Deuteronomy 18:15-18 is not about Edomites, Arabs or any ordinary prophet
There are so many people who like to quote Bible verses, remove them from the context and then misinterpret them or more precisely to say, manipulate them just to satisfy their dishonest ambitions and despicable goals.
One of the passages that is often twisted to legitimate the prophethood of Muhammad in the Bible is the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 18, verses 15-18, which was recorded as follows.
“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. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” The LORD said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18)
I am not to touch the ridiculous excuses they used to twist these verses toward Muhammad, but provides biblical base about to where these verses are directed and whom they pointed to. If you have a clean conscience and a straight mind, let’s use them. If you do not have them, then this article is not for you.
While the NIV Bible gives a clear pictures of ‘from among whom this promised ‘prophet’ will arise’ – from your fellow Israelites, many other version such as the American Standard Bible and the New King James and Indonesian LAI used the term “your brethren”. Let’s look at this from “your brethren’s” point of view.
This passage contains the word of YHWH, the God of Israel Who spoke directly to Moses. Therefore, since the “you” here refers to Moses, that means YHWH was talking about the brethren of Moses, and the ‘promised prophet’ may arise from the tribe of Levi, or from his extended brethren – the other eleven tribes ofIsraelas the descendants of Jacob
If what YHWH meant with the pronoun “you” was the twelve tribes of Israel, then the ‘promised prophet’ was probably coming from among them (the brethren as descendant of Jacob), or possibly from the tribes of Edom (the brethren as descendants of Isaac – Esau – Jacob’s brother).
It would be a mistake if the word “prophet” here then leads us to think about someone like Elijah or Elisha, Isaiah or Jeremiah, Micah or Zechariah. The ‘promised prophet’ must be “like me (Moses)” or “like you (Moses)”, in many ways such as: a). They are the “deliverers” of the people (ofIsraeland of all mankind) from the shackles of slavery (ofEgyptand of sin – death). b). They are the carriers of God’s Law (the Torah and the Law of Love). c). Their birth caused the death of babies the age of two years. d). They were miracles workers, e). They spoke with God of Israel face to face), etc.
The problem here is that it is written:
“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:10-12)
Since the ‘promised prophets’ should be the same with Moses as is mentioned in some points of similarities above, while he should no longer be like unto Moses as stated in Deuteronomy 34:10-12, then we are left with only one option, namely the ‘promised prophet’ is not a common prophet and should be ‘more than a prophet!’ The ‘promised prophet’ must meet the provisions made by Deuteronomy 18:15 and 18, and Deuteronomy 34:10-12, and that could only be achieved by someone “who is more than just a prophet”.
This ‘promised prophet’ should be able to perform signs and wonders as required by Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 but in a different manner from how Moses had done, according to Deuteronomy 34:10-12. Can you see the difference? Are these leading you somewhere? The ‘promised prophet’ would perform miracles not as someone who received (was given) the authority to do so, but as someone who owned that authority and this is the only alternative we have.
This is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb
Who are the “you” that asked on Mount Horeb and what was the content of the request which is based on the phrase: “Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord”? Is it true that the “you” refused to “hear again the voice of the Lord”, or is there something else? The situation that brought about this request are recorded in several passages of the Bible as,
“Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.” (Deuteronomy 4:9b-12)
“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” (Exodus 20:18)
“But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any longer. For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? Go near and listen to all that the LORD our God says. Then tell us whatever the LORD our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” (Deuteronomy 5:25-27)
and reflected up in the New Testament verses:
“You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”(Hebrews 12:18-21)
In conclusion, (1). The “You” that were asking in Mount Horeb is the people ofIsrael, the twelve tribes of Jacob’s sons, and the content of their request it is (2). “Let not God speak *directly * to us, lest we die!”
(1). A logical consequence derived from this is that because the request was made by the twelve tribes of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, the phrase “your brethren” will not slip out of the circle of the twelve tribes of Israel to the tribes of Edom, the descendants of Esau, let alone gets to the Arabs who claimed to be the children and grandchildren of Ishmael. God of Israel will not release His people to be led by any Edomite or Arab. God of Israel will not give His people a scorpion when they ask for an egg (Luke 11:12). Moreover, the God of Israel is bound to “an everlasting Covenant” with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17:19, 28:13-15). It cannot be of Edomites and has nothing to do with the Arabs!
(2). If we seek to know the God of Israel, then we will realize that one of His delights or His customs supported by His nature and power is being present in the midst of His people – declaring His attendance and speaking directly to them, in a way that does not destroy them, but often accompanied by His awesome majesty that made them tremble with fear. Base on this truth, the God of Israel meet the demand of the twelve tribes of Israel, not by ceasing His habits of being in direct contact with them, but by to “changing the way He interact directly with them” and even more that at the same time He opens the channel to all mankind to have the same relationship with Him!”
‘The promises prophet” should be the same but also exceeded Moses
If you can relate the content of “New Covenant” God of Israel established through the prophet Jeremiah, and the words of Jesus Christ of ‘seeing the Father’, then I do not need another long talk about “the Promised One “.
“No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD….” (Jeremiah 31:34)
“Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9)
Peter linked Deuteronomy 18:15-18 to the promised Messiah to the Israelites as the Redeemer saying:
“For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’ (Acts 3:22-23; see also verses 18-21)
And Stephen also connects the people ofIsraelwith Jesus Christ through Deuteronomy 18:15-18 by saying:
“This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’ (Acts 7:37)
These two statements reinforce my assertion that “the Promised One” is not possible from among Edomites and is impossible from the Arabs! He is the “Messiah” or the “Christ”. There are consequences in refusing to obey God’s word spoken by every prophet. Although it is said about the “promised Messiah” that:
“I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.” (Deuteronomy 18:19)
but the emphasis is never given to believe in the prophets as that in the “promised Messiah” and the salvation and punishment is never dependent upon the name of any prophet as in the name of the “promised Messiah.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18)
As I said at the beginning of this paper, if you have a clean conscience and a straight mind and are wiling to use them, then you will agree with me that the causal relationship of believing or not believing in the “promised Messiah” is a demand of ‘a divine person’ and not of any regular prophet. There is why the God of Israel announced through the prophet Isaiah about the “promised Messiah” by saying:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”) (Isaiah 7:14 & Matthew 1:23).
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:5)
• Deuteronomy 18:15-18 does not have anything to do with the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob -Edom, and the descendants of Ishmael (if the claim is true) – the Arabs: Muhammad.
• Deuteronomy 18:15-18 is one of the “messianic promise” of God of Israel, that the Messiah will rise from among His people ofIsraeland for His people – physical and spiritual Israelites.
• The promised Messiah has some similarities with the humanity of Moses, but He has divine nature which puts Him far above Moses and even above all the prophets and mankind (see Philippians 2:9 in the light of Isaiah 42:8).
Whether you believe it or not, this truth remains. Adonai Yesua HaMaschiakh is Lord and God, not because people believe in Him and call Him so and He will remain Lord and God, regardless of how many people believe in Him or even if there is none believes in him.
Again, if you have a clean conscience and a straight mind, then the Holy Spirit will help you to get to know the whole truth of Jesus Christ (John 16:3).
All praises be to the LORD Jesus!