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A Prophet . . . like unto me.
Christ the greatest of the prophets
I. The office of a prophet in ancient Israel. He was the voice of God to the nation.
1. Prophets are found from the earliest times in Israel (Genesis 20:7; Psalms 105:15). In the times of the Judges (Judges 4:4; Judges 4:6; Judges 4:14; Judges 6:7). Samuel the founder of a settled order of prophets (Acts 3:24). Continued now in Christian ministry.
2. Note that God appoints prophets (or speakers), not the priests, as His representatives and specially commissioned messengers.
3. The awful responsibility of the speaker for God to say only what God has commanded.
4. The word of the prophet was to be tested by its fulfilment (verse 22).
II. The promise of the text permanently fulfilled in Christ. Applied by Christ and His apostles (Acts 3:22; Acts 5:37; John 5:46).
1. Christ and Moses alike in some points.
(1) Both founders of God’s kingdom.
(2) Both received God’s will from immediate and direct communion with God; not in visions, dreams, etc., like the other prophets.
2. Christ and Moses contrasted in other respects.
(1) Moses a sinful man; Christ absolutely holy.
(2) Moses gave the law which kills; Christ brought grace and truth, which take away sin.
(3) Moses founded an outward worldly theocracy, which could only be imperfect and temporary; Christ a spiritual kingdom of God, which overcomes sin and death, and is eternal.
(4) The relations of God to Moses were given among the terrors of Sinai, which men could not bear. Christ came veiling the splendours of God in His lowly humanity, and drawing men to Him.
III. Imperative duty to hearken to Christ (Matthew 17:5). (Cunningham Geikie, D. D.)
The similarity between Moses and Christ
As Moses, in the early part of his, career, refused the Egyptian monarchy, because it could be gained by him only by disloyalty to God, so Jesus turned away from the kingdoms of the World and the glory of them, because they were offered on condition that He would fall down and worship Satan. As Moses became the emancipator of his people from their house of bondage, so Jesus lived and died that He might save His people from their sins; as Moses, penetrating to the soul of the symbolism of idolatry, introduced a new dispensation wherein symbolism was allied to spirituality of worship, so Jesus, seizing the spirituality of the Mosaic system, freed it from its national restrictions, and ushered in the day when neither at Jerusalem nor at Gerizim would men seek to localise the service of Jehovah, but the true worshipper would worship the Father anywhere, believing that the character of the worship is of infinitely higher importance than the place where it is offered; as Moses was preeminently a lawgiver, so Jesus speaks with authority, and has, in His Sermon on the Mount, laid down a code which not only expounds, but expands and glorifies, or, in one word, fulfils the precepts of the Decalogue; as Moses stood the mediator of a covenant between God and Israel, representing God to the people, and representing the people to God, interceding for them when they sinned, while at the same time he admitted and condemned their guilt, so Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant, standing between God and man, and bridging, by His atonement and intercession, the gulf between the two. We cannot wonder, therefore, that, in the vision of the Apocalypse, they who have gotten the victory over the beast and his image are represented as singing “the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” (W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
The prophet like unto Moses
I. The necessity for a Mediator.
1. There was a necessity for a mediator in the case of the Israelites, first, because of the unutterable glory of God, and their own inability to endure that glory, either with their eye, their ear, or their mind.
2. This sufficient reason is supported by another most weighty fact, namely, that God cannot commune with men because of their sin.
II. The person of the appointed Mediator. Dwell upon this fact, that our Lord Jesus was raised up from the midst of us, from among our brethren. In Him is fulfilled that glorious prophecy, “I have exalted One chosen out of the people.” He was not one who boasted His descent, or gloried in the so-called blue blood, or placed Himself among the Porphyrogeniti, who must not see the light except in marble halls. He was born in a common house of entertainment where all might come to Him, and He died with His arms extended as a pledge that He continued to receive all who came to Him. The main point, however, upon which I want to dwell is, that Jesus is like to Moses. There had been no better mediator found than Moses up to Moses’ day; the Lord God, therefore, determined to work upon that model with the great prophet of His race, and He has done so in sending forth the Lord Jesus.
