Types in the Old Testament
July 21st, 1957 @ 8:15 AM
TYPES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
7/21/57 8:15 a.m.
You’re sharing with us the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. This is the pastor bringing the morning message, the early morning message. And having come to the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis, I was preparing a sermon on the bride of Christ which the Holy Spirit is electing, is choosing, is calling out, is wooing for our Savior.
Now, the story in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis is, incidentally, one of the most beautifully precious in all the Bible. It is the story of Abraham who makes his servant to swear that he will not take a wife for his son, Isaac, from the daughters of the land, from the children of the Canaanites, but he will go to Abram’s house back in Haran, in Mesopotamia, and there among his own people, will chose a bride for his son [Genesis 24:2-4].
Well, I was preparing that sermon, and the message is not just the recounting of the wooing of Rebekah and her journey to the promised land to be the bride of the promised son of Isaac [Genesis 24:10-67], but the sermon concerns what this means, what it typifies – the picture that is in it, which, of course, is of this age when the Holy Spirit is choosing a bride for God’s Son.
Well, I say, I was preparing that sermon. Now, not only is that sermon to be like that, but, for a long time, these messages that are going through this Old Testament, they are presentations of the great truth of God in the new revelation, in the new covenant, in the new dispensation, in the age of grace in Christ. These Old Testament stories and institutions are presented as being events and personalities and objects and incidents and ceremonies that are typifying the great revelation of God in Christ Jesus.
Well, as I faced all that and am studying and preparing all that, why, it came to my mind, this: "Why, did you know, pastor, that there may be many people who listen to you who think that you’re just indulging in fanciful imagination, taking these stories and taking these ceremonies and taking these objects and these structures and these institutions and making them to speak of the glories of God in the new revelation in Christ Jesus and, in many instances, of the great denouement consummation that is to come at the end of time? There may be many people who listen to you who think you’re just indulging in high-flown, fanciful thinking when you speak of the Bible and present it like that."
So I just sat me down and prepared an introductory sermon on the types in the Bible in the Old Testament. And, behold, as I was preparing me the sermon for the delivering this morning, the sermon got so long I had to cut it in two. So you’re going to have one sermon on that this morning, and you’re going to have another sermon on that next Sunday morning.
All right, now, let’s start. If you will listen to me and stay awake, all of you that are already snoozing and nodding and close your eyes, if you will stay awake and if you will listen to me, you will learn more about how to read this Bible than you ever knew in your life – if you’ll listen. That’s all you’ve got to do: "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the Word of God" [from Romans 10:17]. If you will just lend this pastor your ear, that’s all. If you’ll just listen, you will learn about this Bible like you never knew before if you’ll just listen.
Now, we’re going to turn to the first Corinthian letter and the tenth chapter. There is a tremendous truth in this thing that I’m presenting this morning and next Sunday morning without which your Bible will be almost an enigma to you. But if you will listen and stay awake and open your heart to the witness of the Spirit to the Word itself, your Bible will become to you an open and meaningful book and as beautiful as it is meaningful. All right?
The tenth chapter of the first Corinthian letter is a typical passage in which Paul is referring to something in the Old Testament, and he calls them "types." And that’s the reason that we’re using beginning – we’re starting off with this particular passage. "Moreover, brethren," and he’s going to point them back to the children of Israel in the wilderness – "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud . . ." [1 Corinthians 10:1]. You remember that back there – that pillar of cloud and all passed through the sea? That’s the Red Sea when they came out of Egypt [Exodus 14:19-31]. "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea" [1 Corinthians 10:2]. That is, they were in it. "And did all eat the same spiritual meat" [1 Corinthians 10:3]. Remember when the Lord sent them all of those quail? [Exodus 16:12-13]. "And did all drink the same spiritual drink . . . " [1 Corinthians 10:4]. And He sent them manna from heaven [Exodus 16:4, 14-16]. "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" [1 Corinthians 10:4]. Remember, they struck the rock and the water came out? [Exodus 20:9-11] "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness" [1 Corinthians 10:5]. Remember that – because of their unfaithfulness, because of their disbelief?
Now, look at that sixth verse [1 Corinthians 10:6]: "Now these things were our" – and the Greek word there is t-y-p-o-s, and when you put an anglicized ending on it and leave off the Greek ending, "now these things are our t-y-p-e-s." You have it translated there "examples." "Now these things were our types, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be idolaters, as some of them were . . . " and so on [from 1 Corinthians 10:6-7].
