Does the Old Testament point us to Christ?

Some people think that the Old Testament does not point us to Christ.  Using what God has said in the New Testament, we can see that is a false claim – the Old Testament does indeed point us to Christ. Errors of this sort are what happen when we ignore scripture – which tells us that the Old Testament can be read in light of the mystery of Christ, in fact that the Old Testament points to Jesus…..

What follows is an incomplete list of scripture telling us the Old Testament points to Jesus Christ:

Matthew 1:22

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet

Matthew 2:4-5

4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written

Matthew 2:15

where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Matthew 2:17

Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

Matthew 2:23

and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Matthew 3:3

This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ “

Matthew 4:14

to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:

Matthew 5:17

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Matthew 8:17

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”

Matthew 11:12-14

12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. 13For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

Matthew 12:17

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

Matthew 13:35

So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

Matthew 21:4

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet

Matthew 26:56

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Matthew 27:9

Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel,

Mark 1:2

It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way”

Luke 18:31

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.

John 1:44-45

 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

John 5:39

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,

Acts 4:18-26

18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’  24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Romans 16:24-27

25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him— 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Galatians 3:16

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.

So yes, The Old Testament points us to Christ.

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20 Responses

  1. Do think that the reaction to say the OT doesn’t point to Christ may be reactionary? I guess I’m wondering if this is stated because there are plenty who ONLY see Jesus pointed to as the fulfilment, instead of as the perfect fulfillment. I’m thinking of such passages where there is some immediate fulfillment, yet a more perfect fulfillment awaits in Christ.

  2. Wb,

    I did a post on this some time ago, sorta,

    http://thechurchofjesuschrist.us/2008/07/citations-and-allusions-about-the-divine-applied-to-christ/

    Feel free to delete this comment.

  3. For me, if you remove the Old Testament as the foundation of Christ, or the view of Christ, you remove Christ.

    If you deny the fact, yes it is a fact, that Christ fulfilled the OT (although we might wrangle ‘fulfillment’) then you make the Christianity religion independent of the Jewish religion, taking away the need for Christ, the reason for Christ, and the connectivity of Christ to God.

    No OT Fulfillment, no Christ.

    • Polycarp,

      I see it that way also.

      Its clear to me that the New Testament writers knew the Old Testament texts which were prophetically pointing to Christ. Perhaps it is because Christ Himself made it clear to them (Galatians 1:12). But regardless, without building upon what God has written in the Old Testament, there IS no New Testament. Without the prophesied Saviour, there is no connection between Christianity and God.

  4. Wb,
    I’m thinking of such things as the passage in Isa.7 about “Immanuel” that found fulfillment in the days of Ahaz, but more precisely (in a fuller sense) in the Lord Jesus Christ. It would seem that many of the OT (and NT) prophecies are immediately (or shortly) fulfilled, but awaited a fuller (more perfect) fulfillment. This has sometimes been thought of as prophetic ‘mountains’ — from a distance it would appear that the mountains are only A mountain, but as one gets closer there are distinctions between the mountains (or the peaks or however you wish to conceive this). I only mention this because while there is a tendency among some to see the OT prophecies only fulfilled in the OT era, there are others who only see the fulfillment in Christ. Both of these fail to wrestle with the immediate and the not yet. The partial fulfillment and the perfect fulfillment. A NT example would be the ‘kingdom of God/heaven’ that is already present, but not yet perfectly. We pray His will be done — and it is, but not perfectly. We are seated with Christ even now, but not as fully as we shall be when He comes again. Does that make sense of my statements.

    I agree with what both of you (yourself and Polycarp) have written about the foundation and place of importance of the OT. I was simply wondering if there is something more to be said (in response to those who ONLY see Christ as the fulfillment…which in my experience has tended to be many evangelicals)….just a thought….

    • Rick,

      Yes, i think some of the OT prophecies had a fulfillment on OT times, as well as later in Christ.
      I think some people dont want to accept that truth, and that’s why they are unable to see the OT points to Christ.

  5. Rick, for me, I see Christ as fulfilling the OT not according to prophecies, but the actual OT. The OT was the method which the Apostles saw Christ. In other words, the life and ministry of Christ was on purpose, to mirror/mimic the OT. He was the Word, after all.

  6. wb,

    For me there are also promises for national Israel, that Christ will and can only fulfill at His literal and visible Second Coming, (Rom. 11:23-29 / Isa.59:20-21 / Zech. 14 / Rev. 1:7)
    Fr. R.

  7. wb,

    Some of the ‘historical criticism’, so-called, is not worth the effort. With people that don’t have a real biblical presupposition, and belief. The evangelical church spends far too much time on issues that lead to no where, and certainly don’t edify the Church and the real Body of Christ! These last 6 months or so have been crucial for my own renewed Judeo-Christian presuppositions. It must be for Christ, but the full biblical Christ. Here the historical method can be but a servant to the Text of God’s Revelation of Christ, and the continue of His incarnate Christ in His Church, 1 Tim. 3:15-16.
    Fr. R.

  8. It seems to those who actively engage in the worse of it do so missing the most vital element, faith.

    No matter what, they simply cannot explain away the Pentecostal experience(s) of the early Church.

  9. But to love God for who He is, and never just for His gifts…yes? Often the “experience” of faith takes us into deep waters, even like Job. God hold me then…! “For I know that my Redeemer liveth…(Job. 19:25)
    Fr. R.

  10. FrR

    I agree that God still has plans for the nation of Israel which have yet to be fulfilled.

  11. In my periphery, my small little world here, I have as of yet to meet any ‘denomination’ of Christian that finds the OT irrelevant. It seems the NT and what Christ means is the actual point of dissagreement amonst believers.

    • The reasons whether the OT points us to Christ is important are many. But one of the main ones is that if we can not see Christ in the OT (prophecy at the very least), then what makes us think Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ wthout Him having been prophecied about?

  12. WHAT?! This isn’t even a valid argument! You can’t say “A does……” because “B says so”

    • Actually, it is not simply “B says so”. Its more like the Old Testament is the first half of the book and the New Testament is the second half; or the Old Testament is the interoduction and the New Testament is the rest of the book showing the fulfillment of what was spoken of in the introduction. Ie., the second half of the book tells us that the first half was speaking of more than simply laying out some things about one of the characters, but was indeed laying the groundword for God sending Christ.

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