Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Lesson on Typology

“A type is a person, thing, or event in the Old Testament that foreshadows something to come later in time, either later in the Old Testament itself or in the New Testament. It is like a taste or hint of something that will be fulfilled or realized. Types are like pictures that come alive in a new and exciting way when seen through the eyes of Christ’s revelation.” The type is always lesser than the anti-type. The anti-type (New Testament event) is always greater than its type (shadow of an event in the Old Testament). And both are independent of each other.

For example, the Egyptian Exodus told in Hosea 11:1 is quoted exactly in Matt 2:15 when speaking of Jesus’ return to Israel from Egypt: “where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son.”

What Matthew has done here is he took an historical event and interpreted it as a shadow of something greater to come in the future, which he sees as ‘fulfilled’ in the person of Jesus the Messiah.

Here are other examples of type/antitype pairs from throughout the Bible:

A) Jonah in the belly of the of whale is a type of Christ in the tomb. For Jonah stayed in the belly for three days as did Christ stay buried for three days until His resurrection.

B) The manna in the desert, Ex 16:31, is the bread of life compared to its antitype the living bread of life, that is Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, Matt 26:26

C) God created man in His image, Gen 1:27, and God was born in the image of man, Luke 2:7.

D) The tree of the forbidden fruit in Eden, Gen 3:6, which brought death to us all, and the tree of the cross which brought eternal life to us all, Acts 5:30.

E) Isaac carried the wood of the sacrifice on his back, Gen 22:6, and Jesus carried His cross on His back, John 19:17

We can see from these examples that the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament writers wrote and used these kinds of connections to show the greatness of God…through His imagery, and interconnections woven throughout Scripture.

If we continue with this, maybe we can find other connections of New Testament anti-types inside of the Old Testament. It is said that the Old Testament is discovered in the New and the New Testament is hidden in the Old. Let’s see if we can find a new antitype that fits-in with the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant type.

The Ark of the Covenant contained the Ten Commandment tablets, a golden pot containing some of the manna that fell from the sky during the 40 years of wandering the deserts, and the rod of Aaron.

Now, when we look for another container holding something similar yet greater than these objects, we can’t help but notice how Mary, the mother of Jesus, fits that description very well.

The Ark contained the Ten Commandments, the Word of God written by the finger of God on stone tablets. In Mary contained the Word of God made flesh, God incarnate.

The Ark also contained a pot of the miraculous bread that fell from the sky to sustain the wandering Jews after their liberation. In Mary contained the bread of life giving us spiritual life instead of merely physical sustenance.

And lastly, the Ark contained the rod of Aaron, the proof of true priesthood. In Mary’s womb is the true priest.

The Early Church Fathers saw these correlations and for that reason many called Mary the Ark of the New Covenant. By the way, so did John when he wrote the book of Revelation. He said:
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head… She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”
(Rev 11:19, 12:1,5)

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  1. I never noticed these connections before reading you blog. Thank you.

  2. You're quite welcome.