Chapter 44 The Promised Prophet

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you (Acts 3:22).

This is part of Peter’s exhortation to the Jews following the healing of the poor lame man at the temple gate. He humbly disclaims the power of the miracle to anything in himself, nor would he rob the Lord of the glory. It is the Lord alone who is to be praised and admired. Thus Peter takes the opportunity of the gathered multitude to preach Christ as the Saviour, whom they had denied and slain. But the Prince of Life was raised from the dead. In exhorting them to turn and believe on Him, Peter testifies that the Lord Jesus is the One about whom Moses prophesied.

“The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet … of thy brethren” (Deuteronomy 18:15). He was to come, then, of the seed of Abraham, according to the flesh (Acts 3:25). The blessing of Christ was not to be limited to Israel, but extended to all families of all races everywhere. Here we see the necessity of His becoming flesh. If He, as God only, dealt with us, then we must perish. If He assumed angelic nature, then He could have no kinsman relationship to our humanity, no atoning blood with which to save us, and no justifying righteousness by which to make us acceptable to God.

In the early days of the Church, heresies arose—some supposing our Lord had a celestial body, others that His body was a kind of phantom and not real humanity. Especially was this true of the Gnostics, who regarded all matter as essentially evil. But the words of Scripture are plain: “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14); “made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4); of the seed of Abraham (Acts 3:25); and to come of Judah’s tribe (Genesis 49:10).

Thus our Lord, according to the flesh, assumed our real humanity, even the flesh and blood common to all the children of men (Hebrews 2:14). He who was rich in glory thus partook of our poverty, descending into our lowly condition, passing through all emergent human conditions and circumstances on the one hand, and yet glorifying the Father on the other. This is the wondrous mystery of the Incarnation—unsearchable indeed, but so full of comfort. He is God’s Prophet, giving all knowledge, teaching all the wisdom of God, and effecting and making plain to the simplest the ways of God’s so great salvation.

The Likeness of Christ to Moses

Moses said of the predicted Prophet, Christ, that He would be “like unto me.” He would be marked by certain characteristics of Israel’s revered leader. Moses was a type of Him who was indeed much greater than Moses, and in Christ alone could this type be realized and recognized.

When Moses was born, the tyrant Pharaoh decreed death to him. He came under the edict concerning births in Israel: “If it be a son, then ye shall kill him” (Exodus 1:16). When the Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Herod the king decreed the massacre of all children born there, hoping to kill the Christ (Matthew 2:16).

Moses was called out of Egypt and was to bring God’s chosen people with him. Thus he left Egypt (Exodus 12:33). To escape the murderous intent of Herod, our Lord, as a child, was taken to Egypt. But when Herod was dead, He was called out of Egypt, thus fulfilling the word of Hosea 11:1 that God called His Son out of Egypt. The Lord thus left Egypt as Moses did.

Moses was at first rejected by his own people. They scorned his claims as having been sent of God. “Who made thee a prince or a judge over us?” they challenged. So when the mighty Saviour appeared “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). Like Moses of old, the Saviour was despised and rejected and thrust out from among them.

Moses found his home in the wilderness of Midian and so was kept in seclusion for many long years (Exodus 3:1). The wilderness concealed him, and the world heard nothing of him. Thus the Lord Jesus spent many years in the seclusion of Nazareth until, as with Moses, God’s time had arrived for Him to come forth and to deliver His people.

Moses attested his divine commission by many signs and wonders. These all proved that he was sent of God. So our Lord moved on earth, giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, life to the dead, health to the sick, food to the hungry multitudes (Matthew 11:5). He turned water into wine and walked on the waters. These signs proved Him to be God manifest in the flesh.

Moses must die and be buried before Israel could pass over Jordan into the Lord’s inheritance (Deuteronomy 34:5-6). And so our blessed Lord Jesus must also die before God’s chosen people could pass through the waters of death into Heaven’s eternal abiding place.

Moses mediated between God and man. He stood between God and man to pray on man’s behalf, and prevailed in his intercessions (Exodus 17:11; 32:11-14). So our Lord presents our cause to the Father as the Mediator of the new covenant. He appears before the Father representing the whole company of those who put their trust in Him.

Moses enjoyed close communion with God face to face. Thus he is pictured, and it is but a feeble picture at best, of that deeper communion which the Son had with the Father as we see in John 17.

But we must never forget that Moses was but the wearer of certain resemblances in very faint colors. The differences were infinite. As the Father’s Prophet, the Lord Jesus brings us the full knowledge of God, showing us in His own Person His infinite glories, His inexhaustible fullness, the all-sufficiency of His saving grace, His prevailing prayers on our behalf, and the only way to true sabbath rest of soul. May our ears ever be open and attent to the Prophet’s voice.

Son of God, with joy we praise Thee,
On the Father’s throne above;
All Thy wondrous work displays Thee,
Full of grace and full of love!
Lord, accept our adoration—
For our sins Thou once wast slain;
Through Thy blood we have salvation;
Soon shall share Thine endless reign.

God, in Thee His love unfolding,
Shows how vast, how rich, His grace;
Blest our lot, with joy beholding
All His glory in Thy face.
Oh, the mercy which hath blessed us,
Purposed thus ere time began,
Mercy which in Christ hath kept us,
Where His blessed race He ran!

S. P. Tregelles