|Bible Research > Interpretation > Typology > Schmeling|
by G.R. Schmeling
In modern liberal theology there is a definite tendency to emphasize diversity in the content of Holy Scripture. It has become popular to speak of conflicting theologies in the Bible. St. Paul's theology is different from what St. John teaches, etc. This supposed dichotomy is particularly evident in modern theology as it concerns the relationship between the Testaments. Liberal theologians see no real connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament. They reject any actual fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the New. The Old Testament is an interesting book about daily life in ancient times, but it is hardly the case that the entire Scriptures point to or put forth Christ (Die ganze Schrift treibt Christum) as Luther taught.
Much of modern theology is permeated with the Marcion error. Remember Marcion (d. ca. 154) made an absolute distinction between the God of the Old Testament and the good God of the New Testament, affirming the common Gnostic dualism and docetism. Thus he rejected the Old Testament and reduced the canon to the Pauline Corpus and a purified Luke.
This malady has not left conservative church bodies unscathed in our land. In many Bible-believing seminaries, and even in confessional Lutheran seminaries, Old Testament exegesis is taught in isolation from New Testament fulfillment; one in Hebrew and the other in Greek and never the twain shall meet! Lutheran sermons are no longer filled with typological illusions to the Old Testament as those of our forefathers. Isn't it interesting that most of the sermon books handed down to us by the Lutheran fathers are based on New Testament texts. Notable exceptions to this are the works of George Stoeckhardt and Reinhold Pieper, and the writings of Luther who might first and foremost be designated an Old Testament scholar. Therefore, it is not surprising that many people are quite content with the “Gideon Canon” of the New Testament and Psalms.
Yet, the church from apostolic times has confessed not the diversity but the unity of Holy Scripture. The risen Lord Himself said that He was the fulfillment of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, the entire Old Testament Scripture (Luke 24:44). This Biblical truth Augustine formulated in the well known axiom: “In the Old Testament the New is concealed, in the New the Old is revealed” (Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet, Vetus Testamentum in Novo patet). 1 Luther makes this same point in his introduction to The Last Words of David. 2 The Old Testament is the book of Christ. He is the sole content of Scripture. This unity of Scripture in Christ is maintained when the church boldly confesses the validity of rectilinear or directly Messianic prophecy, and besides this, a proper typological interpretation of Scripture. The unity of the two Testaments is upheld through typology which discerns in God's works of the Old Testament prefigurations of what He accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of His incarnate Son.
Typology is a study of types. Etymologically the word “type” is derived from the Greek word τυπος, which denotes: (1) the impression made by a blow; (2) the stamp made by a die—thus figure or image; (3) an example or pattern. The latter is the most common meaning in the Bible. It is a type which prefigures some future reality. In I Corinthians 10:6 this Greek word is employed to speak of certain Exodus events as a type of Christian life, in Romans 5:14 that Adam is a type of Christ, and in I Peter 3:21 a related word is used to indicate that Baptism is an antitype of the flood.
Types are Old Testament pointers which direct one to the New Testament concrete realities. God preordained certain persons, events, and institutions in the Old Testament to prefigure corresponding persons, events, and institutions in the New. These types point to and anticipate their matching historical New Testament antitypes. The antitype is no mere repetition of the type, but is always greater than its prefigurement. This type-antitype relationship can be compared to an object reflected in a mirror. The type is the mirror image or picture of the New Testament reality. Typological exegesis then is based on the conviction that God the Father determined that certain persons and events in the history of Israel would prefigure what He would accomplish in the fullness of time in the person of His only begotten Son. The matter is aptly summarized in this statement of Augustine:
Abraham our father was a faithful man who lived in those far-off days. He trusted in God and was justified by his faith. His wife Sarah bore him a son . . . God had a care for such persons and made them at that time to be heralds of his Son who was to come; so that not merely in what they said, but in what they did or in what happened to them, Christ should be sought and discovered. 3
Typology does not denigrate the verbally inspired text. The literal sense of the text is its basis. It does not ignore the historical meaning of the Scripture, but begins with the historical meaning and looks to its New Testament fulfillment. Typology has its origin in God's own foreknowledge of history. Horace Hummel speaks of this relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament fulfillment as a “sacramental” connection. “Especially Lutherans should have little difficulty with the use of the word 'sacramental' in this connection. The external history (or elements) must be real enough, but 'in, with, and under' it lies the ultimate meaning. There is an integral, internal connection between type and antitype.” 4
Types may be divided into three different categories: Persons, events, and institutions. The judges of Israel, who were actually deliverers, are types of Christ, our true Deliverer from the bondage of sin. Moses is a type of the Prophet like Moses only greater who should come, namely Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 18:18). David is a type of his Greater Son. The flood in the days of Noah prefigures Baptism (I Peter 3:21). Christ is the fulfillment of Passover, Yom Kippur, and all the Old Testament sacrifices.
These categories may also be subdivided into vertical and horizontal typology. Most typology by far is horizontal. It prefigures some future reality. It is both eschatological and Christological, reaching its full consummation in Christ. For example, the tabernacle is a type of the Incarnate One who tabernacled among us and who had far greater glory than Solomon's temple (John 1:14). At the same time, the tabernacle and the temple appear to have had a vertical aspect. They are a pattern or a copy of the heavenly worship (Exodus 25:9). Also this vertical typology is fulfilled in Christ who in the new heaven and new earth will dwell with His people and be their God and will wipe every tear from their eyes (Revelations 21:3-4). He is the true tabernacle and the true temple.
A real point of resemblance must be found between a type and its New Testament antitype. There must be an integral, internal connection between the two. There should be scriptural evidence that a particular person or event is a type; that God in His foreknowledge of history intended this to be a prefiguration of Christ and His redemptive work. This does not mean, however, that nothing should be regarded as typological which is not expressly identified as such in the New Testament. If such a hermeneutical principle were correct, then why doesn't it apply to directly Messianic prophecy? The Protevangelium (Genesis 3:15) is nowhere specifically quoted as fulfilled in Christ with the exception of the allusion to the passage in Romans 16:20. Yet, none of us would deny that it is directly Messianic. The viewpoint that one dare speak only of types identified in the New Testament as true types is far too restrictive.
There are many types in the Old Testament that are not specifically designated as such in the New. Yet, we can be absolutely certain only of those which are identified in the New Testament. We can be certain that the bronze serpent points to the cross (Numbers 21:9; John 3:14) but we cannot be as certain that Samson, who accomplished more in his death than his life, is a picture of Christ's passion even though this type was used throughout the history of the church. 5 For homiletical purposes the Bible student may see many more types in the Old Testament than those specifically identified in the New.
Those types not designated as such in the Bible should not be used as scriptural proof in controversy. In other words, the fact that nothing should remain of the Passover lamb (the Passover meal is a type of the Holy Supper [Exodus 12:10]) should not be used as a proof passage for the consumption of the reliquiae in the Holy Supper. Luther quotes Augustine as saying that “figures are invalid in a dispute unless accompanied by Scripture.” 6 A typological passage touching a certain doctrine must be expounded in the light of passages which speak of the matter in plain literal terms. The account of Melchizedek giving bread and wine to Abram may be seen as a picture of the Lord's Supper, but it is not proof for the sacrifice of the Mass. Such an interpretation is contrary to the clear passages of Scripture, the analogy of faith.
Typology has primarily been used by our forefathers in homiletical and devotional literature. Here lies the practical value of typological interpretation for the Lutheran pastor and teacher. Typology helps the Lutheran pastor preach the Old Testament, and it confirms the fact that the Old Testament is the book of Christ. Who can preach on Genesis 22 (the sacrifice of Isaac) without seeing a prefiguration of the sacrifice of Christ, or on Exodus 14 (the crossing of the Red Sea) and not see Baptism? Typology demonstrates that the Old Testament is filled with Christ.
There are many people who reject a typological use of Scripture because they believe it is allegory. This is the case because they don't understand the distinction between the two. In typology a person or event is regarded as a God-ordained prefiguration of something in the future which is its fulfillment. Allegory, on the other hand, does not necessarily begin with the literal historical text. It seeks to go beyond the text. Allegory searches for a secondary and hidden meaning underlying the obvious meaning of the narrative. This deeper level of meaning may have no connection with the historical framework of revelation. Because the allegorical interpretation is not intimately bound to the framework of salvation history, it has a potential of utterly abusing the biblical text. Allegory divorced from a historical base drifts into artificial and absurd analogies.
Allegory often makes connections on the level of words and numbers. That is, associations of words or numbers trigger the reader to recall some aspect of Christian thought not directly in view in the text. Sometimes the connection is quite fanciful. In the Epistle of Barnabas we find a lesson about Christ's Cross drawn from the story of Abraham having his 318 servants circumcised (Genesis 17). Greek uses letters for its numbers, so that “A” stands for 1, “B” for 2, etc. The author works out the connection as follows:
Notice that he [Moses] first mentions the eighteen, and after a pause the three hundred. The eighteen is I (= ten) and H (= 8) — you have Jesus [because IH are in Greek the first letters of the word Jesus] — and because the cross was destined to have grace in the T he says 'and three hundred' [T = 300 in Greek]. So he indicated Jesus in the two letters and the cross in the other. 7
Directly Messianic or rectilinear prophecy points directly to Jesus of Nazareth as the one and only fulfillment of a particular prophecy. Here the Old Testament text functions only, or primarily, as a prediction of the future. For example, the context of Isaiah 7:14 indicates that the virgin does not refer to a young woman in the court of Ahaz, and then only by type to the Virgin Mary. That interpretation is impossible for there was only one virgin birth. Rather, it is a rectilinear prophecy which finds its fulfillment only in the Virgin Mary who bore Immanuel. 8 Likewise, prophecies such as Genesis 3:15, Genesis 49:10, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Micah 5:2, and Zechariah 9:9, 11:12-13, and 12:10 show by their context that they are directly Messianic and should be interpreted as such.
Indirectly Messianic or typological prophecy applies first to some Old Testament individual or event, and then through it as an intervening type to Christ and His body, the church. It refers first to an Old Testament situation, but its ultimate reality is found in Christ.
Psalm 34:20 is an example of typological prophecy. This Psalm refers to the righteous man, one who is declared righteous by faith in the Savior. Psalm 34:20, “He guards all his bones, not one of them is broken” is quoted by St. John (19:36) as being fulfilled in Christ. This is not a directly Messianic prophecy. It refers first of all to the Psalmist and all the righteous ones throughout the ages, and then by type to Christ. Since Christ was one of the righteous ones, in fact the Righteous One par excellence, this section which finds fulfillment in all believers finds its ultimate fulfillment in our suffering Savior. The divine protection of the righteous ones' bones is a type or a picture of God keeping His Son's bones on Golgotha. As God saved the bones of David, so He saved the bones of David's greater Son. For a similar situation see John 13:18 where Jesus uses Psalm 41:9 referring to Judas, but it originally referred to Ahithophel. Here Ahithophel is an Old Testament type of Judas.
A number of people have been very negative toward typological interpretation of prophecy because they have seen it employed in passages which are properly rectilinear prophecies. A case in point is the exposition of Isaiah 7:14 in the Concordia Self-Study Bible noted above. 9 This is a real concern. Typology should not be used to take the place of or deny rectilinear prophecy. This is often the case in modern theology today. Liberal theology, which uses typology to deny the miraculous in directly Messianic prophecy, is working with a false concept of typology. Typological prophecy is just as supernatural as rectilinear prophecy. But, rather than believing that God so conformed history that the New Testament reality is prefigured in the Old Testament, modern theologians believe that the New Testament redactors conformed the life and work of Christ so that He appeared to fulfill the type. This is definitely a cause for alarm.
The improper use of typology in liberal theology should not cause us to avoid typology entirely. Typology should not be used in place of rectilinear prophecy; places where it is evident from the context that this is directly Messianic prophecy. But it should be used together with directly Messianic prophecy to portray fully the God-ordained Christological content of the Old Testament. They are the twin theological concepts which bind the Testaments.
Typological prophecy properly understood is God's divine revelation just as certainly as directly Messianic prophecy. In the former God causes persons, events, and institutions in the Old Testament to be foreshadowings or prototypes of persons, events, and other things in the New Testament. In the latter the text functions only or mainly as a prediction of future events. It points directly to Christ and His redemptive work as the one and only fulfillment of a particular prophecy. But in both cases it is the Lord Himself who points to New Testament fulfillment.
The early Christians made abundant use of rectilinear prophecy. But for them the Old Testament contained more than rectilinear prophecy. Their sermons were filled with types. Irenaeus of Lyons (d. ca. 200) makes a considerable use of typology. The main theme of his theology commonly referred to as recapitulation (ανακεφαλαιωσις) is based on the Adam/Second Adam type of Romans 5. 10 All that the first Adam lost in the fall, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, restored in Himself and more, eternal life in heaven. Jesus is the recapitulation and consummation of the Adam type and the other types of the Old Testament. Typological exegesis was especially characteristic of the church in Antioch, but is was also influential among the Latin preachers of the West.
Alongside typology, the use of allegory was found in the Early Church with its center at the church of Alexandria. It proceeded from the assumption that the Bible was inspired in every detail, but since some of the parts of it appeared unsavory or even repugnant, there must be a hidden meaning in the text. Origen (185-251) suggested that behind every word or event there were three interpretations. From the time of John Cassian (360-435) the church held the theory of the fourfold sense of Scripture (Quadriga).
The literal, common-sense meaning could, and usually in fact did, nurture the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. However, when the literal sense did not obviously or easily produce this nurture, the expositor of the text could appeal to three additional senses, each of which corresponded to one of the three virtues. The allegorical sense pointed to the Church and what it should believe concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus it corresponded to the virtue of faith. Then the moral or tropological sense taught about what a Christian should do as a disciple of Christ, child of God, and member of the Church, and so it corresponded to the virtue of love. Finally, the anagogical sense pointed to what God had in store in the future for those who believed in Jesus Christ, and thus in awakening and sustaining such conviction it corresponded to the virtue of hope.
A thousand or so years after Cassian, when this method had long been used to expound and explain Scriptures in monastery and parish, Nicholas of Lyra summarized it in Latin verse:
Littera gesta docet; (The letter teaches deeds); Quid credas allegoria; (Allegory, what you should believe); Moralis quid agas; (The moral what you should do); Quo tendas anagogia. (Anagogy, whither you should strive). 11
Luther occasionally used the medieval fourfold sense of Scripture even though he gradually moved away from it, emphasizing that a Scripture text has only one intended meaning. 12 In his 1513-1515 lectures on the Psalms, he interpreted Mount Zion in the fourfold sense. Mount Zion literally was the people of Zion, allegorically the church, tropologically the righteousness of faith, and anagogically eternal life. 13 It should be said that when Luther or the church fathers used the fourfold interpretation of Scripture it was used mainly for homiletical purposes. It was employed as a homiletical device to explicate a certain text. It was not intended to deny the literal sense of the passage.
While Luther, for the most part, abandoned the fourfold interpretation of Scripture, he embraced typology often with the same fervor as the Early Church. Many types are found in Luther's writings.
For this reason, too, all the narratives of the Old Testament point so nicely and beautifully to Christ and confess him . . . Let us note just one example: Isaac was sacrificed by his father and yet remained alive, being replaced by a ram, which Abraham saw behind him entangled in the thicket by his horns. This signifies Christ, the Son of God. He is in all respects like a mortal human being who died on the cross; yet the divine nature remained alive, and the human nature was sacrificed in place of it; like the ram with his horns (that is, the preaching of the gospel which rebukes and castigates the perversity and obstinacy of the scribes and priests) which was caught in this same thicket behind Abraham, so Christ's human nature came after him in time. Many additional great lessons are hidden in this story.
Another example: Joseph was sold into Egypt and became a ruler over the country after his imprisonment. This happened and was written that he might prefigure Christ, who became through his passion Lord of all the world. Who has time enough to explain all these stories and to see how Samson, David, Solomon, Aaron, and others literally and accurately signify Christ? 14
Probably the best example of Luther's use of typology is to be found in his baptismal prayer often referred to as the deluge prayer.
Almighty and eternal God, who according to your strict justice condemned the unbelieving world by the flood, and according to your great mercy preserved faithful Noah and seven others with him; you who drowned hardened Pharaoh with all his hosts in the Red Sea, and lead your people Israel through the same on dry land, thereby prefiguring the bathing of your holy baptism; who also by the baptism of your well-beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, sanctified and ordained Jordan and all waters for a saving flood and an abundant washing away of sins: We ask you through your infinite mercy, that you would graciously look upon this N. and bless him with true faith in the Spirit, so that by this saving flood, all that has been born in him from Adam and that which he himself has added thereto, may be drowned in him and perish, and being separated from the number of the unbelieving, he may be preserved dry and safe in the holy ark of the Christian church, serve your name at all times fervent in spirit, joyful in hope, so that together with all believers, he may be worthy to obtain eternal life, according to your promise through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 15
Our Lutheran Confessions acknowledge a proper typological use of Holy Scripture. In a discussion of biblical sacrifice and its relationship to the Mass, the Apology defines scriptural types. “The Old Testament has pictures or shadows of what was to come; thus this depicted Christ and the whole worship of the New Testament . . . Therefore, as we discern the shadow in the Old Testament, so in the New we should look for what it represents and not for another symbol . . .” 16 While only those types positively identified in the New Testament are absolutely certain, yet the Apology implies that biblical typology extends much further than these specific citations. These probable types are a further illustration of the unity of the Testaments. This understanding and use of typology espoused in the Confessions is commonly found in the Lutheran dogmaticians like Gerhard. 17
The Old Testament presents a recurring pattern of captivity and restoration. God's undeserving people sell themselves into captivity, but God in His mercy delivers them. The books of Judges and Kings record many deliverances. Each is like a mini-Exodus. Likewise, the return from Babylonian captivity is pictured as a new Exodus. Isaiah writes concerning the return of Israel from Babylon:
Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power. (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick): “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:16-19) 18
The new Exodus event to which Isaiah points is a pathway home for the captives in Babylon. Yet, the new thing that God promises to do finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ and His redemptive work. The new and greater Exodus from bondage is found in Christ. He delivered us from a bondage far worse than Egypt or Babylon and now leads us through this present wilderness all the way to the promised Canaan above.
The prophets, especially Isaiah, speak of God's future deliverance not only in terms of a new Exodus, but also in terms of a new creation (Creation Redivivus). The glory of the coming redemption is too great to be described only in terms of the Exodus. It demands the language of Eden. The lion and the calf lie down together in peace. The deserts blossom as a rose, and the wilderness becomes a new Eden (Isaiah 11:6-9, 35:1, 65:17-19).
In Christ the re-creation theme reaches its fulfillment. Jesus, the second Adam, came to restore all that the first Adam lost in the fall and even more, the glories of heaven (Romans 5:19; Luke 2:14). Through Word and Sacraments He incorporates us into His kingdom and sustains us in His kingdom, making us His new creation (II Corinthians 5:17). This peace of God through the means of grace is indeed paradise regained right now, which will reach its full consummation in the new heaven and the new earth. 19
The prophets predict a new and greater Exodus and a new creation. In addition to this, the Old Testament speaks of a new and greater David (Isaiah 9:1-7, 55:3-4), a Prophet like Moses only greater (Deuteronomy 18:18), a new Melchizedek (Psalm 110), and a new temple (Ezekiel 40-48). All these Old Testament themes are fulfilled in Christ our Prophet, Priest, and King, and in His body, the church.
The children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt. The date was April in 1446 B.C. The Lord God through Moses commanded Pharaoh, “Let my people go” (Exodus 5:1). Even though the Lord had shown the power of His might with nine terrible plagues, Pharaoh still refused to free Israel. Now the Lord was about to send the tenth plague, more terrible than anything before. It would change Pharaoh's mind. It was the death of the first-born in all the land of Egypt.
To be delivered from this terrible plague, each family unit in Israel was to find a yearling lamb without blemish or spot (I Peter 1:19). It was to be separated from the other sheep and on the appointed day slaughtered in the evening. The blood was to be saved in a bowl and the animal itself was to be roasted outside on a spit as we would barbecue a chicken. The spit used would probably remind us of a cross! While the lamb was roasting and the Passover meal was being prepared, the head of the household took the lamb's blood and painted it on the door posts of the dwelling. Then the family, having prepared themselves to leave Egypt, ate the Passover meal which consisted of the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The evening in which they ate the Passover meal, the angel of death visited each household in Egypt killing the first-born. However, when the blood of the lamb was seen on the doorposts of Israel, the angel passed over them saving the first-born. With this plague Pharaoh allowed the people of Israel to go.
The Lord commanded, “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations” (Exodus 12:14). Israel was to celebrate the Passover each year. It was to remind them of how the Lord graciously delivered them from bondage in Egypt. At the same time it pointed forward to the true Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, who would save all people from everlasting death with His blood, and to the New Testament Passover of His Supper (John 1:29; I Corinthians 5:7; I Peter 1:18-19).
In the Exodus Israel was brought up out of Egypt. At the Red Sea they passed through the water and went into the wilderness. Yet, in the wilderness Israel fell into Satan's temptation and many of them died in the wilderness. By their sinfulness they broke the stipulations of the first covenant. They were in need of a new covenant.
God in His mercy promised the new covenant, a new testament. In this new covenant there is a renewed Israel. That restored Israel is found in the person of Jesus. He did what the first Israel failed to do. He too came up out of Egypt after His flight as a child (Matthew 2:15). He too passed through the water in His Baptism. He too went into the wilderness to be tempted. But, He did not fall and wander aimlessly for forty years. Rather, after forty days He overcame the devil. (Matthew 3:13-4:11) The Scripture even speaks of His great passion as His Exodus (εξοδον, Luke 9:31).
