Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #923 MP3 Audio File Video File

The Typology of Israel

Selected Scriptures

Delivered 09/02/18

This morning I want us to look at what I see as one of the most fascinating areas of Bible study, which is Typology, particularly the Typology of Israel. Typology is the study of "types." What exactly do we mean by a type? Theologically speaking, a type may be defined as "a figure or ensample of something future and more or less prophetic, called the 'Antitype'" (E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, p. 768).

Wick Broomall has a concise statement that is helpful:

"A type is a shadow cast on the pages of Old Testament history by a truth whose full embodiment or antitype is found in the New Testament revelation" (Baker's Dictionary of Theology, p. 533).

There are several words used in the Greek New Testament to denote what we have just defined as a type. First, there is the term tupos (the basis of our English word "type"). Paul uses this is in Romans 5:

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 ESV

Here he tells us that Adam "is a type [tupos] of the one who was to come," referring to Christ.

Second, there is the word skia, rendered "shadow."

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. Colossians 2:16 ESV

What is Paul referring to here? The words that Paul uses rendered: "a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath" represent annual, monthly, and weekly celebrations that were tied in with the Mosaic Law. This phrase is indicative of all the appointed festivals of Israel (see Leviticus 23) and is used as such in at least three different places in the Tanakh. So he's talking about the Mosaic Covenant. Now watch the next verse:

These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:17 ESV

"To come" is from the Greek word mello, which means: "to be about to." So, at the time of Paul's writing of Colossians, the Mosaic system was about to become a shadow. The realities were "about to" come (cf. Heb. 8:5; 10:1).

Third, there is the term hupodeigma, translated "copy," and used in conjunction with "shadow" in Hebrews 8:

They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain." Hebrews 8:5 ESV

It is used here referring to the Temple (cf. Heb. 9:23).

Fourth, the Greek word parabole (compare our English "parable") is found in Hebrews 9:

(which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, Hebrews 9:9 ESV

Here the tabernacle is "a symbol for the present time" (cf. Heb. 11:19).

Finally, there is the use of antitupon, rendered "copies" in 1 Peter 3:21and in Hebrews 9:

For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24 ESV

This word, as used in the New Testament, denotes: "that which corresponds to" the type; it is the reality which fulfills the prophetic picture.

So we have a type and an anti-type. The type is the picture, the anti-type is the reality. A type is a real, exalted happening in history, which was divinely ordained by the omniscient God to be a prophetic picture of the good things which He purposed to bring to fruition in Christ Yeshua. Let me give you a few examples that I'm sure you are familiar with:

And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food." Numbers 21:5 ESV

What happens next?:

Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. Numbers 21:6-7 ESV

Why was God killing the Israelites? Complaining! We really are Israel aren't we?

And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. Numbers 21:8-9 ESV

The brazen serpent as a means of salvation for the Israelites was a remarkable type of Christ as a means of our salvation through Him:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, John 3:14 ESV

Yeshua did not here merely find an apt illustration of His means of saving men by dying on the cross; it was a remarkable divinely ordained type of salvation from death and the punishment for sin by a God-appointed means. What did the Israelites have to do to be saved? Join the church, pray a prayer, get baptized, repent of all wrong doing or live a holy life? No! All they had to do was to look to that serpent and they lived. So also, we look to the Lord Yeshua the Christ in faith, and we live. This type very beautifully set forth salvation through Christ by faith alone.

So the serpent is the "type" and Christ is the "anti-type." Let me ask you this, "Is the Church saved by Christ?" Of course! But the type was given to Israel. Yet we see its fulfillment in the Church. So in Typology we see the unity of the Scriptures.

William G. Moorehead writes this concerning types:

A type is a draft or sketch of some well-defined feature of redemption, and therefore it must in some distinct way resemble its antitype, e.i. Aaron as high priest is a rough figure of Christ the Great High Priest, and the Day of Atonement in Israel (Leviticus 16) must be a true picture of the atoning work of Christ… A type always prefigures something future. A Scriptural type and predictive prophecy are in substance the same, differing only in form… A type always looks to the future; an element of prediction must necessarily be in it (The Typology of Scripture by William G. Moorehead is reproduced from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr [Chicago: Howard-Severance Co., 1930], vol. 5, pp. 3029-3030).

