Summary: Jesus is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke. His first advent set in motion the fulfilment of God's redemption of sinful man.

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” [1]

Predictions are dangerous—for those making the prophecies. Most “prophecies” are grounds for laughter at the one making the prophecy. What I mean is demonstrated by considering some “prophecies” made by “experts” during the past century.

• “There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear] energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.”

Dr. Albert Einstein, 1932

• “The thought of being president frightens me. I do not think I want the job.”

Ronald Reagan, Governor of California, 1973

• “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.”

Lee de Forest

American inventor of the audio tube, pioneer in development of radio and TV, 1926

• “‘Gone with the Wind’ is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history. I'm just glad Clark Gable will be the one falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.”

Gary Cooper, 1938

• “I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing, and he seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed.”

Mahatma Gandhi, May 1940

• “You ain’t goin’ nowhere … son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Jim Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry,

firing Elvis Presley after one performance, 9/25/54

• The world would end on December 21, 2012 according to the Mayan calendar.

• Harold Camping predicted that the world would end on May 21, 2011. When that didn’t happen, he pushed back the end of the world to October 21, 2011.

• “The United States, because it occupies a large continent in higher latitudes, could warm as much as 6 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Washington Post, 1990

• World oil and gas would run out by the year 2020.

William Stevens, President of Exxon USA, 1989

Prophecies—accurate, genuine predictions of events that are yet future when the prophecy is delivered—are hard to come by. While prophecies are plentiful, accuracy—even near-accuracy—is almost always missing from the multiplied prophecies delivered at any given time. Accuracy is what makes the prophecies of Jesus’s birth and ministry amazing. Jesus’ identity as the Prophet in the text before us today was foretold by Moses 1400 years before Jesus was ever born. This prophecy is one of more than 300 Old Testament prophecies Jesus has fulfilled. And if prophecies concerning His coming have such amazing accuracy, we would be foolish to ignore prophecies speaking of His coming again to receive His own and to judge the world.

As the time neared when the prophecies that the Saviour was soon to be born, many in Israel were anticipating His coming. They were looking for the Messiah, understanding that Messiah would be the Prophet Moses had said would be coming. After the Saviour was born, a birth that was missed by most people living in Judea at that time, we read of a woman—a widowed prophetess—who just happened into the Temple at the precise moment that Joseph and Mary brought the child to be circumcised.

Scripture informs those who read what is written, “There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” [LUKE 2:36-38]. Anna, the prophetess, was speaking of the child Jesus “to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” There were people waiting for the deliverance God had promised, and now this aged woman was telling worshippers coming to the Temple that the redemption of Jerusalem had arrived. Anna testified that prophecy had been fulfilled.

Anna was not alone in waiting for “the Prophet.” Not all who were waiting for the Prophet to be revealed were honest in their wait. Some, perhaps many, saw the possibility of the advent of the Prophet as a means to secure their own grip on power. Many who had ascended in the socio-political milieu, had evidently grown comfortable with their position. They occupied a position of authority, people deferred to them in almost every matter, they were honoured throughout that ancient society. Should the Prophet arrive, they imagined that He would be a means to make their power permanent.

In the opening verses of John’s Gospel, we read that religious leaders, the cultural elite of Jewish society in that day, were questioning the Baptist. This is what is written: “This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” as the prophet Isaiah said.’

“(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, ‘Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?’ John answered them, ‘I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie’” [JOHN 1:19-27].

If the Prophet who was to come was so great that the Baptist was compelled to confess that he was not worthy even to untie the strap of His sandal, doesn’t it make sense that we should want to know who this Prophet might be? Doesn’t it make sense that we would want to know all that could possibly be known about this individual? Let’s invest a little bit of time to meet the Prophet of whom Moses spoke so many millennia past. I suggest that when we uncover the identify of this prophet, we will discover that He is more than a prophet; we will meet God in human flesh. In order to discover that One of whom Moses spoke, we will need to go back to what Moses wrote. Join me in exploring God’s promise delivered through Moses concerning “the Prophet.”

TESTING A PROPHET — How does one verify whether an individual claiming to be able to prophesy is a prophet or a mere pretender? What criteria are used to distinguish the reliability of a claim to be a prophet? According to the Word of God through Moses, we can determine the veracity of a claim to be a prophet. Listen to what is written in the Book of Deuteronomy. Moses writes, “If you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him” [DEUTERONOMY 18:21-22].

I will treat the points of the message in the reverse order from which they are presented in the text. What is a prophet? How would we recognise a prophet were we to meet one? We tend to imagine that a prophet is someone who tells future events. However, in biblical terms, one who foresees what will take place in the future is identified as a “seer,” not as a prophet. The seer occupied a specialised office that, while related to the office of a prophet, was inferior to the prophet if only because knowing what will be in the future is less important than knowing Who holds the future.