1. I can only mention in what respects, as a Mediator, Jesus is like to Moses, and surely one is found in the fact that Moses beyond all that went before him was peculiarly the depositary of the mind of God.
2. Moses, to take another point, is the first of the prophets with whom God kept up continuous revelation. To other men He spake in dreams and visions, but to Moses by plain and perpetual testimony.
3. Moses is described as a prophet mighty in word and deed, and it is singular that there never was another prophet mighty in word and deed till Jesus came.
4. Moses, again, was the founder of a great system of religious law, and this was not the case with any other but the Lord Jesus.
5. Moses was faithful before God as a servant over all His house, and so was Jesus as a Son over His own house. He is the faithful and true Witness, the Prince of the kings of the earth.
6. Moses, too, was zealous for God and for His honour. Remember how the zeal of God’s house did cat him up. When he saw grievous sin among the people, he said, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” and there came to him the tribe of Levi, and he said, “Go in and out, and slay ye everyone his men that were joined to Baal-peor.” Herein he was the stern type of Jesus, who took the scourge of small cords, and drove out the buyers and sellers, and said, “Take these things hence: it is written, My Father’s house shall be a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves”; for the zeal of God’s house had eaten Him up.
7. Moses, by Divine grace, was very meek, and perhaps this is the chief parallel between him and Jesus. I have said, “by Divine grace,” for I suppose by nature he was strongly passionate. There are many indications that Moses was not meek, but very far from it, until the Spirit of Cod rested upon him. He slew the Egyptian hastily, and in after years he went out from the presence of Pharaoh “in great anger.” Once and again you find him very wroth: he took the tables of stone and dashed them in pieces in his indignation, for “Moses’ anger waxed hot”; and that unhappy action which, occasioned his being shut out of Canaan was caused by his “being provoked in sprat so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” Divine grace had so cooled and calmed him that in general he was the gentlest of men. But what shall I say of my Master? Let Him speak for Himself! “Come unto Me, all ye,” etc.
8. Our Lord was like to Moses in meekness, and then to sum up all--Moses was the mediator for God with the people, and so is our blessed Lord. Moses came in God’s name to set Israel free from Pharaoh’s bondage, and he did it: Jesus came to set us free from a worse bondage still, and He has achieved our freedom.
III. The authority of our great Mediator; and let this be the practical lesson--Hear ye Him. If sin had not maddened men they would listen to every word of God through such a Mediator as Jesus is. Alas! it is not so; and the saddest thing of all is that some hear of Him as if His story were a mere tale or an old Jewish ballad of eighteen hundred years ago. Yet, remember, God speaks by Jesus still, and every word of His that is left on record is as solemnly alive today as when it first leaped from His blessed lips. Note how my text puts it. It saith here, “Whosoever shall not hearken unto My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him.” Today God graciously requires it of some of you, and asks why you have not listened to Christ’s voice. You have not accepted His salvation. Why is this? You know all about Jesus, and you say it is true, but you have never believed in Him: why is this? God requires it of you. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Of Christ’s prophetical office
This passage foretells the Saviour; it is spoken of Christ. There are several names given to Christ as a Prophet: He is called “the Counsellor” in Christ alone the angel of the Covenant is completed; “the Messenger of the covenant,” “a Lamp,” “the Morning Star.” Jesus Christ is the great Prophet of His Church.
I. How doth Christ teach?
1. Externally, by His Word (Psalms 119:105).
2. Christ teaches these sacred mysteries inwardly by the Spirit (John 16:13).
II. What are the lessons Christ teaches?
1. He teaches us to see into our own hearts. The heart of man is a great deep, which is not easily fathomed. But Christ, when He teacheth, removes the veil of ignorance, and lights a man into his own heart; and now he sees swarms of vain thoughts, he blusheth to see how sin mingles with his duties, his stars are mixed with clouds, he prays, as Austin, that God would deliver him from himself.
