Is Deuteronomy 18 about Muhammad?

15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you [lit: mi-qirbkā], from your fellow Israelites [lit: mē-ʾaḥeykā, ‘from your brothers’]. You must listen to him. … 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites [lit: mi-qerev ʾaḥeyhem, ‘from amongst their brothers], and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18)

Muslims will say that the Ishmaelites are the brothers of the Israelites (cf. Genesis 16-17, 21), which is true, although that is a long way from the context of Deuteronomy 18 (Deuteronomy is a sermonic retelling of the Torah, on the eve of the Israelites entering the Promised Land). It is also true that what the NIV has translated ‘from your fellow Israelites’, while conceptually true, is more literally ‘from your brothers.’ Muslims (e.g. Calling Christians, 2013; Many Prophets One Message, 2017; Zakir Naik) therefore often claim that Muhammad, an Ishmaelite, can legitimately be claimed as the referent of Deuteronomy 18:15.

For a more nuanced take see Let the Quran Speak (2014). I also respect Mohammed Hijab (Content Over Everything, 2018) for saying (7:38) ‘My position with Deuteronomy 18:18 is that its really an ambiguous verse.’ About ten seconds (7:28) earlier a lady from Speakers Corner claims that Muslims more generally at Speakers Corner are walking away from Deuteronomy 18; I can neither affirm nor deny this.

A specific prophet?

It is not entirely clear that Deuteronomy 18:14-22 is about a specific figure to come, whether Jesus or Muhammad. It can instead be read as an institution of the office of prophethood (e.g. Berlin et. al, 2004, 408), and how to know who are genuine prophets and who are false prophets. But for the sake of argument let us assume that a specific prophet is in view.

‘from your brothers’

‘Brother’/’brothers’ almost always refers to Israelites in Deuteronomy. ‘Brothers’ are said to be ‘Sons of Israel’ in Deuteronomy 3:18 and 24:7, and ‘Hebrew’ in 15:12 A ‘brother’ is frequently distinguished from an ‘alien’/’stranger’/’foreigner’ (gēr, nokrī) (Deuteronomy 1:16; 15:2-3; 17:5; 23:21; 24:14). It might be worth highlighting 17:5 given that this occurs in the chapter previous to our key verse:

15 be sure to appoint over you a king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites [lit: mi-qerev ʾaḥeykā, ‘from amongst your brothers’]. Do not place a foreigner [nokrī] over you, one who is not an Israelite [lō ʾāḥīkā hū, ‘he is not your brother’].

Admittedly we do in Deuteronomy 2:4, 8 and 23:7 (23:8 Hebrew) have the people of Esau described as ‘your brothers’, but this is quite exceptional. Furthermore, 2:4 and 8 are not within the legislative body, but in the historical pre-amble where the LORD describes the ‘sons of Esau’ as ‘your brothers’, whose territory the Israelites were to pass through. Deuteronomy 23 is within the legislative body and discusses who may or may not ‘enter the assembly of the LORD’, and in this context the Israelites are told ‘Do not despite an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you [lit. ‘he is your brother’]’. Other foreign entities are mentioned – Ammonites (v. 3), Moabites (v. 3) and the Egyptians (v. 7). It is in this international context that Edomites, by contrast, are ‘brothers’.

By contrast, the overwhelming usage of ‘brother’ in the legislative body of Deuteronomy relates to the Israelites and specifically Israelite concerns; some verses make this explicit (3:18, 15:12, 24:7), and there are frequent contrasts between Israelites and foreigners (1:16; 15:2-3; 17:5; 23:21; 24:14).

‘…from your midst…’

The prophet is said to be ‘from among you’ or perhaps better ‘from your midst’ (mi-qirbkā). Deuteronomy seems to use mi-qirbkā to refer to the Israelites (Deuteronomy 4:3; 13:5; 21:21; 22:21; 24:7); at the very least, all of the usages are talking about those living in the promised land amongst the Israelites. This is not the case with Muhammad.

