God uses a form of instruction in Scripture called “types” to reveal and teach us stunning truths. The Holy Spirit points to this form of teaching in Romans 5:14, which says: “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (NASB). As another example, the story of the offering of Isaac, found in Genesis 22, is called a “type” in Hebrews 11:17-19.
The well-respected Bible scholar, C. I. Scofield, describes the concept of types as “a divinely purposed illustration of some truth. It may be: a person (Rom. 5:14), an event (1 Cor. 10:11), a thing (Heb. 10:19-20), an institution (Heb. 9:11-12), or a ceremony (1 Cor. 5:7). Types occur most frequently in the Pentateuch, but are found, more sparingly, elsewhere. The fulfillment of the type, called the ‘antitype,’ is found in the New Testament.”
One must be careful when considering the possible interpretations of a Bible type. The early days of Solomon’s reign are a wonderful analogy to the character of the Lord’s reign during the coming Millennium. However, the sad failure of Solomon (beginning in 1 Kings 11) is not representative of the Lord. In the Bible Handbook of the Old Testament, Walter Scott wrote: “The study of the types requires careful handling and the student will need grace to curb imagination and check severely the mere working of mind or intellect. For our encouragement, however, let us remember that we are endowed with the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16) and the Holy Spirit – the power of the new man.”
One Scriptural subject that involves the teaching of types is the “cities of refuge.” God established these cities for His people, Israel. Each designated location was to be a place of safety for a person who accidentally killed someone so that the victim’s family could not slay him. As you read this month’s Feature articles about these cities, see how many lessons you learn about not only them, but about the Lord Jesus Christ and the believer’s relationship with Him. I am sure that what you learn will be as much an encouragement to you as the discoveries I made were to me.
By Paul Alberts