Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Old Testament's Revelation of Christ [Pt.3]

by Rudolph P. Boshoff

[Continued from Pts. 1 & 2]


II.c Jesus in Old Testament Typology

Patrick Fairbairn (1969:42-43) describes typology as the dramatic unity of Scripture by looking at Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament Christian faith foreshadowing God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.  John Walvoord (1969:63) adds to the fact that typology is concerned with (1) typical people; (2) typical events; (3) typical things; (4) typical institutions; and (5) typical ceremonies. Walvoord (1969:64) mentions five points to describe how Jesus fulfils Old Testament typology and we will reflect just on a few of these:

i. Typical People

Aaron – Aaron was a type that revealed the Christ in the function of His humanity and priestly work. Aaron was man and Christ was truly man acquainted with our human weakness to identifying with us and being our intercessor. As Aaron Christ would become the perfect mediator that would aid all humankind in their stance before the God of Israel. Even though Aarons extent of ministry was solely to the nation of Israel, Jesus in the full extent of His grace became the intercessor to all those who are His. The Book of Hebrews gives a clear indication that Aaron was a type of Christ. Aaron was appointed to a Sacred office as Christ to His Priesthood (Heb 5:4-6) and represented ministry in the earthly realm as Christ would be appointed to the heavenly (Heb 8:1-5). Aaron’s duty was to administer the old Mosaic covenant but Jesus would minister the new covenant sealing it in His blood (Heb 8:6). Aaron had to sacrifice as a daily institution but Jesus would offer sacrifice once and for all in His blood (Heb 7:27). 

Abel – Walvoord (1969:64) mentions as Abel was slayed for his righteous sacrifice because of the jealousy of Cain, so Christ was slain for the world, because of His righteousness proclaiming the new promise by the religious Jews. The reason God ultimately accepted the sacrifice of Abel was because he offered a sacrificed by faith (Heb 11:4) and so Christ’s sacrifice was accepted. Abel believed what was revealed concerning the sacrifices and offered a lamb as a blood sacrifice in contrast to Cain’s bloodless offering. Abel is therefore a type of Christ in life as a shepherd as well as his manner of sacrifice foreshadowing the necessity of His death. Jesus Christ is presented as the true Shepherd who made a blood sacrifice to God in obedience to the legal requirements of God.    

Adam – Walvoord (1969:64-65) says that both Adam and Christ entered into creation through a special act of God absolutely sinless acting on behalf of those whom God considered in them representatively (Rom.5:14). Adam is the head of the Old Creation but Christ of the new Creation. Adam was disobedient by Christ is contrast as the one who remained obedient to death (Rom 5:12-21). The very terms “first Adam” and “last Adam” are applied to Adam and Christ representing the first representative of God on earth and the future representative of God both in heaven and earth (1 Cor. 15:45-47). There is also a reference to Adam being the husband of Eve as a type of the bridegroom in relation to the Church as the bride. 

Benjamin – Benjamin foreshadowed in his two names, two aspects of the person of Jesus Christ in that He would suffer and ultimately be raised to glory. Benjamin’s mother Rachel with her dying breath named her newborn son ‘Ben-oni’, meaning “son of my sorrow.” Jacob, however, named him Benjamin, meaning “son of my right hand.” As Ben-oni, Jesus Christ is depicted as a son of sorrow to Mary (Luke 2:35) and would be subjected to suffering and ultimate death. As Benjamin, Jesus Christ would be “the Son of my right hand” to God the Father (Heb.1). Benjamin was also victorious as a warrior tribe and so Jesus would be victorious overcoming sin and spiritual death for us (Walvoord 1969:65). 

David – David is most commonly recognized as a type of Jesus Christ. David is depicted as first a shepherd and then King. David was called by God and was rejected by his brethren having to face danger and threat of death by the then anointed King. In David’s exile, he took a gentile wife and later ruled over Israel in complete sovereignty and power. Jesus Christ is depicted as the great shepherd of the sheep before ascending to the throne as the Messianic King. Jesus was also called by God but rejected by the Jewish religious system and brethren, facing danger and death, because of the claims he made. Jesus also did not come just for the lost sheep of Israel but ultimately brought all those who were lost in even the gentile world unto Himself subjugating them to His rule and authority as King (Walvoord 1969:65). 

