Is Isa the "Prophet like Musa" of Tawrat, Deuteronomy 18, 18?

A Prophet like Moses  (Deuteronomy 18, 14-21)  Context

Moses said to Israel:

14 You will go in and take the land from nations that practice magic and witchcraft. But the Lord your God won’t allow you to do those things. 15 Instead, he will choose one of your own people to be a prophet just like me, and you must do what that prophet says. 16 You were asking for a prophet the day you were gathered at Mount Sinai[e] and said to the Lord, “Please don’t let us hear your voice or see this terrible fire again—if we do, we will die!”

17 Then the Lord told me:Moses, they have said the right thing.


18 So when I want to speak to them, I will choose one of them to be a prophet like you. I will give my message to that prophet, who will tell the people exactly what I have said. 


19 Since the message comes from me, anyone who doesn’t obey the message will have to answer to me.


20 But if I haven’t spoken, and a prophet claims to have a message from me, you must kill that prophet, and you must also kill any prophet who claims to have a message from another god.

Moses said to Israel:

21 You may be asking yourselves, “How can we tell if a prophet’s message really comes from the Lord?” 22 You will know, because if the Lord says something will happen, it will happen. And if it doesn’t, you will know that the prophet was falsely claiming to speak for the Lord. Don’t be afraid of any prophet whose message doesn’t come from the Lord.

Tawrat, Deuteronomy 18:18       (NIV)


“I will raise up for them (1) a prophet like you (3) from among their fellow Israelites (2), and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. You must listen to him.”


Centuries before Isa, the Jews associated this prophecy with the coming Messiah, which Isa confirmed in the Holy Injil.

Recently, however, some Muslims have alleged that this prophecy refers not to the Messiah but to Muhammad (pbuh).

However, this prophecy gives three primary criteria for identifying the promised prophet which fit the earlier one:


1. For them (meaning the Israelites Musa is addressing)

2. From among their fellow Israelites/brothers

3. A prophet like you (Musa)

First Criterion: "For them"

Moses was clearly addressing the wandering Israelite community here. While both Jesus and Muhammad claimed to be for all peoples, Jesus' primary ministry focus was on the people of Israel, while Muhammad's primary ministry focus was on the Arabs.


Second Criterion: "From among their fellow Israelites/brothers"

Moses here was talking to the Israelites assembled at Moab, after having brought them out of Egypt and led those forty years through the wilderness, so we could know that "among their countrymen" would mean among this community. However some try to expand the meaning of this word "brothers" to include other Semitic peoples descended from Abraham, by Ismail, thus Muhammad (pbuh). However, that interpretation contradicts the basic meaning of the Hebrew word used here for ‘brother' אח, 'akh, (Arabic, اَخ). This word signifies a member of the same tribe; and Ishmael's descendants had been a separate tribe for five centuries at this point. The distinguished Muslim Qur'ān translator Muhammad Hamidullah concurs: "The Arabic word akh signifies both brother and member of the tribe."


Such an interpretation is confirmed by comparing it to the previous chapter, which reads—

"...One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother (akh)." (Deuteronomy 17:15)


This verse clearly indicates that "from among your brothers (אח)" could only mean an Israelite. In fact many of the nations surrounding Israel were, like the Arabs, also Semitic descendants of Abraham (like the Moabites, Edomites, etc). Simply for this reason should we say that the ‘prophet' could come from any Semitic nation? At the time of this prophecy, Ishmael and `Īsāac's offspring had been living in separate continents for almost five centuries, and spoke different dialects.

Thus we must conclude that this predicted Prophet was to come from the twelve tribes of Israel whom Moses was addressing, not some distantly-related other nation. Since Muhammad was not an Israelite, Deuteronomy 18:18 absolutely cannot be a prediction of Muhammad.


Third Criterion: "A Prophet Like Musa"

If we identify the "one like Musa" we need to look at the unique core aspects of Musa's role and ministry. If we read the full account of Musa in the Tawrat, we find three unique characteristics and a typology not shared by David, Solomon, Muhammad (pbuh), or any other prophets, as well as other detailed parallels, which were fulfilled supremely and fully in Isa Al Masih:


Similarities of Musa & Isa, listed as found in the Tawrat, Zaboor, Injil and Quran:

Musa
Tawrat
Isa
Injil
Quran
Musa was born as a Hebrew/ Israelite-tribe Levi
(Ex.2,1-10)
Isa was born as a Hebrew/ Israelite-tribe Judah
(Mt.2:1)
3:33 Allah choose …Adam Noah, Ibr., Imran (Musa)
Musa was born when Israel was in bondage in Egypt
(Ex.1:8,10)
Isa was born during Israel's Roman bondage
(Lk.2:1-2)
Al Miryam 19, 33: Isa said: 
Edicts were issued by Pharaoh for Musa’s death at birth. 

