Deuteronomy 18:15 (NIV)
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.
What a great verse for us during this season of Advent. We have been discussing the prophecies of the Coming One … the Messiah. We have been looking at the anticipation of the people for the Messiah for the past couple of weeks. We have examined the “I AM” claims of Jesus. Now, our Verse of the Day presents a prophetic word from Moses found in the OT Book of Deuteronomy. And we find its application … its fulfillment in Christ Jesus. Look at what Moses asserts: “A prophet like me!” This prophet would be a “leader” over the people. The Lord God will raise up (or exalt) this prophet. And Moses admonishes the people to “listen to Him.” Let’s look at the verse in its immediate context:
Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (NKJV)
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.
In surveying the Old Testament prophets that came after Moses, were there any that met the criteria: “a prophet like me?” Joshua (Yeshua in Hebrew) was certainly a great and mighty leader of the people who came after Moses. His name in Hebrew (same as Jesus in the Greek) indicates that he was a “savior” or “deliverer” of the people. Yet, Joshua did not fulfill the prophecy. He functioned in the role of leader, but not in the role of prophet. If we consider the major and minor prophets, we find that most functioned in the role of prophet, but not that of leader. So, to be like or similar to Moses, the Prophet to come would need to function in both roles as he did.
To me, King David, would have functioned in both roles because we have records of his prophetic role in the Psalms for example. Yet, King David, did not identify himself as “that prophet to come.” For King David himself anticipated and looked for the Messiah who would come … who would be savior of the people and ruler the world under the hand of God. In Psalm 110:1, David wrote of the Messiah’s reign: The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” So, who could this “prophet to come” be? It was a question that people asked for centuries. And when Jesus “arrived” there were people who asked Him, “Are you THAT Prophet? Consider this passage after Jesus had fed the 5000:
John 6:13-15 (NKJV)
13 Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 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.” 15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
Matthew 21:10-11 (NKJV)
10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” 11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Matthew 21:45-46 (NKJV)
45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that Jesus was speaking of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.
Mark 6:14-15 (NKJV)
14 Now King Herod heard of Jesus, for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.”
Mark 8:27-29 (NKJV)
27 Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” 28 So they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Messiah (Christ in the Greek).”
Luke 7:11-19 (NKJV)
11 Now it happened, the day after, that Jesus went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. 12 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried the body stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And Jesus presented him to his mother. 16 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.” 17 And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region. 18 Then the disciples of John the Baptist reported to him concerning all these things. 19 And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
John 7:40-43 (NKJV)
40 Therefore some from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people because of Him.
Fortunately, we have the Apostle Peter who affirms for us that Jesus was indeed that Prophet spoken of by Moses:
Acts 3:17-26 (NIV)
17 “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders (concerning the crucifixion of Jesus). 18 But this is how God fulfilled what He had foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that He may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive Him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything He tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to Him will be completely cut off from their people.’(Cf. Deuteronomy 18:15-19) 24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’(Cf. Genesis 22:18) 26 When God raised up His servant, He sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
For me, the key application here is this message: “You must listen to Him!” Compare these two passages:
Deuteronomy 18:18-19 (NKJV) – The Lord is speaking to Moses
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 will 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.
John 12:47-50 (NIV) – Jesus is speaking to the people
47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that His command leads to eternal life. So, whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Indeed, Jesus IS that Prophet spoken of by Moses who was to come into the world. And this creates a very solemn decision for every person to make when the Gospel is presented: “Will I embrace the command of God to believe in His Son?” Or, “Will I reject and not accept Jesus or His words?” Remember that Jesus declared, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (Cf. John 14:6) Those who believe in Jesus are set apart or sanctified to serve Him and the Kingdom of God. Those who do not believe in Him remain in darkness. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (Cf. John 3:19)
Jesus is God’s gift to us … to the world … to be celebrated at Christmas and always! “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Cf. Romans 6:23) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Cf. Ephesians 2:8-9) Yes, His free gift is salvation and eternal life in Christ Jesus! His gift can only be received or rejected. And that is why it is important to share the good tidings of great joy … the Gospel … the message about Jesus. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Cf. Romans 10:17)
So let us commit, especially during this season of the Advent, to proclaim the birth of the Son of God … to share His identity and His fulfillment of Scripture … to declare our own testimonies of how Jesus encountered and changed our own lives … and to encourage others to seek Him while He is near. Let us fervently pray that those who need healing, deliverance, restoration, and salvation, will respond and open the door of their hearts to Jesus. And may the Church be the vessel Father God uses to reach their hearts. Amen.