The Shadow of the Cross

In the last few chapters we have been studying man’s greatest problem: SIN. We are now ready to study God's perfect solution to man’s sin problem. There is no problem too big for God to solve, not even man’s sin problem. The Bible says, "where _______________ abounded, __________________ did much _______________ abound" (Romans 5:20). Sin was great, but God’s grace is far greater.  The hymn writer said, "Grace that is greater than all my sin."  Man’s problem is great, but God’s solution is far greater!

God’s solution to the sin problem centers on the cross of Christ. If the Saviour had not died on the cross, there could have been no cure for sin and no hope for man. The death of Christ is the key event in all of human history. It was on the cross that the Lord Jesus Christ was made "to be sin for us...that we might be made the _________________ of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

What happened at the cross is so important in God’s saving plan that He wanted men to know about it long before it ever took place in history. From the beginning of human history the shadow of the cross could be seen. Sometimes we can see a shadow before we see the object that made the shadow.  For example, we might see the shadow of a person or of a flying bird before we actually see the person or bird who cast the shadow.  Long before the Saviour actually died on the cross, God wanted men to see the shadow of the cross so that they could understand what Christ would someday do for them.

Consider Hebrews 10:1. This verse tells us that in the law (in the Old Testament) we are able to see "a S_________________ of good things to come." In the Old Testament we find pictures and shadows which point us to the Christ who would someday come. In this lesson we will study some of the shadows that are found in the Old Testament, and we will see how they teach us some very important things about the cross of Christ. God’s perfect solution to man’s sin problem is clearly foreshadowed in the Old Testament. To see these examples of foreshadowing, we shall go back to the beginning of human history, and start with the book of Genesis.

1. Adam and Eve

In chapter 9 of these notes, we learned about the terrible fall of man into sin (Genesis chapter 3). Man’s sin was terrible, but God’s solution was wonderful. We find God’s solution foreshadowed or pictured in Genesis 3:21.

After their sin of disobedience, what did the LORD God make for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21)? _________________________  What did God then do with what He had made (Genesis 3:21)? _____________________________

In order to have animal skins, what must happen to the animal or animals? If a person has a leather coat made out of genuine cowhide, is the cow still alive? If a person has shoes made out of genuine alligator skin, is the alligator still alive? Therefore, who killed the first animal (or animals)? ______________________________

As we think about what God did for Adam and Eve, it is important to note the following:

  1. There was a SIN PROBLEM (Genesis 2:17; 3:6-19).
  2. Man deserved D_____________ (Genesis 2:17).
  3. Adam and Eve tried to COVER THEMSELVES, but this covering was not acceptable (Genesis 3:7,10-11). Their attempt to cover their sin and shame failed.
  4. There was an INNOCENT VICTIM (Genesis 3:21). The animal did not disobey God and did not eat the forbidden fruit. The animal was innocent. Adam and Eve were the guilty ones.
  5. There was the DEATH OF THE ANIMAL (the death of the innocent SUBSTITUTE). See Genesis 3:21. The animal was killed by God, and we assume that its blood was shed or poured out. Adam and Eve deserved to die, but an animal died instead. (Later in this chapter we will talk about the significance of the SHEDDING OF BLOOD.)
  6. GOD CLOTHED THE GUILTY ONES with an acceptable covering (Genesis 3:21).

How do these things point us to the cross of Christ? Is there a SIN PROBLEM (1 Peter 2:24)? Do we deserve death (Romans 1:32; 6:23)? Was there an INNOCENT VICTIM (1 Peter 1:18-19)? Was the SHEDDING OF BLOOD necessary (Hebrews 9:22)? Did the INNOCENT SUBSTITUTE die for us (Romans 5:6,8)? Can sinful man successfully cover himself (Isaiah 64:6)? Why not? Is God able to clothe the guilty ones (2 Corinthians 5:21)?

2. Cain and Abel

Read carefully Genesis 4:1-5. Which offering was pleasing to God and why? Which offering was not pleasing to God?  Why not? Cain's offering included the following: (Circle more than one.)

  1. An innocent victim
  2. The work of his own hands
  3. The shedding of blood
  4. The death of an innocent substitute
  5. The result of his hard work and toil (his best effort)

How does Cain’s unsuccessful effort to please God remind you of Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5?

How did Abel’s offering foreshadow the cross? Can you think of similarities between Genesis 4:4 and Genesis 3:21?

