Christ in the Old Testament

Christ in the Old Testament Part 1

This is obviously a vast, extensive subject.  Many studies could not cover every type, shadow, prophesy, etc of Christ in the Old Testament.  It is incredibly difficult to even do the subject justice no matter how much time was devoted to it.  In this Bible Study we have already covered several of the more direct prophecies of Christ, so we’ll especially emphasize the types and shadows of Christ in the Old Testament in handling this topic.

To get right into it then, we’ve got to mention something we’ve already looked at, how the Trinity is illustrated in the opening verses of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1-3: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” 

Compare that with John 1:1-5: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

John 1:14: “ And the Word (not the Father nor the Spirit) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” See also 1 John 1:1-7.

And then we see a picture of Christ’s resurrection in Genesis 1:9-10.  The following happened on the third day.  The dry land ascending up out of the sea became a place of refuge. “ And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

After man fell, God essentially told the devil of the Messiah (the seed of the woman) who was going to come to redeem man and destroy his works.

Genesis 3:14-15: “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

And related to this, there is a great picture of Jesus defeating Satan in David slaying Goliath in 1 Samuel chapter 17.  We know that Jesus is the Son of David according to the flesh; He calls Himself the root and the offspring of David in Revelation chapter 22.  Jesus is the One whom God promised David would sit on His throne forever (see 2 Samuel chapter 7). The angel told Mary in Luke 1:31-33:: “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”  

Goliath in a very obvious sense is a picture of Satan, this prideful giant who reproaches the true God and seeks to eradicate His people and His worship from the face of the earth.  David is a faithful shepherd who rises out of obscurity and slays this giant with his own weapon (David chopped Goliath’s head with Goliath’s sword)- and thus causes a great victory for God and a great deliverance for God’s people.  Jesus destroyed Satan with his own weapon, death; and thus gave the greatest, ultimate victory for God’s kingdom and those who would come into line with God (i.e. subjection to the kingdom of God) and worship Him in spirit and truth.  Hebrews 2:14 says: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”

And by the way, as we’ve seen so much, but it’s worth looking at more: The actualization of Jesus’ defeat of Satan requires man’s cooperation in obeying and following the conquering Messiah.  

1 John 3:7-10: “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

We either are aligned with the serpent or the seed of the woman (i.e. Christ).  All have sinned and followed the devil, so we must be born again by exercising a living faith in Jesus Christ the Lord in order to partake of His triumph over our great enemy, that old serpent who is the devil and Satan (see Revelation 20:2 which equates the dragon, the old serpent, the devil, and Satan).

Romans 8:35-39: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  

Romans 16:17-20: “17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”

John 12:31-33: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

Revelation 12:10-11: “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

The nature of the Messiah’s victory, involving death and shed blood, is also shown later in Genesis chapter 3.  God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins to cover their nakedness, something which the aprons of fig leaves which Adam and Eve had sown on themselves in Genesis 3:7, did not adequately do.

Genesis 3:21: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

Consider: Did Eve’s outfit here include a head-covering?  It’s hard to see otherwise, since we know from 1 Corinthians 11:7 that the head-covering has its foundations in God’s inherent order, something which He strongly sought to establish in His clothing of man after the fall.

1 Corinthians 11:7: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”

Back in Genesis 3:16, God had told Eve that her husband would rule over her, though her fallen tendency would involve a desire to rule over him.  Obviously the head-covering is a reminder of this truth, both then and now, as well as in the 1st century. 

We then see another picture of Christ in Noah, a man who walked with God in a very corrupt period of time.  Due to his faithfulness, God made a way of salvation to any who would heed his righteous preaching and enter into the ark which he faithfully built through much labor.  Noah was obviously a fallen man who needed the grace of God, which could only be given to him because of what Christ would ultimately do (in fulfilling the very thing which Noah became a type and shadow of.  How neat).  Yet we know there are conditions for obtaining God’s grace.  And we know that not being able to earn something, and needing to get it by the grace of the giver, doesn’t eliminate the giver laying down terms of partaking of his gracious offer.  And so Noah, like all people whom God deems righteous, obtained grace by turning to God with his whole heart and walking before Him with a living faith which rejected sin and diligently worked right in God’s eyes.  And due to his zeal and persistence in this, God extended favor to him and gave him a way to be spared from the dreadful judgment which He had determined to bring upon the world.  And not only that, but this way would make him a picture of Christ in being a Captain of salvation (see Hebrews 2:10) for the potential salvation of others who would follow him.