Now, look at the eleventh verse, and he’ll use the same word again, except this time, he will make an adverb out of it; that is, some of this text make it an adverbial form. Look at the eleventh verse: "Now all these things happened unto them for," and you have it translated "ensamples." The Greek word is typikōs, and the English word would be "typically" – typokōs, typokōs. Now, all these things happened unto them for ensamples, for types. "Now all these things happened unto them typically; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" [1 Corinthians 10:11].
Now, we’re going to start there. Twice in that little brief passage, Paul uses that word, "type," and he refers to the things that happened back there in the Old Testament as being types for us who live in this last and final day.
Now, what does that word "type" mean? Well, the Greek word, typos: in Greek it’s a "u" – tupos. When you make an English word out of it, the "u" becomes a "y" – typos. The Greek word that is used here comes from tupto or typto which actually means to make an imprint, to make a mark – like you’d take a big hammer and a dye and hit the dye and it would make an imprint. Now, that’s what the original word meant. Then it came to mean a statue, an image, something that was made, pressed. Then, finally, it came to mean an anticipative figure, a thing here that foreshadowed something that was to come.
Now, you’ll see a good illustration of that in Romans. Look in Romans the fifth chapter and the fourteenth verse. Romans 5:14. Now, here’s what Paul writes there, "Nevertheless," Romans 5:14: "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the" – and there’s your word t-y-p-o-s, t-u-p-o-s – "who is the figure, who is the type of Him that was to come."
See what Paul says there? "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, Adam who is the type – Adam who is the type of Him that was to come, Christ" [from Romans 5:14]. Paul says that Adam is a type of Christ who was to come. A type, then, is a personality. It’s an event. It’s a structure. It’s a ceremony. It’s an ordinance that foreshadows some other great event or great ordinance or great figure that is yet to come.
So we read in the Old what’s going to happen in the New, and we do it by types, that is, by figures. These things that happened back there in the Old Testament, those events, those ordinances, all of those ceremonies, those personalities, they prefigured, they typified the great truths and the great revelations and the great personalities that were yet to come in the economy and providence and elective purposes of God.
Now, I want to show you how that changes your conception of the Bible, the Word of God. There are many, many, I suppose, most of the modern preachers and practically all of the modern theological professors, and practically all, if not all, of modern new theology – practically all of them look upon the Old Testament as a collection of Hebrew folklore. It’s a book of so-called history and legend and myth and fable, and it purports to recount the beginning of the Hebrew race and the development of the Hebrew religion.
For example, they look upon the Hebrew Bible, the collection of the Old Testament Scriptures, in the same way that they would look upon a collection of Hindu scriptures or a collection of Chinese historical writings or a collection of Teutonic historical writings or a collection of American folklore. They look upon the writings in the Old Testament Scriptures in the same way that they look upon the collection of any other writings that purports to tell the beginning and development of a people or a race or a nation.
I remember – he’s dead now, thank the Lord – I remember a very liberal and modern preacher in New York City who had three lecterns. Now, the lectern is where he reads, you know, and the pulpit is supposed to be where he preaches if he preaches. Well, he had three lecterns. Over there on that side, he had a lectern, and on that were the Hebrew writings. Then, over here he had a lectern, and on that lectern were the Christian writings. And then he had a third lectern, and on that lectern were the writings of other nations and other peoples. They might be Chinese sometime; they might be Hindu sometime; they might be Buddhist sometime; they might be Confucionist sometime.
And he did that, he says, to show the people and to teach the people by actual demonstration that the Old Testament Scriptures were just the gathering of the writings and folklore of the Hebrew people. So he put them over there in one pile. Then over here in another pile, these were just the gatherings and writings of the Christian people, and he put them in a stack. Then, here on this lectern, why, he gathered, from time to time, the different writings of the Chinese and the Indian, the Hindu and the Teuton, and other people like that. His idea was to get across to the people that the Old Testament was nothing but a collection of the literature of an ancient people who happened to be called Hebrew.
