Moses truly said unto the fathers - On this subject the reader is requested to refer to the note at Deuteronomy 18:22. From this appeal to Moses it is evident that Peter wished them to understand that Jesus Christ was come, not as an ordinary prophet, to exhort to repentance and amendment, But as a legislator, who was to give them a new law, and whose commands and precepts they were to obey, on pain of endless destruction. Therefore they were to understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was that new law which should supersede the old.
For Moses truly said - The authority of Moses among the Jews was absolute and final. It was of great importance, therefore, to show not only that they were not departing from his Law, but that he had actually foretold these very things. The object of the passage is not to prove that the heavens must receive him, but that he was truly the Messiah.
Unto the fathers - To their ancestors, or the founders of the nation. See Deuteronomy 18:15-19.
A Prophet - Literally, one who foretells future events. But it is also used to denote a religious teacher in general. See Romans 12:6. In the passage in Deuteronomy it is evidently used in a large sense, to denote one who would infallibly guide and direct the nation in its religious affairs; one who would be commissioned by God to do this, in opposition to the diviners Acts 3:14 on which other nations relied. The meaning of this passage in Deuteronomy is apparent from the connection. Moses is stating to the Hebrews Acts 3:1-8 the duty and office of the priests and Levites. He then cautions them against conforming to the surrounding nations, particularly on the subject of religious instruction and guidance. They, said he, consult, in times of perplexity, with enchanters, and charmers, and necromancers, and wizards, etc. Acts 3:11-14, but it shall not be so with you. You shall not be left to this false and uncertain guidance in times of perplexity and danger, for the Lord will raise up, from time to time, a prophet, a man directly commissioned in an extraordinary manner from heaven, like me, who shall direct and counsel you. The promise, therefore, pertains to the serges or, prophets which God would raise up; or it is a promise that God would send his prophets, as occasion might demand, to instruct and counsel the nation. The design was to keep them from consulting with diviners, etc., and to preserve them from following the pretended and false religious teachers of surrounding idolatrous people. In this interpretation most commentators agree. See particularly “Calvin” on this place. Thus explained, the prophecy had no “exclusive” or even “direct” reference to the Messiah, and there is no evidence that the Jews understood it to have any such reference, except as one of the series of prophets that God would raise up and send to instruct the nation. If, then, it be asked on what principle Peter appealed to this, we may reply:
(1) That the Messiah was to sustain the character of a prophet, and the prophecy had reference to him as one of the teachers that God would raise up to instruct the nation.
(2) it would apply to him by way of eminence, as the greatest of the messengers that God would send to instruct the people. In this sense it is probable that the Jews would understand it.
(3) this was one of those emergencies in the history of the nation when they might expect such an intervention. The prophecy implied that in times of perplexity and danger God would raise up such a prophet. Such a time then existed. The nation was corrupt, distracted, subjected to a foreign power, and needed such a teacher and guide. If it be asked why Peter appealed to this rather than to explicit prophecies of the Messiah, we may remark:
(1) That his main object was to show their guilt in having rejected him and put him to death, Acts 3:14-15.
(2) that in order to do this, he sets before them clearly the obligation to obey him; and in doing this, appeals to the express command of Moses. He shows them that, according to Moses, whoever would not obey such a prophet should be cut off from among the people. In refusing, therefore, to hear this great prophet, and putting him to death, they had violated the express command of their own Lawgiver. But it was possible still to obey him, for he still lived in heaven; and all the authority of Moses, therefore, made it a matter of obligation for them still to hear and obey him. The Jews were accustomed to apply the name prophet to the Messiah John 1:21; John 6:14; John 7:40; Matthew 21:11; Luke 4:24, and it has been shown from the writings of the Jewish rabbis that they believed the Messiah would be the greatest of the prophets, even greater than Moses. See the notes on John 1:21.
The Lord your God - In the Hebrew, “Yahweh, thy God. “Raise up unto you.” Appoint, or commission to come to you.
