Old Testament Passages Good for Everyone to Know, Part 7

Old Testament Passages Good for Everyone to Know, Part 7

Old Testament Passages Good for Everyone to Know, Part 7
by Doug Jacoby

How did the early Christians convince their predominantly Jewish hearers that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah? Do we know the Messianic prophecies, and would we be able to handle the key Old Testament scriptures to demonstrate who Jesus is? Many of us are familiar with Isaiah 53 and Micah 5, but how about Deut 18?

In this striking prophecy Moses predicted, nearly 3300 years ago, that God would raise up another prophet like him from among the Israelites. This is also the very text Peter cites as he addresses the Jews in Acts 3.

Yahweh your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of Yahweh your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of Yahweh our God nor see this great fire any more, or we will die."
Yahweh said to me: "What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account" (Deut 18:15-19).

What do we notice? First off (and somewhat obviously) the prophet is a brother Jew. This undercuts the Muslim claim that the passage refers to Muhammad, who came along 1300 years later. Yet in numerous respects Jesus Christ fits the bill:
• Jesus receives revelation from the Father and teaches the people (John 15:15).
• He presents a covenant (Heb 7:2; 8:6-13; 9:15;12:14)—the new covenant replacing the Old Covenant (or testament, to use the legal term).
• He works miracles (Acts 2:22).
• He is a prophet (Mark 6:4).
• He is also a (high) priest (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14; 9:11). He intercedes for the people (Heb 7:25)—like Moses in Exod 32:32.
• He not only speaks to his people, but leads them (Heb 13:20).
• He is to be obeyed (John 12:48; 14:23-24).
• Those who reject his authority forfeit their place among God's people (Heb 5:9; 1 John 2:3-6).
• He is humble. (Compare Numbers 12:3 with Matt 11:28-30.)
In your reading of the O.T. have you come across any character who remotely measures up to Moses? Notice the comment in the final chapter of Deuteronomy:

Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel (Deut 34:10-12).

The truth is, not one figure in the Bible ever fulfilled the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18. None aligned with the qualities of Moses. Not until Jesus Christ! I find this prophecy immensely persuasive. Besides being a faith-booster, the passage also opens a window on the connections between the Old and New Testaments, and how Jesus fulfills the Law and the Prophets (Matt 5:17).

Next week: A tremendously encouraging passage from Deut 30.