Isaac – Walvoord (1969:65) mentions that Isaac is regarded as a type of the Church which composes the spiritual children of Abraham (Gal.4:28) which becomes new creatures with new natures as a result of the working of the Holy Spirit of God being redeemed from the old sinful nature [Ishmael] (Gal 4:29). Both Christ and Isaac have miraculous births anticipated in advance being the ‘only begotten’ (John 3:16, Heb 11:17). The Sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22 foreshadows the promise of a lamb, Jesus Christ, in which He was our substitute for our sins. Genesis 24 also depicts a type of prophetic picture of the Holy Spirit securing a bride for Christ relating to all the details of the story of Isaac and Rebekah. 

Joseph – Joseph’s life is paralleled as a type in numerous instances of Christ’s work and ministry, and his life is seen as one of the most compelling examples of this fact from the Old Testament. Both Jesus and Joseph were born because of special interventions from God (Gen 30:22-24, Luke 1:35). Both Jesus and Joseph were dearly loved by their fathers but hated by their brethren (Gen 37:3-4, Matt 3:17, John 3:35, 15:24-25). Both Jesus and Joseph were rejected as rulers over their brethren and robbed of their robes, conspired against and thrown in a pit of death (Gen 37:8, 18, 23; Matt 21:37-39, 26:3-4, 27:35-37; John 15:24-25. Both were sold for silver and became servants which was condemned even though they were innocent (Gen 39:4, 11-12, Phil 2:7, Isa 53:9, Matt 27:19, 24). Both Jesus and Joseph were raised from humiliation to exaltation by God, and in their exaltation, even the gentiles were blessed (Gen 41:1-45, Acts 15:14. Rom 11:11-12, Eph 5:25-32). Both finally receive recognition as savior and redeemer [Christ in the future] (Gen 45:1-15, Rom 11:1-27) being elevated to a place of honor and safety (Gen 45:16-18; Isa 65:17-25) (Walvoord1969:66-67). 

Joshua – Joshua means “Jehovah saves” and is the equivalent of the Greek name ‘Jesus’. Joshua as a type signifies Christ as being a successor to Moses, Christ succeeds both Moses and the Law (Joh.1:17, Rom.8:2-4, Heb.7:18-19, Gal.3:23-25). Jesus Christ was victorious as Joshua in an area where Moses had failed (Rom.8:3-4) and both Christ and Joshua interceded for their own before God (Josh.7:5-9, Luke 22:32, 1 John 2:1). Joshua distributed and allotted land to his people and Jesus Christ allotted gifts and rewards to His Church (Josh.13, Eph 4:11-13) as the ruler of His Church just as Joshua was the ruler of Israel (Walvoord 1969:67). 

Kinsman-redeemer – Christ is foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament as our Kinsman-redeemer. He had to be a relative related to the person or inheritance to be redeemed (Lev 25:48-49, Ruth 3:12-13, Heb 2:14-15). Jesus fulfilled this by becoming a man having the sins of the world imputed to him where redemption was accomplished by a payment of the price (Lev 25:27; Rom.3:24-26; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Gal 3:13). Walvoord adds that the entire order of redemption is a prophetic picture of Jesus Christ that would come and redeem the world through the sacrifice of Himself (Walvoord 1969:67). 

Melchizedek – Walvoord (1969:68) mentions that Melchizedek (Gen.14) was a King who was blessed by Abraham with a tithe after his conquest with the Kings. So Christ is also a priest forever like Melchizedek (Ps.110:4, Heb 5-7) and he will also be the King of righteousness as Melchizedek’s name foretold bringing forth bread and wine as a sign of the new covenant of his blood.    

