Moses – to lay out the law for the people to live by. God was under no obligation to send them even a single prophet. They had the law, they had the Levitical priesthood to mediate the law, and anything beyond that should be considered as a completely unexpected mark of grace.
The fact that a Prophet like Moses is prophesied demonstrates an unusual occurrence, not something to be expected in times of need. Rather, it is the false prophet that should, unfortunately, be the expected and inevitable outcome of having a theocracy formed under the true God.
The Lord did send prophets among His people, and they carried on in the steps of Moses, but they were not prophets like Moses. This will be seen as we review the passage today.
Great things, such as a Prophet like Moses, are revealed in God’s superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. Him You Shall Hear (verses 15 & 16)
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren.
There is an emphatic structure to the words that is entirely missed in this and many other translations. It reads: navi miqirbekha meakhekha kamoni – “Prophet, from your midst, from your brothers, like me.” The stress is placed on each thought concerning this Prophet.
Like Keil who was cited in the introduction, other scholars claim this is referring to a collective group, not an individual. Cambridge says –
“A prophet—not individual but collective1, i.e. a succession of prophets, for the whole spirit of the passage is that God shall never fail to speak directly to His people—is placed at the head of the sentence in forcible contrast to the diviners and necromancers just described.”
They say the singular navi, or “prophet,” refers to a collective whole that would henceforth come to speak to the people on behalf of the Lord. But this is incorrect for several reasons.
Though it is true that Moses is a prophet, it is untrue that those who followed would be like him. They would simply be prophets continuing on what he had established, meaning the Law of Moses.
No other prophet was like Moses in that his words formed the basis of the law. He was the one who initiated the covenant –
“So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the Lord has said we will do.’ 4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. 6 And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.’ 8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.’” Exodus 24:3-8
But from these words, a second aspect of what made Moses unique is that not only did he initiate the covenant, but he also performed the priestly role in its initiation, serving at the altar and ministering the blood. Though he was not to continue in the role of priest, he did serve in this function initially.
And further, not only did he serve in these ways, but he also served as the legislator of the covenant. That is seen, for example, in his service recorded in Exodus 18 –
“And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. 14 So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?’
15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, ‘Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.’” Exodus 18:13-16
No other prophet would be like Moses in all of these ways. Indeed, in various ways, Moses has already referred to prophets, such as in Numbers 12:6 and Deuteronomy 13. Here, he is not merely adding to that thought, but he is now defining a particular Prophet.
As I said in the introduction, we can know this is absolutely certain because this is how the verse is taken by both the leaders of Israel, and also by the apostles who spoke under inspiration of the Lord in the New Testament.
In John 1, the leaders of Israel (called “the Jews”) sent designated representatives to John the Baptist to find out who he was, they specifically asked about this verse Moses is now dealing with –
“Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’
20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’
21 And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’
He said, ‘I am not.’
“Are you the Prophet?”
And he answered, ‘No.’
22 Then they said to him, ‘Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?’
23 He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,’”
as the prophet Isaiah said.” John 1:19-23
Whether the Jews fully understood what was meant by “a Prophet like me” or not, they understood that one Prophet was coming who would be different than all the others. This was a set and known principle that defined the One Prophet to come like Moses.
This was fully understood by Philip. It is implied that he, along with Andrew, was with John the Baptist at that time. He said, certainly in reference to this passage concerning the Prophet –
“We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45
The words, “Moses in the law,” may be vague, but they certainly point back to the question put forth two days earlier by the Jews to John, and that was in direct reference to Moses’ words of the Prophet to come.
Later, after the coming of Christ Jesus, the Jews tried to obscure this obvious fact among their people. Ibn Ezra (1089-1164) claimed this prophet was Joshua. Baal Haturim aka Jacob Ben Asher (1269-1343) claimed it was Jeremiah. Others said it was David. Rashi, like Keil and others, said it refers to a succession of prophets.
