Jesus Christ in the Old Testament

Acts 10:43

“Digging Deeper” into Scripture, you’re going to find that all of the Bible—Old Testament as well as New—is about Jesus Christ.  Yes, He appears in the Old Testament—if you know how to find Him there. The Lord Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, is found throughout the Old Testament in prophecy, types and shadows.

In this study we’ll see how that occurs.

Did you know there are about 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah? Professor Peter Stoner was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953, then was Chairman of the Science Department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He wrote a book titled Science Speaks. He proved that it is impossible, by the law of mathematical probability, for Jesus Christ not to be the one true Messiah of Israel and the Son of God

Later in this study we’re going to look at that, so keep reading.

But first let’s begin with something the apostle Peter said, confirming Jesus’ presence in the Old Testament:

1. Turn to Acts 10:43.  Peter, testifying in the household of Cornelius about Jesus, says:       “To Him,” [to Jesus,] “give all the prophets witness.”

When Peter made this statement, the New Testament had not yet been written. So when Peter says “the prophets,” who is he talking about?________________________

Peter wanted Cornelius, a Roman officer, to know that throughout the Old Testament, the prophets were looking ahead, predicting and proclaiming the arrival of the Messiah.


If you want to understand the Old Testament and some
things that seem mysterious in it—there is a master key to unlocking any mystery. That master key is the Lord Jesus Christ. You must take a Christo-centric approach to the Old Testament—not just the New. 

“Christo-centric” means Christ is at the center. In every book of the Bible, the over-arching theme is God’s mercy to sinful man—that there is a Savior, and He is coming.

This may be a new idea for you. Not everyone opens the Old Testament expecting to find Jesus Christ within its pages. But He is there. In fact, if you read the Old Testament and you don’t find Jesus, you need to go back and reread it because you missed the message. The Old Testament is a “him” book, it is about H-I-M, the Lord Jesus Christ.


2. Now turn to John 5:39. Fill in this verse:

“You ______________ the ___________________, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which ________________ of ______.

3. Look earlier in John 5. Who is speaking? __________________________

Who is He speaking to? ________________________________________________

At this time, there was no New Testament yet. Jesus is referring to the Old Testament.

4. Now turn to Luke chapter 24:

What a wonderful chapter! Verses 13-35 describe the famous walk with Jesus and two forlorn, unknowing disciples along the road to Emmaus. Most believers would give anything to have been with them on this Emmaus walk. (You will want to read the entire story.)

a. What specific day was this? (see v. 1 and v. 13) ___________________________

b. But for our purposes, focus on what Jesus said to them in verses 25 through 27:

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at ____________ and all the ______________, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
c. At that time, “all the Scriptures” could refer only to what?_________­­­____________

d. Jesus’ day wasn’t over yet! Read on…to vv. 33-36:

Later that evening, where did He appear next? _________________________

There Jesus comforts His disciples with these words: (still in Luke 24)

44 …“These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the ________ of ________ and the ____________ and the ___________concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

From His own testimony, Jesus affirms that the Old Testament prophets spoke of Him.

Without Jesus, the Old Testament is

  • a book of unexplained ceremonies that won’t make sense 
  • a book of unfulfilled prophecies
  • and a book of unattainable standards

If you try to live by the Old Testament without the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot make it.


The Old Testament was completed about 400 years before Jesus Christ was born. It was divided into three categories: the law, the prophets and the writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, etc.).

Among God’s people there were three elevated offices—kings, priests, and prophets. People who were appointed to these offices were “anointed.” The word “Christ” means “the anointed one.” Our word “christening” comes from that. They were anointed, “christened,” or you might say “Christ-ed” to serve.

5. Examples of Old Testament anointing.

Prophet anointing:

Turn to these verses and fill them in:

a. 1 Kings 19:16
“And…Elisha… shalt thou __________ to be prophet in thy room.”

b. 1 Chronicles 16:22
“Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my ___________ no harm.”

Priestly anointing:

c. Numbers 35:25.

“…the high priest who was ____________ with the holy _____.

d. Psalm 133:2
“It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

Kingly anointing:

e. 1 Samuel 16:1
“Now the Lord said to Samuel, ‘…Fill your horn with _____, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”

f. Psalm 89:20
“I have found My servant David; With My holy oil I have _________ him.

When we get to the New Testament, we find the fulfillment.

  • In the gospels, we see Jesus as the Prophet preaching the kingdom of God.
  • In the epistles and Acts you see Jesus Christ, the ascended Priest, interceding for the people of God.
  • In the book of Revelation, you see Jesus Christ as the King, coming to rule and reign.

Each of these offices is a portrait of Jesus Christ. 
All of the Old Testament pictures Jesus as prophet, priest, and king.
All of the New Testament shows Jesus as the fulfillment.
He is the Prophet, Priest, and King.

