In a very simple way, let us look at some of the foreshadowings of Calvary in the Old Testament. The principle of Calvary is all through the Old Testament. The spirit of sacrifice, and of substitution, is everywhere there. The Old Testament is like a huge outstretched hand, with its index finger pointing forward. It is all prophetic, clear through. Sometimes the prophecies are spoken, they are lived in men’s experiences, and acted out in history. They are sung, and they are sobbed by the people in their songs. They are lived and spoken and wept by the prophets, in their lives, and messages, and hearts.
The whole Old Testament is simply one huge prophetic finger pointing forward to something coming,—aye! to some One coming. And if you will mark it, the Old Testament throughout is adrip with blood. There is the sobbing of a minor chord in all its music. Its music is grand. There is an oratorio of the Old Testament. But all the while you can feel the throb, throb of the minor under-chording throughout.
I want to take four very simple, brief, runs through the Old Testament, to trace four of these foreshadowings. You will see how very simple the whole recital will be. For the simpler we get to the Old Book and its revelation, the clearer shall we be about this wondrous sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary for us.
The first run is to trace out this fact, Calvary is in acted-out living pictures in the Old Testament. The Book is full of pictures which bring to our minds in this simple, kindergarten way this principle of sacrifice, innocent blood shed for guilty, substitution of one for another. I have in mind only four of these pictures to speak of, in only a brief word each.
The first picture is the faintest. It is a very simple picture, in Eden’s garden, God slaying innocent beasts that He might use their skins to make coats for the two who had sinned. By the act of God, innocent blood was shed on behalf of those who had sinned It is a very simple picture. It is the very first. It is the faintest, and yet not faint. No sooner had men sinned than God threw on the canvas of life this simple picture of the innocent dying for the guilty; one yielding his life for others.
I can easily understand that both Adam and Eve could understand something of the meaning of the word “substitute.,, The giving of life out, to the very last bit of it, by innocent creatures, brought to them this at least,—help in the midst of their sin. Because, it you will mark it keenly, that clothing was not for their bodies; it was for their minds. It was not for warmth: it was because of their sin. The beasts gave their lives that these two guilty ones might be helped because of their sin, and in their sin. At least that much, the first picture suggests.
The second picture is in this same Book of Genesis, the Twenty-second chapter. It is a very familiar picture. It is simply this. There is a father with his son. The son is an only-begotten, dearly beloved son. He is his father’s darling. The father give* his son to death, and in giving his son he suffers far beyond what words can tell. That is the first bit,— a suffering father. The second is this,—a submissive son; he not understanding why, and, I think, the father not understanding why. The pictures are always less than that which they foreshadow. But the father with keenest suffering gave his son. And mark it keenly, that Isaac submitted to death in intent, and his father gave him to death in intent.