Does Deuteronomy 18:15-18 predict the coming of Muhammad?

It is amazing to hear some of the claims of Muslims that the Bible actually predicts the coming of the Prophet Muhammad.  These Muslims believe that the Bible teaches this based on such passages in the Qur’an as Surah 7:157.  However, the passages from the Bible that these Muslims appeal to are always taken out of context.  One of these popular passages is Deuteronomy 18:15-18.1

Deuteronomy 18:15-18

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ 17 And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him (NKJV)."

In spite of the claims of Muslims, there are many reasons why this passage does not refer to prophet Muhammad.2

“Brethren” Refers to Jews

First, given the context of Deuteronomy 18, the term “brethren” is referring to their fellow Israelites.  Deuteronomy 18:2, says “They shall have no inheritance among their brethren.”  Also, elsewhere in the book of Deuteronomy the term “brethren” refers to fellow Israelites (Deuteronomy 17:15).  Since the term “brethren” refers to Israelites, why would God raise up a prophet from the enemies of Israel, the Arabs?

Muhammad from Ishmael

Second, Muhammad came from Ishmael, as Muslims admit, but heirs to the Jewish throne came from Isaac.  The Torah states, “My covenant I will establish with Isaac,” (Genesis 17:21). Later, God repeats the same message, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” (Genesis 21:12).

Prophetic Line through Isaac

Third, the Qur’an teaches that the prophetic line came through Isaac, not Ishmael: “And We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and We established the Prophethood and the Scripture among his seed” (29:27).  However, Yusuf Ali adds the word Abraham in the translation to make it read: “We gave (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob, and ordained among his progeny Prophethood and Revelation.”  By adding Abraham, it is possible to include Muhammad in the prophetic line!  However, Abraham is not found in the Arabic text of the Qur’an which Muslims consider to be perfectly correct!

Jesus Fulfilled Deuteronomy 18:15-18 Perfectly

Fourth, Jesus fulfilled Deuteronomy 18 perfectly.  (1) He came from his Jewish brethren (Galatians 4:4).  (2) Deuteronomy 18:18 says, “He shall speak to them all that I [God] command Him.” Jesus said, “I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (John 8:28; cf. John 12:49).  Finally, (3) Jesus called himself a “prophet” (Luke 13:33) and the people considered him to be a prophet (Matthew 21:11; Luke 7:16; 24:19; John 4:19; 6:14; 7:40; 9:17).

Therefore, given the above evidence, it is Jesus, not Muhammad who fulfilled this prophecy in Deuteronomy 18.


See Related Articles

  • 1. The following Scripture references are from the New King James Version. However, the Scriptural links are to the New American Standard Bible.
  • 2. Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross, Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002, pp. 152-54.