Deuteronomy - Lesson 25
Moses as Prophet - Deut. 18.9-22
Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.
Moses as Prophet - Deut. 18.9-22
Moses as Prophet (18:9-22)
II. The Alternative to a Prophet Like Moses
III. The Nature of the Promise of a Prophet Like Moses
A. Lessons on true prophecy
B. Moses as a prophet
C. Moment of the induction of Moses
D. YHWH's response
E. Recognizing false prophets
IV. Challenge to the Promise of a Prophet Like Moses
A. Criteria for false prophets
B. Who is the prophet like Moses?
The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)
God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.
Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.
The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.
With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.
God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.
The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.
When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.
The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.
God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.
Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.
How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.
When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.
The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.
Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.
“What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.
Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.
As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.
The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.
This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.
In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.
A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.
Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.
Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.
Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.
The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.
Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.
Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.
Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)
This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.
The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.
This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.
At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.
This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.
The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)
The Gospel according to Moses
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Dr. Daniel Block
Moses as Prophet - Deut. 18.9-22
[00:00:00] A prophet like Moses. The Commission on Voice of Righteousness. I remind you that at the beginning of this whole collection of of messages, text units devoted to the leaders in Israel, whether it's the judges or the Levites or the Kings or the prophet, as we now have it, the overriding theme is Sadek, Sadek care of righteousness, righteousness you shall pursue. And so each of these rulers offices functions in the service of righteousness in Israel. And with that in mind, I refer to the Prophet like Moses as the commissioned envoy of righteousness as defined in the Torah. Well, we have to begin again by setting the context. We've seen this before. This is this, you know, the Constitution of Israelites, political and religious leaders released structure. So ABC be a we have now reached the bottom of this. This is the last in this series. He ends this whole collection with a note about prophets in the future. The Lord will set over you, a prophet like me. But of course, we've got to set the context first. The immediate context is these read early text, but the thematic context is provided by Chapter 12 versus 29 to 31. We read this earlier before we looked at Chapter 13, The Anathema on people who lead the Israelites astray. When you offer your God cuts off before you, the nations whom you go into dispossess and you dispossess them and dwell on their land, guard yourselves lest you be ensnared to follow them after they have been destroyed before you. And lest you inquire about their God's saying, How do these nations show their allegiance serve to their gods so that I can also do the same? I'd like to treat your way the way they're treating their gods.
[00:02:45] You shall not treat Yahweh your God this way, for they have performed for their gods. Every abomination of Yahweh that He hates strongest language. They even burn their sons and daughters with fire to their gods. That's in the background of our minds now. Now let's go to chapter 18, verses 9 to 22. We begin in looking at the structure verses 9 to 14 represent the foil for the promise of a prophet like Moses. What's the alternative or what does the prophet represent as an alternative to prevailing opinion? 9 to 14, then 15 to 20? The nature of the promise of a prophet like Moses. And then third, the challenge to the promise of a prophet like Moses. And the challenge, of course, is represented by prophets who are not like Moses. Well, let's look at the need for a prophet like Moses from that earlier attacks negatively the disposition of your way toward the alternative. You shall not learn to practice the abominations of those peoples. You have that in chapter. Chapter 12. And then chapter 13. That is what you are not to do. For all who do these things are the abomination of Yahweh. You know, we tend to see or tend to hear in our world that God loves the sinner but hates the sin. That's not actually very biblical. This text says, All who do these things are the abomination of the Lord. It's not just he hates the actions. God doesn't separate people from their actions. You are what you do. And so here you have it all. Who do these things are the abomination of Yahweh, or on account of all these abominations, Yahweh is driving these nations out from before you. As for you, Yahoo! Your God has not given you these means of relating to Him.
[00:05:23] He has given you other means of relating, but these are not the ones. So that's the negative, the disposition. Any alternative means of communicating with Yahweh is absolute abomination. Not just. Because it's an alternative to God, but it's also an alternative, an alternative way of dealing with God. Notice the disposition of God. You are toward His people. You shall be blameless. Be for your way, your God. Obviously, the things represented in the earlier verses are not part of being blameless. That is all. Blame Worthy will come back and talk about those texts. But we need now to interpret the word blameless. Blameless. What does this word mean? When Abraham was 99 years old, Yahweh appeared to Abraham and said to him, I am God Almighty, it's actually l shall die, walk before me and be blameless. That I may make my covenant between me and you and may multiply you greatly. Oh, here's another. For those of us who still think the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional versus the conditionality of the Israelite covenant be blameless, that I may make my covenant with you. It looks like a precondition to me. But this is an the ESV translation here. Blameless. What does blameless mean? Hebrew Tom mean carries a moral sense expressing the totality of a person's commitment to Yahweh as expressed by the second half of the Shamar hero Israel. Yahweh is our God only Yahweh. You shall love Yahweh with all your inner being, with all your your whole body and with all your resources. That's blameless. It actually doesn't mean sinless perfection in terms of action, but it involves a heart mind that is undivided in its devotion and loyalty to God and a life characterized by walking in the Torah of Yahweh.
