Unlocking the Bible’s Symbolism – Part 2

The Cross of Christ is the filter through which Old Testament symbolism passes to make sense of its relevance to us.  Jesus was the guarantee of a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22) so that the New Covenant fulfils and builds on the Old. That is why Galatians 3:29 says that we are the seed of Abraham and heirs according to the promise made to him. Eternal life, healing, provision and every favour of God shown to Old Testament Israel is ours now because of Jesus bringing us into God’s family.

This was foreshadowed in God’s dealings with Abraham.  His willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to the commands of God who ultimately rescued Isaac, anyway, was for a good reason (see Genesis 22). As a promised son with a miraculous birth he gives us a deliberate picture of Jesus. He was accompanied to the sacrifice by two men, he rode a donkey, he carried the wood for the sacrifice on his back, he was placed upon the wood, and he was obedient to the point of death.  All this resembles the sacrifice of Christ.  There was even a substitutionary offering of a ram in place of Isaac as God intervened, forecasting Jesus as a sacrifice substituted for us.  Just as Abraham, God’s covenant partner, was willing to sacrifice his own son, God was willing to do the same.  Tradition even considers the strong possibility that Jesus’ death at Golgotha was on the same mountain.

Finally, the place of the sacrifice was called ‘Jehovah who provides’.  The name Jehovah is a covenant name that speaks of the nature of God’s relationship with His children, rather than using the name Elohim which conveys the meaning of supreme and almighty creator and commander! God is all about relationship with us and His provision through Christ ensures that we have His favour today, unmerited, but unconditional, and certainly unlimited.

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