The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.
Points to Ponder:
The entire book of Deuteronomy is a recording of the final sermon that Moses delivered to Israel just prior to his death and the nation’s entrance into the Promised Land. Obviously, he had quite a bit to say after 40 years in the wilderness with this at-times trying group of people whom God had claimed as His beloved and promised to deliver from bondage.
As such, it isn’t often that Deuteronomy strikes a Christ-follower as go-to Scripture for all things Advent; yet here, tucked snugly into chapter 18, we find surprising words that God sets forth through His servant. In today’s passage, Moses prophesies of the Onewhom God will send—a Prophet whose words to His people will be the very word of God Himself.
The reference to this Prophetcan seem puzzling because it contains so little explanation beyond its immediate context. I imagine the statement left its listeners perplexed or at least vaguely curious. Had I been an Israelite within earshot of Moses’ speech on that day, in all of my stubbornness I would have had questions about this Prophet – lots of questions. So I would likely have been disappointed, maybe even a bit perturbed, that Moses had the audacity to casually mention this coming Prophet – and the fact that God would expect me to listen to His every word – before moving nonplussed on to other topics.
Thankfully, this dialog that must certainly have puzzled Israel all those centuries ago has gained unmistakable clarity for its readers today who have the benefit of studying both the Old and New Testaments. Careful consideration of the sketchy details given in these two verses of Scripture reveals that, while Moses’ words may refer to Israel’s forthcoming prophets in general,
they also pinpoint one specific Someone there seems here to be special Someone handpicked for a calling similar to yet beyond that of the others.
One example of this idea of similar appears in a passage we studied earlier this week (Deuteronomy 6:16). Moses instructed Israel, “Do not put the LORD your God to the test,” but God spoke twice to Ahaz, King of Judah, telling him to ask for a sign as a means of winning the king’s trust. As we saw, Ahaz refused so God selected a sign Himself—he would send a prophet, born of a virgin, who will be able to choose right and reject wrong, even as an infant.
Moses’ statement apparently remained a source of hope for Israel even into the days of the New Testament. John’s Gospel, in fact, carries this theme of the Prophet who would speak for the Father. People would have to listen, he said, or see God’s wrath (John 3:31-36). Furthermore, Jesus openly stated that He spoke on behalf the Father (John 7:16-19; John 8:25-27; John 12:44-50).
And get this – we hear clear echoes of the prophecy from God Himself on the mountain of transfiguration, in the presence of Moses and Elijah – “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5) As the Israelites did with Moses at Mount Sinai, the apostles Peter, James and John fell on their faces in terror when they heard the voice of God. As Moses did to Israel, Jesus told the three not to be afraid (Matthew 17:7). After the resurrection and ascension of Christ, Peter explained on the Day of Pentecost that Jesus Himself was the Prophet who, like Moses, came from Israel, that He was One to whom mankind would be required to listen to (Acts 3:18-24).
A number of differences, however, overshadow all of these similarities of Christ to other biblical prophets; those differences are game-changers in the lives of His followers. Jesus is the unique Word of God Incarnate (John 1:1). Although God chose to speak to man “at many times and in many ways … by the prophets,” He now chooses to speak to you and me through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2).
But the most massive game-changer of all? Through the virgin birth and His ability to remain consistently obedient to His Father – in other words, sinless – Christ stands as a unique and unmatched Prophet who not only convicts His followers of their sin through the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), but Himself provides the one method of salvation from that sin to create a Bridge between them and their Heavenly Father (Philippians 3:4-11; Hebrews 7:25).
– Copyright 2016, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All Rights Reserved.
Worship Link via YouTube:
Focus for Reflection:
Have you ever considered prophecy to be an aspect of Christ’s earthly ministry? Why or why not?
Does the Scripture associated with today’s post in any way shape or reshape your perceived identity of Christ as you wait expectantly for His second coming?
Thank you for letting His Own Heart Ministry be a part of your day. It is such an honor to serve you in the Name of Jesus! To ensure delivery of this Advent series, please subscribe through the button above to your right.