Deuteronomy 18:15 – The Prophet Like Moses That God Would Literally Raise Up

We are accustomed to having Old Testament verses take on a spiritual meaning in the new covenant versus their physical or literal meaning under the old covenant.  For example, under the old covenant the Passover was a literal meal to be eaten and celebrated.  Under the new covenant, it symbolizes Christ and the deliverance He gives us from sin.  Similarly, under the old covenant animal sacrifices were to be made with actual animals being slaughtered before the temple altar.  Under the new covenant, Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

It is not always, however, a matter of going from literal to figurative interpretation.  For example, in Deuteronomy 18:15 Moses prophesied that God would raise up a prophet after him to whom the people must give the utmost obedience.  He was speaking of Christ and you even see this expectation in the New Testament gospels as some Jews were seeking to understand who “the Prophet” might be.  The promise had some fulfillment every time God raised up a prophet after Moses such as Elijah or Isaiah.  Nevertheless, it was widely understood that this prophecy would have its ultimate fulfillment in Messianic times.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, the meaning of the word “raised up” in the prophecy went not from literal to figurative, but from figurative to literal.  People had read that God would raise up a leader; most hadn’t consider that the possibility that He would literally RAISE HIM UP – and UP meaning all the way to heaven!   Truly the gospel was hidden in a mystery until Jesus came to reveal it.

We cannot, therefore, apply a wooden interpretive scheme to the Bible such as always look for the figurative and non-literal meaning.  Rather, we should look for the spiritual meaning as revealed by the Holy Spirit – especially since we live in the kingdom of God.

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