One thing clear in the Bible is that God had a plan. From Genesis to Malachi there are foreshadows, prophecy, and longing for God’s solution to our sin problem. Even hints that God would open the doors of acceptance beyond the confines of the Hebrews. This article looks at some of those foreshadows, prophecies, and longings for the fulfilment of God’s salvation plan.
Foreshadows are hints often not seen at the moment. Authors often employ foreshadowing, but those moments may be missed unless someone rereads the story. The Bible also contains foreshadows, little hints of what is coming. The first shadow is in the Garden of Eden after the fall. God pronounced judgment, even hinting at conquest over Satan. The foreshadow is, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21, NASB95) This would have required the sacrifice of an animal.
We must be careful about how much meaning we pour into that verse. Because it is offered without explanation care is required. Later events allow us to see the shadow. In one sense it is a shadow of the Law of Moses and the sacrifices required to cover sin. There is also a shadow of how Jesus’ sacrifice covers believers with His righteousness – in other words, salvation.
In the Book of Joshua, we read about the fall of Jericho. Part of the story centers on Rahab, her assistance of the spies and the protection they offered Rahab for when the city fell. The sign of this protection was a scarlet rope hanging from a window. See Joshua 2:17-19. That rope seems like a little thing, a bit of colorful detail. But it is also a shadow of salvation. Literal salvation for Rahab and her family when the city walls fell and a shadow of the scarlet blood of Jesus.
These are just a couple of the shadows. There are many scattered about the pages of the Old Testament. But God didn’t just hint at salvation but also inspired poets and prophets which looked forward to the reality of God’s plan.
One such prophecy is found in Isaiah. “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” (Isaiah 53:4–6, NASB95)
More difficult to see in prophecy is the opening of salvation to all. James quoted Amos 9:11-12 when the Jerusalem council considered what to tell Gentile (non-Jewish) believers. “‘After these things I will return, And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, And I will rebuild its ruins, And I will restore it, So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.” (Acts 15:16–18, NASB95) Just because it is somewhat veiled doesn’t mean that inviting all nations wasn’t on God’s heart from the beginning.
When we look at the prophecy concerning the end of the age we see a fuller picture concerning the nations. “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”” (Revelation 5:9–10, NASB95)
This should tell us something wonderful about the heart of God. He had every right to wipe away creation and start over when Adam and Eve sinned, but He didn’t. God instead worked in history until it was the right time to send Jesus (Romans 5:6). Neither is God willing or wanting to discard anyone, but He works and moves hoping all will accept His invitation – including you.