Christ’s Ministry Foreshadowed


The Old Testament prophesied of the Savior’s birth, His ministry, and His Atonement. The lives of many of those ancient prophets are a type and a shadow of Jesus Christ.

“All things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of [Christ], both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual” (Moses 6:63).

The following art features a few of the Old Testament prophets or events that foreshadowed Christ’s ministry.

detail from Moses Seeing Jehovah(click to view larger)

Above, left: detail from Moses Seeing Jehovah, by Joseph Brickey. The Lord said of Moses, who was a lawgiver and a deliverer, “Thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior” (Moses 1:6). (See also John 1:14).

Moses and the Brass Serpent(click to view larger)

Above: Moses and the Brass Serpent, by Judith Mehr. The Lord sent fiery serpents upon the children of Israel and many died from the serpents’ bites. The Lord told Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole. He made a serpent of brass and raised up the pole. Those who looked at it lived (see Numbers 21:8–9). This typifies Christ. Those who will look unto Him and believe will “have eternal life” (see John 3:14–15; Alma 33:19–22).

Daniel in the Lions’ Den(click to view larger)

Left: Daniel in the Lions’ Den, by Scott Gustafson. After Daniel was cast into the lions’ den, it was sealed with a stone (see Daniel 6:17). Rising early in the morning, the believers came to the place to see Daniel and assumed he was dead (verses 19–20). Being delivered from death, his message to those who seek him is “live for ever” (verse 21). This foreshadows the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ (see Matthew 27:62–66; John 20).

Dove Bearing Olive Leaf Returns to Ark(click to view larger)

Below: Dove Bearing Olive Leaf Returns to Ark, Artist Unknown. God established a covenant with Noah. Those who followed Noah onto the ark were saved from the flood (see Genesis 6:18). This story teaches that those who follow the Christ will also be saved through their covenants.

Jonah on the Beach in Nineveh(click to view larger)

Left: Jonah on the Beach in Nineveh, by Daniel Lewis. Jonah emerged from the belly of the fish in three days (see Jonah 1–2). This typifies Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb after three days (see Matthew 12:40).

The Passover(click to view larger)

Above: The Passover, by W. H. Margetson, courtesy Church History Museum. The Passover foreshadows the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, which delivers us from sin and death (see 1 Corinthians 5:7). The children of Israel sprinkled the blood of a lamb on their doorposts to save their firstborn from death (see Exodus 12:7, 22–23). This foreshadowed the Savior’s blood, which was shed in Gethsemane and on the cross, and cleanses the faithful and saves them from spiritual death (see Mosiah 4:2).

Ruth(click to view larger)

Right: Ruth, by Henry Ryland. Ruth, a Moabite, said to her mother-in-law, Naomi, an Israelite, “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God, my God” (see Ruth 1:16). Ruth’s life shows obedience to God’s will and following Christ—not bloodline—makes us a part of the kingdom of God (see Ruth 2:12).

Abraham Taking Isaac to Be Sacrificed(click to view larger)

Left: Abraham Taking Isaac to Be Sacrificed, by © Del Parson. Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac. Both yielded their will to the will of God. In the final seconds, God provided a ram in the thicket and Isaac’s life was spared (see Genesis 22:1–13).

This event is a type and shadow of the relationship between our Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ (see Jacob 4:5), who yielded His will to the will of His Father (see Matthew 26:39, 42; Luke 23:46). However, Christ did sacrifice His life as part of God’s plan for Him to atone for our sins (see Abraham 3:24–27).

Cain and Abel and the Firstlings of the Flock(click to view larger)

Top: Cain and Abel and the Firstlings of the Flock, by © Robert T. Barrett. Abel offered the firstlings of his flock as his sacrifice to God in keeping with the law of Moses (see Genesis 4:4). The lamb was “without blemish, a male of the first year” (see Exodus 12:5). This foreshadowed Christ’s Crucifixion (see Luke 23) as a “lamb without blemish” (see 1 Peter 1:19).

Elijah in the Desert(click to view larger)

Left: Elijah in the Desert, by Walter Rane. Elijah multiplied the faithful widow’s meager ration of meal and oil to feed her and her son (1 Kings 17:9–16). He raised a boy from the dead (verses 17–24). He journeyed for 40 days and nights (1 Kings 19:4–8). These events foreshadow similar events in Christ’s life (see John 6:1–14; Luke 7:11–17; and Matthew 4:1–11).