Genesis 6:5-22: “5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. 17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

Others could have heeded Noah’s righteous preaching, obtained entry into the ark, and so been spared by the grace of God also.  Noah was preaching and warning for sure.  

2 Peter 2:4-6: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly”  

But the rest, besides his wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives, persisted in sin, remained ungodly, and were destroyed when God brought judgment upon those who were ungodly.  This happened just as Noah had warned; and as Enoch had also warned a few generations earlier.  Jude 14-15: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Jesus obviously labored and suffered to make a way to bring salvation to all that obey Him, as we looked at in detail in our study last week.  If people would just heed the Old Testament examples and illustrations of salvation, they would be spared from so much falsehood and misleading, damning concepts.  Obviously salvation in Noah’s time was founded upon Noah’s faithfulness and labor, but that did not profit anyone who did not actually heed and faithfully follow Noah, who was obviously a picture and a type of Christ in this.  Christ’s personal righteousness will not be credited to anyone, though He will cleanse and justify through His atonement those who come to Him on His terms and walk by faith in the light (imputed righteousness, not the same as the imputed righteousness of Christ, they sound almost the same, yet there is a universe of difference; they are two different gospels really), the entire package of Christianity (which baptism is supposed to represent our submission to).  We must personally obey Him and enter into what He has built for our salvation, not just trust in what He has done.  Imagine one trusting in Noah to be their personal Savior from the flood- while not heeding his righteous preaching and entering into the ark themselves!  This illustrates the difference between the false doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ versus Biblical imputed righteousness that actually saves.

1 Peter 3:21-22: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Hebrews 11:7: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”  This proves that the rest of the world could have entered the ark and been saved too had they heeded Noah and become a part of his household in a spiritual sense (see also Hebrews 3:4-6).

Hebrews 6:11-20: “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (note the sharp contrast). 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  

Jesus is the forerunner since we obviously need to run the Christian race of faith ourselves and follow Him in doing the will of God to partake of His redemption (see also Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 John 2:1-6, etc).

Obviously there are also lessons in the sufferings it would have taken to forsake family, friends, etc to turn to righteousness and to be ready to enter the Ark before the flood came.  And there are lessons in the sufferings and inconveniences that being on the Ark to be spared from judgment would have required.  The timing of all this is obviously not a precise parallel to what we face (faithful Christians are in principle or figuratively on the Ark before the judgment hits, etc).  Yet lack of precision in this, and in many other examples, doesn’t void the obvious valuable lessons nor nullify the types and shadows as much as they evidently do apply to Christ and Christianity. 

There is also then a picture of Christ’s resurrection, and of our resurrection with Him, in Noah and those with him being let go from the Ark and walking out into a world purged of wickedness. In a sense the world had been purified and made new.  God’s remembrance of Noah and those with him in the ark (Genesis 8:1), and his subsequent blessing of them (Genesis 9:1), are great encouragement to those who are going through long and/or frustrating trials for the Lord’s sake.

And that brings us to Jonah.  Jonah is a type of Christ in several ways- and we’ll see that Jesus in the Gospels spoke about one of the most obvious and foremost ways that this is so.  

Jonah disobeys God and is on a ship fleeing from his prophetic calling (Jonah chapter 1).  God then sends a storm to rebuke Jonah.  There are a lot of parallels with Christ even in this, yet also key differences (which we talked about before as being normal with Biblical types and shadows- there can be valuable lessons too in analyzing the differences).  God sent the storm against Jonah’s ship as a rebuke, but not so with the storm Jesus and His disciples faced.  Jonah foolishly slept through the storm that God sent against him, while Jesus calmly and righteously slept through the storm that He and His disciples went through as they were in the ship. Both Jonah and Jesus were awakened by their fellow sailors who wanted their help and marveled that they were sleeping through the storm.  Both actually ended up stopping the storm and calming the sea, yet in very different ways.  Jesus exercised His divine, righteous authority to command this to happen.  Jonah on the other hand is exposed through the interrogation of the other sailors as a disobedient prophet and the one who is in fact the cause of the storm that has been sent.  He gets thrown overboard by the other sailors at his own insistence; and despite the other sailor’s reluctance.  This is by the way in itself an illustration of how Christ died of His own will to stop the storm of God’s controversy with guilty mankind, though Christ was innocent, since in His case He suffered as the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, as 1 Peter 3:18 speaks of.  Those who crucified Him in His innocence were eager to do so, while (ironically) those who threw guilty Jonah overboard were not eager to do so.  In each case the wind ceasing and the sea being calmed caused the other sailors to fear God exceedingly (see Mark 4:35-41 for an account of the storm Jesus and His disciples faced while at sea- which is also a lesson that being with Jesus in the will of God won’t always spare you from having to go through storms).  

