Guest Post: Typology in the Bible

Today’s post is a guest article written by Catholic Apologist Eric Shearer.  Eric has a blog titled On This Rock Apologetics.  He is doing great work for the church and you will be richly blessed by his writing.  So go on over and give him a follow.  Enjoy the article!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I’m often told that I’m the spitting image of my dad, less about 30 years. And not just because I’m his lookalike. The similarities continue through our interests, tastes, and even career. By all accounts, I’d imagine any fair observer might look at the two of us and think, “Yup. That makes sense.”

Many people approach the Old and New Testaments of the Bible looking for a similar resemblance. The Old Testament tells us of God creating the universe, calling Israel to be His people, and leading them into the days of Christ. The New Testament tells us about Jesus and His ministry, provides us with instruction on how to live a Christian life, and even gives us a glimpse of heavenly worship. Yet sometimes people struggle to see how the two connect.

There are many different ways in which we can relate the two testaments, but I would like to focus on just one right now. As St. Augustine put it eloquently: “the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.”1 The study of this relationship between the Old and New Testaments is called Typology.

What is Typology?

Typology is the study of how various things in the Old Testament prefigured what was later fulfilled in the New Testament. And these “things” we call types (from the Greek typos). Scripture Scholar Scott Hahn describes a type as a, “real person, place, thing, or event in the Old Testament that foreshadows something greater in the New Testament.”2

In this light, we see in the Old Testament not only the progress of salvation history, but many divine analogies to greater New Testament realities.

The New Adam
We see this in St. Paul’s description of Adam as a type of Jesus. He explained that “death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” (Rom 5:14, emphasis added). Paul viewed Jesus as a new Adam. Among many other similarities, they were both born in a state of original innocence, they both faced off with Satan, and they both impacted the whole of humanity.

Though with this comparison we can see just how superior the new Adam is when compared to the old. The first Adam failed where Jesus succeeded. “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man [Adam], how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Rom 5:15).

Other Types of Types
Not all types refer to Jesus. As I plan to demonstrate in future articles, typology can be applied to other things in the New Testament.

We can see an example of this when the author of Hebrews describes the Old Testament tabernacle as a, “shadow of the heavenly sanctuary” (Heb 8:5). (Or click here to see an example of Eve as a type of Mary).

It’s important to note, as Hahn said earlier, that a type is always inferior to its fulfillment in the New Testament. What was once a shadow is revealed in all its glory in the New Testament.

Learning from the Master

Some might be interested to hear that this method of reading scripture isn’t new. Christians have seen the typological relationship between the Old and New Testaments for centuries. And for good reason too. Jesus himself read the Old Testament in this way.

Take the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Two of Jesus’ followers were walking on the road to Emmaus shortly after reports of Jesus’ resurrection began to spread. The two encounter Jesus on the road, but they didn’t recognize him. The three talked for a while, and we’re told that “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). How great of a Bible study would that have been!

Now remember, at this time there was no New Testament. They were still living it. The “scriptures” referred to the Old Testament. And from the Old Testament, Jesus showed “the things concerning himself.”

Why Study Typology?

Some may think of typology as a highfalutin method of biblical study reserved for academics in halls of higher education. And no doubt it could be. But the value of typology is more than that. It’s how the first Christians approached the scriptures. It’s how Jesus himself approached the scriptures.

By reading the New Testament in light of Old Testament types, a whole new dimension of the Bible opens up to us. We can see the brilliance of the divine analogies that were made so long ago. So much of Biblical history spells out the heavenly realities that we now know in the Christian era. And we can use these Old Testament types to shape our understanding of Christian doctrine.

Last, but certainly not least, typology allows us to approach the Bible with a new appreciation as we see the handy-work of a master storyteller unfold.

 

Sources

  1. St. Augustine, Questions on the Heptateuch 2.73; and Catechism of the Catholic Church 129.
  2. Hahn, Scott W. Hail, Holy Queen: the Mother of God in the Word of God. Image Books, 2006, pp. 23.

 

Image result for typology bible

Advertisements

Eschatology, Apocalypse, and Daniel

The book of Daniel is very interesting in regards to its Old Testament counterparts.  The Hebrew version was written in Hebrew and Aramaic and is placed among the writings.  The Greek version has stories that are not included in the Hebrew version.  Bel and the dragon, and the prayer of Susanna are examples of these.  The Greek version has Daniel listed as one of the Major Prophets.  It is also ground breaking in that it is the first Apocalyptic work in sacred scripture.  In Daniel we have Messianic prophecy, and the beginnings of eschatology.

Eschatology literally means doctrine of last things.  After the exile the people of Israel shifted their thinking to things of the future instead of the past.  It is also important to note that although the exile was over the Davidic kingdom had not been reestablished, and in a way the people were still in exile.  In due time YHWH will restore everything to himself and YHWH will reign over everything.  In a way Israel was anxious for this to happen.  They knew the only way they could have any kind of peace was if YHWH was reigning over all.

