Shadow of
Good Things
Hebrews 10
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(Hebrews 10:1-18) For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and
not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they
offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then
would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers
once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.  But in those
sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not
possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore
when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest
not, but a body hast thou prepared me:  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for
sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the
book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice
and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not,
neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he,
Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may
establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering
of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily
ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never
take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for
ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his
enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever
them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for
after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in
their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no
more. {And their: some copies have, Then he said, And their} Now where
remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.  (KJV)
Shadow of Good Things

(Romans 15:4) For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort
of the scriptures might have hope.  (KJV)

(1 Corinthians 10:11) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom
the ends of the world are come. (KJV)

(Luke 24:44-48) And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must
be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their
understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to
suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among
all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.  (KJV)

A Study of Biblical Typology

by Wayne Jackson

One of the most fascinating areas of Bible study is that of typology—the study of Scripture “types.” Few Christians have made any sort of
in-depth investigation of biblical types. As a matter of fact, this field of study has fallen into disrepute in recent years and this can
probably be accounted for on two bases:

First, the extravagant speculations of earlier typologists have left a bad taste for the study in the minds of many; they feel it has been

Second, the spirit of religious liberalism has silently assaulted the thinking of some. They thus tend to dismiss the supernatural
elements of the Scriptures, and since typology relates to prophecy, it has been similarly discarded. The Bible itself, however, makes it
quite clear that types are a vital component of Jehovah’s redemptive plan.

The Term Defined

Exactly what is a type? Theologically speaking, a type may be defined as “a figure or ensample of something future and more or less
prophetic, called the ‘Antitype’” (1968, 768).

Muenscher says a type is “the preordained representative relation which certain persons, events, and institutions of the Old Testament
bear to corresponding persons, events, and institutions in the New” (Terry 1890, 246).

Wick Broomall has a concise statement that is helpful: “A type is a shadow cast on the pages of Old Testament history by a truth whose
full embodiment or antitype is found in the New Testament revelation” (1960, 533).

We would, in summary, suggest the following definition, which we paraphrase from Terry: A type is a real, exalted happening in history
which was divinely ordained by the omniscient God to be a prophetic picture of the good things which he purposed to bring to fruition in
Christ Jesus.

New Testament Terms

There are several words used in the Greek New Testament to denote what we have just defined as a type.

First, there is the term tupos (the basis of our English word “type”). Though this word is variously employed in the New Testament, it is
certainly used in our present sense in Romans 5:14 where Paul declares that Adam “is a figure (tupos) of him that was to come”, i.e.,

Second, there is the word skia, rendered “shadow.” In Colossians 2:17, certain elements of the Mosaic system are said to be “a shadow
of the things to come” (cf. Hebrews 8:5; 10:1).

Third, there is the term hupodeigma, translated “copy,” and used in conjunction with “shadow” in Hebrews 8:5 (cf. Hebrews 9:23).
Fourth, the Greek word parabole (compare our English, “parable”) is found in Hebrews 9:9, where certain elements of the tabernacle are
“a figure for the present time” (cf. 11:19).

Finally, one should note the use of antitupon, rendered “figures” (KJV) or “pattern” (ASV) in Hebrews 9:24, and “like figure” (KJV) or “true
likeness” (ASV) in 1 Peter 3:21. This word, as used in the New Testament, denotes “that which corresponds to” the type. It is the reality
which fulfills the prophetic picture.

Avoiding Extremism

One must be very cautious in his study of Bible types. There are some dangerous extremes to be avoided. On the one hand, as
indicated earlier, some deny the use of biblical types altogether. Obviously, this is a radical view contrary to the teaching of the Bible itself.
Others, though, feel that the use of types in the Scriptures is quite limited. Accordingly, one can only identify a type when the New
Testament specifically does so. This is an extreme position. If one followed a similar line of reasoning, he might assert that there are no
prophecies in the Old Testament save those which are specifically quoted in the New Testament.

Still another extreme is the notion that virtually every little detail of the Old Testament system was typical of some New Testament
circumstance. Thus, even the cords and pegs of the tabernacle were seen by some commentators as representing significant antitype
New Testament truths. The truth is to be found between these extremes.

