Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18

By Dawud Jabal

In Deuteronomy 18:18-19, God told Moses,

"I will raise up a prophet from among their brethren like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And it will come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him."

Moses -

  • Great lawgiver for his nation. Jesus taught on his own authority the laws of God and raised observance of those laws to a new and higher level (Matthew chapters 5, 6 & 7); He taught as an authority and the people were amazed (Matthew 7:28-29); He selected and taught the two greatest laws (Matthew 22:35-40); He gave a new commandment (John 13:34-35); and at the very end of His teaching and leadership on earth, He delivered orders to His followers regarding "all that I have commanded you." (Matt. 28:19-20)
  • One of the two men who were commissioned by God to make laws for the Israelite nation. The approval of Heaven on both was shown by great signs and miracles. At the time of Moses there was the Exodus from the hand of ancient Pharaoh, feeding with manna and quails and with water from the rocks. At the time of Jesus there was healing crippled, blind, deaf, speechless and epileptics. He even threw demons out of people. Many dead people were raised back to life and health (also see Matt. 27:52-52); feeding of 5000 and of 4000 men, plus women and children.
  • Had his face glow with light, but it faded away (Exodus 34:29-35 and 2 Corinthians 3:12-13). The face of Jesus shined like the sun (Matthew 17:1-5) and is still shining like the sun while in heaven (Revelation 1:9-19).
  • Deliverer of his brethren who would follow him out of physical slavery, then he gave them the law. Jesus came and gave law and commandments to His followers. Then He delivered them and other followers around the world out of the spiritual slavery of sin and Satan.
  • Was born into a situation when his brethren were being oppressed by Pharaoh. Jesus was born into the time when the pagan idolatrous Roman empire was oppressing His brethren.
  • Was born in a country where a man, Pharaoh, was worshiped as God. When Jesus was born the ruling Romans worshiped Caesar as God.
  • Grew up in a country where the king, Pharaoh, was afraid that the slaves would revolt. Jesus grew up where King Herod, "the Great," was afraid the descendants of those very same slaves would revolt.
  • Was nursed a short time at his birthplace, then was moved for his safety. The infant Moses was placed in a floating basket in the Nile (Exodus 2 and Acts 7:20). Jesus was nursed a short time in Bethlehem and then was taken to Egypt for safety (Matt. 2).
  • Was nursed by his own mother while the official government policy was to try kill him. King Herod tried to kill the infant Jesus (Matt. 2).
  • Father was a mystery to the general public. The Father of Jesus and the facts of His virgin birth were a mystery to the general public (Luke 1).
  • Was adopted into the royal family of Pharaoh. Jesus was adopted by His step-father, Joseph, into the royal family line of King David and Solomon (Matt. 1).
  • Rejected being kingly in life-style (Hebrews 11:23-29). Jesus did not have the life-style of royalty (Matt. 4:8-11; John 6:15 & 18:36).
  • Lived in Egypt. Jesus lived in Egypt as an infant (Matt. 2:13-21).
  • Came out of Egypt to serve God and be a lawgiver and leader. Jesus came out of Egypt to be a lawgiver and leader.
  • 40 years was tested in the wilderness. Jesus was tested 40 days in the wilderness and had approximately 40 months of public teaching and miracle working.
  • 40 Days Fasting (Exodus 34:28). Jesus fasted 40 days (Matt. 4).
  • A shepherd of sheep. Jesus is the Great Good Shepherd of His followers (John 10:11-16).
  • The white hand of leprosy (Exodus 4:6-7). Jesus healed many different people of leprosy (Luke 17:11-19).
  • Asked that the great sin of his people be forgiven (Exodus 32:31-32). Jesus asked that the great sin of His people be forgiven (Luke 23:34).
  • Had the cloud of God and the voice of God as a witness of his authority (Numbers 11:24-25). Jesus had the cloud of God and the voice of God as a witness of His authority (Matthew 17:24-25).
  • Exercised power from God over forces of nature such as wind and water. At the Red (Reed) Sea, he walked through on dry ground (Exodus 14). Jesus walked on water and instantly calmed a storm (Matt. 14).
  • Fire was important. At Mt. Horeb/Mt. Sinai there was fire (Ex. 3:1-6; 19:18 and 24:12-18) and there was the pillar of fire (Ex. 13:21-22). Jesus baptized the people with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matt. 3:11-17 and Acts 2:1-4) and at the Transfiguration His face shined like the fire of the sun (John 17:1-3). Also see 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 3:11-14; Hebrews 12:29; and 2 Peter 3:1-14.
  • Was faithful as a servant in all his house (Hebrews 3:5). Jesus was faithful as a Son over His house (Hebrews 3:6).
  • Brought water from a rock by a miracle of God (Exodus 17). Jesus Himself was the Living Water which was brought out of the tomb-rock which could not hold Him (John 7:37-38).
  • Asked that his nation be saved or else that his own name be blotted out of the Lord's book (Exodus 32:31-32). Jesus was willing to die, and did die, and was resurrected and thereby shown to be the perfect and acceptable ransom for sin.
  • A mountain was prominent in his work where the law was given for a nation. A mountain was prominent in the work of Jesus. He gave the famous Sermon on the Mountain with the law for people of all nations (Matthew 5, 6, & 7).
