Typology – Types In The Old Testament

John 5:39-40.  “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

What is typology or types in the Old Testament ?

“Typology is the idea that persons (e.g., Moses), events (e.g., the exodus), and institutions (e.g., the temple) can — in the plan of God — prefigure a later stage in that plan and provide the conceptuality necessary for understanding the divine intent (e.g., the coming of Christ to be the new Moses, to effect the new exodus, and to be the new temple.”  –  Graham Cole.

“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” – Wick Broomall.

“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 Jesus.” – paraphrased by Wayne Jackson.

The Greek New Testament uses several words such as shadow, pattern, copy, likeness, figure to denote what is defined above as type.

Types in the Old Testament are grounded in real history – the people, places, events were deliberately chosen by God to prepare for the coming reality of the work of Christ our Lord, His redemptive plan according to His predestinating purpose and the Kingdom of Heaven.

Below are 2 illustrations.

Type of God’s Redemptive Plan Old Testament New Testament
Israel’s 40-year journey in the wilderness and test of faith  Deut 8 :1-20 Titus 2: 11-14

–  escape from wicked king

–  declared God’s Son

–  40 years (days) in wilderness

–  Israel failed, Christ succeeded

–  launched invasion of Canaan


Ex 1:15-2:10

Ex 14, 4:22-23

Ex 40:34-38

Deut 8:1-3


Matt 2:13-18

Matt 3:13-17

Matt 4:1-11

Matt 4:3-4

Mat 4:12-15


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