[00:07:57] This appeal to be blameless reiterates the call for righteousness. Only righteousness, said the act, said the actor, dove, with which this larger context began. Well, what are the alternatives to a prophet like Moses? Look at verses 10 to 14. There shall not be found among you anyone that's a wooden interpretation or wooden translation, but we'll let it go for now. People should not be able to find. I mean, let's take you change the passive to the active. No one should find among God's people anyone who knows this, He doesn't say any sorcery. It's any sorcerer. It's directed at the person. They shall not be found. Any one who. And now you've got a whole list of abominable practitioners. It's not about abominable practices. It's about formidable practitioners, ones who offered children as sacrifice. Those who practice divination and sorcery and omens and black magic or witchcraft. Some of these words are hard to actually to to translate into single English words. Those who cast spells. Mediums who consult the ghosts or consulting familiar spirits. All different words. Necromancy or necromancy. Those who consult the dead. And of course, this raises the question of First Samuel, 28. You know, the story of King Saul as an act of righteousness really had got rid of all the mediums and witches and wizards in the world. And but there came a time in his life when the Lord refused to talk to him either through the dream and told meme or through visions and dreams or prophets, and he couldn't get through to God any more. He's desperate and he discovers an oops. In my purge of all the witches in this country, there's a there's a remnant here who has escaped the witch ad and or and he goes to consult her and he tells her, I would like another word from Samuel.
[00:10:41] Can you bring him back for me? Then the interesting thing is it works. Samuel shows up. And and Saul, as a man, what do you see? And she says, I see Anello, him. Really? Now in Pagan thought heroes who died would eventually be promoted to the status of deity. Gilgamesh was a shepherd king in ancient Sumer, but he becomes the God. Guild gun. And when you read the name in the text, it will have an asterisk in front of that mean this is the name of a divinity, not just an ordinary king. Well, here Samuel comes out and she identifies him as an Elohim, a god. And Samuel has a word. For Saul first. Samuel. Let's go there. I've got so many questions about this text. If this is such an abominable practice in God's eyes, why does it work? When the woman verse 12. When the woman saw Samuel. She cried out with a loud voice and the woman spoke to Saul. Why have you deceived your soul? For the king said to her, Don't be afraid what you do see? The woman said to Saul, I see a divine being, verse 13 coming up out of the earth. And he said to her, What's his form? And she said, An old man is coming up and he's wrapped. And apparently Saul can't see him. Which is very curious. She she. She has the eyes of faith. She sees them there. Is he an old man coming up and wrapped into the robe. And Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage. And Samuel said to Sol, why have you disturbed me by bring? I was having a good sleep. This is a cartoon. And Sol answered, I'm greatly distressed for the Philistines are waging war against me.
[00:13:10] God has departed from me, no longer answers me either through prophets or dreams. Therefore, I have called you to make known to me what I should do. And Samuel says, Why do you ask me? Since your wife has departed from you and become your adversary? Yahweh has done accordingly as he spoke through me for the Jacqui has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor as you did not obey and did not execute his fierce wrath on America. So the king is done. Moreover, the Lord will also give over Israel among you into the hands of the Philistines. Therefore, tomorrow, you and your sons will be with me. And the idea we will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Filson, and he proves to be a true prophet. As we will see, one of the tests of the true prophet is does a prediction come true? And the next day, it's all over. Saul and Jonathan are both killed. Samuel is a true prophet in here, even in his postmortem. Pronouncement, and I've got lots of questions for God about this one. How can you do this? Well, I think it's another case of fine Saul. Let me play your game. But you've got to accept the consequences. And this is the end of salt's life, necromancy and absolute. The problem is this world assumes there is a link between the natural and the supernatural world that makes cooperation between the spheres possible. There's a world of supernatural forces that constantly threatens human beings who live in the land of the living, or that may be harnessed for personal benefit. Anonymous? Sure. Now, Saul is wanting support. They assume also that the wills and operations of supernatural forces can be deciphered in natural phenomena through unsolicited omens, solar eclipses and solicited omens.
