Who Is the “Prophet” that Moses Promised Would Come?

Moses wanted to prepare the children of Israel to enter the presence of God. He hoped to make them “a kingdom of priests and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). But when the people heard the voice of the Lord, they were frightened, and they asked Moses to be their intermediary: he could speak directly with God, and then he could tell them what God had said (Exodus 20:18-19).

Many years later, as he delivered his final testimony, Moses reminded the people of that event: They had been terrified to enter God’s presence. They had requested an intermediary between them and God. Moses assured them that, just as he had been their intermediary, God would send another intermediary in the future:

The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not (Deuteronomy 18:15-16).

Then, Moses quoted what God had said to him regarding this promise:

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).

Just as the people wanted Moses to approach God on their behalf, God promised to send someone else—a prophet like Moses—who would serve as an intermediary between them and Him. And God would hold them accountable for their response to his words.

Nephi identified this prophet as the Savior:

And the Lord will surely prepare a way for his people, unto the fulfilling of the words of Moses, which he spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that all those who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.
And now I, Nephi, declare unto you, that this prophet of whom Moses spake was the Holy One of Israel; wherefore, he shall execute judgment in righteousness (1 Nephi 22:20-21).

And when Jesus Christ visited the American continent, He testified that He was the fulfillment of Moses’s prophecy:

Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people (3 Nephi 20:23).

He then told them that the coming forth of His words in the Book of Mormon would be a sign that the gathering of Israel had begun. The people who choose to believe His words will unite with His covenant people. But the people who reject His words “shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant” (3 Nephi 21:11).

The apostle Peter also quoted this prophecy of Moses as a warning to those who had rejected the Savior (Acts 3:22-23). And when the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith in 1823, he quoted those verses from Acts. He told Joseph that “the day had not yet come when ‘they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,’ but soon would come” (Joseph Smith—History 1:40).

Jesus Christ is more than a prophet, but He did fulfill the role that the Israelites had asked Moses to fulfill on their behalf. He is our advocate with the Father (Doctrine and Covenants 45:3). He is also a messenger, delivering teachings to us which will bring us back into the presence of the Father if we heed them.

Today, I will be grateful for the Savior’s role as our intermediary. I will be grateful that He is “that prophet” whom Moses promised would come to give us the words of God. I will be grateful that, by believing in Him and following His teachings, I can be united with His covenant people, and I can become prepared to return to the presence of my Heavenly Father.

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