However Many Prophets One Message (2017) are right to highlight that ‘from your midst’ in Deuteronomy 18:15, though present in the Masoretic textual tradition, is not present in others (namely the Septuagint or Samaritan Pentateuch). I am no textual expert; I note simply the opinion of D. L. Christensen (2001, 403) that ‘Prosodic analysis supports MT’. If anyone has any further information or scholarly resources commenting on this, please do share.

The nature of the prophet

There are a number of things we can learn about this prophet:

  1. He will be an Israelite (see above) (vv. 15, 18).
  2. He will be ‘like me [i.e. Moses]’ (vv. 15, 18)
  3. He will speak the words of God (v. 17)
  4. He will speak in the name of YHWH, not ‘in the name of other gods’ (v. 20)
  5. What the prophet proclaims must take place (v. 21)

Muhammad does not fulfill 1. The meaning of 2 is debatable (see below). Muhammad does claim to speak the words of God (3). 

‘…speaks in my name…’

Muhammad claims to speak in the name of the God of the Torah and Gospel, although it would perhaps be odd if his revelation never speaks in the name of YHWH, the personal name of God (4). Blogging Theology (2021) (6:25 onwards) has an interesting discussion of a few words in the Qur’an which he suggests come close (I find al-qayūm in Q 2:255 particularly interested). However these are just some of many epithets used in the Qur’an (the larger the sample size, the more likely for unintentional coincidences), and it is not clear that these are used as the personal name of God. We do find ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ placed right next to each other (e.g. Q 2:282-283, 5:114), but it always seems to be modified by ‘His’, ‘Our’, ‘of the worlds’, etc; that is used in an adjectival sense rather than as a proper noun. It is therefore not clear if it ever intends to capture the phrase ‘the LORD God’. By contrast the New Testament does preserve the ‘the LORD God’/kurios ho theos (Luke 1:16, 32; Acts 2:39, 3:22; frequently in Revelation, e.g. 1:8), including when citing the crucial Shema section (Deuteronomy 6:4ff., 13, 16) (Matthew 4:10, 22:37; Mark 12:29-30; Luke 4:8, 4:12, 10:27;).

The requirement that Muhammad speak not ‘in the name of other gods’ might be violated by ‘the Satanic verses‘ episode, if one considers that to be genuine.

‘…take place or come true…’

(5) Muhammad, at least in the Qur’an, does not make many future proclamations. However in Q 30:

2 The Byzantines have been defeated 3 in [their] nearest land. They will reverse their defeat with a victory 4 in a few years’ time: God is in command, first and last.

We discuss this claimed prophecy here.

There is also the possibility of false prophecy, in terms of Muhammad predicting something which did not in fact happen. This would be the repeated warning of a swift divine cataclysm upon the Meccans, which did not in fact come, leading Muhammad to shift his message such that the divine chastisement would come through the military action of his own followers. The interested reader is referred to Marshall (2013) and Durie (2018), and the article we have written here.

‘…a prophet like me…’

Muslims like to find supposed biographical parallels between Muhammad and Moses, although these are often based not on the Qur’an but on later sources (which may well have been modelled on accounts of previous prophets like Moses; cf. Rubin, 1995, 190-194, 196). But what does Deuteronomy mean when it talks about a prophet ‘like’ Moses?

It could simply mean that as Moses was the nation’s first prophet sent to them, there would be more prophets afterwards. This institution of responsibility ‘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.’ (v. 16, right after the key verse v. 15). These prophets would be given words to speak by God (v. 18), and must be listened to (v. 19).

Deuteronomy 34:8-12

We do however find similar language at the end of the book of Deuteronomy:

The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.

Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses.