But these all ignore the testimony of the Jews recorded at Jesus’ time and by that of the apostles who followed in their writings. In fact, all of the prophets continually spoke – explicitly – of One who was coming in a completely different capacity than any of them, with Jeremiah going so far as to explicitly state that a New Covenant would be introduced by the Lord –
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:31, 32
Therefore, it could not be Jeremiah, as Baal Haturim knew very well. From the time of Moses, right until the coming of Christ, it was always assumed by the Jewish people that this Prophet to come would be a single person. The fact that He was still anticipated at the time of Jesus proves that it was none of the previous prophets of Israel.
This will continue to be seen in the next four verses. It is true that a succession of prophets was coming, but only in looking back on Moses’ words now could someone come to the conclusion that this is what he is referring to.
Rather, it is evident from his words as looking forward, and of the words of the leaders of Israel at the time of John the Baptist (as looking from that same perspective), that a single Prophet is to be understood. With this in mind, there could be no excuse for the rejection of this Prophet when He came. Of this coming Prophet…
15 (con’t) Him you shall hear,
There is an added stress in the word translated as “you shall hear,” indicated by the structure,” saying: elav tishmaun – “Him you shall certainly hear.” As I said, there will be no excuse for the rejecting of this Prophet.
Looking back now, and in knowing what we know concerning these words as being fulfilled in Christ Jesus, it shows us the deserved punishment of Israel who rejected Him.
To fail to hear (meaning hearken unto the words of) this Prophet is to reject Moses who spoke of this Prophet. And to reject Moses is to reject the word of the Lord transmitted through Moses which established the covenant in the first place.
In other words, no person of Israel – to whom the Law of Moses was given – can say they are being obedient to Moses if they reject this Prophet that he now refers to. To reject Jesus is to reject Moses. Jesus said this explicitly to them –
“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:45-47
In rejecting Moses, the people thus rejected the Lord who commissioned Moses. The logical progression of thought is that only condemnation results from a rejection of Jesus. To ensure this is understood, Moses next brings in the giving of the law itself as a basis for this…
16 according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly,
Moses reminds the people of what occurred after hearing the speaking out of the Ten Commandants at Horeb (which is Sinai). They saw the terrifying display, they heard the sounds, and they were terrified. In this, the people came as one to Moses…
16 (con’t) saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’
Moses now cites in the singular what the people together said to him, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die” (Exodus 10:19).
This is what the people desired, and so Moses became the one to receive the word of the Lord and to then communicate it to the people. This then forms a second way that the Prophet would be like Moses. Not only was Moses the one to establish the covenant, but he was the mediator of it as it was received –
“Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream.
7 Not so with My servant Moses;
He is faithful in all My house.
8 I speak with him face to face,
Even plainly, and not in dark sayings;
And he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant Moses?” Numbers 12:6-8
All other prophets would receive the word of the Lord in an obscure and deliberately dark way. But Moses received the word with an intimacy not otherwise seen. Only at the coming of the Prophet now referred to by Moses would this again occur. Jeremiah prophesied of this coming One –
“‘And it shall be their Majestic One from among them,
And their Governor from their midst shall come,
And I will cause Him to draw near,
And He shall approach Me.
For who is He, this who pledged His heart to approach Me?’
Says Yehovah.” Jeremiah 30:21 (my translation)
In fact, the author of Hebrews uses the words of Numbers 12 and builds upon them to show that Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of what is spoken of now.
Let me not hear the voice of the Lord
Lest I die when He speaks His words to me
There is terror in every uttered word
I will perish if I hear more; I know this with certainty
But if He speaks His word through you, as I have heard
Isn’t it the same word as if He spoke it to me?
Surely there is terror in every uttered word
This is a law of death; I know this with certainty
Who will speak forth a New Word from the Lord?
One that will not surely condemn any who hear
Who will bring grace and not a sword?
Who will take away the death and remove all fear?
II. I Will Require It of Him (verses 17-19)
17 “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good.
These words are a general repeat of Deuteronomy 5:28 –
“Then the Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me: ‘I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken.”
