May 052017
 

TypologyThe whole bible reveals God’s plan throughout history. It starts with a basic plan such as the giving of the law and the necessity of animal sacrifices and continues to reveal more and more complexity of what God’s great plan of salvation is. This is called ‘progressive revelation.’ We now know what those animal sacrifices signified, but at the time they really didn’t have a clue!

Because God knows the end from the beginning, it is not surprising that He should give lots of clues of what He was up to.

for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:9-10)

If you can imagine Agatha Christie writing one of her ‘whodunit’ novels, she knows how it is all going to end and so she puts little clues in the story which all cleverly tie up at the end of the book. God was including clues throughout Old Testament history and finally revealed in the New Testament that it was Jesus ‘whodunit!’

The study of this progressive revelation from the Old Testament through to the New Testament is called ‘Typology’. Events in the Old Testament are called ‘types’ and the fulfilment of a type is called the ‘antitype’. Just one of many examples would be the prophet Jonah who was ‘buried’ for 3 days in the belly of a fish and was resurrected by being spat out onto a beach. Jesus is the antitype as He spent 3 days in the grave and rose again to bring salvation to a people who were against Him. Typology is not just people foreshadowing Christ but it could also include; places, things, events, ceremonies, offices or institutions. I will explain a lot more as I go along from week to week.

It is important to note that these shadows and types are not allegorical. There is a subtle difference. They are real people and events which point to an eventual fulfilment.

This subject can get quite complicated but I’m just going to give 3 basic kinds of Typology;

(1) Firstly, this is where the New Testament explicitly states that an Old Testament person or event refers to Christ;

Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Romans 5:14)

(2) Next, the New Testament declares various Old Testament passages to be fulfilled by Christ;

e.g Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21) which was the fulfilling of Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

(3) Thirdly, the unmistakable allusions in the Old Testament that are applied to Christ.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)

John is referring to the story of the bronze snake in Numbers 21:4-9

Some people try to make every character and event into a type of Jesus, but I think that is pushing it a bit far.

Next week I will start looking at these ‘shadows’ of Jesus in the Old Testament. At the moment I have no idea where I am going to start but I know there are quite a few in Genesis so we could well start there.

 May 5, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows No Responses »
Apr 282017
 

Shadows of JesusI love listening to good preaching, when somebody expounds the scriptures and brings fresh insight and revelation.

I would have loved to hear Jesus preach. On more than one occasion it says in the bible that the people were amazed by His preaching and that He spoke with authority.

One occasion I would have loved to be present for was when Jesus was walking and talking to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus shortly after His resurrection. He initially made out that He didn’t know what was going on but then this bit fascinates me:

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

Oh I would have loved to have been there. It was hardly surprising that later on they recounted that ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road’ (Luke 24:32)

If you are new to Christianity or unfamiliar with the bible, you might well wonder why we bother to read the Old Testament. What real relevance does it have for our lives today? But when you think about it, Jesus and the early church only had the Old Testament to refer to and it had everything they needed to understand who God is and what He wants to do with our lives. Jesus knew what His purpose was by studying ‘the law and the prophets’ what we understand to be ‘The Old Testament.’ He would have had revelation after revelation about where He fitted in to the father’s plan. I wonder what was going through His mind for example when he read Isaiah 53 and some of the Psalms which spoke quite clearly about the anguish of His death.

In my opinion, one of the most challenging verses in the whole bible is;

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

All scripture? Really? If this is true, we need to keep digging to find out how profitable scripture is. There is so much more than just reading it on a ‘surface’ level

Jesus’ shadow is cast throughout the bible. Sometimes it would seem that He actually appeared physically in what is called a Theophany. But He can also be found in the ordinances of the tabernacle and the sacrifices, the events and characters of the Old Testament as well as through specific prophecies. We will look at as many ways that I can find.

I have no idea how long this series is going to take. Many have undertaken to write whole books on the subject. But I think it will be a worthwhile exercise to study this subject in greater depth. As we do, we will get a much greater understanding of God and His purposes and get a better awareness of His great plan of salvation and a fresh revelation of Jesus. A worthwhile exercise I hope you agree.

 April 28, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Shadows 2 Responses »