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Taking Types Too Far

01022001-RLW-Genesis-22-1-Abraham-and-Isaac-climbing-Mt-MoriahThe last few Sundays I’ve been preaching on Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22, really focusing on the typology between them. Here are the parallels I used. Isaac and Jesus…

  • Were named by God (Gen 17:19 cf. Matt 1:21).
  • Were loved by their father (Gen 22:2 cf. Matt 3:17).
  • Were only begotten sons (Gen 22:2; John 1:18, 3:16; 1 John 4:9 cf. Heb 11:17).
  • Were offered up in Jerusalem (Gen 22:2; 2 Chr 3:1).
  • Were raised on the third day (Gen 22:4 cf. Heb 11:17-19).
  • Carried the wood for their sacrifices (Gen 22:6a cf. John 19:17).
  • Were placed on the wood for their sacrifices (Gen 22:9).
  • Silently laid down their lives (Gen 22:9-10; Isa 53:7; John 10:11, 15, 17-18, 15:13; 1 John 3:16; Matt 26:52-53; 1 Pet 2:23).
  • Met on Mount Moriah (Gen 22:11-12).
  • Were burnt offerings (Gen 22:2; Lev 1:9, 13, 17 cf. Eph 5:2; Lev 6:11 cf. Heb 13:12; Lev 1:4 cf. Isa 53:6).

One of the difficulties with types is making sure they aren’t taken too far. Below are the parallels I chose not to use because I thought they were too much of a stretch…

1. Jesus and Isaac were “offered” or “lifted” up.

Genesis 22:2 [God] said, “Take your son and offer him as a burnt offering.”

The Hebrew word for “offer” is ‘alah, but it doesn’t mean “give” or “present” as we’d expect. It means, “to go up, ascend, climb, be taken or lifted up.” The idea is when you sacrificed something you “lifted” it up to God.

Of the 889 times `alah occurs in the Old Testament, 676 times it’s translated as “up”. When Abraham was commanded to “offer” Isaac, he was basically commanded to “lift him up.”

Jesus spoke of His sacrifice this way:

  • John 3:14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
  • John 12:32 If I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

2. Jesus and Isaac were accompanied by two men on their way to be sacrificed.

Genesis 22:3 Abraham took two of his young men with him.

Like Jesus was accompanied by two men when He was crucified, so too was Isaac accompanied by two men on his way to be sacrificed. But in Genesis 22:5 Abraham said to the servants, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”

The two men were only able to go so far: they were not able to witness what took place between Abraham and Isaac. Similarly, when Jesus was sacrificed, nobody was able to see exactly what took place between Him and the Father. Three hours of darkness (Matt 27:45) helped conceal the divine transaction when our sins were placed on Christ.

3. Jesus and the ram had a “crown of thorns” around their heads.

Genesis 22:13 There behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham took the ram, and [sacrificed it] instead of his son.

The words “instead of his son” are one of the clearest pictures of substitutionary atonement in the Old Testament. The ram that died in Isaac’s place had a crown of thorns around its head, like Jesus – who died in our place – had a crown of thorns around His head (Matt 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2).

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Jesus’ Miracles Prefigured in the Old Testament

marriage-gods-way-author-scott-lapierre-jesus-miraclesThe Old Testament is about Jesus. There were prophecies He would fulfill, as well as pictures and types of Him: the manna, the rock in the wilderness, the bronze serpent, etc. The three miracle workers in the Old Testament (Moses, Elijah and Elisha) even performed miracles that prefigured some of the miracles Jesus would perform…miracles He’d often perform in a greater way.

Here are a few examples:

  • Moses unleashed ten judgments on one nation (Exodus 7-12), but Jesus will unleash twenty-one judgments on the whole earth (attributed to Him in Rev 6:16 with the words “wrath of the Lamb”).
  • Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11), but Jesus ascended to heaven on His own (Acts 1:9).
  • Elisha fed one hundred men with twenty loaves (2 Kings 4:42-44), but Jesus fed 5,000 and 4,000 men with five and seven loaves (Matthew 14:13-21, 15:32-39).
  • Elisha cleansed one man of leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-14), but Jesus cleansed ten men (Luke 17:11-19).
  • Elisha knew what Gehazi had done (2 Kings 5:26), but Jesus knows what all men have done (John 2:24).
  • Elisha’s death gave one man temporary life (2 Kings 13:21), but Jesus’ death gives many eternal life (John 3:16).

