Gospel Relevance

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Jesus in The Old Testament

Note: The content of this post was adapted by Tim Keller. You can watch Keller further elaborate on this point here.

The key to reading the Bible is to see Jesus in every verse, chapter, and book. The events and characters in the Old Testament are seen as prefiguring Jesus in the New Testament. The theologians call this typology. Below are a list of characters in the Old Testament and how Jesus is greater and better than all of them.

Adam: Failed the test in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus: Passed the test in the Garden of Gethsemane and whose obedience is imputed to us.

Abel: Innocently slain but his blood cannot save us.
Jesus: Innocently slain and his blood covers all our sins.

Abraham: Left his home to do the work of God and is considered to be the father of many Nations.
Jesus: Left heaven to do the work of God and is the Creator of all the Nations.

Isaac: Carried his own wood to the place of his would be execution but was spared.
Jesus: Carried the wooden cross to the place of his execution and was slaughtered.

Jacob: Wrested with God.
Jesus: Wrestled with God in the Garden of Gethsemane and took the blow that we deserve.

Moses: Mediator between God and the Israelites.
Jesus: The ultimate Mediator and intercessor for all of God’s elect.

Job: Innocently suffered while his dumb friends were of no help.
Jesus: Innocently suffered and his friends — Peter, James, and John — fell asleep while Jesus suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane likewise proving to be useless.

David: A great King.
Jesus: The King of all Kings.

Jonah: Spent three days in a whale and whom God would later use to save a large number in Nineveh.
Jesus: Spent three days in the grave to save a multitude greater than Nineveh.

Nehemiah: Rebuilt Jerusalem.
Jesus: Building a New Jerusalem for our eternal home.

Hosea: Married an unfaithful whoring wife, Gomer, (I like to call her Gomer The Domer) whom he continued to pursue and love.
Jesus: Continually pursues and loves his unfaithful Bride, the Church.

Clearly, the Bible is about Someone other than you.

Post your comments below.

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. Learn more.

9 Replies

  1. That’s really interesting, thank you for the new viewpoint. Jesus was sent to overturn the old laws and make a new covenant to us, but I’d never realised the correlation with figures from the Old Testament before quite like you point out.

  2. Awesome! I’m happy that God has opened your eyes to see the supremacy of Jesus in the Old Testament.

  3. Lots of good insight here on your blog:) Stay Blessed!

  4. Amen, David. That Keller video is one of my all-time favorites.

  5. Me too, James. I really like Tim Keller. God has used him to help me grow in my faith tremendously.

  6. Hello there David! Wonderful post. 🙂 I am sad when so many people I know struggle with seeing the relevancy of the Old Testament to their own lives. If Jesus is woven through the entire thing, how can it not be relavent?? So blessed to see someone bring the topic up and have great examples to go with it. 🙂

  7. I know it’s not as straight forward as the other old testament people, but Melchizedek was also a type of Christ, and more than likely even Christ himself. “Priest forever…”, etc… Good stuff man.

  8. Thanks for the addition, Chris.