A type is an acted out prophecy. It is as truly prophetic as is a spoken prophecy, and had equal value with spoken prophecy in directing the faith of the Israelites to the coming salvation.

For example, in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is given a spoken prophecy vividly portraying the vicarious suffering of Christ. At the altar in the tabernacle the same great truths were daily predicted both morning and evening in the harmless, innocent lamb, its substitutionary death for another, and the sprinkling of its blood before God.

The sacrificial system of Israel was considered by New Testament writers to be typical of the perfect and final sacrifice of Christ. When John the Baptist saw Yeshua coming toward him he said:

The next day he saw Yeshua coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 ESV

The blood of every innocent victim, and the faith of every Old Covenant offerer were now made efficacious through the offering up of the perfect Lamb of God for the sin of the world. Without His coming, the Old Covenant sacrifices would have been meaningless and worthless.

Let me give you a couple interpretative principles that we need to keep in mind as we study types:

1. It must be recognized that types are grounded in real history; the people, places, events, etc. were deliberately chosen by God to prepare for the coming of the Christian system.

2. There is a graduation from type to antitype; of the lesser to the greater; from the material to the spiritual; the earthly to the heavenly.

Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV

Here Paul is talking about Adam, who he calls a type:

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 ESV

Then speaking of Adam and Christ Paul says:

But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 15:46 ESV

So the type is natural, earthly, material, and the anti-type is spiritual, heavenly and the fulfillment or reality.

Now with that being said, what I want you to understand, and what is critical that we understand, is that: National, ethnic Israel was a type. Understanding this is crucial to understanding Scripture.

Dispensationalism misses this very important point and thus tries to keep separate the type and anti-type. The people of Israel themselves were a type. The nation itself, as God's special people, was typical of the true people of God. It was "physical Israel," but Paul describes Christian believers as "Spiritual Israel." National Israel was divinely ordained to resemble Spiritual Israel. The physical seed of Abraham typified the spiritual seed of Abraham, and some of the promises made to his seed were not fulfilled at all to his physical seed, but, as Paul teaches in Romans 4, only to his spiritual children. Physical Israel as a type of spiritual Israel is constantly set forth by Paul in the Roman and Galatian letters.

And understanding that the nation of Israel was a type, we won't be surprised to find that Israel's sacrifices, priesthood, Temple, and land also had typical significance.

Dispensationalism puts great emphasis on a rebuilt Temple and priesthood because they fail to see these as types. Physical Israel was a type and so was the tabernacle:

They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, "See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain." Hebrews 8:5 ESV

The tabernacle was a type. What is the anti-type? Yeshua is the anti-type:

Yeshua answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." John 2:19 ESV

Yeshua replaces the Temple itself. Yeshua is the anti-type of the Temple. The Temple represented the presence of God among His children in the early days, so Christ is described in:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 ESV

The word "dwelt" here is skenoo, which means: "a tent." Yeshua came and pitched His tent or tabernacled among us. Notice what Peter says to the Jewish leaders:

let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Yeshua the Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. Acts 4:10 ESV

Now notice what Peter says of Christ:

This Yeshua is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. Acts 4:11 ESV

Yeshua is the cornerstone upon which the spiritual house of God was built.

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 ESV

If you don't build on the cornerstone, Yeshua, you don't have salvation. Whose Savior was Yeshua?

Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Yeshua, as he promised. Acts 13:23 ESV

Yeshua is Israel's Savior! So if the Church and Israel are different, who is the Curch's Savior? Israel's Savior is our Savior, because we are Israel.

