What is a Typology?
A typology is a special type of symbolism that helps connect the Old Testament to the New Testament. We see this most prominently in OT characters that resemble Jesus in the NT Got Questions says this,
“When we say that someone is a type of Christ, we are saying that a person in the Old Testament behaves in a way that corresponds to Jesus’ character or actions in the New Testament. When we say that something is “typical” of Christ, we are saying that an object or event in the Old Testament can be viewed as representative of some quality of Jesus.”
Let’s define some terms:
Type: The OT representation
Anti-Type: The NT equivalent
When we connect the two and make a comparison its called a typology, let me give you some examples.
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the Lord on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness[a] for your sin.”
31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a terrible sin these people have committed. They have made gods of gold for themselves. 32 But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!”
33 But the Lord replied to Moses, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me.
Israel was committing horrible sins prior to this interaction between God and Moses. God declared that He was going to wipe out the nation of Israel and start over because of the sins that were committed. (Intensity of sin)
Moses stepped in and INTERCEDED for Israel on their behalf, and God forgave Israel. (Important to know that God in His foreknowledge planned for this)
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Take a closer look at the verse, “who indeed is interceding for us”
In this case, Moses is the type and Jesus is the anti-type, I am amazed at how many typologies are littered all throughout scripture, they reveal to us Jesus in the OT.
How to Identify
There are three criteria’s to look at when searching for a typology. Jesus was the first person to take on all of these roles at once,
In the OT when one of these roles is being fulfilled it can usually be traced to Jesus and the ultimate fulfillment of all three roles. See no one in the OT was all three at once, but Jesus was.
Discovering these for yourself is amazing and as you read scripture God will reveal himself to you through the use of typologies. So be on the lookout, everything in scripture points to one main character and that is Jesus, nothing in scripture is written that cannot be pointed to the Messiah, the one that gave his life for you and I. I challenge you to find typologies and study scripture using them.