10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:8-12, emphasis added)

If this is an allusion back to Deuteronomy 18, then perhaps we gain insight as to what ‘like Moses’ means:

  • ‘whom the Lord knew face to face’ (v. 10)
  • ‘who did all those signs and wonders…no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did’ (v. 11)

Alternatively, it may be an expansion of Deuteronomy 18; Deuteronomy 18 is simply an establishment of the institution of prophethood, but Deuteronomy 34 notes that there has never been a prophet quite like Moses, up until the time of this author/editor.

This is not to say that an Israelite prophet could never arise in the future, contra Many Prophets One Message, 2017. This site quotes the Jewish Study Bible, but neglects that the Jewish Study Bible understands Deuteronomy 18 to be about the institution of prophecy, not a coming individual prophet; the ‘discrepancy’ they identify is that Deuteronomy both says that following prophets (plural) will be like Moses in chapter 18, yet say in Deuteronomy 34 that no prophet like Moses has arisen. The issue is not the Israelite nature of the prophet/prophets, but over whether following Israelite prophets are or are not like Moses. This ‘discrepancy’ can be easily be resolved (and Muslims would not accept such a claim of discrepancy in the Qur’an); Deuteronomy 18 establishes an institution of prophets who are generally like Moses (in their role), but Deuteronomy 34 states that there has never been a prophet quite as great as Moses, who was so intimate with God and who worked such amazing miracles. Someone could easily say: ‘And there have been many Presidents like George Washington, who presided over and led the United States. But indeed, there has never been a President like George Washington, full of honesty, bravery, and the ability to lead this nation through turbulent times.’ Is this a contradictory statement?

I do not have access to the Chumash commentary that is also quoted, unfortunately.

‘…whom the LORD knew face to face’

But let us assume that Deuteronomy 34 is not an expansion, and does indeed clarify the meaning of ‘like Moses’ in Deuteronomy 18. What does it mean when we are told that ‘the Lord knew [Moses] face to face’ (v. 10)?

Before considering the relevant biblical texts, I recently discovered that a famous hadith, ‘the Hadith of Intercession’, says of Moses:

They will go to Abraham and he will say, ‘I am not fit for that, but you’d better go to Moses as he is the one to whom Allah spoke directly. [Kalīm allāh, ‘one speaking with God’]’ (Sahih al-Bukhari 7510, my translation in square brackets)

D. L. Christensen has a helpful discussion of the use of the phrase ‘face to face’/’mouth to mouth’ in the Pentateuch:

By saying “YHWH knew” Moses, the Hebrew means that YHWH “chose” Moses by singling him out to speak with him “face to face.” This statement, however, poses somewhat of a puzzle, as Tigay’s discussion suggests ([1996] 380). Exod 33:11 affirms that God spoke to Moses “face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (NRSV); but at the same time, God spoke different words a few verses later in Exod 33:20, when he declared: “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live” (NRSV). According to Num 12:8 Moses did see God, who spoke with him “mouth to mouth,” that is, plainly and not in riddles. The phrase is used differently in Deuteronomy (cf. 4:12–15 and 5:4), where it has become an idiom that indicates “in person,” or “directly,” “without mediation.” As Tigay puts it ([1996] 340), “The point of the text is that Moses had the most direct contact with God of any prophet, and hence had the clearest knowledge of Him and His will.” As the “Word of God” incarnate, and the ultimate fulfillment of the promise of a “prophet like (Moses)” at some future point in time (Deut 18:15, 18), Jesus had even deeper personal contact with God and God’s will for his people.

Christensen, D. L. (2002). Deuteronomy 21:10–34:12 (Vol. 6B, p. 873). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

There is a lot to unpack here. Some passages seem to suggest that we should understand ‘face to face’ in the sense that Moses could, in some way, see God and talk with God’s human manifestation:

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. (Exodus 33:7-11)

