Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. – Luke 24:27
Old Testament Prophecies
Wouldn’t you have loved to listen in on the conversation Jesus had with his disciples on the road to Emmaus, after His resurrection? Well, we missed that conversation, so we’re doing an “archaeological survey,” in search for Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures, for those are the Scriptures Jesus used. The New Testament had yet to be written. No, we cannot do what Jesus did but we’re touching on well known Scriptures and a few of the out-of-the-way places.
What is meant by “types,” “foreshadows,” and fulfilling prophecies? For some context, let’s look at the eye-witness account of Jesus at the Mount of Olives just before his betrayal by Judas.
Matthew 26:30-32 – And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Notice that Jesus is quoting Zechariah 13:7. When Zechariah prophesied this, it was/is a Messianic prophecy; it spoke of Jesus and was a continuation of God’s message about Christ’s betrayal in (Zechariah 11:4, 10, 13, 14) and of Christ’s crucifixion in Zechariah 12:10. These prophesies use a “type”, in this case, “My Shepherd”. Types are never perfect metaphors but they are effective tools to help convey a truth or truths from God.
Foreshadowing is similar to an allegory except it acts out a future event. It is a way for God to let people, in the future, see that God had planned to do something before that “something” happens. In the previous Chapter we saw this in God’s substitution of a ram in place of Isaac for Abraham’s sacrifice. That whole event is a foreshadowing of Christ’s substitutionary act upon the cross.
Theophany – Christophany
A Theophany is a visible manifestation of God to a person or people. The most well-known Theophany is Jesus 😀. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)
In our quest to find Jesus (John 20:28) in the Pentateuch we know that the Son of God is present anytime God provides a Theophany, and there are several Theophanies in the Pentateuch. We find a visible manifestation of God when God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-17). Also, in the Pentateuch, we see God making visible manifestations to Abraham (Genesis 18:1-15), Isaac (Genesis 26:1-2), Jacob (Genesis 28:13, Hosea 12/2-6), Moses at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:20-21), and to the Israelites in their wilderness journey (Exodus 13:21).
Within the Theophanies in the Pentateuch there are a number of Christophanies. A Christophany is when Jesus, before His birth by Mary, stepped from Heaven into the history of Adam. A very clear example of a Christophany is found in Genesis 18:1-3:
And the LORD appeared to him [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.
We, in the 21st century, can clearly see Jesus in the narrative of Zechariah, chapters 11, 12, and 13). Did Zechariah see Jesus? Maybe, but not clearly. It is the same for many of the types, foreshadowings, and prophecies we are studying. Many of these are only understandable after they have happened.
To help us grasp what God is doing, we have a number of verses in the Bible to help us. The first two that come to my mind are:
“On many past occasions and in many different ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets.” Hebrews 1:1.
“All these people died having faith. They did not receive the things that were promised, yet they saw them in the distant future and welcomed them, acknowledging that they were strangers and foreigners on earth.” Hebrews 11:13.
Well, we didn’t get our excavation tools out today, but we will tomorrow. Tomorrow we hope to spot Jesus with Isaac and with Rebecca. See you then.
You may like: