Over and over, the Lord had warned Israel not to follow after the practices of the nations around them. On the contrary, they were to be witnesses to those nations (Deut. 4:6-8
). In Deuteronomy 18:9-14
, Moses again warns them about their specific practices, which were an “abomination to the LORD”
, NKJV). In that context then, he tells them that they must be “blameless before the LORD your God”
Read Deuteronomy 18:15-19
. What is Moses telling them there? Then compare this with Acts 3:22
and Acts 7:37
. How do Peter and Stephen apply Deuteronomy 18:18
In reference to the covenant at Sinai, Moses talks about how the children of Israel, at the revelation of God′s law (Exod. 20:18-21
), wanted Moses to act as a mediator, an intercessor between them and God. It is then that Moses promises them, twice (Deut. 18:15, 18
), that the Lord will raise up a prophet like Moses, the idea being, given the context, that this prophet, like Moses, will among other things be also an intercessor between the people and the Lord.
Many centuries later, both Peter and Stephen quote the text in reference to Jesus. For Peter, Jesus was the fulfillment of what had been spoken of by “all His holy prophets”
, NKJV), and that the leaders need to obey Him and what He says. That is, Peter uses this text, which the Jews knew about, and applied it directly to Jesus, with the idea that they needed to repent for what they had done to Him (Acts 3:19
Next, in Acts 7:37
, when Stephen, though in a different context than Peter´s, was proclaiming Jesus, he, too, referred back to that famous promise, and he, too, claimed that it pointed to Jesus. He was saying that Moses, in His role in history and leading the Jews, had prefigured Jesus. That is, as Peter had done, Stephen was seeking to show the people that Jesus was the fulfillment of prophecy and that they needed to listen to Him. Contrary to the charge against him, that Stephen had been speaking “blasphemous words against Moses and God”
, NKJV), Stephen proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, a direct fulfillment of what God had promised through Moses.