Jonah is then swallowed by a great fish after he is cast into the sea.  Jonah repents while inside the fish’s belly, which obviously involves submitting to go to Nineveh to preach, which he had disobeyed God in.  This disobedience was the reason he was sailing to Tarshish at the time God sent the storm upon the ship he was in.  After he repents, he is heaved up by the fish onto dry land (Jonah 2:10).  

And by the way, there are modern stories of people being rescued alive after being swallowed by sea creatures, definitely whales and I think there is at least one case with one swallowed by a shark surviving as well.  Sharks are technically fish and whales are technically mammals, but the Hebrew word in Jonah chapter 2 here could refer to any large sea creature.  That means it could have been a whale or a shark or something else that swallowed Jonah.  Jesus spoke of the historical truth of Jonah being swallowed by the sea creature and then spewed out alive; and He obviously considered this as a picture of His own burial and resurrection.  

Matthew 12:38-42: “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”

Jesus’ presence being not sufficiently regarded was a condemnation to Israel even before His divinity was confirmed by His death, burial, and resurrection.  How much more so is Israel guilty for rejecting Him now??  The same goes with all who have heard the Gospel of His Kingdom and yet refused to repent.  We also see how God was going to overthrow Nineveh for the wicked works of the Ninevites; and thus in turning to God, so that He accepted them and spared them, the Ninevites turned from their evil works.  

Jonah 3:4-10: “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

Consider then the message of a true and faithful Gospel preacher.  

Acts 26:13-23: “At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. 21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. 22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: 23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” See also Romans 2, Psalm 2, etc.

Also consider the example of Jonah coming to Nineveh, paralleled with Jesus being incarnate and dwelling In Israe;l and Jesus’ Apostles going to gentile cities, with this passage that is difficult to understand and easy to misinterpret.

Acts 17:29-31:  “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

God never winked at sin in terms of approving it or ignoring it.  People have always been, and will always be, accountable to God in all things.  Yet most heathen cities, probably including Athens where Paul was speaking in Acts chapter 17, had probably never been confronted so directly by a faithful servant of God with such an accurate, powerful testimony of light, exposing their sin and calling them to repentance, like the Ninevites had through Jonah’s visitation.  And now with the assurance of a resurrection, and an accompanying Day of Judgment, as has been witnessed so brightly to mankind through Christ’s resurrection, those who are visited with the true Gospel of Christ and called to repentance have less excuse for sin, particularly idolatry, and more accountability to God than heathen places had before such a testimony and visitation.  That is the great lesson Paul was seeking to drive home to the Athenians in Acts 17- not that sin was ever excusable and not that their idolatrous, sin-loving ancestors weren’t already in hell.  Paul had said something very similar to a different group of heathen in Acts chapter 14, on his first missionary journey (he visited Athens on his 2nd missionary journey).  

Acts 14:13-17: “Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. 14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”

Thankfully, unlike Jonah after the Ninevites repented (see Jonah’s bad attitude about this in Jonah chapter 4), Jesus rejoices when a sinner repents and obtains His mercy and grace.

John 6:37: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Luke 15:1-10: “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” 

Also, the Prodigal Son story is then given in Luke 15:11-32 which teaches the same basic lesson.  Like the older brother when this story ends, the Book of Jonah closes with Jonah himself needing to repent of his hard, unmerciful heart (which was probably the reason he disobeyed God at first and refused to go to Nineveh.  Not having the pressure of being in the fish’s belly helped him forget the bitter nature of his sin which God had demonstrated to him by the power of the storm he faced, his being thrown into the sea, and being swallowed by the fish).  Anger at God showing mercy to others when their repentance is evident is the opposite of loving mercy, something which God requires of us (see Micah 6:8).  Loving mercy by God’s definition does not mean saying that others are okay or safe in their sins, when they evidently have sin in their lives.  That is opposing true mercy, as it is misleading others and is in actuality acting hateful towards others.  Yet we should love it when others put themselves in a place to find God’s mercy by giving Him glory and walking in the light of His Word (like the Ninevites did and like the Prodigal Son’s return to his father illustrates so well).

