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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 9 - Acts 3:22, 7:37 - The World's True Prophet Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius

Index

Israel needed a prophet (a prophet in God's sense of the name), and God gave them one,—Moses, who is always referred to in Scripture as the greatest of Israel's prophets and teachers. He was the first in point of time; for though, in a sense, Enoch, and Noah, and Job, and Abraham, and Jacob were prophets, yet their prophet-life is so brief as to be hardly recognizable, and their prophet-words so few as to be contained in a few sentences. But the words of Israel's great prophet occupy a large section of the Bible,—five, we might say six, of its longest books, and some of its Psalms. No one, either in Old Testament days or New, not even Paul, has written half so much as Moses. As prophet, poet, teacher, lawgiver, historian, psalmist, he has spoken with a fullness such as belongs to no other. Reckoning the Old Testament by pages, not chapters, we find, say 580 pages in all; of these Moses has written 170, or nearly a third of the Old Testament,—at least considerably more than a fourth. What prophet among all the prophets of Israel has there been like unto Moses? Samuel, and David, and Isaiah, and Ezekiel, and Daniel are not so great as he. He stands first, and he stands alone. His birth, his education, his life, his death, his burial are all marvelous, but his career as a prophet is more marvelous still.

As Israel needed a prophet, and such a prophet, so does our world; and God has given us such: a prophet like unto Moses, but greater than Moses,—a prophet for all ages and nations.

The world needs a prophet, (1) perfect, well-instructed, filled with true wisdom; (2) authoritative, one who speaks, not from conjecture or in virtue of superior talent or position, but from authority, "as one having authority"; (3) divine, a teacher sent direct from God,—nay, a teacher who is God himself; nothing less than this will do, the world needs God for its teacher. It cannot teach itself.

Such must be the world's true teacher. Less than this will just leave it groping in darkness; guessing, but not knowing; conjecturing, but not certain; reasoning, but not believing. Only a teacher such as the above can bring our race to its true and steadfast resting-place of "we know." Nothing less can reveal God, for no man hath seen God; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He alone can declare Him. Nothing less can really satisfy either conscience or intellect. Man's vision is both dim and limited; we need something from on high to clear it and to carry us beyond it,—something that will settle all doubts, that will end all disputings, that will give certainty, and confidence, and light. In a dark world like ours, we need something far beyond what man can furnish, beyond what philosophy or science can affirm. These can go but a little way. They bring us but to the conclusion of Socrates, that we know nothing

 

"Well did'st thou speak, Athena's wisest son,

All that we know is,—nothing can be known."

 

God has given us such an one; not for Israel only, but for the world. He has given us the Prophet like unto Moses, but greater than Moses; He has sent His Son, as the world's prophet, the world's teacher, the world's light,—perfect, authoritative, divine. He is all that is described in the passage before us.

I. He is of our brethren. He is one like ourselves, not an angel,—a true man. Yes, man is the prophet of humanity, the teacher of the race. It is from human lips that we learn the words and truths of God. A human voice announces to us the things of God, and through human tears He sees the coming woes of Jerusalem and of the world. He is a Jew, but He is a man, with a human heart, and conscience, and understanding.

II. He is raised up to God. Not self-called, nor man called, nor man-sent; but "raised up by God," as Moses was, God's prophet in the highest sense.

III. He is like unto Moses. In many respects is He like Moses, and in many ways are these words fulfilled. He is like Moses.

(1.) Because God speaks with Him face to face. Numbers 12:8: "With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold." Deuteronomy 34:10: "There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." How true was this of the Son of God; only in a much higher degree of Him than of Moses! The only-begotten Son, in the bosom of the Father.

(2.) Because He is Mediator and Intercessor. As Moses was the mediator between God and Israel, as he pleaded for Israel and prevailed, so with the Son of God; only in a far higher sense and degree. The true Mediator is the prophet like unto Moses, Jesus, "the Word made flesh."

(3.) He is like unto Moses, because He is Israel's King. Moses was the only prophet who was also king,—"he was king in Jerusalem," he was Israel's captain. So with the Son of God. He was a "leader and commander to the people." He was more so than Moses; not only prophet and king, but priest as well; Melchizedec, the royal priest, or priestly king. "The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King."