There’s another example in yesterday’s sermon: when the Man of God heals King Jeroboam’s withered hand, it prefigures Jesus healing the man with the withered hand. Compare these verses:

  • 1 Kings 13:4 His hand, which he stretched out toward him, withered. 6 So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him, and became as before.
  • Luke 6:10 [Jesus] said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

As you read through the Old Testament, for your enjoyment and for your benefit, look for the tremendous prophecies, pictures and types of your Savior! In Hebrews 10:7 Jesus said, “Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me.”

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7 ways Abigail is a type of Christ

7 ways Abigail is a type of Christ

When we think of types of Jesus, the Bronze Serpent (John 3:14), manna (John 6:51), rock in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:4), or certain individuals like Joseph, Moses, David and Solomon probably come to mind. But Abigail? Probably not, but she should!

Jesus is our propitiation. Since this isn’t a word we use often here’s a simple definition: a gift, offering or sacrifice meant to turn away the wrath of an offended individual. The closest English words would be appeasing, expiating, placating, pacifying, or satisfying.

Here are two examples of propitiation in the Old Testament to give you an idea what it looks like:

  • In 1 Samuel 6:1-6 the Philistines wanted to return the ark to Israel, but they knew God was angry so they offered Him five golden tumors and five golden rats to hopefully turn away His wrath.
  • In 2 Samuel 21:1-6 seven men were sacrificed to turn away the wrath of the Gibeonites.

Another example of propitiation takes place in 1 Samuel 25. David helped Nabal, a man whose name fittingly means “fool”, and he responded to David’s kindness by insulting him. David was so angry, he told his men, “Strap on your swords!” (v. 13).

Enter Abigail as a type of Christ in turning away David’s wrath…

First, Abigail provided an offering on Nabal’s behalf.

Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys” (v. 18).

[She told David] “And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord” (v. 27).

Like Jesus provided an offering on our behalf: Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

Second, Abigail sought to bear Nabal’s iniquity.

“On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be!” (v. 24).

Like Jesus bore our iniquity: Isaiah 53:11b For He shall bear their iniquities.

Third, Abigail asked for Nabal’s forgiveness.

“Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant” (v. 28)

Like Jesus asks to see us forgiven: Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Fourth, David accepted Abigail as an intercessor.

David said to Abigail, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!” (v. 32).

Like the Father accepts the Son as an Intercessor: 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

Fifth, Abigail turned away David’s wrath.

David said, “Unless you had hurried and come to meet me, by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!” (v. 34).

Like Jesus turned away God’s wrath1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sixth, Abigail established peace between David and Nabal.

“Go up in peace to your house” (v. 35a).

Without Abigail there would have’ve been judgment on Nabal, but Abigail established peace between David and Nabal.

Like Jesus established peace between us and GodColossians 1:20b [Jesus] made peace through the blood of [the] cross.

Seventh, David was pleased with Abigail’s character.

“See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person” (v. 35b).

Like God is pleased with Jesus’ characterMatthew 3:17 a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

This account makes Abigail a wonderful type of Christ in turning away the wrath of God that is against us for our foolishness: 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Discuss:

  • Do you see any other ways Abigail looks like Christ?
  • Would you share your favorite type of Christ in the Old Testament?

Leave your answer(s) in the comments section!

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Jesus’ Authority Over Demons

Since I haven’t been preaching from the Old Testament on Sunday mornings (except for the occasional passage connected to something in Luke, i.e. 2 Kings 5 about Naaman a few Sundays ago), I haven’t thought as much about types of Christ like I used to when I was in the Samuels. Colossians 2:17 says all the types in the Old Testament “are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ“; therefore, in Luke it’s not about looking at the various types or shadows, but the actual substance, Jesus Christ. This past week though I was really thinking about a type in the Old Testament that related to the passage I was studying: Luke 4:31-37 when Jesus casts out an unclean spirit from a man in the synagogue in Capernaum.