So hopefully, if the Lord wills, next week we will continue with this great topic.  There is so much more to cover.  Even if we cover the things I hope to cover, we would likely be getting only the tip of the iceberg on this subject.  Fortunately though, if you love God’s Word and you are a disciple of Christ who is eager and ready to hear the Word and walk in it in sincerity and truth, then the Lord can teach you more about this subject through the Holy Spirit like He taught His own disciples about it when He was on earth.  He particularly did this after His resurrection.

Luke 24:25-27 & 41-53: “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself… And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43 And he took it, and did eat before them. 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.”

When Christ blessed His disciples before He was taken away into heaven, it is very possible He blessed them with the blessing which Israel’s High Priest was given to bless faithful Israelites with.  Jesus is indeed the Ultimate High Priest which Israel’s High Priest was a picture and a shadow of.  

Numbers 6:22-27: And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

It’s His will to bless His faithful people still.  And though His definition of blessing is greatly different from the world’s definition, we can be sure that true revelation of Himself is a great blessing which He is certainly willing to grant to all who seek Him with their whole hearts and believe His Word.  An appropriate prayer to pray then in relation to this topic; and in relation to any topic of eternal importance is found in Psalm 119:17-18: “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

If you want to live and keep His Word, believe that He wants to open your eyes to behold the treasures of His Word.

Luke 10:20-24: “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven (being rightly related to God is the number one priority and nothing in truth compares to that). 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. 22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. 23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings (many of whom were types and shadows of Christ themselves somehow) have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

Romans 8:32: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”  

Especially the treasures of His Word which can now be known through the appearing of Christ, the completeness of His redemption being accomplished, and the Bible now complete and available from beginning to end.

This is obviously a vast, extensive subject.  Many studies could not cover every type, shadow, prophesy, etc of Christ in the Old Testament.  It is incredibly difficult to even do the subject justice no matter how much time was devoted to it.  In this Bible Study we have already covered several of the more direct prophecies of Christ, so we’ll especially emphasize the types and shadows of Christ in the Old Testament in handling this topic.

To get right into it then, we’ve got to mention something we’ve already looked at, how the Trinity is illustrated in the opening verses of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1-3: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” 

Compare that with John 1:1-5: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

John 1:14: “ And the Word (not the Father nor the Spirit) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” See also 1 John 1:1-7.

And then we see a picture of Christ’s resurrection in Genesis 1:9-10.  The following happened on the third day.  The dry land ascending up out of the sea became a place of refuge. “ And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

After man fell, God essentially told the devil of the Messiah (the seed of the woman) who was going to come to redeem man and destroy his works.

Genesis 3:14-15: “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

And related to this, there is a great picture of Jesus defeating Satan in David slaying Goliath in 1 Samuel chapter 17.  We know that Jesus is the Son of David according to the flesh; He calls Himself the root and the offspring of David in Revelation chapter 22.  Jesus is the One whom God promised David would sit on His throne forever (see 2 Samuel chapter 7). The angel told Mary in Luke 1:31-33:: “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”  

Goliath in a very obvious sense is a picture of Satan, this prideful giant who reproaches the true God and seeks to eradicate His people and His worship from the face of the earth.  David is a faithful shepherd who rises out of obscurity and slays this giant with his own weapon (David chopped Goliath’s head with Goliath’s sword)- and thus causes a great victory for God and a great deliverance for God’s people.  Jesus destroyed Satan with his own weapon, death; and thus gave the greatest, ultimate victory for God’s kingdom and those who would come into line with God (i.e. subjection to the kingdom of God) and worship Him in spirit and truth.  Hebrews 2:14 says: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”

And by the way, as we’ve seen so much, but it’s worth looking at more: The actualization of Jesus’ defeat of Satan requires man’s cooperation in obeying and following the conquering Messiah.  

