Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 17 March 2019


Sermon synopsis: The Old Testament (Covenant) contains shadows – the New Testament has the realities:

Heb 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.

Col 3:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

Let us consider some of the types or shadows of Jesus found in the OT.

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Chiefly Christian theology a figure, episode, or symbolic factor resembling some future reality in such a way as to foreshadow or prefigure it. 1

A figure, representation, or symbol of something to come, such as an event in the Old Testament that foreshadows another in the New Testament. 1


One that is foreshadowed by or identified with an earlier symbol or type, such as a figure in the New Testament who has a counterpart in the Old Testament. 1

1 " antitype"> antitype


The events in the Old Testament serve both as examples and warnings.

Paul says the following about Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness:

1 Cor 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

The Old Testament (Covenant) contains “a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Col 3:17)

Heb 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.


Let us consider some of the types or shadows of Jesus found in the OT.

When Adam and Eve sinned and realised their nakedness, they attempted to cover themselves with fig leaves, something which was not a very adequate covering.

Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.


This is a classic example of typology in the OT:

Their nakedness symbolises our sinfulness.

Rev 3:17 … But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

What they chose to cover themselves with was totally inadequate, even in their own eyes. Adam hides from God because – in his own words – he says “I was naked”. This is despite the fact that had their makeshift fig-leaf clothing on.


Gen 3:8-10 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”


Sin will keep you from God’s presence. Without an adequate covering they were afraid to stand before God. Their own poor attempts to cover their nakedness speaks of our own efforts to over our spiritual nakedness with “good works”.

If you are trying to make yourself acceptable to God by your good works, you will be ashamed in his presence, because “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isa 64:6).


But we read further that “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). In order for garments of skin to be provided an animal would have had to die. This is typical of the fact that only the blood sacrifice of Jesus can cover our sin because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb 9:22).


Gen 4:2-7 … Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.


The LORD looked with favour on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour.

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Cain brought an offering of the fruits of the soil which were the products of his own efforts as a farmer. This again speaks of an attempt to offer a sacrifice of our own efforts in the form of “good works”.

The offering of Abel was again a blood sacrifice, which was the only offering acceptable to God because it typified the later sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Rev 5:6,9 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders … And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”


How did Abel know that the only acceptable sacrifice was a blood sacrifice? We are told that his actions were a result of his faith.

Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

So too the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is only effective for us - if we combine it with faith in him.

Rom 3:25-26 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood… he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.


Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. (Gen 4:8)

Angry that his own sacrifice was rejected, and despite the gentle warning from God where he speaks of sin personified trying to master him, Cain subsequently murders his brother Abel.

In the same way people who have found salvation through faith in Jesus will be hated and persecuted by the world, which consists of people who generally believe that they are acceptable to God because they are basically “good people”.

1 John 3:12-13 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.


Abel’s blood cried out to God for vengeance and Cain was placed under a curse.

Gen 4:10-12 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

“Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

In this sense, Abel was not typical of Jesus:

Abel’s blood cried out from the earth while Jesus’ blood speaks from heaven.

Abel’s blood cried out for justice while Jesus’ blood cries out for mercy.

Abel’s shed blood resulted in a curse while Jesus’ blood freed us from the curse.

Heb 12:23-24 … You have come to … Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…


The curse resulted in Cain becoming a “restless wanderer”. Likewise those who follow “the way of Cain” and try earn salvation through their own efforts, are doomed to a spiritual restless wandering. In contrast, Jesus gives us “rest for our souls”:

Matt 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

and rest from our attempts to earn salvation by works:

Heb 4:9-10 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.


Gen 22:1-14 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”


Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife.

God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.

Father. The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?

And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.

He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

From the earliest times this was been seen as typical of the death and resurrection of Christ. Irenaeus sees Isaac carrying the wood as a type of us taking up our cross.

