Last week we learned that there are many types and pictures of Jesus Christ throughout the Old Testament. This week we will see that Jesus is not only pictured in the Old Testament but that he is also present within it.
Before we can understand Christ’s role in the Old Testament we must first understand the nature of God the Father.
• 1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, ______________, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
• 1 Tim 6:16, 1 John 4:12. According to these verses, who has seen, or who can see God?
The Bible teaches that God the Father is a spirit (John 4:24) and that He is the eternal, immortal, and invisible God. Due to God’s spiritual nature, we as finite human beings are incapable of seeing His face.
• Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou ______________ see my face: for there shall _____________________ see me, and live.
Now there is what appears to be a glaring contradiction between the above teaching and some Old Testament scripture. Look up Numbers 12:8 where God the Father is speaking to Aaron and Miriam about Moses.
• Num 12:8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even ___________ and not in dark speeches; and the ___________________ of the LORD shall he ______________…
If God is an invisible spirit, and if no man has or can see Him, how is it that Moses was able to behold Him? For the answer, consider these verses:
• Col 1:15 [Jesus] Who is the _________ of the ________________ God, the firstborn of every creature:
• John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten ________, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath____________ him.
Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. Jesus said to Philip he that hath seen me hath seen the Father (John 14:9). Truly God the Father is the invisible, unseeable God. He has chosen, since the beginning of time to manifest himself to mankind through the second person of the Godhead – God the Son. Even before Jesus was manifest in the flesh he had an active role in God’s dealings with man. Remember the statement for which the Jews desired to stone Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I am”.
Jesus Appears to Moses
There are certain peculiar occasions in the Old Testament where we find men and women interacting with one known as The Angel of the Lord. This particular angel allowed both Joshua and Manoah to bow down before Him. In both Rev 19:10 and 22:8,9 we see angels refusing worship. In Col 2:18 we are commanded not to worship angels. What made the Angel of the Lord different?
The word translated angel throughout the Bible simply means messenger or one who declares a message. This word is used in Rev 2,3 to describe pastors (men who declared the message of the gospel). Likewise, in referring to the Angel of the Lord, we see one who is declaring God`s message to man. Now look up John 1:18 which is speaking about Jesus.
• John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath _______________________.
Before and after his incarnation, Jesus as God the son, has had the role of declaring God the Father to man. It seems quite probable that the special messenger in the Old Testament known as the Angel of the Lord, who received worship, was none other than God the Son before his incarnation.
Now let`s look at the interaction which Moses had with the Angel of the Lord.
• Exodus 3:2. Q. Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush?
• Exodus 3:4. Q. Who spoke to Moses through the bush?
Q. What conclusion can you draw by comparing Exodus 3:2 and 3:6?
• Ex 3:14. Q. What title did God claim for Himself while speaking to Moses from the bush?
• John 8:58. Q. What did God the Son say of himself in this verse?
Moses had an encounter with God in the desert. God the Son, as the angel of the Lord spoke to Moses from the burning bush. So we see that even before his incarnation, Jesus had the role of declaring God to man. In this instance he reveals for the first time, God as the great I AM, the unchanging, eternal and self-sustaining God.
Jesus Appears to Abraham
For this portion of our study we will look at Genesis 18 and 19, where we find Abraham and Sarah interacting with the angel of the Lord.
• Gen 18:1. Q. Who appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre?
• Gen 18:2. Q. In what form did Abraham see the Lord?
In Genesis 18 we see the Lord appearing to Abraham in the form of a man. The Bible says that three men met him by his tent. Pay close attention to the conversation which Abraham had with these men. Q. According to verses 13, 17, 20, who was speaking to Abraham?
God delivered the distressing news to Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed because they had become overrun with sexual immorality. And then the Bible says in Gen 18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom….
In the following chapter we see the account of the destruction of Sodom. • According to Genesis 19:1, how many angels came into the city? _____.
Q. How many angels were there originally? _________. By comparing these verses we find that one of the angels was not a mere angel. Apparently only two of the three angels left Abraham and entered into Sodom. In Genesis 18:22 we see the identity of the third “angel”.
• Genesis 18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet _________________________.
Abraham immediately began to beg God to spare the city for the sake of his nephew Lot. What follows (Gen 23-33) is the amazing account of Abraham’s intercessory prayer. He stood boldly before God and petitioned him to spare the city if at least twenty righteous men could be found. God the Son received Abraham’s prayer and promised not to destroy the city if twenty righteous could be found. Unfortunately for Abraham and for Lot, the city had so corrupted itself that God did not find even this small amount of righteous men.
The eternal Son mediated between Abraham and God the Father. According to Hebrews 7:25 Jesus continues his ministry of intercession for us today. In Hebrews 4:16 we are encouraged to, like Abraham, come boldly before God to obtain mercy in times of need. Have you failed to bring some distress before Jesus Christ?
Jesus Appears to Joshua
You probably know the story in Joshua 6 about Jericho very well. But have you ever paid much attention to the preceding verses at the end of Joshua 5? In these few short verses we see an amazing meeting between Joshua and the captain of the Lord’s host.
• Read Joshua 5:13-15.
Q. Who did this man claim to be?
Q. What was Joshua’s reaction to the revelation that this was the Captain of the Lord’s host?
Q. Considering Joshua’s reaction, could this have been an ordinary angel? Why or Why Not?
The captain of the Lord’s host did not refuse Joshua’s worship. This indicates that he was not an angel, but God himself appearing in human form. The title which he used for himself “captain of the Lord’s host” is in reference to God’s legion of angels. This man was the head of all the heavenly army of angels. Compare this to Matthew 25:31 which describes Jesus coming for the final judgment.
• Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and _____________________________________ with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (also 2 Th 1:7,8)
There is no doubt that the miraculous victory Joshua and Israel gained over Jericho was due to Jesus and his heavenly host battling on their behalf!
Q. Lastly, what similarities do you see between Josh 5:15 and Ex 3:5?
As we study the word of God it should become increasingly clear that Jesus Christ is the central figure. Though he took on human flesh in Bethlehem, he has always existed and has always been the express image of the Father. God has chosen to reveal himself to mankind in the person of the Son. Truly no man has ever seen the Father, but the son has declared him. Remember that not only is Jesus pictured in the Old Testament but he is also present! Whenever you read the Bible, never fail to look for Jesus in its pages.
1. What are two reasons that man has never seen the Father?
2. What did Jesus tell Philip about “seeing” God?
3. How do we know that the angel of the Lord was not a mere angel?
4. In its strictest sense, what does the word angel mean?
5. What did God the son do for Abraham that he also does for us?
6. What is Jesus’ relationship to the angels?
7. What did God the Son do before he took on Human flesh at Bethlehem?