1 John 3:7-10: “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

We either are aligned with the serpent or the seed of the woman (i.e. Christ).  All have sinned and followed the devil, so we must be born again by exercising a living faith in Jesus Christ the Lord in order to partake of His triumph over our great enemy, that old serpent who is the devil and Satan (see Revelation 20:2 which equates the dragon, the old serpent, the devil, and Satan).

Romans 8:35-39: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  

Romans 16:17-20: “17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”

John 12:31-33: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

Revelation 12:10-11: “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

The nature of the Messiah’s victory, involving death and shed blood, is also shown later in Genesis chapter 3.  God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins to cover their nakedness, something which the aprons of fig leaves which Adam and Eve had sown on themselves in Genesis 3:7, did not adequately do.

Genesis 3:21: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”

Consider: Did Eve’s outfit here include a head-covering?  It’s hard to see otherwise, since we know from 1 Corinthians 11:7 that the head-covering has its foundations in God’s inherent order, something which He strongly sought to establish in His clothing of man after the fall.

1 Corinthians 11:7: “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”

Back in Genesis 3:16, God had told Eve that her husband would rule over her, though her fallen tendency would involve a desire to rule over him.  Obviously the head-covering is a reminder of this truth, both then and now, as well as in the 1st century. 

We then see another picture of Christ in Noah, a man who walked with God in a very corrupt period of time.  Due to his faithfulness, God made a way of salvation to any who would heed his righteous preaching and enter into the ark which he faithfully built through much labor.  Noah was obviously a fallen man who needed the grace of God, which could only be given to him because of what Christ would ultimately do (in fulfilling the very thing which Noah became a type and shadow of.  How neat).  Yet we know there are conditions for obtaining God’s grace.  And we know that not being able to earn something, and needing to get it by the grace of the giver, doesn’t eliminate the giver laying down terms of partaking of his gracious offer.  And so Noah, like all people whom God deems righteous, obtained grace by turning to God with his whole heart and walking before Him with a living faith which rejected sin and diligently worked right in God’s eyes.  And due to his zeal and persistence in this, God extended favor to him and gave him a way to be spared from the dreadful judgment which He had determined to bring upon the world.  And not only that, but this way would make him a picture of Christ in being a Captain of salvation (see Hebrews 2:10) for the potential salvation of others who would follow him.

Genesis 6:5-22: “5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. 15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. 16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. 17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. 18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

Others could have heeded Noah’s righteous preaching, obtained entry into the ark, and so been spared by the grace of God also.  Noah was preaching and warning for sure.  

2 Peter 2:4-6: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly”  

But the rest, besides his wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives, persisted in sin, remained ungodly, and were destroyed when God brought judgment upon those who were ungodly.  This happened just as Noah had warned; and as Enoch had also warned a few generations earlier.  Jude 14-15: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Jesus obviously labored and suffered to make a way to bring salvation to all that obey Him, as we looked at in detail in our study last week.  If people would just heed the Old Testament examples and illustrations of salvation, they would be spared from so much falsehood and misleading, damning concepts.  Obviously salvation in Noah’s time was founded upon Noah’s faithfulness and labor, but that did not profit anyone who did not actually heed and faithfully follow Noah, who was obviously a picture and a type of Christ in this.  Christ’s personal righteousness will not be credited to anyone, though He will cleanse and justify through His atonement those who come to Him on His terms and walk by faith in the light (imputed righteousness, not the same as the imputed righteousness of Christ, they sound almost the same, yet there is a universe of difference; they are two different gospels really), the entire package of Christianity (which baptism is supposed to represent our submission to).  We must personally obey Him and enter into what He has built for our salvation, not just trust in what He has done.  Imagine one trusting in Noah to be their personal Savior from the flood- while not heeding his righteous preaching and entering into the ark themselves!  This illustrates the difference between the false doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ versus Biblical imputed righteousness that actually saves.

1 Peter 3:21-22: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Hebrews 11:7: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”  This proves that the rest of the world could have entered the ark and been saved too had they heeded Noah and become a part of his household in a spiritual sense (see also Hebrews 3:4-6).

Hebrews 6:11-20: “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (note the sharp contrast). 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  

Jesus is the forerunner since we obviously need to run the Christian race of faith ourselves and follow Him in doing the will of God to partake of His redemption (see also Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 John 2:1-6, etc).

