Thursday, October 20, 2016

Parashah Messiah: From Moses to the Prophets

Torah Portion: Vezot ha'Bracha (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12)
Gospel Reading: Acts 3:17-26
Commentary by: Matthew Day

Several weeks back we read that the Lord would raise up a prophet like Moses from among the children of Israel. In this week's portion, we read that "there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land,  and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel" (Deut. 34:10-12). When this text was written is debated among scholars, but we can be pretty sure that Moses didn't write it. Such would make not sense--of course, no prophet has risen up since Moses. Moses is still writing the Torah! More likely, this line was penned  much later, perhaps sometime during the kings of Israel. This would have it looking back on the myriads of prophets that had arisen since Moses, saying that none of them could even be compared to Moses in their relationship to God or the signs which they performed. Not yet, anyway. There was still the matter of the Prophet like Moses that was still yet to arrive.

As Messianics, we believe that prophet is Yeshua. He is the one that speaks to God face to face for He and the Father are one. He is the one who surpassed all the signs in Egypt, for rather than slaying the firstborn, He raised Himself. The enemy He defeated was not Pharaoh and Egypt, but death itself. The bondage He freed us from was one much more subversive, much more pervasive, much more crippling than physical chains.

As Peter spoke before the Temple crowds,
"And now, 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." (Act 3:17-26, ESV)
Over the last year, we've been going through the Torah, showing how it connects to the New Testament and the Gospel. But, the story doesn't end with the Torah. That seed of faith which God planted with Abraham continued to grow throughout the centuries until the time of Messiah. God's ultimate plan of redemption continued to unfold and blossom, being further revealed by the mouths of His holy prophets. And so, this year we're going to go through the Haftorah portions, showing how the prophets proclaimed the good news and pointed forward toward the Messianic age.
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27, ESV)

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