God's Word For You is a free Bible Study site committed to bringing you studies firmly grounded in the Bible – the Word of God. Holding a reformed, conservative, evangelical perspective this site affirms that God has provided in Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of salvation in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace.



© Rosemary Bardsley 2023

In Studies 4 and 19 we looked at God’s eternal purpose, planned before the beginning of time, which he accomplished in the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

This good purpose, this amazing plan for our salvation, was so clear and fixed in God’s mind that right from the very beginning he embedded prophetic anticipations of its fulfilment in our human history, in the history of the people he set apart through whom he would accomplish this purpose, and in the revelation of himself recorded by those people. All that we have looked at in the previous six studies was anticipated in the Old Testament. These prophetic anticipations are in various forms and symbols – in words, and in various historical events, rituals, and roles. When Jesus came, he deliberately aligned himself with the eternal purpose of God: he came to accomplish the will of God (Hebrews 10:7).Everything he did was in line with his Father’s purpose. The Gospels repeatedly tell us that his choices were governed by ‘it is written’; what he did, he did in order that what was written about him in the Old Testament ‘might be fulfilled’.

In and through Jesus Christ God was working out his good purpose; nothing, not even God’s enemies, could prevent the fulfilment of his purpose. Rather, God used those enemies and their wickedness in the fulfilment of his grand eternal plan accomplished in his Son.

When the resurrected Jesus spoke to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and then later to the eleven, he taught them things about himself from the Old Testament Scriptures:

Luke 24:25 – 27: ‘He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.’

Luke 24:44, 45: ‘He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.’

We will now look at a selection of those prophetic anticipations fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus Christ.


From the very first promise in the Bible Jesus Christ fulfils the promises of the Old Testament covenants:

Read these verses. How are they fulfilled in Jesus Christ?
Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14 – John 12:31; Colossians 2:15


Genesis 22:18 – Galatians 3:16


2Samuel 7:16 – Isaiah 9:6, 7; Luke 1:33; Romans 1:3; Revelation 5:5; 17:14; 22:16


Jesus Christ is the one ‘offspring’ of the woman, who defeated Satan. He is the single ‘offspring’ of Abraham, through whom all nations of the earth are blessed. He is the descendant of David (the ‘root of Jesse’, and ‘lion of Judah’), whose kingdom endures forever.

There is also that other covenant, the Sinai covenant, which is a covenant of law; this covenant also is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In his life, Jesus fully met the righteous demands of the Law. In his death he fully bore the just penalty of the law that was against us. We are saved by grace, but only because Jesus Christ kept, fully kept, the Law.

Read these verses. What insight do they give about how Christ fulfilled this covenant of law?
Matthew 5:17, 18

John 8:46a

John 19:6

Romans 3:25 – 26

Galatians 3:10, 13

Hebrews 4:15

1Peter 2:24; 3:18

Jesus lived a real human life, without sin, fully keeping the Law, for us. Jesus, as our substitute, suffered the full penalty prescribed by the Law, for us. Without this Sinai Covenant, with its detailing of both the requirements and penalties of the Law, we would not understand how great a thing it is that Jesus did for us. Hence, in defining sin and its penalties, the Sinai covenant helps us to see how immensely great is the goodness of God the Father in sending his Son, and how immensely great is the goodness of Christ the Son. This covenant of law, in its regulations about rituals, sacrifice and priesthood, also spoke of God’s grace: which Jesus Christ established abundantly. See below.

Each of the Old Testament covenants is thus fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Each of them pointed us forward to him. Having accomplished and implemented the true meaning of those covenants Jesus established the ‘new covenant’ anticipated by the Old Testament prophets. (See Study 10, section F.) It is into this covenant that everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ is incorporated. (See studies 21 & 22 for the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God that is part of this covenant.)


Paul says of various Old Testament observances – ‘These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ’ – Colossians 2:17. The Law, as well as defining both sin and sin’s penalty, also defined the way out. That ‘way out’ was, for Israel, by way of a range of rituals and feast days, each of which was a predictive symbol pointing ahead to Jesus Christ – to his sin-bearing death, to his mediatorial, representative role, and to the salvation he thus obtained for us, freely, by grace.

B.1 Sabbath rest
We saw in Study 10 that the Sabbath was an expression of God’s goodness – a reminder that it is not our effort or merit, but God himself who makes us ‘holy’, that is, who sets us apart as his own. When Jesus Christ came he established through his death eternal spiritual rest – a permanent, perpetual Sabbath: he himself is our rest. Because of him, in him, through him, we have rest for our souls. Never again do we have to work to gain or maintain God’s acceptance; never again do we have to fear that our sin and guilt are separating us from the love of God; never again can some fault on our part attract God’s condemnation. In Christ we rest. Completely. Confidently. Continually.

How does this truth of spiritual rest in Christ reveal the goodness of God?
Matthew 11:28 – 30

Colossians 2:16 – 17

Hebrews 4:1 – 11

B.2 The Passover
The original Passover is described and reported in Exodus 12. (There is also information in Leviticus 23:4 – 8 and Numbers 9:1 – 14.) On the original Passover night, the Israelites were commanded to smear the blood of a perfect lamb, freshly killed, on their doorways. When the angel of death passed through Egypt that night, he would see the blood and pass over those houses. In this way, the death of the Passover Lamb saved the firstborn of the Israelite households from death. While it had its own significance back then, the deeper significance is that this original historical event, and the annual ritual remembrance of that night, point ahead to a greater reality: the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, whose shed blood would accomplish the eternal spiritual salvation of people from all around the world.