Now, the attitude of the Holy Spirit and the attitude of the Scriptures themselves to the Word of God is far different. And I have just tried, from a few examples in Paul, to show you the difference, for there is no tendency in the New Testament to deny the historical event that is told in the Old Testament, nor is there any persuasion that the characters and the incidents were fictitious back there in the Old Testament [John 8:52-59]. But the attitude of the New Testament writer is this: that the event that is described back there in the Old Testament, and the personality that is presented, and the ceremony and the ordinance that was enjoined of God, that it had a great meaning beyond itself.
The incident happened, yes. The historical personality lived, yes. And this ordinance was given of God, yes. But it had an adumbration in it. It had a foretelling in it. It had an overtone in it. It had a repercussion in it. It had a reverberation in it. It had a reflection in it. It was a foretaste. It was a shadow. It was an image of the great, coming truth in Christ in the New Testament, in the new revelation.
For example, this man – and, oh, you could spend days and months about the Book of Hebrews. That’s all he does is take the Old Testament, and particularly the Levitical ceremonial system, he takes it and he shows that this was an adumbration, a prophecy, a foreshadowing of Christ. And he’ll begin, for example, the tenth chapter of his book, the Book of Hebrews, saying that these things – all of the Old Law and the Old Testament – were a shadow of the good things to come and that the very image itself is Jesus Christ and this new revelation [Hebrews 10:1-10].
Now, I want to say a word about studying the Bible itself, reading the Bible itself. It is possible, of course, to read the Bible like most of us read Shakespeare. We just read it, and then that’s that. We don’t try to go into the depths of it. We don’t try to enter into any particular meaning of it because there are not any particular depths there, and there’s not any particular meaning in it. It’s just a great man who was a genius at writing poetry, and he tells the story that he recounts there, and so we read it casually. We peruse it, oh, as though it were fictitious which it is for the most part. Once in a while, he’ll take a historical incident, but even then, it’s a fictitious thing. Now, that’s the way you read Shakespeare.
You can read your Bible that way – just like another piece of literature. But I tell you this: that to a child of God who will take his Bible and let the Holy Spirit teach him the Word of God, there are unsounded, unplumbed depths. There are beauties; there are glories; there are revelations in it that are beyond anything that you find in nature or in the glorious providences of God in time or in history.
There is a wealth of depth in the Bible that is almost unsounded though men have plumbed it and dived into it and photographed it and looked at it and discussed it and made pictures of it for these thousands and thousands of years. I could illustrate that like mining. There are some mines that are strip mines. That is, it’s on the surface, and they take a big shovel and go out there and they strip mine. They just dig it off of the top of the ground. But there are some mines that go down into this earth, and they dig and build shafts.
I’ve been in a mine. I remember a mine one time that I went down into nine hundred feet – a great, great, deep shaft. And down there in the very bowels of the earth were great rich veins of ore that went out. Now, that’s the way it is with the Bible. You can strip mine it – just look at the surface of it and that’s all. But there are also great, rich veins in the Bible that if you will take the time to dig and to go down, like that author of Hebrews did, you’ll find great, illimitable, immeasurable veins of gold and silver that you can dig. And they are there. They are hid: the treasures of God in Christ Jesus and in the revelation of the Lord in that holy Book.
Now, there was a sophisticated woman who, upon an occasion hearing these things that I’m going to speak in these future days, she said very emphatically – she says, "I want you to know that I don’t believe in that stuff: types and typology." She said, "I think it is fanciful imagination, and I emphatically don’t believe in any of it." And the good pastor replied to her. He said to her, "Well, could I ask you a question or two?" So he asked her. He said, "When John the Baptist stood on the banks of the Jordan River, after he had baptized Jesus [John 1:31-33], and the next day when Jesus walked by and John pointed Him out and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world’ [John 1:29], do you believe," he asked her, "when he pointed out Jesus and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God,’ do you think he was referring, in type, to all of those lambs that had been offered up from the days of Abel – that they prefigured the sacrifice of the Son of God? Do you believe that?"
She said, "Yes, I – yeah, I see that."
Then he asked her a second question. He said, "Over there in the Book of Simon Peter when it says, ‘But ye are lively stones built up into a spiritual house, a royal priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable unto God in Christ Jesus’ [1 Peter 2:5], do you believe he was referring to the holy temple of God, building it up, and to the royal Levitical priesthood offering sacrifices unto God which were types of the spiritual building of God’s house today and the sacrifices of His people today? Do you?"
