Before we look into the family lives of some of the holy men of God in the Old Testament we need to realize that the whole system of the Old Testament was a symbol of something to come. The Old Testament ceremonies, and the lives of the patriarchs, contained the gospel message.
For example, the animal sacrifices were pointing to that great sacrifice on Calvary. Even all the feasts of the Old Testament, all their solemn assemblies, were a shadow of the Gospel. In all of it God was trying to teach His people how He was going to save humanity in the symbolic language of the Old Testament. God has used various symbols and permitted various events to happen to reveal the gospel in reality—the gospel in Jesus Christ!
Paul wrote to the Romans:
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Roman 15:4)
All the things that were recorded in the Old Testament Scripture, Paul said is for our “learning”. And while we learn and study the “patience” of God in dealing with His people we “might have hope”. God’s saving method is concealed therein.
Slowly the fullness of the Gospel was being revealed to man. The apostle said:
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. (Romans 16:25)
The gospel of Christ was a “revelation of the mystery”. And the apostle says, it “was kept secret since the world began”. God was slowly revealing the gospel of Jesus, which was kept secret. He was slowly unfolding the mysteries of the gospel.
Peter talks about the angels who were deeply interested to see Christ’s life on earth, because that was the revelation of the mystery of the gospel that was kept secret. It was getting unfolded beautifully in the life of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote:
The gospel…which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:12)
The reason angels desired to look into the gospel was that they were finding it very fascinating. They had been looking at the symbols of the Old Testament—in the sacrificial ceremonies and in the lives of the patriarchs—and studying the details as God was unfolding it step-by-step. When the gospel, in reality, was revealed from Bethlehem to Calvary, what a joy it was for the angels to behold the greatness of the gospel!
The Old Testament contained the gospel in symbolism. Paul wrote in the book of Hebrews:
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Hebrews 10:1)
The law of Old Testament, that is, the laws of sacrifices in the writings of Moses, was “not the very image of the things”, but “a shadow of good things to come”.
All these sacrifices were shadows of something to come. And all that happened in the Old Testament too were shadows of the Gospel of Christ.
Did father Abraham, the father of faith, know the Gospel? Yes, he did. Paul wrote:
And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham. (Galatians 3:8)
And Jesus also told the Jews of His day:
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (John 8:56)