2. He shows us the vanity of the creature. A natural man sets up his happiness here, worships the golden image, but he that Christ hath anointed with His eye-salve hath a spirit of discerning, he looks upon the creature in its night dress, sees it to be empty and unsatisfying, not commensurate to a heaven-born soul.
3. The excellency of the things unseen. Christ gives the soul a sight of glory, a prospect of eternity.
III. How does Christ’s teaching differ from other teaching?
1. Christ teaches the heart. All that the dispensers of the Word can do is but to work knowledge, Christ works grace; they can but give you the light of the truth, Christ gives you the love of the truth; they can only teach you what to believe, Christ teacheth how to believe.
2. Christ gives us a taste of the Word. The light of knowledge is one thing, the savour another. Christ makes us taste a savouriness in the Word.
3. Christ, when He teaches, makes us obey.
4. Christ teaches easily. He can with the least touch of His Spirit convert; He can say, “Let there be light”; with a word He conveys grace.
5. Christ, when He teacheth, makes men willing to learn.
6. Christ, when He teacheth, doth not only illuminate, but animate. He doth so teach, as He doth quicken.
1. See here an argument of Christ’s Divinity: had He not been God He could never have known the mind of God, or revealed to us those secrets of heaven, those deep mysteries, which no man or angel could find out. Who but God can anoint the eyes of the blind, and give thee not only light but sight?
2. See what a cornucopia, or plenty of wisdom is in Christ, who is the great Doctor of His Church, and gives saving knowledge to all the elect. The body of the sun must needs be full of clarity and brightness, which enlightens the whole world: Christ is the great luminary, “in whom are hid all treasures of knowledge.”
3. See the misery of man in the state of nature.
4. See the happy condition of the children of God, they have Christ to be their Prophet: “all thy children shall be taught of the Lord”: “God is made to us wisdom.” Labour to have Christ for your Prophet; He teacheth savingly, He is an interpreter of a thousand, He can untie those knots which puzzle very angels. Till Christ teach, we never learn any lesson; till Christ is made to us wisdom, we shall never be wise to salvation.
IV. What shall we do to have Christ for our teacher?
1. See your need of Christ’s teaching. You cannot see your way without this Morning Star.
2. Go to Christ to teach you. And that we may be encouraged to go to our great Prophet--
(1) Jesus Christ is very willing to teach us. Why else did He enter into the calling of the ministry but to teach the mysteries of heaven?
(2). There are none so dull and ignorant but Christ can teach them. Everyone is not fit to make a philosopher’s scholar of--a Mercury is not made out of every block of wood; but there is none so dull but Christ can make a good scholar of. Even such as are ignorant, and of low parts, Christ teacheth them in such a manner, that they know more than the great sages and wise men of the world.
(3) Wait upon the means of grace which Christ hath appointed. Though Christ teacheth by His Spirit, yet He teacheth in the use of ordinances. Wait at the gates of wisdom’s door.
(4) If you would have the teachings of Christ, walk according to that knowledge which you have already. Use your little knowledge well, and Christ will teach you more. (T. Watson.)
Our great Prophet
I. First, consider the prophetic office of Christ in His Church, for which He was preeminently qualified; and the first feature of His qualifications for that office which we shall mention is His Divine prescience. He sees the end from the beginning. Moreover, orthodox teaching pertains to the prophet’s office, and here also our blessed Lord hath the preeminence, for He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes. The sum of His teaching when on earth, as well as by His Spirit to this day, is life in Himself alone.
