By Brenda Black
“Eternity can never fathom the depth of love revealed in the cross of Calvary. It was there that the infinite love of Christ and the unbounded selfishness of Satan stood face to face. The entire system of Judaism, with its types and symbols, was a shadow of the cross, extending from Calvary back to the gate of Eden, and contained a compacted prophecy of the gospel.” Author Stephen Haskell prefaces his book The Cross and Its Shadow with more than just a glimpse of what lies between the covers of his work. He emphatically states the whole of Scriptures, Genesis to Revelation, point to Calvary.
“At the present day the person who comes to the study of the New Testament through the interpreting lights of the types and symbols of the Levitical services, finds a depth and richness in the study that are found in no other way. It is impossible to have exalted views of Christ's atoning work if the New Testament is studied without a previous knowledge of the deep, bloodstained foundations in the Old Testament gospels of Moses and the prophets.
"In every sacrifice, Christ's death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt.
“In the light shining from the sanctuary, the books of Moses, with their detail of offerings and sacrifices, their rites and ceremonies, usually considered so meaningless and void of interest, become radiant with consistency and beauty. There is no other subject which so fully unites all parts of the inspired Word into one harmonious whole, as the subject of the sanctuary. Every gospel truth centers in the sanctuary service, and radiates from it like the rays from the sun.
“Every type used in the entire sacrificial system was designed by God to bear resemblance to some spiritual truth. The value of these types consisted in the fact that they were chosen by God Himself to shadow forth the different phases of the complete plan of redemption, made possible by the death of Christ. The likeness between type and antitype is never accidental, but is simply a fulfillment of the great plan of God.”
The death that Jesus would suffer on a cross was described by the prophet Isaiah (chapter 50) hundreds of years before torturous crucifixion was ever implemented. Though that is widely held as significant and poignant proof of Christ's Messiahship, it is just an inkling of the massive amount of evidence throughout Old Testament passages that foreshadow the cross of Calvary.
From the beginning, the Cross. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15) The Cross was God's way of escape from certain death as a result of sin. He had it planned the instant Satan messed with humanity. To crush and silence Satan for good, Jesus had to lay down his life and then take it up again. We only have to kneel in the shadow of the cross humbly and thank Him.
In the tabernacle, the Cross. Haskell explains: “Within the golden walls of the tabernacle, priests of divine appointment performed a work representing in types and symbols the plan of redemption... Blood was sprinkled over the broken law in the ark, just as blood was shed on the cross...” The tedious demands of a holy God were for our benefit. Nothing God ever designed was by accident, including the Ark of the Covenant and the cross beams that killed His only Son for the love of us.
In priests and feasts and sin offerings, the Cross. According to Levitical law, a sinner must bring a lamb for a sin-offering. “That entire service was but a great kindergarten lesson, making the way of salvation so simple that none could fail to comprehend it,” says Haskell. Jesus became the Lamb that was slain and we need to never forget the lesson.
The shadow of the cross extends through time backwards to the beginning and forward into eternity. From beginning to end, Christ made a way. Only the blind will not see the shadow that offers freedom from sin and the hope of heaven. All of Scripture sheds God's great light in such a way as to cast a cross-shaped shadow of truth that never fades.