Shelby G. Floyd
“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Your presence and attention is appreciated as we present the word of God. Today I am speaking to you on the subject, “The Prophet Like Moses.” In the book of Revelation we have the record of an Angel appearing to John the apostle. He was so awed by this Angel that he started to fall down and worship the Angel. But as he fell to his feet the angel said to him, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10 NKJV).
The New Testament is the testimony of Jesus. It is the testimony about Jesus. It is a testimony of Jesus. It is the testimony that the apostle wrote about Jesus. But the angel told John that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Therefore since we are talking about the prophet like Moses, then our question is, “Are these prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus?” Is the spirit of the Old Testament prophecy about Jesus?
Now about 1500 years before Christ was born there was a prophet by the name of Moses. And I call upon your memory of the life of Moses. When he was born, and when he was brought up in Egypt, he became a great leader of the people of God who were in slavery and servitude. I can recall that story and I hope that you can too.
When Moses gave what we call the second giving of the law, which was actually his valedictory speech before he died and God buried him in a place of which no man knows even to this very day. The book of Deuteronomy is the second giving of the law, a valedictory speech of Moses before he died. And in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses made this statement before he died:
“The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ “And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 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.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN FEATURES OF THIS PROPHET?
In this speech Moses is talking about somebody that God is going to raise up that is going to be in some respects like him. There will be a similarity between Moses and this prophet that God will raise up. I ask in the first place this morning, according to that statement that we have just read together in Deuteronomy 18:15-19, what are the main features of this prophet that will be like Moses? We can look at that text and pick out the main features of this prophet that God will raise up that will be like Moses.
1. He Would Come From the Jewish People
First, he will be a human being, descending from the midst of the Jewish people. Because he says, “I will raise up a prophet like you from among your brethren.” Therefore he will be a human being, not an Angel, and not some otherworldly character. He will be a human being raised up from the midst of his people.
2. He Would Be a Mediator Between God and Man
Number two, he will be heard as a representative or mediator between God and man. Now you will recall when God came down on Mount Horeb to give his law to the people, the mountain was shaking, it was on fire, lightning and thunder were everywhere, and the people were fearful and would not even approach the edge of the mountain. And God had Moses to even set up a fence around the perimeter of this mountain lest man or beast should approach this mountain and be put to death. The people were scared to death. And I don’t think we have the proper conception of what it would mean to stand before Almighty God in the human body. God is too awesome and he is too great and we are too sinful to approach him face-to-face. We would die if God spoke to us face-to-face while we are in the flesh. So the people cried out to Moses and said, “We do not want to go near that mountain and we do not want to hear that voice any longer, we do not want to see that lightning and hear that thunder and that fire. Moses, we want you to go up on top of that mountain and be a representative for us. You can be a mediator and a go-between God and us. Therefore this is the second feature of that prophet that would be raised up like unto Moses. He would be a mediator and a representative between God and the people.
3. He Would Speak God’s Word
The third feature of this prophet that would be like Moses was that God would put his law and his words into the heart, the soul and the mouth of this prophet. “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” (Deuteronomy 18:18 NKJV). This prophet will be like Moses. Moses received the 10 Commandments and brought them down from the mountain and delivered them unto the people. Therefore this prophet that God would raise up would be like Moses in that God would put his law and his word into his mouth and then he would deliver it to the people.
4. He Would Require Justice and Judgment
Number four, this prophet that was going to be like Moses would require justice and judgment for those who reject God’s law. Under the Old Testament system God punished people either directly or indirectly when they rejected and disobeyed his law. Under the prophet that would be like Moses, God would also require eternal justice and judgment.
Therefore I believe we can summarize very quickly that the prophet who would be like Moses would be number one, a human being from the Jewish people. Number two he will be a mediator between God and man. Number three, God will put his words into his mouth. And number four, he will require justice and judgment on those who refuse, reject and disobey that law.
WHO WAS THAT PROPHET THAT WAS TO BE LIKE MOSES?
And now we ask, who is that prophet that was to be like Moses? When Christ was on the earth the people were asking the same question. Has that prophet come yet? Has the Messiah appeared yet? And they had all kinds of questions about Jesus, about John the Baptist, and they wanted to know if John was that prophet? Is Jesus that prophet? And today people are still asking that question. Who is that prophet that is to be like Moses?
Was He John the Baptist?
On one occasion the Jews asked John the Baptist if he was that prophet. John the Baptist was a first cousin of Jesus Christ, being six months older than Christ. And there were a lot of people who thought John was that prophet. Now hear what John had to say in answer to that question,
Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
That is how John identified himself. He came to smooth out the valleys and to bring down the hills and to make a highway for our God to walk upon. That is who John claimed to be. But he said plainly that he was not the Christ and that he was not the prophet that would be like Moses. Therefore we may put it down in our little book, John the Baptist was not that prophet that Moses was talking about in Deuteronomy chapter 18.
Philip Discovered That Christ Was That Prophet
Well, we have another early disciple by the name of Philip. After a careful examination of the life of Christ, his pretensions, his teaching, and his doctrine, Philip discovered that Christ was indeed that prophet that was to be like Moses. We read this in the gospel of John:
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Notice the excitement that Philip had when he found Jesus. He said, “We have found him.” The Greek word there for “found” is eurisko. The noun form is eureka and we are not talking about a vacuum cleaner. Eureka is a place in California where gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in 1848. “Eureka,” we have found gold. Philip uses the same word to express his excitement to identify Jesus Christ, the prophet like Moses. “We have found him of whom Moses and the law and all the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
The Multitude Decided That Jesus Was That Prophet
Number three, Jesus taught and worked miracles among the people for about 3 1/2 years of his personal ministry. On one occasion after he had fed 5000 people with a few loaves of bread and a few fish, the multitude concluded that Jesus was that prophet like Moses. We read about this in the gospel of John, “After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world. Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself” (John 6:14-15). After the people saw the miraculous signs that Jesus did, they said, surely this is the prophet that was to come into the world. Jesus knowing that they were coming to make him king withdrew himself to a mountain by himself. So the people concluded from all the evidence that they had and the miracles that he was working, that he was indeed that prophet that was spoken of in the book of Deuteronomy that Moses had described to them in their own sacred writings.
At The Feast of Tabernacles Some Concluded Christ Was That Prophet
In the fourth place, at the feast of the Tabernacles, one of the annual feast days of the Jewish people, when all of them came together to worship God on this special occasion, the people again concluded that Jesus was the prophet who was to be like Moses. We read about this in John the seventh chapter,
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
So there was a division over Christ as there is today. Some people today say that Christ is that prophet that was like Moses. Some around the world say that Mohammed was that prophet like Moses. We have division over who is that prophet, but I am going to prove that Jesus Christ is that prophet like Moses.
To recapitulate what we have talked about so far, I remind you that first, I gave you the generic features of what that prophet would be like who would be compared to Moses. He would be a human being descending from among the Jewish people, he would be a mediator, he would have God’s Word in his mouth, and he would bring justice and judgment upon those who rejected the last message and testimony of Jesus Christ. I have pointed out to you that John the Baptist, Philip, the 5000, the multitude at the feast of Tabernacles, that they all concluded that Jesus was that prophet that God would raise up who would be like Moses.
THE SPECIFIC WAYS CHRIST IS LIKE MOSES
Now I have handed out to you a little chart, and don’t worry I’m not going to preach on 19 points. However, I do not preach sermonettes. Someone said, “Sermonettes are preached by preacheretts to Christianetts.” We preach full length sermons. But if I were to preach this sermon on the chart it would be about three hours. And I know that would not work. We are just going to go lightly over this chart and actually it was given to you for your own personal study of God’s Word. I hope that you can take this lesson and during this week sometime you will examine the Scriptures because I have given this to you for your personal study of this lesson.
Let us examine the Scriptures on this chart because I have 19 ways in which there are similarities between Moses and Christ. Let’s look at some of these.
1. Both Moses and Christ were born under oppressive rulers. Moses was born down in Egypt under a Pharaoh who no longer remembered Joseph and the blessings that he had brought to the land of Egypt. In fact, Pharaoh decided to oppress the Israelites because they were becoming so numerous. Jesus Christ was born under the wicked ruler, King Herod. Herod even desired to kill all of the baby boys who were born under two years old. Therefore, there is a similarity under the circumstances of their birth.
