Hebrews 8:5 says, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” The Old Testament is full of “types and shadows” of the New Testament. In the OT, the NT is concealed, and in the NT, the OT is revealed. The word “example” means: sign, figure, copy, representation, imitation. The word “shadow” means: sketch, image, outline. Also, Paul wrote that the things in the OT were written for our example (1Cor 10:6).
The reason I laid this foundation for types and shadows is because when one gains an understanding of OT types and shadows, they are better able to understand NT events and teachings. For instance, “Jesus is our Passover” (1Cor 5:7), is much better understood when you read the details in Exodus about the Passover. With that in mind, I would like to look this week at types and shadows of the incarnation (God becoming flesh in the birth of Jesus) found in the OT. I believe it will give us a deeper understanding, and appreciation for, the birth of Christ.
First, we will look at Abel in Gen. 4. I found it very interesting that Abel means “Breath.” God gives to all life and breath (Act 17:25). Jesus breathed on His disciples, and told them to receive the Holy Spirit (Breath - Jn 20:22). Jesus is Creator (Jn 1:3, Col 1:16-17), and breathed life into Adam (Gen 2:7). We also see that Abel was a keeper of sheep (shepherd, Gen 4:2). Of course, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the One and only Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, The Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, and the Chief Shepherd Who will appear again (Jn 10:11, 16; Heb 13:20, 1Pt 2:25, 5:4).
We also see that God The Father had respect unto Abel’s offering (Gen 4:4). Had “respect” means He considered it and had compassion. In other words, He accepted it. There is a powerful truth contained here. Jesus’ offering (being Himself) is the only offering accepted by the Father. There is no more offering for sin. God only accepts Jesus’ offering, so He therefore only accepts those who come to Him through Jesus’ sacrifice. If you bring any other offering for sin to the Father, He must - and He will - reject it. To accept your offering is to reject His Son’s offering. That is unthinkable and impossible. You can go to God whatever way you choose - but I assure you, only one way is acceptable to Him. That is through Jesus.
Isaiah 53:10-11 tells us that the Father made the Son’s soul and offering for sin, and that when He saw the travail of His soul, He was satisfied. Jesus was and is the acceptable sacrifice. The Father is satisfied with the Son’s offering. We can now reap the benefits of His offering, through faith in the Sacrifice, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! What favor! What blessing! What privilege! Jesus was sacrificed in my place! He was acceptable to God the Father! Through faith, trust, and confidence in Christ alone, I am now acceptable to the Father! That is awesome.
This fourth type and shadow is sad but true; righteous Abel’s blood was shed in jealousy by his brother (Gen 4:8, Mt 23:35). In the same way, the righteous blood of Jesus was shed because of the envy and jealousy of the Jewish religious leaders (Mk 15:9-11). Not all Jews, mind you, for much of the first century church was Jewish. However, the religious leaders were jealous of Jesus - His teachings, His power, and His following - and through deceit, false witnesses, and conspiracy, had Jesus executed.
This antichrist spirit is still very alive today. The unrighteous still hate the righteous, and want to rid themselves of them. Darkness still hates the light, and when we shine as lights of righteousness in this dark world, we will draw persecution from darkness. Jesus said “No servant is greater than his master. The world hated me, it will hate you also. The world persecuted me, it will persecute you also” (Jn 15:18-21). However, the righteous are more than conquerors, always caused triumph, and to live is Christ, and to die is gain. As Abel and Jesus, we should rather be persecuted for being light than get along for being darkness. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!