God the Son appeared to people several times in the Old Testament. But his name wasn’t “Jesus” yet. He was usually called “the angel of the Lord.” These appearances of Christ before he came as the God-man, Jesus, are called “Christophanies.” Here are just
three of these Christophanies:
- Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18). Jesus, along with two angels, appeared to Abraham and promised him that he would have a son in his old age. This seemed so impossible that Abraham’s wife, Sarah, laughed at the idea. But nothing is too hard for God, and eventually they did have a son, Isaac.
- Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3). Jesus appeared to Moses in the desert as a bush that was on fire but not burning up—that certainly got Moses’ attention! He told Moses to go to the Pharaoh of Egypt and command him to let God’s people go.
- Joshua before the battle of Jericho (Joshua 5:13–15, 6:1–5). Jesus appeared to Joshua and gave him the instructions for how he and the Israelites were to defeat the mighty city of Jericho. When they obeyed God, everything happened just as he said it would! The Israelites defeated Jericho.