|From Genesis 1:1 all the way through the Bible to the last verse of Revelation, there is a plan by which man can receive salvation and the promise of God for eternal life with Jesus Christ. This plan is like a scarlet cord which runs all the way through the Old and New Testaments. This plan is embodied in the life, ministry, and deity of Jesus Christ. In this article we shall examine this scarlet cord; the Christ of the Old and New Testament.|
Many uninformed Christians believe that Jesus Christ "appeared" on the scene in the book of Matthew and that the New Testament is about Christ and His teachings. They also believe that the Old Testament is an account of the history and laws of the Jewish people before the time of Christ. They do not see or recognize the relationship between the two testaments. The relationship is Christ.
As early as Genesis 3:15 we see Christ in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is replete with prophesies about the coming Messiah, and God begins to tell His people these in the first book of the Bible. In Genesis 3:15 we see that Christ is the seed of the woman; in 4:25 we see that He is from the line of Seth; in 9:27 we see that the line continues through Shem; in 12:3 the line continues through Abraham; in 21:12 the line continues through Isaac; in 25:23 through Jacob; and in 49:10 we see that Christ shall be of the tribe of Judah.
Another way we see Christ in the Old Testament is through types. A "type" is a historical fact that illustrates a spiritual truth. For example, Adam is said to be a type, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." (Romans 5:14) How is Adam a type of Christ? Both entered the world through a special act of God as sinless men. We think of Adam as being the head of the first creation, the physical creation of man. Jesus is the head of the new creation. Through Adam, sin was introduced to the world, through Jesus sin is made null and void.
There are also what I like to call "pictures of Christ" in the Old Testament. An example of this is Abel's acceptable offering of a blood sacrifice which points to or "pictures" Christ as being the acceptable blood sacrifice for all mankind's sin. In like manner, Cain's murder of Able pictures the death of Christ; both were a result of jealousy.
Joseph is also a type of Christ. Both Joseph and Christ were objects of special love by their fathers, both were hated by their brothers, both were rejected as rulers over their brothers, both were sold for silver, both were condemned though innocent, and both were raised out of their humiliation to positions of glory by the power of God.
Not all Old Testament books contain direct messianic prophecies. Some books which may not have direct prophecies will be full of types and/or pictures of Christ. Let's take a look at each Old Testament book following Genesis to see what of Christ we can see in each of them.
EXODUS: Exodus has no direct prophecies but is full of types. Some of these types are: Moses, the Passover, the seven feasts, the exodus, the manna and water, the tabernacle, and the high priest.
LEVITICUS: Leviticus is also brimming with types and allusions of the person and work of Jesus. Some of the more important are: the five offerings, the high priest, and seven feasts.
NUMBERS: In Numbers there are several pictures of Christ. Some of these include: a bronze serpent on a stake (a picture of the Crucifixion), the rock that quenches the thirst of the multitude, the daily manna, the pillar of cloud and fire, and the six cities of refuge.
DEUTERONOMY: The most obvious picture of Christ is found in 18:15, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear." Also we see Moses as a type of Christ as described above. Also note that Moses and Christ were the only ones to fill the three offices of prophet, priest and king (remember that Moses was never named a king, but fulfilled the duties of a king as ruler of Israel).
JOSHUA: Joshua himself is a type of Christ. Joshua led Israel into their promised land, and as such he pictures Christ as the One who will bring "many sons to glory" (see Heb. 2:10). Joshua succeeded Moses and realized the victory which was unattainable by Moses, and in like manner Christ realized the victory which was unattainable by the law. The "Commander of the army of the Lord" which we see in 5:13-15 is evidently a preincarnate appearance of Christ.
JUDGES: The judges fulfilled two roles, that of spiritual savior and political ruler. These two roles picture the role of Christ as our Savior and King. The seven judges also functioned individually somewhat differently. Some are warrior-rulers, some priests, and one (Samuel) was a prophet. These different functions all picture the three offices of Christ as our Prophet, Priest and King.
RUTH: The book of Ruth shows the redemption of Ruth by her kinsmen. This kinsmen-redeemer relationship is a picture of the relationship which Christ has with us. Also, Ruth was the Great-Grandmother of David and therefore a blood relative of Christ.
I & II SAMUEL: Samuel is a type of Christ as he holds the offices of prophet, priest and judge. However we see more of Christ in the life and person of David in these two books. David is born in Bethlehem, serves as a shepherd, and rules as king of Israel. David is the forerunner of the messianic King, and the New Testament calls Christ the "seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3) and "the Root and the Offspring of David." (Revelation 22:16)
I & II KINGS: Solomon is a type of Christ in a number of ways. His wisdom points to Christ; his fame, glory, wealth, and honor also point to Christ. Solomon was indeed considered great, however Christ said of Himself, "indeed a greater than Solomon is here." (Matthew 12:42) In the northern kingdom there were nine different dynasties. However, in the southern kingdom the dynasty of David is preserved and thereby also the linage of David of which Christ comes. Elijah is more a type of John the Baptist than Christ but he reminds us of Christ in that he stressed repentance.