Of your brethren - Among yourselves; of your own countrymen; so that you shall not be dependent on foreigners, or on teachers of other nations. All the prophets were native-born Jews. And it was particularly true of the Messiah that he was to be a Jew, descended from Abraham, and raised up from the midst of his brethren, Hebrews 2:11, Hebrews 2:16-17. On this account it was to be presumed that they would feel a deeper interest in him, and listen more attentively to his instructions.
Like unto me - Not in all things, but only in the point which was under discussion. He was to resemble him in being able to make known to them the will of God, and thus preventing the necessity of looking to other teachers. The idea of resemblance between Moses and the prophet is not very strictly expressed in the Greek, except in the mere circumstance of being raised up. God shall raise up to you a prophet as he has raised up me - ὡς hōs ἐμέ emeThe resemblance between Moses and the Messiah should not be pressed too far. The Scriptures have not traced it further than to the fact that both were raised up by God to communicate his will to the Jewish people, and therefore one should be heard as well as the other.
Him shall ye hear - That is, him shall you obey, or you shall receive his instructions as a communication from God.
The Samaritans believed that the Messiah was to come as the Redeemer, not only of the Jews, but of the world. The Holy Spirit through Moses had foretold Him as a prophet sent from God. Through Jacob it had been declared that unto Him should the gathering of the people be; and through Abraham, that in Him all the nations of the earth should be blessed. On these scriptures the people of Samaria based their faith in the Messiah. The fact that the Jews had misinterpreted the later prophets, attributing to the first advent the glory of Christ's second coming, had led the Samaritans to discard all the sacred writings except those given through Moses. But as the Saviour swept away these false interpretations, many accepted the later prophecies and the words of Christ Himself in regard to the kingdom of God. DA 193.1
Jesus had begun to break down the partition wall between Jew and Gentile, and to preach salvation to the world. Though He was a Jew, He mingled freely with the Samaritans, setting at nought the Pharisaic customs of His nation. In face of their prejudices He accepted the hospitality of this despised people. He slept under their roofs, ate with them at their tables,—partaking of the food prepared and served by their hands,—taught in their streets, and treated them with the utmost kindness and courtesy. DA 193.2
In the temple at Jerusalem a low wall separated the outer court from all other portions of the sacred building. Upon this wall were inscriptions in different languages, stating that none but Jews were allowed to pass this boundary. Had a Gentile presumed to enter the inner enclosure, he would have desecrated the temple, and would have paid the penalty with his life. But Jesus, the originator of the temple and its service, drew the Gentiles to Him by the tie of human sympathy, while His divine grace brought to them the salvation which the Jews rejected. DA 193.3
The stay of Jesus in Samaria was designed to be a blessing to His disciples, who were still under the influence of Jewish bigotry. They felt that loyalty to their own nation required them to cherish enmity toward the Samaritans. They wondered at the conduct of Jesus. They could not refuse to follow His example, and during the two days in Samaria, fidelity to Him kept their prejudices under control; yet in heart they were unreconciled. They were slow to learn that their contempt and hatred must give place to pity and sympathy. But after the Lord's ascension, His lessons came back to them with a new meaning. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they recalled the Saviour's look, His words, the respect and tenderness of His bearing toward these despised strangers. When Peter went to preach in Samaria, he brought the same spirit into his own work. When John was called to Ephesus and Smyrna, he remembered the experience at Shechem, and was filled with gratitude to the divine Teacher, who, foreseeing the difficulties they must meet, had given them help in His own example. DA 193.4Read in context »
What meaning then was attached to Christ's presentation! But the priest did not see through the veil; he did not read the mystery beyond. The presentation of infants was a common scene. Day after day the priest received the redemption money as the babes were presented to the Lord. Day after day he went through the routine of his work, giving little heed to the parents or children, unless he saw some indication of the wealth or high rank of the parents. Joseph and Mary were poor; and when they came with their child, the priests saw only a man and woman dressed as Galileans, and in the humblest garments. There was nothing in their appearance to attract attention, and they presented only the offering made by the poorer classes. DA 52.1
