18

Who is the prophet Moses mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15 ?

I was thinking Moses was talking about Jesus, but Jesus is not considered a prophet is he ?

Deuteronomy 18:14-16 (NIV)

14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. 15 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. 16 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.”

25

There are three key positions in ancient Israel, that of Prophet, Priest, and King. A prophet would hear from God and speak to the people. A priest would hear from the people and intercede for them to God. A king would, of course, rule.

Jesus fulfills all of these positions. He spoke of His own death and even of future events, like when He spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem (see Mark 13:2) and of end times.

He was most certainly a priest, though not of the Levitical (and especially not the Aaronic) priesthood, but the Melchizedek priesthood. (see, e.g., Hebrews 7)

He also is the King of Kings (Revelation 19:16), and heir to David's throne (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Mark 10:47, et. al.)

So, yes, this is speaking of Jesus.

To be more precise about how exactly Jesus was a prophet like Moses, note the following similarities from this article:

1 Both Moses and Jesus were born when Israel was under bondage (Moses in Egypt Ex.1:8,10, and Jesus during Israel's Roman bondage. Mt.2:1,Lk.2:1-2)

2 Edicts were issued by the gentile powers of both Pharaoh and Herod for their death at birth. (Ex.2:3, Mt.2:15)

3 Both were miraculously delivered from death during their infancy from their enemies of Israel (Ex.2:3, Lk.2:7;Mt 2:14,15) and were preserved in childhood.

4 Both had been born and found in unusual places. Moses was found in the water floating in a basket of bulrushes (Ex.2:3) Jesus in a manger (cave) wrapped in burial cloths (Lk.2:7)

5 Both Moses and Jesus were protected and preserved by the faith of their parent. Moses was hidden by faith (Ex.2:2-3 and Heb.11:23) Jesus’ life was preserved by his parents obeying the message in a dream. (Mt.2:13-14)

6 Both Moses and Jesus stayed safely in Egypt for a time. Moses (Ex.2:10) Jesus dwelt safely in Egypt (Mt.2:14-15)

7 Both had their brethren and family speak against them. Moses had Mariam and Aaron speak against him taking a Cushite wife (Numb.12:1) Jesus had his family criticize and reject him (Mt.13:54-57, Jn.7:3)

8 Both Moses and Jesus were reared in the house that was not their natural parents. (Moses in the house of Pharaoh (Ex.2:10) Jesus by Mary the mother of his humanity and his stepfather Joseph.

9 Both predicted Israel's history (Deut.28:15-28; Mt.23:34,24:1,2,8,34)

10 Both spoke out against Israel's enemies and persecutors. (Deut.23:3-4; Mt.25:41-48)

11 Both were considered a snare to Israel (Ex10:7; 1Pt.2:8=Isa.8:14)

12 Both cleansed leprosy. From Moses’ time no one that was Jewish was cleansed until Jesus came (Numb.12:10-16, Mk.1:40-41). This is a very significant factor that proves Jesus was the prophet Moses spoke of, since no other cured one of the brethren of this disease from Moses' time.

13 Both were used of God to feed Israel miraculously, Moses with manna in the wilderness (Ex.16:14-17) Jesus with the five loaves and two fish fed four and five thousand two times. (Mt.14:19-21) Jesus also called himself the true manna that came from heaven in Jn.6, comparing himself to the miracle that sustained Israel alive through the desert.

14 Both had the forces of nature obey them (the seas) Moses (Ex.14:21-22) Jesus (Mt.8:26-27)

15 Each had seventy helpers Moses (Num.11:16-17) Jesus ( Lk.10:1).

16 Both fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness to bring a covenant to Israel. Moses on the top of Mt. Sinai (Ex.24:18, 34:28, Deut.9:9) Jesus in the desert as the Son of God (Mt.4:2)

17 Both had a face to face relationship with God unlike any other person. Moses (Ex.33:9-11, Deut.34:10; Numb.12:7-8) Jesus was with God=face to face from eternity (Jn.1:1,18)

18 God spoke audibly and directly from heaven to both Moses and Jesus. Moses (Ex.20:22, 24:12-16) Jesus (Mt.3:17; Jn.12:28)

19 Both were God's spokesman to and for the people. Moses (Ex.9:35; Numb.12:2) Jesus (Heb.1:1-3). They Spoke as oracles of God (Moses Deut. 18:18) Jesus (Jn.14:24, 5:24)

20 Both Moses and Jesus reflected and shown the glory of God. Moses reflected his glory temporarily. (Ex.34:29-35; 2 Cor.3:7-14) Jesus at the transfiguration, his face shown brighter than the sun revealing his true nature (Mt.17:2; Jn.1:14)

21 Both were known for their humility and meekness as God's servants. Moses (Numb.12:3) Jesus (Mt.11:29; Phil.2:3-8)

22 Both contended with masters of deception and darkness Moses with Pharaohs magicians (Ex 7:11, 1 Tim.3:8) Jesus with the Devil (Mt 4:1).

23 Both prayed for the people intercessory prayers and were willing to bear the consequences of the people's sins. Moses asked to be blotted out of the book of life for the peoples sake (Ex.32:32-33). Jesus asked for them to be kept from falling away (Jn. 17:9-17). Jesus asked for those to be forgiven while he bore the consequences in their stead. (Lk.23:34, 2 Cor.5:19, 1 Pt.2:21-24, Isa.53:8)

24 Both Moses and Jesus were rejected by their own brethren for a time and accepted by the gentiles. Moses (Ex.2:14-22, 32:1) Jesus was rejected by his own people and received by another who were not his own. (Isa.53:3; Mt.12:21; Mk.6:4; Lk.20:9-17, Rom.11:20)

25 Both Moses and Jesus established a priesthood. Moses began the Aaronic priesthood which was temporary under the law (Lev.9; Numb.8:20-26; Heb.9:19-22). Jesus established a eternal priesthood under the new covenant of grace which He alone functions as the high priest forever. (Heb.7:17,19,23,25-28; 9:12)

26 Both sprinkled the blood of the covenant on the altar and the people. Moses (Ex.24:7-8; Lev.8:19) Jesus (Heb.9,12:24; 1Pt.1:2)

27 Both were sent by God to reveal His name, person and law to the people. To Moses God said to tell them I Am sent you. (Ex.3:13-14) Jesus said God sent him as his exact representative revealing his name (I Am) and nature to the people. (Jn.8:42; 17:6,11-12; Col.2:9; Heb.1:3)

28 Both were involved in giving the covenant to the people Jn.1:17 the law came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” At the feast of Pentecost Moses gave the law. At the feast (Pentecost) in the new covenant Jesus gave the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).

29 Both brought deliverance to the Jewish people. Those who followed Moses out of the bondage of slavery to Egypt. (Ex.3:7-8,10;12:31-33,42) Jesus brought people out of a greater bondage, slavery to sin. (Rom.3:24-25,6:6-7,8:2-4; Eph.1:7;Heb.9:26)

30 Both had an angel guard their graves. After Moses died Michael the Arch-angel guarded his body. (Jude 9) And when Jesus rose an angel guarded his tomb. (Mt.26:2-6)

31 Both re-appeared after they died, Moses ( Mt 17:3 with Jesus before his death) Jesus (Acts 1:3)

1
  • 5
    Peter's speech in Acts 3:12-26 quotes this passage. He says "He will send you the Christ he has predestined, that is Jesus, whom heaven must keep till the universal restoration comes which God proclaimed, speaking through his holy prophets." (3:20-21) and then goes on to quote the passage from Deuteronomy.
    – James T
    Sep 7 '11 at 16:48
9

While not discounting the fact that Jesus in fact fulfills the office of prophet, it is not the only interpretation. Indeed, a common rule of hermeneutics is that a verse cannot mean what the original audience could not have understood it to mean. As the concept of Messiah is exilic and the Deuteronomical law is considered at latest to have been 800BC or so, the Messiah is not the what the original audience would have understood.

Generally, we can safely say only that:

  • God will raise up men to speak for Him.
  • When He does so, people should listen.

In fact, God raised up prophets many times throughout the history of Israel. And again, clearly the greatest of the prophets was Jesus, for as it says in Hebrews 1 (NIV):

1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

The question raised in the Deuteronomical passage is "Is there only one prophet?" The answer is, is it really important? If this is fulfilled many times over the course of history, it remains equally valid.

As such, is Jesus a prophet to which this refers? Certainly. Is he the only one? There seems to be nothing in the text to support that claim.

3
  • 1
    Taking the common rule of hermeneutics into consideration, should we also say that isaiah 53 doesn’t talk about Jesus since the audience back then did not understand it to be a prophecy about the messiah?
    – Onyambu
    Aug 1 '18 at 13:25
  • 1
    And are we to then say that Acts 3 (18-23 especially) has violated the common rule of hermeneutics when Luke declares that Moses was speaking about Christ? Jul 30 '20 at 12:25
  • Many prophecies are uttered which are not understood at the time. Did Adam perceive what God foretold, that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent ? If he did so, then it was by Divine perception, which you seem to have left out of the equation.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 12 '20 at 3:17
6

Deuteronomy begins with God telling Moses that it is time for them to enter the Promised Land. It ends with the death of Moses. The bulk of the book inbetween is mostly a reminder to the people of what they have already been told.

That is a generic explanation of how God will continue to guide the nation after Moses dies. As those verses say, the people are not supposed to practice sorcery or divination when they are seeking direction. When they need to hear from God, He will raise up a prophet from among them. The prophet will speak to the people on God's behalf and the people are to obey the prophet's words as if they had heard them straight from God Himself.

The immediately following verses back this up:

Deuteronomy 18:17-20 (NIV)

17 The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. 18 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. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. 20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”

This prophecy (of God sending prophets) was fulfilled multiple times throughout the Old Testament.

5
  • 1
    Could you clarify your answer ? Do you mean that the "prophet" referred in Deuteronomy 18:18 is not just 1 prophet, but all of the prophets ?
    – Pacerier
    Sep 8 '11 at 4:23
  • 1
    @Pacerier A simple reading of the text seems to fit OT prophets. After quoting Deuteronomy in Acts 3:22-23, Peter points out in Acts 3:24 that "all the prophets ... have foretold these days." It seems to me that Peter quotes Deuteronomy to strengthen his appeal to listen to the prophets and believe in Jesus. In Acts 3:25-26 Peter is identifying Jesus as the offspring of Abraham through whom "all peoples on earth will be blessed."
    – jimreed
    Sep 8 '11 at 11:32
  • In John 1, the Jews who questioned John apparently were expecting a specific prophet who had not come yet and was neither Elijah (see end of Malachi) nor Messiah.
    – WGroleau
    Jan 5 '17 at 4:26
  • Except Moses specifically said A prophet and not SOME prophets or THE prophets and then, so that the singular prophet to which he was referring could be identified, he further declared that prophet would be "like me". There were plenty of other prophets to be sure but no other prophet was like Moses. The testimony of all of the other prophets is that this one was still to come. Jul 30 '20 at 12:36
  • @WGroleau: The Jews who came up to John the Baptist in order to find out his identity had a wrong assumption, like many other wrong assumptions, that the coming prophet and the coming Messiah are two distinct persons. Because of their misunderstandings they missed the Messiah. But if we assume that those Jews were right in assuming the above then we cannot ignore the fact that they had a clear conviction that all the ‘three’ persons [the Christ, Elijah, and the Prophet] should come from among the Jews, not from among non-Jews. Which is why, they came to John the Baptist, who was a Jews. Aug 1 '20 at 4:01
4

De 18:15–19. CHRIST THE PROPHET IS TO BE HEARD.

  1. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet—The insertion of this promise, in connection with the preceding prohibition, might warrant the application (which some make of it) to that order of true prophets whom God commissioned in unbroken succession to instruct, to direct, and warn His people; and in this view the purport of it is, “There is no need to consult with diviners and soothsayers, as I shall afford you the benefit of divinely appointed prophets, for judging of whose credentials a sure criterion is given” (De 18:20–22). But the prophet here promised was pre-eminently the Messiah, for He alone was “like unto Moses” (see on De 34:10) “in His mediatorial character; in the peculiar excellence of His ministry; in the number, variety, and magnitude of His miracles; in His close and familiar communion with God; and in His being the author of a new dispensation of religion.” This prediction was fulfilled fifteen hundred years afterwards and was expressly applied to Jesus Christ by Peter (Ac 3:22, 23), and by Stephen (Ac 7:37).

From the commentary:

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871) By Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown

Also please note Mathew 17:5e 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!

The "Hear Him" commandment alludes to Deut 18:15b "You must listen to him"

4

The immediate context of Deuteronomy 18:15 refers back to verses 9-14. There Moses warns the people of the danger of false prophets. God’s people are to avoid any and all who presume to speak authoritatively about spiritual truth apart from God’s truth.

What is God’s truth? Verse 15 says a particular prophet will arise from the Jews (i.e., “your own brothers”) who will be like Moses. Notice that it’s not just any prophet, as there have been many, but a special prophet. People who studied and believed the Old Testament writings were looking for this particular, special prophet. In fact, some Jewish leaders thought the fiery preacher John the Baptist might be the fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy (see John 1:19-30). John the Baptist, however, said that he was the forerunner of the prophet of whom Moses spoke, not the prophet Himself.