There are several interpretative principles that one should keep in mind as he begins a study of this subject.

Historical Nature of Types

It must be recognized that types are grounded in real history; the people, places, events, etc. were deliberately chosen by God to prepare
for the coming of the Christian system. An old writer has wonderfully described it:

“God in the types of the last dispensation was teaching His children their letters. In this dispensation He is teaching them to put the
letters together, and they find that the letters, arrange them as they will, spell Christ, and nothing but Christ.”

Types: Designed by God

It must be clear (on the basis of reasonable evidence) that the type was designed by God to preview its fulfillment in the New Testament.

Types Point to a Greater Truth

There is a graduation from type to antitype; of the lesser to the greater; from the material to the spiritual; the earthly to the heavenly.

Elements of Types Convey Essential Truths, Not Incidental

One must distinguish what is essential in the type and what is merely incidental. A failure to do this can lead to some serious errors.
Broomall notes, for example, that:

“Jonah’s expulsion from the great fish typifies Christ’s resurrection (Matt. 12:40); but Jonah’s restoration to the land does not necessarily
typify Israel’s restoration to Palestine” (534).

We are now ready to consider several different categories of Old Testament types.

Typical Persons

A number of Old Testament people, due to some character or relation which they sustain in redemptive history, serve as types.
1.        Adam is a type of Christ in that as the former introduced sin into the world, even so, through the latter a system of righteousness
was made available for mankind (Romans 5:19).

2.        Melchizedek, who was both king of Salem and a priest of God—at the same time (Genesis 14:18-20)—was a type of Christ.
Jesus, at his ascension, began to reign on David’s throne and to simultaneously function as our high priest (cf. Psalm 110:4; Zechariah
6:12, 13; Hebrews 5:5-10; 6:20; 7:1-17). This point, incidentally, is disastrous for millennialism. If Christ is not yet king (as
premillennialism asserts), then he is not yet a priest and we are yet in our sins!

3.        Moses, in his noble role of prophet, leader, and mediator for Jehovah’s people, was typical of the Lord Jesus who functions in a
similar, though more exalted, capacity (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22; 1 Corinthians 10:2; Galatians 3:27; 3:19; 1 Timothy 2:5).

Typical Places

Several prominent places emphasized in the Old Testament appear to have a typical significance.

Egypt represents a state of bondage such as holds the sinner prior to his conversion (Galatians 4:2; Romans 6:17; 1 Corinthians 10:lff).
Jerusalem or Zion typifies the church and finally heaven (cf. Galatians 4:25, 26; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2).

Babylon, which held God’s people captive in the Old Testament, pictures the condition of an apostate church that has departed from the
simplicity of the New Testament pattern (Revelation 11:8; 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2ff).

Typical Things

Certain Old Testament objects preview New Testament truths. For example, Jacob’s ladder, with the angels ascending and descending
upon it (Genesis 28:12), apparently pictured Christ (cf. John 1:51), who provides both communication from the Father (John 1:18;
Hebrews 1:1-2) and access to heaven (John 14:6).

The brazen serpent, lifted up in the wilderness, through which the people found physical healing (Numbers 21:8) was a type of the lifted-
up Christ (John 3:14; 12:32), through whom spiritual healing comes (Isaiah 53:5).

As indicated earlier, the tabernacle and many of its features were typical of the present time (cf. Hebrews 9:8-9). As the tabernacle was
designed to be a “house of God,” and since he is “Lord of heaven and earth” (Acts 17:24), it was proper that the tabernacle be
composed of two compartments—one representing God’s heavenly dwelling place and the other his earthly dwelling place.

Accordingly, the most holy place of the tabernacle represented heaven (Hebrews 6:19, 20; 9:8, 24), while the holy place was a type of the
church (Acts 15:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Timothy 3:15).

Typical Events

Several Old Testament events seem to represent things to come. The creation of light on the first day of Earth’s history (Genesis 1:3)
suggests the coming brilliant illumination of the gospel of Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:6).

The flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-8) typified the sudden destruction of the world yet to come at the end (Matthew 24:37-39).

