One of the greatest Messianic prophecies was delivered to Israel by Moses, the great lawgiver: To Christians, Moses might appear to be just one of many wonderful godly men of the Bible. However, to the Jews, he occupies a place of supreme importance, even higher than Abraham, the father of the Jews. For over three thousand years Israel has looked back with reverence to their great prophet, Moses. He was a unique leader with outstanding qualities as a prophet, priest, teacher, savior, and lawgiver. None of the other prophets or leaders came close to duplicating this multiple role.
"A Prophet Like Unto Moses"
Yet, in one of his most specific predictions, Moses declared that God would raise up another Jewish prophet in the future whose life would closely resemble his. This prophecy of Moses that the Messiah would be like him is important to Israel in determining the credentials of the Messiah. Moses prophesied of "a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear....And the Lord said to me: 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. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him" (Deuteronomy 18:15,18-19).
These prophecies were fulfilled in detail in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus: "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'" (John 6:14).
The Talmud declares "that the Messiah must be the greatest of future prophets, as being nearest in spirit to our master Moses." Throughout the Gospels and the Epistles we find the claim that certain messianic prophecies were accomplished in the life of Jesus. For example, when the scribes sent people to question John the Baptist, they asked two questions. The first was, "Are you Elijah?" (John 1:21), referring to Malachi's prophecy that Elijah would come as a messenger before the appearance of the Messiah. Jews around the world still set out a cup of wine for Elijah at Passover - the prophesied forerunner of the Messiah. The smallest boy in the family is delegated to open a door to invite Elijah to join the Passover Seder.
Was Jesus The Prophet "Like Unto Moses"?
The second question the people asked John was, "Are you the Prophet?" (John 1:21). This referred to Moses' prophecy that God would send "a Prophet like me." When Philip found Nathanael, he "said to him, 'We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph' " (v. 45). After Jesus fed the five thousand, the men referred to the well-known prophecy of Moses, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world" (John 6:14). In his defence speech, the martyr Stephen declared that Jesus was the promised Messiah: "This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, 'The lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.' " (Acts 7:37-38).
Was Jesus' life a parallel to Moses? Yes, so much so that no other person in history came close to fulfilling this prophecy. In the last verses of Deuteronomy, writing after the death of Joshua, tells us that even Joshua missed the mark: "There has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses whom the Lord know face to face" (34:10).
In a complete analysis of the life of Moses and Jesus of Nazareth, at least fifty elements and events are parallel in both lives. Many of these were beyond the ability of any human control. Consider the roles which Moses and Jesus both played: prophet, priest, lawgiver, teacher, leader of men. Both taught new truth from God and confirmed their teaching with miracles. Both spent their early years in Egypt, miraculously protected from those who sought their lives. Moses' family initially did not accept his role, but later his brother, Aaron, and sister, Miriam, helped him. Jesus' mother, brothers and sisters initially failed to follow Jesus, but later his brother James became the leader in the church in Jerusalem.
Each was considered the wisest man in his day. Both confronted demonic powers and successfully subdued them. As Moses appointed seventy rulers over Israel, Jesus anointed seventy disciples to teach the nations. Moses sent twelve spies to explore Canaan, Jesus sent twelve apostles to reach the world. The Bible does not state that either one experienced sickness. Neither of their bodies remained in a tomb. Both fasted for forty days and faced spiritual crises on mountain tops. As Moses stretched his hand over the Red Sea to command it, Jesus rebuked the Sea of Galilee and quieted the waves. Both of their faces shone with the glory of heaven - Moses on Mount Sinai and Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
While Moses rescued Israel from the dead religion of pagan Egypt, Jesus rescued Israel from the dead letter of the law of tradition. Moses and Christ both cured lepers and proved their authority through the miracles they performed before many witnesses. As Moses conquered the great enemy of Israel, the Amalekites, with his upraised arms, Jesus conquered our great enemy sin and death by His upraised arms on the cross. Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness to heal his people; Jesus was lifted up on the cross to heal all believers from their sin.
The people were ungrateful and rebelled against the leadership of both men. The generations that rebelled against them died in their lack of faith - one in the wilderness and one in the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Moses and Jesus both died on a hill. Moses promised that another Prophet would come; Jesus promised the Church that His Father would send them another "Comforter," the Holy Spirit.
In the month Nisan, on the fourteenth day, which was the Feast of the Passover, both Moses and Jesus freed all who would trust them. On the seventeenth day, the Feast of Firstfruits, Moses brought about the resurrection of the children of Israel as they passed through the Red Sea; on the anniversary of that day Jesus became the Firstfruits of resurrection as He arose from the dead. Fifty days later, on the Feast of Pentecost, God delivered the great gift to Israel and nations through the giving of Torah, the Law. Fifty days after his resurrection, God gave the Church the great gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The evidence is quite compelling that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah, the prophet like Moses. Why, then, has Israel rejected her Messiah?
Reference: Jeffrey, Grant R., "Heaven - The Last Frontier", Frontier Research Publications, Inc. (1990), p.76-79
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