Exodus 33:11 occurs in the context of a passage about the ‘tent of meeting’, which describes the reverence shown by the people when Moses went to the tent, and how ‘the pillar of cloud would come down’, prompting worship. All of this suggests that this is a physical manifestation of God, either as the ‘pillar of cloud’ or perhaps a more specific figure within this, perhaps like the Angel of the LORD whom we find elsewhere in the OT (e.g. Genesis 16:7, 13; 18:1-16; 19:24; 22:2; 32:28-30; Exodus 3:7; Hosea 12:3-5; for more cf. here. For an opposing view cf. here). Against this understanding, Christensen notes Exodus 33:20: ‘ “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” But the passage then goes on to describe how Moses was able to see the back of God when God’s glory passed by, but not his face (Exodus 33:21-23; 34:5-8). Indeed, like Exodus 33:11, this takes place in a cloud (Exodus 34:5). The idea of not being able to see God and live is reflected in some of the Angel of the LORD appearances, where people express astonishment that they have been able to see God, yet live! (Genesis 16:13; 32:30; Judges 13:22) The Angel of the LORD appears seems to be a manifestation of God that human beings can handle without perishing (Christians might see an analogy to the Son revealing the Father, cf. John 1:18).

The idea that God himself does come down in this pillar of cloud is suggested by Numbers 12:5, where ‘the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent’. We find more information about what it means for God to speak ‘face to face’:

Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words:

“When there is a prophet among you,
    I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
    I speak to them in dreams.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
    he is faithful in all my house.
With him I speak face to face [lit: mouth to mouth],
    clearly and not in riddles;
    he sees the form of the Lord.
Why then were you not afraid
    to speak against my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:5-8)

Does ‘face to face’/’mouth to mouth’ here mean simply that God communicates directly to Moses, without the use of visions and dreams? (v. 6) It seems to go beyond this; this direct communication takes place ‘face to face’/’mouth to mouth’ in a more literal sense, for ‘he sees the form of the Lord’ (v. 8).

How do we fit this with Deuteronomy 4:12 and 5:4?

12 Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 He declared to you his covenant, the Ten Commandments, which he commanded you to follow and then wrote them on two stone tablets. 14 And the LORD directed me at that time to teach you the decrees and laws you are to follow in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. 15 You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. (Deuteronomy 4:12-18. Emphasis added)

The LORD spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the LORD and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) (Deuteronomy 5:4. Emphasis added)

Doesn’t this challenge our understanding of ‘face to face’ in Exodus 33:11 and Numbers 12:8? Deuteronomy 5:4 says that the LORD ‘spoke to you face to face out of the fire’, but Deuteronomy 4:12, 15 clarifies that this did not mean seeing any ‘form’ (contra Moses’ experience in Numbers 12:8); ‘there was only a voice’. And isn’t word usage in Deuteronomy more immediately relevant for our understanding of Deuteronomy 34:10?

We can, however, find a consistent usage for the phrase ‘face to face’ in all of these passages. In all of these passages, God is in some way geographically close to his people; whether that be in a cloud at the tent of meeting, or in a fire on the side of the mountain. They are both spatial manifestations of God’s presence. Moses, however, has the distinctive honour, amongst other notable OT figures (see above), of seeing not only the fire but God’s ‘form’ (Numbers 12:8); this is not granted to all of the people of Israel, for whom Moses is a mediator (as is evident in all of the passages above). Not only is this privelege granted to Moses because he is a specially blessed individual; perhaps God does not reveal himself in a specific form to all the people of Israel lest they be tempted to idolatry (Deuteronomy 4:15-18ff.).

Did the LORD know Muhammad ‘face to face’?

It could be argued that such a claim is found in the Qur’an:

1 By the star when it sets! 2 Your companion has not strayed; he is not deluded; 3 he does not speak from his own desire. 4 The Qur’an is nothing less than a revelation that is sent to him. 5 It was taught to him by [an angel] with mighty powers 6 and great strength, who stood 7 on the highest horizon 8 and then approached— coming down 9 until he was two bow-lengths away or even closer— 10 and revealed to God’s servant what He revealed. 11 [The Prophet’s] own heart did not distort what he saw. 12 Are you going to dispute with him what he saw with his own eyes? 13 A second time he saw him: 14 by the lote tree beyond which none may pass 15 near the Garden of Restfulness, 16 when the tree was covered in nameless [splendour]. 17 His sight never wavered, nor was it too bold, 18 and he saw some of the greatest signs of his Lord. (Q 53:1-17)

Haleem, M. A. S. Abdel. The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics) (p. 347). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition. All Qur’an translations are Abdel Haleem unless otherwise indicated.