Portraits of Jesus in the Old Testament:

Jesus is the second Adam because the first Adam prophesied Him.
Jesus is a beloved, rejected, exalted son and world bread supplier like Joseph.
Jesus is that root out of dry ground, born of a virgin. (Is. 53:2)
Jesus is a priest like Aaron and Melchizedek because they prefigured Him.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah (the same
mount as Mt. Calvary, where Jesus literally died.)
Jesus is the Passover lamb.
Jesus is a prophet like Moses because Moses typified Him.
Jesus is the water that came from the rock in the wilderness.
Jesus is the manna that fell from the sky.
Jesus is the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness.
Jesus is the scapegoat bearing away the sins of the people.
Jesus is pictured in the Ark of the Covenant.
Jesus is the mercy seat where the shekinah glory of God dwells.
Jesus is the sacrifice upon the brazen altar in the tabernacle and the temple.
Jesus is a champion like Joshua, whose name literally means “Jesus.”
Jesus is a king like David.
Jesus is a wise counselor like Solomon.
Jesus is the lion of Judah.
Jesus is the good shepherd, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
Jesus is the fruitful branch.
Jesus is that one without form or comeliness yet altogether lovely. (Is 53:2)



The Old Testament, without the Lord Jesus Christ, would be a dead-end road leading to nowhere. Yet as we look at the Bible—back off and see it—we really see Jesus everywhere.

An artist, using the Constitution of the United States as inspiration, painted the letters of the Constitution very carefully, shading each letter. As you looked at the Constitution, you could read it as the framers intended it to be. But if you stepped back and looked at it, you would see that the artist had so shaded the letters that you saw a portrait of George Washington.

Now that’s what you find in the Old Testament. You’ll find all these laws, ceremonies and practices—types and illustrations—but as you step back, there He is: Jesus, the Son of God.


Prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament

Fulfilled prophecy is one of the great proofs of the Deity of Jesus Christ.

God began to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus with a multitude of prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Him. There can be no mistake that Jesus is the Messiah. As Professor Peter Stone pointed out, the law of mathematical probability makes it totally impossible that anyone other than Jesus else could be the Messiah.

 The law of probability is not an abstract law. Life insurance policies, for example, are based on mathematical probability.

Let’s look at just 8 out of 108 Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled.

1. The Messiah will be born in ___________________. (Micah 5:2)
Fulfillment: Luke chapter 2 and Matthew 2:1

2. The Messiah will have a forerunner. (Malachi 3:1)
“Behold, I am going to send My _____________, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple…”

Fulfillment: Matthew 3:1-3 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [Isaiah], saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.’”

3. The Messiah would make His triumphant entry riding on a donkey (now what king does that?)
Zechariah 9:9 “Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a ___________, Even on a colt, the foal of a ___________.

Fulfillment: Matthew 21:7, John 12:14-16

4. The Messiah would die by crucifixion. (Psalm 22, especially vv. 11-18)
“…for dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me; they ____________ my ________ and ________.”

Fulfillment: Luke 23:33, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24 John 19:23

5. Those who arrested Him would cast lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18)
“They part my garments among them, and _______ ______ upon my vesture.

Fulfillment: Luke 23:34
34 “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.” Also John 19:23, Mark 15:24, and
Matthew 27:35, “and parted His garments, casting lots.”

6. Messiah would be betrayed by one of His own friends. (Zechariah 11:6)
6 “And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my ___________.’

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:14-16, “14 Then ____ of the __________, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests…” Also Mark 14:10-11, John 18:2

7. Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12)

Fulfillment: Matthew 26:15-16
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you? And they covenanted with him for _________ pieces of _________. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

8. The Messiah will remain silent when He is accused and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:7)
“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.”

Fulfillment: Mark 14:61, 61 But He held his peace, and answered _____________.”
1 Peter 2:23 23 Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:”

These are just 8 examples of Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled. There are at least 108, many of which He had no control over, if He were only a human being (such as the place of His birth and the prophesied “flight to Egypt” when He was a child.)

The odds of any one person being able by accident to fulfill even 8 of the 108 prophecies is a number so astronomical, our minds cannot conceive of it. Professor Stoner calculated it to be 1in 1017 or 1 in 100 quadrillion.

Is Jesus Christ found in the Old Testament? He is found in type and shadow in every book of the Old Testament.


The Lord Jesus Christ is there in the Old Testament in portrait and prophecy.
All of the symbols, all of the emblems, all of the ceremonies picture the Lord Jesus—and show Him in His offices Prophet, Priest, and King.

Added to all the fulfilled prophecies, you stand back, look at the full picture, and ask, “How can this happen apart from divine inspiration?”

  • You can trust the Word of God.
  • You can trust the God of that Word.

The Old Testament says Somebody is coming.
The New Testament says Somebody has come.
The book of Revelation says Somebody is coming again.

Adrian Rogers once said:

“I’m not trying to prove to you that Jesus is the Messiah. It lies beyond proof. True faith is rooted in evidence. True faith goes beyond evidence. True faith becomes its own best evidence. If you try to figure God out, you will die and go to hell and not have God figured out. The Bible says, “Can a man, by reasoning, find out God?” Why is that? Well, nothing will hold anything beyond its own capacity. In other words, you can’t put two gallons of liquid in a one-gallon jug. Do you think you can cram God into your mind? No, your mind doesn’t have the capacity to contain God. It would be foolish to try to eliminate a God that you don’t understand. You see, in order for me to have a God that I can worship, He must be a God greater than my mentality. If I could understand God, God would be no bigger than my intellect, which is far too small a god for me to worship.

Now if we could understand God, we wouldn’t need God, but friend, I want to tell you something. We don’t have to understand Him to know Him. Someone once asked Mrs. Albert Einstein, “Do you understand The Theory of Relativity?” She said, “No, but I know Dr. Einstein.” You don’t have to understand how God runs the mighty universe to put your faith and trust in Him.

Friend, I know Him, and I’m telling you: by faith, you can know the Lord Jesus Christ.”



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