How did Israel move from a type to an anti-type? Good question. Israel went from type to anti-type by means of a second exodus. At the transfiguration Luke wrote:

who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Luke 9:31 ESV

The word for "departure" is the Greek word exodos. There was another exodus that Yeshua was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. This was another forty year journey, not a physical one, but a spiritual one. When did this second exodus begin? To answer that we need to know when did the first exodus begin? Passover! You'll remember that the first Passover was observed when Israel was about to be delivered from slavery in Egypt.

Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. Exodus 12:3 ESV

Who is the anti-type of the lamb? It is the Lord Yeshua the Christ. Passover was a type, or picture of something much greater—it pictured the redemption of God's elect through the sacrifice of the sinless Son of God, the Lord Yeshua, who was the Christ.

The typical significance of the Passover is very clear in the New Testament writings. Probably no Mosaic institution is a more perfect type than this.

and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Exodus 12:6 ESV

The first Passover was celebrated on the 14th of Nisan, beginning Israel's exodus out of Egypt. Then almost two thousand years later, Yeshua was crucified on the 14th of Nisan, beginning the second exodus.

So the first and second exodus, the type and the anti-type, both began on Passover. Israel's journey from Egypt to Canaan, the exodus, was a type.

Who led the exodus of Israel out of Egypt? Moses! Moses is a type and Yeshua is the anti-type. Moses was the first savior of Israel, whom God had empowered to redeem Israel, this was a prefiguring of the true Redeemer who by His perfect sacrifice redeemed Israel from sin's death.

In 2 Corinthians 3, Moses stands in relation to the Old Covenant as Christ does to the New Covenant. One is inferior and preparatory, the other is spiritual and final. In these ways, then, the life of Moses points beyond itself to the life and work of Christ.

Like Moses, Yeshua will grow up in Egypt:

And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt Matthew 2:14 ESV

Like the story of Moses, Herod slaughters the male children (2:16-18). Like Moses' exile to Midian, Yeshua's exile to Egypt will end with the death of Herod/Pharaoh. And then we have a New Exodus foretold:

and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son." Matthew 2:14-15 ESV

Matthew is quoting here from Hosea:

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.  Hosea 11:1 ESV

When we study this text in the context of the entire book, we find that Hosea is referring to the Exodus described in the book of Exodus. But as we have just seen in Matthew 2:15, the writer applies Hosea 11:1 to Yeshua as a youth returning to Judea from Egypt. This reference does not seem in keeping with the intention of Hosea. It is here we must remember where the meaning of a text ultimately resides—in the intention of its author, God Himself. And as we read the Scripture in the context of the Bible as a whole, we see that He has made an analogy between Israel, God's son, being freed from Egypt, and Yeshua, God's Son, coming up from Egypt; a pattern that runs throughout Matthew's Gospel. "Out of Egypt I have called my son" is Exodus typology, where Yeshua is the New True Israel.

Yeshua is baptized (Matthew 3:12-17). As Yeshua emerges from the water, we hear, "This is My beloved Son," which evokes a related image: Israel was adopted and became God's son at the Exodus from Egypt at the crossing of the Red Sea, and so this is New Exodus Typology in which New Israel is born.

When we come to Matthew 4:1:11, which describes Yeshua's temptation in the wilderness; if we are familiar with the Tanakh, we will see this pattern again. When we read that Yeshua, the Son of God, spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness, this reference may remind us of the Israelites' 40-year trek in the wilderness. But the comparison goes beyond the number 40. The Israelites also were tempted in the wilderness in the same three areas in which Yeshua was tempted: (1) hunger and thirst, (2) testing God, and (3) worshiping false gods. Yeshua, however, shows Himself to be the obedient Son of God, where the Israelites were disobedient. Indeed, Yeshua responded to the temptations by quoting Deuteronomy, the sermon that Moses gave the Israelites at the end of their 40-year sojourn.

What does Yeshua do next in Matthew?

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: Matthew 5:1-2 ESV

Yeshua goes up on a mountain, like Moses, and gives New Torah; the "Sermon on the Mount." Yeshua is the New Israel, and this typology can only be seen if we are familiar with the Tanakh.