Jerry Newcomb has carefully defined the characteristics of a prophet as revealed through the Word of God. Addressing the issue biblically, a prophet is responsible to:

1. Have heard the voice of God;

2. Have been sent by God;

3. Speak the words of God to the people;

4. Warn the people when they go astray;

5. Communicate the will of God to the people;

6. Reveal God’s plans for the future. [3]

The unfolding of what lies before those hearing the prophet is incidental to the declaration of the mind of the Lord. In other words, knowing what is to happen in the future has scant value if those knowing refuse to obey the revealed will of the Lord God. The events predicted are less important than the knowledge of Who is directing those events. Does the prediction point to God, or merely declare what will happen?

It seems fair to say that in this day, a prophet will not have heard an audible voice that can be identified as coming from God. Nevertheless, a true prophet today will have heard the voice of God speaking through the written Word of God. He will have read what is written and translated it for this generation in which he lives. He will be imbued with a sense that he has been sent by God to reveal the mind of God to those living at this time and those living in the sphere in which the prophet labours. The true prophet of God will faithfully declare the Word of God to this generation. He will not turn aside for personal comfort or to avoid giving offence to those who hear him as he speaks. By that criteria, the prophet of God in this day likely occupies a pulpit from which he declares the mind of God as revealed in what has been written in the Word God has given.

Because he is a prophet, the man of God who fulfils the prophetic office will warn the people when they go astray. Pointing to the Word God has given, he will call to repentance those who hear him, communicating the will of God to all who hear him. He will found his declaration on the Word God has given in this book we call the Bible. Finally, the true prophet of God will reveal what God plans for the future by pointing to what is revealed through the written Word of God.

By these criteria, many who have claimed to be prophets in the past, and almost all who claim to be prophets in this day, fail the test. To fail the test to speak the mind of God to your own generation is to fail the test of prophecy. By these criteria, much of what is purported to be “prophetic preaching” is anything but prophetic. Perhaps such efforts can be classified as entertaining, perhaps these suppositions could even qualify as interesting, but if the message fails to meet the criteria presented, it cannot be prophetic.

Walk with me through a few incidents in the New Testament. In the great sermon which he delivered after the Spirit of God was poured out at Pentecost, Peter testified of David, “Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses” [ACTS 2:30-32].

Again, in another instance as he testified after healing a crippled man, Peter pointed to Christ as the Prophet of whom Moses had written. Peter testified, “Brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness” [ACTS 3:17-26].

In similar fashion, Stephen, that courageous deacon who was to seal his testimony with his own life, pointed to Jesus as the Prophet of whom Moses wrote. Stephen testified to the enraged mob that would take his life, “This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers’” [ACTS 7:37]. Of course, Stephen spoke of Jesus as that prophet!

If Jesus was that prophet whom Moses said would come, we should ask how He did at this business of prophecy. In the limited time available this day, focus on one particular prophecy and the prophecies that must be fulfilled before that one particular prophecy can be realised. A true prophet’s words come true, and Jesus predicted the fall of Jerusalem with stunning accuracy in MATTHEW 24, LUKE 21, and MARK 13; and that prophecy came true in AD 70. Jesus predicted that Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is complete. Beginning in 1947 when the nascent State of Israel began to reoccupy Jerusalem, it would seem apparent that the “time of the Gentiles” is moving toward a conclusion, and that movement is more rapid than we could ever imagine.

The one great prophecy which Jesus made that has yet to be fulfilled is His return just as He promised. Jesus predicted that He will return at a time of the Father’s choosing. Recall the extended teaching that Jesus presented to His disciples after He had visited the Temple for a final time. Jesus warned His disciples, and each of us who now follow Him, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” [MATTHEW 24:4-36].

No one must ever imagine that they are able to determine when the Lord shall return. Neither should we heed the words of anyone who makes such a claim. The Saviour Himself warns us not to engage in such futile speculation. We are living between the first and second coming of Jesus; we are living in anticipation of the return of Jesus the Son of God. Meanwhile, the prophetic work of Christ continues on this earth through the proclamation of His written Word. Leaders whom we all admire have always held a high regard from the written Word of God. For instance, Martin Luther is recorded as having said: “I have made a covenant with my God that He send me neither visions, dreams, nor even angels. I am well satisfied with the gift of the Holy Scriptures, which give me abundant instruction and all that I need to know both for this life and for the life which is to come.”

Someone has noted, “Other books were given for our information; the Bible was given for our transformation.” The story is told of a little boy who went to his friend’s house and would always see his friend’s grandmother deeply engrossed in reading her Bible. Finally his curiosity got the better of him. “Why does your grandmother read the Bible so much?” he asked. “I’m not sure,” said his friend, “but I think it’s because she’s cramming for her finals.” Perhaps more of us need to cram for our finals!

