Bible Topics In The Christian Library
What is a Type?

What is a type? Literally speaking, the word type comes from the Greek word tuptein, to strike. In Webster's dictionary, type is defined as "to figure, to represent by a model or symbol beforehand. In the context of our study of the Bible we consider both the type and antitype. In our study of the Bible a type is a person, place, thing, or event that is a foreshadowing of a future person or event. The antitype or thing the type foreshadows is greater and clearer to understand. For example, a rubber stamp is a type. It is not clear and simple to understand. However, its antitype, that print that appears when the rubber stamp is pressed on paper, is much clearer than the type. The type was a shadow, or promise of the revealed antitype to come. There are dozens of types of Christ in the Old Testament. 

We must never expect the type and antitype to be the same. We cannot therefore see a type-antitype relationship in every detail of a certain person, place, or thing. We should not seek types out of every verse in the Old Testament. The Scriptures must not be twisted just to bear out our desire to make a type out of a rather insignificant person or event in the Old Testament. On the other hand, we must not limit ourselves to only the types that are so denominated in God's word. Although we are always safe in those we can prudently use others, provided the context allows it. Remember too, that the antitype is always superior to the type. If it were not, there would be no need of the type. The antitype is always clearer and more revealing. 

In our study we will study types in three areas. First, we will consider some types of Christ. Secondly, we will consider some types of Christ's death. Third, we will consider some types concerning Christians. These we will present are by no means exhaustive. In fact we will only consider the tip of the iceberg concerning types. 

Types of Christ

Paul writes in Romans 5:14, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." We learn in verse 15 that the one to come is Christ. Thus Adam was a type of Christ. Being a type of Christ, Adam has much in common with him. But like all types, Adam is dissimilar in many respects. 

In Luke 3:38 Adam is called the "son of God." Jesus is, or course, also called the "Son of God." Adam's sonship is physical. He was created by God out of the dust of the earth. Therefore in the physical sense, God is Adam's father. Jesus' sonship on the other hand is spiritual. He is God's "only begotten son." He is not a created being, for by him all things were created (Colossians 1:15). He was not subordinate but took on the role of a son. Although both were "sons of God" the sonship of Christ is far superior. 

Adam was miraculously born (Genesis 2:7). This is true also of Christ (Matthew 1:18-25). Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth. God created him full grown. Jesus on the other hand was born of a virgin. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Adam's birth was a shadow of Christ's birth. 

Adam loved his bride, Eve. He cared for her and was concerned (Genesis 2:23-25). Just as Adam loved his bride Jesus loves his bride, the church. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" We again see the superiority of the antitype. Adam loved his wife because she was given to him by God. Adam loved his wife because she was given to him by God. Christ loves his church enough to purchase it with his blood. 

Through Adam's disobedience, sin entered the world. But through Christ salvation has entered the world. Because of Adam brings sin into the world spiritual death also came into the world. When Christ came into the world he brought spiritual life into the world (verse 21). Through Adam physical death entered the world (verse 12). Through Christ the hope of eternal life in Heaven entered the world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15). Adam was a type of Christ. Many of the characteristics Christ was to exhibit. But like all types there are some differences.


Hebrews 7:3 says that Melchizedek was "made like unto God." Chapter seven draws several definite similarities between Melchizedek and Christ. It is amazing how many ways that Melchizedek and Christ are so similar to each other, especially considering how little we know about Melchizedek. The only information of any substance we have concerning Melchizedek outside of Hebrews chapter seven is found in Genesis chapter fourteen. 

Melchizedek was called the "King of Peace" (Hebrews 7:2), primarily because of his being the King of Salem, which means peace. Christ is called the "Prince of Peace", because of the spiritual peace he brings to all who follow him. 

Melchizedek is a priest forever (Hebrews 7:3) as is Christ (Hebrews 7:17). Melchizedek is not a priest forever in the sense that he is going to live forever. He is a priest forever in that we have no record of the beginning of his priesthood or an end. Melchizedek has no recorded mother or father. Therefore in the sense of not knowing his beginning or end, he is a priest forever. Jesus continues in his priestly role forever (Hebrews 7:24). 

