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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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1. Word and idea.-Though τύπος and ἀντίτυπος both occur in the original, ‘type’ and its correlative ‘antitype’ are theological rather than Scriptural terms. In theological usage a type is a person or thing in the OT dispensation that represents and prefigures a person or thing in the NT, hence called the antitype. In the text of English Version , however, neither ‘type’ nor ‘antitype’ is found, though Revised Version gives ‘in the antitype’ as an alternative rendering in 1 Peter 3:21 m. Even in the Greek NT, where ἀντίτυπος occurs twice, the word appears to be employed not substantively but adjectively in the forms ἀντίτυπα (Hebrews 9:24) and ἀντίτυπον (1 Peter 3:21), which Revised Version renders respectively ‘like in pattern’ and ‘after a true likeness’; while τύπος, again, which is of frequent occurrence, is used with a variety of meanings and only once (Romans 5:14) in a sense corresponding to that of a doctrinal type. In John 20:25 it denotes the impression left by a stroke (‘the print of the nails’); in Acts 7:43 the figure or image of a god; in Acts 23:25 a form of writing; in Romans 6:17 a form of teaching; in Acts 7:44, Hebrews 8:5 a pattern or model for the making of the tabernacle. From this last meaning the transition is easy to the ethical sense of an example of conduct. In 1 Corinthians 10:6 it designates an example that is to be avoided; in other cases (Philippians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 1:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:9, 1 Timothy 4:12, Titus 2:7; 1 Peter 5:3) an example that is to be copied. In Romans 5:14, where Adam is said to be τύπος τοῦ μέλλοντος (i.e. of Jesus Christ), and where English Version renders ‘figure,’ the word is used at last in a doctrinal sense and the idea of type and antitype comes clearly into view.

When once this idea is accepted, however, it becomes evident that the NT uses of the word are far from exhausting the cases in which the idea is present. The contrasts in Colossians 2:17 between the σκιά and the σῶμα, in Hebrews 8:5 between the σκιά and the ἐπουράνια, in Hebrews 10:1 between the σκιά and the εἰκών are all of them contrasts between types and their antitypes-between a prefiguring ordinance of the old dispensation and a corresponding spiritual reality of the new. The case is similar in Galatians 4:24 ff., where St. Paul contrasts the two covenants, in Hebrews 9:9, where the author represents the first tabernacle as a παραβολή ‘for the time now present,’ and very notably in Hebrews 5:7, where he works out at length the relation between Melchizedek, ‘made like unto the Son of God’ (Hebrews 7:3), and Jesus Himself, ‘a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek’ (Hebrews 5:6 etc.). In these and many other familiar passages which will have to be considered more particularly, the NT authors bring before us the idea of type and antitype-the idea that persons, events, and institutions of the OT represent, and were designed by God to represent, persons, events, and institutions of the Christian dispensation.

2. Origin of the idea.-The typological idea, as it meets us in the NT, is not a peculiar or isolated phenomenon, but a natural outgrowth from the more general conception of the OT revelation as prophetic, and of Jesus and the gospel as fulfilling the hope and promise made to the fathers. The forward look of their own Scriptures was apparent to the Jews themselves; to the apostles it had become evident that what prophets and psalmists looked for was now in their very midst. Jesus had announced the arrival of the Kingdom of God and had declared Himself to be the expected Christ. On His first public appearance He had read a passage from Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1 f.) which throbs with the good tidings of the Lord’s acceptable year, and had said to the listeners, ‘To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears’ (Luke 4:21). From that time onward He had pointed out repeatedly that what was written in the OT Scriptures was now being accomplished, that what prophets and righteous men of old had desired to see and hear was now being seen and heard by those around Him (Mark 7:6, Matthew 13:17). That the Scriptures bore witness of Christ the disciples understood even during His earthly life, but their understanding of this fact was wonderfully enlarged by His death and resurrection, which cast a flood of light upon aspects of prophecy that had previously been obscured (cf. Acts 8:28-35). St. Peter’s speeches in Acts (cf. Acts 2:14-39) and his First Epistle show how strong a sense he had that the Spirit of Christ was in the Prophets (1 Peter 1:11). To St. Paul with his larger outlook upon history and revelation the whole of Scripture was prophetic-the Law as well as the Prophets (Romans 3:21); and so the Law became ‘our tutor to bring us unto Christ’ (Galatians 3:24). With their view of the OT writings as prophetic of Christ and Christianity at point after point, it was natural that the NT authors should apply to the revelation in the history of Israel the principles they had already applied to its record, and should find Christ and the Christian salvation prefigured in the persons, events, and institutions of OT history, as they had already found them foretold in the OT Scriptures. Such an extension of the principle of prophecy from utterances to types was the natural outcome of a belief in a progressive revelation passing from a lower to a higher stage. If the older dispensation as a whole contained within it the promise of the Christ who was to come, it was only to be expected that there should be correspondences in detail between the two economies. Prophecy and type, indeed, run into each other, the difference being one of form rather than of nature, so that at times they are hardly distinguishable (cf. Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6). And, if the authority of Jesus Himself had been required for the adoption of a definitely typological interpretation of OT history, the apostles and other NT writers might recall His use of Jonah’s experience to typify His own (Matthew 12:40), of the wisdom of Solomon to suggest the wisdom of One greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42), of the flood that came in the days of Noah to prefigure the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37 ff.), and of the serpent uplifted by Moses in the wilderness to stand as a prophetic symbol of the truth that the Son of Man must be lifted up (John 3:14).