The transfiguration experience is pregnant with exodus symbolism. Just as Moses went up into the mountain with three companions, so does Yeshua. Moses' face shone with the glory of God; the face of Yeshua "Shone like the sun," Matthew tells us. Moses and Elijah appear, and the voice from the cloud says, "This is my beloved Son; listen to Him" is most likely echoing the words of:

"The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—  Deuteronomy 18:15 ESV

From the mount our Lord descends, as did Moses, to find confusion on the plain:

And he answered them, "O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me." Mark 9:19 ESV

Matthew and Luke add the word "perverse," which shows that they saw a parallel between the generation of our Lord's day and the generation of the first exodus.

In the book of Acts, Stephen begins his sermon with a review of Israel's history. In this the exodus receives the major part of his attention. There is a clear parallel between Moses, the redeemer, rejected by his people who worshiped idols, and Yeshua, the Redeemer, rejected by His people who used the Jewish cultus in an idolatrous way. So the nation Israel was a type, and their leader Moses was a type.

What was the first Mosaic institution given? It was the Sabbath: Not one text in all the Bible enjoins the observance of the Sabbath upon any man before the exodus, nor since Pentecost. Its first recorded observance was at the time of the giving of the manna (Exodus 16:23). Its purpose was for a memorial or a sign (Exodus 31:17) of their deliverance from Egypt, and that they were the special people of God (Deut. 5:15; Ezek. 20:12). It was observed in commemoration of the beginning of their nation at the exodus, as Americans observe the Fourth of July for a similar purpose. It was a weekly reminder of their peculiar relation to God.

It was observed by a complete cessation from work (Exod. 20:10; 35:2; Lev. 23:3). The law was very strict in its requirement of Sabbath observance. No fire was to be kindled and no cooking done. The violation of the Sabbath was punishable by death.

As we have already seen in Colossians 2:16-17, the Sabbath was a type or shadow. What is the anti-type of the Sabbath? Yeshua! The Sabbath was a type or shadow of a body or substance which we obtain in Christ. The main idea of the Sabbath was physical rest. That physical rest, therefore, must have been typical of some higher rest to be found by the Christian. The strict observance of the Sabbath, which God required of the Jews, like the requirement of strict adherence to the divine pattern for the tabernacle, was because it was to typify a perfect spirit-rest of the Christian.

Centuries before Moses, the patriarch Jacob predicted Christ's coming under the name "Shiloh," or Rest-giver (Gen. 49:10). Yeshua Himself is the Rest-giver, and the rest He gives from the burden and bondage of sin is the Christian's Sabbath foreshadowed by that ancient Mosaic rest-day. It was predicted that "His rest shall be glorious."

That this is the true Sabbath-keeping is argued by the inspired writer to the Hebrews (4:3-11). He who ceases from his own works to obtain righteousness and trusts in the mercy of God for pardon of sin has entered the true Sabbath. The Sabbath, like the other ceremonial requirements of the Law of Moses, is abolished (Col. 2:14-17; Heb. 8:6- 13), but the blessed spirit-rest it prefigured remains for the people of God.

The writer to the Hebrews says that Joshua, who led the Israelites into Canaan, failed to give them the promised rest (4:8). He spiritualizes that promised rest and locates it, not in literal Canaan, but in Christ, of which Canaan was a type. Here is positive proof that God attached typical meaning to that journey of the Israelites.

What event ended the first exodus period? The destruction of Jericho. Jericho stood at the entrance to the promised land. It was a fortified city that represented a serious challenge to Israel's claim to the land. Its fall telegraphed a message to all the world that God was the Lord of this people.

What event marked the end of the second exodus? The destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus is the Greek transliteration of Christ's Hebrew name, which is rendered in English as Joshua. Old Covenant Judaism was a major problem for those early believers. Nothing represented the old system better than the Temple. Here was where the presence of God dwelt. His presence assured them they were His people. But forty years after the cross, in A.D. 70, believers fled the city of Jerusalem as the walls fell and the city was destroyed and burned.

