Intro Biblical Typology

The New Testament writers as directed by the Holy Spirit used several techniques to show that the New Testament was a completion of the Old Testament. Prophecy and Promise fulfillment combined with Biblical Typology were key methods used by the New Testament writers to show that both the Old and New Testament were about Christ and His mission, the crucifixion! The New Testament writers under the control of the Holy Spirit completed the Hebrew Old Testament and the New Testament into One story about Jesus and Him crucified!

Many of the New Testament writers used the concept of Luke, which is a Christ centered focus and today it is called the “Emmaus Road Hermeneutic”, the basis of this approach is Jesus’ statement to the two people on the road to Emmaus on the day of His resurrection. Jesus’ reference to Moses and Prophets implies all of the Old Testament.

Luk 24:25-27 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:[26] Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?[27] And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

John quotes Jesus in several verses including the one below when Jesus tells the Jews that the Scriptures (Old Testament) spoke of Himself.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Matthew in the verses below while with the disciples at Caesarea Philippi ties both Old Testament promises and prophecy together to show that Christ was the promised Messiah when He ask them the question about Himself and also told them about His coming Crucifixion.

Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?[16] And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Mat 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

The apostle John quotes John the Baptist, saying that the Old Testament references of substitutional death of a lamb starting with the “Passover” and Temple worship were pictures/types (typology) of Christ.

Jhn 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

The Bible is God’s key method of revelation to man, however there are three others, creation, our conscience, and the comforter (Holy Spirit). All are in agreement.

Jhn 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Heb 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,[2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Not only did the New Testament writers use direct statements from Jesus combined with many direct statements on how Jesus fulfilled specific Old Testament promises and prophecies, but they also used a powerful technique called “Biblical Typology” to show how a large number of Old Testament people, places, events, and items foreshadowed New Testament people, places, events, and items.

Biblical Typology is a concept concerning the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament. People, places, events, items or statements in the Old Testament are seen as types pre-figuring or superseded by antitypes in the New Testament, events or aspects of Christ or his revelation described in the New Testament. For example, the “Passover event” in the Exodus of Israel for Israel is a type of “Christ and the Crucifixion” (the antitype) in the New Testament.

1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Jhn 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

1Jo 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1Jo 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Biblical Typology offers a clear between the Old and New Testaments, reveals the unity of the Bible, and emphasizes the new covenant believers experience in the finished work of Jesus Christ. An understanding of biblical typology is critical to our faith as we see how God has worked throughout history in profound ways that continue to impact our lives.

Typology unites the New Testament to the Old Testament, and vice versa. Jesus Himself used typology to show both the connectivity of the Old and New Testament but how He and His mission was the central message of the Bible (Old and New Testament).

John could see how the serpent lifted up in Numbers 21 foreshadowed Christ

Jhn 3:14-18 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:[15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.[16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.[17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.[18]He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness, through which the people found physical healing (Numbers 21:8) was a type of the lifted-up Christ (John 3:14; 12:32),

The Exodus story as a whole is used by Paul as typology and Jesus uses a number of other examples as well as the one above about the “bronze serpent”. This Exodus experience was read “typologically” even in Old Testament times, although the concept was not so rigidly and narrowly applied as a philosophy of history as it would be in the Christian dispensation.

Paul uses typology in s number of verses such as the one below warning us to avoid Israel’s mistakes.

1Co 10:1-11 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;[2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;[3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat;[4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.[5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.[6] Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.[7] Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.[8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.[9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.[10] Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.[11] Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.[12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

That wilderness experience started with the miracle of the blood of “Passover Lamb” on the doorpost and ended with the parting of the Jordan River and entry into the promised land. The Exodus (Exodus-Joshua) uses many specific examples of typology and even the story as a whole is a picture (a type) of an individual escaping the bondage of Satan and Sin through the “blood” of Christ (justification) and our wandering in the wilderness, being sanctified by eating the mana and drinking the water from the rock, and finally crossing the Jordan (glorification, entering the promised land (heaven)!

John Bunyan’s book the “Pilgrim Progress” is based on this concept.

Biblical typology reveals the wisdom of God’s progressive revelation. As one unified story of salvation, the Bible reveals a systems of types and shadows that range from Adam to the Last Adam.

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit

Jesus and the NT writers do not arbitrarily read NT (antitypes) typology back into the OT, they are simply recognizing and announcing what was already implicit in the OT.

Many Christians have never been exposed to the concept of typology. Biblical History supports the use of typology as a major method (hermeneutic) of Bible teaching until about 1700 AD. It appears at that point the world’s culture entered a period known as the “Enlightenment” which focused on man’s reasoning. Man’s reasoning hurt theology by “downplaying” the spiritual aspects of the Bible such as miracles, prophecy, typology, etc that could be explained by man’s reasoning resulting in two hermeneutics called “historical-grammatical” and more reason the “historical-critical”.

It appears that starting with the thought (reasoning- Enlightenment) with the historical-grammatical and later the “historical-critical” focus on authorial intent, especially their thinking that the original biblical writers likely did not intend for or anticipate the typology of later exegetes. This thought process eliminates the spiritual element of Scripture and ignores that the New Testament authors were directed by the same “Holy Spirit” that directed the writing of the Old Testament. Not only does this concept eliminate typology but also denies that the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament.

Without the Old Testament, the New Testament has no foundation and Bible interpretation to many has become a ship with man’s reasoning as the rudder and without the wind of the Holy Spirit!

This leads mankind back to Satan’s first question, “Did God really say?”

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