Jesus Christ appearing to mankind in the Old Testament

We only think of Jesus Christ coming to us as God incarnate in the first advent of the Christmas Story. However in studying the scriptures we find that in the Old Testament Jesus Christ himself appeared to man in several instances.  Here are a few good studies I've found to support my statements.

Crosswalk by Jennifer Slattery

1. The "Angel" who appeared to an Egyptian slave named Hagar.

Originally from Egypt, Hagar lived first as a slave, then, when her mistress remained infertile and needed a surrogate, as Abraham’s second wife and finally as the mother of his firstborn son. (Genesis 16)
She succeeded where her mistress failed and soon grew contemptuous. Before long, things escalated and Hagar fled into the wilderness. 
Hagar was pregnant, hopeless, and alone. Jesus met her there, told her to return home, and promised her a hope-filled future. From then on, she referred to Him as El Roi, the God who sees, saying, “You are the God who sees me… Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” (Genesis 16:14). In other words, “Here, now, in my destitute state, have I truly encountered God?”

2. As one of three strangers who visited Abraham

In Genesis 18:1, we’re told, “The Lord,” Yahweh in Hebrew, appeared to Abraham near “the oak grove belonging to Mamre” (NLT). Abraham, still childless, was 100 years old. His wife, still barren, was 99. Both were well past child bearing age. But one day, three strangers approached, Jesus among them, and promised, a year from that day, Abraham and Sarah would finally have a son.
Sarah found this news so impossible, she laughed. But a year later she became pregnant with the “child of promise.” 

3. The Angel who stayed Abraham's hand as he was about to sacrifice his son.

After decades of longing, God’s promise finally came true. Sarah and Abraham’s beloved child was born. Only to be taken from them in the most heinous, unthinkable way—as a sacrifice at the hands of his own father (Genesis 22:1-19).
Or so it seemed. 
But believing God could raise his son from the dead, Abraham obeyed God’s command and set out with his servant and son to offer the most painful sacrifice imaginable.
En route, not seeing the animal they needed, his boy asked, “Where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 
Abraham answered, “God will provide, my son.” 
He did. Moments before Abraham was to slay Isaac, “the Angel of the Lord” stopped him, saying, “Now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from Me even your son, your only son.”   
Then, looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught in a thicket—the sacrifice he offered in Isaac’s place.
Abraham named the location Yahweh-Yireh, which means “the Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14).

4. The Man Jacob wrestled with before encountering his estranged brother.

Jacob, father to 12 sons from which the 12 tribes of Israel emerged, deceived his brother out of his birthright and blessing then fled in fear of his life. Twenty years later, returning with his wives and children, he learned his brother was coming toward him with 400 armed men. (Genesis 32:6).
Terrified, he cried out to God for help then spent the night wrestling with an unnamed Man. He refused to let go until this man, later noted to be God Himself (Genesis 32:30; Hosea 12:4), blessed him. 
Up against Esau and his army, Jacob was desperate and outmuscled. God was his only hope, and God came through. The next day, when Jacob met his brother face to face, he received not retaliation but forgiveness and blessing. 

5. The Voice that spoke to Moses within the burning bush.

Moses, an Egyptian prince turned Hebrew shepherd, had settled into a quiet, peaceful life as a husband and shepherd. But one day, he noticed a bush engulfed in flames that failed to consume it. According to Exodus 3:2, the Angel of the Lord, later self-revealed as the Great I Am and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to him from within that bush.
As Moses stepped closer to investigate the strange sight, Jesus called out to him by name and revealed core truths about Himself. “I Am Who I Am,” He said. (Exodus 3:14).  In other words, “I’m present and eternal. The self-existing One from Whom everything else arises.” 
When God commissioned Moses to be His people’s liberator, he felt overwhelmed by the task laid before him, but in three simple words, Jesus assured him his success wasn’t dependent on his strength or oratory skills. The Great I Am was sending him, would go with him, and would stand beside him.With that kind of power, Moses couldn’t fail. If we belong to Jesus, we have that same assurance of God’s presence. He is and will ever be the Great I Am, all-sufficient, eternal, faithful, and omnipotent One. 
Through Moses, God freed His people from centuries of slavery and led them, with a pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day, toward the Promised Land. (Exodus 13:21) This redemption and inheritance carried a dual meaning. Yes, God rescued them from physical bondage. But His desires for them, and for us, are much farther reaching. In Israel’s Exodus, we catch a glimpse of God’s redemptive plan in Jesus, the One who died to free us from our slavery to sin. 
This connection is made clear in 1 Corinthians 10. Verses one through four point back to that ancient story, where God rescued His people then guided them, with a cloud by day and a pillar fire by night, toward a land long promised. This passage reveals our unshakable foundation in Christ. “All of them,” he said, “ate the same spiritual food” and “drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.” 

7. To Gideon before commanding him to defeat the Midians.

After rescuing His people from slavery, God gave them a promise and a warning. If they loved and obeyed Him, all would go well, but rebellion would lead to consequences. (Deuteronomy 11:8-32) Unfortunately, due to partial obedience that led to rebellion, the people forfeited their protection. Unguarded and defenseless, they eventually fell prey to the Midianites who brought them to the brink of starvation. (Judges 6)
Desperate, they cried out to God for help, and He responded by commissioning a frightened, seemingly insignificant man named Gideon to lead the nation into battle. 
At first, Gideon had no idea He was talking to Christ. But when flames spontaneously erupted and devoured his offering, he realized he’d encountered God. Terrified He exclaimed, “I’m doomed!” He thought for sure he’d die, but God responded, as He does to us when we’re consumed with fear, “Do not be afraid.”

8. As the Angel who told Samson's mother she'd have a child.

After six cycles of rebellion, oppression, followed by divine liberation, a powerful nation once again besieged God’s people. But as usual, God had a plan. One day, the Angel of the Lord, later revealed as God (Judges 13:22) appeared to a barren Israelite woman. “You will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son,” He said. “He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” 
Shaken, the husband and wife asked God for more instructions regarding how to raise this special child. In answer to their prayer, God appeared twice more, during the last of which he told Samson’s father to prepare an offering. When they complied, Jesus revealed His glory by ascending to heaven in the fire. Upon seeing this, the husband and wife fell with their faces to the ground. “We will certainly die,” the man said, “for we have seen God.” 

9. The Majestic Being the prophet Isaiah saw sitting on a heavenly throne.

When God commissioned Isaiah to speak for Him, He did so through a vision. (Isaiah 6:1-10) In it, the ancient Hebrew saw Christ, sitting on a lofty throne and surrounded by worshipping angels. Scripture tells us the temple shook and was filled with smoke. 

Standing before a holy God, referred to here as the Lord of Heaven’s Armies Isaiah became acutely aware of his sin. He felt certain he was doomed, but one of the angels touches his lips with a burning coal and declared him guilt free. Once cleansed of his sin, God sent him to share truth with His people—a message of hope, life, and salvation. 

In John 12:41, we learn this powerful Being was Christ Himself speaking of the day He’d take on flesh, come to earth, and die for our sins. Jesus’ message hasn’t changed, and He’s still looking for servants, like you and I, to point others to His mercy. 

10. Possibly the man standing in the fire with Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego.

Commentators aren’t certain, but some believe Jesus showed up in a burning furnace to stand beside three men sentenced to die (Daniel 6). You may be familiar with this story. Around 600 BC, Babylon conquered Judah and took a group of Jews hostage. Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego were among them and quickly rose to positions of authority—in a pagan nation while staying loyal to God.
Their faithfulness caused problems, however, when the king erected a golden statue and demanded everyone bow down and worship it. When Shadrach and his friends refused, King Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a fiery furnace, certain the flames would kill them. When he looked up, however, he saw a fourth man who looked “like a God” (Daniel 3:25) standing among them.  Immediately, the king summoned the men, and the original three stepped out, unharmed. 

The following study was written by Rick at Calvary Baptist Windsor.

Please note I have taken the liberty to amend all Pagan belief references to Jesus Christ as “God the Son” which is found nowhere in scripture. Whereas all scripture references to “Jesus Christ as the visible image of the Godhead” have been left intact. Please read my study on The Godhead vs The Trinity.  Sadly Baptists believe and teach the Vatican concept of the Trinity which is Pagan polytheism.

Jesus is Present in the Old Testament
April 30, 2009 by Rick
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 of the Godhead – VISIBLE IMAGE OF GOD (JESUS CHRIST). 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 the image of the invisible Godhead, 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 manifested in the image of the invisible Godhead JESUS CHRIST 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 th 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 IMAGE OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON JESUS CHRIST. 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 Jesus do for Abraham that he also does for us?

6. What is Jesus’ relationship to the angels?

7. What did Jesus do before he took on Human flesh at Bethlehem?

Calvary Baptist Church in Windsor, ON


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