Typology of Cross

It has been said, “One of the most obvious facts facing any intelligent person who has been a Christian for more than a few days is the reality of multitudes of conflicting interpretations of Scripture”. Why? Different rules (hermeneutics) of Interpretation!

These different rules have led to three major methods/hermeneutics, Fourfold Sense of Scripture (heavy use of Typology), Historical-Grammatical, and Historical-Critical that result in different exegesis (results/beliefs). These three methods have led to several umbrella schools of theology (thought) such as Biblical Theology, Covenant Theology, Dispensational Theology, Redemptive, and Systematic Theology. More recently heavy use of Liberation Theology concepts.  Each of these approaches results in different interpretations of key Christian doctrines.

However, with the above said, most Christian church members/attendees are not aware of all these outside influences on the interpretations they hear proclaimed from their church leaders each week. In fact, in seminaries, even within the same denomination, one might teach/interpret with a Dispensationalist viewpoint, and another might be more Biblical Theology or Covenant Theology focus. For example, a Dispensationalist view focuses on several dispensations while Covenant theologians on the Old & New Covenant, both teach that God works differently (has different rules) in the different dispensations or different covenants periods. Both of these concepts segment Scripture where a Biblical Theology sees both the Old and New Testament as ONE showing the unity of the Bible as one story, Jesus and Him crucified!.

In my studies, I have developed the understanding that the New Testament writers directed by the Holy Spirit wrote the New Testament as a continuous story building from the Old Testament as the foundation. Therefore, the hermeneutics of Typology, coexisting with Biblical Theology is how the New Testament should be interpreted which results in a theme of Redemption through Christ, only!

Not only did the New Testament writers use Typology as directed by Holy Spirit, but Jesus Himself teaches the connectivity of the Old and New Testament as ONE.

As we study the New Testament, we see the authors pull Old Testament stories (types) and quote them as examples (anti-types) explaining New Testament events, this technique is called Typology.

For example,  Jesus uses the story of Jonah when asked by the Jewish leaders for a sign, Jesus responds;

Mat 12:39-41 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: [40] For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.[41] The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here.

Using the hermeneutics of typology one can see the Old Testament story of Jonah as (a type) foreshadowing the (anti-type) redemptive work of Jesus Christ and see that Jonah’s mission was to call the gentile Assyrians of Nineveh to repentance and acknowledgment of God as the source of their salvation [ Jonah 1:1; 3:1-2 ] and that Jesus’ mission was to call all of mankind, including the gentile nations to repentance and faith.

Not only does Paul say that he wanted to know/teach that Jesus and His ministry was the key message from God, but he also uses typology to show that the 1st Adam in Genesis was a type of Christ.

1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Rom 5:8-9 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.[9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him

Rom 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.

In Rom 5:14 above Paul states that Adam was a figure/type of him (Jesus) that was to come!

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

In Rom 5:18 Paul is saying that by the offense of one (Adam) judgment came and by the righteousness of ONE (Christ) justification came.

All of the theological terms above will be covered in the Appendix to be published later, plus future articles will use several Biblical examples of Typology such as Abraham, Issac, Noah, Moses, events in the Exodus Story (Exodus-Joshua) such as the first Passover, Red Sea, Cloud/fire, manna, water from the rock, bronze serpent, promise land, etc, and even the Exodus story as a whole (redemption story), plus a number more.

The goal of this series of posts on Typology is to show that Jesus Christ’s birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and planned return was God’s plan (mystery) before the world was created.   Jesus is the way, truth, and life!

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me

Co 2:7-8 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Below is a simple definition of Typology (Type and Anti-type):

Typology: One of the marvelous ways in which God reveals His glorious plan and method of redemption within the framework of Old and New Testament Scripture is through a system of Old Testament types and New Testament anti-types.

God’s plan/mystery of Christ was not only planned before the world was created, but God in His sovereignty had determined that various types (people, objects, and events) throughout Old Testament history should prefigure and/or foreshadow the person and work of Jesus Christ upon the earth. Each scriptural type demonstrates, in some small way, the glory and beauty of Jesus Christ and His gracious salvation.