Jesus is the Prophet of whom Moses spoke, but Jesus is more than a prophet. At Christmas, this is what we celebrate: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” [JOHN 1:14]. We celebrate the fact that God became flesh, and thus the very Word which was given is Himself the Prophet promised through long millennia. This is proof of the testimony given by the angel when the Revelator had fallen down in awe before that angel. The angel admonished John, saying “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” Then John appends this stunning statement, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” [REVELATION 19:10b]. What Jesus says, the Word of the Master, is the spirit of prophecy.

PRESUMING TO PROPHESY — “The prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die’” [DEUTERONOMY 18:20]. It is easy to claim the prophet’s mantle, you need only to make predictions. However, to qualify as a prophet who speaks accurately of what God is doing and of our responsibility before Him in light of His work is another matter altogether. If one thinks to be a prophet speaking on behalf of the Living God, they only need to bat a thousand. There can be no errors. The prophet who speaks on behalf of the Lord GOD must never have a swing and a miss.

Take careful note of the wording of this twentieth verse. The passage portrays a “prophet who presumes to speak a message in [the Name of the LORD] that [God has] not commanded him to speak” [see NET BIBLE; CSB]. That “prophet” is speaking presumptuously [see NASB; ISV]. In the original language, the word speaks of one who is acting arrogantly, one who is guilty of rebellion. [3] The root speaks of boiling up, of a plan for a future deliberate action, as “a figurative extension of cooking or heating a mass in a container.” [4] Thus, the concept conveyed is of someone cooking up a scheme, taking authority to themselves for which they have no right. The language describes a prophet who imagines that what he says has to go because he is a prophet! [5]

There was a genuine danger in presumptuous sin in the days of the Israelite theocracy. It is possible to get away with the puerile prophecies that are routinely thrown out in this day; no one is going to jail for delivering a false prophecy, and assuredly no one will be killed because they spoke a false prophecy. However, in the days of the Jewish theocracy, one who presumed to prophesy without actually having a message from the LORD was to be killed. Though we don’t kill false prophets in this day, those who listen to false prophets may well expose themselves to danger and even to death. There is nevertheless a very real danger of thinking one can prophesy. The Living God holds those who presume to speak in His Name to account. Though they may not be struck dead immediately upon delivering an errant message, they are in danger of eternal damnation.

When Peter delivered his warning concerning false teachers in this present dispensation, he reached back to God’s condemnation of false prophets. This is what the Big Fisherman wrote. “False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” [2 PETER 2:1-3]. That final statement should capture the attention of anyone presuming to deliver a message which the Lord never gave.

While ministering in the city of Ephesus, Paul was being greatly used by the Lord Jesus. We read of that period of his service, “God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and evil spirits came out of them” [ACTS 19:11-12].

Paul’s service before the Lord was noticed by others who imagined they could do something similar. Thus, we learn that, “Some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’ Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?’ And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” [ACTS 19:13-16]. It is dangerous in the extreme to attempt to usurp the position to which God alone can appoint. Don’t assume that just because someone claims to be able to prophesy, claims to be able to see what God is going to do at some future point, that the individual is actually a prophet. Not every preacher who bellows loudly is a prophet. Only that one whom God appoints may be known as His prophet.

A PROPHET LIKE ME — “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him’” [DEUTERONOMY 18:15-19].

God promised that a prophet would come at some point after Moses was gone from the scene. We accept that God cannot lie, and thus this revelation raises multiple questions, questions that we should answer if we are to understand the importance of all that the LORD has communicated through His servant Moses. Among the questions that require an answer is the question, From where does the Prophet come? Another question which must be asked would be, Why is a Prophet required? Reasonable people would also ask, How could one know that this Prophet had come? Personally, I would want to know, What consequences follow should we ignore the Prophet’s words? Reasonable people need to have answers if they are to make sense of what the LORD instructed Moses to write.

Let’s look at these questions in the order they have been raised. The first question to be answered is, From where does the Prophet come? Where were people to look in anticipation of the Prophet’s appearance? I don’t mean that a prophet must be born in a particular location or that a prophet’s hometown must be a particular place—we aren’t provided with that information. However, we are told the people group from which this Prophet would arise. This is an important piece of information since it gives us some insight into the question asking for whom the Prophet is to speak?

It is legitimate for us to ask whether this individual is seeking to make a name for himself or herself? Is the prophet seeking to advance some agenda that benefits him primarily if not exclusively? Or does the prophet speak on behalf on the Living God? Does he seek God’s glory even though his words may harm his own immediate interest? This type of question bears examination even as some in this day purport to be a prophet. Before accepting the claim a presumed prophet may make, we should demand answers to some pointed questions.

