A great number of righteous men and women from the Old Testament and Book of Mormon, including prophets, priests, kings, and others, served as types and shadows of Jesus Christ. Their personal purity and righteousness, as well as events in their lives, foreshadowed Jesus’ righteousness and his works. The parallels between these individuals and Christ are so striking that these persons “were types and shadows of our Lord’s coming; they were living, walking, breathing Messianic prophecies.”1 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland wrote: “Jehovah used an abundance of archetypes and symbols. Indeed, these have always been a conspicuous characteristic of the Lord’s instruction to his children. Examples of those figures—especially prefigurations of Christ—are present throughout the pre-Messianic record. . . .
“. . . Moses (like Isaac, Joseph, and so many others in the Old Testament) was himself a prophetic symbol of the Christ who was to come.”2 And according to LDS scholar Andrew C. Skinner, “The very lives of Old Testament personalities—prophets, priests, and kings—are similitudes of the life of the great Prophet, Priest, and King, the Anointed One of the Father, the Holy One of Israel.”3
For instance, consider these brief examples:
Melchizedek, whose name means “my king is righteous” or “king of righteousness,” was a type of Jesus Christ, the righteous “King of kings” (Rev. 19:16; see Heb. 7:15; JST Gen. 14:17). Melchizedek was the king of Salem (or king of Peace); Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. Melchizedek’s priesthood, faith, and power (JST Gen. 14:25–31) anticipated Christ’s priesthood, faith, and power.
Abinadi’s life foreshadowed Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice in a number of ways. Both Abinadi and Jesus were bound and judged by rulers and priests, both were imprisoned for three days, both were innocent of any crimes, both were protected until their mission was complete, and both suffered humiliating deaths.4
Gardeners can be types of Jesus Christ. “On that first Resurrection Sunday, Mary Magdalene first thought she saw a gardener. Well, she did—the Gardener who cultivated Eden and who endured Gethsemane. The Gardener who gave us the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the cedars of Lebanon, the tree of life.”5
Jesus is the Physician who took “upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people” (Matt. 9:12; Alma 7:11–12), and “with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).
Worthy high priests can symbolize Jesus. Christ is the “faithful high priest” (Heb. 2:17; 5:10); like the high priests of the Mosaic order who were required to be holy and undefiled (Lev. 21:1), Christ was “an high priest . . . who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26).
Eve, a Type of Christ
From the Garden of Eden to their exaltation, and beyond, Adam and Eve share equal status. God created both Adam and Eve, he made both of them in his image, both partook of the fruit, and both were exiled from the garden. Christ’s atonement covered both equally, and he made garments of skin for both of them. Together, as mortals, they multiplied and replenished the earth. As exalted personages, Eve and Adam share a “golden throne” that is set on a “circular foundation.” They, equally and without variation, are described by Joseph Smith as being “clothed in white garments . . . and their faces shone with immortal youth. They were the two most beautiful and perfect specimens of mankind I ever saw.”6 Eve, like Adam, is a type and shadow of Jesus Christ; but Eve typifies the Lord differently, reflecting her different and unique callings.
Eve is named Life; Jesus is Life.
The name Eve signifies life and refers to Eve as a bringer of life to her great posterity. “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve.” Genesis gives an explanation of Eve’s name, noting, “Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20). Although non-English words are used elsewhere in the story (Adam, cherubim, Eden, Pison, Havilah, and so forth), only with Eve’s name is an explanation attached—an emphasis on Eve’s significance in the story. Moses 4:26 provides additional information regarding Eve’s name: “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living; for thus have I, the Lord God, called the first of all women, which are many.”
In Genesis 4:1–2 the author shows the appropriateness of Eve’s name by recounting that Eve gave birth: “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain. . . . And she again bare his brother Abel” (Gen. 4:1–2). These verses show that Eve, in accordance with her name, is a life-giving entity. But Eve as life is not limited merely to biological considerations. God’s cursing of the serpent includes the promise that Eve’s seed would crush the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15); this seed is none other than Jesus (Rom. 16:20; Heb. 2:14), who will destroy both the serpent and death. In other words, Eve the life brought forth Jesus the Life, and it is Jesus who brings spiritual life to humankind and who subdues Satan.