Son of God in the Old Testament

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According to the New Testament, the key identity of Jesus Christ is that He is the Son of God.  This is seen in the importance of the need to understand, confess, and believe this about Jesus in the following verses:

 Matt 16:13-17

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

John 20:30-31

30 Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

1 John 2:22-23

22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

1 John 5:9-13

9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for the witness of God is this, that He has borne witness concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son. 11 And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.

 

The Scriptural witness to the Son of God, however, did not begin with the New Testament – it first appears in the Old Testament in the abbreviated form of “Son” (with one exception).  While the number of Old Testament references to Son [of God]are nowhere near as numerous as that in the New Testament, they are extremely significant and have helped Christians recognize that Jesus Christ is indeed this Son of God and what the Bible means by this phrase.  The following chart is a list of nine passages from the Old Testament with brief commentary.

Reference

Comments

2 Samuel 7:14I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, The first sentence is quoted in Hebrews 1:5 as a reference to Jesus with regard to His superiority over angels.This verse is alluded to Psalm 89:26 as an explicit reference to David and by implication, his sons.  By comparing the wider context of Psalm 89:20-51; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; and Isaiah 55:3-4 with Luke 1:31-35 and Acts 13:34, it is obvious that the only one who fulfills the description of an everlasting kingdom is Jesus, the Son of God, and therefore never subject to the consequences of violating covenant with God.  In other words, Jesus is the prophetic anti-type (i.e. He is the obedient Son who maintains his “inheritance”) to David and his sons (i.e. the disobedient sons who have lost their inheritance).
Psalm 2:7“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:He said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son,Today I have begotten Thee. This is quoted in Acts 13:33 as a reference to Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.The final part of this verse is quoted in Hebrews 1:5 as a reference to Jesus with regard to His superiority over angels.The final part of this verse is quoted in Hebrews 5:5 as a reference to Jesus being called by God to be the High Priest for those who believe in Him. 

Much has been written about Psalm 2 being a “coronation” hymn for those who were heirs to David’s throne.  Neither Psalm 2:7, 12 is ever used in the Bible to refer to any son of David other than Jesus who is more than a human descendant of David (see Matthew 22:41-45).

Psalm 2:11-12Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. People are commanded to worship the “Son” just as they are commanded to worship “the Lord” (YHWH).  This agrees with Jesus’ statement in John 5:23: “that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father”.  See Hebrews 1:8-9 and Psalm 45:6-7.
Proverbs 30:4Who has ascended into heaven and descended?Who has gathered the wind in His fists?Who has wrapped the waters in His garment?Who has established all the ends of the earth?What is His name or His son’s name?

Surely you know!

In this verse, the “Son” is not only identified with the Creator but as also being involved in Creation, thus making Him equal with the Creator.  See also John 1:1-5; Colossians 1:13-17; Hebrews 1:3.
Isaiah 7:14“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. In this well-known prophesy of the Messiah, given about 700 years before Jesus was born to Mary, the “Son” will not only be born of a virgin, but is “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”It is quoted in Matthew 1:23. See Matthew 1:18-25 for context.
Isaiah 9:6-7For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. In this well-known prophecy of the Messiah, also given about 700 years before Jesus was born to Mary, the “child to be born” who is also the “son to be given” is called “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” and the one who rules over all, in other words, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (see Revelation 19:16).
Daniel 3:25He answered and said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” When Nebuchadnezzar made this statement, he described the fourth “man” as a “son of the gods.”  While “gods” is consistent with the pagan context of the Babylonians, the miraculous deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and the fact that “son” is rendered in the singular (as opposed to “sons of God” elsewhere in the Old Testament), the king’s statement is rightly understood as a recognition of an Old Testament theophany or appearance of God to man prior to the Incarnation of the Son of God as the Son of Man.
Hosea 11:1When Israel was a youth I loved him,And out of Egypt I called My son. The last part of this verse is quoted in Matthew 2:15 as a reference to Jesus and His return to Israel from Egypt.
Micah 5:1-3“Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek. 2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” 3 Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child. In this well-known prophecy of the Messiah, given about 700 years before Jesus was born to Mary, although “Son” is not mentioned it is implied in verse 3 which talks about a female giving birth to a child.  This “child” is described as having existed from eternity a characteristic exclusive to God.  See Matthew 2:6 where Micah 5:2 is quoted from the Septuagint (i.e. the Greek translation of the Old Testament).The language of the magi in Matthew 2:2, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?,” is an implicit claim to deity – no human can be born a king but rather a prince.  The statement that this child was born King of the Jews agrees with the Scriptural witness that the Son is Eternal (see also Isaiah 9:6; John 17:24; Hebrews 7:3). Jesus is in need of no coronation because as God He has always been King of Kings!  The act of the magi worshipping Jesus (Matthew 2:11) also points to the deity of this child/Son.  The worship of Jesus by the magi is significant for at least two reasons: 1) magi were known for worshipping the stars but here they follow a supernatural star in order to worship Jesus; and, 2) in the New Testament, Jesus accepts worship of Himself whereas Peter and angel(s) refuse to do so because they are not God (see Acts 10:25-26; Revelation 19:10).

 

Colossians 2:8-9

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form

Matthew 17:4-5

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

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About Author

Adam Simnowitz is a minister with the Assemblies of God. He lives in Dearborn, MI. He recently completed his M.A. thesis, "Muslim Idiom Translation: Assessing So-Called Scripture Translation For Muslim Audiences With A Look Into Its Origins In Eugene A. Nida's Theories Of Dynamic Equivalence And Cultural Anthropology." He was one of the contributing authors to the adopted Assemblies of God paper, "The Necessity for Retaining Father and Son Terminology in Scripture Translations for Muslims," from which this paper is partially drawn (http://fatherson.ag.org/).