Thursday, July 23, 2009

Old Testament Foreshadows New Testament: Flood, Exodus, Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Law, we are told by St. Paul, has “a shadow of the good things to come” (Hebrews 10:1). The various ordinances and feasts of the Old Testament, if properly understood, are found, according to G. Mackinlay (The Magi ... Christ's Star), “to refer to and foreshadow many events and doctrines of the New Testament” (p. 143). Again, A. Gordon remarks that: “Many speak slightingly of the types, but they are as accurate as mathematics; they fix the sequence of events in redemption as rigidly as the order of sunrise and noontide is fixed in the heavens” (The Ministry of the Spirit, p. 28). The deductions drawn from Gospel harmonies attest the truth of his statement.

We have already observed that the Sabbath Year began at the Feast of Tabernacles; the great feasts of Passover and Weeks following in due course. Our Lord’s death took place at the Passover (Matthew 27:50), probably, Mackinlay believes, “at the very hour when the paschal lambs were killed”. “Our Passover … has been sacrificed, even Christ” (1 Corinthians 5:7); the great Victim foretold during so many ages by the yearly shedding of blood at that feast. The first Passover at the Exodus was held on the anniversary of the day when the promise – accompanied by sacrifice – was given to Abraham, that his seed would inherit the land of Canaan (Exodus 12:41; Genesis 15:8-18).

Our Lord rose from the dead on the day after the Sabbath after the Passover (John 20:1); the day on which the sheaf of first fruits, promise of the future harvest, was waved before God (Leviticus 23:10, 11). Hence we are told by St. Paul that as “Christ the first-fruits” (1 Corinthians 15:20. 23) rose, so those who believe in him will also rise afterwards. This day was the anniversary of Israel’s crossing through the Red Sea or “Sea of Reeds’ (Exodus 12-14), and, as in the case of the Passover, it was also a date memorable in early history, being the day when the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4). The month Nisan, which had been the seventh month, became the first at the Exodus (Exodus 12:2). Thus Our Lord’s Resurrection was heralded by two most beautiful and fitting types, occurring almost – possibly exactly – on the same day of the year; by the renewed earth emerging from the waters of the Flood, and by the redeemed people emerging from the waters of the “Sea of Reeds”.

The next great event of the Christian dispensation, the Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1, 2), occurred at the Feast of Weeks – or Harvest – or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15, 16). It was during this season that the Law had been given to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1, 10, 11). It is noteworthy, therefore, that the inauguration of the New Covenant took place on the anniversary of the establishment of the Old Covenant; showing that the dispensation of Law was superseded by that of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 8:7; 2 Corinthians 3:6).

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