As we round out our survey of the Old Testament in regards to how Jesus Christ was patterned (the Torah); anticipated (historical books); and personified (the poetic books); we now arrive at the final seventeen books of the Bible - the prophets. It is extraordinary the amount of prophetic predictions we find in the prophets (over 100 prophecies of Christ's first coming and over 200 regarding His second coming - not to mention prophecies related to His Messianic Kingdom and the end of the age). As I briefly summarize the prophetic books, I'll mention at least one prophecy about Jesus (what are termed "Messianic prophecies") from each.
Isaiah = Jesus our holiness.
Isaiah 6 gives us a picture of the True King in His temple, whom Jesus claimed as He Himself that Isaiah saw in John 12. Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the New Testament, with virtually all those quotations referring to the Lord Jesus. Isaiah 53, for instance, is cited roughly a dozen times, with every very quoted or alluded to by the Apostles.
Jeremiah = Jesus our weeping prophet.
Jeremiah would serve the Lord for over fifty years as a prophet called to Jerusalem to warn of pending judgment. He wept over Jerusalem, knowing of her pending doom. Despite his pleas, the inhabitants ignored him. Jeremiah 23 promised a time when God would send a true shepherd. Jesus is that weeping prophet in Matthew 23, weeping over Jerusalem in much the same manner as Jeremiah had done.
Lamentations = Jesus is in the pit with me.
This book, composed by Jeremiah upon the death of King Josiah, came to be used by the Jews to recall the razing of the temple in Jersualem by the Babylonians in 586 b.c. Lamentations records the maltreatment of Jeremiah being lowered down into a pit to die. Although he was left for dead, he was not alone. God was with him. The Lord Jesus Christ came to have our sins credited to Himself on the cross, even though He never personally sinned in thought, word, or deed (2 Corinthians 5:21). As our resurrected Lord, Jesus understands what it is like to undergo temptation, since He Himself experienced it (Hebrews 2:11-15). He will never leave us nor forsake us, just as He never foresook Jeremiah.
Ezekiel = Jesus, the glory of God.
Ezekiel 1 opens up with one of the most dramatic depictions of God's glory. We know from 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 that Jesus Christ is the visible manifestation of God's glory. When Ezekiel saw the glory of God depart from the Temple in chapters 9 and 10 of his prophecy, He witnessed one of the saddest scenes in all the Old Testament. Jesus' actions in the temple was His effort to enter as the glory of God incarnate. Sadly, the nation rejected Him. In Jesus' final address from the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24-25, we see Him as God incarnate warning of Israel's pending attack by the Romans in 70 A.D., as well as the ultimate sequence of events prior to His second coming. That same mount was whence the glory of God departed in Ezekiel's vision.
Daniel = Jesus is the Son of Man
Whenever you read Daniel 7, you will find the striking description of the pre-incarnate Son of God (called "The Son of Man") approaching His Father on His Throne ("The Ancient of Days"), with both being treated as worthy of worship, and thus one God. Jesus used this title "Son of Man" more than 80 times to refer to Himself in the four Gospels. The Apostle John's vision of Jesus in Revelation 1 reads similarly to what we find in Daniel 7.
Hosea = Jesus the beloved spouse.
Hosea 2 depicts God promising to restore an underserving people by being the spouse who pursues them to rescue them from their own destruction. Jesus did this for His people by coming to die for their sins (Acts 20:28).
Joel = Jesus the Promiser of the Holy Spirit
Joel 2:28-32 is the predicted promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised His disciples in John 14:26; 15:26; and 16:8-12 that He would send the Holy Spirit to aid them and His church to accomplish her mission, to convert sinners, and to forward the Christian movement. The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2, fulfilling Joel's prophecy, was a sign that Jesus Christ was enthroned over His church.
Amos = Jesus the Plumbline of truth
Amos contains the striking imagery of God dropping a plumbline among his people. My late father had worked for a block layer. I recall watching my father and the block layers use a plumbline to check the vertical uprightness of whatever wall they were building. The plumbline was the standard by which they followed. If they had ignored the plumline, the wall or building would had collapsed. The plumbline illustrates the truth of God, and how oftentimes apart from His grace, we fall short. This is why Christ came, since He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
Obadiah = Jesus the humbler of my pride.