[00:15:25] Sometimes simply by dropping the arrows, the way the arrows fall points to a solution. You remember Nebuchadnezzar in Egypt killed 21. He's coming up from Babylon and he reaches Damascus and he doesn't know whether he is to go west of the Jordan River and take Jerusalem or east of the Jordan River and take Amman. So he consults the liver. He consults the terror of him, and he throws down his arrows. And all three signs point to Jerusalem. And so he heads for Jerusalem. I mean, he's performing pagan functions, but God uses those pagan functions to get Nebuchadnezzar where he wants them. He is the agent of judgment for his people. So you have all sorts of ways of doing this. They assume that by invoking the gods or manipulating other supernatural forces, we can affect the outcome of events. And they assume that since magic is a science, these skills can be taught and learned. So you pass it on from one generation. This is how it works. The fullest library from ancient Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia does not consist of books of of war accomplishments or economic accomplishments. The single category most often showing up in Mesopotamian texts, clay tablets or whatever is Osman's. Allmans. They were preoccupied, paranoid about all the signs of everything, and they had lists of omens for every conceivable detail. I should have brought some of these with me. There is a book of Allman's that I have, which begins with something like an army. I am obviously changing some of the details, but if you're you gives birth to a calf. Then this will happen. Or if she gives birth to a lamb with a dog's head, then this will happen. And one after that they change every variable. So that they can predict.
[00:17:43] And sometimes the omens are good and sometimes they're bad, and it's simply keeping record of natural events. Phenomena and then linking them with an event that happened closely thereafter. And you they should have had computers that they could sort this all out, but they didn't. It assumes three spheres of existence. There's heaven where the gods live, There's earth, the realm of the living, and there is Sheol, the realm of the dead. What happens in the first Samuel age is the which at end, or bring Samuel back from here to here. But the Orthodox Israelite perception is that these boundaries are fixed and you've got no business trying to move from one or to the other. Which is why the Tower of Babel was a problem. They tried to get up into the realm of the gods. This is why necromancy is a problem. Because you're consulting with the dead. This is why ancestor worship is a problem. They're gone. They have no more influence on you. It's a myth. It's fiction. It's not true. The realm of the living. This is where we live. And you stay in your realm. And this whole business. On the other hand, the Scriptures also assume that God who created all things, can make put windows in these at any time. So that communication comes back and forth on his terms by his agents and through his media. You don't invent the media by which to train your to travel from one realm to the other. And that is the problem here. The Israelite, the closest you get in Israel is the older man that told me whatever these were. I mean, that's I guess him and Tommy were two stones that you drop. And whether they fall this way or that way, the high priest would have known how to interpret that.
[00:20:02] They're usually binary kind of decisions, I'm sure. Is this. I mean, you've got an insoluble case in the in the court. You take it to the priest and he announces the mission part of God. How does he get the mission? Not by having a Supreme Court going through all the ritual of all all the stress of another court proceedings, but simply going to God and let God decide. And so however it falls, that's the closest you get to this. But the last clause of verse 14 is particularly important in contrasting Israel's practice with those of other people. But as for you, the Lord, your God has not permitted this. Stop it right here. Now, of course, the problem is if we're not allowed to talk to the gods that way, how in the world can we keep talking with God? Because everybody wants there's this impulse. The Ecclesiastes says God has put eternity in the human heart. It's as if it's as if we need communication with a transcendent. That seems so. God says that's my problem. I'll take care of it. But then look at the ending. A verse in the Lord Moses says, The Lord will raise up for you a prophet like me, from among you, from your country. Listen to him. But as for you, the Lord is not allowed. You don't listen to these people. Listen to the one the Lord sends. It's up to God who sends, how He sends and what message they bring. So that's all about the foil for the Prophet. Is all this magic going on? People's insatiable hunger to communicate with supernatural. As if if we can do that, we can get control of our lives. It doesn't work. We go then to the nature of the promise of a prophet like Moses.
