As you read the Old Testament, you come across different prophecies of the Messiah. Some of these prophecies talk of his birth and ministry to his crucifixion. However, scripture readers need help figuring out, is Jesus in the Old Testament?
There are no direct mentions of the name Jesus in the Old Testament. However, some phrases imply the Messiah. From Genesis 16-32, they speak of the Angel of the Lord, which different scholars and readers of the Word allude to being Jesus.
If Jesus was in the Old Testament, how did they refer to him as? What is it called when Jesus appears in the Old Testament? How many times is Jesus mentioned in the Old Testament? Why does the Old Testament describe Jesus as an Angel of the Lord instead of the son of God? Read on to find answers to these and similar questions.
What was Jesus called in the Old Testament?
Many scripture readers question whether Jesus was in the Old Testament, and if so, how was he referred to? Various verses in the scripture allude to Jesus as the Angel of the Lord, with the first appearance in Genesis 16.
Genesis 16:7 The Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. Here the Angel of the Lord appears to Hagar as she flees, which refers to Jesus. As you proceed in other verses of the same chapter, you realize they use the name Angel of the Lord while referring to Jesus.
Genesis 22:11,15 Here are other verses in Genesis that refer to Christ as the Angel of the Lord. In these instances, he appears to Abraham as he carries out God’s request. Throughout the Old Testament, there are several mentions of the Angel of the Lord; Judges 5:23, 2 Kings 19:35, and Exodus 3:2-4.
Where in the Old Testament does it mention Jesus?
As you read the Old Testament, you will notice no direct mention of Jesus but phrases, events, and prophecies that allude to his existence. The book of Isaiah is known for having verses that give a prophecy about Jesus.
Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes, we are healed. Isaiah is one book in the Old Testament that gives prophecies on Jesus’ suffering. This verse alludes to Jesus’ suffering in the quest to save his followers.
Isaiah 50:5-6 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I turned not backward. I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why hast though forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? These are the same texts Jesus Christ said while on the cross; therefore, it can be a prophecy.
How many times is Jesus mentioned in the Old Testament?
According to readers of the scripture, there are reportedly more than 300 mentions of Jesus. Some are prophecies, while in other instances, they mention him using different names. These prophecies begin from his birth, ministerial work, suffering, and crucifixion. Unlike the New Testament, where they directly say the name Jesus, the Old Testament mentions Jesus under different phrases.
What is it called when Jesus appears in the Old Testament?
As we have seen in the mentioned scriptures, Jesus appears in other forms, not physical ones. Scholars came up with a term that refers to how Jesus appeared in the Old Testament; they refer to it as Christophanies. It originates from two Greek words that mean Christ’s manifestation before his human incarnation.
Instances when Jesus appears in the Old Testament
Jesus appears in the Old Testament in different forms and events and to varying personalities in the Old Testament. You may notice, in all His appearances, He played an important role as he is the only person who has seen God. He appears to Abraham, Hagar, and Moses, to mention a few, as witnessed in the verses below.
Exodus 14:19 Then the Angel of God who went before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. As the Israelites were crossing the desert, they had watch and guidance of Jesus in the form of a pillar of cloud.
Exodus 3:2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush, and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. In this chapter, one of the greatest events of the Bible takes place, Jesus appeared to Moses as a flame in a burning bush that did not get burnt out.
Genesis 22:11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” Another instance where Jesus appears in the Old Testament to Abraham. As we have seen in previous texts, the Angel of the Lord refers to Jesus; here, he calls on Abraham as he is about to sacrifice to the Lord.
In Genesis 16:7-11 Jesus appears to Hagar, Sarah’s servant, as she flew from Sarah while in the wilderness.
How did Jesus appear in the Old Testament?
The mention of Jesus in the Old Testament is prophecy, while on other occasions, he did appear in different forms. To Moses, he appeared as a flame in a burning bush; he called on Abraham as a voice from heaven. Judges 13: 3; 6; 20 In this text, Jesus appears to a woman and goes up in the form of a flame.
Why does the Old Testament describe Jesus as an Angel of the Lord instead of the son of God?
In the Old Testament, Jesus appears in the form of Christophanies, which is the pre-incarnate Christ. The term the Angel of the Lord is seen severally throughout Genesis. The scripture in the Old Testament refers to Jesus as an Angel since he is not in physical form. Most of the phrases in the Old Testament are prophecies of the unseen Messiah, and appearances of Christ were mostly that of a messenger from God.
Is the Word Jesus used in the Old Testament?
The Word Jesus does not appear in the Old Testament; however, as seen above, other terms and phrases refer to him. Later, in the New Testament, Jesus assures his followers of the truth behind the prophecies and mentions them in the Old Testament.
Luke 24: 25-27 In this verses, it informs us how Christ elaborated prophecies to his disciples, which shows we can trust what was said of him.
Where is Jesus in the Old Testament?
Is Jesus in the Old Testament?
Where is Jesus mentioned in the Old Testament?
Is Jesus in the Old Testament?
Were there appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament?
How do we know the Angel of the Lord is Jesus?
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.