The Old Testament Jesus

Last week we continued our study on Jesus of the Old Testament as we looked at some of the appearances He made on earth but at each time He was called the angel of the Lord. We saw that this is one of the terms routinely used in the Old Testament to refer to Him. And I mentioned last week there are other terms used and we will take a look at another one of them this evening.

On a number of occasions Jesus was referred to as man. The first one we will consider is found in a well-known story in Genesis 18. Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day when he saw three men standing opposite him. The Bible says that when he saw them he ran from the door of his tent to meet them and bowed himself to the earth. This is the first indication that these were no ordinary men. But let’s continue with the story. Verse 3 records what Abraham said. “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please no not pass Your servant by.” he implored. He went on to offer them water to wash their feet and then bread to eat. They agreed and told him to do as he had said.

Now it is obvious that Abraham recognized one of them as Jesus by calling Him Lord and the fact that he called himself His servant indicates this was no mere man. Abraham had Sarah prepare the bread, had meat prepared by a servant, retrieved curds and milk and then gave to them to eat. As Abraham stood by while they were eating, they asked him a very directed question. Verse 9 says, “Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said “There, in the tent.”

There are a couple of things to note here. First of all, how did they know he had a wife and how did they know her name? It seems to me they knew everything about Abraham and they were there on a mission. Secondly, we find in the next few verses what the mission was. As Sarah was listening from the tent door she heard one of them speak and verse 10 records what He said. “He said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” The mission was revealed. Jesus had come to announce that the promise God gave Abraham that his descendents would be like the sands of the sea was about to begin! In other words, the Lord blessed him.

But Sarah’s reaction was one of unbelief and sarcasm as we see in verse 12. But take particular note of version 13. “And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, “Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?”  Notice that the man is called Lord which we know refers to Jesus. And verse 14 reinforces that when it says, “Is there anything too difficult for the Lord” At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” So we see here that the man in this context is the Lord Jesus himself.

When we fast forward to Genesis 32 we find another story where Jesus shows up in the form of a man and blesses Jacob. Verse 24 tells us, “Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” The Bible goes on to say that the man had not prevailed so he touched Jacob’s thigh and immediately his thigh socket was dislocated. But Jacob would not let go and demanded the man bless him before he would let him go. The man then asked Jacob his name and he said “Jacob” and here is where our story ends up. In verse 28 the man responds, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” And the covenant that God had made with Abraham was passed all the way down to Jacob and the nation of Israel was born. Jacob realized he had met God face to face!

There is another occasion where Jesus appears as a man and that is when He raised up Samson for Israel. The story can be found in Judges 13 but we won’t go into detail. You can read the story for yourself and see that it is once again the presence of Jesus in the Old Testament.

We have now seen the appearance of jesus in the Old Testament on numerous occasions and in different types and forms. The first as King of Salem, Melchizedek, then in a number of instances where He is call the angel of the Lord, and as we have seen this evening, occasions where he is called a man. The fact is Jesus is seen everywhere in the Old Testament if we take the time to look for Him. He was, and is, and forever will be God just as our theme verse for this series describes.

Next week we will end the series with instances where He is just referred to as an angel. There are other terms used that we will mention so that you can look for them in the Old Testament on your own.

 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”  John 1:1-2

The Old Testament Jesus

Last week began our study on the physical and personal appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament and we saw that the first of these occurred in the person of Melchizedek who was known as the King of Salem. We won’t take the time in this post to repeat everything  we covered last week but I think it would be worth our time to be reminded that there were a number of phrases that were used to describe Melchizadec, thus reinforcing the idea that these references were really about Jesus. And as we look further into the Old Testament we find other words and phrases used to describe someone who can only be Jesus. Keep in mind that these appearances were not as God Incarnate. This didn’t occur until Jesus came in the form of a human baby as seen in the New Testament and was continuously present on earth for a period of about 33 years. However, these appearances were certainly physical and they were personal appearances of our Lord.

Tonight we will take a look at a few of these occurrences also found in the book of Genesis and discover some of the other phrases that makes reference to Jesus Himself. The first one is centered in the story in Genesis 16 of Sarai’s scheme to have a child through her maid Hagar. After Hagar conceived and was with Abram’s child things were not the same for either Hagar or Sarai. Sarai mistreated Hagar to the point that Hagar fled from the very presence of Sarai. And this is where we see Jesus come on the scene. Verses 7-8  continues the story with these words; “Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” This admission by Hagar brings about an unexpected response in verses 9-10. “Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.” Moreover, the angel of the Lord said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.”” 

What we need to see here is that the phrase the angel of the Lord is another name for Jesus and where we find it in the Old Testament it is a reference to Him. We find that phrase used in Numbers 22 where the angel of the Lord warns Balaam. In Judges 2 the angel of the Lord rebukes Joshua and Israel and in Judges 6 the angel of the Lord fights for Gideon and Israel. There are a number of other times in the Old Testament that this phrase is used to refer to Jesus and His involvement in man’s affairs. But this is not the only one. Next week we will look at some other terms and phrases that are used for the same purpose.

I hope we all are beginning to have a better understanding that the entirety of God’s Word involves Jesus and He appeared many times before the New Testament writings. But that stands to reason. He was and is and shall ever be God!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”  John 1:1-2 

The Old Testament Jesus

We are all familiar with the story of the birth of Jesus that we find in the New testament of God’s Holy Word. We know Him as the Son of God, God Incarnate, Savior of the world and Lord of our lives. But there are millions of others who have also heard of the birth of Jesus but do not have a personal relationship with Him or even understand what that means. There are also many church members that certainly believe the story of His birth and even believe He is who He said He is. But the fact is they seem to think that Jesus came to this earth at his physical birth for the very first time. In other words, the only time He was here was during His life on earth from His birth to His ascension. They never reach a point of understanding that He was here many times before He was born to Mary in that stable in Bethlehem. Maybe even some of us don’t realize how many times the Old Testament records His visitation to this world in times past.

