The Prophet

The Prophet

(I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command. 

Dt. 18.18).*

Groucho Marx quipped “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them, well, I have others.”  No human is so one-dimensional as to not have characteristics that round them into a complex whole. If God made us in His image, how much more is The Builder multi-dimensional. God has revealed to us facets of his nature in Psalm 62.11-12a that seem to counter balance each other. God has declared one principle; two principles I have heard: God is strong, and you, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love.

At Sinai, God revealed his power but it terrified the people so another side of His nature would be needed to communicate with them.  The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you—from your fellow Israelites;  you must listen to him. This accords with what happened at Horeb in the day of the assembly. You asked the Lord your God: “Please do not make us hear the voice of the Lord our God any more or see this great fire any more lest we die.” The Lord then said to me, “What they have said is good. I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command.  Dt. 18.15-18.

The question is: “In what aspect will this Prophet be like Moses?” A cursory web search of similarities between Moses and Jesus leaves out the need alluded to in the text of the softer side (if you will) of God’s nature: “what they have said is good. I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow Israelites.” In my search of how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of another like Moses, many websites had lists of up to 50 different ways that compared Jesus to Moses but no site (in my search) listed the meekness or humility that characterized both leaders which the text almost demands: “what they have said is good. I will raise up a prophet like you.”

Numbers 12.3 describes Moses’ character: Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than any man on the face of the earth. God’s powerful majesty was revealed by the sounds and events at Sinai, and the people were rightly terrified. God would raise up a meek messenger who would demonstrate sacrificial love. Isaiah 42.1-9 portrays this “servant”:

Here is my servant whom I support, my chosen one in whom I take pleasure.

I have placed my spirit on him; he will make just decrees for the nations. 

He will not cry out or shout; he will not publicize himself in the streets.

A crushed reed he will not break, a dim wick he will not extinguish;

he will faithfully make just decrees. 

He will not grow dim or be crushed before establishing justice on the earth;

the coastlands will wait in anticipation for his decrees. 

This is what the true God, the Lord, says— the one who created the sky and stretched it out, the one who fashioned the earth and everything that lives on it, the one who gives breath to the people on it, and life to those who live on it: “I, the Lord, officially commission you; I take hold of your hand. I protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people, and a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to release prisoners from dungeons, those who live in darkness from prisons. 

I am the Lord! That is my name!

I will not share my glory with anyone else, or the praise due me with idols.

Look, my earlier predictive oracles have come to pass; now I announce new events. Before they begin to occur, I reveal them to you.


It is significant in the first sentence a clear reference to the Trinitarian unity is mentioned in regards to this “servant.”

Additionally, this “servant” will be “a covenant mediator.” Israel already had a covenant in the Law of Moses: “Keep my statutes and my ordinances, which a person is to obey in order to live in them. I am the LORD.” (Le.18.5). A New Covenant, however, was promised, which would usher in a more personal relationship with God (see Je. 31.31, Mt.26.28, IICor.3.6, He. 8.6, 9.15, et al.).

A question might arise as to the timing of this covenant with Israel and Judah. In my mind the covenant was instituted at Pesach (Passover) when Jesus died and inaugurated at Shavuot (Pentecost) when the “promise” was given (see Ac.1.4: the Father’s promise is the New Covenant’s presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers- the “other comforter”). All male Israelites were to appear before the Lord at the three principal feasts. So, particularly at Shavuot when the crowd heard the many native languages from their homelands, these dispersed Jews who came to observe the feast probably constituted all the tribes of Israel. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper with His disciples to commemorate the blood of the Eternal Covenant which He was soon to spill but The Father and Jesus sent the Other Comforter at Shavuot as the promised relationship of The New Covenant.

* All Scripture from the NET Bible.

Signs, Shadows, and Symbols

From the Gospel Coalition blog of Don Carson. Much of the Bible is in the form of parables that invite further examination of underlying concepts that point to a truth only found by careful digging. As Proverbs urges: if you look for her (wisdom) as for silver, then you will find the knowledge of God. Dr. Carson is right: “reflect long and often on the connections.”


Numbers 11; Psalm 48; Isaiah 1; Hebrews 9

Numbers 11Psalm 48Isaiah 1Hebrews 9

ONE OF THE WAYS GOD TALKS ABOUT THE FUTURE IS . . . well, by simply talking about the future. There are places in the Bible where God predicts, in words, what will happen: he talks about the future. But he also provides pictures, patterns, types, and models. In these cases he establishes an institution, or a rite, or a pattern of relationships. Then he drops hints, pretty soon a cascade of hints, that these pictures or patterns or types or models are not ends in themselves, but are ways of anticipating something even better. In these cases, then, God talks about the future in pictures.

Christians who read their Bibles a lot ponder the connections between the Davidic kingship and Jesus’ kingship, between the Passover lamb and Jesus as “Passover Lamb,” between Melchizedek and Jesus, between the Sabbath rest and the rest Jesus gives, between the high priest’s role and Jesus’ priestly role, between the temple the old covenant priest entered and the heavenly “holy of holies” that Jesus entered, and much more. Of course, for those who lived under the old covenant stipulations, covenantal fidelity meant adherence to the institutions and rites God laid down, even while those same institutions and rites, on the broader canonical scale, looked forward to something even better. Through these pictures, God talked about the future. Once a Christian grasps this point, parts of the Bible come alive in fresh ways.

One of these picture-models is Jerusalem itself, sometimes referred to as Zion (the historic stronghold). Jerusalem was bound up not only with the fact that from David on, it was the capital city (even after the division into Israel and Judah, it was the capital of the southern kingdom), but also with the fact that from Solomon on it was the site of the temple, and therefore of the focus of God’s self-disclosure.

So for the psalmist, “the city of our God, his holy mountain” is not only “beautiful” but “the joy of the whole earth” (Ps. 48:1-2). It is not only the center of armed security (48:4-8), but the locus where God’s people meditate on his unfailing love (48:9), the center of praise (48:10). Yet the psalmist looks beyond the city to God himself: he is the one who “makes her secure forever” (48:8), whose praise reaches to the end of the earth, for ever and ever (48:10, 14).

As rooted as they are in historic Jerusalem, the writers of the new covenant look to a “Jerusalem that is above” (Gal. 4:26), to “Mount Zion,” to “the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God” (Heb. 12:22), to the “new Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:2). Reflect long and often on the connections.