There is a prophecy in the Old Testament (the Torah, in fact) which names Jesus BY NAME, along with crucifixion imagery. Learn about it here.
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Speaking of Himself, Jesus said:
And in Luke 24:27, we read:
The "Scriptures" to which these verses from Luke and John refer are those writings commonly labeled as the "Old Testament" in Christian Bibles (the "New Testament" had not yet been written).
Thus, we have the claim by Yeshua ("Jesus") that "the ["Old Testament"] Scriptures... ...witness about [Him]". There are a lot of people who believe this claim, and there are several passages of the "Old Testament" that these people have traditionally cited as evidence to support the claim. These examples include the "suffering servant" of Isaiah 53; the piercing of the hands and feet in Psalm 22:16; and the virgin / maiden birth of "Immanuel" (Hebrew for "God with us") in Isaiah 7:14. However, all of these prophecies that historically have been regarded as relating to Yeshua ("Jesus") are quite ambiguous.
The Isaiah 7:14 verse seems to be the most specific: it says the Messiah ("Christ") will be called "Immanuel". However, even that verse does not say that the name of the Messiah ("Christ") would actually be "Immanuel"; rather, it says He would be called "Immanuel", meaning "God with us". Obviously, the name of Yeshua ("Jesus") is not actually "Immanuel" (although those of us who follow Yeshua ("Jesus") do indeed consider Him to be "God with us").
Besides these rather ambiguous prophecies about the Messiah, there are other prophecies in the "Old Testament" concerning the Christ / Messiah which have not (yet) been fulfilled by Yeshua. These prophecies as a group appear to lead to the major point of disagreement between "Christians" (who regard all of the Christian Bible as Scriptural) and "Jews" (who only accept the "Old Testament" as Scripture).
If Jesus ("Yeshua") had been named explicitly in the Scriptures of the "Old Testament" as the Christ / Messiah (especially if He was so named in the five books of Moses, called the "Torah"), then it seems there would be little reason for this disagreement.
Why doesn't the "Old Testament" just "witness" explicitly about Yeshua ("Jesus")? Why do we need that part of the Scriptures "interpreted" to us? To be very specific...
Why doesn't the "Old Testament" just tell us, explicitly, that "Jesus" is the name of the Christ?
WHAT IF IT DOES?
Before addressing that question, we will need to determine how "Jesus" is identified in the "New Testament".
"Jesus" In The New Testament
There are two things to address in this section:
"Jesus" And The Cross
I have long been intrigued by what the Apostle Paul supposedly wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:2, according to such English Bibles as the King James Version.
Many people have suggested that this verse tells us that the only really important thing to know about Jesus ("Yeshua") is His crucifixion (presumably including some details directly related to His crucifixion).
Actually, there is a problem with how the verse is presented in the King James Version (and almost every other English version). In the King James Version, the title "Christ" is treated almost like the last name (surname) of Jesus: that is, "Jesus Christ" is treated as if it were the full name of Jesus. However, "Christ" is a title for Jesus, and not a name.
With this in view, the verse can be better understood by the simple addition of a colon.
Paul is saying that he wanted to talk only about Jesus: both He who is the "Christ" ("anointed") of God, and He who was "crucified" by humanity.
For completeness, I include here what I believe to be the best translation of this verse.
With this version, there is no longer the idea that Yeshua's crucifixion is so much more important than every other aspect of His life.
Nevertheless, the previous English versions have been around for hundreds of years, and have had their influence on people's thinking. As I mentioned before, many, many people have believed that the crucifixion of Yeshua ("Jesus") is very much more important than any other aspect of His life. Largely as a result of thinking like this, representations of Yeshua hanging on the cross ("crucifixes"), as well as the shape of the cross itself, have become the most "iconic" symbols of Christianity.
In fact, crosses or crucifixes are often carried at the front of processions by the "standard-bearer(s)" for the procession. There is even a commonly sung hymn, "Onward, Christian Soldiers" (written by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1865; music by Arthur Sullivan, 1871), which has as its refrain:
"Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before."
Inarguably, the imagery of a man hanging on a cross is the symbol most associated with "Jesus", and Christianity.
"Yeshua", the "True" (Hebrew) Name Of Jesus
The name that most English-speaking Christians use for the Christ is "Jesus". However, that is an English name, transliterated from a Greek name; whereas the Christ was born a Hebrew, and into a Hebrew-speaking culture. When His name was given to Him, not only by men, but by angels (Matthew 1:21,25; Luke 1:31, 2:21), that name was the Hebrew name "Yeshua". The name "Yeshua" is a shortened form of the name "Yehoshua" (much like the name "Steve" is a shortened form of the name "Steven").