Similar to the collapse of the walls in Jericho, the fall of Jerusalem's walls symbolized the entrance of the redeemed remnant into Christ's everlasting Kingdom. The believers were vindicated and revealed as "the sons of God" while judgment fell on the Jewish system which had rejected God as King.

Believers now reside in the New Jerusalem, which is the New Covenant:

Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Galatians 4:24 ESV

Paul is talking about the two covenants, the Old and the New.

Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. Galatians 4:25 ESV

Present Jerusalem (of Paul's day) represents the Old Covenant.

But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. Galatians 4:26 ESV

What exactly is this "Jerusalem above" who is our mother? You must keep in mind that the comparison here is between two covenants. Earthly Jerusalem represents the Old Covenant, so this heavenly Jerusalem represents the New Covenant.

The events of Jericho offered a graphic image and actual prophecy of events at the close of the Jewish age, forty years after Pentecost, when there were seven angels with seven trumpets of doom and judgement:

Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Revelation 8:2 ESV

At that time the great and powerful city of Babylon (Jerusalem) suddenly fell:

They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, "Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come." Revelation 18:10 ESV

As in Joshua, the destruction of the city came at the sound of the trumpets, so at the end of the Jewish age, the destruction of Jerusalem came as Yeshua sounded the trumpet.

This exodus Typology is seen throughout the New Testament. We see it very clearly in the book of Acts. Speaking of Moses, Stephen says:

This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us. Acts 7:38 ESV

The word for "congregation" here is the Greek word ekklesia. This word is taken over and used of the church:

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. Acts 20:28 ESV

This was the flock which He purchased with His own blood. They were the redeemed of the Lord, they were Israel.

In 1 Corinthians 10:1ff the experiences of Israel redeemed at the Red Sea, sustained but disobedient in the wilderness, are said to be types for us:

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 1 Corinthians 10:6 ESV

Their baptism corresponded to ours. They too fed on heavenly food. Christ, figuratively speaking, came with them also out of Egypt and through the desert. Being a Jew, Paul must have felt that in this sense he, himself, belonged to the exodus generation. But as a Christian, he must have had this feeling still more strongly. He knew that he belonged to the new eschatological exodus under Yeshua, the Messiah; and, in his opinion, this new exodus of Salvation was a complete typological counterpart of the ancient, historical exodus, only on a larger scale and in a more profound sense.

The author of Hebrews sees the situation of his readers as being parallel to that

of the people of the first exodus. The cross and resurrection are the second exodus; the forty years are running out as A.D. 70 approaches; the people of Israel are to bring upon themselves the curses threatened in an exodus context in the book of Deuteronomy, and they will be dispossessed of their inheritance as the heathen were; the new people of God will then be led by the new Joshua, Yeshua, into their true spiritual inheritance. If a material kingdom and a material Temple had in a sense been the goal of the first exodus, these things must now be forsaken despite their obvious pull, and God's people must step out with new faith.

We also see the exodus Typology in the titles of Christ. He is the I AM, the Rock, the Shepherd, the Bridegroom, as was the God of the exodus. He is the fulfilment of the human side also. He is the New Israel and, in a deeper sense than Israel was, the Son of God, and the Vine. He is the second Moses, the Prophet and the Servant. He is the second Joshua, Yeshua the Savior and Conqueror. His titles overlap each other as in His unique Person He fulfills all that had been spoken by Moses, in the Law, and by the Prophets.

So Dispensationalism is wrong, Israel and the Church are not separate peoples. National Israel was a type and the Church, the true Israel is the anti-type. All the promises that God made to His covenant people are fulfilled in the Church, the true Israel. The "true Israel" is the Israel of faith, not birth; Israel is spiritual, not natural. This view has been called "replacement theology"; it is said that the Church replaced Israel. But a much better term would be "fulfillment theology"; the promises of God made to Old Covenant Israel are "fulfilled" in the Church of Yeshua, which is true Israel. Covenant, not race, has always been the defining mark of the true Israel.

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