What is meant by saying that something is a “type” of Christ?
Suggested Daily Reading: Hebrews 9
A “type” is “a person, thing or action that is a picture, symbol or example of something else; something that pictures the real thing.”
The Old Testament contains many types of Christ, i.e. persons, objects and actions used to picture the real Savior, Jesus Christ. Can you think of some types of Christ found in the Old Testament? Let’s consider a few.
Consider the person of the Old Testament high priest. The high priest carried the names of all Israel, all twelve tribes, engraved in twelve stones on his breastplate (Ex. 28:21, 29) and on two onyx stones on his shoulders, six names engraved in each (Ex 28:9-12). Twelve is often used as a type of God’s church in Scripture (e.g. God’s Old Testament church dispensation organized under 12 tribes and the New Testament under 12 apostles and the 24 elders before Christ’s throne – the Old and New Testament believers in heaven). How is the Old Testament high priest a type, a picture of the greater High Priest, Jesus Christ? Jesus upholds His entire church, all His people, bound to His loving heart and carried on His strong shoulders. Notice, their names are not written in pencil, but engraved in stone, never to be erased! Do you recognize the beautiful picture of Jesus and feel the wonderful comfort contained in this Old Testament type of Christ?
Think of the objects of the brazen altar and laver in the Old Testament tabernacle and temple worship. All the animals sacrificed, all the blood-shedding, took place at the brazen altar and all the washings with water happened at the brazen laver located in the tabernacle courtyard. Sin requires our death. The death of the sacrificial lamb pictures our death being paid for by a substitute, by the Lamb of God – the Lord Jesus, in our place. Sin also pollutes us. We must also be washed clean. After Jesus died on the cross one of the soldiers thrust a spear into His side and out came blood and water (Jn. 19:34). Blood to pay the death price for our justification and water to wash us clean for our sanctification. Do you recognize the beautiful picture of Jesus and feel the wonderful comfort contained in this Old Testament type of Christ that the guilt and pollution of sin is fully removed not by us, but by our Savior, if we look to Him by faith?
Meditate on the action taking place in the celebration of the Old Testament Passover (Ex. 12:1-14). A lamb in the prime of life and without blemish must be killed without breaking any of its bones. The blood must be placed on the doorposts of the Israelites’ homes and the family must remain inside behind the blood. When the angel of judgment and death would go through Egypt, the angel would “pass over” those standing behind the blood of the lamb. What a rich type of Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish, crucified in the prime of life, without a bone of His being broken! Do you recognize the beautiful picture of Jesus and feel the wonderful comfort contained in this Old Testament type of Christ? That those standing behind His blood will be spared in the day of God’s judgment and death? Not because they earned this, but because of God’s gracious gift of salvation through the death of His perfect Son?
Can you think of other rich gospel pictures and types of Christ in the Old Testament? How does Hebrews 9, today’s suggested Scripture reading, convey several Old Testament types of Jesus and His work? What would you miss, if you did not search for Jesus in the Old Testament? Why is Jesus’ command in John 5:39 important for us today, “Search the Scriptures (i.e. the Old Testament) for… they are they which testify of me.”