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Understanding Biblical Typology


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#21 Cool Spot_*

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Posted 21 December 2003 - 09:48 PM

I believe it's very neat and simple - on the typological principle.  The context is different, but the typological principle is the same.

Not exactly. Consider the above:

THE FETAL WRESTLING MATCH: In Gen 25.25 we get Jacob and Esau wrestling "in-utereo" with God PREDICTIVELY applying the type pair (progenitor, nation) to the event (above), and in Gen 27 we have its prototypical fulfillment in the Deception of Jacob/Blessing of Isaac:

This one works nicely. There is the foreshadow between Jacob and Esau (the older will serve the younger), and a continuation when Jacob deceives and Esau loses his birthright.

The messianic prophecies are more disjointed. In Is 7:14, for example, a young woman would give birth to a child and before that child would grow up, Judah's enemies would be destroyed. This actually happened when the northern kingdom of Israel and Assyria were conquered (see Is 8:1-5). If Jesus were an actual typological fulfillment, then another young woman (Mary) would give birth to a child (Jesus), and before the child grew up, Israel's enemies would be destroyed. Obviously, this typological fulfillment only grabs a small part of the verse out of context and applies it to Christ, so it really does not constitute the same type of foreshadow the way the Jacob/Esau case does.

Similarly, with regards to Hosea 11:1 which states that "out of Egypt I called my son", the writer of Hosea goes on to say that Israel (who was called out of Egypt) went away from God the more that God called him (Israel). Clearly, Jesus never disobeyed the way Israel did, but again, I believe Matthew uses this story to emphasize the point I mention in my above post.

#22 Fortigurn

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 04:56 AM

I believe it's very neat and simple - on the typological principle.  The context is different, but the typological principle is the same.

Not exactly. Consider the above:

THE FETAL WRESTLING MATCH: In Gen 25.25 we get Jacob and Esau wrestling "in-utereo" with God PREDICTIVELY applying the type pair (progenitor, nation) to the event (above), and in Gen 27 we have its prototypical fulfillment in the Deception of Jacob/Blessing of Isaac:

This one works nicely. There is the foreshadow between Jacob and Esau (the older will serve the younger), and a continuation when Jacob deceives and Esau loses his birthright.

The messianic prophecies are more disjointed. In Is 7:14, for example, a young woman would give birth to a child and before that child would grow up, Judah's enemies would be destroyed. This actually happened when the northern kingdom of Israel and Assyria were conquered (see Is 8:1-5). If Jesus were an actual typological fulfillment, then another young woman (Mary) would give birth to a child (Jesus), and before the child grew up, Israel's enemies would be destroyed.

But as the article points out, the Jacob/Esau typology was related to a predictive prophecy, which puts it in a completely different light.

It is noteworthy that very few true predictive prophecies concerning Christ are appealed to in the gospels. Most of them are typological fulfillments, and we find the vast majority of those in Matthew.

Obviously, this typological fulfillment only grabs a small part of the verse out of context and applies it to Christ, so it really does not constitute the same type of foreshadow the way the Jacob/Esau case does.


The typological fulfillment can afford to do this, since it is only appealing to the same basic principles, not appealing to a mechanical predictive element. It is a different kind of foreshadowing to one which involves a direct predictive element (such as in the Jacob/Esau case), but it is equally legitimate.

Similarly, with regards to Hosea 11:1 which states that "out of Egypt I called my son", the writer of Hosea goes on to say that Israel (who was called out of Egypt) went away from God the more that God called him (Israel).  Clearly, Jesus never disobeyed the way Israel did, but again, I believe Matthew uses this story to emphasize the point I mention in my above post.


The principle behind the typology is identical - God's favoured son goes into Egypt to be saved (remember how Israel ended up in Egypt in the first place), and is then restored. The context is the salvation of the nation, and the identification of a chosen son of God. Both of these are exactly the kind of point which Matthew is making about Christ.

And you'll note of course that even Hosea uses the Exodus narrative in the same way - extracting only those parts of the narrative which are relevant to the typological application which he is making.

#23 Cool Spot_*

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Posted 22 December 2003 - 11:02 AM

The Jacob/Esau typology was related to a predictive prophecy, which puts it in a completely different light.

Okay, now I see.

It is noteworthy that very few true predictive prophecies concerning Christ are appealed to in the gospels.

I agree with this.

Most of them are typological fulfillments, and we find the vast majority of those in Matthew.

I am wondering how exactly we go about determing just what passages we want to use as a typological fulfillment? For example, there are plenty of passages in Proverbs that could be used as a typological fulfillment in Christ (eg, 15:1). What passages do we pick-and-choose to use as typological fulfillments?


The principle behind the typology is identical - God's favoured son goes into Egypt to be saved (remember how Israel ended up in Egypt in the first place), and is then restored.  The context is the salvation of the nation, and the identification of a chosen son of God.  Both of these are exactly the kind of point which Matthew is making about Christ.

The question becomes whether Matthew is intending for his tale to be taken literally... ;)

And you'll note of course that even Hosea uses the Exodus narrative in the same way - extracting only those parts of the narrative which are relevant to the typological application which he is making.

I am not sure about that; Israel did disobey God and went further away from Him, so the general storyline is correct.

#24 luke

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 12:00 PM

Thanks for posting the article, Fort.

A few posts up Cool Spot said this: -

Similarly, with regards to Hosea 11:1 which states that "out of Egypt I called my son", the writer of Hosea goes on to say that Israel (who was called out of Egypt) went away from God the more that God called him (Israel).  Clearly, Jesus never disobeyed the way Israel did...

I think Cool Spot identifies an interesting difference that the type between Hosea 1:11 and Mat. 2:15 brings to light.

Yep, once Israel were called out of Egypt they trun away from God, but in contrast, the Lord Jesus never did - but isn't this one of the points that Matthew is making here by using this typology (or do I not understand how typology works)? Israel, God's son, sinned; but Jesus, God's son, did not sin. It's a contrast to highlight how great Jesus is.

#25 Fortigurn

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 07:58 PM

Thanks for posting the article, Fort.

A few posts up Cool Spot said this: -

Similarly, with regards to Hosea 11:1 which states that "out of Egypt I called my son", the writer of Hosea goes on to say that Israel (who was called out of Egypt) went away from God the more that God called him (Israel).  Clearly, Jesus never disobeyed the way Israel did...

I think Cool Spot identifies an interesting difference that the type between Hosea 1:11 and Mat. 2:15 brings to light.

Yep, once Israel were called out of Egypt they trun away from God, but in contrast, the Lord Jesus never did - but isn't this one of the points that Matthew is making here by using this typology (or do I not understand how typology works)? Israel, God's son, sinned; but Jesus, God's son, did not sin. It's a contrast to highlight how great Jesus is.

Yes that is the point. As I think I said to him, Matthew is identifying Christ as the son who did what the previous son never could.

#26 luke

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 03:20 AM

Yay! Cool. I can slot that in to my exhort for Sunday, then. :thumbsup:




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