Now, because the first Israel broke the covenant and because we all have broken the commandments, He was hung on a tree as a cursed man. He died a bloody death as the great covenant breaker. As Christ bore the sins of the broken covenant, darkness descended over the earth, the ground quaked, and the rocks rent. But, by dying Jesus carried away the curse of hell which we deserve. Then for us who should have died in the wilderness there is hope. As water flowed from the rock in the wilderness, from Jesus' side there flowed blood and water, the water of Baptism and the blood of the Supper through which all the blessings of the cross are brought to us and we are united with the Savior (I John 5:6). By faith in Him, worked through the water and the Word, we are engrafted into Him and we become part of the New Israel, the Holy Christian Church.
In I Corinthians 10:1-4 the Apostle writes, “I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ.” In this portion of I Corinthians 10 and following, St. Paul compares the Exodus events to the life of the Christian.
The people of Israel were enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt. Like Israel in Egypt we, by nature, were hopelessly enslaved in sin. Satan, that cruel Pharaoh, so controlled us that we did his every bidding and even did it willingly. So terrible was that bondage that we even lusted to do those things which could only harm ourselves and those around us. Yet Jesus, the Valiant One, came to our defense. In the battle of the ages on the cross, He suffered all that we deserved for sin so that He might crush the old evil foe, our cruel task master, and free us from his tyranny. Jesus is the true Passover Lamb who came to save all people from everlasting death with His blood.
Now as Israel became God's people passing through the waters of the Red Sea, so we became a part of spiritual Israel, the Holy Christian Church, passing through the waters of Baptism (Romans 9:6-7; Galatians 6:16; Ephesians 2:12-13). Here faith in the Redeemer was worked in our hearts and we were liberated from the bondage of sin, death, and the Devil. Having passed through the Red Sea of Baptism, we are now in this present wilderness where we are tempted by the evil one as Israel of old. Our whole earthly life is a wilderness where we must continually struggle against the wiles and cunning of the Devil. He walks as a lion seeking to destroy our faith and drag us to hell (I Peter 5:8). There are conflicts and sorrows all around. At times our hopes and plans are frustrated. There are problems in our home, sickness among our family members, and even the death of those most near and dear. Often it seems we are about to be destroyed in the wilderness.
Yet, all the way through life’s wandering, the Lord Jesus feeds us with the heavenly manna, the life-giving Word and the Holy Sacrament of His body and blood. Here He strengthens us to face all the difficulties of life so that we do not fall by the wayside. When we do fall under a heavy load, He picks us up in His loving arms and holds us against His strong chest, where all our fears and anxieties subside. He gives us the power to do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).
Finally when we reach our last hour, when we tread the verge of Jordan, through the Word and the Holy Supper He bids our anxious fears subside. He shows us that across the Jordan of death is the heavenly Canaan, the new Jerusalem of heaven. This is the wonderful promised land with milk and honey blessed. There all our sorrows and tears will be wiped away and we will have joy forevermore. This is the point of the hymnist:
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Augustine aptly summarizes this Exodus theme in one of his Easter sermons.
Regard yourselves as delivered out of Egypt from a harsh servitude, where iniquity rules over you; and as having passed through the Red Sea by baptism, in which you received the seal of Christ's bloody cross. Prune yourselves therefore of past sins, those enemies of yours which pursued you from the rear. For as the Egyptians perished in the very waters traversed by the people of God, so your sins were blotted out in the waters in which you were baptized.
Seek now the heavenly kingdom, the land of promise to which you have been called, and be vigilant in resisting temptations throughout this earthly life, which is nothing else than a desert wherein you are sojourners. By partaking of the holy Altar, you receive your manna along with the drink that flows from the rock. All this the Apostle Paul has in mind and inculcates in his preaching when he says, “I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea. And did all eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ.” 21
Moses, the greatest of the prophets, told Israel to expect a prophet like him. “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear” (Deuteronomy 18:15). The fact that Jesus was a prophet like Moses only greater is, in many ways, the summary of St. John's Gospel. 22 Beginning in chapter one John compares and contrasts Moses and Jesus. He writes, “For the law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). The Law of Moses could only condemn, but the Gospel brings grace and truth.
In their birth both Moses and Jesus were similar. Both had to be hidden from the rage of a wicked king. When God called Moses as leader of Israel one of the first wonders he performed was the changing of the water of the Nile into blood (Exodus 7). What was the first sign of our Lord's public ministry? According to John 2 He changed water into wine at the wedding of Cana. Here again there is similarity and contrast. Both Moses and Jesus changed water, but Moses changed water into blood, a sign of death while Jesus changed water into wine, a sign of life and joy in the Bible. The Law of Moses with all its demands brings blood and death; a work-righteous religion ends in destruction. The Gospel of Jesus, however, brings joy and life. It is the new wine of salvation.
Like Moses on Mt. Sinai, Jesus went to a mountain where He clarified the full intent of the Law for His disciples. But He did not merely clarify the Law showing the utter impossibility of keeping it. He fulfilled it in our place (Matthew 5:17). In the wilderness when Israel lacked food, God through Moses gave the people manna to eat. We see a similar occurrence in the life of Christ. Jesus fed the five thousand with five barley loaves and two small fish (John 6). Yet He does something infinitely greater. He feeds us with Himself the Bread of Life, the Heavenly Manna in Word and Sacrament (John 6:35). Another problem which Israel had in the wilderness was a lack of water. God told Moses to strike a certain rock and water would come forth for the people (Exodus 17:6). St. Paul tells us that that rock was Christ (I Corinthians 10:4). Jesus is the Rock of Ages from which a man may drink and not die but live forever (John 4:14, 7:37-38).
In the Sinai desert Israel was attacked by the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16). Joshua led Israel's army out to battle while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to a mountain top where they could view the battlefield. It happened that when Moses held up his hands Israel was victorious, but when he put them down to rest they began to lose. Therefore, Aaron and Hur stood one on each side of Moses and when he tired they lifted up the prophet's arms. Now St. John says of another mountain, “Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others — one on each side and Jesus in the middle” (John 19:18). 23 The Early Church connected these two events in a letter written shortly after the death of the Apostles.
When war was waged against Israel by men of another nation, and that He might remind them when the war was waged against them that for their sins they were delivered unto death; the Spirit saith to the heart of Moses, that he should make a type of cross and of Him that was to suffer . . . Moses therefore . . . stretched out his hands, and so Israel was again victorious. 24
As Moses' arms were outstretched between two, delivering Israel from the attacks of the Amalekites, so Jesus was outstretched between two on the cross, delivering all people from the hellish attacks of Satan and the powers of evil. Without Jesus there was no way that we could do battle against Satan. We would have been his slaves forever in hell. But in the great battle of Calvary Jesus stretched His arms as Moses and won the victory for us. He crushed the old evil foe under His feet, and then He entered into death itself, tearing it apart, so that we would not have to remain in everlasting death. Jesus says the same to Nicodemus using another picture. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
The creation was a divine activity of the holy and blessed Trinity with each person participating. God the Father created the heaven and earth according to Genesis 1:1. The Holy Spirit hovered over the face of the waters, breathing in life-giving creative power (Genesis 1:2), and the Father spoke the Divine Word, the Second Person, by whom all things were made (Genesis 1:3; John 1:3). The creation of man likewise was an activity of all three persons for it was said, “Let Us make man in Our image and according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:1-26). The whole creation was perfect in every detail. The Lord God looked at everything that He had created during the six days and it was very good.