Who then is this prophet spoken of in the Bible? He is clearly none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:43-45 records that the early followers of Jesus understood He was the prophet of whom Moses wrote. Jesus Himself declared this about Himself (Luke 24:27). The most complete statement pointing to Jesus as the promised prophet is found in Acts 3:12-26. The deacon, Stephen, reiterated this in Acts 7:37. Such notable men as John the Baptist, Philip, Peter, and Stephen all testified that Jesus Christ, not Muhammad, is the prophet predicted in Deuteronomy 18:15-22.

You ask if Jesus is considered to be a prophet, and the answer is yes. The title “prophet” is used many times in the Gospels when other people refer to Jesus (Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16; John 4:19). Jesus also alluded to Himself as a prophet in Mark 6:4:

Jesus said to them, "Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour."

This was after the Jews in Jesus' home town of Nazareth took offence at his teaching.

Jesus prophesied about his own future when He told His disciples “that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21). This prophecy is recorded as fulfilled in all four Gospel accounts (Matthew 27—28; Mark 15—16; Luke 22—24; and John 18—20).

Jesus also prophesied that, shortly after His ascension, the disciples would receive power at the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Acts 2 records the fulfillment of the prophecy: the apostles received the Holy Spirit and spoke in languages they did not know to proclaim the gospel to at least fifteen different language groups present in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Thus, Jesus clearly fulfilled the role of a prophet, as He spoke predictively.

God had told Moses that someday He would send another prophet to Israel, “and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him” (Deuteronomy 18:18). Jesus was the prophet who fulfilled that prophecy (see Acts 3:22; 7:37). Jesus fulfills all the requirements for a prophet in title, word, and deed. He is the ultimate prophet in that He is the very Word of God Himself (John 1:1).

4

I. Deuteronomy.18:15

Muslims claim that the prophet like Moses mentioned in the above verse is the Islamic prophet Muhammad. This of course is a far cry as the reasons they cite in support of that claim are a good example of eisegesis.

Deuteronomy.18:15-19 “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.”

In the above biblical passage three important things are in order:

(a) God would raise up a prophet like Moses ‘for Israelites’

(b) God would raise up a prophet like Moses ‘among Israelites’

(c) God would raise up a prophet like Moses ‘from Israelites’

None of the above descriptions would fit for the Islamic prophet Muhammad. However, all the above descriptions perfectly fit for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus was a prophet:

  • Jesus referred to Himself as a prophet. [Matthew.13:53-58]

  • People recognised Him as 'the coming prophet.' [John.6:14]

  • Apostles confirmed that Jesus was the promised 'Prophet like Moses.' [Acts.3:22-26]

Interestingly, nowhere in the Quran we see any reference to the above verses of the Torah [Tavra’at]. But the New Testament not only quotes the above verses from the Torah/Tavra’at but also confirmes that the promised ‘Prophet like Moses’ is none other than Jesus Christ [Acts.3:22-26]. With a similar clarity, the same verses were neither claimed by the Islamic prophet Muhammad nor alluded to him in the entire Quran.

1
  • 2
    Helpful explanation - for Israelites, among Israelites and from Israelites.
    – Lesley
    Jul 30 '20 at 13:43
-1

Moses the compassionate prophet and leader of the Israelites was concerned about the Israelites just like a mother (Numbers 11:12). He was comforting the Israelite children during some of his last days on earth! Israelites who feared God did not want God to speak to them directly but wanted God to speak to them through the prophets (Exodus 20:18,19). So Moses wanted to address the concern of the Israelites of how God would speak to them after his death. So he was comforting them that God would send prophets just like him (Deuteronomy 18: 15-22)! Please read the entire passage to understand the context of the message (Particularly Exodus 20:18,19 and Deuteronomy 18:16-18).

2
  • 1
    Except Moses specifically said A prophet and not SOME prophets or THE prophets and then, so that the singular prophet to which he was referring could be identified, he further declared that prophet would be "like me". There were plenty of other prophets to be sure but no other prophet was like Moses. Jul 30 '20 at 12:34
  • The promised ‘prophet like Moses’ is a special singular individual and must be from Israelites, among Israelites, and for Israelites. Besides, He must have done many mighty miracles like Moses, which can be understood by all—regardless of their educational background or language skills. As the New Testament scriptures allude to and explains in detail [Acts.3:22-26; 7:37-52], there is no other person or prophet that fits the description of a ‘prophet like Moses’ other than the Lord Jesus Christ! Aug 1 '20 at 4:21

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.