I know we have many prophecies of Christ in the OT, but I did not find one that says ‘He will rise from the dead’.  Is there any verse that explicitly states this? Or is it as He said to the doubting people the only evidence He will give them is the sign of Prophet Jonah who was in the belly of the fish for 3 days is sufficient to imply resurrection?


There is no prophecy which specifically says that the Messiah will rise from the dead.   However, two of the men in the Old Testament who serve as a prefigures of Christ had things happen to them which serve as historical foreshadows of the resurrection of Jesus.  I guarantee that these parallels were no accident.  God caused these things to happen as physical rather than written prophecies of the resurrection of Jesus.

The first of these is the story of Abraham and his offering his son Isaac at Mt. Moriah.  On the THIRD day after setting out to Moriah Abraham figuratively received his son back from the dead when God gave a lamb to serve as the sacrifice rather than Isaac.  The Hebrew writer even tells us this explicitly in Hebrews 11:18-19.  The rescuing of Isaac from death on the third day is a symbolic prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus, also on the third day.   Notice that the Hebrew writer tells us that Abraham reasoned that God would raise Isaac and, figuratively, he did.  The sacrifice of a one and only son, the fact that it happened on Mt. Moriah, which is where Jerusalem lies, and the fact that the receiving back of his son happened on the third day are all parallels which point directly to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

The other historical foreshadow of the resurrection of Jesus is found in Jonah, as you yourself note.  Jonah willingly offered to sacrifice his life to save the Gentiles on that boat from a sure death.  Like all of us spiritually, all the men on that boat physically were under a death sentence.   But Jonah offered his life.  He was thrown into the sea and the men were saved from death.  Not surprisingly because it is a historical foreshadow, he was ejected from the fish on the third day.  Jesus explicitly tells us that what happened to Jonah is a symbolic prefigure of his own resurrection in Matthew 12:40.   The fact that a life was willingly offered.  The fact that someone was under a death sentence, and the receiving back to life on the third day all point unambiguously toward the resurrection of Jesus.  Again, this is a physical rather than a literary/historical prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus.

John Oakes

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