With that, Moses now continues with words already known to him, but not yet introduced into the narrative. The word is being slowly and progressively revealed to us so that we can more fully appreciate the plan as it has been developed by the Lord…
18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren,
navi aqim lahem miqerev akhikhem kamokha – “Prophet I will raise up to them from midst their brothers like you.” If the Lord had meant any given prophet at any given time, he would have said, “I will raise up for them prophets.” This is especially so because there were times where more than one prophet of the Lord spoke forth His word.
Further, there would be no reason at all to say, “a prophet like you.” As seen earlier, the Lord has referred to the prophet already in Numbers 12:6, acknowledging the office. Therefore, a distinction is made between the prophetic office of Moses and that of other prophets.
It is this precept that Peter also used when addressing the people of Israel, showing that this was a universally known precept among them, to demonstrate that Moses is now referring to a single Prophet who would come in the same capacity as him –
“For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:22-26
And more, this is then repeated by Stephen in Acts 7:37 where Stephen directly quotes Deuteronomy 18:15 to the high priest and leaders of Israel. But more than this is what is stated in John 6. When Jesus fed the five thousand with five barley loaves and two small fish, it says –
“Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’” John 6:14
In other words, the people clearly associated this Prophet to come with more than just verbal prophesying. They anticipated that He would do those things that Moses did, such as giving them manna. The people certainly understood this and another crowd, on the next day came to Him –
“Therefore they said to Him, ‘What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
32 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’” John 6:30-33
Knowing these things, it would be otherwise incomprehensible for the Lord to use the singular here. Therefore, the following words say…
18 (con’t) and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.
Although this statement is true of other prophets, it is also just what Christ said of Himself. In fact, but without saying it directly, Jesus is clearly referring to this verse in Deuteronomy, saying –
“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” John 12:49
He again repeats the same basic thought in John 14:10 and John 14:24. The case is being built, in advance by the Lord through Moses, so that when the One spoken of now was to come, there would be eternity changing consequences for not listening to Him…
19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.
The Hebrew is personal, saying, ha’ish – “‘the man’ who will not hear My words, which He speaks.” Whatever individual will not listen to the Prophet will face the judgment of the Lord because of it. There is no exception to this.
It should be a sobering lesson for the false teachers in the Roman Catholic Church, John Hagee, and others who teach the doctrine of Dual Covenant theology. Any person, including (and especially) the Jew, who rejects the words of Jesus will be cast into hell. The author of Hebrews, referring to his own brethren, says –
“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.” Hebrews 12:25 (NASB 1995)
The words “him who warned them on earth” refer to Moses. As Moses spoke of the coming Christ in his own warning, then there is a double terror waiting for those Jews who have rejected Him. There is the terror of having ignored Moses, and there is the terror of having ignored the words of the Son of God, the coming Prophet, spoken of by Moses.
And this is true collectively as well. As a nation, this was understood all along. In the 1600s, Matthew Poole said –
“The sad effect of this threatening the Jews have felt for above sixteen hundred years together.” Matthew Poole
Two hundred years later, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown continued to acknowledge this –
“The direful consequences of unbelief in Christ, and disregard of His mission, the Jewish people have been experiencing during eighteen hundred years.” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown
Here we are, now almost two thousand years later, and the same thought continues today. Though returned to the land in preparation for the end times, the nation of Israel will suffer two-thirds extermination for failing to hearken to the word of the Lord spoken by Christ Jesus.
With the thought of the Prophet to come stated, the Lord – through Moses – now speaks of the false prophet…
This is truly the Prophet of whom Moses foretold
He is the Prophet to come into the world
His words are purer than the finest gold
Through them, the mysteries are unfurled
This is He of whom Moses spoke
It is He who has lifted the burden from us
No more is the pall dark like smoke
Since the coming of this Man, Jesus
A Prophet is He like none other
One who even is greater than Moses, so we see
This One rose among us, He is our brother
And yet He is higher than Moses – even infinitely
III. You Shall Not Be Afraid of Him (verses 20-22)
20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’
Of the words here, Cambridge says, “These special cases prove that throughout this passage no single prophet but a succession of prophets is meant.” This is incorrect.
Unlike the previous verses where no definite article was used in the Hebrew before the word “prophet,” the Lord includes an article before the word in all four instances between now and the end of the chapter.
