D’varim / Deuteronomy 18_is used yet again as a prophecy supposedly fulfilled by Jesus. Line 18 says “I will set up a prophet for them from among their brethren, just as you are. I will place My word in his mouth, and he will declare to them all that I command him.”
The question is: was Jesus a prophet who was tasked with delivering a message from G-d to the then living generation? This is the definition of a prophet. The Hebrew word for prophecy is נְבוּאָה / navua (a feminine noun). A נָבִיא / navi (prophet) had direct communication with G-d (through dreams and / or visions with the exception of Moses who spoke directly with G-d), and who relayed G-d’s message to his or her own generation.
Key to recognizing a prophet is the understanding that they cannot contradict the prophecy in the Torah in any way. The prophets received messages from G-d and communicated them. The prophets recorded in the T’nach had messages both for their generation and for future generations, thus the Men of the Great Assembly decided they should be maintained for their descendants.
Two things converged to bring prophecy to an end. One is the Diaspora -- the dispersal of Jews from the land of Judah (Israel). The majority of Jews did not return to Israel from the Babylonian (Iranian) exile, and without a majority of Jews in Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel aka the land of the living) prophecy is limited. Thus 2000 years ago, the age Jesus supposedly lived, there were no prophets.
How again do we know that Jesus definitely not a prophet? Because of the very passage the missionaries are pointing to as proof that he was a prophet, namely D’varim / Deuteronomy 18. “if a prophet presumptuously makes a declaration in My name when I have not commanded him to do so, or if he speaks in the name of other gods, then that prophet shall die.' You may ask yourselves, 'How shall we recognize that a declaration was not spoken by G-d?' If the prophet predicts something in G-d's name, and the prediction does not materialize or come true, then the message was not spoken by G-d. That prophet has spoken deceitfully, and you must not fear him.” D’varim / Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
This does not include prophecies which have not yet happened, but still can (such as the actual messiah bringing world peace for example). It is also important to realize that a prediction of a negative thing (such as the destruction of the City of Nineveh) can be avoided if the prophet is heeded. Positive prophecies always come to pass. . .
So we need to ask ourselves – did Jesus make a declaration in the name of G-d and it did not materialize? This would make him a false prophet, per D’varim / Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
Here are just a few:
I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.“ (Matthew 16:27-28). All those people died long ago. False prophecy.
Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place…“ (Mark 13:26-30). Same as Matthew 16:27-28, that generation is long dead. False prophecy.
Luke repeats this same false prophecy: “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.“ (Luke 21:27-32).
Then we have “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14.
Just how many people have asked (prayed) in Jesus’ names and Jesus did not “do it.” Asking for wealth, or health, or whatever – false prophecy.
Another proof that Jesus was not a prophet is the recognition (again, found in D’varim / Deuteronomy 13 and 18) that a prophet cannot change the mitzvot in the Torah. Throughout the Christian bible, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states its commandments are no longer applicable. (John 1:45 and 9:16, Acts 3:22 and 7:37). This changing of the mitzvot proves that Jesus was a false prophet.
Three things to remember:
As mentioned earlier in this article, without a majority of Jews in the land of Israel prophecy could not exist. Along with the lack of a majority of Jews in Israel (Judah) 2000 years ago a second reason prophecy ended is because the Men of the Great Assembly appealed to G-d to remove the desire for idolatry and with it went the gift of prophecy (Yoma 69b).
The bible itself tells us that prophecy (after the prophet Malachi, who was a member of the Great Assembly) is gone. “We have not seen our signs; there is no longer a prophet, and no one with us knows how long.” (T’hillim / Psalms 74:9)
With the end of prophecy came the "Age of Wisdom."
We still have the spirit of G-d in our midst and we have His Torah, along with His sages. The instructions had been given, now it is up to us to implement them. This is why the last of the prophets implemented the T'nach (Jewish bible, including Prophets and Writings) as well as the Siddur (Jewish prayer book).When prophecy ended we entered the age of Wisdom -- the age we are still in. The last of the prophets, including Ezra and Nehemiah, asked G-d to end prophecy. This is one reason we have the Jewish bible today, and not just the Torah. The wisdom has been passed down. It continues to be passed down.
We still have the spirit of G-d in our midst and we have His Torah, along with His sages. The instructions had been given, now it is up to us to implement them. This is why the last of the prophets implemented the T'nach (Jewish bible, including Prophets and Writings) as well as the Siddur (Jewish prayer book).
Prophecy does not exist in a vacuum -- with the minority in Israel after the Babylonian exile and the appeal of the men of the Great Assembly we can better understand why prophecy ended. The type of people endowed with this special connection to G-d were few and far between. There is a good explanation from Aish:
The prophet was a Torah scholar and a holy person. To reach the prophetic state of consciousness required a long period of study, meditation and self-purification. As Maimonides writes: "Prophecy only occurs to someone great in wisdom, mighty in deeds and whom the material inclination does not control in any material thing. Rather he continually fortifies his mind against his inclination and is an exceedingly masterful intellect." (Foundations of Torah 7:1).
Prophecy was only possible while a person was in a state of joy. (Midrash - Bereishit Rabba 70:8)
Prophecy was only possible in the Land of Israel, and was only possible in a pure environment. (Mechilta - Sh’mot / Exodus 12:1).
Finally, prophets were personally observant of the Torah's commands, and encouraged others to do the same. Since the Torah states that all mitzvot remain binding forever, anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. (D’varim / Deuteronomy 13:1-4).
Prophecy will return: And it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy; your elders shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (Joel 3:1)
Behold, I (G-d) will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the L-rd. (Malachi 3:23[4:5 in Christian translations])
Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal wrote a terrific article entitled "Non-Prophet" which is worth reading.