A lot has been said and argued about the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:18, both the Christians and the Muslims have presented their own arguments and set of proofs regarding this prophecy, maximum of which is based upon how this prophet was supposed to be, but there are other criteria as well to identify this prophet, which often get neglected, now is their a way to know the truth?
Amongst the many prophecies that the Muslims present to be about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), this is the most important and widely argued one. Christians on the other hand leave no stone unturned to prove otherwise. They not only refute the Muslim claims but also bring out evidences to prove that this particular prophecy speaks about the coming of Jesus (pbuh).
What is the truth? How do we conclude who is right in his argument? Are the Christians, right in assuming that this prophecy speaks about Jesus (pbuh) and are the evidences they present, solid enough proofs to accept their claims?
Or are the Muslims really making a true valid claim in the understanding of this prophecy? Does this really refer to the coming of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)?
We shall do a simple activity which shall prove as to whom is this prophecy referring:
The following is the prophecy in discussion:
15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die."
17 The LORD said to me: "What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. (Holy Bible- Deuteronomy 18:15-19)
Reading this prophecy one knows that there are a few things that may help one to identify this prophet, for example, this prophet shall be one similar to Moses (pbuh), for this is Lord speaking to Moses (pbuh), and as he says he shall “ raise a prophet similar to thee”, so the prophet must be like Moses (pbuh).
But as we see it, this cannot be a solid enough criterion to identify the prophet, because both Jesus (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh) are like Moses, though differently. So you never know what measures to look for to find the similarities between this one prophet and Moses (pbuh).
But what you can do instead is turn your attention to the other part of this prophecy which speaks as to from amongst whom this prophet shall be.
This we can do by this following simple activity:
We take the verse, 18:18, which says:
“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers”
There are a few things that rise up in one’s mind:
Q.Who is God addressing here?
A. Moses (pbuh).
Q. Who is he speaking about here when he says for “them”?
A. The Jews.
Q. To whom does the word “their” here refer to?
A. The Jews.
Q. Can we replace the words “their” and “them” with “Jews”? Will it still give the same meaning?
A. Yes it will. After replacement it will be “I will raise up for the Jews a prophet like you from among the Jews’ brothers.”
Q. And who are the brothers of the Jews?
A. The Arabs.
Well, some might ask that Muhammad (pbuh) is supposed to have come for the whole mankind, then how does he fit in the above verse when it says, “for them”?
Let me ask in reply, how does Jesus (pbuh) fit in the above verse when he too is supposed to have come for the "whole of mankind" as is commonly believed by the Christians?
But honestly this isn’t the way to answer, it simply is that, this prophet is supposed to be for Jews, but not only for them, because this, the verse doesn’t specify, so he could easily be for the whole mankind as well.
I know some may not agree with what I am saying here, but it is ample clear that the Lord in this dialogue is addressing the Jews as a group, as a race. So the prophet should be one from the “brother” race of the Jews. And everyone knows pretty well that Jews and Arabs are brothers. If God wanted to say, that He will raise up for the Jews a prophet from amongst the Jews, he would have just said:
“From amongst them OR from amongst themselves OR from amongst their own men”…..Etc. What do you think?