I have a friend who hosts and teaches in a Bible college in a closed country, where it is forbidden to teach about Jesus. He recounts the following story that I must repeat:
Recently we finished up our “Missions” class and we were talking about “Redemptive Analogies”. These are stories, rituals, and traditions found in every culture that foreshadow Christ. If you are familiar with the OT Tabernacle, feasts, or sacrifices you know that these were types and shadows that pointed to Jesus.
Here is an example from the Hindus holiest scriptures. There are 10 books called “Vedas” and the final one is called “Rig Veda”. It speaks of Prajapathy (offspring of the Lord) through whom all living creatures were created. The Rig Veda says that Prajapathy is:
“the son of God who comes to this world at the appropriate time. After coming to this world he travels around advising mankind, what is sin and what is not sin; what is to be done and what is not to be done; what is wrong and what is right. To those human beings, who accept his advises and obey his orders, he offers prosperity and peace in this worldly life and salvation at the time of their death. And being the completion of his venture to redeem mankind from sin, he gets sacrificed at the end his specified period on earth.”
In verse 7 chapter 90 of the 10th book of the Rigveda, the sacrifice of Prajapathy the Son of God, is well explained.
“At the time of sacrifice, the son of God will be tightly tied to a wooden sacrificial post using iron nails by hands and legs, he will bleed to death and on the third day he will regain his life in a resurrection.”
None of the gods in the Hindu pantheon fit or fulfill this description.
“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons (angels) of God. But the Lord ‘s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.” Deuteronomy 32:8-9 ESV
When God chose Israel as His chosen people and gave all other nations over to idolatry, He left a shadow of redemption with each of them so that at the right time, they would recognize the truth from the shadow of the truth. In the Passover, the Mosaic Law, and the prophets God reached out to and made provision for the Gentile nations. Years before Jesus came to the earth, God foreshadowed his coming in the Vedas so that all of the Indian subcontinent could be saved.”
I am reminded of this verse: Ecc 3:11 ASV He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.
This is facinating to me, because I am convinced God leaves evidence of Himself in every culture, our job as missionaries is to discover ways He has already visited that people, and use those as entry points to proclaim His word.