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cording as we have hearkened unto Moses in all things so will we hearken unto thee, Joshua, i. 17. Some again have imagined that the prophet here meant was Jeremiah, because (say they) he frequently makes use of the words of Moses; and Abarbinel, in his preface to his commentary upon Jeremiah, reckons up fourteen particulars wherein they resemble each other, and observes that as Moses prophesied forty years, so likewise did Jeremiah.
There are others again, and those by far the much greater number, who do not imagine the prophet meant to be either Joshua or Jeremiah, or indeed, any single person whatever, but a succession of prophets to be raised up like unto Moses; because (say they) the Jews being prohibited from going after enchanters and diviners, they could not have been effectually secured from following them, but by having true prophets of their own whom they might consult upon particular occasions.
But notwithstanding this difference in opinion among those who have written on the subject, yet the very favorers themselves of each respective construction agree generally in this; that though Joshua, or Jeremiah, or a succession of prophets, was primarily intended, yet the main end, and ultimate scope of the prophecy, was the Messiah; and indeed there are many sufficient reasons for understanding it of him principally, if not solely, be. sides the preference of a literal and typical interpretation.
Towards the conclusion of the book of Deuteronomy we find the following passage, which evidently refers to this prophecy, and totally refutes the notion of Joshua's being the prophet like unto Moses. And Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the spirit of wisdom ; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses. And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face: In all the signs and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do, &c. See Deut. xxxiv. 9, &c.
At what time, or by what hand, this addition was made to the sacred volume, cannot be certainly told; but it must have been made after the death of Moses. The expression, there arose not a prophet since in Israel,
plainly implies that this addition must have been made some time after Joshua succeeded to the government of the people, and consequently the Jewish church had no conception of a perpetual succession of prophets to be raised up like unto Moses. And if we suppose this ad. dition was made (as it is generally believed to have been) by Ezra after the Babylonish captivity, then it is evident, beyond all contradiction, that neither Jeremiah, nor any of the ancient prophets, was esteemed like unto Moses.
Let us now consider what are the peculiar marks and characters, wherein it is said that none other prophet had ever resembled Moses. There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses. And which of the prophets ever conversed so frequently and familiarly with God? Which of them ever wrought so many and such astonishing miracles? It must be answered that not any one of all the prophets who succeeded Moses was ever equal or comparable to him, except the Messiah, the great Saviour and Redeemer of mankind.
It is undeniably evident, from the declaration which God was pleased to make on occasion of the sedition raised by Miriam and Aaron (see påge 244, vol. 1.) that there was not to be any prophet in the Jewish church, much less a succession of prophets, like unto Moses. Miriam and Aaron grew jealous of Moses, and mutinied against him, saying, Hath the Lord, indeed, spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? Numb. xii. 2. The controversy, indeed, was of such importance, that God himself was pleased to interpose, and put an end to it. If (said he) there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches ; and the similitude of the Lord "shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses.
By this is clearly seen not only the great difference which God was pleased to make between Moses and other prophets, but likewise in what respect that difference lay. God revealed himself unto other prophets in dreams and visions, but with Moses be conversed more
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openly, that is, face to face. These were privileges and prerogatives of the most singular nature, and which evidently distinguished Moses from all the other prophets of the Jewish dispensation. And yet there was a prophet to be raised up like unto Moses; but who ever resembled him in those superior advantages, except the Messiah?
It is, moreover, implied, that this prophet should be a lawgiver. A prophet like unto thee ; not simply a prophety but a prophet like unto Moses, that is, (as Eusebius explains it) a second lawgiver. The reason, too, that is assigned for sending this prophet, will evince that he was to be vested with this character. The people had requested that the divine laws might not be delivered to them in so terrible and awful a manner as they were in Horeb. God was pleased to approve of their request, and therefore promised that he would raise up unto them a prophet like unto Moses, a lawgiver who should speak unto them his commands in a familiar and gentle way. The prophet, therefore, here meant was to be a lawgiver; but there were not any of the Jewish prophets lawgivers in all the intermediate time between Moses and Christ.