[00:22:08] This is versus 15 to 20. This divides into a couple of parts. But let's look at a few lessons on true prophecy that we get from verse 15 your way. Your God will raise up a prophet for you like me, from among you, from your countrymen. You listen to him. Well here. The medium of divine revelation is called an na v. This is a passive form of a verb, and I class passive. If you want a technical expression which is often used of official titles, a martial messiah. Nor did Prince or Nazi. This is an RV from a root meaning to call. This is one who has been called passive. So that's the word. This is only one of a series of expressions for true prophets elsewhere, their seers, visionary servant of Yahoo! Envoy Mao Ark, Yahweh. Usually translated Angel that's envoy and man of God. Second, Yahweh provides Israel with the prophets. Did you see this? The Lord, your God will raise up for you a prophet. He raises them up. Like deliverers like tribal chief turns in the book of judges, like priests, sentries, shepherds. We got all kinds of illustrations of this verb people. God provides for the people. Officers. God provides. So God. This is monitored joystick operation. God is in charge. He races. Third, the Prophet will be an Israelite from your midst, from your brothers. He's not a pro, he's not a professional, trained in school in another country that you hire. Or like, bail them who you bring for Mesopotamia to come and bring curses upon the Israelites. He is one of you. Just like the king is one of you. We don't need outsiders running this business. Fourth, the prophet will be like Moses. Well, what does that mean? What kind of profit was Moses? This becomes very important here.
[00:24:43] He says the Lord will raise a profit like me. In 18. He quotes God. I will raise a profit from among your countrymen like you. So God affirms Moses as the paradigm here. He is the paradigm. What kind of prophet was he? One? Like Abraham, he interceded with God on behalf of the people. Prophets pray, prophets intercede. God told God told Abimelech, after he had passed off his wife, Sarah, as as his sister. But God, God told Abimelech, Abraham will pray for you, for he is a prophet. He has access to the Divine throne like Aaron. He will speak for God. Seven one. He was empowered by the spirit Moses was. These are all characterizations of Moses empowered by the Spirit. He knew your way or the texts actually, says Yahweh, a new Moses face to face. That's actually more natural, isn't it? Moses has a face. And for Moses to know Yakov face to face, that's a bit awkward. Does God have a face? Of course, it's a metaphor. Yeah, We spoke to him directly. Clearly, unambiguously. Not in riddles. This is the difference in all the sorcery business. You see the sign, and then it's left to you to figure it out. God didn't speak that way. He was a servant of Yahweh. Again, this is an honorific title. He. He is a member of the Heavenly Court. He has access walked before me. Six. No, this is this is verse six. Yeah. We said to them, this is in the context of numbers 12 where Aaron and Miriam are fussing over Moses. Unacceptable authoritarian style. You're not the only one who can run this place. What does he say? Yeah, we said to them. Now listen to what I say. If there were prophets among you, I would reveal myself and visions.
[00:27:02] I would speak to them in dreams, but not with my servant, Moses. Of all my house. He's the one I trust who's talking. God, yes. What a statement. I speak to him face to face, clearly not in riddles. He sees Yahweh as he is. That literally gazes at the form, obviously. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant? Because your disposition to God is reflected by your disposition to God's agent. You can't go there. He's an servant of God. Means an honorific title. Well, the moment of Moses induction, of course, that we saw already in chapter five. But here he reminds them. When did this happen? When did God raise up Moses as the prophet? 16. According to all that you ask the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the Assembly saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord. My God, let me not see this great fire or I will die. The Lord said to me, They've spoken Well, I will raise up prophet like Moses. So this is the occasion when Moses was designated officially, publicly, the servant, the prophet of God. The sound in the sight of Yahweh presence. Yes. The people's reaction there. They acknowledge the intolerable nature of the direct encounter with God, and they demanded a lightning rod. And God says here again, that was good of them to do that. The impulse is right. Despite what some New Testament scholars say, based on what Hebrews says in other places. We had a guy doing his dissertation, a very fine dissertation, New Testament scholar on this very subject, and it's a very helpful piece. But what's the Jewish response to this whole? He approved the people's reaction. He promised a prophetic succession.
