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Yeshua in Context » Background to Gospels, General, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, New Moses Theme, Yeshua as » Moses-Like Prophet in John

Moses-Like Prophet in John

In the fourth gospel, Deuteronomy 18:15-22 is a key passage. It’s language (from the Septuagint or Greek version) is echoed throughout the gospel of John. Much of the Father-Son language in John comes from concepts and phrases in Deuteronomy 18:15-22, the Torah passage about the Prophet who is to come. Of course, the Deuteronomy passage is in one sense talking about the office of a prophet (and so, in that sense, all prophets like Samuel, Elijah, Hosea, Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah fit the meaning of the Deuteronomy passage). Yet the Prophet in Deuteronomy was also interpreted in another sense (as evidenced in the gospels) as a singular Prophet who would be greater than Moses. One could argue that this is not what the Deuteronomy passage intended, but there are two answers to this:

(1) The multiple meanings of an important scripture may become evident over time as events unfold.

(2) God at times may fulfill expectations (ones he approves of) regardless of the plain meaning of prophecies.

From Dale Allison, I learned of the New Moses theme in Matthew. From Raymond Brown’s commentary I first learned of the Prophet theme in John. But it is from Paul Anderson’s The Christology of the Fourth Gospel that I learned how much this theme really plays into the fourth gospel.

Statements and Concepts from Deuteronomy 18:15-22

  • Like Moses: “God will raise up for you a prophet from among your own people, like myself.”
  • To be obeyed: “him you shall heed.”
  • God’s voice to terrible to hear: “Let me not hear the voice of the Lord my God any longer.”
  • No one can bear the sight of God: “…or see this wondrous fire any more, lest I die.”
  • God gives him words: “I will put My words in his mouth.”
  • He says only what God shows him: “He will speak to them all that I command him.”
  • God judges, not the prophet: “If anybody fails to heed the words he speaks in My name, I myself will call him to account.”
  • Unauthorized prophets anathema: “any prophet who presumes to speak in My name…that prophet shall die”
  • Signs will reveal the identity of the Prophet: “If the prophet speaks in the name of the Lord and the oracle does not come true, that oracle was not spoken by the Lord.”

Yeshua as the Prophet-Like-Moses in John

  • Statements that explain Yeshua as the fulfiller of Mosaic roles: 1:17; 3:14; 6:32; 7:19.”Law was given through Moses; grace and truth through Yeshua.”
  • Statements that Moses wrote concerning Yeshua: 1:45; 5:46. “Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote.”
  • Onlookers identify Yeshua as the Prophet: 6:14. “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!”
  • Yeshua says what he has seen and heard from the Father: numerous references including 14:24, “the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”
  • Hearing Yeshua requires believing in him: numerous references including 5:24, “he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
  • Rejecting Yeshua is rejecting the Father: 5:37-38; 8:47; 12:46-48. “You do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent.”
  • Yeshua speaks only the words he receives: numerous references including 7:16, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me,” and 5:19, “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.”
  • Yeshua offers signs of his authenticity as the Sent Prophet: numerous references including 10:38, “Even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
  • The name of Yeshua the Prophet carries great weight: numerous references including 15:16, “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
  • The Father judges for not heeding the Prophet: 3:16-18; 12:47, “If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
  • Yeshua word as the Prophet is the standard of judgment: 12:28, “the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.”
  • Yeshua accused of speaking presumptuously and being a false prophet: numerous references including 7:12, “He is leading the people astray.”
  • Yeshua foretells his suffering accurately: 13:18-19, “I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.”

Paul Anderson’s list in The Christology of the Fourth Gospel (lxxiv-lxxviii) is much more detailed and elaborate.

See “Why Yeshua? A Jewish Question,” for a prelude to this article.

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Filed under: Background to Gospels, General, Identity of Yeshua, Judaism Today & Yeshua, New Moses Theme, Yeshua as

4 Responses to "Moses-Like Prophet in John"

  1. shawan childs says:

    That is really profound. When reading what Yeshua spoke to Nicodemus about being born again, how he being an instructor should understand such things, I thought, the plan of redemption must have been presented in Torah in such a way that Messiah could not be missed when He arrived, especially for those teachers of the law else why would Yeshua say that to Nicodemus. This passage just proves that very point.

    I like what you wrote “God at times may fulfill expectations (ones he approves of) regardless of the plain meaning of prophecies.”

    I had a profound experience believing God for something in which I based my faith on a scripture in Isaiah. Eve was cursed with pain in childbearing but a scripture in Isaiah said before pain came she was delivered of a child. I took that verse to heart. I knew it was a prophecy relating to Isreal but the scripture fit my situation so perfectly so I decided to trust God for a pain free labor. We’ve been redeemed from the curse. So when I went into labor, my son was the first child I had in which I had NO PAIN! And now unto HIm who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think…my labor was not only without pain but my son was born at home and delivered by my husband. He came so quick we didnt have time for the midwife to arrive. I call him my miracle baby.

    But not to get off topic…

    Thinking about the prophecies that have already been fulfilled, the details of Messiah’s life foretold, the Gentiles receiving Him and so forth… it makes you realize if those prophecies came true, then Yeshua the Messiah is definitely the truth. Having been in doubt for some time, I find these events to be such great evidence of His reality and appreciate sites such as yours. And since these prophecies have been fulfilled, there are many more still to occur. We better pay attention.

  2. yeshuain says:

    Shawan, thanks for the comment. And in Yeshua in Context, chapter 13, “Born from Above,” I suggest that what lies behind Yeshua’s statement to Nicodemus is Ezekiel 36:24-27. Compare the sayings in John 3 and Ezekiel 36:

    Ezekiel 36:24-27, For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.

    John 3:3-10, Yeshua answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Yeshua answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can this be?” Yeshua answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this?

    Derek Leman

  3. Esther says:

    Revisiting Born Anew

    I am interested where that word anew or again coming from.I noticed in the original meaning means to be generated from above. I am using Interlinear Greek-English New Testament Edition by Jay P. Green Sr. and the word in John 3:3 used is “generated from above”. Now,With the Torah and Tanach in mind what was in the mind of the Lord Yeshua in telling Nicodemus,who was a Torah teacher.Yeshua said,”You must be generated from above” ……big difference from “Born again”…


    1. yeshuain says:

      The Greek word anothen can mean either “again” or “from above.” I know these two meanings seem quite different. But such is reality. Many have followed the “born again” interpretation because Nicodemus asks how one can enter his mother’s womb and be born all over again. Yet Yeshua’s reply in vss. 5-6 supports the “born from above” interpretation (Spirit begets spirit). Raymond Brown’s commentary on John is very helpful. Also, I have a chapter in Yeshua in Context on “Born from Above,” explaining John 3 in more detail and with an eye for the mystical implications of the depths of our union with God.

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