If we take a farther view of this matter, we shall find, from the most indubitable authority, that there never was any prophet, and much less a succession of prophets, whom the Jews esteemed like unto Moses, from his death to the coming of the Messiah. The highest degree of inspiration is termed by them Mosaical, and they enumerate several particulars in which that hath the pre-eminence and advantage above all others. There was, indeed, in consequence of this prophecy, a general expectation of some extraordinary prophet to arise, which particularly prevailed about the time of our Saviour's coming on earth. The Jews then, as well as since, understood and applied this prophecy to the Messiah, the only prophet whom they will ever allow to be as great, or greater than Moses.
When our Saviour had fed five thousand men, by a miracle like that of Moses who fed the Israelites in the wilderness, then those men said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world, John vi. 14. St. Peter and St. Stephen likewise directly apply the
prophecy to him, Acts iii. 22, 23. viii. 37. and they may very well be justified for so doing; for he fully answers. all the marks and characters, which are here given of the prophet like unto Moses. He had immediate communication with the deity, and God spake to him face to face, as he did to Moses. He performed signs and wonders as great or greater than those of Moses. I will raise them up a prophet, saith God; and the people glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us. Luke viii. 16. I will put my words in his mouth, saith God; and our Saviour saith, I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me. John xviii. 8. He shall speak unto them all that I shall command him, saith God, and our Saviour saith, I have not spoken of myself; but the father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak there. fore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. John xii. 49, 50.
Having thus clearly pointed out wbo the person was meant in Moses's prophecy, we are now to take some notice of the great and striking likeness between Moses and Christ, and how far the latter resembled the former in more respects than any other person ever did.
We have already given some instances wherein they resemble each other; namely, of God's speaking to both face to face, of both performing signs and wonders, of both being lawgivers; and in these respects none of the ancient prophets were like unto Moses. None of them were lawgivers; they only interpreted and enforced the laws of Moses. None of them performed so many and such great wonders. None of them had such clear communications with God: they all saw visions, and dreamed dreams. Moses and Christ are the only two who perfectly resembled each other in these respects. The comparison between them (as given by Eusebius) we have already shewn in a former part of our work, as the reader will find by referring to page 283, vol. 1. But farther to illustrate this material part of the prophecy, we shall preserve some very curious observations on the subject made by the Rev. Dr Jortin, in his Remarks on ecclesiastical History, « Moses (says he) fled from his country to escape the hands of the king of Egypt; so did Christ when his parents went into Egypt. Afterwards the Lord said to Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt; for all the men are dead which sought thy life, Exod. iv. 19. so the angel of the Lord said to Joseph in almost the same words, Arise, and take the young child, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the young child's life; Matt. ii. 20. pointing him out as it were for that prophet, who should arise, like unto Moses.
Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, chusing rather to suffer affliction; Christ refused to be made king, chusing rather to suffer affliction.
Moses, says St. Stephen, was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and Josephus says that he was a very forward and accomplished youth, and had wisdom and knowledge beyond his years. St. Luke observes of Christ, that he increased (betimes) in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man, and his discourses in the temple with the doctors, when he was but twelve years old, were a proof of it.
Moses was not only a lawgiver, a prophet, and a worker of miracles, but a king and a priest: in all these offices the resemblance between Moses and Christ was singular.
Moses brought darkness over the land; the sun withdrew his light at Christ's crucifixion : And as the dark. ness which was spread over Egypt was followed by the destruction of their first born, and of Pharaoh and bis host; so the darkness at Christ's death was the forerun. ner of the destruction of the Jews.
Moses foretold the calamities which would befal the nation for their disobedience; so did Christ.
The spirit which was in Moses was conferred in some degree upon the seventy elders, and they prophesied ; Christ conferred miraculous powers upon bis seventy disciples.
Moses was victorious over powerful kings and great nations ; so was Christ by the effects of his religion, and by the fall of those who persecuted his church.