I am a strong believer that everything in the Old Testament points to Christ.
Everywhere you turn in the Old Covenant, you discover that God purposely tied “threads of redemption” to point to the coming Messiah. Some are rather obvious (like prophecies) and some are hidden—needing Jesus as the key or that which unveils the depth of the passage.
In talking about the Jews and their understanding of the Old Testament, Paul said “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:14).
In other words, when Jews read the Old Testament they are blind to what it is talking about—though they may understand in a historic sense, they miss the meaning because it all points to Jesus Christ … He is the “key” that removes the veil and gives clarity to the entire Bible. Paul is saying that Jesus is on every page of Scripture.
Let me give you an example of how this “thread of redemption” (Jesus) is seen in the Old Testament.
What is in a Name?
Shakespeare is famous for asking what is in a name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. However, when you study Scripture you find that names are important. A name wasn’t just something used to refer to someone, it was symbolic of their nature, character, attitude, makeup. A name is more than a name.
This is why name changes were so important in the Old Testament. When God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, it wasn’t because God was tired of the name “Jacob,” it was because God was changing the life and nature of a man. Jacob means manipulator, deceiver, trickster, liar, etc—which Jacob was—but after wrestling with God, God changed his name to Israel (the one who wrestles with God, or perhaps better stated, the Prince of God).
In Genesis 5 there appears to be a seemingly unimportant genealogy of Adam. We realize this is significant as it relates to the line of Jesus (see Luke 3), but why take the time to mention all the details of each individual?
What is profound is when you begin to look at the meaning of each of the names.
- Adam: man
- Seth: appointed
- Enosh: mortal, frail, or miserable
- Kenan (Cainan): sorrow, dirge, elegy
- Mahalalel: the Blessed God (coming from Mahalal: blessed or praise | El: name for God)
- Jared: this is from the verb which means “shall come down”
- Enoch: commencement or teaching
- Methuselah: his death shall bring (coming from Meth: death | Shalach: to bring/send forth)
- Lamech: despairing (root of this word is where we get our English word lament or lamentation)
- Noah: comfort, rest (derived from nacham: to bring relief or comfort)
What may appear as an insignificant list of names becomes an incredible picture of the Gospel of Christ.
- Man (is)
- sorrow; (but)
- the Blessed God
- shall come down
- teaching (that)
- His death shall bring
- the despairing
- comfort, rest
When you read the meaning of the names (as it would have been understood to a Hebrew listing the genealogy) you see how God, even at the very beginning, weaved a picture of the coming Messiah even into the names/lineage of the first ten people through whom that coming Christ would be birthed through.
May the Blessed God (Ephesians 1:3) who has come down, teach you today that His death has brought us comfort and rest in Himself.
The Lineage of Majesty
I have the wonderful opportunity to work on the Bravehearted Media Group which creates resources and content mainly seen on BraveheartedChristian.com. One such project was taking the lineage of Jesus found in Matthew 1 (from Abraham through Joseph to Jesus) and Luke 3 (from Adam through Mary to Jesus) and revealing how Jesus and the Gospel are seen through the meaning of the names of those in the lineage. Check it out:
If you liked the video above, I’d encourage you to check out the other two videos in The Return of Majesty Trilogy.
As you read and study the Old Testament, remember that everything in the Old is pointing to the New (Jesus, His work upon the Cross, and the Gospel). In a similar sense, when we read and study the New Testament, we must remember that it doesn’t stand separate from the Old but is built upon it—and thus we must have and know both in our studies.
What a Jesus!