The Purpose, Goal and Benefits of the Bible (8)

The Bible makes Jesus Known cont’

Categories of Prophetic Types.  We can identify at least four different patterns in which the OT points forward to and is prophetic of the coming of Christ in the NT. (1) Specific OT texts quoted in the NT. Certain passages of the OT are obviously prophetic of Christ because they are quoted in the NT; for example, Matthew cites Is 7:14 to prove that the OT prophesied Christ’s virgin birth (Mat 1:23), and Mic 5:2 to prove that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem (Mat 2:6). Mark reminds his readers (Mark 1:2-3) that the coming of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ was prophesied both by Isaiah (Is 40:3) and Malachi (Mal 3:1). Zechariah foretold Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Zec 9:9; cf. Mat 21:1-5; John 12:14-15). David’s experience expressed in Ps 22:18 anticipates the soldiers at the cross dividing up Jesus’ clothing (John 19:23-24), and his statement in Ps 16:8-11 is interpreted as a clear prediction of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:25-32; 13:35-37). The writer of the letter to the Hebrews asserts that Melchizedek (cf. Gen 14:18-20; Ps 110:4) is a type of Christ, our eternal high priest. There are many other examples that could be cited.

        (2) Allusions by NT writers to OT passages. Another pattern whereby Christ can be found in the OT are those NT passages that, without actually quoting a specific text, refer to OT persons, events or things as prophetic of Christ. For example, in the Bible’s very first prophetic text (Gen 3:15), God promises to send the offspring of the woman to destroy the serpent’s offspring. Surely Paul had this passage in mind when he says that Christ was born of a woman to redeem those under law (Gal 4:4-5; cf. Rom 16:20), as did the apostle John when he maintains that the Son of God came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). John the Baptist’s reference to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36) points back to Lev 16 and Is 53:7, and Paul’s reference to Jesus as “our Passover [lamb]” (1 Cor 5:7) shows that the killing of the Passover lamb was a prophetic type of Christ’s death for us (Ex 12:1-14). Jesus Himself said that Moses lifting up the serpent of brass in the wilderness (Num 21:4-9) was prophetic of Him hanging on a cross. And when John says that Jesus, the Word of God, was involved in the creation of all things (John 1:1-3), we cannot help but think of Ps 33:6; “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made” (cf. Heb 1:3, 10-12). These are only a few of the many NT allusions to OT passages that relate to Christ.

      (3) OT persons, events or things that focus on the theme of redemption. Israel’s exodus from Egypt, which is viewed throughout the OT as the greatest redemptive event under the old covenant, foreshadows Christ and the redemption He brings under the new covenant. Some types in the book of Exodus that foreshadow Christ and His redemption are Moses, the Passover, the Red Sea crossing, manna, the water from the rock, the tabernacle and its furnishings, and the high priest.

      (4) Patterns in OT events that foreshadow the way God deals with us in Christ. Many of the stories in the OT reveal a pattern of God’s dealings with His people that are brought to fulfillment in Jesus Christ.