Righteously also do we, possessing the same faith as Abraham, and taking up the cross as Isaac did the wood, Genesis 22:6 follow Him… For Abraham, according to his faith, followed the command of the Word of God, and with a ready mind delivered up, as a sacrifice to God, his only-begotten and beloved son, in order that God also might be pleased to offer up for all his seed His own beloved and only-begotten Son, as a sacrifice for our redemption. 1

1 Against Heresies, Book IV, Chapter 5.4


Human sacrifice is always condemned in the Bible. Abraham realises God is testing him and in faith assures Isaac that “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.”

We know from Hebrews that because Isaac was the covenant son through whom God had promised that his seed would come, Abraham believed that God would even raise Isaac from the dead in order to fulfil his promise:

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (Heb 11:17-19)


After seeing Abraham’s implicit faith in the promises of God, God does indeed provide a substitute sacrifice to take the place of Isaac.

In the same way Jesus is our substitute sacrifice. He takes our punishment and dies in our place:

Gal 1:3-4 … the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age…

But like Abraham we too must have faith to receive the sacrifice.

Acts 20:21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.


We read the following account of Moses leading the Israelites through the wilderness.

Ex 17:1-4 … They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarrelled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”


Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?” But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.

Then Moses cried out to the LORD:

The LORD answered Moses, “Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. (Exodus 17:5-6)


Later on in the book of Exodus we see that the people again complain because of lack of water. God instructs Moses, “Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water” (Num 20:8). But Moses is frustrated with the Israelites’ continual grumbling and instead of speaking to the rock, he strikes it twice instead (Num 20:10-11).


Although God still provides the water, he is angry with Moses and Aaron for their disobedience and they are told that they will not enter the Promised Land (Num 20:12).

Paul tells us that the rock was a type of Christ:

1 Cor 10:2-4 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

Now we too have a spiritual thirst and only Jesus can quench that thirst. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman of the “living water” that only he could give (John 4:10) and then went on to say in John 4:13-14:

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


The command by God to strike the rock speaks of Jesus’ death for us. It was God’s will that he be “struck” so that we could drink of the “living water” and satisfy our spiritual thirst.

Isa 53:8,10 For he was cut off from the land of the

living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken… Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering …

But it was only necessary for Jesus to be struck ONCE. That is why God was angry with Moses and Aaron – they broke the “type” of Christ that God was portraying.

Heb 9:27-28 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people…

Heb 9:12 … he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

Heb 9:26 … But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Heb 10:10 … we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


In the book of Numbers, after being freed from slavery in Egypt, we find the Israelites in the wilderness repeatedly making complaints about their lot in life:

Num 21:4-9 But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said:


Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!

Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.

The people came to Moses and said:

We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.

So Moses prayed for the people.

The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole.


Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

Speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus explains that this bronze serpent on the pole was a type of Christ on the cross:

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. [John 3:14-15]

The plague of snakes, sent by God because of the grumbling of the Israelites, speaks of the judgment we deserve because of our sin.

Rom 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death

Jam 1:14-15 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.


The pole was a type of the cross and Jesus repeatedly used the term “lifted up” as a reference to his death on the cross.

John 12:32-33 But I, when I am lifted up 1 from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.


1 Note that lifting Jesus up is a reference to his crucifixion, and not to praise and worship as it is sometimes incorrectly applied.

The serpent is always associated with sin and Satan. And so it might seem like a strange type of Jesus. But on the cross Christ became “sin for us”. Although he was sinless, God placed our sin on him.

2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Rom 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.


Just as those who looked at the bronze serpent were delivered from certain death, so we are delivered from God’s judgment and the second death in the lake of fire by “looking” to Jesus. This speaks of putting our trust in him.

John 6:40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”


John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt 26:28)

We’ve learnt from God’s Word that we are sinners who have rebelled against God.

Because of our sin, we are going to face God’s judgment (of the second death in the lake of fire).

God loves us and has provided a way of salvation through his sinless Son Jesus Christ, who took our sin on himself and died as a substitute and took our punishment.

But we need to accept what Jesus has done, put our faith in him, ask God to forgive us from our sin and then turn our back on our sinful life.



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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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