2. Moses and Christ were both threatened by a wicked king. King Pharaoh passed a law that all the baby boys of the Hebrews were to be killed. He feared that the Hebrews were becoming too numerous and would join in with some of their enemies to defeat the land of Egypt. King Pharaoh had the fear of losing his power and position. The same was true of King Herod. When he heard that Christ had been born and was to become the king of Israel, he was fearful of losing his own power. He gave out a decree to kill all of the baby boys under two years old. There was great lamentation and crying about all those babies that Herod had slaughtered. He was like those today who are killing many unwanted and unborn babies and nobody seems to care.
3. Both Moses and Christ were saved by God-fearing parents. It was by the providence of God that the mother of Moses took him and put him in that little basket in the Nile River. And then Pharaoh’s daughter found him, felt sorry for him, and with compassion took him and brought him up in the house of the Egyptians. The Bible declares that he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He also was learned in the ways of God, because his mother was hired to be his nurse and she was even paid a salary to take care of her own son. This demonstrates how God in his providence works to bless his children who are in trouble. When Christ was threatened with death his mother and father took him out of the country and went down into Egypt for a time.
4. Moses and Christ were both protected down in Egypt. God protected Moses and God protected Jesus when Joseph and Mary took him down into Egypt that the Scripture might be fulfilled that said, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”
5. Both Moses and Christ were unsurpassed in their wisdom and understanding. There is no doubt about that for we can refer to the Scriptures in Numbers 12:3 and Luke 2:46-47.
6. Moses and Christ were both rejected by the Jews. When Moses was ready to deliverer and bring them out of Egypt, they wanted to go back to Egypt because they had become satisfied eating the leeks, garlic, onions and the melons. They did not want to leave their slavery even though now they were free. Many today in our country are becoming slaves because we want the federal government to take care of us from the cradle to the grave. If we all want to live like a canary in a birdcage and have the government to tell us everything that we are to do, then we can go that route. But if we want to be like our forefathers and we want to be free men and have some say in our own lives then we need to stand up and be counted. Our freedom and liberty was vouchsafed to us by our forefathers through much blood and sacrifice. But it is easy to become comfortable and desire to be taken care of from the cradle to the grave. I don’t want to live like a canary bird. I would rather live like the eagle that flies up on top of the mountain. God had to shake up Israel so they would leave Egypt and become a free people. Jesus Christ also was ultimately rejected by the Jewish people who used the Roman government to nail him to the cross. But God did not allow his flesh to see corruption because he raised him up the third day and then later raised him up and crowned him King of kings and Lord of lords on his heavenly throne.
7. Both Moses and Christ were accepted by the Gentiles. The Gentiles accepted Moses and his leadership according to Exodus 2. And according to Romans 9:23, 26, when the Jews rejected Christ, the Bible declares that God would take the kingdom away from them and give it to a nation who would bring forth the fruits of righteousness. And looking back on the history of Christianity it is my judgment that he was talking about the countries of the Western civilization. Wherever Christ has been accepted, the standard of living has been raised and the morals of the people have been uplifted and peaceable governments have been established. Where Christ has not been accepted, for the most part the opposite is true. And America has definitely been blessed by the Judeo-Christian principles upon which our country was founded. Wherever Christ has gone and been accepted peoples lives have been enriched, and their financial situation has been improved. I don’t believe many Americans would want to live in those countries were Christ has been rejected. Look on the world map and you will notice that it is not a beautiful picture. Where Christ has not been accepted, in many of these countries people are living like they did thousands of years ago. I would not want to live in those countries and I am thankful that I was not born in any of them. Thank God everyday that you are born in a country where the gospel of Christ is freely proclaimed and accepted by many of the citizens. Why would anybody want to leave Christianity and go back into paganism and poverty and slavery?
8. Moses and Christ were both criticized by their own family. Sometimes our worst critics can be our own family. The brothers and sisters of Christ did not even believe on him until after his resurrection from the dead. They made light of him. The same was true with Moses because his own brother and sister criticized him and wanted to usurp his authority and power given to him by God. So there is a similarity between Moses and Christ in their relationship with their family.