As Reynolds (2018, 785) points out, ‘The reference to Muḥammad as “His servant” here [v. 10] suggests that the previous passage speaks of a vision of God, although most Muslim scholars (including Tafsīr al-Jalālayn). The Study Qur’an (2015, 1289) notes that ‘[m]any others interpret [this passage] as a reference to the Prophet’s vision of God, either with the heart alone or with the eye and the heart together’.

Reynolds highlights ‘the other principal “divine vision” passage’:

15 I swear by the planets 16 that recede, move, and hide, 17 by the night that descends, 18 by the dawn that softly breathes: 19 this is the word [spoken by] a noble messenger, 20 who possesses great strength and is held in honour by the Lord of the Throne, 21 he is obeyed there and worthy of trust. 22 Your companion is not mad: 23 he did see him on the clear horizon. (Q 81:15-23, emphasis added, discovered via Reynolds, 2018, 785)

Reynolds (889) claims that here ‘the vision is only of an angel’, the ‘noble messenger’ of v. 19, even though he notes that this seems to be Muhammad in Q 69:40. Unlike Reynolds I wonder if the ‘noble messenger’ is Muhammad here too (note the contrast between Muhammad’s nobility in the divine sphere (vv. 20-21), as opposed to those who question him in the human realm (v. 22). In this reading v. 23 would be refuting those who question his sanity (v. 22); he is not mad, but one who has seen God (v. 23; cf. Q 53:11-13).

If Muhammad did indeed see God, as referred to in these verses, does this mean he fulfills Deuteronomy 34:11? I have my doubts. Deuteronomy 34:11 speaks of ‘Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face’, and we have seen how God would frequently meet with Moses and communicate with him in the tent of meeting (Exodus 33:7-11), and see God’s form (Numbers 12:8). This frequent, intimate communication is far from a vision of God on the horizon (Q 81:23), or from the distance of ‘he was two bow-lengths away or even closer’ (Q 53:9). We do not know how close he was when he saw God by the lote tree (Q 53:14). As far as we can tell, these visions were not a frequent occurence, unlike with Moses; it may have only happened twice (Q 53:13).

Did Muhammad do ‘signs and wonders’ and ‘awesome deeds’?

10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:8-12, emphasis added)

These verses speak of public (before both Egypt and Israel), ‘signs and wonders’, ‘might power’ and ‘awesome deeds’. This includes his hand turning white, turning a staff into a snake (Exodus 4), the Ten Plagues (announced by Moses) (Exodus 7-11), parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14), drawing water from a rock (Exodus 17), and perhaps more (these were just examples that instantly came to mind).  The miracles of Jesus are abundantly attested in the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (just pick one up and have a read), and spoken of in the Qur’an too (Q 3:49). Did Muhammad do such mighty public miracles?

Ayman S. Ibrahim helpfully writes:

…the Quran … clearly rejects the performance of supernatural miracles by Muhammad. His only “miracle” was receiving the revelation of the holy Quran from Allah. In the Quran, Allah, of course, has the power to send down miracles, signs, and wonders, but, it appears, that he did not send any to Muhammad, and thus people wondered: “Why has no sign been sent down upon him from his Lord?” (Q 6:37). Some have even compared him to Moses, questioning “Why has he not been given the like of that Moses was given?” (Q 28:48). Indeed, Allah supports Muhammad in the Quran, but identifies him as only “a warner” without a sign (Q 29:50). This was in response to the unbelieving people who rejected Muhammad’s teaching and wondered: “If only a miracle could come down to him from his Lord (we will then believe)” (Q 13:7; see also 11:12). (https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/09/did-muhammad-perform-miracles, emphasis added)

Now the Qur’an does claim that its own revelation is a proof (e.g. Q 11:13). But even so the Qur’an concedes that the nature of this miracle is different from the miracles given to Moses (Q 28:48); this difference is not disputed, but explained: ‘Did they not also deny the truth that was given to Moses before?’ Accordingly, this prima facie weakens the case for Muhammad’s prophecy on the claim that he is a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 34:10-12).

