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 is one of the two most important prophecies of the Old Testament. So important was it that the Pharisees had this question of John the Baptist when they met him:
They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”
Moses’ prophecy about another prophet was taken so seriously that the people of Israel devoted themselves to studying what Moses meant and to look for this coming prophet. Prophecy is a serious issue in Judaism and in Christianity.
One Of A Kind
In the Old Testament, the prophet would have been akin to the position of apostle in the New Testament. Paul makes a new distinction between apostle and prophet in his epistles, but what Moses was speaking of was something else entirely. In the same breath, Moses had spoken of other prophets, but he set this one Prophet apart. He was going to be different. He was going to be special. He was going to be one of a kind.
This coming Prophet was someone that the Israelites would be required by God to listen to. What Moses was saying was that if the people of Israel didn’t listen to him, God would have mercy on them, but if they chose not to listen to this coming Prophet, God would not have mercy on them. What He would have to say would be life and death to them.
We know now that Jesus is that Prophet, but we can take for granted the depth of the meaning in that. To gain a better understanding of how Jesus is that Prophet, let’s take a look at one more statement about Him.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “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.”
The context here is that John was speaking with an angel, became overwhelmed by what he saw and fell down at the angel’s feet to worship. What the angel then tells him seems to have nothing to do with worshipping God. Why is the testimony of Jesus the reason to worship God?
The Spirit of Prophecy
Jesus was the Prophet sent from God Moses spoke about, but in more ways than simply foretelling the future. The very spirit of prophecy itself is contained within the testimony of Jesus—our knowledge and allegiance to Him.
Jesus not only embodied with His words this coming Prophet Moses spoke of, but He Himself was the Prophet by who He was. That is because God sent Himself to show us who He is. There is no greater prophecy than knowing God. All prophecy is aimed at turning our hearts to God and nothing else. Jesus Himself was the spirit of prophecy because He was God and His goal was to turn our hearts to God.
God came as a prophet, the Prophet, and showed us the prophetic word we all need: how to know God.