If you ask people for pictures or types of Christ in the Old Testament, David has to be one of – if not thee – strongest. Jesus sits on the throne of David (2 Sam 7:12-16) and seventeen times in the Gospels Jesus is called the Son of David. Plus there are all the different ways David looks like Jesus: both born in Bethlehem, shepherds, anointed, kings, hated for no reason, betrayed by close friends, and the list goes on. My suspicion is if you asked someone how David is a type of Christ these are probably the most common answers you’d receive, but I doubt you’d hear someone mention David delivering Saul from the tormenting spirit. That’s what I kept thinking about this past week though: as I prepared my sermon on Jesus delivering a man from demon possession I kept thinking about what David did for Saul, and it convinced it reminded me of Jesus’ ministry delivering people from demon possession. Like all types though, they generally pale in comparison to the reality and that’s the case with this one as well…

First, Saul was tormented, but he wasn’t possessed; if he had been, David would’ve been unable to help him because only Jesus has the power and authority to cast out demons. When others (like Paul) delivered people, it was only because Jesus gave them the authority to do it like He did in Luke 9:1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. When Paul cast the demon out of the young girl working for the fortunetellers, in Acts 16:18 he said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” David couldn’t say that.

Second, even when David helped Saul, it only lasted a short period of time before the tormenting spirit returned. Jesus on the other hand delivered people permanently. In Jesus’ Parable of the Unclean Spirit That Returns in Luke 11:24-26, one of the points is the demon returned because the house was empty, picturing an unbeliever absent of the Holy Spirit allowing demon possession (1 John 4:4). Through faith in Christ though, we become the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16, 6:19), able to have victory over the demonic realm and sin and death.

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Spock Versus Jesus

This past week I was watching Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan while doing cardio. No I am not, nor have I ever been a Trekkie, but as a kid Star Trek was my favorite movie series along with Superman…of course behind Star Wars. Anyway, we’re going to jump to the end of the movie to get to the part relating to Jesus…

The Enterprise’s engine was damaged preventing the ship from entering warp speed (aka Star Wars’ lightspeed), which would allow them to escape the explosion from the Genesis Device a dying Khan activated to finally enact revenge on Kirk. With the Enterprise unable to get far enough away from the detonation (ALERT: spoiler coming!) Kirk and all the crew were killed. Of course that’s not what happened…or else there wouldn’t have been films III, IV, V and VI (although must people wouldn’t mind the absence of The Final Frontier). So anyway, with the lives of all the crew in the balance, Spock restored power to the warp drive by entering the nuclear reactor and exposing himself to a lethal amount of radiation. When Kirk realized Spock was gone (by the way, you and your crew are about to die and you don’t notice your brilliant, right-hand Vulcan adviser is missing?) he made his way to the engine room where he saw his friend within minutes of death.

Using his last words to ask Kirk if the ship is out of danger, Spock then famously says, “The needs of the many outweigh…” which Kirk interrupts, showing he’s learned from his logical friend throughout their relationship, “…the needs of the few…” and Spock continues, “Or the one…I have been and always shall be your friend.” Then making the Vulcan salute, which Kirk mirrors from the other side of the glass that protects him from radiation, Spock utters, “Live long and prosper.” To Kirk’s grief, his friend expires (don’t worry he only stays dead until the beginning of the next movie).

theneedsofthemany

Now, here’s what I liked…

  1. First, Khan was consumed with hatred toward Kirk that led to his death and the deaths of his friends and family. Khan is a great example of the danger of bitterness and its destructive potential for any involved: Hebrews 12:15 Beware that any root of bitterness grow up to cause trouble and defile many.
  2. The second, and most obvious lesson relates to the personal sacrifice Spock made for his friends. He’s willing to die that they might live: John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. Of course Spock looks like Jesus and the typology is continued into the next movie where Spock comes back to life. There’s even an empty coffin complete with burial clothes paralleling Jesus’ empty tomb and burial clothes.

Now here’s what I didn’t like…

  1. First, Christian themes were borrowed…without being Christian. There are clear allusions to Jesus, but there’s no Gospel. Nobody is going to come to salvation through watching this movie. It’s sort of like, “We’ll use what we want from Christianity, but we aren’t Christians and we aren’t really concerned about people becoming Christians. We’ll give a nod to Jesus, but mostly to increase ticket sales.”
  2. Second, this is the most popular of the Star Trek series, and I’m sure much of the success relates to the dramatic and touching ending. I was actually having trouble doing cardio because I was crying so hard…that’s not true at all, and here’s why: what Spock did paled in comparison to what Jesus did. If people like this movie, and history definitely shows that to be the case, they should find what Jesus did to be infinitely more touching. I think when you come to faith in Jesus and the sacrifice He made, nothing compares.
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How are believers “salt and light”?

