This is one of the greatest of all theological agreements across the centuries from the very first bible scholars through to such luminaries as the Cappadocian Fathers in the second century, Tertullian in the third, to Augustine a century later, jumping to the reformation to John Calvin, to the last century, Matthew Henry.
The Old Testament with its Old Covenant points to Jesus Christ, the New Covenant. We even see this when old Simeon with the baby Jesus in his arms exclaimed through the Holy Spirit: "A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel." (Luke 2 verse 32)
God in His mercy teaches His people in various ways. The book of Hebrews describes many of these Old Testament images as "shadows" (8:5 and 10:1) of the reality which is Jesus.
Or another way to understand it is like a prototype and the type (the real thing).
Or a fun game we all play is the "Poor Man's Game." Do you know when you are out with family and you see a look-a-like? Someone you see in the crowd that looks like someone else you know. The person you see is a "poor version" of the person you know: hence the name poor man's game. Looking at the shadow/poor man (or woman) helps us understand the reality.
How does it fit into the Bible's big picture?
When we read about the Passover in Exodus 12 we see some important shadows or poor mans' developing. The two key themes or concepts of judgement and salvation from the blood of the lamb.
These all point forward to prepare us for the wonder of Christ's atonement on the cross. When Jesus died on the cross He took upon himself all our sin and gave us His right standing before God. This is a reality that reflects our loving Creator.
As we reflect on another Easter, enjoying this Easter Monday holiday, consider a deeper understanding of Jesus death on Good Friday and the marvellous Easter Sunday resurrection.
Search the Old Testament for these shadows and you will be more amazed at what God has done for us in this salvation plan. Let God's story impact you in this immediate post Easter period.
Jeremy is a former sport scientist, now chaplain & pastor.
Jeremy Dover's archive of articles may be viewed at: www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html