3. Applications of the idea by apostolic Christianity

(1) The primitive circle.-Springing naturally out of the conception of the OT as prophetic of the Christian dispensation, and being justified by the language of Christ Himself, the idea of type and antitype appears in the teaching of those who belonged to the original apostolic circle. Sometimes it is hardly distinguishable from the use of historical examples for purposes of illustration (1 Peter 3:6, James 2:21; James 2:25; James 5:11; James 5:17), but at other times it stands out with unmistakable clearness. In St. Peter’s speeches in Acts Moses as a prophet becomes a type of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:22), the covenant with Abraham of the blessings of the Christian salvation (Acts 3:25 f.), the rejected stone which was made the head of the corner (Psalms 118:22) of Jesus in His humiliation and exalted power (Acts 4:11). In 1 Peter the Apostle takes the unblemished lamb of the Passover (Exodus 12:5) to typify Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19), and sees in Noah’s ark a prefiguration of baptism as a means of salvation (1 Peter 3:21). In 1 Peter 1:2, again, the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ upon the elect is evidently an antitype of the action of Moses in sprinkling blood first on the altar and then on the people for the inauguration of the covenant (Exodus 24:6-8).

(2) The Pauline Epistles.-This typical conception of the history and institutions of Israel was taken up by St. Paul, and received from him much wider and more frequent application. Sometimes it is the persons or characters of the OT that he treats as types. In Romans 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22 Adam, the natural head of the race, is taken as a type of Christ, the spiritual head. In Galatians 3:9 faithful Abraham is a type of all who believe the gospel. In 2 Corinthians 3:7 ff. Moses with the glory on his face represents the more glorious ministration of the Spirit. In Galatians 4:22 ff., where allegory is blended with type through a deeper meaning being read into the OT narrative than it naturally bears, Sarah and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael are used as types of Judaism in bondage to the Law and Christianity set free from its yoke. At other times types are found in the transactions or events of the OT narratives, as when the union of Christ with the Church is held to be prefigured by the union of Adam with Eve (Ephesians 5:32; cf. Genesis 2:24), Christian baptism by the passage of the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:1-2), the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper by the manna and water of the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:3-4), and Christ Himself by the rock from which the water flowed (1 Corinthians 10:4). Most frequently, however, it is in the religious institutions of the OT that St. Paul discovers types of the new economy. The paschal lamb and Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7; cf. Romans 3:25, Ephesians 5:2), the Temple and the Christian Church (1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 6:16), the ministry of the altar and the ministry of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:13), circumcision and baptism (Colossians 2:11-12), the sacrificial communion of Judaism and communion at the Lord’s Table in the body and blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 10:18)-these are particular instances he gives of the fact that the institutions of the old dispensation were anticipative and symbolic of the new. In the later Epistles he states the case more broadly. In Colossians 2:17 the general principle is laid down that the legal institutions of Judaism are only ‘a shadow of the things to come,’ viz. the institutions of the Messianic Age, while the body, i.e. the substantial reality, is of Christ. The antinomy between Law and Gospel which meets us in the earlier Epistles is now resolved, for he sees that the Law as a Divine ordinance was temporary, indeed, in its obligatory character, but possessed of an abiding significance as typical of the future blessings of the Kingdom of grace. Circumcision finds its meaning in ‘a circumcision not made with hands’ (Colossians 2:11; cf. Ephesians 2:11, Philippians 3:3), the expiatory sacrifices of tabernacle and temple in the self-surrender of Christ to God on our behalf (Ephesians 5:2), the free-will offerings in those gifts of Christian liberality which are a sacrifice acceptable to God (Philippians 4:18), the whole Levitical service (λατρεία; cf. Exodus 12:25 Septuagint ) in a service wrought by the Spirit of God (Philippians 3:3) of which the self-sacrificing ministry (λειτουργία; cf. Numbers 8:22) of St. Paul to his converts (Philippians 2:17) or theirs to him (Philippians 2:30) may be taken as an example.