3. Noah

As we have seen, animals were offered in sacrifice from the dawn of human history. God wanted to teach men about what He would someday do. The animal sacrifices were just shadows and pictures of the GREATEST SACRIFICE OF ALL that would take place on the cross.

How many of each animal were brought into Noah’s ark (Genesis 6:19-20)? ___________ How many of the "clean" animals were taken into the ark (Genesis 7:2-3)? _________________ Why were these "extra" animals needed (Genesis 8:20)? ________________  Was God pleased with what Noah did (Genesis 8:21)?________

Did innocent animals die? Was blood shed? Was God merciful to the guilty ones (Genesis 8:21-22)? In the days of Noah, God’s judgment fell upon all the world as the flood waters covered the earth. There was only one safe place to be--IN THE ARK! Noah deserved God’s judgment because he was a sinner too.  As a sinner, Noah "found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:8), and he was safe in the ark. Noah deserved to die, but God was teaching Noah that a Substitute would someday die in his place. Just as an innocent animal must die because of man’s sin (Genesis 8:20), so God’s Son must someday die for the sins of the world.

Today there is only one place where a person can be safe from the judgment and condemnation of a holy God. Where is that place of safety (Romans 8:1)? "There is therefore now no _____________________ (judgment) to them that are in _____________      ______________."  The Lord Jesus Christ is our ark of safety! Because the judgment came down upon Him (Romans 8:3), God's judgment will never come down on those who are IN CHRIST (Romans 8:1). Are you IN CHRIST or OUTSIDE OF CHRIST? Are you IN THE ARK OF SAFETY or OUTSIDE THE ARK OF SAFETY? Do you have eternal life, or is God’s wrath abiding on you (John 3:36)?

4. Abraham

We can also see the shadow of the cross in Genesis chapter 22. What did God tell Abraham to do (Genesis 22:2)? Would this involve the death of a victim? Would this involve the shedding of blood (compare verses 6 and 10)? Another important truth illustrated in this chapter is the GREAT COST involved in the sacrifice. Giving up an animal from the flock would not be very costly, especially if you had thousands of animals as Abraham did. Abraham was asked to do something far more costly; he was to offer "thine _________son Isaac, whom thou____________________" (Genesis 22:2). Was Abraham’s son spared (Genesis 22:10-12)?_______ Was God’s Son spared (Romans 8:32)?________ Did it COST GOD ANYTHING to provide man with salvation? What does God's great sacrifice teach us about God’s love (John 3:16; Romans 5:8)?

The story is told of a man who worked on a drawbridge. The bridge would be drawn so that the ships could pass underneath; then the bridge would be put back in place so that the trains could safely pass across the river. One day just before a train was scheduled to arrive, the worker noticed that his son was playing around the huge gears and that his clothing had actually become caught in the gears. The man must quickly make a choice:  He could save his son which would mean that scores of people would plunge to their death as the train fell into the river below.  His other option would be to save the train which would mean that his son would be mauled and crushed and killed in the huge gears. Out of love for the people on the train, the man decided to sacrifice his son whom he greatly loved. This story is just a human illustration, but perhaps in a small way it helps us to appreciate what God did for us in "not sparing His Son" (Romans 8:32).

In Genesis 22:7-8, Abraham told Isaac that God would provide a lamb for the sacrifice. What kind of animal was later offered IN THE STEAD OF (in the place of) Isaac (Genesis 22:13)? _________________ About 2000 years later, God provided the TRUE LAMB to be the Substitute for all men. John the Baptist said, "Behold the ____________________ of God which taketh away the ___________  of the world" (John 1:29). HE is God’s perfect solution to the problem caused by man’s sin.

5. Joseph

In Genesis chapter 44, we learn about the time when the brothers of Joseph were in Egypt. Joseph recognized them, but they did not recognize him. They did not realize that they were standing in the presence of their brother whom they had cruelly treated so many years earlier.

When Joseph’s silver cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, the brothers were overcome with fear and horror (Genesis 44:1-13). It seemed as if Benjamin would have to stay in Egypt as a slave (Genesis 44:10), and the brothers could not bear the thought of returning home without their father’s beloved son (Genesis 44:20-31). Their father Jacob thought that his son Joseph had been torn by a wild beast (verse 28).  For Jacob to lose another son would probably be more than he could bear (verses 29-31).

