The Bible is written by human authors, with diverse backgrounds and personalities, under divine inspiration of the Spirit of God. However, all the books in Scripture ultimately point to the same person: Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus Christ can be found in each book of the Bible.
It is easy to grasp that the New Testament speaks about Jesus Christ, from the writings of Paul and Christ’s disciples. For example, John testifies that Jesus is the eternal, living Word of God (John 1:1, 14), referring to the miracle of His incarnation.
Interestingly, Paul uses the Old Testament examples that indicate the pre-incarnate Christ: “For they [all our ancestors] drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4).
The Old Testament, in fact, has also witnessed the presence (and appearance) of Christ in ancient times. At the moment of human creation, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26), which reveals the Triune God the Creator.
This is also affirmed by John in the New Testament: “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:2-3).
Moreover, Jesus Himself has also said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). This statement suggests the parallel between Jesus and Jehovah (Yahweh), who introduced Himself to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).
Let us now see further how Jesus Christ is represented in each book of the Bible, with some parallels between the Old Testament and New Testament events.
Jesus’ Attributes in the Old Testament
In the Books of the Law (Pentateuch)
This promise is known as protoevangelium (the first good news) in Christian theology and finds its fulfillment at Christ’s crucifixion where Satan is defeated (Hebrews 2:14-15) and after Christ’s second coming where Satan is cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
The coming of Shiloh (peace) was also foretold by Jacob when he blessed his son, Judah, signifying that the scepter (a sign of sovereign authority and kingship) is descended to Christ (Genesis 49:10) to reign over God’s people forever.
2. Exodus: When God demonstrated His power in the land of Egypt, a Passover lamb was sacrificed for every household with the blood on every house in order to be spared from the plague (Exodus 12:3). In the same way, the blood of Christ spares all believers from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9).
3. Leviticus: At the consecration of the high priest, according to God’s instruction to Moses, he anointed Aaron to make him holy for his work in the tabernacle.
Only the high priest was given the privilege to enter the Most Holy Place coming to God on behalf of the people annually to offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins (Hebrews 9:7).
This ceremony foreshadowed Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest, who ascended into heaven to appear before God on our behalf with His own blood in order to secure our eternal redemption (Hebrews 4:14-16, 9:11-28).
4. Numbers: When the Israelites were in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land, they were in desperate need of God’s healing and protection from poisonous serpents.
Upon God’s instruction, Moses made a bronze serpent attached to a pole, so that whoever looked at it was miraculously healed and remained alive (Numbers 21:8-9).
The bronze serpent portrays Christ bearing the sin of the world in which He became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). In the same manner, whoever believes in Jesus should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:14-15).
Remarkably, the Spirit of God also used Balaam, a wicked prophet, to prophesy the coming of a king (a Star of Jacob), who will have dominion over the nations and the enemies of Israel (Numbers 24:17-19).
5. Deuteronomy: Jesus is a Prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18). Just as Moses had spoken to God face-to-face (Exodus 33:11; Matthew 17:3), so Jesus is in closest relationship with the Father (John 1:18) that all the fullness of God lives in Christ in a human body (Colossians 2:9).
Just as Moses delivered the Israelites from Egypt to receive God’s Word at Sinai, so Jesus had delivered His followers from death in order to inscribe His law on their hearts. In other words, Moses and Jesus are both deliverer and lawgiver.
Interestingly, just as Moses is a Hebrew prophet who was born during the reign of a wicked ruler (Pharaoh) ordering the killing of all newborn Hebrew boys, so Jesus was born during the time of a tyrant (Herod) and called out of Egypt (Matthew 2:14-15; Hosea 11:1) after the tragic massacre of all the male children in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18).
Further, Christ’s attributes in the Old Testament include (but are not limited to):
In Historical Books
- Commander of the army of the Lord (Joshua 5:14); The Angel of the Lord (Judges 2:1).
- Kinsman-Redeemer (Ruth 2:1); Great Judge (1 Samuel 2:10); Seed of David (2 Samuel 7:13).
- God of the cherubim (2 Kings 19:15); God of our salvation (1 Chronicles 16:35).
- Lord God of our fathers (2 Chronicles 20:6); Lord God of heaven and earth (Ezra 1:2); Lord God of Israel (1 Kings 8:15, 25).
- Covenant-keeping God (Nehemiah 1:5); God of providence (Esther).
In Wisdom Literature (Poetry Books)
- Risen and Returning Redeemer (Job 19:25)
- The Anointed Son; the Holy One; The Good Shepherd; the King of Glory (Psalm 2:2,12; 16:10; 23:1; 24:7-10).
- The Wisdom of God (Proverbs 8:22-31); The One above the Sun (Ecclesiastes 8:17).
- Chief among Ten Thousand; Altogether Lovely (Song of Solomon 5:10,16).
In Books of the Prophets
Isaiah: Virgin-born Immanuel; Wonderful Counselor; Mighty God; Everlasting Father; the faithful and compassionate God; Prince of Peace; the Suffering Servant; a Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 52:13; 53:3).
Jeremiah: The Lord of our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16).
Lamentations: The faithful and compassionate God (Lamentations 3:22-23, 31-33).