(3) The Epistle to the Hebrews.-In this Epistle we find the typological interpretation of the OT carried to its fullest results. Conceiving of religion as a covenant between God and man, the author’s purpose is to prove to his Jewish readers that Christianity, the religion of the New Covenant, is better than Judaism, the religion of the Old; and the method which he employs is to draw a series of contrasts between the Old and the New regarded as type and antitype. If the doctrinal keynote of the Epistle may be found in the twice-quoted prophecy of Jeremiah, ‘Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah’ (Jeremiah 31:31 ff.; cf. Hebrews 8:8 ff; Hebrews 10:16 ff.), the method of its apologetic argument is given when the legal service of tabernacle and temple is described as ‘a copy and shadow of the heavenly things’ (Hebrews 8:5 Revised Version ), and the Levitical Law generally as ‘having a shadow of the good things to come, not the very image of the things’ (Hebrews 10:1). All through the Epistle there runs a series of contrasts between Judaism as preparatory and typical and Christianity as antitypical and perfect, (a) In the opening verses the fragmentary and varying revelation ‘of old time’ by the prophets is set over against God’s speech unto us in His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2), and this is immediately followed by the contrast of angels as ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14) with Him who was made a little lower than the angels that He might bring many sons unto glory (Hebrews 2:9-10), (b) Next comes (Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 4:13) a contrast between Moses, a faithful servant in God’s house, and Christ, a Son set over it (Hebrews 3:5 f.), in the course of which a further contrast is drawn between the good tidings preached to the Israelites in the wilderness and the word of the Christian gospel (Hebrews 4:2)-the promised rest of Canaan being used as symbolic of the rest that remains for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9). The relation of type and antitype clearly underlies these two contrasts, but (c) in the next section of his work (Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 10:18), where a contrast is drawn out between the Levitical or Aaronic high priest of the OT and Christ, the Son, conceived as a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, the author typologizes more boldly and directly, following here a suggestion derived from the OT itself (Psalms 110:4). Melchizedek, he says, the mysterious king-priest, was ‘made like unto the Son of God’ (Hebrews 7:3); and he describes Christ not only as ‘a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek’ (Hebrews 6:20; cf. Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 5:10, Hebrews 7:11; Hebrews 7:17; Hebrews 7:21), but as a priest ‘after the likeness of Melchizedek’ (Hebrews 7:15). Side by side, however, with this typology of likeness there is introduced a typology of contrast-the contrast between the order of Aaron and the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:11). If Melchizedek typifies Christ as another priest of the same order, Aaron typifies Him as a priest of a higher order than his own, who becomes the surety of a better covenant than that given under the Levitical Law (Hebrews 7:22; cf. Hebrews 7:11). The anticipatory and typical relation of the Levitical priesthood, as serving that which is a copy and shadow of the heavenly things (Hebrews 8:5), to the high priesthood of Christ, as ministering the heavenly things themselves (Hebrews 9:23) in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 8:1-2), is carried by the author into great detail. The tabernacle that Moses pitched pointed to the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man (Hebrews 8:2; Hebrews 8:5), and so became ‘a parable for the time now present’ (Hebrews 9:9), i.e. for the age of the OT. The first covenant, inasmuch as it was not faultless, gives the promise of the second and better covenant (Hebrews 8:6-7). In the passage of the high priest once a year into the holy place with his sacrifice of blood, the Holy Ghost signifies that the way into the holy place has not yet been made manifest (Hebrews 9:8), and that Christ Himself must come as the Mediator of the New Covenant, offering Himself through the eternal Spirit without spot unto God (Hebrews 9:14 f.). In all these cases of contrast between the tabernacle made with hands and the greater and more perfect tabernacle, between the earthly ministry of the Levitical priesthood and the ministry of Christ Himself, the relation of type and antitype is made perfectly apparent. It is a relation between copies (ὑποδείγματα) of the things in the heavens and the heavenly things themselves (Hebrews 9:23), between what is like in pattern (ἀντίτυπα) to the true (Hebrews 9:24) and the enduring realities foreshadowed thereby.

(4) The Apocalypse.-The typology of the NT, so far as we have hitherto considered it, bears upon the relation between past and present; it consists in the use of persons or things in the OT to represent and prefigure the present realities of the Kingdom of God. But God’s Kingdom has a future as well as a present, and when we reach the Apocalypse-a book that claims to be a revelation of’ things which must come to pass hereafter’ (Revelation 4:1; cf. Revelation 1:1)-we find that the writer goes to the OT for his types of the Christian future, just as St. Paul and the author of Hebrews have done for their types of the Christian present. In the messages to the Seven Churches, it is true, he deals with existing situations, and the use which he makes in this connexion of OT types does not differ in character from what we find in other books of the NT. The seven lamps of the golden lampstand in the tabernacle become types of the Seven Churches themselves (Revelation 1:12; Revelation 1:20); Israel’s kings and priests, of a kingdom and priesthood to God already enjoyed by all whom Jesus has loosed from their sins by His blood (Revelation 1:5 f.). And the history of Israel furnishes types not only of the living Christianity within the churches, but of a false doctrine and debased morality that were making the lamps of the churches burn dim-Balaam has his antitype in the contemporary Balaamites (Revelation 2:14) and Jezebel in the false and wicked prophetess by whom God’s servants are seduced (Revelation 2:20).