The miraculous water from the rock in the wilderness (Exodus 17:6) was a preview of the life-sustaining water provided by our Lord
(John 4:14; 1 Corinthians 10:4).

The manna from heaven in the wilderness (Exodus 16:14-16) was a type of that spiritual bread who came down from heaven to nourish
humanity (John 6:32).

The deliverance of Noah’s family from a corrupted world, by means of “water,” prefigured our salvation, through baptism, from the power
of darkness into the kingdom of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 3:20-21; Colossians 1:13).

Typical Offices

There were three offices in the Old Testament characterized by an anointing. Prophets (1 Kings 19:16), priests (Exodus 28:41), and
kings (1 Samuel 10:1) were anointed in anticipation of the coming of the anointed one (cf. Daniel 9:25, 26) who is prophet (Acts 3:22),
priest (Hebrews 3:1), and king (Revelation 17:14).

We too, as Christians, have an anointing from God (2 Corinthians 1:21) and we function as prophets (not miraculously, but simply as
“forth speakers” of the word of God—cf. 1 Corinthians 11:4, 5), priests, and kings (cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6).

The anointings of the Old Testament thus prefigured both the work of Christ and our service to him.

Typical Actions

Certain ceremonial actions of the Old Testament system typified the atoning work of the Messiah.

For instance, on the annual Jewish day of atonement, amidst numerous other rituals, the high priest presented two goats before the
door of the tabernacle. After the casting of lots upon these animals, one was sacrificed as a “sin-offering” and the other was “set alive
before Jehovah” (Leviticus 16:9, 10).

The blood of the slain goat was taken into the most holy place where it was sprinkled upon the mercy seat. This, of course, was typical
of the sacrificial death of Christ (Hebrews 9:11, 12).

The high priest then took the living goat, laid hands upon him and confessed over him all the iniquities of the people. Subsequently, by
an appointed servant, the animal was led away into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:21, 22).

The two goats were, so to speak, two sides of the same coin. Both constituted the solitary offering of Christ. The one signified his death
and the atoning effect of his blood, the other his resurrection (cf. Romans 4:25) and the complete removal of our sins (cf. Isaiah 53:4, 6;
John 1:29).

Note also the similar ceremony in connection with the cleansing of the leper (Leviticus 14:4-7). Two birds were selected; one was killed,
and the other was dipped in its blood and let loose alive.

Typical Institutions

Many institutions of the Old Testament era were prophetic shadows of good things to come. The Passover, for instance, with its
spotless lamb (Exodus 12:5) which was slain “between the two evenings” (12:6 ASVfn), i.e., between three and five P.M., without any
bones being broken (12:46). It was a type of the death of Jesus (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7), who was without spot or blemish (1 Peter 1:19),
who died at about three P.M. (Matthew 27:46), and who had none of his bones broken (John 19:33ff).

The feast of the first-fruits (Leviticus 23:10), i.e., Pentecost, was a celebration in which the initial produce of the harvest was offered to
God as a token of the full crop to follow. This ritual typified: (1) the early influx of the Jews into the church of Christ (Romans 11:16); and,
(2) the resurrection of the Lord Jesus as God’s pledge of the general resurrection to ultimately come (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).

The feast of the tabernacles was instituted to commemorate Israel’s sojourn in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:43). But it was also
designed to remind us that we are but sojourners on this earth (1 Peter 2:11), and that someday we will lay aside this earthly tabernacle
(2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Peter 1:13, 14) for a more permanent abiding place (cf. Hebrews 11:9-13).

There are numerous other Old Testament types which cannot be discussed in the scope of this brief study. Surely, though, the reader
can see from this limited survey what a thrilling area of biblical investigation this can be.

Yes, it must be approached with judicious caution, but abuses should not deter the careful student from exploring such rich material.
God intended for us to learn valuable lessons from Bible typology.

Note Paul’s statement after discussing the experiences of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai: “Now these things were our examples tupoi,
to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (1 Corinthians 10:6; cf. 10:11).