According to what Moses has written, the Prophet whom God promised must arise from within Judaism—He must be a Jew. The prophet would arise from among the brothers. Moses is one in a long line of those delivering the Lord’s message that Messiah was coming. He was promised, and He would come according to God’s own promise. And He would bring the Lord’s message of life to all who are willing to receive it. Jesus would be revealed as the Prophet whom the Father promised.

Again, I suggest that we should ask, Why is a Prophet required? A prophet speaks to man on behalf of God. The Prophet whom the LORD promised through His servant, Moses, would reveal the mind of God for all mankind, whether they listened or whether they attempted to tune Him out. Tragically, we learn that most of mankind refuses to receive the message which Jesus has brought. This is precisely what He said as He taught His disciples, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” [MATTHEW 7:13-14].

Mankind needs this Prophet to speak with authority in order to reveal the mind of God. And He must speak authoritatively because people are arrogant. The evidence of the arrogance that has infected the mind of most people is seen in the refrain that is so often heard when the call to life is issued.

“I’m okay. I don’t need that; I’m good. God will take me as I am.”

“My good works outweigh my bad, and God will accept them.”

“I’ve never done anything too bad. I’ll be fine.”

“If God doesn’t take me as I am, then I want nothing to do with Him.”

Elsewhere, we know that Jesus has warned any willing to heed what He says, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” [LUKE 13:24].

Let’s face the dark truth. Most people don’t want a Saviour; they want to be in control of their own lives. This rejection of outside control of life begins from earliest days for us. People don’t want an unseen God telling them what to do or how to do it. Though most won’t react with open hostility, they are prepared to ignore God and continue doing what they want to do. If pushed to respond to God’s gracious call, they will resist, often angrily. The overwhelming majority of people are prepared to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the temporary, giving no thought to what is eternal.

Serious students of the Word of God will want to know, How could one know that this Prophet would come? The simple answer is that no one could know that this Prophet would come except by faith. The Prophet was promised, and until the promise was fulfilled, it would be impossible to know whether the prophecy had been fulfilled. The promises of God are always received by faith. We are taught in Scripture that, “we live by faith, not by sight” [2 CORINTHIANS 5:7 NET BIBLE]. This concept builds on the truth that Jesus spoke to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” [JOHN 20:29].

We do have the promises of God which are already fulfilled. If God has spoken truth in these promises that we can verify, we have confidence that He will fulfil the promises which are not yet fulfilled. Consider even a brief survey of the promises fulfilled in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, Who is the Son of God. He would come from the lineage of Abraham. He would arise from within the Tribe of Judah. He would be a descendant of David through Solomon. He would have the legal right to the Throne of David through lineage leading through Coniah, and He would have moral right to the Throne of David as a descendant of Nathan. He would be born in Bethlehem precisely at the time He was born according to prophecy provided through Daniel. The particular combination of these prophecies are so precise that it is an impossibility that the birth of the Son of God can be ascribed to happenstance.

If God has spoken truth in these instance which we can verify, then should I imagine that He will lie elsewhere. Indeed, I recognise God as the God “who cannot lie” [see TITUS 1:2]. Here is the vital truth for each of us listening at this time, God has promised salvation for all who look to Christ the Lord in faith. We have been promised, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” [ROMANS 10:9-10]. Multitudes throughout the past two millennia have received this promise, being born from above and into the Family of God as they accepted the gracious invitation to believe on the Lord Jesus resulting in salvation—the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life.

God emphasises His holy pledge by promising, “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” [ROMANS 10:13]. We are given a promise that can be tested immediately. You need but call on the Name of Christ the Lord, agreeing with the Father that the Son of God died because of your sin and that He has been raised from the dead so that you have a right standing before the Living God. As you receive this Jesus as Master over your life, your sins are forgiven and you are adopted into the Family of God. Amen.

Ultimately we will want to know, What consequences follow should we ignore the Prophet’s words? An unknown writer warned of the frightful consequences of refusing the grace of God when he wrote, “If we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” [HEBREWS 10:26-31].

With the Baptist, we who have received the grace of God in Christ are bold to urge all, “Flee from the wrath to come” [cf. LUKE 3:7]. We urge you because we know that the wrath of God is coming; and we know the sweet grace of God’s forgiveness. We have discovered the reality of the words of the Apostle, who has written, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” [ROMANS 5:8-11]. Come to Christ and be saved. Amen.

[*] The thesis for this message was suggested as result of an opinion piece written by Jerry Newcomb. Jerry Newcomb, “A Christmas Meditation on Christ as ‘The Prophet,’”, Dec 22, 2019,, accessed 28 May 2021

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, Wheaton, IL, 2016

[2] Newcomb, op. cit.

[3] See Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Clarendon Press, Oxford 1977) 267

[4] See James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (Logos Research Systems, Inc., Oak Harbor 1997)

[5] Cf. Leon J. Wood, “547 ????,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Moody Press, Chicago, 1999) 239