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. . . .
A number of animals—red heifers, rams and ewe lambs, he-goats and nanny goats, turtledoves, bulls, pigeons, and a bronze serpent—serve as symbols of Jesus Christ’s atonement or sacrifice. The blood of the group of animals sacrificed in sacred ceremonies was shed in anticipation of Jesus’ blood, which would flow in Gethsemane and on the cross. Female animals that were sacrificed had specific life-giving qualities that pointed to Jesus as the giver of immortality and eternal life; male animals had other qualities that served as types of Jesus. The animals’ economic worth made them a sacrifice of value to Israelite households that offered them in sacred temples. None of these animals deserved to be slaughtered—meaning none of them had committed sins or transgressions that required their death. Rather, their innocence is symbolic of Jesus Christ’s innocence, and their lack of blemishes pointed toward his perfection.