[00:29:10] Profits are a good thing. You ask for a profit to stand in between you and God. That's a good thing. In fact, now, he says, I'm sure the people are wondering, you know, after Moses is gone, what are we going to do? Then who will represent God's voice to us? How do we connect with him? And God says, I've got that covered. I will raise up from among their countrymen like you, a prophet. He promised a succession of prophets this promise of future prophets. They are like Moses, like you. What kind of prophet Prophet did Moses think he was? Well, this was verse 18. I will put my words in his mouth. He shall speak to them all, but I command them. Whoever will not listen to my words, that he shall speak in my name. I myself will require it of him. I will hold him accountable. That is treason against me. You don't listen to the words of a true prophet means you're not listening to me. I won't leave it to the prophet to defend himself. You've got to answer to me. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I haven't commanded him. And of course, there'll be lots of prophets. Ezekiel talks about this in Chapter 13 Prophets, who say, Thus has the Lord Yahweh declared, When God says, I've never spoken to them. They have claimed the formula. They've hijacked it. It's. They've plagiarized. God never spoke to them. I have not commanded his or speak, or if they speak in the name of other gods that same prophets shall not. These are obviously false prophets, prophets who speak in the name of God, but to whom God has never spoke. And that's a false prophet and prophets who speak in the name of other gods.
[00:31:11] That's a false prophet. They die. Well, the nature of the prophets activity Verse 18 View of the future. That person will receive a message from me. Of course, this reminds us of the relationship between Aaron and Moses. God says Aaron will function as your prophet. Aaron will speak. Moses had complained. I can't speak. God says I got that one covered. It's not. It's not your gifts that matter. It's my communication that matters. And if you think you can't speak, I'll get you, Aaron. Well, that wasn't such a good solution. Didn't turn out so well, did it? But there he is. You shall speak. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what you are to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth. And you shall be as God to him. It's an analogy like God is to a prophet. Moses will be to Aaron. Maybe that's why at the Golden Calf, Aaron's the people say. As for this more Moses guy, we don't know what's happened to him. Make us a god. Moses has been virtually demonized in the people's minds. Well, the prophet will receive a message from your way. The prophet will pass on the divine message to the intended audience. Notice he will speak my words in his mouth. First person, my words. He shall speak to them all that I command him. Since Moses role in this book is primarily pastoral and didactic, he's teaching here, the Lord declares, I will not leave them without a shepherd, virtually. He is providing somebody like Moses to keep them on track. Prophets in the train and tradition of Moses declare the mind and will of God just like Moses had.
[00:33:24] That's what they'll do versus 19 and 20. The gravitas of true prophetic activity, the gravitas, his warning to the people not to reject the message of the authorized envoy who ever rejects the message of the prophet will have to deal not with the messenger, but with Yahweh. I will require of the form of Yar'adua's response is left wide open. I will require it. He doesn't say I will tell somebody to store them or execute them, or I'll give him a heart attack. He leaves it open. Trust me, they all answer to me. And so that is a God assumes responsibility for the whole process. Then you have the Lord's warning to those who hold the office of Prophet. Not to abuse it. Verse 20. But mark the Prophet. And then you have two types of prophecy. One who presumptuously claims to speak in the Lord's name when Yahweh has not talked to him. And of course, on this account, we go to Jeremiah. I love Jeremiah on this matter of true and false prophets. It's very interesting that about the time that Jerusalem is going to fall to the Babylonians, false prophets are everywhere saying, Peace, peace. When there is no peace, only disaster. Well, here, Jeremiah, look, therefore, I am against the prophets, the Declaration of Yahweh, who steal my words from one another. This is plagiarism. Look, I am against the prophets who use their own tongues and say the declarations of the Lord. Of course, these are formulas that prophets use. They often begin with. Thus has Adonai, Yahweh declared. I call that the citation formula. Everything that comes after is in first person with God's voice and they end with the Declaration of the Lord. Usually it's translated, declares the Lord, but it's not a noun.
[00:35:44] It's. It's a construct relationship that declares This is what I call the signatory formula. It is to oral speech what the stamp is to a written document. You stamp it with the author, the owners name. And so as the prophet is speaking, he interrupts himself repeatedly by putting the stamp on it. The Declaration of the Lord. The Declaration. Jeremiah does this all the time, and so does Gil. It's really reminding the people I'm. It's not my mouth, you hear. God's talking. See, I'm against those who profit prophesy lying dreams, not declaration of yea high who tell them and who lead my people astray with their lives and their recklessness when I did not send them or appoint them so they do not profit this people at all. The Declaration of the Lord. When this people or prophet or priests asked you What is the burden of your way, you shall say to them, You are the burden and I will cast you off the declaration of the Lord. Notice every sentence ends with the Declaration of the Lord. He stamps it. And of course, here, here is an illustration of the kinds of stamp in real life. They would use this as another precious stone that the text says, belonging to Pérdida son of the King. And a royal document that thus the prince was authorized to sign documents and this is what he would use. Well, in oral speech, you can't do that. So what you haven't said is that here's the seal of Baruch. Better clear than the Neriah. This is the guy named in Jeremiah. Jeremiah has his own scribe who has a seal. They found it in the ruins of Jerusalem. That tells you Baruch is a significant person in Jerusalem.
