What Does the Old Testament Say About the Resurrection of Jesus?

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a pivotal event in Christianity, marking the triumph of life over death. While most Christians are familiar with the New Testament accounts of the resurrection, the Old Testament also contains prophecies and allusions to this momentous event. In this article, we will explore what the Old Testament says about the resurrection of Jesus.

Prophecies in the Old Testament

The most famous prophecy about the resurrection in the Old Testament is found in Psalm 16:10, where David writes, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” This verse was quoted by Peter in his sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2:25-31) as evidence that David was speaking about Jesus’ resurrection. Peter argues that since David’s body did indeed see corruption (he died and was buried), he must have been referring to someone else – namely, Jesus.

Another important prophecy about the resurrection is found in Isaiah 53:10-12. This passage describes a suffering servant who would be “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities”, but who would ultimately be exalted and justified by God.

The passage concludes with these words: “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” Many Christians believe that this passage refers to Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Allusions in the Old Testament

While there are specific prophecies about Jesus’ resurrection in the Old Testament, there are also many allusions to this event scattered throughout its pages. For example:

  • In Genesis 22, Abraham offers his son Isaac as a sacrifice, but God stops him at the last minute and provides a ram as a substitute. This story is often interpreted as foreshadowing God’s provision of a sacrifice (Jesus) to save humanity.
  • In Exodus 12, the Israelites are commanded to sacrifice a lamb and spread its blood on their doorposts so that the angel of death will pass over them.

    This event is celebrated by Jews today as Passover, but many Christians see it as prefiguring Jesus’ sacrificial death.

  • In Jonah 1-2, Jonah is swallowed by a large fish and spends three days in its belly before being spit out onto dry land. Jesus himself alludes to this story in Matthew 12:40, saying that “just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. “


While the New Testament contains more explicit accounts of Jesus’ resurrection than the Old Testament, it is clear that this event was anticipated and foreshadowed throughout Jewish scripture. Christians believe that Jesus’ resurrection fulfilled these prophecies and allusions, demonstrating God’s power over death and offering hope for eternal life to all who believe in him.