Typo or Typology?

Mar 20, 2023 | Articles, by Guest Writers, Marrow Ministries Free Content

In 1985 a couple of Moroccan brothers took to the streets and shocked the world with what would become, let’s be honest, the coolest fad known to man. If you had em’, you were him; if you didn’t have em’, you wanted to be him. The success was short-lived, however, as they have since vanished into the oblivion of evaporating trends. But for those few years in the ’90s, all the cool kids were rocking, yes, you guessed it… JNCO jeans, baby.

There appear to be many parallels between the fashion trends in the culture and the theological trends in the church. One day it’s cool to battle about predestination. The next day that’s old hat, and now we are on to baptism. Then after we have converted positions there and have been in a new camp for 24 hours, we move on to something else, whatever the cool thing happens to be on the internet that day. We move from cage to cage faster than it takes for a single pair of JNCOs to be stitched up.

Today, there is a slowly growing interest in a particular facet of biblical hermeneutics called typology. The big idea is that our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is not merely a New Testament character. ALL of Scripture points to Jesus. Jesus is present even in the Old Testament, and that’s not a typo; that’s typology. This particular means of hermeneutics is on the rise. Pens are flying, podcasts are dropping, and blogs are increasing. All this is good. Praise God. The church would be well served to make this ancient means of interpreting the Bible (typology) cool again. It is incumbent upon us to fight for this one to hang around. We can’t let this be the JNCOs of the day, dear brothers and sisters. This is too important. Too much is at stake. Countless issues in the church today, both theological and methodological, can be traced to poor ways in which we read the Old Testament. We need to regain the historical love and appreciation for typological people, places, and things that point to the second member of the Trinity who would come in time and space to take on flesh in order to reconcile an elect people back to himself.

The very purpose of the Old Testament was to point toward Jesus, and that’s not a typo; that’s typology. Click To Tweet

In case you aren’t convinced of this reality as it relates to Jesus, allow the Scriptures to illustrate.

PEOPLE

“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).

Paul presents Jesus as the antitype and Adam as the type. This is basic typology. Adam prefigured Christ. Adam foreshadowed He who was to come, a second Adam, a better Adam. We cannot read the garden narrative as if Jesus is not there. What a tragic hermeneutical mistake that would be. God says he will place enmity between the serpent’s seed and the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15). This is Jesus, and that’s not a typo; that’s typology. The Scottish minister of the 18th century, William McEwen, argues Adam as a type in multiple ways: Adam as a Son of God, Adam as the Father of Humanity, Adam as the Lord and King of the World, Adam and His Bride, Adam as Our First Covenant-Head and Representative. McEwen declares, “Forever blessed be the glorious name of God, that what the first Adam could not keep, the second hath amply restored to us. For as in Adam, “sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’” Jesus is present in the garden—and that’s not a typo; that’s typology.

PLACES

“In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid” (1 Kings 6:37).

Solomon’s temple was the house of the Lord. This inhabitance of God was the house of prayer for all people (Isaiah 56:7). It was assuredly built on a firm foundation. A foundation that was a type of Christ (Isaiah 28:16). Christ is the antitype, “the foundation which God hath laid in Zion, on which all the apostles and prophets have built themselves and others from the beginning of the world, and to which alone the church is indebted for that unshaken stability which laughs at all opposition” (McEwen). Jesus is present in 1 Kings 5 and 6, and that’s not a typo; that’s typology.

THINGS

“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Oh that we had meat to eat!'” (Numbers 11:4).

There is a myriad of instances we could turn to, but Numbers 11 serves as a great example. Jesus is in the text, and that’s not a typo; that’s typology. God had given Israel manna from heaven. And they rejected it. It wasn’t good enough. They found no delight in it, and it was despised by them. The next question to ask is, who else would be rejected and despised? Who else was sent from heaven as a gift of provision? Who else was given to the people of God, not as temporary physical nourishment but everlasting spiritual nourishment, and yet, would be despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3)? Maybe you’ve seen Christ in the garden and in the temple before, but have you seen him here in Numbers 11? He is present, and that’s not a typo; that’s typology.

Christ is on display in the 66 canonical books. Isn’t this majestic? Hold fast to the splendor of typology, brethren. Don’t let it fade like your favorite pair of 90s denim. The beauty of Christ is all over every page of Holy Writ, not merely the red letters. Fear not; you don’t get less Jesus by reading the Old Testament. The very purpose of the Old Testament was to point toward Jesus, and that’s not a typo; that’s typology. Be encouraged as you behold Christ all throughout God’s special revelation to us.

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