  • His followers were angry when other people showed performing signs (Numbers 11:26-29). Followers of Jesus did the same (Mark 9:38-40).
  • An angel watched over his body (Jude 9). Jesus had at least two angels watching over His body (John 20).
  • Had revealed to him the special sacred memorial or covenant Name of God (often called "Jehovah" in English) (Exodus 3:13-15). That special name was bestowed to Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11).
  • Was mighty in words and deeds (Acts 7:22). Jesus was more powerful in words and deeds (Matt. 7:28-29; and 8:3-13).
  • Sent 12 men to look over the land secretly (Numbers 12). Jesus sent out his 12 disciples to look over the same land and to publicly preach repentance and to cast out unclean spirits (Mark 6:6-13).
  • Did not have special clothing symbolic of his rank. Jesus also did not have special clothing showing His rank.
  • Did not have biological sons to carry on his spiritual functions. Neither did Jesus.
  • Was very gracious to foreign women at wells and gave them water (Exodus 2:15-17). Jesus was gracious to the Samaritian woman at Jacob's well and gave her the Water of Life (John 4). He was also gracious to: Mary Magdalene out of whom He threw 7 demons (Mark 16:9); Marium and Martha the sisters of Lazarus (Luke 10:38-41 and John 11); the woman arrested during adultery and he commanded her to stop sinning (John 8); the widow at Nain and He brought her son back to life (Luke 7:11-17); and He allowed the women to be the first to know that He had been raised from the dead (Matt. 28 and Mark 16).
  • True identity was not known at first to the women at the well (Exodus 2). The true identity of Jesus was not known at first to the woman at the well (John 4).
  • Lived modestly, only once being given an offering (Leviticus 8:29). Jesus lived a very modest life, sometimes not even owning a place to sleep (Luke 9:58).
  • Was involved in the activities of the holy Tabernacle on earth (Exodus 25-40). Jesus is involved in the perfect Tabernacle in Heaven made by God (Hebrews 8).
  • Was humble (Numbers 12:3). Jesus was gentle and humble (Matt. 11:28-30).
  • Gave blessings from God to be given via Aaron to the people (Numbers 6:22-27). Jesus gave blessing from God to the people (Matt. 5:1-12) and told His followers to bless others (Luke 6:27-28).
  • Got complaints from the people who had been trained to write (Exodus 5:13-23). Jesus got complaints from the scribes (writers of the law) (Matt. 9:2-8; 16:21; and 21:12-16).
  • Opponent, Pharaoh, had his heart hardened (Ex. 7:3). Jesus' opponents had their hearts hardened because He healed on the Sabbath (Luke 6:7-11).
  • Law caused severe punishment, even death. Even greater punishment is against those who go back against Jesus (Hebrews 10:28-31).
  • Spoke to the 70 elders of Israel (Exodus 24:1 and Numbers 11). Jesus spoke to the 70 elders (called the Sanhedrin) (Luke 22:70-71).
  • Had sacrifices for the Covenant sealed with blood (Exodus 24:1-8). Jesus also sealed His new Covenant with blood (Hebrews 9:18-28).
  • Provided ransom by pouring out blood as a sacrifice (Ex. 12). Jesus similarly (Matt. 20:28 & Hebrews 9:11-15).
  • Closed the way to the Ark of the Covenant (Testimony) with a thick curtain (Ex. 26:33). Jesus, at His death, had the thick curtain in the temple torn open from top to bottom, opening the way (Matt 27 and Mark 15).
  • Was almost stoned by his brethren (Ex. 17:4). And Jesus also (John 8:58-59).
  • Had a peculiar bed as an infant (Ex. 2:3). Jesus also had a peculiar bed (Luke 2:7).
  • Was raised by the daughter of the king (Ex. 2). Jesus' mother was a daughter of the House of King David by his son, Nathan (Luke 3).
  • Was raised in the house of a man who was not his father, but he was adopted into the family (Ex. 2). Jesus was raised in the house of Joseph who was not His biological father, but He was adopted into the family (Matt. 1:18 & 25 and Acts 7:20-21).
  • Fought against the masters of evil (Ex. 5-12). Jesus battled Satan (Matt. 4:1-10).
  • Left a high position in the most powerful nation on earth to suffer for his people (Exodus 2-12 and Hebrews 11:23-27). Jesus left the highest position in Heaven to suffer for His people and to make ransom available to all people (Philippians 2:5-8).
  • Spoke the words of God (Deuteronomy 18:18 and others). Jesus spoke the words of God, the Father (John 12:50 & 14:10).
  • Spoke by God's authority (Deut. 18:19). Jesus spoke by God's authority (John 8:42 & 17:4-6).
  • Fed multitudes of people by miracles (Ex. 16). Jesus fed multitudes (Matt. 14 and 15).
  • Opened an era of law (Ex. 19 & 20). Jesus opened an era of grace and truth (John 1:17).
  • Established a memorial custom (Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover) based on common food elements (Ex. 12). Jesus established the memorial of Himself by a custom utilizing two common food elements of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover (Luke 22:19-20).
  • Finished the work which God commanded him (Ex. 40:33). Jesus completed His work (John 17:4 and & 19:30).
  • Does not have a known tomb where the body is located (Deut. 34). Jesus' tomb is empty because after death, he was raised up alive and ascended into Heaven (Mark 16:19 and Luke 24:50-53).
  • Reappeared unto men after death (Matt. 17:3). Jesus reappeared to people, even to 500 at once, after His death and resurrection (Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20 & 21; and Acts 1:1-3).
  • Was rejected by his family (Numbers 12). Jesus' own half-brothers rejected Him at first (Matt. 13:55 & John 7:5). But, later at least two were believers and wrote the two New Testament books of James and Jude.

