Islamic Philosophy and Deuteronomy 18

QUESTION: Islamic Philosophy – Muhammad is the Promised Prophet from Deuteronomy 18


Muslims believe the promised prophet in the following Old Testament verses is Muhammad rather than Jesus: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among your own brothers. You must listen to him . . . I [God] will raise up for them a prophet like you [Moses] from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him” (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18).

Moses says in these verses that God will raise up (1) a prophet, (2) like Moses, (3) from among the Israelites, that (4) He will put His words in his mouth, and (5) he will proclaim to the Israelites everything God commands him. The earliest Christians believed that this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who was a prophet, as well as God incarnate.

Several Bible passages record that Jesus describes Himself as a prophet: “And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor’” (Matthew 13:57; cf. Mark 6:4 and John 4:44). “‘In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!’” (Luke 13:33).

Islamic Philosophy – Is Jesus the Promised Prophet from Deuteronomy 18?
Not only does Jesus describe Himself as a prophet, but some of the people of Israel do as well. John writes about Jesus miraculously feeding five thousand people: “After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, ‘Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world’” (John 6:14). Matthew writes about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem: the crowds proclaimed, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee” (Matthew 21:11). Luke records part of a conversation between Jesus and some of His followers after His crucifixion. While their eyes were temporarily blinded to the fact that they were actually talking to Jesus, their description of Him as a prophet remains: “One of them, named Cleopas, asked [Jesus], ‘Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ ‘What things?’ [Jesus] asked. ‘About Jesus of Nazareth,’ they replied. ‘He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people’” (Luke 24:18–19).

Peter and Stephen also proclaimed the same message, specifying that Jesus was the promised prophet like Moses: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people’” (Acts 3:19–23). Here Peter quotes the prophecy from Deuteronomy 18, applying it to Jesus (see also Stephen’s speech in Acts 7:37–53).

These passages show that according to the New Testament authors, including Jesus Himself, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18 long before Muhammad arrived.


Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

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