Now of course, the hadith are filled with stories of Muhammad’s miracles (such as water flowing from his fingers). So too can a miracle be found in the Qur’an, if Q 54:1 is seen as Muhammad splitting the moon, rather than an eschatological and/or figurative description (cf. e.g. Q 55:37, 84:1, mentioned in Abdel Haleem’s footnote on Q 54:1) of the end of the world (cf. vv. 1, 6-8). But the Qur’an’s own interpretation of Muhammad’s role seems to explicitly contrast him, only a ‘warner’, with Moses (see above).

Conclusion

So, is Muhammad the predicted figure in Deuteronomy 18 and 34? (Assuming a specific individual is in view in Deuteronomy 18, and not just the institution of the prophetic office)

Yes:

  • He claims to speak the words of God (Deuteronomy 18:17)
  • He claims to speak on behalf of the God of Israel (Deuteronomy 18:20), though its debatable if the Qur’an alludes to the phrase LORD God, and its debatable whether he might have ever spoke in the name of other divine figures.
  • Q 30:1-4 can be seen as an accurate prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:21), though see here.

No:

  • He was not an Israelite, which is most likely what ‘brother’ means in Deuteronomy 18 (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18).
  • It is possible that he issued false prophecy, though it’s not clear (Deuteronomy 18:21).
  • God did not know Muhammad ‘face to face’ (Deuteronomy 34:10)
  • Muhammad did not do ‘signs and wonders’ and ‘awesome deeds’ (Deuteronomy 34:11-12)

I consider the arguments against Muhammad being the prophet of Deuteronomy 18 and 34 to be substantial, and far weightier than the mere claim to be a prophet and to speak on behalf of the God of Israel. Q 30:1-4 is interesting and worth studying, but I do not find it sufficiently convincing.

Bibliography

Berlin, A., Brettler, M. Z., & Fishbane, M. (Eds.). (2004). The Jewish Study Bible (p. 408). New York: Oxford University Press.

Blogging Theology. “God’s Name in the Torah and Qur’an.” Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxMXF7g4SEk&t=386s

Calling Christians (2013). “Muhammad [Peace Be Upon Him] in the Bible?” https://callingchristians.com/tag/deuteronomy-1818/

Christensen, D. L. Deuteronomy 21:10–34:12 (Vol. 6B, p. 873). Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.

CIRA International. 7 Jesus: The Angel of the Lord – the Trinity in the Old Testament Ep. 7 – Anthony Rogers and Al Fadi. Youtube, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fps46k4hsRE

Content Over Everything. Deuteronomy 18:18/Who Is the Prophet? /the Crucifixion Story in the Quran | Hijab, Daniel, Godwin,. 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRDW4FjK_a4

Durie, Mark. The Qur’an and Its Biblical Reflexes : Investigations into the Genesis of a Religion. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2018.

Green, Samuel (2006). “The Satanic Verses – the Story of the Cranes: Reading, Authenticity and Implications.” https://www.answering-islam.org/Green/satanic.htm

Haleem, M. A. S. Abdel. The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.

Ibrahim, Ayman S. (2015) “Did Muhammad Perform Miracles?” First Things, https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2015/09/did-muhammad-perform-miracles

Let the Quran Speak. Explaining Deuteronomy 18:16 – Dr. Shabir Ally. 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw_aA6Z8of8

Many Prophets One Message. “How Deuteronomy Foretells the Coming of Muhammad ﷺ.” https://www.manyprophetsonemessage.com/2017/03/31/how-deuteronomy-foretells-the-coming-of-muhammad-%ef%b7%ba/

Marshall, David. God, Muhammad and the Unbelievers. London & New York: Routledge, 2013. Originally published in 1999 by Curzon Press.

