Christ in the Old Testament:

By Jerelyn Wright Pearson


As you know I’ve become interested in learning more about Christ revealed in the Old Testament. God’s revelation of Jesus throughout the Bible is presented as a great mystery, often through events which had a greater meaning and significance than was evident at the time. We recently celebrated Good Friday and Easter, notably the most important observance on the Christian calendar. It closely coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover, the observance of the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians. God chose this time in the earthly life of Jesus for his death, burial and resurrection to occur. When the time came, Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper and gave instructions for its future observance.

As time passed some of his followers fell far away from obedience to his instructions.

Before Paul’s visit to the Corinthians, he had heard of contentions among them. So, it is in the mindset of correction that he instructs them in the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper.

1 Corinthians 1:10-11
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

Paul addressed many points of contention among them. One of the areas of concern was their observance of the Lord’s supper. Paul used pretty strong language to point out their error. Apparently, they were coming together in a party atmosphere of eat, drink, and be merry and calling it the Lord’s supper. They were also neglecting the poor and preventing them from observing the Lord’s supper.

1 Corinthians 11:17-22
17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

Paul instructs them in the proper observance of the Lord’s supper as he received it from the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:23-25
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Here Paul emphasizes that we should reflect on these things often for a purpose.

1 Corinthians 11:26
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

Jesus’ sacrifice was foreshadowed long before he came to live among us, through actual events which occurred in the Old Testament.

Exodus 12:21-22
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

It is interesting to note that hyssop was used by the Jews in purification. Here it was used to apply the impure sacrificial lamb’s blood to the door frame. Even the minutest details have significance. The blood of Jesus would need no added ingredients to cover the sins of the world.

Exodus 12:23
23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

The people were instructed to observe this thing forever, even though at that time the purpose wasn’t revealed.

Exodus 12:24-27
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

The elders were instructed to kill the Passover lamb.

Exodus 12:21
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.

Let’s see what John 1:29 says about Jesus. At this point John the Baptist publicly acknowledged Jesus as the Lamb of God:

John 1:29 (emphasis added)
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

After Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, Paul reminds the Corinthians that Jesus is our Passover.

1 Corinthians 5:7b (emphasis added)
7 For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Before the birth of Jesus, the Israelites had been observing the Passover annually for over 1400 years to remind them that God had not only delivered them from bondage to the Egyptians, but also had spared them from his judgment. Because of the blood of the lamb on the doors, the death that slayed the Egyptians had passed over them.

Jesus, our Passover Lamb, asked us to observe communion to remind us that the shedding of his innocent blood saves us from death and destruction. He paid the penalty for our sin.

Exodus 12 describes specific requirements that the Passover lamb had to meet.

Exodus 12:5a (emphasis added)
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

Let’s see how Christ is described in 1 Peter: He was without blemish.

1 Peter 1:19, 22 (emphasis added)
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  

Exodus 12:8 tells us what was to be eaten at the Passover meal.

Exodus 12:8 (emphasis added)
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Exodus explains how the Israelites’ lives had been made bitter by the Egyptians.

Exodus 1:14 (emphasis added)
And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

As Christians our lives are no longer made bitter by bondage to sin. Jesus has freed us from sin.

Romans 6:22-23
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Along with the Lamb and the bitter herbs, there is a third part of the Passover meal.

Exodus 12:8 (emphasis added)
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

One of the reasons for eating unleavened bread is revealed in the New Testament. The unleavened bread represents Christian purity.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Exodus 12 supplies a more practical reason. The bread was unleavened because of the urgency required in their Exodus. There simply wasn’t time to wait for the bread to rise.

Exodus 12:39
39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.

God made a way for the Israelites, his chosen people, to urgently be set free from their oppressors.  He has also made a way for us, his chosen people, to be set free from the penalty and power of sin that oppresses us.

Now is our time to be obedient to the Lord. We should feel a sense of urgency because our time is limited. 2 Corinthians 6 expresses the urgency surrounding our circumstances.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2
1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

I love to find these connections between events in the Old Testament and the fuller meaning revealed in the New Testament.

Sacrificial lamb   Jesus, the Lamb of God
The Passover    Jesus Our Passover
Hyssop for purification   Pure blood of Christ
Observe Passover annually forever  Observe the Lord’s Supper often until Christ’s return
Lamb 1st year without blemish Jesus without blemish, did no sin, no guile
Many lambs sacrificed: 1 per family  Jesus’ sacrifice once for all
Bitter herbs: lives made bitter by Egyptians Lives made bitter by sin
Unleavened bread: urgency  Urgency and symbol of purity
Deliverance from Egyptian bondage  Deliverance from bondage of sin to eternal life

As we now know, the Israelites still had a long path ahead of them, which provides
us with so many more discoveries to make as the Lord opens our eyes and hearts to receive.

Presented May 24 in French Settlement, Louisiana