II. Now proceed to the union and affinity described; “like unto Moses, and of their brethren.” This sets forth Moses eminently a type of Christ, and we will name a few particulars in which the type and antitype are alike, though the latter infinitely surpasses the former. Moses was a man of fame, he was proclaimed “king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together.” Jesus was proclaimed King of Zion by God the Father, saying, “I have set My King upon My holy hill of Zion,” and there He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet; but here the antitype infinitely exceeds the type, for Moses could only reign over the people, but Jesus reigns both over and in their hearts. Moses was famed as a warrior, and Amalek and Moab felt his prowess--Sihon and Og fell before him; hut Jesus, as the Captain of our salvation, has “spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them,” yea, He has vanquished death, hell, and the grave, and is still going forth upon His white horse (Gospel truth) from conquering to conquer. Moses was famed for meekness (Numbers 12:3). Jesus, our Prophet, was like unto Moses, meek and lowly, and His meekness never failed, even when He endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. The faithfulness of Moses is also recorded by the apostle to his honour, “Moses, verily, was faithful in all His house as a servant.” He was faithful to God for his people, and he was faithful to the people for God. So our glorious Prophet was like him, and far surpassed him, as a Son over His own house: His very name is “Faithful and True,” as the Holy Ghost tells us in the Apocalypse; and by His servant Isaiah He says, “Faithfulness is the girdle of His reins.”
III. Notice his being raised up supernaturally--“The Lord thy God” raised Him up. In fact, everything pertaining to Christianity must of necessity be supernatural; and all that religion which originates with fallen nature, and which fallen nature can comprehend, must be spurious. The question which our Lord put to the Jews respecting the ministry of John fixes the standard of real religion--“Is it from heaven or of me?” “Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above,” and, consequently, is supernatural--every act of faith, as well as the gift of it, is supernatural; yea, the very life of godliness in the soul is supernatural life.
IV. This brings us to show that our great Prophet is entitled to obedience, yea, that it is demanded, “Unto Him ye shall hearken.” Without this we cannot be reckoned among His sheep, for He says, “My sheep hear My voice”; when He speaks in His Word, by His ministers, or in the secret whispers of His love; they hearken to Him in these communications, whether they be for instruction, reproof, or comfort. As a Prophet He hath graciously said, “I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go.” It is, therefore, our privilege, and must be our wisdom, to sit at His feet and hearken to His words. By hearkening to Him I understand the embracing of His embassy, as the sent of God the Father on the great errand of salvation; and this will include the receiving of every doctrine He preached--every privilege He bestows--and every precept He enjoins; all which requires great grace from Him. Again, in embracing His embassy, and so hearkening to this Prophet, there will be a settled reliance upon His person and work as the great subject of Old Testament prophecy; so that whoever reads the prophecies without an eye to Jesus, will find them but a dead letter without spirit or life. (J. Irons.)
The need of a Mediator between God and man felt and acknowledged
I. On this great occasion God was dealing with the children of Israel as the moral governor of men, the Lawgiver and Judge of His accountable creatures.
II. This grand publication of God’s holy law and sovereign will to the assembled Israelites, was accompanied with suitable attendant circumstances of awe and majesty.
III. The Israelites, by these symbols of awful power and holiness, were filled with solemn dread and made application to Moses, that immediate communications from God might no more be given; but that he would be their Mediator, receive the commands of God, and declare them to the people.