The focus on the future is the beginning of Apocolypticism, and will eventually fully develop to it.  This literary form focuses on the “end time, which is expressed in mythical and symbolic language and revealed by a heavenly being (Study Notes).”  It also included the judgment of nations and of the dead.  Collins states “the judgment of individual dead is the motif that distinguishes the expectations of apocalypses from biblical prophecy (Collins, 564).”

The book of Daniel is a very important book in sacred scripture and to the development of Christianity.  It is here that we have the first clear teaching on the resurrection of the dead, that angels are messengers of God, and it introduces the messianic ideal for Israel’s hope of salvation.

Image result for daniel apocalypse

 Works Cited

Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004.

The Second Temple Period

The second temple period of Israelite history may be misunderstood as being a small period of time.  Though it is a period of time it is more accurate to state that the period is divided into four distinct sections.  Those sections are the Persian period, the Greek period, the Maccabean period, and the Roman period.  These periods started in 538B.C. and ended is 70 A.D. with the destruction of the second temple.

The Persian period lasted from 538 B.C until 332 B.C.  In this time the Persians conquered the Babylonians and freed the Jews from the oppression under that regime.  The Persian king Cyprus was very tolerant of other religious groups and sanctioned the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  Cyprus permitted the exiles to return to Judea, to rebuild the temple at state expense, and to return the temple vessels plundered by Nebuchadnezzar .  Serious work began on the temple in 520 B.C, and there were some economic and religious problems.  The neighboring Samaritans offered to help and were denied.  Thus started the divide between the two groups and a schism was the result.

The Greek period was characterized by the diaspora which is otherwise known as the dispersion.  When king Cyprus invited the Israelites back not all of them returned.  The Greeks were, for the most part, tolerant of other faiths of those that they conquered.  The Jews were still allowed to worship in the temple.  However it was during this time from 332-165 B.C. that something was compiled that may have changed history.  Seventy Jewish scholars gathered in Alexandria to translate the Jewish scriptures to the Greek language.  The dispersed Jews no longer spoke Hebrew and were thus in need of the scriptures in their own language.  This would become known as the Septuagint, or LXX.  Approximately 300 of the 385 Old Testament verses mentioned in the New Testament came from this translation.

The Maccabean period was from 165-63 B.C and is Jewish rule from the Maccabean family.  They rose up against the Hellenists, or Greeks, that started to persecute the Jews toward the end of their reign.  They rose up to protect their traditions and the temple from desecration.

In 63 B.C. the Romans took over and we some details of their reign sprinkled throughout the New Testament.  The Romans had a tradition of allowing their subjects to maintain their lifestyle, and religion, as long as it did not conflict with that of Rome.  The Jews were allowed to worship at the Temple, observe their own laws, and live their lives as long as they paid taxes.  The problems came, especially in 70 A.D., when they tried to revolt. As a result of that revolt Jerusalem was ransacked and the Temple was destroyed.

 Image result for second temple period

Mystery and Sacraments

When one begins to study sacred scripture the idea of mystery becomes very apparent.  The New Testament and Septuagint speak of the Greek word Mysterion.  When St. Jerome was translating the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts into what would be the Latin Vulgate, he used the word sacramentum, or sacrament in English. In fact, the sacraments are celebrations of the mysteries of God. The Old Testament has no shortages of these mysteries that give us clues of the nature of God and the sacred mysteries.  This paper will seek to define mysterion, give examples of how these mysteries help reveal God’s identity, the role of ritual and sacrifice, and how God chooses to communicate with His people.

The word mystery is an anomaly of sorts.  In some circles it is something that is not to be questions, but to be accepted.  To others it is an invitation to explore, learn, and grow.  At most basic level a mystery is something hidden, and the information needed to understand is not available.  When it comes to God it is the opposite.  God is not some cosmic force that wants to remain hidden from us.  He was us to know Him, and he wants to be known by us.  We come to know these mysteries of God through our senses, reason, and faith.

It is through our physical senses that we get to know the word around us.  We learn what things smell like, we can see, hear, and see that this amazing world came from something.  Science tells us that everything has an origin and cannot come from nothing.  It is in this way that our senses testify to the existence of a creator.  Secondly, we come to know these mysteries through the uses of our reason.  We come to knowledge of the meaning and purpose of creation, even the creation of our own human lives, through our ability to reason.  Through reason we enter into relationship with God.  Lastly, the third way we understand the mysteries is through faith.  The utilization of faith informs reason and is necessary for a personal relationship with God.