The priest went through the ceremony of his official work. He took the child in his arms, and held it up before the altar. After handing it back to its mother, he inscribed the name “Jesus” on the roll of the first-born. Little did he think, as the babe lay in his arms, that it was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. The priest did not think that this babe was the One of whom Moses had written, “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.” Acts 3:22. He did not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay in the priest's arms; and when he enrolled the child's name, he was enrolling the name of One who was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. That name was to be its death warrant; for the system of sacrifices and offerings was waxing old; the type had almost reached its antitype, the shadow its substance. DA 52.2
The Shekinah had departed from the sanctuary, but in the Child of Bethlehem was veiled the glory before which angels bow. This unconscious babe was the promised seed, to whom the first altar at the gate of Eden pointed. This was Shiloh, the peace giver. It was He who declared Himself to Moses as the I AM. It was He who in the pillar of cloud and of fire had been the guide of Israel. This was He whom seers had long foretold. He was the Desire of all nations, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. The name of that helpless little babe, inscribed in the roll of Israel, declaring Him our brother, was the hope of fallen humanity. The child for whom the redemption money had been paid was He who was to pay the ransom for the sins of the whole world. He was the true “high priest over the house of God,” the head of “an unchangeable priesthood,” the intercessor at “the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 10:21; 7:24; 1:3. DA 52.3Read in context »
Through nature, through types and symbols, through patriarchs and prophets, God had spoken to the world. Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. The Messenger of the covenant must speak. His voice must be heard in His own temple. Christ must come to utter words which should be clearly and definitely understood. He, the author of truth, must separate truth from the chaff of man's utterance, which had made it of no effect. The principles of God's government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men. DA 34.1
Among the Jews there were yet steadfast souls, descendants of that holy line through whom a knowledge of God had been preserved. These still looked for the hope of the promise made unto the fathers. They strengthened their faith by dwelling upon the assurance given through Moses, “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.” Acts 3:22. Again, they read how the Lord would anoint One “to preach good tidings unto the meek,” “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,” and to declare the “acceptable year of the Lord.” Isaiah 61:1, 2. They read how He would “set judgment in the earth,” how the isles should “wait for His law,” how the Gentiles should come to His light, and kings to the brightness of His rising. Isaiah 42:4; 60:3. DA 34.2
The dying words of Jacob filled them with hope: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.” Genesis 49:10. The waning power of Israel testified that the Messiah's coming was at hand. The prophecy of Daniel pictured the glory of His reign over an empire which should succeed all earthly kingdoms; and, said the prophet, “It shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:44. While few understood the nature of Christ's mission, there was a widespread expectation of a mighty prince who should establish his kingdom in Israel, and who should come as a deliverer to the nations. DA 34.3Read in context »
“The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,”—to those who are not self-sufficient, but who are willing to learn. What was the work of the God-given messenger to our world? The only-begotten Son of God clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to our world as a teacher, an instructor, to reveal truth in contrast with error. Truth, saving truth, never languished on His tongue, never suffered in His hands, but was made to stand out plainly and clearly defined amid the moral darkness prevailing in our world. For this work He left the heavenly courts. He said of Himself, “For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” The truth came from His lips with freshness and power, as a new revelation. He was the way, the truth, and the life. His life, given for this sinful world, was full of earnestness and momentous results; for His work was to save perishing souls. He came forth to be the True Light, shining amid the moral darkness of superstition and error, and was announced by a voice from heaven, proclaiming, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And at His transfiguration this voice from heaven was again heard, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” FE 405.1
“Moses truly said unto the fathers, 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, which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” Christ brought to our world a certain knowledge of God, and to all who received and obeyed His word, gave He power to become the sons of God. He who came forth from God to our world gave instruction on every subject about which it is essential that man should know in order to find the pathway to heaven. To Him, truth was an ever-present, self-evident reality; He uttered no suggestions, advanced no sentiments, notions, or opinions, but presented only solid, saving truth. FE 405.2Read in context »