QUESTION: Where is the preincarnate existence of Christ found in the Old Testament?
I. The most obvious instances are in Psalm 2 and Psalm 110.
The Scripture does not portray the Godhead as a mystical "trinity"; rather, the Scripture portrays the Godhead as a family which is comprised of God the Father and God the Son.
Moreover, by means of the Resurrection, which lies yet in the future, many Sons shall be born into the family of the Lord God; for the Resurrection is the Second Birth. Consider Hosea 1:10, John 1:12, Romans 8:14, Romans 8:19, Galatians 4:7, Philippians 2:15, Hebrews 2:10, Hebrews 12:7, I John 3:1-2. These Sons are those who have been Justified by faith, from Adam and the Woman down to the present age.
II. A not-so-obvious instance is revealed by the portrayal of Ezekiel chapter 16 and that of Ezekiel chapter 23.
In the portrayal of chapter 16, the Lord God, which is to say, the pre-incarnate Christ, is portrayed as the husband of Israel, who lovingly took his bride from ignoble birth to beauty and prosperity, only to have her forsake him, going after other lovers.
In the portrayal of chapter 23, the Lord God takes to wife two sisters, representing the division of Israel which took place following the reign of Solomon. The elder, representing the ten-tribe Northern Kingdom, Samaria, soon went into idolatry, whereupon the Lord God divorced her. Subsequently, the younger, representing the three-tribe Southern Kingdom, Jerusalem, likewise became idolatrous, and proved more lustful than her older sister, as well as treacherous against her husband. Nonetheless, and primarily for the sake of custodianship of the Canon of Scripture, Romans 3:1-2, the Lord did not exercise his prerogative of divorcement; thus did Judah remain in covenantal relationship until the epoch of the Crucifixion. Note that the portrayal designates each sister by the name of the respective capital, which for the Northern Kingdom, Israel, is Samaria, and for the Southern Kingdom, Judah, is Jerusalem, Ezekiel 23:4.
III. Some Protestants have the erroneous notion that God the Father is the husband of Israel, while Christ Jesus is the husband of the Church. But the fact of the matter is that in both cases the husband is the pre-incarnate Christ; God the Father has no wife.
The fact that it is the Son and not the Father who entered the two covenantal relationships of marriage is seen most clearly in Romans 7:1-6, in the teaching of Paul concerning release from the old marriage covenant by death of the husband. That passage of itself establishes the fact that the husband of the Old Covenant is the Word which became flesh.
IV. Another not-so-obvious instance is revealed I Samuel chapter 8.
The pre-incarnate Christ was not only the Husband of Israel, but also the King of Israel, I Samuel 8:7.
The problem was that the populace of Israel generally rejected justification by faith. Only the Justified, having the eye of faith, could perceive the invisible King reigning from his throne in Heaven.
The case is the same with Protestants of the present day. "The King is coming!" is the mistaken expectation of the blind. The resurrected Christ ascended to his Throne and began his reign two millennial ago; but Protestants generally cannot perceive him. Consequently, the Protestant lacks the confidence which characterizes the Christian who, with eyes of faith, beholds the face of his glorious King.
V. It is impossible to rightly understand the Scripture apart from the understanding that both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant are covenants of marriage. Moreover, in a sense, the parties joined in marriage under the New Covenant are the same parties which were joined in marriage under the Old. However, the parties differ in the following respects:
(1) Under the Old Covenant, the wife was the physical nation of Israel.
Upon division of the nation following the reign of Solomon, the marriage relationship continued independently for the Northern Kingdom, Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, Judah; that relationship is portrayed as the marriage of one man to two sisters, as was the marriage of Jacob to Leah and Rachel.
The marriage of Israel ended in divorce, because of idolatry, which is adultery against the Lord. Judah also became idolatrous, but the Lord chose not to divorce her, primarily for the sake of custodianship of the Canon of Scripture, Romans 3:1-2.
The Old Covenant provided benefit to the Unjustified as well as to the Justified. However, inasmuch as the death of either party to a covenant dissolves the covenant, the Old Covenant could not provide benefit beyond the Grave. Accordingly, the confidence of the Justified was in the yet-to-be-ratified New Covenant.
(2) Under the New Covenant, the wife is comprised exclusively of the Justified, in resurrection. The New Covenant is an everlasting covenant, inasmuch as neither party is subject to death.
The wife of the New Covenant is drawn from the same physical line -- the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob -- which comprised the wife of the Old Covenant, except only the Justified are included. Moreover, the wife includes all of the Justified outside of Israel, from Adam and the Woman, to Noah, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In particular, the wife includes not only the Justified of the Southern Kingdom of Israel (the "Jews"), but also the Justified of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (the "Gentiles"). Thus, in the Body of Christ, the scattered sheep of Israel are regathered, the divided nation is reunited, and all the Justified are brought into covenantal relationship under the New Covenant.
(3) Under the Old Covenant, the husband was the pre-incarnate Christ, the Word which became flesh and died.
(4) Under the New Covenant, the husband is the resurrected Christ.
In the eyes of the Law of God, the resurrected Christ is an entity distinct from the Christ who died; the importance of this fact is explained in Romans 7:1-6, for death of the husband frees the wife (the Southern Kingdom, Judah) from the marriage relationship of the Old Covenant, allowing her to enter a new marriage relationship, that of the New Covenant. Conversely, the Northern Kingdom, Israel, having been divorced, immediately was free to remarry anyone other than her former husband, Deuteronomy 24:1-4.