Do the Hebrew Scriptures
contain specific and detailed prophecies and types
about the person and work of the coming Messiah?
That question has also
intrigued me from the earliest days after I gave my
life to Jesus Christ and began to seriously study
Nearly sixty years ago, I
discovered the supreme joy of the two men walking
with their unknown guest along the road from
Jerusalem to Emmaus. That "stranger" said to them:
"O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all
that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary
for the Messiah (Christ) to suffer these things and
to enter into His glory? And beginning with Moses
and with all the prophets, He explained to them the
things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures"
(Luke 24:25-27). The two travelers invited Jesus
into their home for a meal that evening. As He took
the bread and blessed it, He began giving it to
them, "And their eyes were opened and they
recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight"
(v. 31). I pray that your response will be like mine
and the two men when they asked one another "Were
not our hearts burning within us when He was
speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining
the Scriptures to us?" My desire is this will
be a fresh new beginning of an intimate journey with
our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Unity of the
When we study the Bible
we should keep in mind its totality, its harmony,
and its concept of a divine plan that is being
fulfilled both in immediate historical context and
in a final, climatic realization in the last days.
There is a messianic
signature that runs through the Bible. James Orr in
The Problem of the Old Testament also argued
correctly for the unity of the message. "From
Genesis to Revelation we feel that this book is in a
real sense a unity. It is not a collection of
fragments, but has, as we say, an organic character.
It has one connected story to tell from beginning to
end; we see something growing before our eyes. This
is a plan, purpose, progress, the end folds back on
the beginning, and, when the whole is finished, we
feel that here again, as in primal creation, God has
finished all His works, and behold, they are good"
Christ is the key to our
understanding the Scriptures. The entire Bible finds
its meaning and explanation in the redemption
provided by Jesus Christ. It progressively unfolds
the theme of redemption from Genesis to Revelation.
Shadows, types and foregleams of the great doctrine
of salvation by grace through faith in the death and
resurrection of Christ are revealed from the opening
pages. The meaning of any single passage of
Scripture is always determined and governed by the
larger context of redemption through Jesus Christ.
When Jesus Christ went to
the cross, died for our sins, and rose from the
dead, He provided eternal salvation for all who
would accept Him by faith. Every individual in the
Old Testament who was saved was saved by trusting in
the provision that God would make when Christ came
and died as their substitute. The ceremonies and
sacrifices pointed to a future day when God would
make sure all His promises in that one person. In
the fullness of time we know that person was God's
only Son, Jesus Christ. Those who were saved were
saved by faith in the coming of His death as their
We need to read the Old
Testament with the expectation that we will
encounter Jesus Christ there. The Old Testament is
Christocentric. Christ is predicted and anticipated
in the Old and proclaimed in the New.
There is continuity
between the two testaments. The New Testament is
full of references to the Old. The Old lays a
foundation for the New. Even a casual reading of the
Scriptures reveals God's progressive revelation of
the message of redemption that culminates in the
person and work of Jesus Christ. Ultimately the Old
must be read through the light of the New. The Old
Testament reaches its fulfillment in the New. We can
understand the Old Testament more clearly through
the light of the New Testament.
Key to Interpretation
It is imperative that we
first consider the teaching of the Old Testament in
its historical and grammatical context. What was the
author saying to his original audience and how did
they understand the message? What we must not do is
read into the Old Testament what was never intended
by the Holy Spirit as the author of all Scripture.
At the same time, we must not overlook the clear New
Testament interpretation of the Old Testament
We also need to keep in
mind the institutions and ceremonies of the Old
Testament were powerless to save the souls of men.
They were devised as types of the coming Messiah,
Jesus Christ. They pictured the work Christ would do
in His death for our sins. Jesus is the one and only
perfect priest who dealt with our sins in His
perfect sacrifice of Himself. The Tabernacle and
later the Temple typified the place and manner in
which the LORD God met with His people and dealt
with their need of a redeemer. Each of the
sacrifices and offerings, feasts and festivals dealt
with redemption of God's people and how they should
live as redeemed people. Thus, the entire Bible is
the story of God's redeeming love.
Just like on the road to
Emmaus Jesus comes to our aid to help us understand
the Word of God. "Faith comes by hearing, and
hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Our
problem is in the heart, not the head. We have the
evidence. It's all there. Jesus rose from the dead.
He's alive! When we participate in the learning
process He opens the eyes of our minds to recognize
Him and causes our hearts to continue to burn within
us. Even so, let our hearts burn with conviction of
who You are and joyful submission to Your
sovereignty, Lord Jesus!
Later on the same day
Jesus rose from the dead He told His disciples,
"These are My words which I spoke to you while I was
still with you, that all things which are written
about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and
the Psalms must be fulfilled." Again Luke tells us,
"Then He opened their minds to understand the
Scriptures, and He said to them, 'Thus it is
written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again
from the dead the third day, and that repentance for
forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name
to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You
are witnesses of these things'" (Luke 24:44-48). Now
we are, too!
A Word about Types
Dr. John R. Sampey
observed, "A type may properly be defined as a
person, institution, or event in the old
dispensation which was designed to prefigure a
corresponding person, institution, or event in the
new." In these devotions and meditations, we will
keep our focus on the coming of Jesus Christ as the
redeemer of lost mankind.
Here are some basics
principles to keep in mind as we think through some
of these great pictures of Christ in the Old
In typology, the physical
object or person is often used to represent a
Look for the consistent
use of the specific symbol or type in the Old
Testament. It must be an illustration of and
consistent with New Testament truth. It cannot
represent one thing in the Old and something
unrelated in the New.
Keep in mind that the Old
Testament teaches the same truth as the New
Testament. It is a fuller unfolding of the truth in
Limit the topic under
consideration to the context of the Scripture
passage. Don't expect the type to cover every
subject of theology.
Seek to discover the
meaning of the details in the passage, but don't
expect every detail to fit. Every analogy, by its
very nature, falls short of the full reality. Don't
force details to emerge from a passage that aren't
Set aside the superficial
speculative interpretations and look for the basic
meaning of the symbol. What does the passage say,
not what do you want it to say.
Determine an accurate
definition of any type or symbol by identifying
interpretational constants that fit all the uses of
that type in Scripture. For example, "lion"
symbolizes power, whether applied to Satan as "a
roaring lion" or to Christ as the "lion of the tribe
Keep your heart tender
toward God and humbly respect and submit to the
teaching of His Word.
Like the apostle Paul: "I
count all things to be loss in view of the
surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and
count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness
of my own derived from the Law, but that which is
through faith in Christ, the righteousness which
comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may
know Him and the power of His resurrection and the
fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His
death; in order that I may attain to the
resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:8-11).
If you need help in
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Title: Introduction to
Christ in the Old Testament
Christ in the Old