IV. Observe God’s approval of the application of the people and His compliance with it. (Essex Remembrancer.)
The resemblance between Moses and Christ
I. Consider Moses as a leader and lawgiver. You are to observe that both Moses and Christ proved their commission by miracles--a thing that cannot be affirmed of any among the prophets of Israel. They both came to an enslaved race; they both set loose the prisoners; and, when proof of their authority was demanded, they both wrought wonders beyond human power--wonders which equally showed their dominion over the elements, and over life and death. Though one used his might in destroying, and the other only in works of benevolence, yet there was much the same opposition raised against the one and the other--the magicians contending with Moses, and evil spirits contending with Christ. And the deliverances effected by the two were singularly alike, bearing evidently the one towards the other, the relation of type and antitype. Moses broke the yoke from the necks of the captive people; Christ the yoke from the necks of the whole human race. But when Moses made a passage for Israel out of Egypt, all danger was not escaped, nor all difficulties surmounted. The former tyrants pursued the free tribes, and sought to recover the ascendency they had lost; and though Christ hath redeemed us from the power of Satan, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers, who knows not that evil spirits, eager to regain their former dominion, pursue those that follow the Captain of Salvation, and strive, with ceaseless energy, to prevent their final escape? When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, he did indeed tell them of a rich and goodly land, which God appointed as their inheritance, but he did not at once put them in possession of it; on the contrary, he conducted them into a dreary wilderness, where they were exposed to continual trials, and harassed with various afflictions. Is it not thus, also, with regard to our redemption? By Christ we hear of a mighty Canaan, reserved for the followers of the Redeemer, but there is not an immediate entrance; a wide desert has to be traced, set with snares and peopled with enemies, and it is only through much tribulation that we can take possession of the heritage. It is not only as a leader, but equally as a lawgiver, that Moses bears a striking resemblance to Christ.
II. But we do not think that it was in his capacity as a leader and a lawgiver that Moses most eminently typified Christ. We go on to observe that Moses acted as a mediator between God and the Israelites; and if as mediator, then was he indeed like the Lord our Redeemer. The name of mediator is expressly given by St. Paul to Moses; for you will remember that, in writing to the Galatians, be says, “The law was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” The reference here is unquestionably to Moses; and, therefore, his claim to being reckoned a mediator rests upon evidence which admits of no dispute.
III. Observe, more minutely, the particulars of Moses’ life. With regard to the very infancy of the two whom we wish to set before you as type and antitype, you will remember that Moses was wonderfully preserved when in childhood--preserved from Pharaoh’s order; and thus was Christ preserved when Herod slew all the children in Bethlehem. Moses fled from his country to escape the wrath of the king, and then there came to him a message, “Go, return into Egypt for all the men are dead which sought thy life.” Christ fled in like manner, and then there came a message, in almost the same words, to Joseph, “Return, for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.” Moses, as we before said, contended with the magicians, and forced them to acknowledge his power--Christ contended with evil spirits, and obtained from them a similar confession. Immediately before the emancipation of Israel, Moses instituted the Passover--immediately before redeeming mankind, Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper. When Moses had to appoint elders, he appointed seventy--when Christ chose His disciples, He also chose seventy. Into the land that was to be conquered Moses sent twelve men as spies--when the world was to be subdued, Christ sent twelve men as apostles. How did Moses overcome Amalek? By extending both his arms, and keeping them stretched out. How did Christ subdue all men? Only by suffering His hands to be nailed to the Cross. As a prophet, Moses had to deal with a barbarous generation, who were not to be won over to the obeying of God; and who, consequently, with the exception of two, all perished in the wilderness, in forty years. And was not Christ sent to an obdurate people? Moses had to endure ill-treatment from his own family--his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam rebelled against him; and we are told of Christ, “Neither did His brethren believe on Him.” Moses fed the people miraculously in the wilderness; Christ fed thousands miraculously in the desert. And, in making a covenant of blood between God and the people, did he not again represent the Redeemer, who, by His own blood, hath “brought nigh those who were sometime afar off”? It was not until Moses was dead that the people could enter the promised land; it was only by the death of Christ that the kingdom of heaven was opened to believers. It was, in one sense, for the iniquities of the people that Moses died. “The Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance; but I must die.” We need not tell you that it was for the sins of the world that Christ poured out His soul unto death, in the fulness of His strength, when His eye was not dim nor His natural force abated. Did Moses go up in the sight of the people to the top of Mount Nebo, on purpose to die? and when Christ was yet in the flower of His age, unworn by any sickness, did He go up in the presence of the nation, to the summit of Calvary, on purpose to endure death? Before he went up to die, Moses comforted the disconsolate tribes with an assurance that God would raise them up another prophet; before He went up to die, Christ said to His desponding disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.” And, to add but another point of correspondence, Moses was buried, but no one knew where his body lay; Christ was buried, and yet were not His remains in vain sought for by the Jews? (H. Melvill, B. D.)