But man brought utter destruction through the fall into sin. As Adam and Eve were driven out of paradise, the creation lay in total ruin. Humanity could do nothing to change this situation, but God had a plan. He promised the new creation in His Son (Genesis 49:10-12; Isaiah 11:6-9, 35:1-10, 65:17-25). In the mystery of the new creation again all three persons of the Godhead are active. God the Father spoke the Divine Word through the mouth of the Angel Gabriel. The Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary and the power of the Highest overshadowed her, hovering over her. Thus, the Word became flesh in the Virgin's womb (John 1:14). Jesus recapitulated or restored all things in Himself. He delivered us from the ruinous consequences of the fall through His holy life and death bringing full forgiveness. In Him there is the new creation, peace between God and men as the angels sang that first Holy night (Luke 2:14).
In Baptism we were incorporated into Christ and “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new” (II Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15). Baptism, then, is the Sacrament of re-creation which caused us to be born again through faith, ready to live in the new heaven and the new earth. Already now we eat of the Tree of Life and drink of the river of living water in Word and Sacrament (Revelations 22). As the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters in the beginning and the first creation was brought forth through His all powerful Word (Genesis 1:1 ff; 2 Peter 3:5), so the spirit hovered over the font and we became a new creation through water and the Word, prepared for paradise above. The body of the Christian will return to the dust of the ground, but in Baptism he has the confident hope that he will stand in the re-creation on the last day.
The Adam/Christ Typology permeates the New Testament, but the most comprehensive summary of this typology is found in I Corinthians 15 and Romans 5. In Romans 5 St. Paul compares and contrasts Adam and Christ indicating that Christ is infinitely greater. Adam was a type of Him to come (τύπος τοῦ μέλλοντος, Romans 5:14). While Adam lost the image of God, Christ is the true image of God (Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3). He is the perfect man in whom God is well pleased (Matthew 3:17). After the fall Adam had a constant struggle to have dominion over nature, but even the winds and the waves obey Jesus (Matthew 8:27). He is the Danielic Son of Man, who receives all authority and dominion from the Father (Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 28:18).
The entire human race fell in Adam's fall. We were all in Adam in seed, we were seminally present in him, and thus, his sin infects us all (Romans 5:12, 19). The hymnist writes, “In Adam we have all been one, one huge rebellious man; We all have fled the Evening Voice that sought us as we ran.” 25 That sin, like a hereditary disease, passes from one generation to another. It totally destroys us spiritually as St. Paul says, “You were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Even now we feel that corruption in our old sinful flesh, for the good that we want to do we don't do, but the evil that we don't want to do that we do (Romans 7:19).
Therefore, in the mystery of the incarnation the Second Adam came who brought new life for man. He lived a perfect and harmonious life with God and man to restore us to the original righteousness and innocence of the creation. By His obedience many are made righteous (Romans 5:19). Where Adam fell into temptation, Jesus resisted those same attacks, living a holy life for us (Matthew 4:1-11). Then He took Adam's and all people's sins upon Himself and blotted them out with His blood, washing them into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).
The Second Adam, Jesus Christ, restored all that the first Adam lost in the fall. In Him paradise has been regained and more, the joy of heaven. 26 He took upon Himself our flesh made from dust so that through unity with His divinity, He might raise us to His divine glory, eternal life above. The most dramatic gesture of love began in the womb of the Virgin when the Son of God took the poverty of our humanity and gave us in exchange the riches of His divinity as a share in the divine nature as the sons of God with an eternal existence (II Corinthians 8:9; II Peter 1:4).
All people were seminally in Adam and fell in Adam's fall. Yet, when one is in Christ, the righteousness of Christ is counted as his and he has salvation. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). We were united with Christ and incorporated into His body, the church, through Baptism where faith in the Savior was worked into our hearts and we arose to new life (Romans 6:3-13). As we were united with Christ and His body in Baptism, so through the Word and Supper we are strengthened and preserved in that unity (I Corinthians 12:12-13; I Corinthians 10:17). He remains in us and we in Him ever undivided, both here in time and forever in eternity. In Adam we all died, but in Christ we share in life and salvation.
Closely connected to St. Paul's illustration of the church as the body of the Second Adam is the presentation of church as the bride of Christ (II Corinthians 11:2,3). This is the context of the important passage in Ephesians where husband and wife are encouraged to emulate the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27). Christ, the bridegroom, cleanses and forms His bride, the church, through the waters of Holy Baptism.
As Adam's bride was taken out of his side while he slept (Genesis 2:21), so the Second Adam's bride, the bride of Christ, is cleansed and formed through the waters of Baptism, the blood of the Lord's Supper, and His Word which is spirit and life (I John 5:8). This corresponds to what issued from the Savior's wounded side during His three day sleep in death (John 19:34). Therefore, Jesus can say of His bride, the church, as Adam said of Eve, the mother of our race: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). The church is so intimately united with Christ through the means of grace that she is one flesh with Him (Ephesians 5:32).
Eve was the mother of the race, but the church is the real mother of the living (Genesis 3:20), those who have life in Christ. Baptism is the watery womb of mother church where we were born as the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. She continually gives birth to new children of God.
Just as a husband joins himself to his wife, so the Lord Jesus unites Himself firmly to His church and never leaves it nor forsakes it. He loves her deeply and holds her in His arms so that she eats of His food and drinks of His cup. By the wedding ring of faith He shares in the sins, death, and pain of hell which are His bride's. This rich and divine bridegroom marries the poor wicked harlot, having redeemed her with His own blood. Her sins now cannot destroy her, since they were laid upon Christ and He swallowed them up. She is now covered with a righteousness in Christ, her husband, a glorious garment, which she can display alongside her sins in the face of death and hell. Thus she can confidently say, “I have sinned yet my Jesus in whom I believe has not sinned, and all that is His is mine and all this is mine is His,” as the bride says in the Song of Songs: “My beloved is mine and I am his” (Song of Songs 2:16). 27 This is the bride prepared for her husband (Revelations 21:9) which is without spot or wrinkle, having been cleansed with the washing of water by the Word. O what a wonderful and joyful exchange!
There are probably no two people more closely connected in the Scriptures than David and Jesus. As Gabriel announced Christ's birth to Mary, it was foretold that “the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). The Christmas Gospel proclaimed to the shepherds explains, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). When the sick and the burdened called out to Him for help, they sighed, “O Son of David have mercy on us” (Luke 18:38). Jesus the Messiah was even spoken of as David in prophecy. When old king David was long dead and buried in his grave, Ezekiel wrote, “I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:23-24; see also Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:4-5).
When the lives of David and Jesus are compared, we see many amazing similarities. They were both born in Bethlehem and originated from the stem of Jesse (Isaiah 11). As a young man, David shepherded the flocks of his father and fought for the defense of the sheep (I Samuel 17:34-36). Likewise Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep . . . and no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10-11, 28). David was a friend to Jonathan (I Samuel 20). But Jesus is our one true Friend. He gave His life for His friends. As David prepared a feast for the crippled prince, Mephibosheth (II Samuel 9:1-17), so Jesus prepared a feast for crippled humanity. This is the feast for our salvation in the means of grace. David endured many years of humiliation treated like a common criminal by Saul, but was finally raised to the throne of all Israel. So Jesus, after His great passion, arose triumphant from the grave, and was raised to the position of power and authority at the right hand of God.
