Definitions: So we see that the very definition of the word typology according to Webster brings to mind the idea of Old Testament characters, events, etc. foreshadowing the New Testament accounts of the life of Christ and the doctrines of salvation, the rapture, the church, etc.

Relationship between the Old and New Testaments:

St. Augustine said

 "The New is in the Old contained;
   The Old is by the New explained"

A (perhaps) better paraphrase of that would be

 "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed;
   The New Testament  is the Old Testament revealed"

Galatians 3.24 says, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith". The Old Testament (OT) is thought of as LAW, whereas the New Testament (NT) is thought of as GRACE. However, God's grace (unmerited favor, not a system of works, as the RCC teaches) is impossible without God's law first showing us our need for forgiveness. Some say that the OT is outdated, of little value, etc.. As we shall see, the OT is vital both to the concept of salvation and to a correct understanding of that salvation.

St. Paul, in writing (for instance) the book of Romans had no NT epistles of doctrine to fall back on for reference. He went to the Word of God, however --- the OT. Through the laws, exhortations, prophecies, and through the study of types, all of our NT doctrine can be seen --- indeed, can only be correctly understood by a careful study of the OT. When groups, churches, etc. leave off the study of the OT, they fall into error, because the NT cannot be adequately understood or taught apart from the OT.


Hebrew is a language of pictures. The OT pictures many times pointed to NT ideas. We refer to them as "Bible stories"or "Sunday school stories", yet most give valuable teaching for us today. The stories we find in the OT reveal the motives of the characters --- matters of the heart. In Acts chapter 5 we read of Ananias and Sapphira, and we understand that in the days of grace, God is still concerned with the condition of our heart.

Greek, on the other hand, is a language of thought. The point-by-point hammering out of the fine details of NT doctrine would have been impossible had the apostles used the Hebrew language. However, many times we see Jesus in the gospels drawing on the pictures found in the OT to convict the self-righteous and to instruct the disciples.

It is interesting to note that the Jews of that day knew their bibles --- they knew by heart the law of Moses, the psalms of David, the writings of the prophets, etc.. Thus, it was a simple matter for the Lord to take what they already knew and teach them the doctrine of the kingdom. Sadly, although they knew the Law of Moses backwards and forwards, they missed a lot. The religious leaders knew all about the heroes of the faith, yet they didn't see the types that were there --- they couldn't see the forest for the trees, and therefore missed the Messiah when He finally came.

When the Lord began to open the eyes of the people  (for example, on the road to Emmaus), He taught them, among other things, about the types in the OT, which clearly pictured the person, ministry, and work of Christ.

Prophecies often foretold of Christ explicitly --- things are spelled out in detail and are easily recognizable as speaking about some aspect of the Messiah's reign. Types, on the other hand, are not so readily noticed, but they tell us as much or more about the Lord. Consider the following example:

The rabbis understood that the Messiah would rule the world as king, according to Isaiah chapter 9, verses 6 and 7, and knew that He would sit on David's throne. David was indeed victorious against the heathen nations, but they did not understand that Jesus would come, not once, but twice, and that His victory was over sin at His first coming, and over the world at His second coming.

Today we understand that the coming of Christ and the setting up of His throne was broken up into two appearances. We know also that these two are in harmony with each other, and because of the sin debt, God had to do it that way. Upon examining the kingdoms of David and Solomon, we see that Christ's first appearance was foreshadowed in the ascension of David to the throne, and the rule of Solomon, where the land of Israel had peace round about, was a type of the second coming of our Lord and the setting up of His millennial kingdom.


"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; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 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. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 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"
(1 Corinthians 10.1-11).

Here we have the Greek word tupos. The word means a "die" --- dies are used today in manufacturing, where a certain material (usually metal) is stamped  with a non-deformable tool, and the resulting object retains the shape of the die. A very simple example of this is a housewife making cookies for her children (and her husband). She rolls out dough and stamps out cookies with a cookie cutter.

Tupos is used three ways in the Bible. The first use of the word that we will study is found in John 20.25, where it is translated "print" --- the print of the nails in Christ's hands. At first glance, this doesn't seem that important, but the remaining two uses of the word show us the harmony of the two Testaments and the central message of the entire Bible --- the cross of Jesus Christ.

The second use of the word is found in the Pauline epistles --- Romans 6.17 ("but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you"),  Philippians 3.17 ("...ye have us for an example"), and 1 Timothy 4.12 ("be thou an example of the believers"), and once in the book of Acts. The idea here is that Christ lived and died for us, and that we ought to conduct ourselves according to the example that He gave. Jesus should be seen in us --- His doctrine, love, patience, holiness, even His death (as we in turn die to self) should be evident in our lives. He is the die, and we are stamped with the indelible marks of the living God that has come to live within our hearts.