Melchizedek was not a priest after the law of Moses. He was not of the tribe of Levi. He was not even a Jew. In fact Melchizedek was a priest long before the law came into effect. Similar words are spoken in Hebrews 7:14, 16 concerning Christ. "For {it is} evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." Jesus could not be a priest after the law of Moses. He was not of the tribe of Levi. His priesthood had to be a different priesthood-the priesthood of Melchizedek. 

Finally, we see that the priesthood of Melchizedek was superior to that of the Levitical priesthood. We know that the priesthood paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham (Hebrews 7:9). In the same respect Christ's priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood. For, If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need {was there} that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron?" (Hebrews 7:11) We know that Christ need not have to offer sacrifice for his sins because he has no sin. And he has offered the great sacrifice for our sins, himself. 


King Solomon can also be thought of as a type of Christ, though a more feeble one than the other two listed. In 2 Samuel 7:13-15 God promised to David that his kingdom would be forever, and that after his loins one would raise up a house to the Lord. This prophesy is thought to have a dual fulfillment. The first fulfillment is found in Solomon (1 Kings 8:18-20). Solomon built a house unto the Lord and sat upon the throne of Israel. Christ also built a house (Matthew 16:17-18). He is also a king. Solomon's house that he built and kingdom which he ruled over were physical. However Christ's house which he built and kingdom which he ruled over was spiritual. Solomon's house to the Lord and his kingdom was a shadow of Christ's spiritual kingdom that was to come. 

The Paschal Lamb

The first and foremost object that is a type of Calvary is the paschal lamb sacrificed for the Passover. In Exodus chapter 12 we read of the preparation of the Passover feast. The Jewish heads of household would choose a lamb without spot or blemish (verse 5). Then after killing the lamb the blood was collected and painted on the posts of the doors (verse 7). The blood was proof that the children of Israel were obedient to God. When God passed over he would not strike the house that had the blood of the lamb on the doorpost (verse 13). The blood of the lamb delivered Israel from the great night of terror in Egypt. 

In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul makes a similar statement concerning Jesus, "..Christ, our passover is sacrificed for us." We are subject to death and punishment just like the Jews long ago. Christ was perfect, without spot or blemish. He was killed so we would not have to suffer spiritual death. His blood cleanses our sins if we obey him. God will pass over us on the day of judgement if Christ's blood has cleansed us from our sins. But not only Jews but gentiles also can secure the blessings of the lamb. 

The Brazen Serpent

In Numbers chapter 21 we read of the children of Israel being punished for their disobedience, by God sending serpents with poisonous venom to bite the Israelites. God commanded Moses to prepare a serpent made of brass and raise it up in the midst of the camp. All who were bitten by a serpent were commanded to look on the raised serpent in order to be healed. The brazen serpent was a foreshadowing of the lifting up of Christ on Calvary. Jesus said in John 3:14-15, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." We see that the serpent was raised up from the earth. Christ too was raised up at Calvary. He was raised up on the cross. We see that the brazen serpent was the remedy for the fiery serpent's bite (Numbers 21:8). In the same way Christ's death is the remedy for the poisonous bite of sin (Romans 5:6-10). The cross is the antitoxin for the poison venom of sin. We know that there were no other remedies offered by God the poison snake bite. There were no alternate cures. We know that there are no other remedies offered other than the cross of Christ. Jesus told us long ago, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Jesus is the way to be cured from sin, there is no other. And finally, just as those who looked on the serpent were cured, those who did not by faith look upon the serpent died. The cure was there but the Father did not force the people to accept it. They accepted the cure by their own free will. Jesus sets forth the same principle when he issued the great commission in Mark 16:15, 16. Here we see the contrast. The remedy for sin is the death of Christ and obedience to his gospel. All that take advantage of the remedy will be cured from the sting of sin. All those who don't take advantage of the cure will die from the poison of sin. However, we are not forced to take the cure for our sins, we can die if we choose.

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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