Many believers, whether old in the faith or new, find the Bible to be very confusing and hard to comprehend in its many forms. Some are intimidated and daunted by the Bible because they find it to be a myriad of confusing cultures, personalities, themes and doctrines that may make sense in their parts, but are unclear in the whole scope of biblical literature. To make things more difficult, we are often exposed to many interpretations of the same verse which lead to varying degrees of practices and policies within a given denomination or local church.
Excerpt: 20 Essential Keys for Effective Bible Study
Three important little words that begin with F: Foreshadow, Fulfillment, Forwarding.
One of the ways we can relate the Old and New Testaments is by understanding how they work together. First of all, the Old Testament is the foreshadowing of everything that is to follow in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 10:6; Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 9:1-2, 11; 10:1). The Old Testament contains pictures, shadows, metaphors and types that are to be fulfilled later in the New Testament. The Old Testament has a big arrow in front of it pointing forward: ⬅
When we come to Jesus, we find that He is the fulfillment of the Old-Testament pictures. Jesus indicates this in many places. For instance, He states that He is the manna of the Old Testament in John 6:35. He calls Himself the temple in John 2. His experience in the wilderness mirrors Israel’s experience in the wilderness (Matthew 4). Jesus fulfills the Old Testament in Himself according to Luke 24:27 and John 5:39. All of the prophetical writings, metaphors, and images, particularly Isaiah, Daniel and Ezekiel, point to Jesus Christ and the New Covenant He would bring.
The third important word is forwarding. Whereas Jesus fulfills the Old Testament in Himself, He then forwards Who He is to the church. A good example of this is the concept of the temple. We know that the temple was a key symbol and fixture in the Old Testament. The Old-Testament temple was physical; made of earthly components. It was the center of Israel’s religious activity. However, Jesus in John 2:19-20 declares that He is the temple. We then find in Paul’s writings that the church is called the temple (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:18-20). This is a good example of foreshadowing, fulfillment and forwarding.