She said, "Yes. Yes. Yes, I see that."
And he went on. "Do you believe," he said, "that in the Book of the Hebrews when it says, ‘That by a new and a living way our Lord has come and through the pulling aside of the veil which is His flesh that we might enter into the courts of glory in heaven’ [from Hebrews 10:20] – do you believe that that veil that was in the tabernacle was not just a veil, but that it represented the incarnation – His flesh – and that the tearing, the rending, of the veil [Matthew 27:50-51] was the wounding, the tearing of the body of Christ through which sacrifice we have an entrance into heaven?"
"Yes," she said, "I see that." And just on and on and on.
The whole Bible is that way. Let me tell you something. The very alphabet of the New Testament is found in these pictures, and in these types, and in these ceremonies, and in these ordinances, and in these events that you find in the Old Testament. When the New Testament will speak, its language will be the language of those pictures and those types and those foreshadowings and those adumbrations and those typically- presented things in the Old Testament foreshadowing the great truths of the New.
Now, people are funny, as you know, having listened to the radio. People are strange. For example, here is a typical weakness of people. They will study about an artist, and they read the history of a painting, but hardly any of them take time really to look at and to study the picture itself. They’ll know all about it and read all about it, but the actual thing itself, they don’t bother to look at. Same way about beautiful music. They’ll read about these great musician authors, and they’ll read about the story of the opera or the story of the great symphony, but rarely do people really listen to them and enjoy them and see them. That’s the same thing about the Bible. They’ll read about the Bible, and they’ll listen to somebody talk about it, but they rarely look at the thing itself.
Now, that’s what we want to do. Let’s not only just study about it and hear about it, but let’s look at the picture itself. Look at it. Not only read about the great musician or the story of the oratorio, or of the symphony, or of the opera, but let’s listen to the music of God and of the spheres itself.
Now, I say that the New Testament is written in the very language of the types and the pictures of the Old Testament. Its alphabet is that. All right, I’ll give you an illustration. So many times, you will find in the New Testament these little words: "as" and "so" – "as" and "so." All right, look at it. Jesus will say in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Matthew: "As Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights so" – "as . . . so" – the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth, and the third day rise again" [from Matthew 12:40-41].
All right, take another one. In the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew, Jesus will say: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the day of the coming of the Son of Man" [from Matthew 24:37] – "as . . . so."
All right, take another one. In the third chapter of the Book of John: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up" [John 3:14]. "As . . . so" – this typified that. This is a picture of that. This is an adumbration of that.
All right, take another one from Paul in the fifteenth chapter of the first Corinthian letter: "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive" [1 Corinthians 15:22] – "as" referring to the story or the character or the event or the object back there in the Old Testament and "so" referring to its fulfillment – the thing that it adumbrated, the thing that it pictured, the thing that it typified here in the new revelation of God – "as . . . so."
Now, that is a thing that I think the Lord referred to here in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew as He closed His giving of the parables of the kingdom of heaven. This is the way that He closed it in Matthew 13:51: "Jesus said unto them, ‘Have ye understood all these things?’" They didn’t any more understand them than they were flying a mile high in the air, but they say unto Him, "Yeah, Lord, we know all about them" [from Matthew 13:51]. "Yeah, yeah, oh, we just got a Ph.D. in these parables." "Now, we made a hundred percent mark, and absolutely." I doubt they knew a thing in the world about them. But that’s folks.
"Have you understood all these things?"
"Oh, yes, Lord, we know all about them." They say, "Yea, Lord."
All right, that next verse, now, look at it. "Then said He unto them, ‘Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasures things new and old" [Matthew 13:52]. The old things are the types, the shadows, the prefigurations. The new things are what they stood for. This is the actuality; this is the adumbration – the shadow, the picture of the truth. This is the actual truth itself; this, the old thing, is the typical event, the foreshadowing. The new thing – this is what it foreshadowed; this is the thing itself.
So when we read the Bible, you will find the meaning of Leviticus in the Book of Hebrews. You’ll find the meaning of Daniel in the Book of the Revelation. You’ll find the meaning of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah and you’ll find the meaning of the Passover lamb [Exodus 12:1-13] in the four gospels in the story of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Things old and things new [Matthew 13:52]: this is the old thing; this is the new thing. This is the event or the adumbration; this is what it stood for – this is the fulfillment.