(The Strong's number for the Greek name for "Jesus" is G2424; and the Strong's number for the Hebrew name for "Jesus" is H3091.
"G2424 - Iēsous - Strong's Greek Lexicon (KJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 6 Nov, 2016. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2424&t=KJV (this will open in a new window)
"H3091 - Yĕhowshuwa` - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (KJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 6 Nov, 2016. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/Lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3091&t=KJV (this will open in a new window))
The name "Yeshua" / "Yehoshua" is actually rendered three different ways in the King James Version of the Bible: "Jesus", "Joshua", and "Jeshua". In the "New Testament", the "Joshua" who led the Hebrew people after the death of Moses is rendered as "Jesus" in Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8 (see also Joshua 1:12-15). In the "Old Testament", that same "Joshua" is rendered as "Jeshua" (the spelling of "Yeshua" at the time of the writing of the King James Version) in Nehemiah 8:17.
Thus, we see that "Jesus", "Jeshua", and "Joshua" are all basically different ways to spell the same name. This is important in finding any explicit mention of "Jesus" in the "Old Testament".
Specifically, if "Jesus" is explicitly named in the "Old Testament", we should expect that His name will be given as "Yeshua" or "Yehoshua" (His actual, Hebrew name), rather than as "Jesus" (which is the English transliteration of the ancient Greek transliteration of His name).
Finding "Jesus" in the Torah of the "Old Testament"
The following passage of Scripture is from that part of the "Old Testament" known as the "Torah" (the five books written by Moses).
(Note: use of "standard" instead of "throne" in verse 16 is based on the argument of Gesenius, which can be found at
"H3676 - kec - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (KJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 6 Nov, 2016. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3676&t=KJV (this will open in a new window)
Besides this, we know from Scripture that Heaven is Yehovah's (God's) throne (Matthew 5:34 and 23:22; Isaiah 66:1; and Acts 7:49). Moshe (Moses) was not in Heaven, nor could he put his hand on what was in Heaven; so it doesn't seem reasonable to say that Moshe could put his "open hand on the throne of Yah (God)", either.)
The first portion of this chapter, Exodus 17:1-7 (especially verse 6), has long been regarded by many Christians as a narrative involving an epiphany of the Christ / Messiah. However, it is the remainder of the chapter in which the Christ / Messiah is referred to by name, explicitly, and is linked to the imagery of the cross.
Beginning with verse 9, Yehoshua (Joshua, son of Nun, the man that will lead the Hebrews after the death of Moses) is ordered into battle against the Amalekites. Moshe (Moses), along with two other men, will be up above the battle on the top of a hill.
In verse 11, we see that when Moshe holds up high "the branch of Elohim (God)" in his open hand, God's people have the victory over the enemy; but when Moshe's hands lower, the enemy begins to have the victory over God's people. Why did Moshe's hands lower?
In verse 12, the Scripture says that Moshe's open hands became "heavy". This means that the muscles in Moshe's arms became fatigued from his holding up of his hands. In response, Aharon and Hur (the two assistants that were on the hilltop with Moshe) take action to help Moshe continue holding his hands up.
First, the two assistants bring a stone to Moshe, for him to have a place to sit. As Moshe sits on this stone, his legs would be bent, and his feet would be closer to his torso than when he was standing.
Second, the two assistants support Moshe's open hands, "this one and that one". Let us consider how they would have done this. If the two assistants had sat down on the stone with Moshe, then they would have had to hold their own hands and arms up in order to hold up Moshe's hands. Certainly, their arms would also have become "heavy" / fatigued. So reason tells us that the two assistants stood next to Moshe, one on each side; and as their arms were hanging down, the assistants each grasped a wrist of Moshe, "this one and that one", and held Moshe's hands and arms up.
Third, Moshe holds up "the branch of Elohim (God)" with his "open hands". Some artists have illustrated this event with Moshe gripping the branch in one of his hands, and holding it vertically over his head. However, if Moshe had held the branch this way, the hand holding the branch would surely have become very "heavy" and fatigued. So again thinking reasonably, it would appear that Moshe's assistants held Moshe's hands with Moshe's palms up. The branch would then be held up horizontally by Moshe simply by its laying across both of Moshe's palms.
This posture for Moshe's body is a very natural consequence of this situation.
Notice how close the resemblance is between Moshe's posture and the posture taken by Yeshua ("Jesus") on the cross.
Clearly, the two postures are essentially the same. Returning to the Scripture passage, we will see the significance of this resemblance.
In verse 13, Amalek and his people are defeated in this particular battle.
In verse 14,
Concerning point 1, this command for a written reminder is the first record in the Bible of God commanding the writing of anything. In this sense, this record is actually the beginning of the Bible.
