Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

Types and Anti-types in the Bible

Introduction

A type is a physical entity in the Old Testament (a person, place, thing or ritual) that illustrates or serves as a shadow of a spiritual reality in the New Testament, called the anti-type. Most types and their corresponding anti-types are separated by more than a thousand years.

The existence of varied and detailed types is sure evidence that the Bible has One Author - it is not a hodge-podge of manuscripts containing the speculations of different authors. Rather, God was guiding different authors as they wrote. Old Testament authors such as Moses may not have understood the meanings of many things they described, since these meanings were revealed only thousands of years later (we modern people are privileged in this sense - we're looking back at history and so we see everything laid before us).

The following are some types and their corresponding anti-types.

Category 1: Persons finding their anti-types in the Lord Jesus

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came down in human form, the savior for mankind anointed by God for the purpose and also the king of Israel. Of the billions of people who have walked, are walking, or will walk on this planet, there is this one person who is unique in origin and mission.

Such a person needs to be recognized. After all, there are thousands of religious leaders and religions, each claiming to hold the key to our spiritual welfare. In order to be recognized, such a person needs to be authenticated. One authentication that Jesus alone enjoys is that there are various figures in Jewish history before Christ, whose life story is very similar to that of Jesus. It seems as if God deliberately shaped the lives of certain Jewish heroes in order to portray the greatness of Christ.

See examples here

Category 2: Sacrifices portraying Christ's death and resurrection

One of the reasons why Jesus Christ is eligible to be your savior is that he died a sacrificial death; he bore the penalty of your sin so that you could be set free from the guilt and consequences of your sin. Yeah, but many people have died. How do we know that Jesus' death is so special? One way is as follows:-

Thousands of years before Christ, God instituted sacrifices in which animals were killed. Over a time period spanning centuries, God used different people to point to Christ's death as the fulfillment of all such animal sacrifices.

See the details here

Category 3: Jewish feasts that portray events in the history of the Jews

In around 1450 BC, God instituted various festivals for the Jewish people to celebrate. Israelis celebrate these festivals even today. There are 7 feasts. Remarkably, these feasts can be correlated to 7 events in the history of Israel. Four of these are already past and three are in the future according to other Jewish prophets who lived between 700 and 400 BC. Evidently, the Person who appointed these feasts is the same as the God who would control the distant future.

See the details here.

Category Five: Abraham and his family

In Genesis 22, we read of Abraham and his family. Abraham and his wife Sarah were old, and they had a beloved, only son, Isaac. But God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham, in incredible faith and obedience, sets out to obey this difficult command. He travels towards Mt Moriah (called the Temple Mount today, in Jerusalem). As they ascend the mountain, Abraham puts the wood on Isaac's shoulder, but the knife and fire were in his hands (Genesis 22:6). But just as Isaac was on the altar, about to be killed, God reveals to Abraham that this commandment was merely a test. Abraham had passed the test - there was no need to kill Isaac. God provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead. After descending from the mountain (Genesis 22:20-24), Abraham hears of his Syrian relatives (foreigners from the Israelite point of view). Genesis 23 records the death of Sarah. Then Abraham sends his trusted chief servant Eliezer to Syria in order to get a bride for his son Isaac. Eliezer goes to Syria and returns with Rebekah who becomes Isaac's wife (Genesis 24:67). Shortly after, Abraham has another wife, Keturah (Genesis 25:1).

Now compare all this with the broad themes of the Bible that become visible thousands of years after Abraham died.

God chose Israel to be His special people; they were to be faithful to Him just as a wife is faithful to her husband. God calls Israel His wife in Jeremiah 3:14 and Isaiah 54:6. God is Triune. God the Father sent His beloved Son to the earth as Jesus Christ. God laid on His Son the burden of humanity - the Son's mission was to save humanity. How? By dying as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins! While God allowed Abraham to spare Isaac's life and sacrifice a ram instead, a similar option was not available for the Lord Jesus. God gave His only Son - so that we could live eternally. Isaac had a new lease of life. What about the Lord Jesus? He rose again from the dead! Shortly after, on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), the Holy Spirit descended onto the earth; the result was that Jesus' disciples preached God's word in foreign languages. The Holy Spirit has a mission - to develop the church, a new body of people comprising not only Jews, but foreigners as well. What is the ultimate purpose of the church? She is to be the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32)! The Holy Spirit will return with the church to Christ in an event called the rapture. In the heavenly realms the church will be purified (Ephesians 5:27), decked up (Revelation 19:8) and married to Christ (Revelation 19:9). Shortly after the wedding between Christ and the church, God will allow antisemitism to rise to dreadful heights. Christ will return to earth, rescue Israel and restore her relationship with God. Thus, we have a remarkable collection of types and anti-types:-
  • Abraham: God the Father
  • Isaac: God the Son (Jesus Christ)
  • The wood on Isaac's shoulder: the sinful human race
  • Sarah: Israel before AD 70
  • Rebekah: The Church
  • Eliezer: The Holy Spirit
  • Keturah: Israel after the second coming of Christ