Now, in about three minutes, I want to take about forty-five minutes worth of what ought to be taken and see if I can go through, real rapidly, some just to give you a little preview – that’s all: some of the typical events and things in the Old Testament that foreshadow the things that are in the New. And we’ll do it in about two or three minutes, then we’ll have to stop. Then next Sunday morning, we’re going to pick up again and start off where we left off this morning. All right?
Let’s group them like this: there are typical structures and objects; there are typical ordinances and ceremonies; there are typical events; there are typical personalities – all of these back there in the Old Testament that foreshadow the great revelations and truths of God, the actualities, the realities in the New Testament.
All right, let’s take objects. The tabernacle – and we’re going when the time comes when I get to Leviticus – I have already prepared many, many of those messages – we’re going to take a long time and look at the tabernacle and what God foreshadowed in the tabernacle. The tabernacle is a structure that had another meaning, and all of the things in the tabernacle had another meaning: the altar, the laver, the seven-branch lampstand, the table of shewbread, the golden altar of incense, the veil in between, the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat, and the spilling out of the blood [Exodus 25:1-27:21]. Those are typical objects.
All right, here are typical ceremonies: all of those sacrifices – the Passover [Exodus 12:1-12], the sin offering [Leviticus 9:1-10]; all of those feasts [Leviticus 23:1-22]; the scapegoat [Leviticus 16:7-10]; the Day of Atonement [Leviticus 16:29-34] – all of them had another meaning [John 5:39]. They were adumbrations of a great truth that God wanted to keep alive in the hearts of His people [1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Hebrews 9:23-28].
All right, typical events. The flood is typical of the great final judgment of God upon this earth [Genesis 6:1-8:1; Matthew 24:35-39]. Those twelve plagues in Egypt are typical of the awful hour of tribulation that is yet to come [Exodus 7:14-11:10; Revelation 8:1-13]. The raising up of that serpent in the wilderness is a typifying of the Son of God who is raised between the earth and the sky [Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:14-15]. The crossing over Jordan is a typical, a picture, of our crossing over into the promised land into heaven: the cold waters of death that flow in between and on the other side, the blowing of the trumpets in the celestial city of God – crossing Jordan [Joshua 3:1-17]. The raising up of that golden image by Nebuchadnezzar on the plain of Dura, sixty cubits high and six cubits broad [Daniel 3:1-7], the meaning of that you’ll find in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation [Revelation 13:1-18]. They are typical events.
Now, just briefly, typical personalities: Adam is a type of Christ [Romans 5:14] who’s the second Adam [1 Corinthians 15:45-46]. He was given a bride [Genesis 2:18-24], Eve, a type of the bride of Christ, His church [Ephesians 5:25-32]. Joseph, who suffered death, entered into glory [Genesis :33]; our Lord who suffered and entered into glory [Luke 24:26]. What could I say of Melchizedek who is the type of the great high priesthood of our Savior? [Genesis 14:17-20; Hebrews 5:6, 10, 7:1-3]. What could I say of Isaac who was offered on the sacrifice, the wood of which offering was placed on him, and he willingly gave himself when his father offered him – a type of the offering of Christ? [Genesis 22:1-12].
What could I say of David the king whose greater Son is to be a king on David’s throne forever? [2 Samuel 7:16-18; Luke 1:31-33] What could I say of Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus there on the Mount of Transfiguration [Matthew 17:1-3]? Moses, the type of those who die and are resurrected before the Lord [Deuteronomy 34:5-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14] and Elijah the type of those who are translated [2 King 2:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:17], like Enoch [Genesis 5:24], who never taste of death, but in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, all are changed at the glorious appearing of the Lord [1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17].
Why, the whole Book is that. That’s what the Book is: the old things in the Old Covenant typifying the new things in the New Covenant. This is that.
Well, we will sing our song, and while we sing it, somebody this morning to give his heart to the Lord, somebody to come into the fellowship of the church, while we sing the song, make this appeal, on the first stanza, down these stairwells from the balcony or from side to side in this great auditorium – somebody you to give his heart in faith to the Lord or to come to the fellowship of this church, while we sing, would you come and stand by me while all of us stand and sing?