Read Exodus 12:5 -7, 12,13, 21 - 23. What do you learn about the Passover?


Read these verses. How do they connect the death of Jesus with the Passover?
Mark 14:12 – 25

John 1:29

John 13:1

John 18:28

1Corinthians 5:7b

1Peter 1:18, 19

It was at the Passover meal, as Jesus ate with his disciples, that he instituted what we call ‘the Lord’s Supper’ or ‘Holy Communion’. On that Passover day, Jesus died, fulfilling the deep meaning embedded in every Passover from Exodus 12 onwards – that by the blood of the Lamb of God we are saved from God’s judgement; by the blood of the Lamb of God we are redeemed. As Christians, we do not celebrate the Passover; we partake in the Lord’s Supper celebrating Jesus Christ, the ultimate Passover Lamb, proclaiming his death, remembering him. Included in the new covenant ratified by his blood.

B.3 The Day of Atonement
The Day of Atonement is described in Leviticus 16. It was a very solemn day involving several sacrifices and cleansing rituals. It was on this one day each year that anyone was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle and later Temple - the High Priest, under strict conditions, and as representative of the people, entered that place which symbolised the presence of God. By the rituals of this day the wrath of God was averted.

Read Leviticus 16.

The letter to the Hebrews, which calls the Old Testament Tabernacle and rituals ‘copies’ of the real thing, points out significant ways in which Jesus is the reality symbolised by this feast day:

That Jesus himself is the ultimate high priest, who enters not a man-made sanctuary, but the very presence of God;

That we have, in Christ our high priest, confident and permanent access to God;

That Jesus entered God’s presence with his own blood, not the blood of bulls and goats;

That Jesus’ blood actually cleanses our consciences, something the blood of bulls and goats could not do;

That this sacrifice of Jesus Christ was once-for-all time, accomplishing eternal redemption.

Study these verses. What do you learn?
Hebrews 4:14 – 16

Hebrews 7:20 – 28

Hebrews 8:1, 2

Hebrews 9:11 – 14

Hebrews 9:24 – 28

Hebrews 10:10 – 14

Hebrews 10:19 – 23


The Old Testament Tabernacle (described in detail in Exodus 25 – 30 and 36 – 40) and the later Temple, were, for the Israelites, the presence of God with them, albeit in symbolic form. Here were multiple tangible, visible symbols of truth that all point beyond their immediate significance to their ultimate meaning: Jesus Christ, who bears the name ‘Immanuel’ – God with us.

Compare these verses. How does the symbol in the Tabernacle point ahead to Jesus Christ?
The Tabernacle: Exodus 25:8, 22 : John 1:14, 18

The Table of Shewbread: Exodus 25:30 : John 6:35 (read 6:32 – 51 if you have time)

The Lampstand: Exodus 25:31 : John 8:12; 2Corinthians 4:6

The Curtain: Exodus 26:31 – 33 : Matthew 27:50, 51

The Incense Altar: Exodus 30:1, 7 : Revelation 8:3,4; John 14:13, 14

The Altar and sacrifices: Leviticus 1:2 – 5 : Romans 3:25; 1John 2:2; 4:10

Jesus, Immanuel, is God with us, God living among us, no longer in the symbolic form of the Tabernacle, but living, speaking, acting. He is the real bread of life, ever present with us, ever sustaining and satisfying us spiritually. He is the real light of the world, ever shining forth the truth about God. He is the one who ripped away the prohibitive curtain, and entered the real presence of God, taking us with him so that we have permanent access to God. His is the ultimate sacrifice, the one real, effective sacrifice, that secures permanent atonement, permanently setting us free from guilt, condemnation and wrath.

Everything about the Tabernacle and its associated rituals, that spoke of our sin and guilt and God’s holiness and justice, pointed forward to Jesus Christ. He is the real meaning of the Tabernacle: In Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God in love has come to us, and given to us, in the life and death of Jesus Christ, all that his justice demands of us.

C.1 The Holy Spirit – God in us
It was from the Tabernacle that God instructed and led his people. In the previous two studies we have seen how the Holy Spirit brings us to salvation and enables us to live as God’s children: that God, by his Spirit, lives within us – both individually and corporately as the church – teaching us, instructing us. This also fulfils the symbolism of the Tabernacle – the real and permanent presence of God. While the glory of the Lord at times departed from the Tabernacle because of Israel’s sins, God’s indwelling presence in believers by his Spirit is permanent (John 14:16).

We have looked at some of the more significant prophetic symbols of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament – the covenants, the feast days and the Tabernacle. Each revealing the goodness of God, in their original context, but especially in their fulfilment in Jesus Christ. God made his purposes known, first in symbol form, then in the fulfilment of those symbols in Jesus Christ. We, this side of Calvary, understand that purpose in a way that the Old Testament believers couldn’t.

Check these verses to better appreciate how good God has been to us:
Matthew 13:16,17

1Peter 1:10 - 12