[00:37:42] Ordinary people didn't have shields. This is not the born slave of New Testament scholars. No, this is an honorific title. Well, then, here we have two types of false prophecy. Presumptuously, the false prophet claims to speak in his name when Yahweh has charged them to do it. And one who speaks in the name of another God. This is all garbage. And the profit is garbage. It ends with a challenge to the promise of a prophet like Moses versus 21. Now the voice of Ma Moses returns. Verse 21 You you may not say in your heart or you may say in your heart, How shall we know which word comes from the Lord? Who is the authentic prophet? And of course, that's always the person when you tell a true prophet. They sound exactly the same. They use the same formulas. They dress the same. And whatever else, they steal each other's logos. Well, the hypothetical interlocutor. How shall we recognize the prophet, the prophetic message that doesn't come from Yahweh? What's the difference? Of course, this question is important because of the warnings above. False prophecies lead people astray. It helps the people know which prophecies to accept and which to reject. The ones are true. You'd better listen to very carefully. But the ones that are false, not only do you reject them, but you reject the person who declared it. The extra biblical answer to a true prophet is one who serves the interests of the king. We talked about that casually before. They are lackeys of the king. They're counselors to the king and they tell the king whatever he wants to hear. But Moses answers is quite different. Has nothing to do with the king. His answer is if the events predicted do not happen, he is obviously false, and therefore if he's wrong on one thing, don't listen to anything the person has said about anything else either.
[00:40:02] True prophets never lead people away from Yahweh. This comes out of chapter 13. Remember, if a prophet or a dreamer comes among you and says, Let's go after another God, that's a false prophet, because his message doesn't agree with Moses. Hence anathema. And that's what Paul is doing in Galatians one. So true prophets speak only in the name of Yahweh, never in the name of another God. But just because a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh doesn't mean he's true because they are fakes all over the place. Forgeries. Watch out. Well, here, prophecy is viewed as the alternative to the taboo activities of versus 1914. These are all concerned with knowing and controlling the future. But if. If the prophecy involves sorcery, it's false. This is a word comes from God to the Prophet. He passes it on. True prophecies come true. And just because a prophet predicts the future with authority doesn't mean he's a true prophet. People should not be intimidated by force. I like the way the pastoral way in which he answers. You don't need to fear them. They shouldn't be intimidated. They do not deserve respect or honor. Don't fear them. You should not be afraid of them. Don't worry about them. Well, who is? One more question. Who is this prophet like Moses? I can hear. I can see the hate mail coming. Now that I've done the exposition, who is the prophet like Moses? The answer is very, very clear. The answer is. Not Jesus. It's not Jesus. There isn't a hint of messianic issues in this text. Not a hint. We're talking here about how God communicates with human beings. The answer is. Samuel. Nathan. God. It Dole. Jeremiah. Ezekiel. Isaiah. What God is talking. There's nothing messianic about this.
[00:42:36] Text zero. If you didn't have the speech of Peter an ax to or the speech of Stephen Act seven, is it? You would never dream of making this a messianic text? There's nothing here that's messianic. The Messiah is a royal figure. A son of David. That's what makes him a messiah. Remember Hannah's song at the end? He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed. That's a king. It's a royal thing. It's not a prophetic thing. That doesn't mean that kings can do prophetic stuff. David is sometimes called the prophet, but he's not a prophet. Professional prophet. No, he declares the word of God. Yeah, but that doesn't make him a professional, nor does it define him primarily. This has nothing to do with the Messiah. Oh, maybe it does, actually. But the Prophet is not the Messiah. New Testament. Scholars don't like me very much because I have a different interpretation of x two and Stefon speech and Peter's speech. And neither, in instance, do I think that, geez, that these guys are identifying the prophet like me with Jesus. What they are talking about is people who have resisted the message of the prophets have crucified Jesus, who is the one behind the prophets and the one in front of the prophets of whom they spoke. That's the problem. And their crucifixion of Jesus is a part of a long history of rejecting the words of the prophets. That's the point. We can in a longer version of this. I had to cut this off because I knew we'd be out of time and a longer version of this. Here is a succession of prophets. We've got Deborah and Hannah and Samuel and Nathan, Anonymous Prophets, Micaiah, Elijah, Isaiah, all hold a whole bunch.