One of the brothers, Judah, stepped forward and made a very brave offer: "Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant (Judah) abide_________ _______the lad (Benjamin) (as) a bondman (slave) to my lord; and let the lad (Benjamin) go up with his brethren" (Genesis 44:33). Judah was willing to remain in Egypt and be a slave INSTEAD OF Benjamin. He was willing to take Benjamin’s place. He was willing to be in bondage so that Benjamin could be set free. Joseph was deeply touched and moved by what Judah was willing to do (Genesis 45:1).

Judah asked to be Benjamin’s SUBSTITUTE. Does this courageous act of Judah remind you of Christ who became OUR SUBSTITUTE? Hundreds of years later a Son would come from the line of Judah--none other than the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:2-3 and 1:16). Did Jesus Christ become the TRUE SUBSTITUTE for those who were slaves of sin (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Cor. 15:3; Romans 5:6,8; 2 Cor. 5:21)? Did He take our place and die in our stead so that we could be SET FREE (John 8:32-36)?

What Judah offered to do was only a faint shadow and picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ did when He died on the cross for us.

6. Moses

In the days of Moses God afflicted the Egyptians with many plagues and judgments. In spite of God's judgments on Egypt, Pharaoh still refused to let the children of Israel go. Then came the last and greatest plague: THE SMITING (KILLING) OF THE FIRSTBORN.

God gave the children of Israel careful instructions so that this judgment would not fall on their households (read Exodus 12:1-14). What were they to do with the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:6)? _________________________________

What were they to do with the lamb’s blood (Exodus 12:7)?__________________


God said, "When I see the ________________ I will__________ ________________ you" (Exodus 12:13).

Suppose one of the Hebrew families killed the lamb but FAILED to apply the blood to the door posts. What do you think would happen? If God did not see the blood applied, do you think He would have passed over? It was not enough for the lamb to be sacrificed. The blood of the lamb had to be PERSONALLY APPLIED.

Who is our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7)?___________________ The Passover was a wonderful picture of what Christ would someday do for men. The Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD (1 John 2:2). He died FOR ALL (1 Timothy 2:6). He desires that ALL MEN should be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). Why then are so many NOT SAVED? Why will God’s judgment strike so many? The answer is clear: To be saved a person must place his PERSONAL FAITH in the blood of Christ: "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through_____________________ IN HIS ___________" (Romans 3:25). Have you put your faith in the blood of Christ? Have you said, "I believe that Christ died for me and shed His blood for my sins. I believe He did this so that I can be saved and saved forever. I am trusting Him and His work on the cross for my eternal salvation." When a person places his PERSONAL FAITH in Christ, then the blood of Christ is applied to his heart. As guilty sinners, we all deserve the judgment of God. However, when God sees that a person has "FAITH IN HIS BLOOD" (Romans 3:25), then God will PASS OVER that person and will not judge him. The judgment already fell upon Christ when He died on the cross. Have you PERSONALLY ACCEPTED CHRIST’S WORK FOR YOU (John 6:40,47, 53,54)?

The Passover lamb had to be WITHOUT _____________________ (Exodus 12:5). How does this remind you of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19; 2:22-24)?  What did the RIGHTEOUS Christ do for us, the UNRIGHTEOUS ones (1 Peter 3:18)?  ____________________________________________

7. The Tabernacle

The children of Israel did not have a Bible as we do today. Instead they had a "VISUAL BIBLE" which was called the tabernacle. By looking at this large tent located in the very center of their camp they could see a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ--who He was and what He would do. (Note: The teacher might want to show the class a picture or sketch of the tabernacle.)

The tabernacle clearly foreshadowed the cross of Christ. Outside of this tent was a large bronze altar (see Exodus 27:1-8). It was here that the sacrificial animals were brought. You can read about how this sacrifice was offered in Leviticus 1:1-9. The animal was to be WITHOUT _____________________ (Leviticus 1:3). A Jewish man would bring his animal to the altar of sacrifice (at the tabernacle or later at the temple). He would then put his ____________________ upon the _______________________ of the animal (Lev. 1:4) as if to say, "I know I’m a guilty sinner who deserves death. This innocent animal will take my place and will die in my stead. I am symbolically placing my sins upon the head of this animal." He would then kill the animal, and the animal’s blood would be shed (Leviticus 1:5).

