Shortly before his death, Moses addressed the children of Israel. He reminded them that they had not wanted God to directly communicate with them (Dt. 18:16 cf. Ex. 20:18-19). But, God did communicate with them through Moses. And, He would continue to communicate with them through prophets. He told them that they were not to direct their lives as the Canaanites did. They were not to use human sacrifices, witchcraft, soothsaying, interpretation of omens, sorcery, spells, mediums, spiritists or summoning of the dead (Dt. 18:9-14).
They needed to know how to discern a true prophet. Remember, Moses provided adequate evidence that he spoke for God (Ex. 4:1-9). The book of Deuteronomy addressed this subject with two additional points. First, a prophet of God will not contradict previous revelation (Dt. 13:1-5). Second, a prophet of God will be 100% correct in what he prophesies (Dt. 18:21-22). He will not merely sometimes be correct, or even most of the time be correct; he will always be correct.
The Coming Prophet
Moses foretold of a coming prophet. He said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren, him you shall hear” (Dt. 18:15). Again, he said,
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I commanded him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which he speaks in My name, I will require it of him. (Dt.18:17-19)
Of Whom Did He Speak?
Consider two clues which are provided: (1) This prophet would come, “from your midst, from your brethren.” It is most natural to understand this to be speaking of an Israelite (Dt. 15:17; 17:15; 24:14 cf. 18:15, 18). (2) This prophet would, in some way, be like Moses. Peter revealed that this prophet was Jesus.
But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled… 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… (Acts 3:18-25)
Consider the many parallels between the life and work of Moses and Jesus:
1. Both preserved in childhood (Ex. 2:2-10; Mt. 2:14-15). 2. Both sent by God (Ex. 3:9-10; Jn. 3:17; 4:34; 8:42; Gal. 4:4-5, etc.). 3. Both left glory to serve (Heb. 11:24-26; Phil. 2:5-8). 4. Both did miracles (Ex. 4:1-ff; Jn. 3:2, 20:30). 5. Both fasted forty days (Ex. 34:28; Mt. 4:2). 6. Both gave people laws (Josh. 8:31-32; Gal. 6:2). 7. Both ratified a covenant for the people with blood (Ex. 24:1-8; Heb. 9:16-ff; Mt. 26:28; Heb. 9:16-28). 8. Both had seventy helpers (M: Num. 11:16; Lk. 10:1). 9. Both called prophets (Dt. 18:18; Lk. 13:33; 24:19). 10. Both involved in giving memorial feasts (Ex. 12:14; Lk. 22:19). 11. Both made intercessory prayers (Ex. 32:32; Jn. 17:9). 12. Both willing to die for the people (Ex. 32:32; Jn. 10:17). 13. Both present when multitudes were miraculously fed (Ex. 16; Jn. 6). 14. Both offered an opportunity for salvation (Ex. 14 cf. 1 Cor. 10:1-2; Num. 21 cf. Jn. 3:14; Mark 16:15-16). 15. Both offered freedom (freedom from Egypt; freedom from sin). 16. Both offered a promised land [Canaan; Heaven (cf. Heb. 3:16-4:14)].
God’s prophet should be heeded. God said, “I… will put my words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I commanded Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him” (Dt. 18:18-19). Jesus connected this to Himself, saying,
He who rejects Me, and does not received My words, has that which judges him the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day… 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. (Jn. 12:48-49)
May we all heed the Prophet like Moses—Jesus the Christ!
In addition to our weekly bulletin, the Southwest church of Christ publishes each month the third oldest subscription periodical in our brotherhood, Christian Worker. This publication is also filled with Bible teaching, exhortation, and encouragement to all who are interested in reaching Heaven when they die.