Where is Jesus in the Old Testament? Can we have a clear picture of him before he actually came on earth? That’s what we’re going to discover here.
In one occasion, we saw Jesus saying to the religious leaders, You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me (John 5:39 NIV)
In fact, we can find verses that talk about Jesus through the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms. And here, I’m going to arrange them to you in such a way, that you can almost see the life of Jesus happen before your eyes before it actually did.
Let’s begin by saying that, Jesus was the prophet God promised to Moses at Horeb, when the people were too scared to continue to listen to God’s voice directly. Moses said to the people:
“The Lord said to me, ‘What they ask for is good. I will send them a prophet like you. This prophet will be one of their own people. I will tell him what he must say, and he will tell the people everything I command. (Deuteronomy 18:17-18)
And that’s what we saw in Jesus. A man like any other man, born as a jew. And Jesus would later on said about himself: By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:31)
We can see in Isaiah a picture of what he could have been like for him each day: The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. (Isaiah 50:4)
And through the Old Testament we can see verses and passages like this, and when we put them together they gives us a clear picture of that prophet promised by God that was Jesus.
Scriptures About Jesus’ Birth And Who He Was
Here, we can, not only have a picture of Jesus birth, but also where that birth would take place. And we also can see who this child is going to be. These scriptures are found in the book pf the prophet Isaiah and Micah.
The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). (Isaiah 7:14)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
Now we see how and where Jesus birth took place, but can we have a date? I found out that, this can be found in Daniel chapter 9.
Daniel actually prophesied about a lot of events that were supposed to happen before they did. He even prophesied about the days we are living and the seven years where the Antichrist will have his way on earth.
And here, he gave us an approximate date where Jesus was supposed to come. But it seems to announce more the time when he was supposed to be put to death.
Now listen! It will be 49 years plus 434 years from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One comes! Jerusalem’s streets and walls will be rebuilt despite the perilous times. “After this period of 434 years, the Anointed One will be killed, his kingdom still unrealized . . . (Daniel 9:25-26 Living Bible)
Some think that’s how the wise men, who probably men from the country where Daniel were held captive when he had all these revelations, came from.
Scriptures About His Humble Appearance
One prophecy that probably show Jesus very well, is the one in Zechariah where we see him coming on a donkey in Jerusalem. You would think that the religious leaders and those who knew about the Scriptures back then would have recognized him then, but they didn’t. Here’s the passage:
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9 NIV)
In this picture we see that, Jesus is kind indeed, but that he is also humble at heart, not proud and pretentious, looking down at people.
And what about this passage of the Scripture from the book of Isaiah that Jesus read one day in the synagogue of Nazareth:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:1-2)
And we see here also, in Isaiah chapter 42, a good image of what Jesus was like, written before he even was born:
See my servant, whom I uphold; my Chosen One in whom I delight. I have put my Spirit upon him; he will reveal justice to the nations of the world. He will be gentle—he will not shout nor quarrel in the streets. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. He will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair. He will see full justice given to all who have been wronged.
Scriptures About What He Had to Suffer
In fact, Isaiah has many places where Jesus is mentioned as the servant of the Lord. And the picture of chapter 53, where we see a Jesus who is suffering for our iniquities, is certainly the most popular one.
But one that I like also, is the one found in chapter 49 verses 15 and 16:
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
We see here a Jesus crucified in front of the wall of Jerusalem.
The Psalms also gives us a good picture of what he had to suffer. Jesus even cried out one while he was hanging on the cross: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ( (Psalm 22:1)
But when we read the rest of that psalm, we are wondering if the one who wrote it speak only of himself, or if it’s not Jesus himself who is showing us a picture of what his life and death was like:
I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. He trusts in the Lord,” they say, “let the Lord rescue him”. (Psalm 22:6-7)
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. (v.v. 14-15)
Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. (v.v. 16-18)
Scriptures About His Resurrection
Finally, we also have Scriptures that make mention of his resurrection. I couldn’t find many of them. The best one is found in Psalm 16:10 where we can read:
You will not leave me in the place of death. You will not let your faithful one rot in the grave.
Also, one passage in Zechariah – certainly referring in the last days and Armageddon, and how many Jews will turn to Jesus as their Messiah at that time – is indicating clearly that Jesus would be alive after his death on the cross:
My plan is to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. “Then I will pour out the spirit of grace and prayer on all the people of Jerusalem. They will look on him they pierced, and mourn for him as for an only son, and grieve bitterly for him as for an oldest child who died. (Zechariah 12:9-10)
So there you are. Here are a few places where you can find Jesus in the Old Testament. And there are more than that. But I had to limit myself to these ones for the sake of this article.
If you are familiar with the Scriptures, you can probably come up with some I didn’t mention here. If it’s the case, don’t hesitate to mention them in the comment section below.