In II Samuel 15, we hear that David crossed the Brook Kidron fleeing before his own son Absalom. He went in great sorrow of heart. It was then that he learned that even Ahithophel, his trusted advisor, had betrayed him and sided with Absalom. Along the way, Shimei, a relative of the former king Saul, came out and cursed him (II Samuel 16:5-13). Similarly, on Maundy Thursday evening the Second David passed over the Kidron. He too was the God ordained King of Israel driven out by the Jewish leaders. When He crossed the Kidron He found His Ahithophel, His betrayer Judas, in the garden. One who ate at His table lifted up his heel against Him (Psalm 41:9; John 13:18). As David remained silent before the cursing and mockery of Shimei, so Jesus was lead as a lamb to the slaughter and yet He opened not His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7). 28
Christ's crossing of the Kidron, however, was infinitely greater than that of David. David had to flee over the Kidron because of family problems caused by his own sinful failures. Jesus came to the Kidron not bearing His own sin, but to carry a foreign load, the sins of all men. Remember that the waters of purification and the blood of the sacrifices from the temple which were to cleanse the people from sin, a shadow of the true cleansing blood, drained into the Brook Kidron. Also in this valley Josiah and Hezekiah burnt the abomination of idols and scattered the debris (II Kings 23:6; II Chronicles 29:16). Now as Jesus forded the stream, it was as though He took from the waters all the sin of Israel and all the abomination of the nations and bore it on His own back. The Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). 29
During David's youth Israel was at war with the Philistines. The two armies were encamped in the valley of Elah, one camp on each side of the river and a no-man's-land in between. Before the armies joined in battle the Israelites were challenged by an oversized Philistine champion by the name of Goliath. Saul and his men were terrified for no one dared to fight this giant of a man. It was the boy David who met the challenge, and with the help of the Lord defeated Goliath, freeing Israel from Philistine servitude.
By nature our condition was just like Israel. We were completely immobilized by the threats and heckling of that terrible hellish giant Satan. He held us in bondage, completely enslaved to him. Our situation was hopeless because we were no match for him. He desired to drag every one of us chained to his satanic kingdom in hell where we would serve him forever in misery. He is a horrible Goliath indeed.
Yet to our defense came one from Bethlehem, not the shepherd boy David, but the Good Shepherd, David's greater Son. As He walked to the battle of the ages at Calvary He seemed no more prepared than little David in the valley of Elath. There was nothing in His form or appearance that would cause us to expect a victory. But we are missing something. He was not only David's Son, He was David's Lord (Matthew 22:41-45). The Second David born at Bethlehem was not only true man of David's flesh, He was at the same time God's Son, God over all forever blessed (Romans 9:5). As He hung on the cross the situation indeed looked utterly hopeless. The host of evil ones shouted and jeered. But short was their triumph, the Savior arose. He crushed the head of the evil one under His feet as David beheaded the giant. There Christ defeated him in battle, delivering us from a bondage far worse than Philistine servitude. By His glorious resurrection He proclaimed deliverance, liberation from the terrible tyranny of sin, and offers us the power to live victorious lives in Him through His means of grace.
David's life is a type of Christ. At the same time it is an example for Christ's body, the church, and each Christian. After King Saul consented to allow David to do battle with Goliath there is a rather humorous scene. Saul wanted to lend David his armor but it wouldn't fit. It just hung on David and he could hardly move (I Samuel 17:38-39). Often in problems we too are tempted to use the armor of the flesh. Rather than looking for our strength in God's Word, we look for it in our own ability, in other people, in tranquilizing drugs and so forth. This so called armor accomplishes nothing. It weighs us down and hinders us as it did David. To many people today God's weapons, the Word and Sacraments, seem to be as worthless and unimportant as David's sling shot. What will a little bit of water at the font, bread at the altar, and that dry old Book accomplish? However, it was through David's seemingly unimportant sling that God gave him the victory, and God will do the same for us through His seemingly unimportant means of grace.
In his affair with Bathsheba, David is an example of true repentance and God's great mercy. When Nathan showed David his sin through the Law, he did not excuse himself or blame others. He said, “I have sinned against the Lord” (II Samuel 12:13). Nathan then announced to him full and complete pardon. Proper repentance is true sorrow over sin and trust in God's full forgiveness offered in Christ. This episode in David's life assures us that there is no sin so great or terrible that it won't be forgiven.
In Matthew 12, the Lord Jesus compares Himself to Solomon, the son of David in the Old Testament. He indicates that as the Queen of the South came to Solomon, so the people of His generation should have come to Him for salvation. They had even more reason to come than did the Queen of Sheba (I Kings 10) for Christ said, “One greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42). Jesus is the Greater Solomon. Solomon's life is usually a picture of our Lord's exaltation, while David's life is a type of the humiliation. 30
David's reign was one of continual conflict. How David longed for peace! He longed for it so much that his son, the successor to his throne, was named Solomon from the Hebrew word “shalom” which means “peace” (I Chronicles 22:9). His reign was one of total peace. The Bible says, “He had dominion over all the region on this side of the River . . . he had peace on every side . . . Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree . . . all the days of Solomon” (I Kings 4:24-25). Solomon was a man of peace, but Jesus the Greater Solomon is the true Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He brought peace between God and man. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (II Corinthians 5:19). On Good Friday our terrible sins, which broke our relationship with the Father, were blotted out with Christ's blood, and now the Father sees us as innocent in His Son. On Easter morning peace and complete forgiveness were announced and offered to the world. What were the first words spoken by the Risen Lord, the Greater Solomon, to His disciples? “Shalom, peace be with you” (John 20:21).
Another thing that comes to mind when we hear the name Solomon is wisdom. “Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and the wisdom of Egypt” (I Kings 4:30). He was one of the wisest men that ever lived. Here also one is reminded of Jesus. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). He is the real Solomon who offers us divine wisdom from on high. That treasure of wisdom and knowledge is recorded for us in the Book of Christ, the Holy Scripture. Jesus wants us to read, study, and meditate on that Word, for in it there is true wisdom and strengthening and nourishment for our faith-life. Gather at the feet of the Savior. The Queen of the South came all that way to hear Solomon's wisdom, and One greater than Solomon is here. 31
Solomon is remembered for building the great temple at Jerusalem. Solomon said, “I propose to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to my father David saying, Your son whom I will set on your thrown in your place, he shall build the house for My name“ (I Kings 5:5). Solomon built the house of the Lord. It was magnificent; one of the wonders of the ancient world.
There is, however, a deeper meaning to be found in the words, “Your son whom I will set on your throne in your place he shall build the house for My name.” These words apply to Solomon, to be sure, but in a greater sense they apply to Christ. He is David's greater Son, the Greater Solomon, who established the throne of David forever and of His Kingdom there is no end. Jesus indeed did build the house of the Lord. Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The true temple is one made without hands built by the Messiah Himself. St. Paul explains, “For we are the temple of the living God” (II Corinthians 6:16). The church is the true temple in which we are living-stones, built on Christ the chief cornerstone, vivified by the Spirit through the means of grace (Ephesians 2:20; I Peter 2:4-8). 32
During Solomon's reign Israel became a world empire. It was one of the supreme powers of the time. Yet, his kingdom couldn't even compare with the kingdom of great David's Greater Son which will never end. John says in the Revelation, “I looked and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (7:9). The blessings of the kingdom which we now have in part through the Gospel will be ours in all their fullness on the last day. Then we will be ever gathered in joy around the throne of the Greater Solomon who shed His blood to give us peace and now reigns forever and ever.
