The pre-incarnate Christ of the Old Testament

DanFugett's picture

Does Jesus ever show up in the Old Testament?
An old heresy of the Church was that Jesus was just an angel before Bethlehem, or that He did no exist before His conception. Yet, the Son of God is co-eternal with the Father. At conception, the Logos put humanity onto His Deity. That is, He added a human nature to His Divine nature so that He held two natures in perfect harmony yet as one person. He was and is always God the Son, Jehovah God of the Covenant.

**** The pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament 1

In the following passages, John makes two things clear. First, that Jesus fulfilled the same role as Isaiah in the sense of preaching a Diving message that people didnt want to hear, and that they hardened their hearts toward. Second, Isaiah saw Christ Himself in all His glory, and spoke of Him. It was none other than Jesus Christ Whom Isaiah saw sitting om a throne, lofty and exalted. It was the Savior to whom the angels cried "holy, holy, holy." The Royal Savior extended forgiveness to Isaiah, and commissioned him with a message. Did Isaiah realize that? There is no reason to think Isaiah understood at this point that this was indeed Jesus Christ. However 1 Peter 1:10-12 tells us that the Spirit of Christ within the prophets revealed to them that they were speaking of a future period and a future messiah.

34 The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” 41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.
(Jn 12:34-41).

In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate,
(Is 6:1-11).

**** The pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament 2

The author of the Hebrews demonstrates the existence of the pre-incarnational Christ by references to 2 people in the Old Testament. I am placing my comments in parens ().

A.

Heb 1:5a For to which of the angels did He (God the Father) ever say, “You are My Son (God the Son), Today I (Father) have begotten You (Son)”?
See Old Testament passage Ps 2:7

When the Father says "You are my Son," God the Father is referring to God the Son.

B.

Heb 1:5b And again, “I (God the Father) will be a Father to Him And He (God the Son) shall be a Son to Me”?
See Old Testament passage 2 Sam 7:14

C.

Heb 1:6 And when He (God the Father) again brings the firstborn (God the Son) into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.”
See Old Testament passage Ps 97:7

All God's angels are told to worship the Son. The angels worship God alone so the person of the Son and the person of the Father are co-equal in terms of their being God. Otherwise God the Father would not have ordered His angels to worship the Son.

D.

Heb 1:8 But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom. 9 “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”
See Old Testament passage Ps 45:6-7; Is 61:1,

This one is so powerful, I must quote Psa 45. "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. "(Ps 45:6-7).

The throne of the eternal Son is forever because the Father and He are co-eternal. "Therefore God (referring to God the Son), Your (Jesus') God (referring to God the Father) has anointed You (God the Son) above Your (God the Son) fellows. Notice that the author of Hebews finds a clear doctrinal pronouncement of Jesus humanity (one among other fellows) and deity (God the Son anointed by God the Father). The author of Hebrews plainly teaches us about the preincarnate Christ who would become the God/man.

E.

Heb 1:10 And, “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Your hands; 11 They will perish, but You remain; And they all will become old like a garment, 12 And like a mantle You will roll them up; Like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.”
(Heb 1:5-13).

Psa 102:24 I say, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days, Your years are throughout all generations. 25 “Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 “Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. 27 “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. 28 “The children of Your servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before You.”
(Ps 102:1-28).

As a continuation of Heb 1:8, verse 10 teaches us that the Son as co-Creator with the Father (Jn 1:1) and co-eternal with the Father. Heaven and earth will pass away but the eternal Son will remain unchanged, forever the same (Matt 5:18; 24:34-39; 2 Pet 3:10-18)

F.

Heb 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies A footstool for Your feet”?
Heb 5:5-6 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”; 6 just as He says also in another passage, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Heb 6:19-7:3 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. 7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.

Psa 110
110:1 The LORD (Jehovah) says to my Lord (Adonai): “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” 2 The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
4 The LORD (Jehovah) has sworn and will not change His mind, “You (Adonai - Jesus) are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord (Adonai) is at Your (Jehovah's) right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. 6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. 7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head.

**** The pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament 3

1 Cor 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” 8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
(1 Co 10:1-11).

17:1 Then all the congregation of the sons of Israel journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me.” 5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”
(Ex 17:1-7).

**** The pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament 4

In Malachi 3:1 it is written, "Behold, I will send my messenger and he shall prepare the way before me...saith the LORD [Jehovah] of Hosts." Mark 1:3, Matthew 3:3, and Luke 3:4 all identify this messenger with John the Baptist. The One whose way he prepared was, of course, Jesus.

The Lord Jehovah referenced in Malachi is none other than Jesus Christ.

**** The pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament 5

Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and ??forms the spirit of man within him,
(Zec 12:1).
...
10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
(Zec 12:10).

See John 19:37 and Revelation 1:7
Luke 7:19-22

"I will pour out ... the Spirit of Grace and of supplication." God pours out the Holy Spirit. "They will look on Me whom they have pierced" Jesus is the One who was pierced and the New Testament associates the inhabitants of Jerusalem looking on Him Whom they pierced. This is more than just a messianic prophecy. Jesus is speaking as Jehovah through the prophet Zechariah.

**** The pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament 6

Isa 35:4-5 says
4 Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
In Lk 7:19-23 Jesus says
19 Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” 20 When the men came to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, to ask, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’ ” 21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many who were blind. 22 And He answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them. 23 “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Isaiah prophesies that God Himself will save Israel and that at that time blind eyes will be opened and deaf ears unstopped. While Lk 7 points to Jesus as the prophetic fulfillment of Isiah's prophecy Jesus was present in the prophecy itself. Isaiah says your GOD will save you and you will know He is here because of the blind and deaf being healed. When taken with Luke we understand that Jesus not only came to save but He is able to save because He is God.

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