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Biblical Typology: Basic

Principles of
Interpretation
Richard M. Davidson, Ph.D.

Common reactions to
typology
1. Oh no! -- Skepticism
2. Give me more! Enthusiasm
3. Whats that? -- Uncertainty

Importance of biblical
typology
Leonard Goppelt: typology is the central
and distinctive NT way of understanding
the Gospel. . .it is the decisive interpretation
of Jesus, the Gospel, and the Church. . . .
According to its NT core typology is
theologically constitutive for an
understanding of the Gospel. (TDNT
8:255).

Importance of biblical
typology
Robert M. Grant (church historian): the
New Testament method of interpreting the
OT is generally that of typology.
E. Earle Ellis: typological interpretation
expresses most clearly the basic attitude of
primitive Christianity toward the OT.

Nature of biblical
typology
Mark W. Karlberg: resolution of lingering
differences of interpretation among
evangelicals depends, to a large extent, on a
proper assessment of the nature and
function of Old Testament typology.

Nature of biblical
typology
Traditional Understanding: Typology is
the study of persons, events, or institutions
which God has divinely designed to
prefigure (point forward to) the
eschatological (end time) fulfillment in
Christ or the Gospel realities brought about
by Christ.

Nature of biblical
typology
Post-critical Understanding: Typology is
the retrospective recognition of parallel
situations between OT and NT, based upon
common human way of analogical thinking
or the consistent activity of God in history,
with little or no predictive element
E.g.: Napoleons Battle of Waterloo

Nature of biblical
typology
How does one determine which view is
correct?
Without imposing ones definition upon the
Biblical text
Allowing the definition to emerge from the text
Personal experience

Nature of biblical
typology
Key term: typos = English term type
Typos appears 20 times in the NT
Typos used in five NT passages where the
NT writer is interpreting the OT, and labels
his interpretation as typos (or antitypos)
Here we can be sure typology exists,
because the NT writer identifies it as such

Nature of biblical
typology
5 passages about typos!
1. Romans 5:14
Typos The typos of Christ was Adam.

Nature of biblical
typology
5 passages about typos!
2. 1 Cor. 10:6, 11
Typoi Exodus events are types of the
church.

Nature of biblical
typology
5 passages about typos!
3. 1 Pet. 3:21
Antitypos antitype (anti in Greek can
also mean corresponding to Therefore
it is corresponding to the type.)
Baptism is corresponding to the flood.

Nature of biblical
typology
5 passages about typos!
4. Heb. 8:5
Typos referring to the earthly/heavenly
sanctuary relationship.

Nature of biblical
typology
5 passages about typos!
5. Heb. 9:24
Antitypos - referring to the earthly/heavenly
sanctuary relationship.
The antitype is the fulfillment of the type.

Characteristics of Biblical
Typology
1. Historical element
Historical realities: persons (Adam), events
(Flood, Exodus), institutions (sanctuary)
Historical correspondence of basic contours
between type and antitype
Intensification between type and antitype

Characteristics of Biblical
Typology
2. Prophetic Element
Advance presentation or prefiguration
Divine design
Must-needs-be aspect (Greek dei and anagk)

Characteristics of Biblical
Typology
3. Christological/soteriological element
Not just bare historical realities, but salvific
realities
Fulfilled in Christ or salvation realities brought
about by Christ
Christ is the ultimate orientation point of types
and their antitypical fulfillment

Characteristics of Biblical
Typology
4. Ecclesiological element
Individual worshipers
Corporate community
Sacraments (Lords Supper or Baptism)

Characteristics of Biblical
Typology
5. Eschatological element
Inaugurated (Christs First Advent)
Appropriated (era of the Church)
Consummated (not yet--Apocalyptic end
time)

The Basic Elements of Biblical


Typology: Illustrated by Mr.
Typos

1. Typos and antitypos are historical realities.


2. The typos (hollow mold) isnt the original, but
based upon a previous design. Divine design.
3. The function of the typos is to be a mold that
shapes the end product. Predictive element.
4. The basic contours of the typos and antitypos
correspond. Can argue from type to antitype.
5. The antitypos (end product) transcends and is
always greater than the typos. Intensification.

Definition of Biblical
Typology
Typology is the study of salvation historical
realities (persons, events, or institutions)
which God has divinely designed to
prefigure (point forward to) the
eschatological (end product) fulfillment
in Christ or the Gospel realities brought
about by Christ.

Hermeneutical Controls for


Biblical Typology--1

Identifying the types: the prophetic


control

If the type is truly predictive (points


forward) then one should recognize before
the fulfillment that this is a type.

E.g.: Moses Deut. 18:18: God says: I will


raise up a Prophet like you [Moses].

Case Study: Sanctuary


Typology

The Heavenly Sanctuary


Before Sin
Jeremiah 17:12 from the beginning
Ezekiel 28:14 covering cherub on the
holy mountain of God
Isaiah 14:13 mount of the assembly

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary
Exodus 25:9
"According to all that I
show you, that is, the
pattern of the
tabernacle and the
pattern of all its
furnishings, just so
you shall make it.

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary

tynIb.T; tabnit: the pattern

God says that He will show Moses on the


mountain the tabnit for the sanctuary.

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary

And see to it that you make them


according to the pattern (tabnit ) which

was shown you on the mountain.


Exodus 25:40
The LXX translates tabnit here as typos
which means type in our language.

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary

tynIb.t; tabnit: the pattern


It is a copy of the original that
serves as a model for another copy.