(4.) He is like unto Moses because He is a worker of miracles. Of all the miracles wrought, those of Moses were the most stupendous, and are referred to in Scripture as such. The great miracle-worker of the Bible was Moses, though most of his miracles were in connection with death, not life, judgment, rather than mercy. The Son of God wrought far greater and more numerous miracles. The mighty works done by Him were not only mightier than those of Moses, but more gracious and beneficent.

(5.) He is like Moses because He is Israel's great Teacher. Moses taught Israel much, taught the world much; Christ much more,—far more numerous and marvelous words, so that if all were recorded, the world could not contain the books that should be written. Never man spake like this man.

(6.) He is like Moses because of His meekness. The man Moses was meek above all others; so was Jesus, meek and lowly. Learn of me, says this prophet like unto Moses, for I am meek and lowly.

(7.) He is like Moses because rejected of men. As Moses was rejected of his brethren (Acts 7:35), so was Jesus despised and rejected of men. He is the rejected Prophet. The one Prophet that can really teach is He whom men refuse! They will not come to Him for wisdom, or light, or life. God's great Prophet is rejected by that world to which He is sent. Yet God's message is, "Him shall ye hear;" and the world's condemnation will be that they would not hear Him. Hearken unto me, He says; listen and be blest; hear and your souls shall live!

"Well did'st thou speak, Athena's wisest son,

All that we know is,—nothing can be known."

 

God has given us such an one; not for Israel only, but for the world. He has given us the Prophet like unto Moses, but greater than Moses; He has sent His Son, as the world's prophet, the world's teacher, the world's light,—perfect, authoritative, divine. He is all that is described in the passage before us.

I. He is of our brethren. He is one like ourselves, not an angel,—a true man. Yes, man is the prophet of humanity, the teacher of the race. It is from human lips that we learn the words and truths of God. A human voice announces to us the things of God, and through human tears He sees the coming woes of Jerusalem and of the world. He is a Jew, but He is a man, with a human heart, and conscience, and understanding.

II. He is raised up to God. Not self-called, nor man called, nor man-sent; but "raised up by God," as Moses was, God's prophet in the highest sense.

III. He is like unto Moses. In many respects is He like Moses, and in many ways are these words fulfilled. He is like Moses.

(1.) Because God speaks with Him face to face. Numbers 12:8: "With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold." Deuteronomy 34:10: "There arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." How true was this of the Son of God; only in a much higher degree of Him than of Moses! The only-begotten Son, in the bosom of the Father.

(2.) Because He is Mediator and Intercessor. As Moses was the mediator between God and Israel, as he pleaded for Israel and prevailed, so with the Son of God; only in a far higher sense and degree. The true Mediator is the prophet like unto Moses, Jesus, "the Word made flesh."

(3.) He is like unto Moses, because He is Israel's King. Moses was the only prophet who was also king,—"he was king in Jerusalem," he was Israel's captain. So with the Son of God. He was a "leader and commander to the people." He was more so than Moses; not only prophet and king, but priest as well; Melchizedec, the royal priest, or priestly king. "The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King."

(4.) He is like unto Moses because He is a worker of miracles. Of all the miracles wrought, those of Moses were the most stupendous, and are referred to in Scripture as such. The great miracle-worker of the Bible was Moses, though most of his miracles were in connection with death, not life, judgment, rather than mercy. The Son of God wrought far greater and more numerous miracles. The mighty works done by Him were not only mightier than those of Moses, but more gracious and beneficent.

(5.) He is like Moses because He is Israel's great Teacher. Moses taught Israel much, taught the world much; Christ much more,—far more numerous and marvelous words, so that if all were recorded, the world could not contain the books that should be written. Never man spake like this man.

(6.) He is like Moses because of His meekness. The man Moses was meek above all others; so was Jesus, meek and lowly. Learn of me, says this prophet like unto Moses, for I am meek and lowly.

(7.) He is like Moses because rejected of men. As Moses was rejected of his brethren (Acts 7:35), so was Jesus despised and rejected of men. He is the rejected Prophet. The one Prophet that can really teach is He whom men refuse! They will not come to Him for wisdom, or light, or life. God's great Prophet is rejected by that world to which He is sent. Yet God's message is, "Him shall ye hear;" and the world's condemnation will be that they would not hear Him. Hearken unto me, He says; listen and be blest; hear and your souls shall live!