As a moonlighting fantasy author, I love foreshadowing. I love parallel plots. And I love all the little tricks that an author can employ to completely blow your mind by hinting so subtly at something throughout the entire book that you don’t put it together until you get to the end …
And then realize what the author was planning all along.
It’s so cool!
But guess what? Even my favorite 1,200 page fantasy novel has nothing on the Bible.
Sometimes, perhaps even unconsciously, I think we tend to think of the Bible as two distinct parts. The Old Testament, well, that’s just a record of ancient history that has little relevance for today. You can read it for some cool stories—Ehud, anyone?—but the New Testament is what we’re really interested in as the body of Christ.
That same vein of thought tends to dismiss the system of the Law that God gave the Israelites as Plan A, and when that didn’t work and the Israelites failed time and again to live up to God’s perfect standard, well then God had to go to Plan B and send His Son.
But when the Bible is understood as a whole, it clearly portrays Jesus as the plan from the beginning. 1 Peter 1:19-20 says that He was chosen as the lamb before the Creation of the world. When God spoke to the serpent after Adam and Eve’s disobedience, He speaks of the coming Messiah. I think that one of the best ways to get a good picture of the Bible as one, as a whole, complete story, is a study of the prophecies about Jesus Christ.
To see how every detail of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection was foretold in detail, beginning the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed, is truly amazing.
Not only that, but every aspect of the Law that God gave the Israelites—the customs, the sacrifices, the feasts—all of it was just a shadow of the things to come (Hebrews 10:1). A hint of the bigger picture. From the sacrifices the Israelites were required to make, we see that “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) The Passover points to a spotless lamb slain to allow the Angel of Death to pass over. One blameless life exchanged for another. And in Christ, we see the perfect Passover lamb, slain in accordance with the rules of the Passover, offered as a blameless life in exchange for ours (Hebrews 9:11-14).
But it gets even cooler than that. (Spare me a moment to geek out here!) When God gave Moses the instructions for the Passover feast, He made it clear that not a single bone of the lamb was to be broken (Exodus 12:46). For centuries, God’s chosen people celebrated the Passover, sacrificing the lamb according to God’s instructions and ensuring that the bones were not broken, never realizing the full significance …
Until the Passover when Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, hung on the cross, and the Roman soldiers came around to break his legs and found that He had already given up His spirit. Because He was already dead, they didn’t break His legs, even though they broke the legs of both thieves crucified with Him.
So not one of His bones was broken (John 19:33-37).
Thinking about this sort of things gets me so excited it gives me the chills! Because it reminds me how great and glorious and powerful is the God we serve. All of creation rests in His hands and all time belongs to Him—past, present, and future. And all those books of the Law that we’re so often tempted to skip over—Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy—are richly inlaid with the glorious mystery of the Gospel. God’s plan for Redemption. It’s fascinating, and beautifully so.
I encourage you to study it on your own! Read the Old Testament through the light of the New Testament. And read the New Testament upon the foundation laid in the Old Testament. You can’t have one without the other. It’s one book.
Not sure where to start? Take a look at Hebrews. The author of Hebrews doesn’t break it to you easy. He gets right to the heart of the matter, so it can be a hefty read, but I think you’ll be amazed to catch a glimpse of how God’s plan for redemption has been woven throughout history. So let’s geek out at the brilliance and sovereignty of the Author of Creation!
He alone is truly Awesome.