9. Both Moses and Christ were willing to bear the sin of the people. Moses became so tired of having to deal with all the problems and the sin and the rebellion of the people. He then would cry out to God, “Why have you put me over these people, they are rebellious, they are hardhearted, and they are stiff-necked?” And the people treated Christ in the same way. And finally they hated him so much that they brought up false charges against him and nailed him to a tree. They crucified the son of God, but in so doing they unwittingly brought about the means of Christ bearing the sin of the people—the plan of redemption.
10. Moses and Christ both fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. There is a similarity here.
11. Both Moses and Christ had a face to face relationship with God the father and that is amazing. In the Transfiguration of Christ his garments became as white as light, his face shone with effulgence and glory. Moses and Elijah both appeared with Christ on the mount of Transfiguration and when the cloud disappeared there was no one left but Christ. And the command was: “you hear him.” Both Moses and Christ had a face-to-face relationship with God the father.
12. After a face-to-face relationship with God the father, the face of both Moses and Christ glowed like the sun. They both reflected the effulgence, glory, power and holiness of Almighty God.
13. Moses and Christ both heard God speak directly from heaven. Over and over again Jesus repeated that the words that he spoke were not his words but the words given to him by his father. Jesus is the only unique son of the father. He is the only begotten son of the father. He is the spitting image of the father. And of course Moses when receiving the law heard God speak directly from heaven on Mount Sinai.
14. The body of both Moses and Christ in their death was guarded by an Angel. Moses died upon the lonely peaks of Mount Nebo and we do not know to this day where exactly he was buried. In the book of Jude it is stated that even the devil did not argue with the Archangel as to the whereabouts of the body of Moses. In the case of Christ his body was guarded by the angel of God. When the stone was rolled away and the first believers came out to the tomb early on Sunday morning they saw that the tomb was empty. They asked, “Where is the body?” The angel that guarded the tomb told them that Christ had been resurrected and was alive for evermore.
15. Both Moses and Christ revealed God’s name to the people. His name reveals that God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
16. Moses and Christ both miraculously fed the people and satisfied their hunger. Moses fed the people with manna that came down from heaven and they went out and gathered it every morning from the ground. On at least two occasions Christ fed the multitudes of people with a few loaves of bread and a few fish. After the people were fed, baskets full of fragments were gathered up. God feeds us today by giving us seed time and harvest. But he wants us to realize that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.
17. Both Moses and Christ demonstrated their mission and authority by miraculous signs and wonders. By this they verified and authenticated that what they were doing was from God. They proved their work by miracles, signs and wonders.
18. Moses and Christ both made a covenant with blood. The Old Testament revelation from God was sealed with the blood of bulls and goats. In the New Testament the book of Hebrews declares in chapters 8, 9, and 10, that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away our sins. But what the blood of bulls and goats could not accomplish, the blood of the Lamb of God did accomplish in sealing and confirming the last will and testament of Christ.
Moses and Christ spoke for God.
19. Both Moses and Christ spoke on behalf of God the father. The book of Hebrews declares this in plain language: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1: 1-2). How did God speak in times past? He spoke through the prophets including Moses. He spoke in various ways. And he revealed his message a little bit at a time. But how does God speak to us today? He speaks to us today through Jesus Christ and his chosen apostles. Therefore Jesus Christ fulfills the prophecy of Moses that God would raise up a prophet like him. This we have abundantly proved in this lesson and therefore we should give our full attention to what he has said to all of us.
THE APPLICATION FOR US TODAY
Now we wrap up this lesson with an application for all of us today. The best application that we can make is that which was made by the apostle Peter shortly after the church was established in Jerusalem. Peter and John went up to the temple in Jerusalem at the hour of prayer. The Jews prayed at nine in the morning, noon, three in the afternoon and six in the evening. They had four hours of prayer. And when Peter and John went up to the temple to pray there was a man at the entrance who was lame from his birth. They brought him every day and laid him down at the gate called Beautiful. He was a beggar dependent upon the compassion of the passerby. He received gifts from the people so he could survive. When he saw Peter and John coming toward him he was expecting some money. Recognizing this, Peter looked at him and said, “Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have I give to you.” And then Peter took him by the hand and raised him up and his ankle bones became strong. He was so excited, thankful and happy that he went forth leaping and jumping and praising God while holding on to Peter. This created such a commotion that a great crowd gathered around to see what was going on. They had all known this man for many years and now he is standing before them healed of his lameness.
