Types of Calvary


Types of Calvary

September 29th, 1957 @ 8:15 AM

Joshua 2:18-21

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee. And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him. And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window.
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Dr. W.A. Criswell

Joshua 2:18-21

9-29-57    8:15 a.m.



You are sharing with us the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.   This is the pastor bringing the early morning message on the Types of Calvary – the Old Testament pictures and shadows and types pointing to the great sacrifice in Christ on Calvary. 

In the second chapter of the Book of Joshua, beginning at the eighteenth verse, is a beautiful picture of a revelation of God that goes throughout the whole Old Testament Scriptures.  It is the story of Rahab in the city of Jericho to which city the spies have come who have spied out the land and are now returning to Israel to tell them about the wonderful riches of Canaan [Joshua 2:1-24].  And the men say to Rahab:


Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread – thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee. 

And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the streets, his blood shall be upon his head, we are guiltless.  But all who are behind that scarlet line, we shall be accountable for their safety.  Their blood shall be upon us.

[Joshua 2:18-19]


            Now, the twenty-first verse:


So she bound the scarlet line in the window. 

[Joshua 2:21]

            And the story continues.  When God gave Jericho into the hands of Israel, they saw that scarlet line in the window and all who were beyond that scarlet thread were saved [Joshua 6:15-17]. 

            There is a scarlet thread, a scarlet line, that can be easily discernable and easily followed throughout all the story of the Old Testament Scriptures from the beginning to the end.  It is said – and I wish I could verify this – I have read several times that in the center of every piece of rope that belongs to the British Royal Navy, there is a scarlet thread.  By that you can tell, they say, when a line, when a rope, belongs to the Royal Navy.  It will have in the center of it that scarlet thread.  Whether that is true or not, I do not know.  But I know this is true: if a passage is out of the Word of God, it will have in it that scarlet line.  "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins" [Hebrews 9:22].

            Now, all of the foreshadowings and all of the types and all of the pictures of the Old Testament look forward to the consummating sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  This story, whether it’s on this page or this page or this page, this story is the story of the sacrifice of Jesus and the redemption of His people.  And you can read it back here just as easily and as fully and as richly, as meaningfully, as you can read it here on the pages of the New Testament.  It was that thing that the Lord Jesus had to make clear to His disciples after His resurrection. 

Look at this: the fact of the death of Christ was very plain.  They had seen Him die.  They had stood by the cross [John 19:25-27].  They had watched His corpse wrapped in the winding sheet [John 19:38-42].  They had seen it placed in the new tomb, the stone rolled over the entrance [Mark 15:46-47] and sealed with a Roman seal [Matthew 27:62-66].  The fact of the death of Christ was very plain.  But what the disciples could not see and did not see was this: they could not understand the reason that lay back of that death.  To them it was a colossal, indescribable, tragedy.  It was the ruin of every hope.  It was the frustration of every prayer and desire and vision [Luke 24:18-21].  The death of Christ, to His disciples, was an incalculable calamity. 

            Now, what the disciples did not understand and did not know was this: that the great purpose that lies back of all of these Old Testament shadows, all of these ancient sacrifices, the purpose that lay back of them was the adumbration, the foreshadowing of the atoning death of Jesus.  Had they known that, they would not have fallen into such gigantic despair when Jesus died.  So it says in the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel of Luke, it says that Jesus, beginning at Moses and the prophets, explained to the disciples out of the Scriptures why and how it was necessary for Christ to suffer and to die and the third day be raised from the dead [Luke 24:13-27]. 

            Now He did that.  The Lord did that in the same way that we are doing it on these Lord ‘s Day mornings.  He went back into those Old Testament Scriptures, and He showed His disciples by the types and the sacrifices and the shadows in the Old Testament how that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins [Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22] – that the death of Christ was necessary for the redemption of the race [Luke 24:26].  And that is what we are doing in these early morning hours.

            Now, may I say a word about why that needs to be emphasized and repeated today?  The doctrine of the substitutionary atonement, the substitute of Christ for the sinner – the doctrine of the atonement by substitution is passé in this enlightened age.  We have got too smart for that old-fashioned doctrine.  That belongs to the medievals; that belongs to the long agos when they did not know such things as we in this twentieth century now know. 