The prophetic office of Christ
1. The prophetic office of Christ is one of a peculiarly gracious and encouraging nature to sinners.
2. The prophetic office of Christ is one of infinite dignity, inasmuch as He transacted in it with God for our salvation, and was able to sustain that manifestation of the Divine glory and holiness which no mere man can behold and live.
3. The text presents us with an interesting view of the security and blessedness of all who enjoy an interest in the benefits of Christ’s mediation. They shall not hear God’s voice nor see His face as the holy, and righteous, but deeply offended arbiter of the destinies of the moral universe, taking vengeance upon His enemies--they shall not have to encounter a conflict with His outraged holiness, and violated justice, and insulted power; but as He shall look upon them through the medium of a Saviour’s imputed righteousness and merits, so shall they, on the other hand, sea Him in the attractive and winning light of a Saviour’s compassion, benignity, and love. (J. Forbes, D. D.)
Moses the type of Christ
I. If we survey the general history of the Israelites, we shall find that it is a picture of man’s history as the Gospel displays it to us, and that in it moses takes the place of Christ.
II. Christ reveals to us the will of God, as Moses did to the Israelites. He is our Prophet as well as our Redeemer. Favoured as he was, Moses saw not the true presence of God. Flesh and blood cannot see it. But Christ really saw, and ever saw, the face of God, for He was no creature of God, but the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father. Christ has brought from His Father for all of us the full and perfect way of life.
III. Moses was the great intercessor when the Israelites sinned. In this he shadows out the true Mediator between God and man, who is ever at the right hand of God making intercession for us. Moses was excluded from the Promised Land, dying in sight, not in enjoyment, of Canaan, while the people went in under Joshua. This was a figure of/the that was to come. Our Saviour Christ died that we might live; He consented to lose the light of God’s countenance that we might gain it. Moses suffered for his own sin; Christ was the spotless Lamb of God. His death is meritorious; it has really gained our pardon. (J. H. Newman, D. D.)
Moral and typical character of Moses
I. Consider Moses in his moral excellencies.
1. His vigorous faith in the declarations of God.
2. His cheerful obedience to the commands of God.
3. He was distinguished for a spirit of fervent devotion.
4. He was distinguished for enlarged and unwearied benevolence.
5. He was celebrated for astonishing meekness.
6. His religion was characterised by its constancy and perseverance.
II. Consider Moses as an illustrious type of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The wonderful preservation of both in infancy.
2. The intellectual qualifications of both.
3. The voluntary poverty and reproach of both.
4. The offices which both sustained.
5. The signs and miracles which both wrought.
6. Both fasted forty days and forty nights.
There are many other traits of likeness between Moses and Jesus, but the above must suffice. In many things there was a great disparity between them.
(1) Moses was a frail man, he had his infirmities. Jesus was free from all sin, and guile was never found in His mouth.
(2) Moses was a servant; Jesus a son.
(3) Moses received power from God to do the works he did; Jesus possessed all power both in heaven and earth.
(4) The spirit of prophecy dwelt largely in Moses, but wholly in Christ.
(5) Moses was a leader, but Christ a Saviour.
(6) The rewards Moses principally offered were temporal; Christ’s spiritual and eternal.
(7) Moses established a perishing economy, one that waxed old, and is now abrogated. Christ’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and of His rule there shall be no end.
