The Old Testament period was an expectant period. The Jews of the Old Testament period were expecting a final Prophet. This is clear from the questions the Pharisees posed to John the Baptist in John 1:21 (Are you the Prophet?), and the exclamation of the Jewish multitude in John 6:14 and John 7:40 (This, really, is the Prophet who is to come into the world!) — the latter two verse references responding to Christ’s words and works. In connection with this expectation of “THE” Prophet, we may look at Matthew 21:10-11 as well: And when He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the Prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
The Jewish people were not expecting something that they themselves made up in their minds but a sure promise of the holy Scriptures. In the Old Testament, Moses had said, “Jehovah your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers — it is to Him you shall listen…And Jehovah said to me…‘I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever does not listen to My words that he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.’” (Deuteronomy 18:15,18,19). This Prophet was to be a final revealer of God’s will to the people, hence the duty of the people to listen to him or else personally face the wrath of God.
On the day of Pentecost, we see Peter addressing the Jews in Acts 3:19-26 saying, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Messiah appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up His servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
Christ also referred to Himself as a prophet. Luke 13:33 says, “Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” This was the Prophet who knew the time, place and purpose of His death!
Primarily, the work of a prophet consists in receiving revelation from God (who first chooses the prophet) and giving this revelation to the people in a bid to call the people back to God. We can take the case of Jeremiah 1:4-10, “Now the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Ah! Jehovah Adonai! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But Jehovah said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares Jehovah.’ Then Jehovah put out His hand and touched my mouth. And Jehovah said to me, ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.'” What power this prophet was granted — what mighty privileges! Again, God says in Numbers 12:6, “And He said, ‘ Hear My words: If there is a prophet among you, I Jehovah make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses. He is faithful in all My house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of Jehovah.’” Now, if that is the special status Moses held among the prophets, even over Jeremiah, of how much more worth is the greater Moses, Jesus Christ, of whom it is written in Hebrews 3:3-6, “For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses — as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now, Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are His house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”?
Furthermore, this same Jesus has delivered to us ALL that pertains to God’s will because, unlike Moses or Elijah or Jeremiah or any other prophet, He came down from the heavens, having been eternally with the Father,and being sent by the same Father to come down to us to reveal Him to us — John 3:13, “No one has ascended into heaven except He who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” While all other prophets, even Moses, spoke in this manner, “Thus says Jehovah…”, we find Jesus Christ speaking in this manner, “You have heard that it was said…But I say to you…” showing the inherent authority of His prophetic office. And the Father Himself testifies to Christ and requires us all to hear Him as Mark 9:7 says, “And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.'” This is how Christ Jesus both fits into and performs the function of “The Prophet” EXCLUSIVELY. He is the final and perfect revelation of God to mankind — He gave to us everything He received from His Father, even proclaiming and accomplishing all that pertains with the free salvation of God (read John Chapter 17). Hence, we can confess with the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.”