            The doctrine of the atonement by substitution has been largely, largely denied.  In its stead, there is preached the doctrine of the moral influence of Christ. He was a great martyr for a noble cause.  He was unselfish in His life.  He was a great hero.  He was a marvelous teacher.  But as for the blood and the atoning death of Christ, they look upon that in the same sense that they would look upon the death of Socrates [d. 399 BCE] or the death of any other martyr. 

            So as a consequence of that new theology, they take the blood of Christ out the hymns.  They don’t have in these modern hymnbooks "There’s a Fountain Filled with Blood" [William Cowper], "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus" ["Nothing but the Blood," Robert Lowry].  All of that bloody theology is taken out of the new hymnbooks.  And that bloody theology is taken out of these liberal seminaries.  And that bloody theology is taken out of the modern pulpit, and Jesus becomes the great reformer.  He becomes the great social ameliorator.  He becomes the crusader for the new day and the new era and the new social advancement.

            Therefore, I say, we need to go back to the Book, and to the Lord Himself, and to the pages out of which He explained the necessity for His own death.  And that is found, I say, like a scarlet line through all of the Holy Scriptures.  If it’s in the Bible, it’ll be foreshadowing the necessity for the death and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

            Now, we’re going to take those things in the Old Testament.  I have resolved on something after last Sunday morning.  I was so disappointed last Sunday morning.  I had worked on that message as much as any I had ever worked on in my life, but it was so filled until I felt the people just finally put down their Bibles and quit – too much material.  We can’t absorb it in one service.  So I have tried to break it up.  And out of those types, those shadows, here in the Old Testament that prefigure Calvary, we’re going to take one this morning – just one – and see if we can get that verily in our hearts and clearly in our minds that the blood atonement is the only way by which God shall ever remiss our sins and that it is the story of the revelation of God through the whole Book. 

            Now, this morning, we’re going to take one of those kinds of types and that is this.  We’re going to take the one where there is the actual shedding of blood – just that one – the actual shedding of blood where life was poured out and blood spilled out for the remission of our sins – in the Old Testament done by type, by figure, by offering, by sacrifice, in the New Testament done by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. 

            Now, that’s what I mean by the scarlet line, the scarlet thread.  From the first of the Bible, when you pick it up, clear through the story of the old Scriptures, you can follow it by that scarlet thread, page after page.  This morning, for just a little while, we’re going to do just that. 

            All right, the first one: it’ll be right in the beginning of the Bible.  Here in the third chapter of the Book of Genesis is the story of the fall of our first parents [Genesis 3:1-6].  And in their shame, they sewed for themselves aprons of fig leaves to cover their nakedness [Genesis 3:7].  In the twenty-first verse of the third chapter of Genesis, there is the first shedding of blood.  I have often wondered, haven’t you? I’ve often wondered, since Adam had never seen anything die, Eve had never seen anything die, I have often wondered what they understood by God’s Word when the Lord said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" [Genesis 2:17].  I’ve wondered what they thought.  They had never seen death.  They did not know what it was.  Yet, God had said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" [Genesis 2:17].

            In the twenty-first verse of the third chapter of Genesis, I think Adam and Eve, for the first time, understood what God meant.  Standing there, somewhere in the paradise of that beautiful garden, they saw the Lord God take – and I would suppose He took a lamb and slew it before their eyes.  And they watched the earth drink up the blood of that innocent animal; and out of the sacrifice of those innocent animals, the Lord God made coats of skins and covered the nakedness of the man and his wife [Genesis 3:21].

            That is the first sacrifice.  The scarlet thread begins there as Adam and Eve look upon the blood poured out into the ground.  Not only did they look upon that blood, but when you turn to the next chapter, there that scarlet line continues. 

            Cain and Abel bring gifts to the Lord:  Cain, of the fruits of the ground [Genesis 4:3], but Abel, of the firstlings of his flock, a lamb [Genesis 4:4].  And there on an altar, Abel slays the lamb, and the ground drinks up its blood.  And there on an altar, Abel offers unto God a sacrifice, blood poured out.  And there in that sacred place where Abel stood, the Lord accepted Abel [Genesis 4:4] and justified him, and there God forgave, in that sacrifice, Abel’s sins.

