Does the Old Testament speak about Jesus?

The Bible is the Word of God

Does the Old Testament speak of Jesus? The answer is a resounding, “Yes”! Jesus is not mentioned by name in the Old Testament; however, the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets all spoke about Jesus and what he would do. Jesus says this in the Gospel of Luke,

“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44)

This statement from Jesus tells us clearly that the reader can find information about Jesus throughout the entire Old Testament.

Although there are many Old Testament verses that speak of Jesus, this short article will focus on a number of passages in the New Testament that either directly quote from the Old Testament regarding Jesus or they will speak to a who he was and some of the many roles he took on to accomplish the work his heavenly Father, the LORD God gave him to do.

Jesus is the Son of God

In Acts 13, the apostle Paul testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah and the son of God from the Old Testament,

“And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’” (Acts 13:32-33, quoting from Psalm 2 in the Old Testament)

Jesus is the Seed of the Woman, putting Sin to Death

In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, it is recorded that Adam and Eve sinned against the LORD God, bringing sin and death into the world. The LORD God addressed the serpent, who deceived Eve into sinning. The LORD God made a promise that there would be an offspring from a woman who would ultimately kill the offspring of the serpent, meaning that one of the descendants of the women would ultimately provide a fatal blow to the serpent’s head or to sin,

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

The following two passages in the New Testament clearly show that Jesus was born from a woman and that through his sacrifice, he put sin to death, thereby dealing a fatal blow to the power of death,

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law…” (Galatians 4:4)
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he (Jesus) himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Jesus is the Son of Abraham and the Son of David

Abraham and (King) David are two very important Old Testament characters. Both men were promised a son who would fulfill the promises the LORD God made to each of them. These promises relate to you and me even today as they are promises of faith, of God’s Kingdom being established on this earth and Jesus reigning as King over the entire earth – both of which are still future to us. In fact, this is how Jesus is introduced in the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the New Testament,

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1)

Son of Abraham – Baptism into Jesus, Faith in the Promises and the Territory of God’s Kingdom

The promises to Abraham are found in a number of places in the book of Genesis. The following is the one example from Genesis 17,

“I (LORD God) will make you (Abraham) exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:6-8)

“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16)

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29)

Son of David – Jesus as King Reigning over the Entire World

The promise to David was stated in 2 Samuel 7,

“Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” (2 Samuel 7:11-16)

The angel of the LORD told Mary that the son she would conceive was to be called Jesus and he would fulfill the promises made to King David of the Old Testament,

“And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)

Jesus is the Prophet like Moses

Moses was revered by the religious leaders at the time of Jesus. In fact, they claimed to be the disciples of Moses (John 9:28). Moses wrote in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah,

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen… I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15,18-19)

Philip, one of Jesus’s disciples, believed that Jesus was the prophet spoken of by Moses and went to tell his companion Nathanael,

“Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45)

The apostle Peter proclaimed to the people that Jesus was the prophet spoken of by Moses,

“But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.” (Acts 3:18-24)

Jesus is the Suffering Servant

Jesus is often referred to as the “suffering servant”. This speaks to his sacrificial work to provide redemption and forgiveness of sins through his death by crucifixion. The concept of the suffering servant is clear with a complete reading of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah at chapter 53.

The work of Jesus as described in Isaiah 53 is seen in the following New Testament passage: “And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot (of the Ethiopian Eunuch).” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah (chapter 53) the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:29-35)

Jesus is the King of the World

We have already considered that Jesus is to reign as King over this world to fulfill the promises made to King David and Abraham. Jesus was born and died with the title of King, but he did not take the throne at that time. This is a future event. Jesus did, however, enter Jerusalem, the city of the great King and the Old Testament prophet Isaiah describes the roles and work of Jesus when he returns and establishes God’s Kingdom on earth.

“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” (Matthew 21:1-5, quoting the Old Testament, Zachariah 9:9)
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7) 

Jesus is Spoken of in the Old Testament

The above are just a few of the very many passages in the Old Testament that speak about Jesus. Jesus himself said that he is returning to the earth to fulfill all that was spoken of him in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus is coming to fulfill the promises his heavenly Father, the LORD God, made to faithful people such as Abraham and David, to change this world and reign as King over this world in righteousness and peace.

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done…“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”  The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:12,16-20)

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