Salt and lightJesus said “salt and light” are pictures or types of believers in Matthew 5:13-16:

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Why would Jesus compare believers with salt?

Salt was once one of the most valuable commodities on earth. It was traded ounce-for-ounce with gold because of its important uses:

  • Preserving foods
  • Serving as an antiseptic
  • Providing flavor
  • Acting as currency. Soldiers were paid in salt (solarium argentum). This is where we derive our word salary and the phrase “worth his salt”.

The comparison with believers:

  1. Salt flavors food, and believers should “flavor” or influence those around them toward Christ. All the while not being influenced by the world themselves.
  2. Salt acts an antiseptic, and believers should help “sterilize” the world they live in.
  3. Salt is a preservative, and believers “preserve” others for eternity through the spread of the Gospel.
  4. When salt is removed food spoils, and when the church is removed the earth will be “spoiled.” Paul describes it in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

Why would Jesus compare believers with light?

The reason Jesus compares believers with lamps is more obvious. God has “made His light shine in our hearts” (2 Cor 4:6). This is a light that “should shine before men, so they may see and praise our Father in heaven” (Mat 5:16).

Salt that isn’t salty and lamps that don’t put off light “are no longer good for anything” (Mat 5:13). Ouch! One of the main reasons God chose Israel in the Old Testament was to reveal Him to the world. The Church has the same calling today. Compare these verses:

  • Exodus 19:6a You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.
  • 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

As believers we should operate with the understanding God has called us to reach out to a fallen, sinful world. There’s an interesting balance:

  • It’s not so much striving to be salt and light as trusting God wants to use us as salt and light.
  • But many times being salt and light requires stepping out. We have to be like Jonathan saying, “Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf” (1 Sam 14:6).

Be a Jonathan and take that step out. Share your faith. Invite someone to church. See what the Lord will do on your behalf.

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Types reveal Jesus throughout the Old Testament

The Old Testament reveals Jesus through types and shadows
The bronze serpent: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14).

Jesus is revealed throughout the Old Testament two ways. First, there were hundreds of prophecies looking forward to Him. Second, He’s revealed through types and shadows. This is why Jesus could say the Old Testament is about Him:

  • “The Scriptures testify of Me (John 5:39b).
  • “[Moses] wrote about Me (John 5:46b).
  • “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me (Luke 24:44).
  • “Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me (Hebrews 10:7).

The New Testament records:

  • And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Luke 24:27).
  • Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45).

The New Testament says Jesus is the substance and reality of Old Testament types and shadows

  • For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities (Hebrews 10:1a ESV).
  • A festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ (Colossians 2:16b-17).

A shadow is a perfect way to describe Old Testament types of Jesus:

  1. Shadows provide an outline without completely revealing the object. The Old Testament gives an idea what to expect in Jesus, but He isn’t fully revealed until the New Testament.
  2. Shadows point to something else. Seeing a shadow means there must be something casting it. That’s Jesus!
  3. People don’t look at shadows and think they’re “the real thing.” Nobody sees the shadow of a tree or car and thinks it’s a tree or car. Shadows have no substance or material themselves. They’re not the reality. But in the language of Hebrews 10:1 and Colossians 2:17 the “reality” and “substance” is found in Christ.

Many types and shadows are identified in the New Testament

Jesus compared Himself with:

  • The Bronze Serpent. John 3:14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.
  • The manna. John 6:32-33 “Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Paul said Jesus is the:

  • Second Adam (Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
  • True and greater Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7).
  • Rock in the wilderness that provided Israel with water (1 Corinthians 10:4).
  • Provider of the true and greater circumcision, not of putting off physical flesh, but sinful flesh: In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ (Colossians 2:11).

Hebrews says:

  • The Sabbath is only a picture of the true and greater rest found in Christ (3:7-4:11).
  • The veil in the temple revealed access to God when it was torn. In that sense, it is a picture of Christ in that His body was “torn” on the cross, and we were given access to God: Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh (10:19-21).

Discuss

Do you have any questions about types and shadows? What are your favorite examples? Share below!

Here’s a sermon I preached on Abraham and Isaac, and it begins with a discussion of types.