            Cain looked upon it, and, in wrath, he raised his hand and he slew his brother Abel [Genesis 4:8].  In the same place where the ground drank up the blood of the lamb, there did the hungry and thirsty earth drink up the blood of Abel.  Then, a remarkable thing in the Book: God says to Cain, "Where is thy brother?" [Genesis 4:9]

"I don’t know," says Cain. 

God says, "Cain, where is thy brother?  For the voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto Me from the ground" [Genesis 4:10].  

How did it cry?  Had [Abel] been a vile and a wicked man – unjustified, guilty sinner – there would have been nothing said by that blood but that this man justly died.  He died as he should have died.  He died a wicked sinner.  He died a vile and loathsome creature.  But when it says "the blood of thy brother, Abel, cries unto Me from the ground," it was because Abel’s life was righteous and justified and acceptable in God’s sight [Matthew 23:35].  And the cry of the blood was a righteous cry, and a holy cry – a justified cry.  Abel belonged to God [Hebrews 11:4].  There, that scarlet thread. 

            We must hasten.  When you turn the page of the Book, here in the twenty-second chapter of the Book of Genesis, that same scarlet line. Abram lifted up his hand to slay his son, Isaac [Genesis 22:1-10].  And the Lord called unto Abraham, stayed his hand [Genesis 22:11-12].  And Abraham looked, and behold, a ram caught in a thicket.  And Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son: Genesis 22:13.  There again, that same doctrine of substitution – an actual death for a life.  Somebody substituted for somebody else – a ram substituted for Isaac. 

            Now, let me show you something about that word that all of us know: Jehovahjireh.  And they named that place Jehovahjireh, which means in Hebrew, "the Lord will provide" [Genesis 22:14].  

We use that word and apply it to temporal things.  "The Lord will provide, Jehovahjireh.  Don’t you worry. God will provide."  And we apply it to temporal things.  That’s right.  It includes that, I know.  But we must never forget that when that word was used, it referred to God providing a sacrifice for us who died in our place.  For Abraham said to his boy, Isaac, when the little fellow said: "Father, here is the wood and here is the fire, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?" [Genesis 22:7].  And Abraham replied: "My son, Jehovahjireh, the Lord will provide Himself, a lamb for a burnt offering" [Genesis 22:8].  It applies to the atonement of Christ.  It is the scarlet thread. 

            How we must hasten.  

            The whole story in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Exodus is that same story.  It is the story of the Passover lamb, the Paschal lamb.  For just a moment, look at that.  All of the land of Egypt is under the penalty of death – all of it [Exodus 12:12].  If there is an Egyptian home, it’s under the penalty of death.  If there is an Israelite’s home, that home is under the penalty of death.  It is death over all of the land of Egypt.  There is no home excepted.  It is death.  It is death either for the firstborn or for the lamb, slain instead, as a substitute for the firstborn [Exodus 12:3-13].  It is one or the other.  Death, death, death: all under the condemnation of that terrible death.  "And it shall be," says God, "death for the firstborn or death to the substitute" [Exodus 12:12-13].  Now, that substitute, the lamb, according to the Book, the lamb is to be shut up for four days until it is identified with the family [Exodus 12:3-6]. 

            Then, there must be not only the pouring out of life, of the blood, but there must be also personal appropriation.  The blood must be taken and sprinkled on the lintels, above the door, and on the doorposts on either side [Exodus 12:6-7].  Publicly, openly set apart: this house and this family belong to God – unashamed, the blood on the outside where everybody could pass by and see it – "this life is under the blood."  That’s why it’s down these aisles and standing openly and publicly by the pastor, unashamed, unreserved, where everybody could see and everybody know, under the blood, under the blood – the scarlet line in the Feast of the Passover. 

            Now, to Leviticus, and it would take you days and days to speak of the sacrifices in Leviticus.  The Book of Leviticus is the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament.  The text of Leviticus is the text of the Book of Hebrews.  Leviticus 17:11: in every Bible, with a red pencil, that ought to be deeply underscored.  This is the text of Leviticus.  This is the text of the Hebrew Scriptures.  This is the text of the whole sacrificial system.  "For the life of the flesh is in the blood."  Isn’t that strange?  Science never knew that until the last few years.  God knew that from the beginning and inspired Moses to write it 1,400 years before Christ – 3,500 years ago.