[00:44:52] Josephus tells us that they're the exact succession of prophets started after our big searches. That's the time of Esther. The problem between the Prophet would be between the Testaments is were we? We can't track the institution. There's nobody around like Moses until. Malachi. Malachi. He's a prophet. But look what he does. I am sending my messenger. He'll prepare. Messenger Malachi. Greek angel means envoy. He will prepare the way for me. Then Yahweh, whom you're seeking, will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the Covenant, whom you look for. So Eagle is surely coming, says Yahweh of Heaven's armies. But who will be able to endure when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire. And in the end, it's very interesting. The Book of Malachi is about there's no fear of God in this place. And he gives a half a dozen or ten evidences of the absence of the fear of God. And in the end, what's his solution to the absence of the fear? At the end of the book. Remember the Torah of my servant, Moses? Oh, isn't that what we've seen all the time? Read this Torah that they may learn, that they may fear, that they may obey, that they may live. But then, he adds. Moses is the paradigm here. Look, I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the great and awesome day of your way comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise. I. I come and strike the land with utter destruction here. That's the word. The natural interpretation of our text is simply to say God has graciously said, I am going to be with you.
[00:47:02] My mouth will continue to talk to you. Listen to the guys I send you. Because they will guard righteousness. The institution is represented by a continuous line of divinely appointed spokespersons that lasted from Moses until Malachi. And Malachi anticipates it being picked up. And it actually does. The succession resumes with John the Baptist. As in this text, the focus on the Scriptures is often on the people's response to the Prophet. And so that's I think when we get to X, that's what we have as well. It's interesting that at at the time of transfiguration, who shows up. Beside Jesus. Journalists. Whom do they represent? Go on. I knew you'd say that. It's every bit so wrong. Oh, that's too strong. Everything I say is in soft lead pencil. Check the scriptures. Whether this be so. I don't think it's contrasting law and prophets. What is it doing? It's alpha and Omega. Who's Alpha? Moses Omega, who's the last prophet? John the Baptist. Who is John the Baptist? Elijah will come. Elijah will come. And John the Baptist functions is not to point to another prophet in New Testament times. Okay, here's my heresy in New Testament Pine. They're anticipating all kinds of Messiah's prophetic Messiah, ironic Messiah. A teacher, Messiah. Lots of messiahs. It's in the air. It's in Qumran. It's everywhere. They're all kinds of messiahs. But this is not about a prophetic messiah that's in the air, too. Who are who do people say that I am? Oh, you're some prophet. That's what people are saying of Jesus. But that's a low Christology. But who do you say that I am? Well, on the one hand, you ask John the Baptist people ask John the Baptist, who are you? I am the voice of one crying in the desert.
[00:49:41] Prepare the way of. Yea way. That is not elordi. It is the personal name of God. John the Baptist announces the arrival of Yahweh incarnate in Jesus Christ. John the Baptist is the prophet. Jesus is the subject of the prophet's message. And so when you get to the Stephen and and and Peter texts, this is the point they're making. They are not equating Jesus with a prophet. Jesus does prophetic things. Let me jump all the way to my last slide. I wish I had time to do all of this because I do have said this, but our time is more than up here. This is the way it works. And this may be too much. What sort of messiah did the Israelites expect? They expected all kinds of deliver or whatever. What kind of Messiah is Jesus? He is primarily. His office is that of Messiah, Son of David, seated on the throne, ruling the King. The people, when they say we have no king but Caesar, they have just flushed the thousand years of messianic hope that's gone. It's gone. But this is a special kind of king. Like the Melchizedek in Kingship. So there's a priestly dimension to him, but that's not the defining dimension. And he does some things like prophets. But in terms of the office, he is not the fulfillment of this one. No, no, no, no, no, no. That's chapter 17. The true king is the perfect embodiment of the Charter for Kingship in 17. This is the one who points people to Yahweh. And communicates the message of Yahoo! He's not talking about a messiah here. He's talking about God. And when Jesus appears incarnate and the people reject him. They have rejected the Prophet's message from a alpha to Omega.
