7. Typical Study

God's world is a picture-book. The things which are seen are doubtless shadows of unseen truth. He speaks to us, and would seek to attract our attention in the beauties of nature about us and above us to Him of whom they speak, and above all, to Him who has created them and made reconciliation for all things in heaven and earth, purging even the heavenly places by His own blood.

When we come to the Old Testament, especially the Pentateuch, as we have already seen, we find a multitude of typical persons, places, times and acts. Genesis deals largely, though not exclusively, with typical persons.

Adam is "a figure of Him that was to come"; Abel, of Christ in His rejection; Cain, of Israel according to the flesh; Seth, of Christ in resurrection; Noah, of Christ as head over the millennial earth; Abraham, beside his individual history, reminds us in certain details of the Fatherhood of God; Isaac, of the Son; and Jacob of one under the special leading of the Holy Spirit; and Joseph, of whom we have already spoken, is perhaps the fullest type of the Beloved of the Father.

Genesis, however, is not confined to the narrative of typical persons. The coats of skin which covered our first parents speak of the covering secured for us through the death of Christ; Abel's sacrifice,of a better; Cain's, of the worthlessness of all efforts to approach God in any other way than by the sacrifice of Christ. In Noah's ark, we have a shelter from coming judgment — type, not only of salvation in general, but particularly of Israel's salvation and introduction into the millennial earth. The birth of Isaac is a re-echo of the promise of the woman's Seed (the first of all gospel promises) while his being delivered up for death needs no word to remind us of the offering up of God's beloved Son and His literal resurrection to be the Bridegroom of one brought out from a distance to be His bride. This must suffice as to Genesis.

In Exodus, a veritable garden of types bursts upon our view. Indeed, there is such an abundance of riches here, that we are embarrassed to make a selection. The passover lamb, the passage of the Red Sea, the manna, the smitten rock, the tabernacle — with its types upon types, would require a separate book for their proper unfolding. *

{*A few books on this delightful topic might be mentioned here. Further lists will be found elsewhere. "Notes on the Book of Exodus" by C. H. Mackintosh; "Typical Teachings of Exodus" by E. Dennett; "The Tabernacle and Priesthood" by S. Ridout.}

Leviticus, as mentioned already, dwells upon sacrifice in its varied aspects and upon the priesthood. The entire book is typical. So also is Numbers, where in the camp of Israel,the number and arrangement of the various tribes, their officers and their journeyings through the wilderness, we can say in the language of Scripture, "Now these things happened unto them for ensamples (types); and they are written for our admonition."

Deuteronomy is not merely a recapitulation, but deals largely in prophetic admonitions and glimpses into the future. There are still, however, a goodly number of typical portions; for instance, the "basket of first-fruits" (Deut. 26).

Joshua, the first of the historical books, is typical throughout. So, too, is Judges, and the charming Ruth which follows it. How meaningless would these narratives be, particularly the latter half of the book of Joshua, which opens up Israel's inheritance in the land, if the very names were not a picture of something richer and better!

The narratives of Samuel and Kings also abound in types, as indeed do all the historical books. Necessarily, the poetical and prophetic books have less of this character about them, being themselves unfoldings of principles which grow out of what has been presented in the earlier books.

Passing to the New Testament, we find our Lord speaking in parables, and, we might add, acting them also. Doubtless every miracle is a picture of the grace which reaches the sinner, and how many gospel sermons have been preached from these types! Even the narratives of our Lord's life abound in typical significance. We read His rejection as He goes to the Gentile towns of Caesarea-Philippi, and His exaltation to glory is seen in the Mount of Transfiguration, while coming down from the mount, He meets Israel possessed of a demon and casts it out.

The book of Acts furnishes, too, we cannot doubt, many types and illustrations of grace. We mention but the healing of the impotent man at the Beautiful Gate, so near to all the grandeur of the legal ritual which yet had never given him power to do aught but beg. Set free by grace, he enters into those splendors and exults in his new-found liberty which doubtless gives a new light to all the splendors of the temple.

Peter's imprisonment and Paul's shipwreck no doubt have a typical meaning as well. This rapid survey of the field, with part of its riches, will, we trust, awaken a hunger to search deeply for "things new and old" in the precious storehouse of divine truth.

We add but a word of caution. Some minds seem peculiarly fond of this line of truth. They are inclined to take up fanciful resemblances. Let it be definitely understood that types are as exact in their meaning as any other line of divine truth,and their right understanding requires a broad and deep knowledge of the great fundamental truths, and indeed of the letter, of the word of God. We shrink from young Christians forcing their way into fields of typical study without having previously made a study of the New Testament, and particularly of the doctrines of the Epistles and of the life of our Lord.