Prophecy and the Mosaic Covenant

How did Old Testament prophets depend on Moses' covenant?

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Probably the most important passage for understanding the role of the prophets in the Old Testament is Deuteronomy 18:15-18, where Moses — reminiscing with the Israelites on the making of the first covenant at Mount Sinai, which he mediated — says that the Lord will raise up a prophet "like me" … and he's saying that future prophets are going to be in this same mediatorial role in relationship to this covenant that was made at Horeb, or as it says in the book of Exodus, the covenant made at Mount Sinai. The shape of the prophetic speeches, particularly the judgment speeches, which have often been called "covenant lawsuits," are bringing to bear on Israel the actual terms of the covenant that the Lord made with Israel at Mount Sinai and renewed after Israel broke the covenant immediately with the sin of the golden calf, and broke the covenant again when they rebelled in the wilderness, when they heard the report of the spies coming back from the Promised Land in Numbers 13 and 14. That covenant was renewed in the book of Deuteronomy on the plains of Moab as a renewal of essentially the same covenant.

Answer by Dr. Douglas Gropp

Dr. Douglas Gropp was formerly Professor of Old Testament and Associate Academic Dean at Redeemer Seminary