Could these animal sacrifices really take away man’s sin (Hebrews 10:1-4)? ____________ Such sacrifices had an important purpose, however. They pictured and pointed to GOD’S PERFECT SACRIFICE. Could HE take away sins (Hebrews 10:10-17)? Has He taken away your sins? Are you able to say, "I know I’m a guilty sinner who deserves death. The sinless Saviour took my place and died in my stead. I believe with all my heart that He did this FOR ME."

8. The Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement was one of the most important days of the year for the children of Israel. We learn about this day in Leviticus chapter 16.

The Old Testament is like a picture book. It contains many beautiful pictures of Christ (such as what happened on the Day of Atonement) and what He would do for His people. The Old Testament gives us the pictures, and the New Testament gives us the captions under the pictures (which explain what the pictures are all about).


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(Leviticus 16)


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HEBREWS 9:1-14

How does the Day of Atonement picture and foreshadow the cross of Christ? God’s justice demands that the sinner die. How does Christ’s death on the cross as our Substitute satisfy this demand? Does God accept the blood of Christ as full payment for the penalty of sin?

9. The Meaning of the Blood

We learn about the importance of the blood in Leviticus 17:11--"For the __________ of the flesh is in the ________________; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the _______________ that maketh an atonement for the soul."

We cannot live without blood. For both humans and animals, blood is vital for life. The Red Cross organization is always urging people to give or DONATE BLOOD because people need blood to live. When a person loses blood through an injury or surgery, the patient must receive additional blood or else he will die. When the blood is shed or poured out, then the animal or the person dies. If you were to find a person lying in a pool of blood this would be a very serious situation. It could be an indication that the person is either dead or dying.

Have you ever seen an animal slaughtered? Have you ever seen a lamb’s throat cut by a knife? To see the blood pour out and watch the animal die is an unforgettable experience. God wanted the children of Israel to see this picture often. God wanted to remind them again and again that sin brings death and that an innocent substitute must die. THERE CAN BE NO FORGIVENESS OF SIN WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD (Hebrews 9:22). The death penalty must be paid!

The Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood and died on the cross of Calvary. He paid the full penalty for man’s sin. The Old Testament sacrifices were but a picture of His ONCE FOR ALL, FOREVER SACRIFICE (compare Hebrews 9:26,28; 10:10,12,14). Long before Christ ever died on the cross God was teaching people about the cross by showing them shadows and pictures of it.

10. The Bronze Serpent

Again we find the Old Testament picture and the New Testament caption:


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(Numbers 21:4-9)


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JOHN 3:14-16

How did this bronze serpent foreshadow the cross of Christ? The children of Israel had sinned and were perishing. Are people today perishing? There was nothing the children of Israel could do to save themselves. Is this true of sinners today? Have all men been bitten by the serpent of sin (Romans 5:12)? Was the Lord Jesus Christ lifted up on a pole (compare John 8:28; 12:32-34)? God took the very thing that was killing them (a snake) and put it on a pole. Likewise, was SIN put on the CROSS (2 Corinthians 5:21)? According to the picture (Numbers 21:4-9) and the caption (John 3:14-16), what must a person do to be saved?

11. Psalm 22

As we travel through the Old Testament, the pictures and shadows become even more clear and distinct. Psalm 22 is known as "the crucifixion Psalm."  It was written by David about a thousand years before Christ actually died on the cross. Can you find anything in this Psalm that reminds you of the crucifixion?

12. Isaiah 53

This important prophecy was written about 700 years before Christ died on the cross. The picture was now becoming clearer and clearer. The cross was coming more clearly into focus.

How does Isaiah 53 point to the cross? According to this chapter, WHY DID CHRIST DIE? FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE (see especially verse 6)? As you read the verses of this chapter, can you find the idea of SUBSTITUTION (Christ dying in our place and for our sins)? Which verses especially teach this idea of substitution:  _____________________

* * * * * * *

We have looked at just some of the Old Testament passages which foreshadow the cross of Christ. Do you get the picture? Do you see the shadows of the cross? If we read the Old Testament and fail to see Christ, then we have missed the whole point (see Luke 24:27, 44-45).

What does the cross of Christ mean to you? Do you understand why the Saviour died and why He died FOR YOU? Is what Christ did on the cross FOOLISHNESS TO YOU, or is it THE POWER OF GOD TO YOU (see 1 Corinthians 1:18)?

"But God forbid that I should glory (boast) save (except) in the ___________ of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14)

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