Obviously there are also lessons in the sufferings it would have taken to forsake family, friends, etc to turn to righteousness and to be ready to enter the Ark before the flood came.  And there are lessons in the sufferings and inconveniences that being on the Ark to be spared from judgment would have required.  The timing of all this is obviously not a precise parallel to what we face (faithful Christians are in principle or figuratively on the Ark before the judgment hits, etc).  Yet lack of precision in this, and in many other examples, doesn’t void the obvious valuable lessons nor nullify the types and shadows as much as they evidently do apply to Christ and Christianity. 

There is also then a picture of Christ’s resurrection, and of our resurrection with Him, in Noah and those with him being let go from the Ark and walking out into a world purged of wickedness. In a sense the world had been purified and made new.  God’s remembrance of Noah and those with him in the ark (Genesis 8:1), and his subsequent blessing of them (Genesis 9:1), are great encouragement to those who are going through long and/or frustrating trials for the Lord’s sake.

And that brings us to Jonah.  Jonah is a type of Christ in several ways- and we’ll see that Jesus in the Gospels spoke about one of the most obvious and foremost ways that this is so.  

Jonah disobeys God and is on a ship fleeing from his prophetic calling (Jonah chapter 1).  God then sends a storm to rebuke Jonah.  There are a lot of parallels with Christ even in this, yet also key differences (which we talked about before as being normal with Biblical types and shadows- there can be valuable lessons too in analyzing the differences).  God sent the storm against Jonah’s ship as a rebuke, but not so with the storm Jesus and His disciples faced.  Jonah foolishly slept through the storm that God sent against him, while Jesus calmly and righteously slept through the storm that He and His disciples went through as they were in the ship. Both Jonah and Jesus were awakened by their fellow sailors who wanted their help and marveled that they were sleeping through the storm.  Both actually ended up stopping the storm and calming the sea, yet in very different ways.  Jesus exercised His divine, righteous authority to command this to happen.  Jonah on the other hand is exposed through the interrogation of the other sailors as a disobedient prophet and the one who is in fact the cause of the storm that has been sent.  He gets thrown overboard by the other sailors at his own insistence; and despite the other sailor’s reluctance.  This is by the way in itself an illustration of how Christ died of His own will to stop the storm of God’s controversy with guilty mankind, though Christ was innocent, since in His case He suffered as the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, as 1 Peter 3:18 speaks of.  Those who crucified Him in His innocence were eager to do so, while (ironically) those who threw guilty Jonah overboard were not eager to do so.  In each case the wind ceasing and the sea being calmed caused the other sailors to fear God exceedingly (see Mark 4:35-41 for an account of the storm Jesus and His disciples faced while at sea- which is also a lesson that being with Jesus in the will of God won’t always spare you from having to go through storms).  

Jonah is then swallowed by a great fish after he is cast into the sea.  Jonah repents while inside the fish’s belly, which obviously involves submitting to go to Nineveh to preach, which he had disobeyed God in.  This disobedience was the reason he was sailing to Tarshish at the time God sent the storm upon the ship he was in.  After he repents, he is heaved up by the fish onto dry land (Jonah 2:10).  

And by the way, there are modern stories of people being rescued alive after being swallowed by sea creatures, definitely whales and I think there is at least one case with one swallowed by a shark surviving as well.  Sharks are technically fish and whales are technically mammals, but the Hebrew word in Jonah chapter 2 here could refer to any large sea creature.  That means it could have been a whale or a shark or something else that swallowed Jonah.  Jesus spoke of the historical truth of Jonah being swallowed by the sea creature and then spewed out alive; and He obviously considered this as a picture of His own burial and resurrection.  

Matthew 12:38-42: “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”

Jesus’ presence being not sufficiently regarded was a condemnation to Israel even before His divinity was confirmed by His death, burial, and resurrection.  How much more so is Israel guilty for rejecting Him now??  The same goes with all who have heard the Gospel of His Kingdom and yet refused to repent.  We also see how God was going to overthrow Nineveh for the wicked works of the Ninevites; and thus in turning to God, so that He accepted them and spared them, the Ninevites turned from their evil works.  

Jonah 3:4-10: “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

Consider then the message of a true and faithful Gospel preacher.  

Acts 26:13-23: “At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. 21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. 22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: 23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” See also Romans 2, Psalm 2, etc.

Also consider the example of Jonah coming to Nineveh, paralleled with Jesus being incarnate and dwelling In Israe;l and Jesus’ Apostles going to gentile cities, with this passage that is difficult to understand and easy to misinterpret.