(Ex.2:3)

Edicts were issued by Herod for Isa’s death at birth. 
(Mt.2:15)
”Peace be upon me
Musa was miraculously delivered from death during infancy
(Ex.2:3)
Isa was miraculously delivered from death during infancy
(Lk.2:7, Mt 2:14-15)
the day I was born
Musa was born and found in unusual place, in the water floating in a basket of bulrushes 
(Ex.2:3) 
Isa was born and found in unusual place, in a manger  wrapped in burial cloths.
(Lk.2:7)
Surah Miriam 19:20  So she conceived Isa, 
Musa was protected and hidden by the faith of his parent.
(Ex.2:2-3 & Heb.11:23)
Isa was protected by his parents obeying the message in a dream. 
(Mt.2:13-14)
After Mary retired to a remote place.
Musa stayed safely in Egypt for a time. 
(Ex.2:10)
Isa stayed safely in Egypt for a time.
(Mt.2:14-15)
 
Musa was reared in the house that was not his natural parents’ (Pharaoh’s daughter)
(Ex.2:10)
Isa was reared in the house that was not his natural parents’ (Mary, and  stepfather Joseph)
(Lk 2, 51-52)
 
 Musa had his sister Maryam and brother Aaron speak against him taking a Cushite wife.
(Numb.12:1)
 Isa had his brethren and family speak against him, criticize and reject him.
(Mt.13:54-57, Jn.7:3)
 
There is a long period of silence from the time Musa was a child until adulthood.
 
There is a long period of silence from the time Isa was a child until adulthood.
 
 
Musa was prepared in the wilderness for forty years.
(Acts 7:23, Exodus 7:7)
Isa was prepared in the wilderness for forty days.
(Matthew 4:1)
 
Musa fasted 40 days and 40 nights on top of Mt. Sinai to bring a covenant to Israel. 
(Ex.24:18, 34:28, Deut.9:9)
Isa fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the desert to bring a new covenant to Israel.
(Mt.4:2)
 
Musa rejected a lavish, ruling lifestyle at the Pharaoh’s house.  Instead, he chose a humble life.
 
Isa rejected the offers of Satan to be the ruler of this world. Instead chose a humble life.
(Mt. 4:8-11)
 
Musa contended with master’s darkness, Pharaohs magicians.
(Ex 7:11, 1 Tim.3:8)
Isa contended with masters of darkness, with the Devil.
(Mt 4:1).
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Musa predicted Israel's history
(Deut.28:15-28)
Isa predicted Israel's history
Mt.23:34,24:
1,2,8,34)
 
Musa spoke out against Israel's enemies and persecutors. 
(Deut.23:3-4)
Isa spoke out against Israel's enemies and persecutors.
(Mt.25:41-48)
Musa was considered a snare to Israel 
(Ex10:7)
Isa was considered a snare to Israel

(1Pt.2:8 & Isa.8:14)

Musa regularly heard and spoke to Allah directly, face to face, rather than through visions or angel intermediaries like on a mountain after which his faces "shone.

(Numbers 12:6-8, Ex 33:11)  (Deuteronomy 34:10-11,29) (Ex.20:22, 24:12-16)

Isa regularly heard and spoke to Allah directly, face-to-face, like at transfiguration on the mountaintop after which their faces "shone or simply at baptism, & from eternity. 

(Matthew 17,2-3, Mark 9, Luke 9), (Jn.1:1,18) Moses (Mt.3:17; Jn.12:28)
S. 4:163-164…to Moses Allah spoke directly... S. 2, 253: to whom (Isa) Allah spoke…
Musa was Allah's spokesman to and for his people?
(Ex.9:35; Numb.12:2) (Deut. 18:18)

Isa was Allah's spokesman for- and to represent people.

(Heb.1:1-3).  (Jn.14:24, 5:24)
Surah Miriam 19:51  Musa… 
Musa was a law giver – gave Allah’s ten commandments & Shariah law he received on Mount Sinai.
(Ex. 20)
Isa was a law giver – gave Allah’s great commandment & new law from the Mount of the Beatitudes.
(Mat. 5-7)
…chosen, messenger, a prophet.
Musa was brought or mediated a covenant between Allah and his people, the Sharia law. 
(Jer 31:31-33)
Isa taught with authority a new internally-directed law of grace & truth as part of this new covenant.
(Mat. 5-7)
Surah Ahl-e-Imran 3:46
Musa was sent by Allah to tell His name and person to the people as the “ I Am”
(Ex.3:13-14)
Isa was sent by Allah as His exact representative revealing his name to the people as “I Am”
(Jn.8:42; 17:6,11-12; Col.2:9; Heb.1:3)
He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity.
Musa was rejected by his own brethren for a time and accepted by the gentiles.
(Ex.2:14-22, 32:1)
Isa was rejected by the Jews and received by another who were not his own.
( Mt.12:21; Mk.6:4; Lk.20:9-17, Rom.11:20)
 