Moses – Moses predicts that one will come like unto himself (Deut.18:15-19) where he foreshadows the reality of Christ. Like Moses Christ will be a redeemer and saviours (Exo.3:7-10, Acts 7:25) rejected by their brethren (Exo 2:11-15, John 1:11) during a period where they would be separated and redeem a quality people (Exo 2:16-21, 2 Cor 11:2, Eph 5:25-32). Both Moses and Jesus are received by Israel at their second coming (Exo 4:19-31, Rom.11:24-26) being both priests and advocates (Exo 32:31-35, 1 John 2:1-2) prophets (Num 34:1-2, John 12:29) intercessors (exo.4:19-31, Heb.7:25) and rulers and Kings (Deut 33:4-5; John 1:49). Like Christ, Moses died before the Israelites could enter the Promised Land. Now let us turn our attention to events that would foreshadow the coming of Jesus Christ.

ii. Typical Events

Clothing of Adam and Eve – In Genesis 3 we see the devastating effect of the Sin of Adam, as a result both Adam and Eve realize their nakedness and god clothes them (v/21). God clothes them because of their physical needs but there is also a deeper reality in that God was foreshadowing a promise that he would supply them complete garments of righteousness that would be wrought through the death of His provisional lamb (v/15-16) as seen throughout scripture (Walvoord 1969:69). 

Preservation in the Ark – An extraordinary type is depicted in the judgement of God of humanity in a flood (Gen.6-8). Noah and his family are commanded to build an Ark as a type of refuge to the coming tides that would allow them to escape the coming wrath and destruction of God. Similarly, the arrival of the person of Christ is a sign of judgement on the wicked but secures the place of God’s people in Christ (2 Pet 2:5, 7) (Walvoord 1969:70).   

Deliverance from Egypt – Walvoord (1996:70) recognize that the entire story of Israel being delivered from Egypt being brought to the Promised Land is a type of what Christ achieved for every single believer in his or her salvation. All the elements of deliverance, the plagues, and even the Passover to the crossing of the Red Sea are connected to what Jesus achieved in and through the Cross. Israel is delivered through the same waters that killed the Egyptians; similarly, Christ suffers the death that brings forth our salvation. In the wilderness Israel receives manna from heaven (Exo.16:4) which foreshadows Jesus being the bread of life while the water from the rock speaks of Christ smitten so we can have eternal life (Exo.17:6).   

Entrance into the Promised Land – Israel’s crossing the Jordan with its piled up waters into the Promised Land is a shadow of the death of Christ as a means of victory. The Angel of the Lord, which is Christ in His preincarnate form, went before the Israelites and by His power; they achieve victory in their conquest (Walvoord 1969:70-71). 

iii. Typical Things

Old Testament Sacrifices – The Sacrifices of the Old Testament are clear types of what Christ would suffer as the coming Messiah (Walvoord 1969:71-72). Just to mention a few examples; Rosen (2006:32-33) indicates that the Passover lamb was to be one without blemish and we know that the New Testament text reveals the reality that Jesus was perfect and without blemish (Deut 15:21, Isa 53:7; 2 Cor.5:21, Gal.2:20, 1 Pet.1:19-20). The Passover lamb was marked for death and Christ was marked for death (Isa 53:7, 1 Pet.19-20). It was also ordained that none of the Passover lambs bones was to be broken (Exo 12:3, 5) and we recognize that none of Jesus Christ’s bones were broken (John19:32-33). Israel was instructed to consume the lamb with bitter herbs (Exo12:8) because bitterness speaks of mourning (Zech 12:10) of the firstborns that was slayed in Egypt (Exo 12). The blood of the lamb had to be painted on the doorposts and lintels (v.7) as it resembles the reality of the cross Jesus would die on.     

The Tabernacle – Louis Talbot (1942:11-12) mentions that the tabernacle was a typical presentation revealing a spiritual reality designed by the God of Israel to provide a temporary place of worship for the children of Israel in their wanderings prefiguring the person and work of Jesus Christ. The tabernacle included the service of the high priest and his sons where Jesus Christ is our faithful high priest and his believers are priests. The court and the gate prefigure Christ being the way to the Holy God and the tent of the congregation represents Him dwelling in the midst of His people. The brazen altar foreshadows the cross and the offerings upon the altar Christ as our sacrifice and the laver of brass represent Christ as our cleanser. The golden candlestick shows Christ to be the light and the table of shewbread reveals Him as the bread of life. The golden altar of incense portrays Christ as our advocate with the Father and the Ark of the Covenant and the mercy seat shows Christ as our God at the throne of grace. The Day of Atonement also reveals the cross and Christ returning into His glory. The Shekinah Glory upon the finished tabernacle reveals the favor of God on the temple and foreshadows the presence of God within the temple and Christ.