I was an English major so admittedly I’m a bit of a nerd.
I love some good foreshadowing and parallelism. And the Bible has plenty of it.
The foreshadowing in the Old Testament particularly captures my attention because for so long I could not understand what a lot of the Old Testament said and what it meant.
It was so hard for me to wrap my little human brain around how all the kings of Israel played into our salvation story.
But once someone told me that Jesus could be found in the Old Testament, I was in. I was ready to dissect and analyze (see — I told you I was a nerd).
One of the easier parallels to recognize is the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham:
Just as Abraham was ready to willingly sacrifice his son, God sacrificed His Son.
Abraham had faith that God would provide a lamb for the sacrifice and He did. He provided a ram then to spare Isaac, and He provided Jesus as The Lamb, the ultimate sacrifice, to spare all of us.
I could go on: The ram was caught by its horns in a thicket, and Jesus wore a crown of thorns on his head; Isaac carried the wood for his sacrifice just as Jesus carried His cross.
Even as early as the fall of man in Genesis, the Bible is pointing us to Jesus. This is called the “Protoevangelium” which essentially signifies the idea of the “first gospel proclamation.”
In Genesis 3:15, God says to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.”
The serpent’s curse is not that it will be a creature hated by people (even though snakes are). Here God was announcing that from the line of Eve someone would come and destroy Satan forever. Obviously, that someone is Jesus. Though Satan would temporarily strike, Jesus would win out in the end.
David is another parallel to Christ. In 2 Samuel 7:16, God says to David, “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne stall be established forever.” This isn’t just saying that David’s line would reign on the earth forever. This is looking toward Jesus who, as a descendant of David, would reign on the throne of heaven forever.
The examples go on and on.
But just because stories in the Old Testament point to Jesus, it doesn’t mean they don’t hold practical application. We can still learn from David’s failures, Israel’s doubting in the wilderness, Joseph’s compassion in Egypt or Daniel’s faithfulness.
Seeing God’s redemptive plan through the Old Testament enriches the stories we read. It doesn’t discount them. It reveals God’s love, grace, power and providence.
So, don’t read the Old Testament with the assumption that it’s just old stories, laws and lists of genealogies and kings. See the grace and salvation it points to. See Jesus.