But, apart from his rapid glance at existing circumstances in the churches with which he was familiar, the gaze of this writer is forward and upward; he is looking through a door opened in heaven, he is thinking of the things that must come to pass hereafter (Revelation 4:1). From the actual churches in Asia he leads his readers to the great vision of the Church that is to be, saying to them in the words of the angel, ‘Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb’ (Revelation 21:9). And in his descriptions of the coming glory that is to crown the long struggles of the Church on earth he finds in the OT foreshadowing types of the final consummation. Some of his types are taken from the story of human beginnings in the early chapters of Genesis, as if to show the unity of the Divine plan from first to last. The Garden of Eden prefigures and anticipates ‘the Paradise of God’ (Revelation 2:7); the tree of life in the midst of the garden (Genesis 2:9), from which fallen man had to be debarred (Revelation 3:22), another tree of life, whose fruit is given to be eaten (Revelation 2:7) and whose leaves are for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:2). Other types are offered by the history of the chosen people and the chosen land. Sodom and Egypt have their spiritual counterparts (Revelation 11:8), the fall of Babylon becomes a parable of the fall of that great city which made all nations drink of the wine of her fornication (Revelation 14:8). The triumph song of Moses and the children of Israel (Exodus 15:1, Deuteronomy 31:30; Deuteronomy 32:4) becomes ‘the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb’ (Revelation 15:3); the manna by which Israel was fed in the wilderness tells of a hidden manna given to him that over-cometh (Revelation 2:17); the twelve tribes reappear in the twelve companies of the sealed servants of God (Revelation 7:4-8); Jerusalem itself is transfigured into the new Jerusalem, the city of God (Revelation 3:12, Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:10); Mount Zion, to which the tribes went up, becomes the gathering place of the hosts of the redeemed (Revelation 14:1-3). But, as was natural to one who conceived of the heavenly blessedness as consisting essentially in acts of adoring worship (Revelation 7:9-15, Revelation 22:3; note that ‘to serve [λατρεύω] God’ = to worship Him), the writer of this book finds his most frequent types in the sanctuary and sanctuary service of ancient Israel. The tabernacle in the wilderness anticipated that ‘tabernacle of God’ in which He shall dwell for ever with His people and they with Him (Revelation 21:3 f.); the Temple in Jerusalem, ‘the temple of God’ which is in heaven (Revelation 11:19; cf. Revelation 3:12, Revelation 7:15 and passim); the very pillars of the Temple are types of the strong overcoming soul who shall go out of the temple no more (Revelation 3:12). Aaron and his sons in their holy garments of glory and beauty (Exodus 28:1 ff.) reappear in the angels of the celestial temple ‘arrayed with precious stone, pure and bright, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles’ (Revelation 15:6). In antitypal reality the golden altar with its four horns (Exodus 30:3) still stands before God (Revelation 9:13; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:3); the ark of the covenant is still seen in His temple (Revelation 11:19; cf. ‘the tabernacle of the testimony,’ Revelation 15:5). There is a golden censer in the heavenly courts, and golden bowls full of incense; but the incense of heaven is the prayers of the saints (Revelation 5:8, Revelation 8:3; cf. Leviticus 16:12 f.). And, as an atoning sacrifice was the central and culminating act of all the sanctuary worship of Israel (Exodus 30:10; cf. Hebrews 9:7 ff.), Jesus, the antitype of all ancient sacrifice, appears predominantly (27 times) under the figure of ‘the Lamb’-the sacrificial and victoriously redemptive significance of the name being made evident on its very first appearance in the book, when the Lamb is described as having been slain, and yet standing in the midst of the throne (Revelation 5:6; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 5:12; cf. ‘I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades,’ Revelation 1:18), endowed with all might and all knowledge (‘having seven horns, and seven eyes,’ Revelation 5:6), and yet having bought us with His blood (Revelation 5:9; cf. Revelation 7:14, Revelation 12:11).

Literature.-P. Fairbairn, The Typology of Scripture4, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1864; CE [Note: E Catholic Encyclopedia.] , s.v.; B. Weiss, Biblical Theology of NT, Eng. translation , 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1882-83; W. Beyschlag, NT Theology, Eng. translation 2, do., 1908.

J. C. Lambert.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Type'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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