“A Shadow of Good Things to Come”: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament


This is a 27 week study of the Old Testament prophecies, practices, types, ceremonies, and religious symbols which prefigured Jesus Christ. Listen to the audio of each lesson by clicking on the underlined titles.

1. A Shadow of Good Things to Come
Colossians 2:16-17. Hebrews 10:1 – A “shadow” necessitates and comes after a reality. Jesus Christ and God’s plan for man’s redemption existed before the world began. Though we see that Man and that Plan in the New Testament, their shadow falls backward (in time) across all the people and events of the Old Testament. In another way, it is like God wrote a great “mystery story”, and only when we reach the end to find out “ whodunit” can we see how all the clues pointed to it in the earlier chapters of the book.

IN PROPHECY

2. Anticipation!
Luke 2:21-35. As the New Testament period begins we find people waiting for something and someone! Why now? Daniel’s prophecies foretold both the empire and the date. Simeon – Luke 2:25; Anna – Luke 2:38; the Magi – Matthew 2:2-6; John – Luke 3:15; Samaritan – John 4:25 – are but a few examples. But waiting, anticipating, what or who?

3. That of Which the Prophets Spoke
I Peter 1:10-12. We believe in the “Grammatical – Historical Method” of interpretation of scripture. That is, the scriptures are rooted in and deal with real historical events, and ordinary human language is used to communicate that history. A part of that history was the teaching and writings of men called prophets, who both forth-told God’s message and fore-told God’s future. Here are some ways we can identify OT prophecies which spoke of NT realities.

4. Is Real Prophecy Plausible? (audio of this lesson has been lost and is not available)
Isaiah 46:9-10. Numerous historical and modern examples exist demonstrating man’s inability to predict the future – Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, John Smith (Mormonism), etc. What made Biblical prophets different? Were they any more accurate than these other “prophets?”

5. Making Known the End from the Beginning, Part I
Acts 13:27-33. Did the prophets really predict the coming of Jesus? Or could many different people have fulfilled the predictions? Prophecies need to be unique, specific, non-predictable, and obvious in their fulfillment.

6. Making Known the End from the Beginning, Part II
Micah 5:2. The picture the prophets paint of the coming One. Born in Bethlehem, descendent of Davidic line, born of a virgin, a prophet like Moses, and more!

7. Why Jesus Had to Be Born
Luke 2:1-7. “Christmas message.” How history was shaped and changed to bring about the fulfillment of the prophecies of His birth.

IN TYPOLOGY

8. A Type of Him Who Was to Come
John 3:14-17. Explaining the hermeneutical and biblical concept of a “type,” and various examples of types in the Bible.

9. Moses and David: Types of Jesus
Deuteronomy 18:15,18-19. The plain statements of Scripture of Moses and David as types of the Messiah. How this was true.

IN THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM

10. See the Lamb!
John 1:29-31. John the Baptizer’s statement. The symbolic significance of the lamb in the Old Testament.

11. A Sacrifice for Sin
Isaiah 53:4-7. The Mosaic (Levitical) sacrificial system and the role of the sin sacrifice.

12. Worship: A Pleasing Aroma to God
Romans 12:1-2. Sacrifices in the OT were not just for sin. Many were for worship. The connection between Jesus as a sacrifice and our worship.

IN THE PRIESTHOOD

13. We Have a Great High Priest
Hebrews 4:14-16. The imagery of the high priest in the Levitical system. His roles and his importance, and how it links to Jesus.

14. A Royal Priesthood
1 Peter 2:9-10. The high priest was the “first among many brothers.” The clear connection between OT priests and NT followers of Jesus.

15. Jesus, Our Perfect High Priest
Hebrews 7:26-28. How Jesus more fully meets our needs as High Priest than the OT high priest could meet his people’s needs.

IN THE JEWISH FESTIVALS

16. The Jewish Holy Days and Jesus
Colossians 2:16-17. OT “Feasts” were literally God’s appointed times to meet with his people. Included 7 annual feasts, the weekly Sabbath, Sabbath years, and the Year of Jubilee. How were they “a shadow of good things to come?”

17. Christ, Our Passover, Is Sacrificed for Us
Luke 22:7-16. The Passover was the first annual festival each year. How Jesus was symbolized in the Passover, and why He had to die at Passover!

18. Christ, The Firstfruits 
1 Corinthians 15:20-26. The Festival of First Fruits was always the first Sunday after Passover, during the Days of Unleavened Bread. How Jesus, the man without sin (unleavened), was the “firstfruits from the dead” on that resurrection Sunday!

19. Pentecost: God Has Provided
1 Corinthians 3:6-9. Pentecost, 50 days after First Fruits, marked the culmination of harvest. In Acts 2, all of God’s work is culminated in the completion of his purpose as people are brought into His church through the preaching of the gospel for the first time.

20. When the Trumpet Shall Sound
Leviticus 23:24-25. The little-known Festival of Trumpets, what it meant to the Jews and how it is fulfilled in Christ. This one has a surprise at the end (no pun intended).

21. The Blood Sprinkled Mercy Seat
Romans 3:21-26. “Yom Kippur,” the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. The high priest goes into the Holy of Holies to pour of the blood before the mercy seat of God. Sound familiar?

22. The Jewish Thanksgiving
Revelation 7:9-12. The Festival of Booths in some ways was like the American tradition of Thanksgiving. It was a time when all the people gathered to rejoice and worship in the blessings from God. How this ties in with Christ and His church.

IN THE TABERNACLE

23. A Copy of One in Heaven, Part I
Hebrews 8:5. The book of Hebrews makes much of the symbolism between the Tabernacle built by Moses, and the Spiritual Assembly of those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

24. A Copy of One in Heaven, Part II
Hebrews 8:5-7. Examining the physical design of the original Tabernacle and the symbolism involved… symbols representative of Christ and the Church!

IN CONCLUSION

25. What Was Said in All the Scriptures, Part I
Luke 24:27. At His resurrection Jesus was perturbed that His disciples did not see how He had fulfilled what was spoken about Him in Moses and the prophets. A quick review of Genesis thru 2 Chronicles and “what was said about Him.”

26. What Was Said in All the Scriptures, Part II
Acts 26:22-23. “Stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place,” we simply quote a long list of prophetic predictions which describe His coming, birth, life, ministry, miracles, opposition, sacrifice, resurrection and ascension.

27. Thy Kingdom Come!
Matthew 6:9-10. In His teaching, Jesus taught his disciples to pray for the coming of the Kingdom. The fulfillment of the OT prophecies of the Kingdom as well as the symbolic significance of the OT kingdom of Israel – all find their fulfillment in God’s Kingdom today! Last lesson of the series.

As a complement to this audio series, I highly recommend the book, From Shadow to Reality: A Study of the Relationship Between the Old and New Testament, by John M. Oakes, published by IPI Books.

This material was developed by, and is © Copyright 2006, 2007, 2020 by Richard Cravy. It was taught in 2006-2007 at the Tanglewood Church of Christ in Odessa, Texas. Permission is granted for it to be used and reproduced so long as it is not sold, distributed for a fee, or incorporated into some larger body of work, without the express consent of Richard Cravy.

Our image is courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org and is called Agnus Dei, by Francisco de Zurbaran, circa 1635-40.