            "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" [Leviticus 17:11].  That’s the text of Leviticus.  It’s the text of the Book of Hebrews; it’s the text of the scarlet line.  It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

            Now, I want to point out just one thing then I’ll have to pass all of these Levitical sacrifices just for now – just point out one thing.  The burnt offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, the trespass offering, the great silent Day of Atonement, the cleansing by the red heifer, the cleansing of the leper, the bird with its wings dipped in blood and flying up to heaven, in those sacrifices, in the first chapter of Leviticus [Leviticus 1:4-5], in the fourth chapter of Leviticus [Leviticus 4:4], in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus [Leviticus 16:9-10, 20-22], you have this.  The offerer places his hands on the hand of the sacrificial victim and there confesses all of the sins of the offerer over the head of the sacrificial victim.  Then its life is taken away.

            How could a man preach that the life and death of Jesus were just for moral influences – He died just like any other martyr or hero died – when every picture back here in the Old Testament is this: on the head of that victim, our sins are confessed, and the life of the victim, bearing our sins, is taken away – substitution, death in our stead?  I say, I pass them all by for the moment with that one observation.

            Now, quickly, I want to show you a beautiful thing.  As those Levitical sacrifices were repeated over and over again, once in a while there would be a little beautiful, additional detail, embellishment.  And you’ll find such in the seventh chapter of First Samuel – the seventh chapter of First Samuel.  If you could put your finger there, the seventh chapter of First Samuel, then place your finger at the fifth chapter of the Book of Romans – the seventh chapter of First Samuel and the fifth chapter of the Book of Romans. 

            Now, this is the story.  Israel has fallen into sin and in the second verse of that seventh chapter: " . . . And the time was long, and the time was long . . . and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord" [1 Samuel 7:2].  Then the great prophet Samuel gathers Israel together, and they say to him, "O Samuel!  That we might have God with us again!  That we might be forgiven our sins!  That we might get right with God!"  

So Samuel gathers all Israel to Mizpeh.  Now, look at what they do.  "And they gathered together to Mizpeh," sixth verse, "and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord" [1 Samuel 7:6].  That was the first thing: they drew water and poured it out before the Lord.  All right, the second thing: " . . . and fasting all day, they cried, ‘We have sinned against the Lord.’"  Now look at the ninth verse: "And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him" [1 Samuel 7:9].

            Now, see what they did?  At Mizpeh, all of that repentant people and congregation are gathered together before Samuel, and they take water and pour it out before the Lord.  That is a sign of their weakness and their helplessness and their feebleness – water poured out before the Lord.  Then, they confess their sins.  "We have sinned against the Lord."  Then, they identify themselves with a sucking lamb.  "And Samuel took a little sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering unto the Lord" [1 Samuel 7:9].

            Now, turn to the fifth chapter of the Book of Romans.  Look at that.  In Romans 5 and the sixth verse: "When we were yet without strength . . . " [Romans 5:6].  What was it they did in the seventh of First Samuel?  They took water and poured it out before the Lord, a sign of their weakness, of their helplessness [1 Samuel 7:6].  "O Lord, Lord, when we were yet without strength" [Romans 5:6] – the poured out water before the Lord. 

Now look at the eighth verse: "While we were yet sinners . . . " and they confessed their sins – "while we were yet sinners" [Romans 5:8].  And they said, "We have sinned against the Lord" [1 Samuel 7:6].  

All right and the last: "Christ died for us" [Romans 5:8].  "And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord . . . and the Lord heard Samuel’s cry" [1 Samuel 7:9].

            Just the same thing except back here in the Old Testament, it’ll be a type; it’ll be a picture.  In the New Testament, it will be the Lamb of God dying for our sins – our substitute in our stead, in our place.  It’s the same Book, the same Gospel, the same story: that scarlet thread through all the holy Word of God.

            Now, in the little moment that we sing, somebody here to give his heart in faith to the Lord, somebody to put his life into the church, while we sing this song, on the first stanza, into the aisle or down these stairwells and stand by me, would you come this morning?  Somebody you, or a family you, on the first note of the first stanza, would you come while we stand and while we sing?


Dr. W.A. Criswell

Joshua 2:18-21




Types where there was actual shedding of blood

1.    Genesis 3:21;
coats of skin

2.    Genesis 4:4;
lamb offered by Abel

3.    Genesis 22:13; substitute
ram for Isaac

4.    Passover lamb

5.    Levitical offerings

Offerings a foreshadow of the death of Christ