Dr Zakir Naik. 2020. Deuteronomy 18:18 refers to Muhammad (p). If Prophet Lies he shall Die. Prophet Muhammad (p) is Dead. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRkW3jMKCuc

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, Caner K. Dagli, Maria Massi Dakake, Joseph Lumbard, and Mohammed Rustom. The study Quran: a new translation and commentary. New York: HarperOne, 2015.

Reynolds, G. S. The Qur’ān and the Bible: text and commentary. New Haven/London, Yale University Press, 2018.

Rubin, Uri. The Eye of the Beholder: the life of Muḥammad as viewed by the early Muslims: a textual analysis. Princeton, N.J: Darwin Press, 1995.

Steelman Apologetics (2021). “Did Muhammad Predict the Success of the Byzantines? (Q 30:2-4).” https://steelmanapologetics.com/did-muhammad-predict-the-success-of-the-byzantines-q-302-4/

Steelman Apologetics (2021). “False Prophecy in the Qur’an? A Cataclysmic Judgement That Never Arrived?” https://steelmanapologetics.com/false-prophecy-in-the-quran-a-cataclysmic-judgement-that-never-arrived/

Sunnah.com, Bukhari 3572

Witherington, Ben (2018). “Angels- Part Five.” Patheos, https://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2018/10/27/angels-part-five/.

6 thoughts on “Is Deuteronomy 18 about Muhammad?

  1. Sami

    Too much hard work! Loved how you took bits and pieces to fit your description, and not the entire thing. Just to give you an example you quoted a Hadith about intercession, but you only quoted it partially. Anyway, attitude like this is very very typical.

    I would love for you to find a prophet that fits Deuteronomy 18:18.

    Just for the sake of argument, If you say Jesus, I’m fine with that, as long as you say he was a ‘PROPHET’ just like Moses, and Moses was not God. Therefore Jesus was a prophet just like Moses, and that’s all about him.

    Reply
    1. steelmanapologetics Post author

      Hi Sami,

      Thank you for your comments 🙂

      I don’t see what was objectionable with my quoting the hadith of intercession – what did I note quote from the hadith that I should have included?

      As I hinted at in the article, I actually think Deuteronomy 18 may not be directly about a single prophet, but instead the institution of prophethood. But yes I do think Jesus is a better fit than Muhammad – he had an intimate relationship with God, and did many miracles. Christians don’t disagree that Jesus was a prophet. But he was also God – but we don’t say Jesus is God based on Deuteronomy 18, but for other reasons. But that’s a much bigger discussion.

      Reply
    2. Matt Paulson

      Please allow me to add additional polemical reasons why Muhammad is not a prophecies prophet in the Holy Bible.

      Many Muslims try to say Muhammad is prophecies in the Bible. This idea is false for 21 reasons.

      1. Firstly Muslim hate the Bible and they lie and say it is corrupted.

      2. Deuteronomy 18:18 is Jesus and not Muhammad. He is among the BRETHREN (children of Israel). Muhammad was a 1/2 cousin descendant of ishmael.

      3. Mount Paran is a wilderness area near Sinai.

      “And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on theirs journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran,” Torah Numbers 10:12. It has no altar or Meccan town.

      4. John 16:12 Jesus gave his personal revelations to the Apostle Paul and not an arabic salesman 500 years after Jesus ascended!

      5. John 16:13 the Spirit of Truth came to us on Pentecost! See Acts chapter 2. It is record in the book of Acts and in the Epistles of Peter, John and Paul. The Holy Speaks not in Arabic or through foreigners from Saudi Arabia but through the New Testament!

