John 1:21 "Are you the Prophet?" |
In his welfare address in the desert, Moses foreseeing his soon departure announces to the Children of Israel "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers--it is to him you shall listen—(Deuteronomy 18:15)”. The literal reading of this could indicate that Moses was speaking of his disciple: Joshua, but classic Judaism always believed that this prophecy pertained also and mostly to the coming Messiah. In fact, priests asked John if he was that ‘prophet’ (John 1:21), and Peter had been taught it from his youth (Acts 3:22).
The key word in this prophetic utterance is ’a prophet like me’. In fact, it is a key to recognize the true Messiah. When Moses was born in Egypt, astrologers came to Pharaoh with a dream from his main priest about a boy born to the enslaved Jewish nation who would save them from Pharaoh’s clutch. As a result Pharaoh decided to kill all the boys throwing them into the Nile (Exodus 1:22). This resembles the events surrounding the birth of Yeshua where priests came to Herod about the birth of the Savior of the Jews, prompting him to kill all the babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2). The life of Moses actually serves as a prototype for Messiah. Judaism often calls respectively Moses and Messiah the first redeemer and second Redeemer. Both are born Jewish, and as Moses finds refuge in the Egyptian palace of Pharaoh, so Yeshua finds refuge from Herod by fleeing to Egypt (Exodus 2:1-10; Matthew 2). Both are also initially rejected by their people (Exodus 2:14; John 1:12).
Both Moses and Yeshua are born at a time of national bondage and are destined to break Israel’s bondage. Both lead Israel to the Promised Land and perform miracles to validate their claims. As Moses provides bread from heaven and water from a Rock, Yeshua claims to be the Bread from Heaven as well as the Rock. They both act as legislators, prophets and priests of Israel. Both also play the roles of intercessors to repair the people’s relationship with the Father. Classic Judaism actually says that what is called in Aramaic the ‘Memrah’, translated in Greek, ‘Logos’, and in English as the ‘Word’ (John 1:1-14), had a great involvement in the whole Exodus episode.
May we, as the Children of Israel had to learn to obey and follow Moses, learn to obey and follow Yeshua. Deuteronomy 28 tells us of the blessings brought by obedience and of the curses incurred through disobedience. These are still valid today.
May we remember the lessons from our fathers and learn that we may enter the Promised Land (1 Corinthians 10:6).
May it be soon Abba, even in our days!
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