Category 4: Jonah and Israel

We learn about Jonah from the book of the Bible that bears his name. He was a Jewish prophet who lived around 850 BC. God told him to go to Nineveh, the capital of the great Assyrian Empire (modern Iraq) and ask them to repent, that is turn from their wickedness and honor the God of the Bible, failing which God would destroy Nineveh. Instead, Jonah took a ship that was headed for Spain.

The Jewish prophet's reluctance to go to Assyria is understandable, since the Assyrians cruelly oppressed the Jews in his day. However, God sent a storm; after briefing the sailors about his background, Jonah asked the sailors in his ship to throw him overboard. When the sailors did this, the storm suddenly became still. The sailors became convinced that Jehovah, the God of the Bible is the true God.

Meanwhile, Jonah was swallowed by a huge fish. From inside the fish, he cried out to God. God made the fish vomit Jonah out near the shore. Then Jonah went to Nineveh and preached the word of God to the people there. The entire city turned to God, and God did not destroy it.

There is a strange parallel between these incidents in Jonah's life and the history of Israel.

Just like God wanted Jonah to preach to others, God wanted the people of Israel to tell others about Him. Just like Jonah, the Israelites failed miserably. However, just like Jonah's disobedience resulted in a few sailors turning to God, the disobedience of Israel has resulted in blessings for many of us non-Jews (Romans 11:11), because God has temporarily set them aside and set up the church (a non-Jewish body), His new people.

God didn't let Jonah continue with his disobedience, and neither will He do so with Israel. The Bible says that God will shape the circumstances such that Israel falls in big trouble - all the nations will come against Israel. Such a war of global proportions is prophesied in Biblical passages such as Joel 3:1-17 and Zechariah 12:1-9. According to the latter passage (which was written four centuries after Jonah!), the Israelis will cry out to God when they are on the brink of annihilation, and He will rescue them (just like He rescued Jonah!). Then the Israelis will submit to God, preach His word, and this will bring tremendous blessings for the whole world, just like Jonah's preaching resulted in blessing for Nineveh. This last bit was written in Romans 11:12 by the apostle Paul - he lived in the first century AD! The video shows American troops visiting the ruins of Nineveh.
 
The parallel between Jonah's life and the history of Israel is a structure whose writing was completed in about a thousand years - and whose historical fulfillment is only partially complete nearly three thousand years after Jonah lived. Such a structure could not have been thought of by a human and is thus proof of the divine origin of the Bible.

If you suspect the authenticity of Jonah since the story sounds fanciful, consider the following:-
  • While it sounds unlikely for a man to be swallowed and vomited out by a fish, it is even more unlikely that a cooked up story would parallel history that spans thousands of years.
  • As demonstrated below, Jonah's story shows Jonah making a total fool of himself. This proves that Jonah did not cook up his story to become rich or famous. Nor does the book contain anything that can be used by anyone else. So, why would anyone make up such a story?
Jonah tells us how he made a fool of himself as follows:-
  • When God asked him to go to Nineveh (800 miles NE), he headed for Spain (2000 miles NW) - the ultimate in disobedience.
  • Jonah admits he was sleeping while the ship was in danger and all the sailors and other passengers were praying to their respective gods.
  • When the people of Nineveh were converted by his preaching, Jonah was upset and threw a tantrum to God saying he preferred the Ninevites to remain wicked and get punished by God.
  • God gave Jonah a piece of His mind with an object lesson that involved Jonah having to bear the heat of the desert sun with no shade. Needless to say, Jonah was all moody and frustrated.

Conclusion

"The types of the Old Testament are as accurate as mathematics" - Dr. A. J. Gordon

The presence of types and anti-types in the Bible is yet another piece, or set of pieces of evidence that the Bible is indeed what it claims to be: God's message to man.