Musa had 70 helpers, leaders appointed over Israel.
(Num.11:16-17)
Isa appointed 70 disciples, leaders to the nations.
(Lk.10:1). 
S.3,52 Isa’s disciples:  We are Allah’s helpers
Musa was loved and supported by his sister Miriam (which is Miryam in Hebrew)
 
Isa was loved and supported by His mother Mary ( also Miryam in Hebrew)
 
S. 5:75 … Mary, supporter of truth….
The people picked up stones to stone Musa but they did not succeed.
(Ex. 17:4)
The people picked up stones to stone Isa but they did not succeed, he walked away.
(John 8:59; 10:31)
 
Musa was a shepherd
(Ex 3:1)
Isa was the good shepherd

(John 10:11)

 
Musa is called "faithful servant" 
(Numbers 12:7)
Isa is called "faithful servant" 
(Hebrews 3:2-5)
Musa was known for his humility and meekness as Allah's servant. 
(Numb.12:3)

Isa was known for his humility and meekness as Allah's servant.

(Mt.11:29; Phil.2:3-8)
S. 19:32 He has not made me (Isa) arrogant
Musa was hated by the ruling party (Egyptians)
(Ex. 8:26) (Injil, Acts 7:23-29)
Isa was hated by the ruling party (Pharisees)
(Mt. 12:14) (Lk 11:37-54) (John 11:57)
 
Musa taught his followers how to pray
(Num. 21:7) (Deut. 31:30)
Isa taught his followers how to pray
(Lk. 11:1-11) (Lk 18: Jhn.17)
 
Musa washed Aaron and his sons with water
(Lev. 8:6)
Isa washed the feet of his disciples
 (Jhn.13:5&14) (1.Tim.5:10)
 
Musa showed compassion to a woman at a well by watering their flock.
(Ex. 2:17-19)
Isa showed compassion to a woman at a well to give her living water.
(John 4:14-15)
 
Musa cleansed leprosy like no other prophet. 
(Num.12:10-16)
Isa cleansed leprosy like no other prophet. 
(Mk.1:40-41).
 S. 3:49 … I (Isa) heal the leper …
Musa was demonstrated supernatural control over the waters; dividing the Red Sea. 
(Ex.14:21-22) 
Isa demonstrated supernatural control over the waters; calming the storm at the Sea of Galilee.
(Mt.8:26-27)
 
Musa turned water into blood
(Ex. 7:19-21)
Isa turned water into wine
(John 2:1-11)
 
Musa brought living water out of the rock
(Ex. 17:3-7)
Isa brings living water to all of his believers
(John 7:37-39)
 
Musa was used to feed Israel miraculously, with Manna from heaven in the wilderness that sustained Israel alive.
(Ex.16:14-17,31-35) (Deut.8:3)    (Ps. 78:24)  (John 6:31&49)
Isa was used of God to feed Israel miraculously with five loaves and two fish fed two times 4000 and 5000 people. …also called himself ‘true manna’ that came from heaven 
(Mt.14:19-21)  (John 6:58)
S. 5,114-116: O Allah,… send down a table [spread with food] from the heaven… a sign from You.
Musa was lifted the brazen serpent up in the wilderness to heal people.
(Num. 21:8-9)
Isa was lifted up on the cross to heal us from our own sins.
(John 3:14; 1.Pet. 2:24)
 
Musa subdued an attacking army by raising his arms high on the top of a hill. (with two others)
(Ex. 17:8-13)
Isa subdued sin and death with arms raised high on a hill.  (with two other people)
(Mark 15:27-28; Lk. 23:32-33)
 
Musa sprinkled the blood of the old covenant on the altar and the people. 
(Ex.24:7-8; Lev.8:19)
Isa sprinkled the blood of the new covenant on the altar and the people. 
(Heb.9,12:24; 1Pt.1:2)
 
Musa established the Aaronic priesthood  which was temporary under the law 
(Lev.9; Num.8:20-26)
Isa established an eternal priesthood under the new covenant of grace with Him alone as the high priest forever.
(Heb.9:19-22; Heb.7:17,19,23,25-28; 9:12)
 