Acts 17:29-31:  “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

God never winked at sin in terms of approving it or ignoring it.  People have always been, and will always be, accountable to God in all things.  Yet most heathen cities, probably including Athens where Paul was speaking in Acts chapter 17, had probably never been confronted so directly by a faithful servant of God with such an accurate, powerful testimony of light, exposing their sin and calling them to repentance, like the Ninevites had through Jonah’s visitation.  And now with the assurance of a resurrection, and an accompanying Day of Judgment, as has been witnessed so brightly to mankind through Christ’s resurrection, those who are visited with the true Gospel of Christ and called to repentance have less excuse for sin, particularly idolatry, and more accountability to God than heathen places had before such a testimony and visitation.  That is the great lesson Paul was seeking to drive home to the Athenians in Acts 17- not that sin was ever excusable and not that their idolatrous, sin-loving ancestors weren’t already in hell.  Paul had said something very similar to a different group of heathen in Acts chapter 14, on his first missionary journey (he visited Athens on his 2nd missionary journey).  

Acts 14:13-17: “Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. 14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”

Thankfully, unlike Jonah after the Ninevites repented (see Jonah’s bad attitude about this in Jonah chapter 4), Jesus rejoices when a sinner repents and obtains His mercy and grace.

John 6:37: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Luke 15:1-10: “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” 

Also, the Prodigal Son story is then given in Luke 15:11-32 which teaches the same basic lesson.  Like the older brother when this story ends, the Book of Jonah closes with Jonah himself needing to repent of his hard, unmerciful heart (which was probably the reason he disobeyed God at first and refused to go to Nineveh.  Not having the pressure of being in the fish’s belly helped him forget the bitter nature of his sin which God had demonstrated to him by the power of the storm he faced, his being thrown into the sea, and being swallowed by the fish).  Anger at God showing mercy to others when their repentance is evident is the opposite of loving mercy, something which God requires of us (see Micah 6:8).  Loving mercy by God’s definition does not mean saying that others are okay or safe in their sins, when they evidently have sin in their lives.  That is opposing true mercy, as it is misleading others and is in actuality acting hateful towards others.  Yet we should love it when others put themselves in a place to find God’s mercy by giving Him glory and walking in the light of His Word (like the Ninevites did and like the Prodigal Son’s return to his father illustrates so well).

So hopefully, if the Lord wills, next week we will continue with this great topic.  There is so much more to cover.  Even if we cover the things I hope to cover, we would likely be getting only the tip of the iceberg on this subject.  Fortunately though, if you love God’s Word and you are a disciple of Christ who is eager and ready to hear the Word and walk in it in sincerity and truth, then the Lord can teach you more about this subject through the Holy Spirit like He taught His own disciples about it when He was on earth.  He particularly did this after His resurrection.

Luke 24:25-27 & 41-53: “Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself… And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? 42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. 43 And he took it, and did eat before them. 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And ye are witnesses of these things. 49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.”

When Christ blessed His disciples before He was taken away into heaven, it is very possible He blessed them with the blessing which Israel’s High Priest was given to bless faithful Israelites with.  Jesus is indeed the Ultimate High Priest which Israel’s High Priest was a picture and a shadow of.  

Numbers 6:22-27: And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

It’s His will to bless His faithful people still.  And though His definition of blessing is greatly different from the world’s definition, we can be sure that true revelation of Himself is a great blessing which He is certainly willing to grant to all who seek Him with their whole hearts and believe His Word.  An appropriate prayer to pray then in relation to this topic; and in relation to any topic of eternal importance is found in Psalm 119:17-18: “Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

If you want to live and keep His Word, believe that He wants to open your eyes to behold the treasures of His Word.

Luke 10:20-24: “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven (being rightly related to God is the number one priority and nothing in truth compares to that). 21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. 22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. 23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings (many of whom were types and shadows of Christ themselves somehow) have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

Romans 8:32: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”  

Especially the treasures of His Word which can now be known through the appearing of Christ, the completeness of His redemption being accomplished, and the Bible now complete and available from beginning to end.

For any questions or clarification on this study, contact bro Aaron at [email protected]

ADDITIONAL RELEVANT STUDIES

“Did Jesus Correct Moses?  Expanded”

How to get to the Cross