Here are some of the observations of eye witnesses of the life of Jesus, the prophet.

The people said after Jesus fed over 5,000 people, "This is of a truth the Prophet who is to come into the world. ... They were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him King..." (John 6:14-15). Philip proclaimed, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the [adopted step-] son of Joseph." (John 1:45). Andrew said, "We have found the Messiah." (John 1:14). Nethanael declared, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God." (John 1:49). Peter preached that the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18 is Jesus and that "God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets that His Messiah should suffer He has thus fulfilled. " (Acts 3:18-27). Also see Stephen's message (Acts 7:37 & 52).

Jesus stated that Moses wrote about Him (Luke 24:27 and John 5:46).

Who Are the Brethren of the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:18?

In fifth book of the Prophet Moses, Deuteronomy, Chapter 18:18-19, God told Moses:

"I will raise up a prophet from among their brethren like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I commanded him. And it will come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him."

The question comes as to who are "their brethren?" ["a-hey-hem," in the Hebrew language of the Bible].

The prophecy was given through the prophet Moses, who was the leader of the sons of Israel during the time of the Exodus from ancient Egypt. The word "their" refers to the sons of Israel.

The word "brethren" [or "brothers" in Hebrew] is more interesting. Does it refer to sons of Israel or more distant relatives such as other sons of the Prophet Abraham, including those of the Arabs and even the Meccan tribe of the Quraysh?

The word "brother" in Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament is "ah." The same word is used in the Arabic language (sura 5:30). The "a" is long. The "h" is hard, sounding something like the sound of the "ch" in the Scottish word "loch." In "their brethren?" ["ah-ey-hem] the "ey-hem" is the ending indicating "their." Both Hebrew and Arabic as Semitic languages put various endings on words to indicate plural, possession, etc.

The same Hebrew word for "brother" is used in these ways in the books of prophecy given by God through Moses:

  • The Levites, the priestly tribe, were brethren (Deuteronomy 18:2 and 10:9)
  • The king of Israel is to come from the brothers (Deut 17:15)
  • The king of Israel is not to raise himself over his brothers (Deut 17:20)
  • Brother Israelites as different from aliens (Deut 1:16)
  • Brothers, the sons of Israel (Deut 3:18)
  • Brothers Israelites as distinct from foreigners (Deut 15:2-3)
  • Brother Israelites (Deut 15:7 & 11)
  • Brother Israelites at war (Deut 20:8)
  • Brothers among the tribes of Israel (Deut 33:9 & 16 & 24)
  • Brothers, Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:2-11)
  • Abraham, half-brother of Sarah (Gen 20:5-16)
  • Brothers Esau and Jacob the sons of Isaac and Rebekah (Gen 25:26)

But the two times when the distant relatives were identified as "brothers," they were spelled out and specifically identified by their name and relationship or location:

  • "Brothers, sons of Esau" (Deut 2:4 & 8)
  • "Brothers of Edom" (Numbers 20:14)

Because the law and prophecy given by God through the prophet Moses used the word "brother/brothers" [when only by itself] to mean only sons of Israel, the prophecy in Deut 18:18, should also be understood to refer only to a prophet who would come from the sons of Israel, not from some more distant relationship.

Further articles on Deuteronomy 18:18 are available in the Bible Commentary Index.