Musa prayed for the people intercessory prayers, mediating, averting Allah's wrath and was willing to bear the consequences of the people's sins. Musa asked to be blotted out of the book of life for the people’s sake after the sin of the golden calf.
(Ex.32:32-33)  (Numbers 21:7, 16:42-50, Exodus 15:23-25, Exodus 19)
Isa was prayed for the people intercessory prayers, mediating, averting Allah's wrath by asking for them to be forgiven while he bore the consequences for their sin in their stead; offered His life for the salvation of the world, Isa Isa asked for them to be kept from falling away.
(Lk.23:34, 2 Cor.5:19, 1 Pt.2:21-24, Isa.53:8) (Jn. 17:9-17).  (1 Tim 2:5, Heb 7:25)
Al Miryam 19, 33: Isa said:”Peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die and the day I will be raised alive.”
Musa was brought deliverance & salvation to the Jewish people, out of the bondage of slavery from Egypt to the promised Land of peace and plenty.
(Ex.3:7-8,10;12:31-33,42)
Isa brought deliverance & salvation to the Jewish people out of the bondage of slavery to sin into a new life and to eternal paradise.
(Rom.3:24-25,6:6-7,8:2-4; Eph.1:7;Heb.9:26) 
S. 3, 55 and I will make those who follow you (Isa) superior 
Musa told people about the need for a Passover lamb.
(Deut. 16:1-8)
Isa became the Passover lamb.
(1 Cor. 5:7)
 
Musa died on a hill (near Mount Nebo in Moab)
(Deut. 34:1-6)
Isa died on a hill (Golgotha)
(Lk. 23:32) (John 19:17; Mark 15:22)
S. 19, 33: Isa said: the  day I die 
Musa had Michael the Arch-angel guard the grave and his body, after he died. 
(Injil, Jude 9)
Isa had an angel guard his tomb after he rose from the death. 
(Mt.26:2-6)
S. 4,158 Allah raised Isa up… 
Musa re-appeared after he died, with Jesus before his death
( Injil, Mt 17:3)
Isa re-appeared after he died, as risen Lord

(Acts 1:3)

S. 19, 33: …day, I will be raised alive.”

Musa took a gentile bride (Zipora)

(Ex. 2:21-22)

Isa took a gentile bride (the church)

(Rev. 19:7)

 

Musa led Israel in a victory song after the victory in Egypt.

(Ex. 15:1-21)

Isa will led this song be repeated at the end as a victory song for him.  

(Rev. 15:2-3)

S. 2, 253: exalted by many degrees.

Those who did not follow Musa died in the wilderness because of their lack of faith, and would never enter the promised land.

(Num. 14:30) 

Those who refused to believe Isa words (total destruction of temple) died in the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD or were sold to slavery by Rom.

(Lk. 19:44; 21:6; Mat. 24:1-2) 

S 43:6.1 Isa shall be a Sign of Judgment, therefore have no doubt about the Hour,…

Musa sent 12 spies to Canaan so he could bring people to the promised land. 

(Deut. 1:23-25)

Isa sent 12 disciples to the world so he could bring people to eternal home.

(Mat. 28:18-20; Mark 16:14-20)

…but follow me, a Straight Way

Musa is the lead figure of the Old Testament. (Tawrat)

(Ex. 34:27)  (Neh. 8:1) (Mal.4:4)

Isa is the lead figure of the New Testament (Injiil)

(Lk. 24:44)  (John 1:17)  (Mk.1:1&14) (Lk. 4:18)

S. 5, 46 And in their (Musa’s) footsteps…. 

Surah Al – Ma’idah  5, 46 And in their footsteps we sent Isa, son of Mary, confirming the Law (Musa) that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel (Injil): therein was guidance and light, to confirm the Law that had come before him: guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

"Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Musa, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders" (Deuteronomy 34:10-11)


"When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions; I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Musa... With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles...” (Numbers 12:6-8)


"Thus the Lord used to speak to Musa face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." (Exodus 33:11)



The Qur'ān agrees with this: In Surah Al-Nisa 4:163-164 the Qur'ān says that Muhammad and all the other prophets were simply inspired, but "…to Moses Allah spoke directly (تَكلِيمَا)". Moses is listed separately because Allah spoke to him directly.

Isa is also described of speaking with Allah directly, even face-to-face. In his transfiguration on the mountaintop (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9), Allah addressed Jesus directly on a mountain-top, just as he did Musa.

Allah's Word, the Holy Injiil, specifically says that the Deuteronomy 18 prophecy concerns Isa Al Masih:

 

The disciple Peter testified: "the God of our fathers glorified his servant Jesus…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…and all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days." (Acts 3:13, 21-22, 24, see also Hebrews 3:1-3)


Jesus said: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me." (John 5:46)


While the Injiil specifically quotes this Deuteronomy 18 prophecy and states that Isa fulfilled it, the Qur’an only vaguely alleges that Muhammad (pbuh) was mentioned somewhere in the previous scriptures (7:157). The Qur'ān nowhere explicitly says that Deuteronomy 18 refers to Muhammad (pbuh), but the Injiil does explicitly state that Deuteronomy 18 refers to Isa.