Peter looked at the people and said, “Why are you looking upon us as if it is by our holiness and power that this man stands here before you whole?” He declared that it was not by their power that the man had been healed, but it was by the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Then he declares that Jesus is the very person which many of them had been responsible for crucifying just a few days previously. He states plainly that they had hanged him on a tree, but God had raised him up because he could not be held in the grave and that it is by Christ that this man now stands before you healthy and whole. It is at this point that Peter exhorts his audience to respond in a positive way to his message.
He reminds his listeners that the awful deed they had committed was done out of their ignorance. But ignorance is no excuse today. In times past God winked at the ignorance of the people but today he commands all men everywhere to repent and turn to God for forgiveness (Acts 17: 29-31). God does not wink at ignorance any longer because we have no excuse. We have the prophet like Moses, we have the message he gave us, we have many copies of the word of God in everyone’s home and we had better be reading that book because we have no excuse for rejecting Jesus Christ. Maybe they had an excuse, because Peter said I know you crucified him because of your ignorance as well as your rulers, “but those things which God foretold by the mouth of all his prophets that the Christ would suffer have now been fulfilled.”
Now let us notice his ringing exhortation: “repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out so that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and that he may send Jesus Christ who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-26). What is the message? The message of Peter is simply repent, which means to change your will power and change your mind. Why? Repent because you are filled with godly sorrow for breaking God’s law. And what are you to do after you repent? You are to be converted.
The word “converted” means to “turn” from the Greek word epistrepho. Turn 180° and go in a different direction. Why should one repent and be converted? Peter tells us why with a purpose clause: “that your sins may be blotted out.” In my boyhood days we used fountain pens that we had to fill the well with ink. We had a little bottle of ink to fill up our fountain pen. We would write something and then we had a blotter and if you did not blot that writing with ink, it would smear all over the place. Therefore you would blot out the excessive ink. To have our sins blotted out means that God will cancel them.
The second reason we are to repent and be converted is “so we may receive seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” All of us like to be refreshed. We live in a world of a lot of stress and turmoil and we all need to be refreshed. Therefore, repent—turn, and your sins will be blotted out and you will receive seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
Another reason why we should repent and be converted is because ultimately though we know not when, the Father is going to send Jesus back to take his bride—the church back to her new home in heaven. So those are the points that Peter makes in his exhortation. Repent, be converted, have your sins blotted out, receive seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and then the Lord will send back Jesus to take us all home. Now this sermon is exactly parallel to the sermon that Peter preached on the day of Pentecost as found one chapter earlier in Acts of apostles.
On the day of Pentecost the people cried out, “men and brethren what shall we do?” The answer that was given was, “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the promise is to you and your children and to all who are afar off even as many as the Lord our God will call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort saying, save yourselves from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:38-40). Now would Peter announce different terms of forgiveness in a sermon that was separated by just a few days and presented in almost the same language? No he would not do that and he did not do that. Acts 2:38-41 is exactly parallel with Acts 3:17-26.
Please observe that “repent” in Acts 2:38 is also “repent” in Acts 3:19. “Be baptized” is exactly parallel with “be converted.” “Have your sins blotted out” is exactly parallel with “forgiveness of sins.” To “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” is exactly parallel with “you shall receive seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” That refers to the indwelling and influence of the Holy Spirit through the word of God which refreshes us every day. And therefore these two sermons by the apostle Peter are exactly parallel and there is no way that anyone can controvert that.
Now after Peter had told them what to do to be saved, he then seeks to motivate them to obey Christ who was the prophet that God had raised up to be like Moses. From Solomon’s Portico he said,
“For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
This promise was made to Abraham when God said, “in your seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12: 1-3). That seed according to Galatians 3:16 refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. God will bless Jew, Gentile and every person on earth who will hear and heed the prophet that was like unto Moses. And that prophet is Christ. Everyone needs to respond in obedience to this prophet. Do not turn him down, do not reject him, is my humble plea.*
*Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon August 2, 2009 at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana. Copyright © 2009 2019 Shelby Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142