In the Old Testament there are many examples of how these mysteries reveal God’s identity, his relationship with humanity, and the nature and destiny of humanity.  God’s identity is perhaps one of the biggest mysteries of all because he is transcendent and outside of time.  We get a clue in the book of Exodus when God and Moses are interacting.  The passage in question is Exodus 3:14 when Moses asks for God’s name, and God relies “This is what you shall tell the Israelites I AM sent me to you” (NAB).  He also has power over creation as he can calm the storms and cause beasts to retreat. This reveals a God who is creator or all and nothing is above him.  This has huge implications when it comes to God’s relationship with humanity.  God is not inaccessible and not wanting to be discovered, but quite the contrary.  Humanity was made in the image of him who is existence itself.  We read this in Genesis 1:27 which states, “God created man in his image; I the divine image he created him; male and female he created them” (NAB).  This shows that we were made to be in relationship with God.  When we are in proper relationship we are that image of the divine creator, but when we sin and reject him we die.  We have turned our back on God as is seen in Genesis 3:19. The nature and destiny of humanity is to live.  God created man in his image, and he uses our physical senses to make him.  He uses all means or creation, including the human body, to make himself known.

Within the Old Testament there are also many lessons regarding the priesthood and the role of ritual sacrifice and offerings.  Regarding the priesthood, it is vital to understand that it is God who chooses and calls an individual to the priesthood.  It is through the priesthood that pleasing sacrifices are offered to God to maintain the Abrahamic and Noahic covenants.  In Numbers chapter 16 Moses describes the corrupt priests Korah who stood against Moses and Aaron.  Not everyone has a claim to the priesthood because it is God who calls him.  Scripture states this very clearly in Numbers 16:5 when Moses states, “May the Lord make known tomorrow morning who belongs to him and who is the holy one and whom he will have draw near to him!” (NAB).  Later is verse 10 Moses states that it is God who allows the priests to approach him, and all the evil priests of Korah were destroyed.  In Genesis 8:20 Noah offered a burnt offering for the Lord made a covenant to never destroy the Earth by flood.  Likewise Abraham, then known as Abram, built an altar and offered a burnt offering to God and God made a covenant with him.  This shows that ritual and sacrifice are important ways in which God communicates with his people through his priesthood.

In the Old Testament God also uses special ways to communicate with his people.  One such example is with Moses in the book of Exodus.  In Exodus 3:3 God uses the burning bush to communicate with Moses.  Moses was intrigued by the site of a bush that was on fire but was not being destroyed.  When Moses approached God told him to take his sandals off because it was holy ground.  Another example with Moses is seen in Exodus 4:1-4.  Moses was balking at the mission that God gave him to do.  God told Moses to throw down the staff that he gave him, and the staff turned into a snake.  God then told him to pick it up by the tail, and it turned back inti a staff.  This got the attention if Moses, and Moses returned to Egypt to confront Pharaoh.  Another example of God communicating with his people is the prophet Daniel.  In Daniel chapter 2:19-23 God communicated with Daniel in a dream.  In fact, there are many times in sacred scripture where God communicates through dreams.  One has to be in close relationship with God to discern if it is truly God speaking.

Image result for sacrament

Works Cited

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2 ed.  New York:  Doubleday, 2003.  Print.

Holy Bible, New American Bible

Christ’s Fulfillment of the Covenants

Throughout the Old Testament there are several instances of God establishing a covenant.  He did so with Adam in the Garden, with the nation of Israel through Moses where the Law was delivered, with Noah after the great flood, with Abraham and his descendants, and lastly with King David.  These covenants are a part of salvation history that prepared the world for the coming of the Messiah.  Each one of these covenants was important and significant, and each one was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.  This covenant is known as the new covenant, and it is everlasting.  Regarding this the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant forever. The Son is his Father’s definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him” (CCC para 73).

The Adamic covenant is the first that the Lord had established.  As its name states, it was established with our first parents on behalf of all humanity.  We read in Genesis 1:26-31 about the creation of mankind, and how God rested on the seventh day.  The number seen in the Hebrew language is the number of covenant (Lecture Notes).  However, there is a second part of the covenant that applies after the fall.  God gives the first Gospel pronouncement which is known as the protoevangelium.  Genesis 3:15 states, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (NRSV).  Christ is the fulfillment as his death, burial, and resurrection redeemed us from the sin of our first parents.

 

After the great flood mentioned in Genesis, God made a covenant with Noah never to destroy the Earth with water again (Lecture Notes).  The rainbow became a sign of the covenant that God made with Noah.  This can be seen in Genesis 9:13 which states, “I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (NRSV).  Man will still struggle with sin, but Christ gives strength in the battle.  The Vatican II document Gaudium Et Spes states, “But the Lord Himself came to free and strengthen man, renewing him inwardly and casting out the prince of this world” (Ostrowski 18).  It also brought into focus the issue of capital punishment in Genesis chapter nine.  It took on a new meaning when Christ was crucified.  The covenant is for all time and for all people, as is the sacrifice of Christ.

