Jesus in the Old Testament

[544 words]

“Is Jesus in the Old Testament?” The short answer is “yes.” However, He is in the Old Testament in more ways than people think. There are three main ways Old Testament reveals Jesus; prophecy, typology, and theophany.

Prophecy. The most significant Old Testament Christology material is in the Messianic prophecies. While the number of messianic prophecies seems subjective, a conservative estimate is north of 300 prophecies of Jesus. In 1 Peter 1:10-12, the apostle points out that men inspired by the Holy Spirit longed to know more about Whom they wrote. There are two groups of Messianic prophecy: Typical and Direct. A typical Messianic prophecy applies initially in the Old Testament, with its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, while Direct Messianic prophecy applies to Jesus and Him alone. An example of the former is Psalm 41:9, which David wrote in response to the betrayal of Ahithophel (2 Sam. 15:12). Christ applied Psalm 41:9 to Judas’ betrayal (John 13:18). The book of Isaiah provides an example of direct Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, where the prophet foretells of the virgin birth of Jesus. This prophecy can only be attributed to Jesus. Genesis provides the very first Messianic prophecy, forecasting the incarnation of Jesus and His victory over Satan. “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring [the seed is an attribute of men, with this exception pointing to the virgin birth]; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel [in regards to the temporary ‘success’ of the crucifixion].”

Typology. The Old Testament shows Jesus through types and shadows. Inspired New Testament writers would point out that numerous Old Testament characters were types of Christ, such as; Adam (1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45; Rom. 5:14, 17), Melchizedek (Heb. 7), and Jonah (Matt. 12:38-41). They would also attribute emblems of the Old Testament to Jesus, like; the Rock of Horeb (1 Cor. 10:1-4), the Mercy Seat (Rom. 3:25), and the Bronze Snake (John 3:14-15)—these examples are a small sample of what Holy Writ offers. Old Testament writers used people, places, things, and events as shadows of Jesus, eventually seen in the New Testament.

Theophany. Theophany is “A visible appearance of God to humans.” Theophany is not to be confused with the incarnation of Jesus, mainly for the temporary nature of theophany. Two widespread instances in the Old Testament involve Moses and his successor, Joshua. In Exodus 3, God appears to Moses in the form of a burning bush – for which there is convincing evidence that this is the pre-incarnate Christ. Joshua met the “Commander of the Army of the LORD,” according to Joshua 5. Again, compelling evidence this is the 2nd Member of the Godhead. Regardless, it is conclusive that Deity is present because both Moses and Joshua are told to take off their shoes, for they were on holy ground (Ex 3:5; Jo 5:14). God claims to be God from the burning bush, and He accepts worship from Joshua.

In prophecy, typology, and theophany, Jesus is prevalent throughout the Old Testament. Disciplined hermeneutical practices will reveal Jesus in the Old Testament and provide a rich study.

Josh Walker
Monticello church of Christ
Monticello, AR

Bookmark for Later (0)
ClosePlease login

Leave a Comment