After God delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt, the Israelites journeyed to the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula. They stopped at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Law and instructions concerning the tabernacle from God. God's purpose in the tabernacle was to dwell among men and to meet their needs. God told Moses: “And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. According to all that I showed you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it” (Exodus 25:8-9). The compassionate Lord wanted to dwell among His people bringing them His comfort, peace, and all His blessings.
The tabernacle is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything in the tabernacle points to His person and work. He is the true tabernacle. Concerning Christ's coming into the world, St. John writes, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The expression which John uses here literally means that the Lord “tabernacled among us” (The evangelist uses the verb ἐσκήνωσεν, derived from σκηνη, which means “tent.”). One could translate, “He pitched His tent among us.” The humanity which He assumed into Himself is like a tent under which He dwells with the radiance of His glory. He dwells among us as God dwelt in the midst of His people during the Exodus. Israel's tabernacle, and later the temple, are pictures of Christ's saving presence in a world of sin.
In the tabernacle in the wilderness God revealed His glory by appearing in a cloud. The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35). St. John writes concerning the Word who became flesh: “We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus revealed the full glory of God which the tabernacle did only in part.
The tabernacle was the place where God came to meet man. Here God spoke to His people. The tabernacle thus prefigures the one person in whom deity and humanity met — the Lord Jesus Christ. However, God did not merely meet man in Christ. He became one person with man in Christ, our human brother. The Second Person assumed into Himself a perfect human nature from the flesh of Mary. In Christ the human and the divine are so inseparably united that we may say that from the Virgin's womb God was born. One of the Trinity was born, suffered, and died. He is both true God and true man in one person. This is the great mystery of His person. God indeed became flesh and tabernacled among us.
The tabernacle also points to Christ's redemptive work. The holy writer to the Hebrews tells us, “But Christ came as a High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12). The Old Testament sacrifices were an effective means of atoning for sin only through the fulfillment accomplished by Christ's perfect sacrifice at Calvary. At Calvary Christ was the victim, high priest, and mercy seat all in one. Here He sacrificed Himself on the altar of the cross and poured out His holy precious blood, sprinkling the mercy seat of God as the blood of goats and calves before Him. Through the pouring out of His blood, He covered the sins of all men. He blotted them out so that they are no longer seen or counted.
Christ is the fulfillment of the tabernacle and all its furnishings. Think, for example, of the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant was made of wood overlaid with gold, both inside and outside, indicating the two natures of Christ, both God and man in one person. Inside the ark, there were the Commandments on two tables of stone, a golden dish of manna, and Aaron's rod, which blossomed in the wilderness. These things remind us that Jesus is the end of the Law to everyone who believes in Him. He is the heavenly manna, the bread of life, which a man may eat and not die, and that bread is His flesh which He gives for the life of the world. He is the true rod of Aaron, the rod of Jesse, the branch and rose of loveliest form and grace.
On the top of the ark of the covenant there were two golden cherubim whose wings came together to form the mercy seat of God so that the psalmist declares the Lord sits enthroned between the cherubim (Psalm 99:1). It was called the mercy seat, for on it the blood of the atonement sacrifices was poured once a year in the Yom Kippur ritual to show that the Law in the ark which condemns the sinner would be silenced. All sin would be covered and blotted out through the blood of the true atonement sacrifice. Jesus is the true mercy seat of God (Romans 3:15, Hebrews 9:5). Jesus Christ fulfilled that to which the ancient mercy seat pointed, the covering of all sin. He is the place of propitiation or satisfaction for iniquity. He allowed Himself to be slaughtered and His blood covered the mercy seat of God so that our sins would be blotted out and forgiven. John says, “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2). He is the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat of God, the one who dwells between the cherubim.
When Jesus cleansed the temple for the first time at the beginning of His public ministry, the religious leaders asked Him what right He had to do this. Jesus responded with the words, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The temple officials assumed that He was talking about the temple at Jerusalem which He had just cleaned, but St. John clarifies, “He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:21). This statement refers to His own death and resurrection. The resurrection of our Lord is the greatest sign of His divine authority, and it is the public declaration to the world that now all sins are forgiven in Christ.
Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body that would arise in three days. Yet, by His resurrection He established a whole new temple, His body, the holy Christian church. This is the temple of which Haggai writes, “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:9). This temple would bring rejoicing to the mourning at Haggai's time, for it is a temple made without hands, built by the Messiah Himself.
If one views the city of Venice from the air, it looks like a city built out in the sea. All its buildings are surrounded by water. Underneath the buildings of Venice one finds nothing but sand and mud. How do the buildings of Venice manage to stand there out in the water? In the mud and sand under the buildings are logs pounded down to bedrock which have become as hard as steel in the course of the years. On these wooden logs the city of Venice stands secure. Likewise, the glorious temple of Christ, His church, is founded on the wood of the cross. In the cross there is peace and forgiveness for all. On it all believers are built up as living stones, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
This house is far more glorious than any of the Old Testament temples. In the old temple there was a water laver for purification, the ark of the covenant, which symbolized God's presence, and the sacrifices which pointed to redemption. However, when we gather as the new temple, as the body of Christ, we have the true fountain which can wash away each stain and mark. We have the full revelation of the Scripture where the Lord speaks with us to comfort and strengthen us. And at the altar, the Lord of Hosts Himself descends and presents the true redemption sacrifice in the midst of His people, the flesh and blood of the Lamb once slain for the forgiveness of sin, new spiritual life, and salvation.
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). These words were, indeed, fulfilled in the resurrection where Jesus proclaimed salvation for all His people. But, in so doing, He raised up a whole new temple, which made the temple of Jerusalem obsolete, the temple of His body, the church. Therefore we, who have been incorporated into that temple through Baptism, live as the temples of the living God, purged by the Spirit and singing with the Hymnist:
Here stands the font before our eyes
1. Cf. St. Augustine, Quaest. in Hept. 2,73: PL 34, 623; cf. DV 16.
2. LW 15: 267-270.
3. G. Lampe and K. Woollcombe, Essays on Typology, p. 13.
4. Horace Hummel, The Word Becoming Flesh, p. 17.
5. Samson can be seen as a type or picture of Christ, as were all the judges of this era. Each of these saviors were to remind Israel of God's full liberation in the Promised Messiah. Already in his wonderful birth with the appearance of the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ, we are reminded of the far greater conception and birth of Jesus Christ. They were also alike in their lives' purpose. Samson was to defeat the enemies of God's people, while Jesus' purpose was to defeat our greatest enemy, the old evil foe. Finally they were alike in their death. Concerning Samson it must be said that he accomplished more in this death than he did in his life, for in His death he destroyed the temple of Dagon and thousands of his enemies. (Judges 16:30) Likewise, Christ's death was the purpose of His life. He gave Himself as a ransom for many so that He might conquer hell. For a good summary of the greater Samson theme see R. Pieper's Sermon, "Simson auf seiner Brautfahrt nach Thimnath ein Vorbild auf Christum." (Predigten über freie Texte, Vol. II, pp. 231-241). Also see “Sermon on Judges 14:1–9” in the Lutheran Synod Quarterly, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 3, pp. 186–192. This theme is also common in Christian hymnody.