The life of Paul most closely resembled the life of Christ more than any other disciple as demonstrated in Paul's suffering and the path that he willingly trod. The letter written to Felix "after this manner" in Acts 23.25 is a snapshot of the life of Paul and the sacrifice of that life as a witness of Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, tupos is used to illuminate this same pattern of following Christ that can be seen in the OT, but the application is done in a slightly different way. While we as believers are directed to live our lives in a manner that enables others to see Jesus in us, the OT shows us the shadow of Christ as recorded in the lives, events, places, objects, etc. that are recorded in the OT.

Prior to His coming, Christ was very much evident in the Scriptures. He is recognized in the Law and in prophecy, He appeared to certain individuals in His pre-incarnate state, and He is also present in type. While Abraham, for example, didn't understand all that much about the Messiah, we can see in his life and actions done in obedience to the Spirit of God the earmarks of the Lord Jesus Himself. The sacrifice of his son Isaac is a picture of God giving up His Son to die on the cross. Just as we can read about Jesus in the living epistles of believers today, He can also be read in the books of the Bible written before His time on Earth.

One may struggle with the question of the sovereignty of God versus the free will of man; yet through the study of types we can see that man indeed has a free will, often choosing to rebel against the leading of the Spirit, yet the Lord, by virtue of being omnipotent, still being able to have his purposes carried out in the lives of those who allow him to do so. Moreover, He is able to work when the person in question is totally ignorant of the intentions of the Lord. As a striking example of this, Jonah would not have even considered that in his rebellion to God's first command to go to Nineveh and the time he spent in the belly of the great fish was in the will of God, in that the whole incident is a type of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jonah was certainly wrong by disobeying the Lord, and we know that the Lord doesn't tempt any man with evil; still, God had a greater plan in mind --- that of giving a wonderful prophecy to us in the form of a type.

Romans 5.14 states: "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." Adam is here pictured as being a type of Christ. Paul speaks of the "first Adam" and the "last Adam", and we shall explore this particular example in the next lesson. Suffice it to say that the OT is filled with references to Christ in type.

Stephen made reference to the tabernacle of Moses in Acts 7.44, stating that Moses made the tent according to the fashion (tupos) that he had seen in a vision that he had while on Mount Sinai. Although Stephen did not spell out in detail that the tabernacle was a type of Christ, his entire defense pointed to the Lord Jesus being witnessed of from the beginning. Again, this type will be examined in more detail in a later lesson, but the construction, statues and function of the tabernacle of Moses is rich in its shadows of the Lord and His work on Calvary.

The final occurrence of the Greek word tupos is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, which was quoted at length at the beginning of this section. The word actually occurs twice in the passage: "now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things..." and "now all these things happened unto them for ensamples." This passage ties the NT truth of living our lives according to the NT pattern and the OT blessing of finding our Lord in the pages of the OT. Paul reminds us of the wilderness experience, stating that the Rock in Exodus 17 that gushed forth water for the thirsty Israelites was a type of Christ. In verse 5, Paul tells us that "...with many of them God was not well pleased." He then exhorts us that all of the events recorded in the OT were written to show us a pattern of Godly living, just as he also commands us to model our lives after the Lord in the epistles mentioned earlier. The warning is given to us twice, calling attention to Christ, and again admonishing us to follow after Christ according to the pattern laid down in the OT. The motives of the heart are seen to be at issue in both Testaments. Thus, our attention is drawn to the use of types in gaining understanding of how we ought to carry ourselves in our walk with the Lord.

Taking one more look at the testimony of Stephen, we see a parallel to what Paul teaches us. Just as Moses made the tent in the wilderness according to the pattern that the Lord gave him from heaven, as believers today we pattern our lives after Christ who came down from heaven. The two Testaments were tailor-made by the Lord to complement each other and to lead us to the Son of God.


Christ is portrayed in: ...the lives of the OT saints

Every NT doctrine has its basis in the OT. Most if not all of these doctrines are alluded to (in at least some fashion, no matter how brief the reference) in: We err when we disregard the OT in general, and types in particular. Many have fallen into doctrinal error by failing to put NT ideas into their proper context in the OT. We are guaranteed that, if we will heed the warnings of the whole of Scripture, then the Lord will be able to lead us into all truth. "If  ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8.31,32). Christ is portrayed both accurately and fully in the OT, and in a major fashion in type.

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