Is Jesus in the Old Testament?

Part 1: In the Beginning... Jesus
Part 2: Jesus in Genesis
Part 3: Jesus in Judges
Part 4: Jesus in Zechariah
Part 5: Jesus in Jerusalem
Part 6: Jesus and Satan

It is easy to be tempted as a Christian to only read the New Testament and ignore the Old Testament. After all it’s such a huge compilation of books that would simply take too much time to read and really don’t have any significance today, right? Really who wants to spend hours reading genealogies and about all these outdated laws that don’t apply to me? Well if that’s the way you see the Old Testament you might do well to take another look.

I will confess that there are areas of the Old Testament that interest me more than others. Quite honestly there are chapters and books that I would altogether pass over for boredom, but what I find is my limited interest is more based on the fact that I don’t understand the material rather than the material itself being boring. And even when I don’t care to study particular passages does not negate the importance therein.

We must keep in mind that every word of Scripture was inspired by God, and there are no idle words in the Bible. What that means is EVERY word carries great importance for all time; our responsibility is to learn the importance behind each one. –but that would take a lifetime! Ah, isn’t that point? To spend our life striving to know God more?
So that brings me back to the title of this article which is the question of whether Jesus can be found in the Old Testament? The answer is both yes and no. The reality is that “Jesus” the name does not exist prior to the angel Gabrielle giving the prophecy and name to Mary and Joseph. The being and deity of who we know as Jesus Christ, however, does exist throughout the Old Testament. In fact the entire purpose of the Old Testament is of course to point each and every one of us to Jesus our Savior. The Old Testament is the law that condemns us so thoroughly that we are left desperately seeking the Messiah to redeem us from our lost sinful state.

In Genesis we read that God created the heavens and the earth. We go on to read over the first couple chapters of the chronological order of this creation and how God made man (and woman) in His own image, after His likeness. This does not mean that we are God, but that we take after the likeness of our great God! Now fast forward to the Gospel of John and we read,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3
This tells us that not only was Jesus present at the time of creation, but that He WAS the Creator! All things were made by Him; and without him was not ANY THING made that was made. Truly the Old Testament begins with Jesus pre-incarnate.

A prophecy of Christ appears in chapter 3 when God is cursing the serpent (Satan) and says, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15 This is speaking of the coming time when Satan would bruise Christ by crucifying Him (according to God’s plan of salvation), but that Jesus Christ would bruise Satan’s head by crushing it in His victory over hell and death, thus securing salvation to all who put their faith in Christ, the Son of God.

The Old Testament not only has manifestations of the deity of Christ but examples of the Messiah, again pointing to the salvation that will come through Jesus Christ. The ark of Noah served as a savior to Noah and his family during the global flood. Joseph served as a savior or type of Christ when he was used by God to deliver the world from the 7 years of famine. Moses was a savior for the people of Israel who lived in bondage under the oppression of Pharaoh of Egypt. Esther was a savior to the Jews when evil Haman sought to have them destroyed. King David served as a savior to the nation when he delivered them from the giant Goliath. The prophets served as a type of savior when they proclaimed the Word of God that could save the Israelites from physical and spiritual death, sacrificing their own lives for the glory of God. Jonah was a savior to the people of Nineveh when he came out of the great fish and preached repentance to the city. None of these figures in the Old Testament were deity in any way, but simply used by God in a way that would signify the saving grace of God to His people. These were early illustrations of what Jesus would accomplish for us on a spiritual level.