Typology and Allegory


Typology and Allegory

The following is taken from the paper “The Acts of God. A Study of the Basis of Typology in the Old Testament” by Francis Foulkes,

 Typology and Allegory

Typological interpretation of the Old Testament, therefore, is not to be dismissed as allegory. It is essentially the theological interpretation of Old Testament history. It is the interpretation of the divine action in history, in the same way as the Old Testament itself sought to show that divine action, but in the fuller light of Him in whom alone history has its full meaning, Jesus Christ.  For example, the typology of Bronze Serpent in Numbers 21:7-9 with Christ’s Crucifixion as the antitype.

John 3:14-18 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of man be lifted up:[15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. [16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.[18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God

All the action of God in the Old Testament history foreshadows His unique action and revelation in Christ. We may say that a type is an event, a series of circumstances, or an aspect of the life of an individual or of the nation, which finds a parallel and a deeper realization in the incarnate life of our Lord, in His provision for the needs of men, or His judgments and future reign.

A type thus presents a pattern of the dealings of God with men that is followed in the antitype, when, in the coming of Jesus Christ and the setting up of His kingdom, those dealings of God are repeated, though with fullness and finality that they did not exhibit before. Typology depends on the fact that ‘The same God offers in the two Testaments the same salvation. Both Testaments record certain divine acts in history, different indeed in execution and import, but one in their basic aim, viz., to create a people of whom God can say, “I am their God, they are my people” … “and I will dwell with them”

The full article can be read from the PDF document “The Acts of God Typology” located in the column on the right.