God continued in his promise and made a covenant with Abraham.  Genesis 12:2 states, “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (NRSV).  God promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars, and this included those by adoption (Lecture Notes).  This was fulfilled in Christ, because having faith in Christ we adopted sons of Abraham as Galatians 3:29 states.  In the Mosaic covenant, God made a covenant with the people of Israel.  Regarding this Dr. Koehne writes, “Through the leadership of Moses, God freed His people from slavery, then made a covenant with them on Mount Sinai” (Lecture Notes).  Christ fulfills the covenant by showing us how to live the law and calling to a higher standard of living as Christians.  This can only be done through his grace and mercy.

Lastly, God made a covenant with King David and said that through his lineage the Messiah would be born.  The promise can be seen in 2 Samuel 7:12-13 which states, “ When  your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (NRSV).

In St. Augustine’s great work the City of God he equates King David to an Old Testament prefigurement of Christ (Newadvent.com).  This covenant is fulfilled because he is proven to be in David’s lineage as is seen in Matthew Chapter one, and his kingdom will have no end.

Crucifixion

Works Cited

Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2 ed.  New York:  Doubleday, 2003.  Print.

Ostrowski, Thaddeus ed., Primary Source Readings in Christian Morality.  Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press, 2008, Print.

Dods, Marcus. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 2. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120117.htm&gt;.

Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version

Brief Analysis (Very) of the Gospel of John

The Gospel of Saint John is very unique in that it does not rely on a primary source.  It varies greatly from the synoptics who relied heavily on Mark’s Gospel.  However, John is unique and mentions many events that do not appear in the synoptics.  The style of the Gospel is simple yet carries great theological depth.  This is of course no accident, and the John knew exactly what he was doing with his precise arrangements and wording.

The Gospel starts with a prologue that “encapsulates John’s view of Christ” (Brown, page 337).  John 1:1 quickly establishes the author’s intent.  John 1:1 states “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  This parallels Genesis 1:1 and establishes that Christ existed from the beginning of time.  In fact the next few verses of the text go into that in more detail.  The prologue goes to great detail to unveil the divinity of Christ.  David Black states “John’s Gospel begins with a prologue that declares the preexistence and incarnation of Jesus as the word of God” (Black, page 159).

As previously the poetic undertones of the Gospel, especially the prologue, paint vivid images in the mind of the reader.  This would have been especially true in the mind of a Jewish reader.  One versed in the great details of the Old Testament would not miss the parallels that John was presenting.  According to Brown “This poetic description of the decent of the Word into the world and the eventual return of the Son to the Father’s side (1:18) lies in the Old Testament picture of personified Wisdom (especially Sirach 24 and Wisdom 9)” (Brown, page 338).

This very important introduction to the Gospel is interrupted two times by the insertion of John the Baptist.  He is mentioned as the one who will come before Jesus.  The ministry of John the Baptist was related to Christ’s in that He was preparing the way.  He was getting the people ready.  His testimony of Jesus is given just eight verses later and sets the tone for the rest of the Gospel.

Image result for gospel of john

Works Cited

Brown, Raymond, An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997

Gospel of John, New American Bible

Lea, Thomas D., and David A. Black.  The New Testament: Its Background and Message.  2d ed.  Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003

 

Episode 5: Do we need the Old Testament? Plus a look at Jesus in Hebrew Poetry.

Listen to this week’s episode here

On Google Plus the other day someone responded to one of my posts by saying that, as Christians, we no longer need to bother reading the Old Testament.  This show is a response, and shows why it is important because thee are so many things we can learn from it.  It is the story of salvation history.  I also look through the poetic books of Jon, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs and look at how Christ is in them.  This helps us see why the Old Testament is worth studying.  As Augustine said, “The New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old revealed in the New”.

Episode 1 of the Hope Within Radio Program

Book Review: 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path

The book of Proverbs has always been a favorite of mine.  I have read through the book several times as it provides great advice for daily living.  In her new book 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path Author Liz Curtis Higgs breaks down thirty-one verses is the influential Old Testament book.

The author takes one verse and created very readable, understandable, and relatable devotional book out of them.  Each chapter starts with a verse from Proverbs and the author relates it to everyday life.  She takes it a step further and does not rely on one translation of the scripture.  The main verse at the top of each chapter is from the New International Version, or NIV.  The author utilizes other translations within each chapter such as The Message, VOICE, Complete Jewish Bible, Good News Translation, NET, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and the Contemporary English Version.

Each chapter is fairly short, and is no longer than three pages in length.  At the end of the devotional the author includes a prayer, and a call to action.  The author also includes a Proverbs study guide at the end of the book as an added bonus.  This book is good for anyone who wants a better understanding of Proverbs.

[Note:  This book was provides free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]

Image result for 31 proverbs to light your path

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