I & II CHRONICLES The tribe of Judah figures prominently in Chronicles because it is the tribe from which the Messiah will come. The genealogies in Chapters 1-9 of I Chronicles is a preamble to the genealogy of Jesus found in Matthew. The messianic line was threatened by murders, treachery, battles, and captivity but it remains clear and unbroken from Adam to Zerubbabel. (See genealogies of Christ in Matthew 1 and Luke 3) The temple also is a picture of Christ. Note these three passages: "in this place there is One greater than the temple." (Matthew 12:6); "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19); and "But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." (Revelation 21:22)
EZRA: In Ezra we see the continuation of the promise of God to keep the descendants alive. Zerubbabel is part of the messianic line. The remnant has returned to the land of promise, and it is here in Bethlehem that Jesus will be born. The book of Ezra itself is a picture of Christ and His work of forgiveness and restoration.
NEHEMIAH: Nehemiah is also a picture of Christ in His work of restoration. Nehemiah also is a type of Christ in that he too gave up a high position in order to help his people. In the book of Nehemiah, everything except the king is restored: the temple, Jerusalem, the covenant, and the faithfulness of the people.
ESTHER: Esther pictures Christ in that she puts herself in place of death for her people and is a picture of Christ in His being an advocate for us. Also in this book we see another attempt by Satan to destroy the linage of David, but God preserves His people and the messianic line.
JOB: Job says, "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;" (Job 19:25) He also cries out for a mediator (see 9:33, 25:4, 33:23). The problems raised in the book of Job are answered in Christ who knows of our suffering, "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
PSALMS: In the book of psalms we see that the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is specifically anticipated. There are five different kinds of messianic psalms. In some, the subject of the psalm is a type of Christ. In others, the psalmist uses language to describe his present experience which points beyond his own life to become historically true only in Christ. We also see in some psalms that it refers to a king or the house of David but final fulfillment is not come until Christ. Some are purely prophetic in that they refer only to Christ. And in still others we see that the psalmist anticipates the coming of Yahweh and His kingdom, which is fulfilled in Christ.
PROVERBS: In the book of Proverbs we see the fabulous wisdom of Solomon, who it is said was the wisest man on earth. However, this wisdom is a picture of Christ who has the ultimate wisdom, the wisdom of God; "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption..." (1 Corinthians 1:30)
ECCLESIASTES: This book shows us how empty our life can be without a relationship with God. Only Christ can provide those things which make life meaningful.
SONG OF SOLOMON: In the Old Testament, Israel is considered to be the bride of Yahweh and in the New Testament the church is the bride of Christ. This book illustrate the first and pictures the second.
ISAIAH: The prophecies in this book are clearer and more explicit than any other Old Testament book. Isaiah is brimming with prophecies of Christ.
JEREMIAH: The book of Jeremiah points directly to Christ: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Jeremiah 23:5,6)
LAMENTATIONS: Jeremiah, the author, is a type of Christ in that both wept over Jerusalem.
EZEKIEL: This book pictures the Messiah as a tender twig that becomes a stately cedar.
DANIEL: In the visions of Daniel we see prophecies of Christ. Also his vision of the 69 weeks pinpoints the coming of the Messiah.
THE MINOR PROPHETS - HOSEA, JOEL, AMOS, OBADIAH, JONAH, MICAH, NAHUM, HABAKKUK, ZEPHANIAH, HAGGAI, ZECHARIAH, & MALACHI: In these books we see several prophecies of Christ as well as types and pictures of Christ. Space does not permit us to give as much detail on these, the minor prophets.
I hope that through this discussion of the Scarlet Cord which runs through the Old Testament in the prophecies, types and pictures of Christ you can see that He is the very center, the cornerstone if you will, of God's plan of salvation for man. We should not think of the Old Testament and New Testament as two distinct and separate parts, but as one whole plan by which God will redeem those who want to be His people. There is much which could be said about the differences in the Old and New Testaments, but we will save that for a future article. The thing for us to remember is that though there are many significant differences in the two testaments as to their purpose and so forth, together they form one beautiful and magnificent account of God's love, devotion, and longing to save His creation - man.
All scriptures quoted are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
About the Author
Stephen Kingery is an author, preacher, teacher and founder of The Home Bible Study Institute.
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