Verse of the Day Devotion: Deuteronomy 18:15
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.” – Deuteronomy 18:15
These words that Moses spoke to the people were prophetic words from God referring to a future prophet that would come out of Israel. Notice the wording, “The Lord will raise up for you a prophet like ME”. Many at that time believed that Moses must have been referring to Joshua who would be the one to lead the people into the promised land. However, there are some intriguing words spoken by Jesus and the apostles that show who this prophet like Moses really was.
For instance, when Peter was witnessing to the Jews in Solomon’s Portico, he said, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.” Acts 3:23. He is telling the listeners to repent and return to the true faith, so that when the end comes and Jesus returns, they will experience a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. And if they do not return, they will see destruction rather than refreshing. Note also that Jesus is referred to as the Christ about whom God spoke of through His prophets, particularly Moses.
Stephen as he was speaking to men from the Synagogue, referring to the same verse in Deuteronomy, shows that Moses was referring to Christ in a later verse, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.” Acts 7:51-53. The righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers they had become.
There are various verses in the gospels referring to “The Prophet”, using the definite article rather than the indefinite. This no doubt refers to this prophet declared to be like Moses. In the first chapter of John, we see Jewish priests and Levites from Jerusalem going up to John the Baptist to confer with Him regarding the coming Messiah and to question all that he was doing. “This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” John 1:19-20. He knew what they were suspecting him to say, so he states emphatically that he is not the Messiah. Continuing, “They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?’ He said, ‘I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.’” John 1:21-23. Note the question “Are you THE prophet?” John, referring to the words of Isaiah, answers them saying, “A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3. He declared he is that voice declaring the coming of THE Prophet, not the Prophet Himself.
There are many references in the Old Testament, also known as the Jewish Scriptures, that point to the coming Messiah. For instance, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. And “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. And lastly, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Genesis 3:15. And there are countless others as well. I know we are several months from celebrating Christmas; however, this is the most important event in all of time and space; so important that it is found throughout all of the Old Testament. Without this coming Messiah, there would be no salvation, no reconciliation with God, and no justification, declaring us righteous. It was so important that most of the prophets declared His coming, like Moses and Isaiah, Micah and Jeremiah. The Jewish leadership refused to see Jesus as “The Prophet” because their presuppositions clouded their minds and they refused to accept what was so prevalent in their scriptures.
I encourage us all to remove any presuppositions that prevent us from seeing the truth of the scriptures, not just where it comes to our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah, but in other areas as well. Who knows what we could understand in greater ways if we did. Things would definitely come into greater focus.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.