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary
Illustration: 2 Kings 16:10-11, the story of Ahaz.
Now King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet
Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar
that was at Damascus; and King Ahaz sent to
Urijah the priest the design of the altar and its
pattern [tabnit], according to all its workmanship.
Then Urijah the priest built an altar according to
all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus.

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary

This tabnit was a miniature model. It was


used to make a copy of it in Jerusalem.
This is the word that is used in Exodus 25:9,
40. Moses was told to make everything
according to the tabnit.
He saw on the mountain a miniature model
of the heavenly sanctuary!

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary
God presented Moses with a miniature model.
He presented before Moses a miniature model of
the heavenly sanctuary, and commanded him to
make all things according to the pattern showed
him in the mount. Moses wrote all the directions
in a book, and read them to the most influential of
the people. (Spiritual Gifts Volume 4, page 5 )

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary
Moses also saw the original heavenly
sanctuary:

PP 343 God presented before Moses in


the mount a view of the heavenly
sanctuary.

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary
Exodus 24:10
and they [Moses and the 70 elders] saw the God
of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a
paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the
very heavens in its clarity.
Moses saw as much of the vastness and glory of
the heavenly sanctuary as it was possible for him
to grasp

The linkage between the


earthly and the heavenly
sanctuary

Ezekiel 1:26 and 10:1 indicates that Gods


throne was made out of sapphire.
Ezekiel 28:14 refers to the stones of fire
in the heavenly sanctuary, one of which was
no doubt sapphire (see v. 13).
Maybe Moses on the mountain (Exod
24:10) is seeing one of the pavement stones
in the heavenly temple.

Hermeneutical Controls for


Biblical Typology--2
Extent of typological correspondence:
Focus on the basic contours, not every
minute detail of the type.
How does one apply this to the sanctuary
typology?

The basic contours of


Sanctuary Typology
Those features that
are consistent with
the different earthly
sanctuaries are the
basic contours
that parallel the
heavenly sanctuary

Basic Contours of
Sanctuary typology

Four main earthly OT sanctuaries/temples:


1. Mosaic tabernacle
2. Temple of Solomon
3. Second temple (built by Zerubbabel)
4. Ezekiels temple (described in Eze 40-48
but never built)

The basic contours of


sanctuary typology
All OT sanctuaries
had:
1. Three spheres of holy
space courtyard,
holy place, most holy
place

The basic contours of


sanctuary typology
2. Same proportions (not
dimensions), with cube-shaped Most
Holy Place.

The basic contours of


sanctuary typology
3. Same kinds (not number) of articles of furniture

The basic contours of


sanctuary typology
4. Same order of
priests.

The basic contours of


sanctuary typology
5. Same
kinds of
sacrifices

The basic contours of


sanctuary typology
Hebrews 9:2-4 2 For a tabernacle was prepared:
the first part, in which was the lampstand, the
table, and the showbread, which is called the Holy
Place; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the
tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4
which had the altar of incense and the ark of the
covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which
were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's
rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
Heb 8:1-5: priests and sacrifices

Hermeneutical Controls for


Biblical Typology--3
The three-phase NT fulfillment of
the OT types

The basic ground-plan of NT eschatology :

1) Hebrews 1:1, 2 says that the last days started


(the eschatological fulfillment began) at Jesus first
advent. He was the already, the inaugurated
eschatology.
This is D-Day.

The three-phase NT
fulfillment of the OT types
The basic ground-plan of NT eschatology :
2) The Second Advent is the not yet, the
consummated eschatology, the end (1 Pet
4:7; 1 Cor 15:24)
This is V-E Day.

The three-phase NT
fulfillment of the OT types
The basic groundwork of NT eschatology :
3) The time of tension between the
already and the not yet. It is the time of
appropriated eschatology in which we
appropriate to ourselves what He has worked
out by Him.
This is the time of the church, where we live
today.

The three-phase NT
fulfillment of the OT types
Sanctuary Typology:

1. Inauguration Jesus is the antitypical temple


(Matt 12:6; John 2:21).
2. Appropriation--the church is the temple of
God (1 Cor 3:16, 17; 2 Cor 6:16).
3. Consummationthe heavenly
temple/tabernacle is with men (Rev 21:3)

The three-phase NT
fulfillment of the OT types

All sanctuary typology has its basic


fulfillment in Christ. Our evangelical
scholars usually stop at this foundational
point. But it is also true that what
happened in Jesus is to be fulfilled
spiritually in us. We are the body of
Christ, our bodies are the temples of God,
we are to be His priests, we are to be the
light of the world, etc.

The three-phase NT
fulfillment of the OT types
Some non-SDA Christians understand
appropriated sanctuary typology but almost
all fail to take the third stepconsummated
sanctuary typology.
. In Heaven there is a real heavenly
sanctuary, which overarches all sanctuary
typology. Sanctuary typology has a vertical
dimension that has been there all along.

The three-phase NT
fulfillment of the OT types
At the end of time, there will be the
apocalyptic fulfillment of the sanctuary
typology.
The tension between earth and heaven,
between the already and the not yet,
will be resolved.
We will enter Gods temple forever!

The three-phase NT
fulfillment of the OT types
The modality of these phases of NT
fulfillment, based on the presence of Jesus:
Inaugurated: literal and local
Appropriated: spiritual and universal
Consummated: glorious, final, universal,
literal

Conclusion

SDAs have the privilege to preach with joy the full


orb of sanctuary typology. It is not only dealing
with the already but it focuses on the
appropriated (the time of the church now) and the
not yet (Gods people united with Jesus in the
heavenly sanctuary at the Second Advent and
beyond).