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Jesus in the Old Testament

Posted in Common Errors

Jesus made several statements about himself, referencing the fact that the Old Testament was about him. John 5:39-47 is one such passage. Here He states both that “the scriptures” (which in His day consisted solely of the Old Testament) “testify of me”, and that Moses “wrote of me”. Luke 24:25-27 records that after his resurrection, on the road to Emmaus, he began “at Moses and all the prophets” and “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”

So where, specifically, does the Old Testament speak of Jesus? We never see his name there. Or do we? Who is Jehovah (YHVH in Hebrew), whose name appears over 6800 times in the Old Testament? We’ve always been taught that He is “the Father”, but could He really be “the Son”? You will never find the phrase “God the Father” or “Jehovah the Father” in the Old Testament. (Sadly, you rarely find the name Jehovah in the Old Testament at all. Non-Biblical tradition has been carried on to this day, replacing His name with “The LORD” in all capital letters, when in fact what the original language actually says is the four Hebrew letters YHVH, or Yehovah/Jehovah in English, thousands upon thousands of times.)

Let’s compare what the Old Testament says about Yehovah, and what the New Testament says about Jesus/Yeshua.

Who was the creator? Genesis 1 tells us that it was “God”, and Genesis 3:1 clarifies that as “the LORD (YHVH) God”. John 1:3, speaking of Yeshua, says that “all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” So both YHVH and Yeshua are the creator.

Who was seen in the Old Testament? John 1:18 says that “no man hath seen God at any time” but that the Son declared him. The latter phrase that “the Son declared him” clarifies that the “God” in question in this verse is the Father. See also John 5:37 and John 6:46. Was Yehovah the Father that no man has seen? No, because men did see Yehovah: Jacob in Genesis 32:30; Moses in Exodus 33:11, and the mixed multitude in the desert after the Exodus in Deuteronomy 5:4. If no man has seen God the Father, but several men saw Yehovah, then could Yehovah have been the Father?

Who led the Exodus? Exodus 3:2 tells about Moses’ encounter with “an angel of Yehovah” in Exodus 3:2, who is identified as Yehovah in verse 4. Stephen tells the Jews in Acts 7:38, speaking of Yeshua, that “this is he...which spoke to him (Moses) in the mount Sinai”, that appeared to Moses in the bush (vs 30-31), and that showed “wonders and signs” in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness (vs 36). So who led the people in the wilderness after the Exodus? The Old Testament tells us it was Yehovah, and the New Testament tells us in this passage that it was Yeshua.

Who is the first and the last, or the alpha and omega? YHVH in Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12, Yeshua in Revelation 1:17-18 and 22:13.

Who is the Saviour? Yehovah in Isaiah 43:11, Yeshua in Luke 2:11.

Who is the Rock? Yehovah in Deuteronomy 32:3-4, Yeshua in 1 Corinthians 10:4.

Who is the judge? We’re told it is Yehovah in Exodus 12:12 and in Deuteronomy 32:36, yet Yeshua says in John 5:22 that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” Again, that is a statement that precludes Yehovah from being the Father.

Who is “I AM”? Yehovah in Exodus 3:14, Yeshua in John 8:58. This is particularly of interest, as shown in the following quote from page 34 of the book Shocked by the Bible, by Joe Kovacs: The Jews knew exactly what Jesus meant. He had a relationship with Abraham and publicly identified Himself as the “I AM” of the Old Testament, the same one who spoke to Moses. Thus, they sought to stone Him for calling Himself God, the God of the Old Testament. It’s strange how the Jews who hated Jesus during His earthly ministry were able to understand this truth, and yet so many Christians today who say they “love the Lord” have no idea Jesus clearly identified Himself as the God of the Old Testament.

Is there a Father? Most certainly. We see references to Him throughout Scripture. Mortal man trying to understand the awesome complexities of God is like trying to catch the wind, so I’m not claiming I understand him fully. But I plainly read that “he art in heaven” and that no man has seen him. We have only heard his voice from Heaven, and seen his Son, YHVH/Yeshua, from Genesis all the way to Revelation.

What this means is that, when reading the Old Testament, every time you see “the LORD” or any other reference to the Creator/Judge/Rock/Saviour/First and Last, just substitute the name “Jesus” (or better yet, “Yeshua”). When doing so, it should not change the meaning of the text at all. If, in your mind, it does, you need to rethink your religious practice.

When the magnitude of this teaching has had a chance to sink in, then ask yourself this: If this teaching, which is clearly written all throughout the Scriptures, has been hidden from your eyes until now, what other truths might the word plainly state that you have not yet seen? May we always approach our study of the word with fresh eyes, not looking for it to confirm what we already believe, but with a heart to believe what it actually says.