John 3:16 tells us, among other things, that Jesus is the only Savior of the world. In other words, if any person will be saved, he will be saved only by placing his faith in Jesus. However, although our Lord saves all those who trust in Him, whether they are ethnically Jewish or not, we must still remember that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. Consequently, many of His titles in the Bible reflect the hopes of old covenant Jews who faithfully read their Scriptures.
Among other vocations, the Old Testament predicts a Messiah who is a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15, a text wherein Moses looks for a prophet to succeed Him in Israel, is an early text regarding the Messiah’s prophetic office. Like Moses, this prophet would be a covenant mediator, but unlike Moses, this prophet would atone for sin and empower His people for new obedience (1 Peter 2:24–25).
In predicting the rise of a prophet like him, Moses confirmed his prophetic office. Yet it is likely that many of us do not think of Moses as a prophet because we do not normally think of him as predicting the future. At least we understand that most of Moses’ work did not involve foreseeing what would follow him.
Of course, many of the prophets foretold the future. We can think of Isaiah, for instance, who foresaw the return of the exiled nation of Judah to the Promised Land under King Cyrus (Isa. 45:1–13). Nevertheless, Moses was a true prophet because foreseeing the future is merely part of the prophetic office. God actually sent the prophets to Israel to serve primarily as His covenant prosecutors — individuals who would declare the people’s unfaithfulness and call them to return to covenant obedience. They “forthtold” the will of God to the people in hopes that they would repent, trust in Yahweh, and fulfill their covenant obligations.
Just like the prophets of old, Jesus foretold the future (Matt. 25). He also forthtold God’s will, as He reminded the Pharisees that they broke the covenant (Matt. 23:1–36). Still, Jesus remains far greater than the old covenant prophets. He did not only preach God’s Word to the people, He is actually the very Word of God Almighty (John 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:24). Moreover, Jesus continues to prosecute the covenant today, by His Spirit, through the inscripturated Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16–17).
Every time we read Scripture and are convicted of sin, we are experiencing the prophetic ministry of Christ. Whenever we receive comfort from the Bible, we who trust in Jesus are benefitting from His prophetic office. As we are comforted, rebuked, and instructed from the pulpit, Christ is speaking to us as a prophet. Let us not neglect His prophetic work but instead submit to His Word whenever we hear it.