[00:52:14] And what happens at Mt. of Trance. I know this is revolutionary. It was for me. And I come I come to this position kicking and screaming and never heard such nonsense before. That amount of transfiguration. What he is saying there is Jesus at the center of it is it's the focus of all the prophetic revelation. It's all about him. Of course, Peter didn't get it. So that's been all three Tabernacles here, as if we've got three parallel. He he doesn't get it. Though he has said just prior to this, hasn't he? I think it was just prior to this, you're the Christ, the son of the living God. He has he has recognized Messiah, but he hasn't recognized. Jacqui is here. So that's how I interpret this is there is nothing messianic in this text. Do a discourse, linguistic reading of the text in its context. Don't impose upon it the use that you think Stephen and Peter are making of it. Because I am convinced the prevailing opinion of what Stephen and Peter are doing with this is slightly off base. Reflecting actually a low Christology. I'm for a higher Jesus is not just a prophet. Jesus is the message of the Prophet. Jesus is the one who sent the prophets, which is why to reject him is to reject the one who sent the prophets who spoke of him. It's part of a long history. Anyhow, we must leave that for another conversation. If you want more detailed discussion of this, it. There is an essay on this subject in The Triumph of Grace. There's a collection of essays, including this one. You can find more there. So who's Moses talking about in the last chapter of Deuteronomy? Oh, it's not Moses talking about who is the narrator talking about.
[00:54:35] There isn't a hint. I'm glad you raised that point. The only assumption that thing has has since the time of Moses. We've had a succession of prophets. And so my tentative dating of that is probably in the time of David. And of course, if that is true, he is saying Samuel ain't no Moses. The whole What's the guy's name? The German scholar presented at an SPL presenter, a fascinating convincing paper rental on Samuel as a second Moses spot on. But I've worked through Ezekiel, and I can see Ezekiel as a second Moses. So is Jeremiah. They're all second, third, fourth, most. They all come in that train. They're not new prophets. They are re-affirming what Moses laid down in the Torah. Not new messages. It's back like Malachi says right at the end. The problem with no fear in Israel is you guys aren't listening to the Torah. Back to the Torah of Moses, and that'll fix up the problems here of trivializing worship and everything else. In any case, that's probably enough for one session. As an addendum to the last lecture on the Prophet, like Moses. A bibliographic item that may interest you is an essay. The last essay in the Triumph of Grace here in Galatians with Moses Colon, an examination of Paul as a second and seconding Moses. It's very deliberate. The first half of this essay, in the first half, I'm looking at Galatians, listening, imagining myself, listening to Galatians being read in one of the churches with Moses standing beside me. And so as we're hearing this, I leaned over and asked him, Did you say that? Did he get you right? How can he do that with what you said? And we have this conversation going on between the two of us.
[00:57:11] But in this essay, the first half, I develop the hypothesis that Paul views himself as a prophet in the train of Moses Allah. Deuteronomy 18. He comes in that train and if he has a different gospel form from Moses, he should be stoned. Later revelation cannot contradict Moses. And so if we think he does, that's our problem. That cannot be ignored. So the first half of it deals with Paul as a second thing, more as a second Moses in the train of Moses. The second half takes the issue of circumcision in Galatians. And asks, What would Moses disposition have been in the toward the debate between Paul and the Judaism's who are insisting that for Gentiles to have full membership in the community of faith. Christian faith, there are Christians. They think they have to be circumcised first. The external markers of identity are imposed, and I'm asking on the one matter of circumcision which side would Moses be on? There is no doubt in my mind that he would have been with Paul. Absolutely. They are on the same page and it shocked me. I had never done before that. I had never done a study on what's Moses disposition toward circumcision. And as we heard from chapter ten, and we'll hear again on Chapter 30, it's exactly Paul's. It's spiritual heart, circumcision. That's what we're after. And that apart from that, the physical circumcision makes no difference if it does nothing, that it has no advantage. So anyhow, but Paul viewed himself as the prophet like Moses. Paul is to the gospel of the Incarnation, and in Jesus, Paul is to the New Testament, what Moses is to the Exodus and the revelation of Yahweh. Moses offers in Deuteronomy the most systematic discussion presentation of the theological, ethical, ecclesial logical implications of the Gospel.
[00:59:51] We were slaves in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out and made us His covenant people. That's Moses. Paul does precisely that in the New Testament. And so I see a lot of parallels. And the longer I work with Paul, the more I like him, because the more he sounds like Moses to me. He does indeed. I know. That's a shocker. We always say law versus gospel. No, not a certain kind of law. Yes. But it's not the Torah law. It is Judaism. That's a problem. So anyhow. There is more fun to be had.