Advent Season is characterized by waiting and yearning. A sometimes patient, other times impatient, desire to see God’s chosen one. He will deliver all God’s people from oppression and establish justice forever. Just as God’s people in the Old Testament looked forward to Jesus, the promised offspring who will rule with compassion and vanquish all evil, so also does the church today.
In this series this Advent season I will be reflecting on passages exclusively from the Old Testament that foreshadow and anticipate the arrival of Jesus Christ.
Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (ESV)
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.”
Moses is referring back to the time when God appeared on Mt. Sinai. Israel had been rescued from Egypt and on their way to the Promised Land, but in the meantime, they were wandering in the desert and wilderness. When the people came to the mountain there were flashes of lightening and the top was filled with fire and smoke. God’s presence was so immense and great, that the people were terrified. God commanded that no one may approach unless he calls them up. When God spoke, they could not handle hearing from God directly. They begged for someone to mediate between them and God. So, God called Moses and brought him up, in order to give him the law. Moses was their mediator who will hear the word of the Lord and bring it to the people.
God will raise up a prophet like Moses. In what ways will the prophet be like Moses? Like Moses, the prophet to come will be “from among you, from your brothers”. This phrase is repeated twice. Perhaps it goes without saying, that the prophet will be a human, rather than an angel or someone else. The prophet to come will also be a true Israelite, and not born in a foreign land. The prophet will be raised in the law of Moses, and will have their heritage in Abraham’s promise. He will be in the family, their kin.
Like Moses, this prophet will speak the words of God. The prophet won’t be speaking on his own terms or his own thoughts. He will faithfully present what God has shown. Just as people would listen to Moses as if they were listening to God, the prophet to come will have the very words of God on his lips. Moses brought the law and taught God’s standard. He was called the great Law-giver. As a prophet, Moses foretold blessing and curse, based on obedience and faithfulness.
Moses was not only a prophet, but also had a role as a leader when Israel had no king. He led them out of slavery, delivered them from oppression, and went out ahead of them toward the promised land. He led people into battle in the wilderness and anticipation of entering the promised land. And the people followed – they didn’t splinter off into going different ways, but all united behind Moses. He was the closest thing to a king that Israel would have in the wilderness.
The prophet will be different from Moses, though, because the prophet will speak all and only what God commands. Moses failed in this, and it is the reason he never crossed the Jordan in the Promised Land. The prophet that Moses anticipated would be greater than himself.
And so, the people waited for hundreds of years for “The Prophet” like Moses to come, that they might hear the word of the Lord with authority once more. Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah came, but they also spoke of the one to come. When Jesus came, he was identified as that prophet. The people marveled at his wisdom and teaching, and that he spoke with authority. The apostles announced that the Prophet has come.
When will we see the Prophet like Moses? When will we see one greater than Moses? When will we feast on the word of God, taught with the authority of God himself?
When Christ returns.
And so we, the church, wait for our savior to return to us.
Revelation 22:20-21: He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.