Continuing with the “Heart of the Gospel Series“, we are taking a look at the scriptures and seeing how we can see God’s plan of salvation in both the Old and New Testament.
How We Know it Was God’s Plan from the Beginning
When we look at the scriptures, we have both Old and New Testament working together to help us understand that Christ’s death and resurrection were purposed by God from the beginning. In the Old Testament, we have many themes and symbols pointing to our need for a Savior. In the New Testament, we have explanation of these themes. So the two work together to show just how purposeful this plan was. The following is a list of the larger themes in the Old Testament that foreshadow and predict what is to come in Jesus in the New Testament.
1. Covenant: In the Old Testament, we see that part of God’s relationship with his people was based on a covenant – or a promise made between the two parties. In the Old Testament, we see God’s covenant with Abraham was that he’d make Abraham a “father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:4), with the sign of obedience being circumcision. We also see that God makes a covenant with Moses, with the sign of obedience being sacrifice. This pattern is finished with Jesus, who presents to us the new covenant in the institution of the Lord’s supper in Mark 14:26, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many”. (Also, notice how all three covenants involve blood).
- We see this is intentional from text in Jeremiah 31:31, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people…For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
- Additional supporting scriptures: Isaiah 59:20,21 ; Ezekiel 37:26-28
2. Kings: In 1 Samuel 8:7, the people of Israel came to Samuel and asked specifically for a King to lead them. This was a flat out rejection of God, who had always been the direct leader for the people of Israel. In his mercy, God gives the people a warning of what the earthly kings would do, with the knowledge that the people will really need a larger King, a King that is fully capable of leading them . While the people pursue King after King, God raises up men like David to show the people life under a good King, and to predict and pave the way for the people to see their need for the Messiah.
- We see this is intentional: In 2 Samuel 7:16, God promises David that “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me, your throne will be established forever”. How amazing is it that God was so sovereign that he knew we would need a King like Jesus.
3. The Temple: Through the Old Testament we see God actively trying to dwell with his people. In Exodus 25:8-9, God tells Moses, “And let them make me sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst”. So we see temples and tabernacles created by Israel so that they could be near God.
- We see this is intentional: In 1 Chronicles 17:10, God tells David that one of David’s offspring will build a house for God to dwell. Now certainly, my mind at first thought this was in reference to Solomon, who did in fact build one of the most impressive temples for God. However, this passage can also foreshadow Jesus, also known as Emmanuel, literally meaning “God with us”. Pretty amazing that God foreshadowed Jesus by the establishment of temples that allow God to dwell with us. Listen to 1 Chronicles 17:10 for a minute, “I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”
4. Prophets: Through God’s glory, he raised up prophets to predict things in their day in time, as well as to foreshadow the coming of Christ. Through these prophets we can really see a glimpse of God’s sovereignty. Most of these prophets may not have even understood what they were even saying, but they had the faith and conviction that even if they didn’t see it come to fruition, God would see to it.
- We see this is intentional: There are countless examples from the prophets that show the coming of Christ was intentional, and I’ll only scratch the surface here. But we see in my opinion the clearest examples in Isaiah, specifically Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”. Then we also see in Isaiah 11 the connection to Jesus being from the lineage of David, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse (David’s Father), and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, and the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
- Additional Supporting Scriptures: Isaiah 49:6, Jeremiah 23:5, Isaiah 53:1-3