In essence, “The prophet, whoever he may be, is who I am referring to now.” Such a person is being set in contrast to the Prophet like Moses, not the prophet in general. This is certainly being presented in this manner because not everything a prophet spoke was in the name of the Lord.
And some who prophesied at one time (such as Saul), would be out of favor with the Lord at another time. Hence, the false prophet now being mentioned is set in contrast to the Prophet like Moses, because the Prophet like Moses is the Lord. Thus, everything Christ said was of the Lord.
The Lord is, for this reason, now only dealing with the prophet who spoke presumptuously, or who spoke in the name of other gods.
Though this is a part of the Law of Moses, the words must be considered from this standpoint even for those today. In other words, regardless as to whether this is a precept of the law or not, it must still apply today.
It is obvious that those who speak in the name of other gods are acting in defiance of the Lord. But because the contrast is to the Prophet like Moses, meaning the Lord, anyone who speaks presumptuously in the name of the Lord today must still bear the same guilt.
The word is zud. It means to boil or seethe, and thus to act rebelliously or presumptuously. It is an onomatopoetic expression where the word represents the sound. In this case, it is the sound of boiling. Just as a pot boils, so a false prophet boils up with his false words.
And how common this is in the church today where people flippantly prophesy from the pulpit and from the pew, speaking falsely in the name of the Lord, and boiling over with arrogance as they do.
The Lord will require it of them. As we are not under the law, there is no provision for us to take them out and stone them, but we should be well versed enough in the word to turn from them and ignore what they falsely claim.
Hebrews 1 tells us that since the coming of Christ, there are no more prophets, meaning that the only prophets there are today are false prophets. Be warned, be wise, and ignore all who claim such a word from the Lord. We have the Bible as the full and complete canon of Scripture from God. What more do we need? As for the false prophet of Israel…
20 (con’t) that prophet shall die.’
The words are emphatic: u-met ha’navi hahu – “and shall die the prophet the he.” This certainly means that the people should stone him as is indicated in Chapter 13, but there is instance in the Bible where the Lord would speak to a false prophet by a true prophet concerning his impending doom –
“Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, ‘Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the Lord.”’
17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.” Jeremiah 28:15-17
21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’—
The words now go from those of the Lord directly to those of Moses. It is an obvious statement to make, and it is one which is necessary to determine if the Lord’s word is truly in the prophet or not.
But the question is not phrased by Moses in the positive – “How shall we know the word which the Lord has spoken?” Rather, it is in the negative, “How shall we know the word which the Lord has NOT spoken?”
In Chapter 13, it noted that a false prophet may produce a sign or wonder and then try to lead the people away from the Lord. Thus, signs and wonders were not to be the only proof that a person was a true prophet.
Further, a person could speak in the name of the Lord, and what he says may be for a time in the future, be it near or distant. In whatever timeframe is involved, the way to know if it is the word the Lord has not spoken is…
22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken;
As noted, it has already been seen in Chapter 13 that a false prophet may prophesy a sign or wonder that does come to pass. Thus, that cannot be the sole criteria for determining if the words of the prophet are from the Lord.
However, the opposite is stated here. If something does not come to pass that was prophesied in the name of the Lord, it is 100% sure that the thing was not given to him by the Lord. When the true prophet of the Lord speaks, that something will happen, it will come to pass, or a reason for it being withheld will be given.
As for future prophecy, the words of those considered true prophets still rely on the actions of the Lord for them to be fulfilled. In other words, it is already accepted that Isaiah, Daniel, Zechariah, and etc., are true prophets. But some of their prophecies extend even beyond our time now.
For Israel, and for us, even though some of their prophecies have not yet been fulfilled, they have been established as true prophets, and so it is assumed, and we are assured, that their words will come to pass.
However, Israel denied that Jesus is the Prophet like Moses even though He met all of the requirements of the law in order to prove that He is, in fact, the Messiah. Despite this, He spoke out numerous future prophecies as well.
And so, I would suggest that this verse, as much as any other in Scripture, will be a determining factor for collective Israel to use in order to definitively establish that Jesus is the Messiah.
When those future prophecies come to pass, just as the future prophecies of the other prophets will eventually come to pass, Israel will no longer be able to deny the evident nature of who He is. For now, they will be held to account for rejecting Him, but eventually this will no longer be the case.
As a nation, they will no longer be able to use the negative tone of this verse to deny Him. The Lord has spoken, and the prophecies will be fulfilled in their appropriate time. As for the prophet who speaks, and his words do not come to pass…
*22 (fin) the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
Moses uses the noun form of the verb, zud, that he just used. It reads, “the prophet has spoken arrogance; you shall not be afraid of him.” For the living, this obviously requires a short span of time for the prophecy to fail. In such a case, the other requirements of proving whether a prophet is true or not must be applied.
In the end, any word that is spoken by a prophet must be in accord with the rest of Scripture and in accord with the nature of the Lord. This is because, at times, prophecies were made that did not come to pass. Jonah called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And yet, that did not happen.
The moral nature of the Lord towards repentant Nineveh overrode the prophecy of Jonah. Despite his supposedly failed utterance (which was actually a success in Scripture) Jonah was and is considered a true prophet of the Lord.
Therefore, all prophecy must be in accord with Scripture, in accord with the character of the Lord, and ultimately bring glory to Him. As far as the Prophet like Moses, meaning Christ Jesus, He meets the qualifications in all ways:
He is a prophet who speaks forth the word of the Lord. He is a prophet in intimate communion with the Lord. He, like Moses, is faithful in His house. In His humanity, He is the Initiator of the New Covenant. In this New Covenant, He fulfills the priestly (sacrificial) role, just as Moses temporarily did.
He is, like Moses was, the Mediator of the covenant. He is the Legislator of the covenant, speaking forth the stipulations of it in the name of the Lord. He is the Leader of His people just as Moses led those under him. And He, like Moses on behalf of the Lord, performed signs and wonders to validate His position.
But more than Moses, He is the One to bring the Law of Moses to an end, and then it is He who bestowed upon His people the grace of God. As John says –
“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John 1:16-18
Not only is Jesus Christ a Prophet like Moses, but He also infinitely exceeds Moses in all ways. He is Moses’ Creator, He is the One who spoke forth the law to and through Moses, He is the Subject of Moses’ words, He is the Object of Moses’ affection, and He is the Finisher of all that Moses began.
In Christ Jesus, we find the embodiment of every type, picture, shadow, and word that issued forth in the giving of the law. Whereas Moses died east of Jordan because he could not lead his people to the promise, Christ Jesus rose again to do just that. Nothing is lacking in Him, and all goodness and blessing flow from Him.
The eternal God set His seal of approval on the Son, and it is He who has restored us to our heavenly Father. A Prophet like Moses? Yes, but a Prophet far above and beyond Moses. He is JESUS.
Closing Verse: “For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: ‘And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.’ 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.’)
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:18-24
Next Week: Deuteronomy 19:1-13 Which way should we go? What do you say? (You Shall Prepare to You the Way) (57th Deuteronomy Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. But He also has expectations of you as He prepares you for entrance into His Land of Promise. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
A Prophet Like Moses
“The LORD your God will raise up for you
A Prophet like me from your midst, so He shall appear
From your brethren
Him you shall hear
According to all you desired of the LORD your God
In Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying
‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God
Nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die
———-as you were relaying
“And the LORD said to me, and so I understood:
‘What they have spoken is good
I will raise up for them a Prophet like you
From among their brethren He will arise and stand
And will put My words in His mouth
And He shall speak to them all that I Him command
And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words
Which He speaks in My name
I will require it of him
So to you I vow; so to you I exclaim
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name
Which I have not commanded him to speak
Or who speaks in the name of other gods
That prophet shall die; his future looks grim and bleak
And if you say in your heart
‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’
When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD
If the thing does not happen or come to pass; such will be the token
That is the thing which the LORD has not spoken
The prophet has spoken it presumptuously
You shall not be afraid of him
You are to ignore him; so shall it be
Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true
And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days
Hallelujah and Amen…
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’
17 “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.