May we truly attempt to learn the lessons of those pictures—those “visual aids”—which Jehovah incorporated into the text of his divine


•        Broomall, Wick. 1960. Baker Dictionary of Theology. Everett F. Harrison, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Carl F. H. Henry, eds. Grand
Rapids, MI: Baker.
•        Bullinger, E. W. 1968. Figures of Speech Used in the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
•        Terry, M. S. 1890. Biblical Hermeneutics. New York, NY: Eaton & Mains.

Scripture References

Romans 5:14; Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5, 10:1; Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 9:24; 1 Peter 3:21; Matthew 12:
40; Romans 5:19; Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:4; Zechariah 6:12, 13; Hebrews 5:5-10, 6:20, 7:1-17; Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22; 1
Corinthians 10:2; Galatians 3:27, 19; 1 Timothy 2:5; Galatians 4:2; Romans 6:17; 1 Corinthians 10; Galatians 4:25, 26; Hebrews 12:22;
Revelation 21:2; Revelation 11:8, 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2; Genesis 28:12; John 1:51; John 1:18; Hebrews 1:1-2; John 14:6; Numbers 21:
8; John 3:14, 12:32; Isaiah 53:5; Hebrews 9:8-9; Acts 17:24; Hebrews 6:19, 20, 9:8, 24; Acts 15:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Timothy 3:
15; Genesis 1:3; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Genesis 6-8; Matthew 24:37-39; Exodus 17:6; John 4:14; 1 Corinthians 10:4; Exodus 16:14-16; John
6:32; 1 Peter 3:20-21; Colossians 1:13; 1 Kings 19:16; Exodus 28:41; 1 Samuel 10:1; Daniel 9:25, 26; Hebrews 3:1; Revelation 17:14; 2
Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 11:4, 5; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Leviticus 16:9, 10; Hebrews 9:11, 12; Leviticus 16:21, 22; Romans 4:
25; Isaiah 53:4, 6; John 1:29; Leviticus 14:4-7; Exodus 12:5; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Matthew 27:46; John 19:33; Leviticus 23:10;
Romans 11:16; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23; Leviticus 23:43; 1 Peter 2:11; 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Peter 1:13, 14; Hebrews 11:9-13; 1
Corinthians 10:6

Cite this article

Jackson, Wayne. "A Study of Biblical Typology." Access date: January 18, 2016. https://www.

The Inability of the Sacrifices of the Old Law

The sacrifices of the Law were made year after year. This indicates that they were inadequate to cleanse the worshippers from their sin.
The repetition indicates that the sins were remembered again year after year. Thus, those sacrifices of bulls and goats were unable to
take away sin. This was prophecied by the Psalms.

(Psalms 40:6-8) Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou
not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is
within my heart. (KJV)

At various times under the Law, God had expressed displeasure with the sacrifices of the people. They were offering sacrifices and
offerings upon the altar without obedience in their lives. That was unacceptable. As Samuel told Saul:

And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him
up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed
be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the
sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the
people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And
Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed
thee king over Israel? And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight
against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and
didst evil in the sight of the LORD? And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way
which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people
took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy
God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the
LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and
stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being
king.  And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I
feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship
the LORD. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath
rejected thee from being king over Israel. And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it
rent. And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of
thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. Then
he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me,
that I may worship the LORD thy God. So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD. (1 Samuel 15:12-31 KJV)

In Jesus, perfect obedience to the Law was found. He was the perfect sacrifice, for He fulfilled the Law.

The Establishment of the Second Covenant

The first covenant was put aside because it was inadequate because of the people. The new covenant was established through the
perfect obedience of Jesus, and the perfect sacrifice which He became. His sacrifice, a one time sacrifice in contrast to the multiple
sacrifices and offerings offered through the Law, was able to purge the conscience from sin and remove the sins of the people. He then,
after His resurrection, ascended to heaven, to sit upon the right hand of God (Acts 2:22-36). He, thus awaits till his enemies be made his
footstool (Psalm 110:1). This will happen at the resurrection on the last day.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came
also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order:
Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the
kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath
put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when
he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall
be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1
Corinthians 15:20-28 KJV)

The perfection of the one sacrifice of Christ is contrasted with the multiple sacrifices and offerings of the Law. Which is more effective?
Which will save us? Then why go back to the blood of bulls and goats, and turn your back on the blood of Christ?