Like Samson, Christ’s great strength employed,
6. LW 39:79.
7. Epistle of Barnabas 9:8.
8. The Concordia Self-Study Bible improperly follows a typological approach to Isaiah 7:14 (Page 1029).
9. See Raymond F. Surburg, “The Proper Interpretation to Old Testament Messianic Prophecy,” The Lutheran Synod Quarterly, Vol. XX, No. 4, pp. 6-36. One can sympathize with Surburg's negative attitude toward typology. He saw it undermine rectilinear prophecy in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. But, this should not lead one to deny proper typological interpretation.
It should be noted that the leading Wisconsin Synod theologians at the beginning of the Twentieth Century were more inclined to typological interpretation than were Missouri Synod theologians. Adolf Hoenecke, the leading theologian of the Wisconsin Synod, defended the use of typology. In an article concerning the use of Scripture in the Formula of Concord he cited Martin Chemnitz who did not consider Hosea 11:1 to be a rectilinear prophecy, but rather a typological prophecy concerning Christ (Adolph Hoenecke, “über den Schriftbeweis in der Konkordienformel,” Theologische Quartalschrift, I, 122 ). The Wauwatosa theologians like August Pieper made a considerable use of typology. His most extensive discussion concerning typological prophecy is to be found in his commentary, Isaiah II (A. Pieper, Isaiah II, pp. 83-87). Men like William Arndt, Paul Kretzmann, and Martin Franzmann followed in this tradition.
William Arndt in an article appearing in Lehre und Wehre suggested the following hermeneutical rules in dealing with Messianic prophecies: (1) The entire Old Testament has a typical character. (2) Where Scripture itself points out a type, that is the correct interpretation. (3) When the New Testament points out that there are types in the Old Testament, the biblical interpreter's task is to search the Scriptures themselves for an authoritative interpretation of these types. (4) The rule that one can allow a typical interpretation only where Scripture clearly indicates such, goes too far. It does not properly take into consideration that the entire Old Testament is typical. (5) It is not proper to claim a typical meaning where text, context, and the New Testament indicate a verbal prophecy, e.g., in Psalm 22. (6) One should carefully observe how Christ and the New Testament writers explain Old Testament types and follow the analogy of their interpretation. (7) For a typical interpretation not expressly stated in Scripture, one cannot claim unconditional acceptance (W. Arndt, "Typisch Messianische Weissangungen," Lehre und Wehre, Vol. 67, No. 12, pp. 366-367).
10. According to Irenaeus the whole human race was condemned in Adam's fall because the whole race was seminally present in Adam. Thus, in the incarnation the second Adam, Jesus Christ, came who recapitulated or reproduced the first in Himself so that he might be restored. (Romans 5) We who were seminally present in Adam, have been given the opportunity to make a new start in Christ, the second Adam, by incorporation into His body, the church, through Baptism. Adam's disobedience brought sin and death, but Christ, by His obedience, restores life and immortality. Redemption through the incarnate Christ is given the central place in Irenaeus' system. Redemption, according to him, is victory over the power of sin, death, and the devil through the perfect obedience of Christ, the head of the new humanity. Some have understood Irenaeus' system as implying that the incarnation itself effects redemption. Now the incarnation was indeed redemptive, but not to the exclusion of our Lord's passion. Irenaeus definitely teaches that the Savior's blood is the price of redemption (Adversus Haereses V, 1, 1; V, 2, 2). The incarnation began the Savior's redemptive work culminating in His great passion.
11. Peter Toon, Proclaiming the Gospel through the Liturgy, p. 131.
12. LW 39:178-179.
13. LW 10:4.
14. LW 52:126.
15. St. L. X., 2140-2141.
16. Apology XXIV 36-37, p. 257.
17. Based on the flood type of Baptism in I Peter 3:21, Gerhard points to the ark as a figure of the church, the ship of salvation, to which the dove of peace, the Holy Spirit, comes in Baptism bringing comfort and peace to the conscience (J. Gerhard, Heiligen Taufe und dem Heiligen Abendmahl, p. 9-10). In the same book he refers to the manna in the wilderness, the showbread in the tabernacle (p. 171), and the food given to Elijah in I Kings 19 (p. 171) as types of the Lord's Supper. He speaks of the blood and water flowing from the Savior's side in John 19:34 as the two Sacraments of the church (p. 10). These are only a few of the types of Baptism and the Lord's Supper that Gerhard uses in his writings.
18. See also Isaiah 10:24-27, 48:20-21, 5l:9-11; Ezekiel 20:33-37; Hosea 2:14-15; Micah 7:15-17; August Pieper, Isaiah II, pp. 225-226.
19. When one properly understands that the new creation theme foreshadows the true peace found in Christ and His body the church, he will not be prone to millennial dreams. The new creation language of the prophets tends to be very corporal and concrete. The New Testament writers, however, do not look for the fulfillment of these prophecies in some future millennial age (an earthly paradise), but in the death and resurrection of Christ. He removed the curse of sin and brings the new creation. By faith in the Savior we have the new creation right now. (II Corinthians 5:17) The wonderful renewal of Eden's peace, paradise regained, which we now have in part yet tainted by sin, will be ours in all its fullness on the last day. See also G. Schmeling, “An Exegetical Study of Isaiah 11:6-9,” The Lutheran Synod Quarterly, Vol. XXIV, No. 3, pp. 9-31.
20. The Lutheran Hymnal 54.
21. Augustine, Sermon Mai 89; P. Weller, Selected Easter Sermons of St. Augustine, p. 124-125. Luther refers to the baptismal exodus theme in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church: "The Children of Israel, whenever they turned to repentance, remembered above all their exodus from Egypt, and remembering turned back to God who had brought them out. Moses impressed this memory and this protection upon them many times, and David afterwards did the same. How much more ought we to remember our exodus from Egypt, and by this remembrance turn back to him who led us through the washing of regeneration [Titus 3:5], remembrance of which is commended to us for this very reason!" (LW 36:60, see also LW 11:17).
22. Deuteronomy 18:17-20 is never quoted verbatim in John, but there seem to be allusions to it in 1:25, 7:40-42, 12:48-50.
23. The Greek that St. John uses to express "one on each side" is sufficiently close to Exodus 17:12 in the LXX to leave open the real possibility that the Evangelist was consciously making a typological allusion. See also T. Glasson, Moses in the Fourth Gospel, pp. 40-44.
24. Epistle of Barnabas 12.
25. Worship Supplement 759.
26. One of Walther's Christmas sermons had this theme, “Dasz wir in Bethlehem mehr wieder finden, als wir einst im Paradiese verloren haben.” [That we again find more in Bethlehem, than we once lost in Paradise.] Another of his sermons has this theme “Die Geburt des Kindes zu Bethlehem - die Wiederaufschliessung des Paradieses für alle Menschen” [The Birth of the Child at Bethlehem - the Reopening of Paradise for all Men.] (C.F.W. Walther, Festklänge, pp. 68–79; 34–43).
27. LW 31:351-352.
28. G. Stoeckhardt, Die Biblische Geschichte des Alten Testaments, pp. 258-259.
29. G. Stoeckhardt, Passionspredigten, pp. 6-7.
30. An exception to this is a sermon written by Brastberger entitled, “Der mit Dornen gekrönte zweite Salomo” [The Thorn Crowned Second Solomon] (Immanuel Gottlob Brastberger, Evangelische Zeugnisse der Wahrheit, pp. 349-357).
31. G. Stoeckhardt, Die Biblische Geschichte des Alten Testaments, pp. 278–279.
32. G. Stoeckhardt, Die Biblische Geschichte des Alten Testaments, pp. 280–281.
33. The Lutheran Hymnal 467.
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