1. We may admire Moses; but Jesus demands our supreme love.
2. We may read the law of Moses, but believe and trust in the Gospel of Christ,
3. It is well to contemplate the moral excellencies and official engagements of Moses; but it is better to meditate upon the scene on the holy mount of transfiguration, where Moses and Elias both did homage to Jesus, and conversed of His decease, which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem, and where the voice from the excellent glory was heard, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.” (J. Burns, D. D.)
Moses a type of Christ
I. The peculiar circumstances connected with their birth.
II. Their voluntary abasement and humiliation.
III. Both were especially appointed to be the deliverers of the afflicted and the oppressed.
IV. Both of them delivered the laws and mind of God to the people.
V. Both of them were appointed leaders of the people.
VI. Both of them acted as mediators between God and the people.
VII. Both of their engagements were connected with the ministrations of angels.
VIII. Both were distinguished for high moral endowments.
IX. Both were eminent prophets of the Most High God.
X. Both obtained unspeakably valuable blessings for the people.
XI. Both lived and laboured for the well-being of others.
XII. Both were treated with ingratitude by those whose welfare they lived to promote. Application:
1. Moses was the head of that dispensation which was legal and ceremonial, and Which passed away. Jesus is the head of that economy which is spiritual, gracious, and abiding.
2. Let us rejoice that we are not come to Sinai, but Zion; not under the law, but under grace; not the followers of Moses, but the disciples of Christ.
3. If disobedience to Moses and his law was visited with God’s displeasure, how shall those escape who neglect Christ’s salvation, and obey not His Gospel? (J. Burns, D. D.)
The resemblance of Jesus to Moses
I. These words principally contain a prophecy of the Messiah. First, the word “prophet” is expressed in the singular number, and intimates plainly the raising up of a certain illustrious prophet at a fixed time, rather than a constant succession of prophets. Moses expressly adds, “like unto me,” that is, in the principal part of his character--one who should not only be a prophet, but also a legislator. But, from the time of Moses to the days of our Saviour, there was no prophet who had the same authority as Moses had, for the succeeding prophets were only interpreters of the Mosaic law, they only exhorted the people to obey the law of Moses; reproved the transgressors of it; and, by foretelling punishments to be inflicted upon them by God, awakened them to return to the obedience of this law. Jesus appeared in the world at that period when the Jewish nation had the highest expectation of the coming of their Messiah. There is no doubt but the ancient Jews acknowledged this text to be particularly applicable to the Messiah (Acts 3:22; Acts 7:37).
II. The description here given exactly corresponds to Jesus of Nazareth; and He resembled Moses in more respects than any other prophet ever did.
III. The Jewish nation have been, and still are, severely punished for their disobedience to this prophet.
IV. Concluding inferences.
1. We may see that Christianity is indeed near as old as the creation. The two dispensations resemble a building supported by two pillars, joined and cemented together, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone whom God has placed in Zion; so that if you remove either of the two, the whole must fall to the ground.
2. We may see that the infidelity of the Jewish nation is unreasonable and inexcusable.
3. We may see the folly and inevitable ruin of such as reject Jesus Christ, whose mission God has attested by so many proofs.
4. We may see the just foundation all true Christians have for zealously promoting the interests of the Gospel. (James Robertson, M. A.)