Ezekiel: The Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35).
Daniel: Crushing Stone; the Son of God; the Ancient of Days; the Son of Man (Daniel 2:34; 3:25; 7:9-10, 13)
Hosea: King of the Resurrection (Hosea 13:10,14).
Joel: God of the Battle and Giver of the Spirit (Joel 2:11, 28-32).
Amos: The Lord God of Hosts and the plumb line (Amos 4:13; 7:7).
Obadiah: Destroyer of the proud (Obadiah 1:8, 15).
Jonah: The Lord of the risen prophet; God of Second Chances; the Long-Suffering One (Jonah 2:10, 3:1, 4:9-11).
Micah: God of Jacob; the Bethlehem-born; the Pardoning God (Micah 4:1-5; 5:2; 7:18-19).
Nahum: The jealous and avenging God; the bringer of good tidings (Nahum 1:2, 15).
Habakkuk: The Everlasting, Pure, Glorious, and Anointed One (Habakkuk 1:12-13; 2:14; 3:13).
Zephaniah: The King of Israel (Zephaniah 3:15).
Haggai: The Desire of All Nations (Haggai 2:7).
Zechariah: Branch; Builder of the Temple; King of Triumphal Entry; Pierced One; King over all the earth (Zechariah 3:8; 6:12-13; 9:9; 12:10; 14:9).
Malachi: The Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2).
Jesus’ Attributes in the New Testament
In the Gospel
Jesus Christ is the long-awaited Messiah, the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament (Genesis 49:10; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 11:1-11; Psalm 22:1-31). Christians worship Jesus as King and believe that He will return for the second time to establish His eternal kingdom on earth.
2. Mark: Jesus Christ is portrayed as Servant — as many times, His messages were about servanthood (Mark 9:35, 10:43-45), and again, fulfilling the prophecies in the Old Testament (Isaiah 49:5-6, 52:13-15).
He is the only sinless man who ever lived on this earth through the miracle of the virgin birth and incarnation. He is the only Mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5).
4. John: Jesus Christ is Eternal God, the Creator, the Life, and the Light (John 1:1-5). Jesus Christ is the Word of God who became flesh (man), He is the glory of God, and He is full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
Jesus Christ is also the Lamb of God (John 1:29) — He gave up His life as the only sacrifice that can satisfy God’s holy judgment upon sin. Through Christ’s finished work on the cross, all humanity can receive God’s forgiveness and salvation by faith in Him.
No more animal sacrifices are needed to earn God’s mercy. Jesus reveals His identity as the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that He is the only way to God the Father (John 14:6).
Further, Christ’s attributes in the New Testament include (but are not limited to):
In History of the Christian Church
Acts: Ascended Lord (Acts 1:9).
In the Epistles
Romans: The Lord our Righteousness (Romans 10:4).
Galatians: Redeemer of the Law (Galatians 4:4-5).
Ephesians: Head of the Church; The Chief Cornerstone; Giver of Gifts (Ephesians 1:22; 2:20; 4:8).
Philippians: Supplier of every need; Obedient Servant (Philippians 1:19; 2:5-8; 4:19).
Colossians: Fullness of the Godhead (Colossians 1:19; 2:9).
Titus: Our Great God and Savior (Titus 1:3; 2:11, 13; 3:4).
Philemon: Payer of our debt (Philemon 1:19).
Hebrews: Appointed heir of all things; One greater than the angels and prophets; Our Compassionate High Priest; The Living Intercessor; The Mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 1:2, 4; 3:3; 4:8, 14-16; 7:25; 9:15).
James: Ever-present God; the coming Lord; The Healer (James 4:8; 5:8, 15).
1, 2, and 3 John: The Word of Life; Advocate; Destroyer of the works of the devil; Propitiation; Son of God (1 John 1:1; 2:1-2; 3:8; 4:10, 15; 5:5); The Son of the Father (2 John 1:3); The truth (3 John 1:4,8).
Jude: Preserver and The Only Wise God (Jude 1:24-25).
In Prophetic/Apocalyptic Literature
Revelation: In the last book of the Bible, John wrote Christ’s revelation of Himself: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
Jesus is not limited by time and space. He knows all of us before we were born. He is the Lord of the past, present, future. He is the Almighty. Moreover, Jesus Christ is not only pictured as a Lamb who had been slain, but also as the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:1-7).
He is the only one worthy to take the scroll out of God’s right hand. In other words, Christ alone has the authority to establish God’s final judgment over all the earth because He is King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).
Why Does This Matter?
Jesus Christ is the eternal Word of God. The existence of Jesus in every book of the Bible authorizes the claim that the Bible is the inspired words of God.
Christ is “God manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He is sovereign in history. Therefore, everyone who listens to Him and believes in Him will live.
Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, 30th Anniversary Edition.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Lisa Valder
Philip Wijaya is presently a graduate research student at the University of British Columbia living in Vancouver, Canada with his wife, Sandra. His interest in science and faith in God has encouraged him to write in a blog (philipwijaya.com), with a hope of better understanding the truths in the Bible in relation to scientific views and discoveries. Besides research and study, he also enjoys sports, music, and traveling.