      6. Song of Solomon is a book about love and it has no prophecies about Arabic prophets. MCMD means lovely things and not Muhammad. If MCMD is Muhammad then Isaiah 64:11 says Muhammad was destroyed by God!

      7. There is no “House of Kidar” in Isaiah 42:11. It says “Village of Kidar.” Sing to the Lord a new song, And His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their  voice, The villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing, Let them shout from the top of the mountains,” Isaiah 42:10‭-‬11.
      Mecca and Meadinah have no mountains or singing. What new song would Muslim sing? None.

      8. There is no mention of Kaaba cube building in the Bible.  Why not? Because it has always been a pagan building.

      9. Psalm 84:6 is about going THROUGH the Valley of Baca and not TO the valley fo Baca. Nobody deleted its name in the Bible. No Bible manuscripts have ever shown an name for a Zamzam spring.

      10. Jesus said Isaiah 29:12 is about the Pharisees being blind and unlearn and not an Arabic salesman named Muhammad. See Injeel Matthew 13:13-16.

      11. Luke 6:40 the word Mushlam was NEVER deleted. It means “perfect” and last I checked no Muslim was ever “perfect.” Mushlam is not Muslim.

      12. Luke 24:36 the resurrected Jesus appears in a locked room and startles the disciples. He says “Peace unto to you” to calm the startled disciples. It was not a common greeting. Jesus often said “Peace to this house” and Muslims do not commonly say this greeting.

      13. John 14:16 and John 16:7 Jesus says He will send a comforter to the DISCIPLES and not Muslims in Saudia Arabia. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the Ones in Acts Chapter 2. He is with Christians FOREVER and not an Arabic salesman named Muhammad. BTW paracletus means “comforter” or “helper” or “one who comes along side to help.” It does not mean “praised one.”

      14. The word huios is Koine Greek and not Hebrew. Huios in Acts 3:13 means son and NOT chosen one but it could be servant. It really does not matter. Please read it and see what happens to the servant:

      “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses,” Injeel Acts 3:13,15. Did you see that the Servant Jesus died? If so you know that Islam is fake for claiming Jesus did not die.

      15. Isaiah 21:13 the next prophet after Isaiah was not Muhammad. This is a lie by the Muslim apologists.

      16. Isaiah 21:14? Isaiah 21:13 says these verses are prophecies AGAINST Arabia! It does not say Dedanites are part of God’s people or Israel.

      17. Isaiah 21:15 again this is against Arabia.
      18. Isaiah 21:16 again this is against Arabia.
      19. Isaiah 21:17 does not mention the battle of Badr. It is the Valley of Armageddan.
      20.  Matthew 21:43 says Jesus will be the king of a Christian nation and not a Jewish nation!

      21. 2Chronicles 6:32

      “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel [not of the Brethren in Deuteronomy 18:18 who is JESUS!] but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this [Jewish] temple; then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name [Yahweh],” II Chronicles 6:32‭-‬33.

      WHO LEADS ISRAEL? Muhammad?

      Who is letting the people that the Jewish TEMPLE is CALLED BY THE NAME OF JEHOVAH???

      Answer: NOT MUHAMMAD!!! The best Foreigner of the NT is Luke, the Gentile Historian gospel writer!

      Reply
  2. Baz

    15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet

    This word LORD is not the word Allah

    Let us establish whom exactly will rais up a prophet before you speak about who that prophet is.

    What is this word ‘LORD’?

    Reply
  3. Baz

    15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet

    This word LORD is not the word Allah

    Let us establish whom exactly will raise up a prophet before you speak about who that prophet is.

    What is this word ‘LORD’?
    What is the name of God revealed to Moses and worshipped by God’s hoen People ban Israel?

    Reply
    1. steelmanapologetics Post author

      LORD is indeed not Allah – it is an English way of representing the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH, often vowellised Yahweh. Under the section ‘Speaks in my name…’ I do discuss whether or not Muhammad speaks in the name of the LORD God of Israel.

      Reply

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