This verse is the only place in the entire Torah where Moses explicitly identifies himself as a prophet of the LORD. Moreover, this is also the only passage where Moses identifies the coming of the Messiah as "a Prophet like me" (Deut 18:15; John 6:14).
In the New Testament we read that the soferim (scribes) had sent a delegation to question Yochanon the Immerser (John the Baptist), asking him two questions:
- "Are you Elijah?" (John 1:21) - This referred to Malachi's prophecy (Mal. 4:5) that Elijah would come as a messenger before the appearance of the Messiah. To this day Jews around the world still set out a cup of wine for Elijah at Passover - in anticipation of the his arrival as the forerunner of the Messiah.
- "Are you the Prophet?" (John 1:21). This referred to Moses' prophecy that God would send "a Prophet like me" (Deut. 18:15-19).
We further read that when Philip encountered Nathanael, he said, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote - Yeshua minetzaret ben Yosef (Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph)" (John 1:45). After Yeshua fed the five thousand, the people began to ask if this was "the Prophet who is to come into the world" (John 6:14). Peter identified Yeshua as the Prophet (Acts 3:22-23), and in his apologetic before the Sanhedrin, Stephen the martyr declared that Yeshua was the promised Messiah: "This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, 'The lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.'" (Acts 7:37-38).
Yeshua is the "Prophet Like Unto Moses"
In light of these passages of Scripture, here are thirty (30) ways in which Yeshua minetzeret ben Yosef indeed resembled Moses:
- Just as there were 400 years of silence before Adonai sent Moses to deliver Israel from her bondage to Pharaoh, so there were 400 of years of silence before Adonai sent His own Son, Yeshua the Messiah, to utterly deliver Israel from her ultimate bondage to sin and death.
- Both Moses and Yeshua were sent from God (Exod. 3:1-10; John 8:42).
- Both Moses and Yeshua were Jews (Exod. 2:1-2; Matt. 1:1-16; Luke 1-2; Heb. 7:14). (Note: This is no small thing, since Muslims claim that Muhammad is the prophet Moses referred to here; which is obviously incorrect, since the Mashiach must be a Jew - see John 4:24).
- Both had faithful Jewish parents (Exod. 2:2; Heb. 11:23; Matt. 2:13-14).
- Both were born under foreign rule (Exod. 1:8-14; Luke 2:1).
- Both were threatened by wicked kings (Exod. 1:15-16; Matt. 2:16).
- Both Moses and Yeshua spent their early years in Egypt, miraculously protected from those who sought their lives (Exod. 2:10; Matt. 2:14-15).
- Both rejected the possibility to become rulers in this age. Moses was raised as a son in the royal family and could have enjoyed a lavish lifestyle as a powerful ruler, but he chose differently (Heb. 11:24); Satan offered Yeshua the rule over the kingdoms of this world (Matt. 4:8-9), but rejected that offer and chose to suffer and die for the sake of the people of Israel.
- Both Moses and Yeshua were "sent from a mountain of God" to free Israel. Moses was sent from (physical) Mount Sinai in Midian, Arabia; Yeshua was sent from a spiritual "Mount Zion" in Heaven (Heb. 12:22).
- Both were initially rejected by the Jews (Exod. 32:1; Isa. 53: 3; Matt. 27:21-2;
- Both were accepted by Gentiles (Moses by the Midianites (Exod. 2:14-22); Yeshua by the world (Acts 10:45; 1 Tim. 3:16)).
- Both were criticized by their families (Num. 12:1; Mark 3:20-21).
- Both knew God panim l'panim (face to face). God spoke directly to both Moses and Yeshua (Exod. 3:1-10; Deut. 34:10; Luke 9:34-36). All other prophets received their revelation by visions or dreams (Deut. 34:10; John 1:18). Both were authoritative spokesmen for God (Matt. 17:5; John 3:34).
- Both were teachers (Deut. 4:1-5; Matt. 22:16; John 3:2).
- Both revealed God's Name (Exod. 3:13-14; John 17:6, 11-12).
- Both were faithful to God (Num. 12:5-7; Heb. 3:1-2).
- Both gave the people bread from Heaven (Exod. 16:14-15; Matt. 14:19-20) and performed various miracles (Exod. 4:21-8; Deut. 34:10-12; John 5:36; 12:37-8).
- Both were appointed as saviors of Israel (Moses as Israel's deliverer from the bondage to Pharaoh; Yeshua as Israel's deliverer from the bondage to Satan).
- Both were shepherds of Israel (Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness (Exod. 3:1; Numbers), Yeshua led His followers as the Good Shepherd (John 10:10-11; Matt. 9:36)).
- Both were humble servants of the LORD (Num. 12:3; Luke 2:46-7; Phil. 2:8-9).
- Both fasted for forty days in the wilderness (Exod. 34:28; Matt. 4:2).
- Both were Mediators of a covenant of blood: Moses of the older covenant (Exod. 24:7-8) and Yeshua of the new covenant (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; Heb. 9:11-15; 1 Cor. 11:25; 2 Cor. 3:6).
- Both offered to die on behalf of the people's sins (Exod. 32:30-33; John 17).
- Just as Moses instituted the LORD's Passover on Nisan 14 as the means by which the Angel of death would pass over those Israelites who trusted in God's promise regarding the blood of the lamb (Exod. 12:11-12), so Yeshua offered Himself as the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
- Just as Moses brought about the "resurrection" of the children of Israel as they passed through the Red Sea; so Yeshua became the Firstfruits of resurrection as He rose from the dead.
- Just as the Torah was given to Israel fifty days after the Exodus from Egypt (on Pentecost or Shavuot), so Yeshua sent the Holy Spirit to form the Church fifty days after His resurrection.
- Both of their faces shone with the glory of heaven - Moses on Mount Sinai (Exod. 34:34-5) and Yeshua on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2).
- As Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness to heal his people (Num. 21:8-9); so Yeshua was lifted up on the cross to heal all believers from their sin (John 12:32).
- As Moses conquered the great enemy of Israel, the Amalekites with his upraised arms (Exod. 17:11), so Yeshua conquered our ultimate enemy of sin and death by His upraised arms on the cross (John 19:18).
- As Moses sent twelve spies to explore Canaan (Num. 13), so Yeshua sent twelve apostles to reach the world (Matt. 10:1); and as Moses appointed seventy rulers over Israel (Num. 11:16-7), so Yeshua anointed seventy disciples to teach the nations (Luke 10:1).
How, then, was Jesus a Prophet "like Moses"? Well, like Moses, he was a Jew, a Leader, a Prophet, a Lawgiver, a Savior, a Teacher, a Priest, a Healer, an Anointed One, a Mediator between God and man -- speaking the words of God -- and like Moses, He offered himself to die for the sins of the people.