In Obadiah we find a prophecy made against Edom, the nation descended from Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. The Edomites had become a proud people, warring against the Jewish people, the descendants of Jacob. As Jacob and Esau warred in their mother's womb and would oppose one another throughout their childhood in Genesis, God nonetheless had already planned to choose Jacob over Esau, and thus have Israel to be the chosen people of God (see Romans 9). The Edomites would oppose Israel in her history, incurring the judgment of God against it. Obadiah's prophecy showcases God's opposition of human pride. When Jesus came to this world, He came in humility, the total opposite of pride. He chips away at the pride of the Christian as they grow in their sanctification. Obadiah's prophecy is repeated almost verbatim by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 49, a book which we already showed to portray Jesus as our weeping prophet.
Jonah = Jesus, the Lord of salvation.
It is in Jonah 2:9 we find a most important truth "salvation is of the Lord". Jesus came to be Lord of our salvation. Some 400 times we find Jesus referred to as Lord in the New Testament. Jonah's horrowing experience inside the belly of the great fish for three days, followed by his sudden expulsion from the fish, gives a death to life pattern Jesus would use as an analogy to His pending death and resurrection from the grave (see Matthew 12:40).
Micah = Jesus our incarnate God.
Micah 5:2-3 gives us a most striking prophecy of the eternal Son of God being born in Bethlehem. This prophecy describes the Savior as having His origins from "the days of eternity", that is, without beginning. Then, in the same two verses, the Savior is also depicted as having a birth as a human being in Bethlehem. We have prophecies that hint at Messiah's Deity and others that describe Him as a man. However, Micah brings these two realities together in One prophecy about one individual. The Lord Jesus Christ would come, having fulfilled this prophecy as recorded in Matthew 2:6.
Nahum = Jesus the Lord in our storms.
Nahum 1:3-7 gives us one of the most remarkable descriptions of God as having His way in the whirlwind, and the clouds being the dust of His feet. We also find too how God is shown as the one who comforts His people. Whenever we read Mark 6, we find the Lord Jesus Christ telling a storm chuned Sea of Galilee: "peace be still". Jesus calms our storm, and is Sovereign Lord over them and in them.
Habakkuk = Jesus hears our complaints.
I call Habakkuk "The Job of the Prophets", since he seems to suffer much and cry out to God in complaint. Habakkuk 2:4 reminds us that: "the just shall live by faith", a truth Habakkuk himself would learn and praise God for by the final chapter of his prophecy. 1 John 5:14-15 promises us that Jesus hears our prayers when we ask anything according to His will.
Zephaniah = Jesus, quieter of my soul.
In Zephaniah 3:17, we read of how God: "Rejoices over us with singing, and quiets us with His love". Zephaniah wrote His prophecy to a people who were getting ready to face God's judgment from the Babylonians. The phrase "Day of the Lord" appears repeatedly. As often in the prophets, overtures of God's mercy triumphs over the trumpets of judgment. God promises restoration. Jesus truly is the only one who can satisfy and quiet our soul.
Haggai = Jesus, the treasure of my heart.
In Haggai 2:7 we are given the following prophecy: "I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts." Many see this reference pointing to when Jesus will bring about His Kingdom here on earth. As we await His return, he urges us to "seek first His Kingdom, and His righteousness". Do we treasure Christ above all things? Haggai's message is all about the people needing to get their priorties straight and returning to their calling of treasuring their God.
Zechariah = Jesus, the pierced Savior.
Zechariah 12:10 predicts how the Mesiaah will come, being looked upon as "One who was pierced". This prophecy would come to have a double fulfillment in the New Testament. The Apostle John would assign its initial fulfillment to Jesus being viewed upon the cross in John 19:37 and then a second, future fulfillment pertaining to Jesus physical return in Revelation 1:7.
Malachi = Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness.
As Malachi close the Old Testament Canon, we find the promise in Malachi 3-4 of days forthcoming that would feature John the Baptist's ministry and the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament closes with the anticipation of the coming of the Messiah as shining forth light upon a people bound in darkness. Jesus would describe Himself in John 8-9 as the "Light of the world". Because of the Lord Jesus Christ, anyone who comes by grace through faith, will come to walk in the light as He is in the light.
We have surveyed the 39 books of the Old Testament, observing how Jesus is found in every book. In our next several posts, we shall see how Jesus Christ is spoken of in the books of the New Testament.