“The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him’” (NKJV). —Deuteronomy 18:15-18
This passage is one of the great Messianic prophecies of the Pentateuch. It compliments other prophecies, such as these:
So the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Genesis 49:10).
Some have understood this promise of a “Prophet like Moses” to include a line of prophets, up to and including the Messiah. That may be, but the emphasis of this prophecy falls on the “Ultimate Prophet,” our Lord Jesus Christ. Twice this coming Prophet is referred to as a prophet “like Moses” (verses 15, 18). In what sense is our Lord “like Moses”? There may be a number of parallels between Moses and Christ, but I don’t think this prophecy was meant to call attention to them all. I believe this prophecy was meant to underscore the likeness of our Lord to Moses in a more focused way, which is spelled out in our text.
This coming Prophet will be a Jew, like Moses, One raised up from His brethren. This One who is like Moses is, like Moses, to be heard and obeyed. It is at this point that we come to the main similarity between Moses and the Messiah, I believe. Moses indicates that this coming Prophet will play a role similar to his own. The Jews should therefore respond to the “Ultimate Prophet” as they were supposed to respond to Moses. They are to fear Him and to hear Him.