Over the next few weeks we are going to take a look at several of those times He made a physical appearance in this world. We will not be able to cover them all but there will be enough to help us realize that Jesus has been interested and involved in the lives of people from the very beginning. The first few verses of the book of John make it very clear that Jesus was from the beginning and still is and forever will be God. And His hands have been in every detail of human life from the day Adam was created and He has appeared on earth on many occasions. This evening we will take a look at what most theologians consider the very first of such appearances.

We find in Genesis 13 the story of how Abram leaves the land of Egypt with his wife and all of his possessions and Lot goes with him. Abram eventually settles in the land of Canaan but Lot decides to settle near the wicked city of Sodom. In that chapter we also find that God makes a binding promise to Abram concerning the land he would occupy and how his descendents would multiply. We know this as the Abrahamic Covenant. But immediately after that in Genesis 14 the story continues with the invasion of Sodom and Gomorrah by four powerful kings which results in Lot and all of his possessions being taken away by those kings. When Abram gets word of this he puts together a small army and goes after them. He successfully defeats the kings and not only brings lot back with all of his belongings, he brings back the women and the rest of the people who had been taken. And here is where we see the appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament.

The Bible says that the King of Sodom went out to meet Abram upon his return and that the King of Salem brought out bread and wine. The name of this king was Melchizedek and God’s Word states that he was a priest of God Most High. And he blessed Abram. This was a physical and personal activity on the part of Jesus. Hebrew 5:6 states that God Himself declares Jesus as a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedec. And then in Chapter 7 that the name Melchizedec translates as king of righteousness and that King of Salem meant king of peace. It goes on to say that “he was 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.” This can only be a description of Jesus. Isaiah the prophet and Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and to the church at Rome offer additional support of this.

Isaiah 9:6 refers to Jesus as the Prince of Peace. In Ephesians 2: 14 Paul says “He Himself is our peace” and in Romans 10: 4 he states “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus. He is the theme and subject throughout all of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation. And the Old Testament reveals Him for who He is on many other occasions as we will see in the coming weeks.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”  John 1:1-2  

Pastors; God’s Men

In 1992 a group of pastors and religious leaders established what they called Clergy Appreciation Day. The intent was to honor and show appreciation to pastors all over the world for the role they play in their churches. This later became what is known today as Pastor Appreciation Day which is celebrated on the second Sunday in October of each year. Many now consider the month of October as Pastor Appreciation Month. Although this special day and month has been established by men, the idea of showing some kind of tangible appreciation to a pastor by their local congregation has some support from scripture. With this in mind let’s consider what is meant by the word pastor and what God has to say about them.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term pastor as “a spiritual overseer; a clergyman serving a local church or parish”. And from the original biblical languages the literal meaning is “a helper, or feeder of the sheep” which is the more correct definition from a theological perspective. The word carries with it the thought that it is one who loves and cares for, in all ways, those whom he has been given charge over. And to be sure, God is the One who has given the pastor charge over the flock. In other words, the pastor is called, not self-appointed. In addition, the Bible leaves no room for the position to be held by a woman.  Therefore, to summarize, a pastor is a man who has been called by God to serve in that capacity. If these two qualifications are not met, then the person who calls themselves a pastor is serving in the flesh and is not being led by the Spirit.

As we look at the scriptures we see way back in the Old Testament days, the prophet Jeremiah records these words from God himself concerning His chosen people. “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding”, Jeremiah 3:15. In his letter to the Romans Paul writes “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”, Romans 10:14. And in Ephesians 4:11, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,”. We can certainly see from these verses that God who chooses the pastor and gives the flock to shepherd.

God has also given instructions to those of us who are counted among the sheep as to how we are to consider our pastor. In his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul writes “We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.”, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. In the book of Hebrews we see more exhortation concerning our attitude towards pastors. “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.”, Hebrews 13:7 and again in Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

There are many other verses that can be considered to understand the many aspects of being a pastor and how we are to act towards them. And in all of these we have cited, and those we have not, we will find that God uses pastors to take care of His sheep. And if we are not part of a local flock (church) with a qualified and dedicated pastor we are not being fed and cared for like God has intended.

The fact that my dad was a God called preacher and pastor has given me an insight to the difficulties that come with the task that others may not understand. I witnessed the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the trying times and the times of celebration that he and our family went through. I developed such a great respect for him because of how he carried out the responsibilities that God gave him because he always did it all with joy and not grief as we saw in the scripture above. And in the midst of it all, he always stood on God’s Word and never compromised what was right. And today, I have great respect for those pastor’s that truly love and care for their flock while still having the courage to proclaim the truths of God’s Word in a day that it may not be well received even by some of their own flock. I have been fortunate to have had those type of men of God as my pastor and I can certainly say that I have that kind of pastor today!

So, my hat is off to every pastor who stands on God’s Word and feeds and leads as God has intended him to do. No doubt some of you whom I greatly respect in that capacity are likely reading this post. And for those of you who are not pastors, the best thing we can do for them is pray for them on a daily basis. They have an awesome responsibility and I know Satan does everything he can to try to destroy the work they do. But I stand with and beside them! Do you?