The Old Testament as a Shadow of the New
Unlike many Christians, I absolutely LOVE the Old Testament! It is a type and a shadow of the good things which were to come in Christ Jesus. The stories tell of real people, including their difficulties and their failures. They weren’t “photo-shopped” to make them look good. ?
In speaking about the Old Testament, Hebrews 10:1 refers to it, “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, …” NAS
Colossians 2:16-17 is almost a repeat. “Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” NAS
Therefore God has told us that what we read in the Old Testament simply foreshadows what occurred through Jesus.
And the stories are written as examples for us.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 is a passage listing Old Testament stories and verse 6 says, “Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved.” Verse 11 states “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” NAS
God desires us to receive the instruction and to see the principle He is demonstrating through the stories.
One word about the many killings in the Old Testament: If you are offended or put off by all the wars and killings, remember “our warfare is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NKJ. Our warfare is against the demonic realm. It is not against people, although the enemy uses people and we can see the activity of demons coming through people.
Notice also that there is a hierarchy of demonic rulers in this verse, seen by the top ruling principalities down to the demon helpers. It is similar to the hierarchy in our military service although in the U.S. each military branch has their own respective ranks, for example General, Colonel, Lieutenant, Major, Sergeant, Corporal, Private.
In the Old Testament God gave instructions to have leaders over different sized, people groups: groups of 10, groups of 100, groups of 1000. Just like today we have more experienced leaders with greater authority over larger groups.
I hope this blog causes my readers to see a bigger picture when reading the Old Testament.
Look for the wonderful nuggets the Lord has in His Word. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” Proverbs 25:2 NKJ. Ask yourself, what principle is being highlighted? Then search out what God wants you to see in the story. It may be different for all of us.