Concerning point 2, we must deal with the confusion of the Messianic "Yehoshua" with the Yehoshua who was the assistant of Moses. In the second narrative in this chapter of Exodus, in verses 9, 10, 13 and 14, we obviously find "Yehoshua" mentioned. Traditionally, all of these mentions of "Yehoshua" have been regarded as referring to the assistant of Moses, known by most English speakers as "Joshua, son of Nun" (e.g. Numbers 13:16). For verses 9, 10 and 13, this is clearly correct.
However, it is not reasonable for the "Yehoshua" in verse 14 to be "Joshua, son of Nun". The erasure of the remembrance of Amalek has obviously not yet occurred, even though "Joshua, son of Nun" has been dead a long, long time (Joshua 24:29; Judges 2:8). In fact, the descendants of Amalek were still alive after the death of "Joshua, son of Nun" (until at least as late as King Saul, according to I Samuel, chapter 15). Besides this, it seems unlikely that the "Joshua" / Yehoshua who leads the Hebrews in this battle would need Moshe to tell him about the battle, as that "Joshua" was obviously there.
Concerning point 3, although there was an individual named "Amalek", who had a "people" associated with him, it is also widely accepted that "Amalek" has a metaphorical meaning (for example, see
(this will open in a new window)).
As a metaphor, "Amalek" will not be "erased from under Heaven" until all wickedness is ended. From this point of view, we see that this passage is "Messianic": that is, the passage has a prophetic meaning related to the Messiah / Christ.
Taking all three points of verse 14 together, we have a Messianic prophecy (point 3), addressed explicitly to "Yehoshua" ("Yeshua", "Jesus", point 2), as the first thing commanded by Yehovah (God) to be written down (Scripture) (point 1).
In verse 15, something is honored by Moshe with an altar. That something is called "Yehovah Nissi [Heb., "Yehovah, my standard"]". The definition of "standard" that is most relevant to this context is something that is lifted up, especially in a battle, to set apart one group in the battle from the other groups involved. The something that was lifted up was "the branch of Elohim (God)" in the open hands of Moshe.
Finally, in verse 16, Moshe declares the fight with Amalek going "to" (in favor of) Yehovah "throughout the ages". I have translated Strong's H3676, כֵּס , as "standard" rather than "throne", as I am in agreement with the argument of Gesenius in this matter (I included above, just beneath the quote of Exodus chapter 17, a link to Strong's H3676 on the Blue Letter Bible website).
(Note: The use of the imagery of a "Branch" to represent the Messiah / Christ can be seen in Isaiah 4:2; Jeremiah 23:5 and 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; and Zechariah 6:12.
In chapter 11 of Isaiah, the messianic "Branch" imagery also appears, in verse 1, and the messianic "standard" imagery also appears, in verse 10. In the King James Version of Isaiah 11:10, the word "ensign" is used instead of "standard" (which is a synonym for "ensign"; this same word, Strong's H5251,נֵס nêç , is actually translated as "standard" in the KJV in Isaiah 49:22 and Isaiah 62:10; and Jeremiah 4:6,21; Jeremiah 50:2; and Jeremiah 51:12,27)).
Bringing It Together
We start chapter 17 of Exodus with an epiphany of the Messiah / Christ in verses 1 to 7, which immediately gives a messianic context to this chapter. This context is deepened by the remainder of the chapter involving a battle between God's people and the wicked people of Amalek, the battle of "the ages" (verse 16).
Within this context, we have three men on top of a hill (verses 9 and 10), with the man in the middle in a "Christ-on-the-cross" posture, complete with a wooden branch stretching between his two open hands like the crossmember of a crucifix (verse 11 and 12). So long as this "standard" (verses 15 and 16) is lifted up, the battle goes in favor of God's people. Moshe declares the name of the "standard" to be "Yehovah nissi": "Yehovah, my standard".
The very first command to write Scripture is given for writing all this down; and it is to be told to Yehoshua / Yeshua / "Jesus", who is referred to explicitly / by name.
Thus, the apparent first commanded passage of Scripture (Exodus 17:8-16), foreshadowed that Yeshua / "Jesus" would be lifted up and crucified on a hill, between two other men. Lifted up, Yeshua / "Jesus" would be "Yehovah nissi" ("Yehovah, my standard"); and as that standard, the battle of "the ages" would ultimately be won by Yehovah (God), and by Yehovah's (God's) people, making this a messianic prophecy. Thus, Yeshua / "Jesus" must be the name of the Messiah / Christ, as He is the "standard" by which this messianic prophecy is to be fulfilled.
Therefore, we see Jesus--referred to by name, portrayed as the Messiah / Christ, and linked to the cross--in Exodus, a book of the Torah of the "Old Testament".
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