Is Jesus in the Old Testament? Examples and Their Meaning

Christianity.com Editorial Staff

Is Jesus in the Old Testament? Examples and Their Meaning

There are a few instances of Jesus Christ appearing in the Old Testament. These are called Christophanies. And in a metaphorical sense, Jesus appears in many more stories throughout the Old Testament.

After Jesus’s resurrection, he enlightens two disciples about this: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:27)

Read through God's word, see how it points to Jesus.

Jesus in the Old Testament

Jesus Symbolized in the Old Testament Sacrificial System

In the video below, Charles Dyer discusses specific Old Testament prophecies and symbols that point to Jesus. The system of sacrificing, often a spotless lamb, symbolized the coming Christ.

“Sacrifices took away sins – covered over sins. And the Day of Atonement would come along that would cover their sins for a whole year, but that all pointed toward the ultimate Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.”

Jesus in the Book of Daniel

When King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the flames in Daniel 3:24-27, he expected to see the three young men (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) burning to death. Instead, he saw them walking around, unharmed and unbound, along with a fourth man with them. Who was the fourth man? The Lord Jesus Christ himself. This is a Christophany, an Old Testament appearance of the Son of God coming down from heaven in bodily form.

Taken from “Jesus in the Book of Daniel?” by Dr. Ray Pritchard.

Jesus Symbolized in the Tabernacle

In the video below, Ben Skaug discusses different stations of the tabernacle and how they are a symbol of the coming Christ.

“You can read throughout the gospel of John and see how Jesus is the fulfillment of each station inside the tabernacle. In John 1:29, John the Baptist says, ‘Behold,’ as he point to Jesus Christ, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ And there you have the first station inside the tabernacle – the alter of sacrifice.

List of Old Testament Stories Symbolizing Jesus

  • Christ is the Seed of woman and in Genesis 3:15 we are told He will one day crush Satan.
  • In Exodus we find the story of the Passover Lamb, and Christ is the sacrificial Lamb given for us.
  • In Leviticus we read of the high priests making sacrifices for the people, and Christ has become our High Priest, making the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins.
  • In Deuteronomy Moses prophesied of a prophet who would come that would be greater than Himself. Jesus is that Great Prophet.
  • In the book of Joshua, Joshua met the Captain of the Lord's host. That man is Jesus Christ.
  • In Judges, the leaders were judges who delivered God's people, each of them typifying the Lord Jesus.
  • Boaz, the kinsman who redeemed Ruth's inheritance, is a picture of Christ.
  • David, the anointed one, pictures Jesus and Jesus is described as being the Son of David.
  • In 2 Samuel when the king is being enthroned, the entire scene is descriptive of the Lord Jesus.
  • The books of Kings speak of the glory of God filling the temple and the Chronicles describe the glorious coming king, both referring to Jesus, the King of Kings.
  • Ezra depicts Jesus as the Lord of our fathers.
  • Esther offers a picture of Christ interceding for His people.
  • Job says clearly that the Redeemer is coming!
  • Christ appears time after time in the Psalms, including when David describes Him as "the Shepherd."
  • Isaiah details His glorious birth.
  • Jeremiah reveals that He will be acquainted with sorrows.
  • Joel describes Him as the Hope of His people.
  • Amos tells us that Jesus is the judge of all nations.
  • Obadiah warns of the coming eternal kingdom.
  • Jonah offers a picture of Jesus being dead for three days, then coming back to life to preach repentance.
  • Zephaniah says that He will be the king over Israel.
  • Zachariah is the prophet who speaks of Jesus riding on a colt.
  • Malachi is the one who calls Him the Son of Righteousness.

The entire Old Testament points toward Jesus as Savior, and if we miss that, we’ve missed the entire point of the Scriptures. Jesus is the Messiah and the fulfillment of prophecy.

Taken from "A Portrait Of Christ" by Adrian Rogers and Love Worth Finding Ministries (used by permission).

How to Read the Old Testament in a Christ-Centered Way

Jonathan Olsen talks about the “heartbeat of the Old Testament” in the video below. “The story of the OT is pointing to Jesus Christ.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Priscilla du Preez


Originally published September 27, 2010.