Moses a type of Christ
I. Christ is a prophet like unto Moses; and He is so in two respects: first, as to His teaching; and secondly, as to His predictions. The office of the prophet was two fold; he not only revealed, by the inspiration of God, the things which should be hereafter; but he also, by the same inspiration, declared unto the people the mind and will of God, as well as their duty towards Him: he was a preacher as well as a prophet. It was so in the case of Moses. He made known to the people of Israel the glorious character of the Most High--His holiness, His majesty, His mercy, His justice. But not only did Moses deliver to Israel heavenly doctrine, and gave them precepts for their guidance; but he foretold their future fortunes, yea, he foretold that they would disobey those very precepts. “I know”, he says, “that after, my death ye will utterly corrupt, yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger with the work of your hands.” But let us turn from Moses to Christ, “a Prophet mighty in word and deed before God and all the people”; that greater Prophet, whom Moses himself foretold, and of whom he was but a type. We find in our blessed Lord the same union of the two qualifications of the prophet. He is our great Teacher; and He also foretold things to come. Christ is our great Teacher; and “who teacheth like Him?” The teaching of Christ is so full, so important, and so adapted to promote our real welfare, that it demands our most intense and diligent study. Let us just glance at some of the truths which His teaching conveys to us. Moses revealed to the children of Israel only just so much of the character of God as God saw fit to make known to him; but our Divine Teacher comes from the very bosom of the Father; He is the Revealer of the Father to the sons of men; yea, He is Himself “Immanuel, God with us.” Moses gave to Israel precepts whereby they might live; but the blessings attached to them were but temporal: the great truths connected with the life to come were but obscurely revealed to them. But our great Teacher has “brought life and immortality to light.” He teaches us the necessity of a change of heart, if we would dwell forever in the realms of holiness and peace: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” He has told us of the absolute necessity that our sins should be forgiven, if we would obtain everlasting life, and the way by which we are to obtain that forgiveness. And He does what Moses could never do: He sends His Holy Spirit to write His law upon our hearts. Moses gave to Israel the law of the Ten Commandments, as well as the ceremonial law; but our Teacher has made known to us the Gospel. The moral law was indeed glorious, its holiness was its glory: but it could not save: it could but convince of our sins, and condemn us for our disobedience. But Jesus has come to us with better tidings: He tells us how we may escape the condemnation of the law. “He hath redeemed us from its curse, being made a curse for us.” Christ our Prophet also foretells things to come. He foretold, as Moses did, the destruction of the city of the Jews, and of their magnificent temple; and, in the prospect of the inconceivable misery which they were about to suffer, His heart was filled with anguish.
II. Other points of resemblance between Moses and Christ are presented to us in the text. We are told, “the Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet like unto me.” Moses was commissioned by God as a prophet to Israel; and he came to them with all the authority of such high commission. His words were as though they had been spoken by God Himself; and it was at their peril that the Israelites refused to hear him. So also is Christ sent unto us by God. The same almighty Being who created the heavens and the earth, who formed the spirit of man within him, our Creator, Benefactor, and Preserver, has sent unto us Jesus, to be our great Teacher. What greater inducement can we have to hearken to His voice?
III. Moses was a prophet raised up in Israel from among themselves. God sent not an angel to be their instructor, but a man of like passions with themselves; one who could sympathise and bear with them, and one whom they might approach without fear. So also was Christ raised up to us from among our brethren; forasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.
IV. Again, Moses prophesied that the Lord would raise up this mighty Prophet unto Israel; and it is true that Jesus came to preach salvation first to the Jew. He said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But there is a spiritual Israel, the seed of Abraham by faith, even the company of all true believers; and unto them Christ was raised up to be a Prophet, the great Prophet of His Church. (M. T. Spencer, M. A.)
The acceptance of Christ as a Prophet
What strikes one perhaps most of all in looking at the old castles in England is the meagre openings that they have for light. How did the people inside of them contrive to live and read and write? With these apertures and passages out to the glorious day no bigger than the barrel of a gun, how did they manage their existence? What incomparable comforts men have today in the great windows that open back and front, and often on the sides, out into God’s ample and beautiful world! These old castles, with the stray beams struggling in upon broken down halls and dungeons, with the glorious floods of light forbidden to enter, are a picture of the men who shut out the Lord. The rejection of Christ is the refusal to let in the light, is the shrinking back into the dark castle, into the rude home of barbarism and privation. The acceptance of Christ is the acceptance of modem life in its highest meaning, giving a welcome to its ideas, its spirit of reform, its determination to conquer the world. It is a coming out of the dark prison of self-containment into an utter openness toward the infinite God. (George A. Gordon.)
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Deuteronomy 18". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13