Canaan as a Type.

Editor. (T Oliver.)

A correspondent writes, "thanks for the little books with which you so kindly favoured me, but I do not agree with all they contain: e.g., in 'Cities of Refuge' it is stated that 'the land of Canaan in O.T. type does not represent heaven in N.T. relation, as it is often caused to do in sentimental hymnology.' Heb.3:7; 4:11 are a warning against stopping short of God's purpose, and the rest of God frequently mentioned in the passage clearly refers to Canaan as type and this rest in my opinion is definitely future and is not reached until we get to heaven! To show that I am not alone in reading the passage, I refer you to Hymn 76 in the 'Little Flock' book, vv. 9, 10. I have heard it contended that as there was fighting in Canaan it could not be a type of heaven, but the argument is spurious because the passage has Canaan in view as the type and the thought of rest forbids the idea of warfare. So shall we not continue to sing with heaven in view?"

The writer is quite entitled to his opinion! But a type has not a private or single interpretation, even as a mountain like Arthur's Seat has many aspects depending on the viewpoint, e.g., one looks like a lion recumbent, and another like an ordinary peak, yet it is the same mountain in spite of its varying aspects. So the truth has many aspects too! If our correspondent quotes Hymn 76 he must accept also the following passage from the same writer's Vol. 27:145.

"I sometimes wonder that it does not strike people what an odd thing it is that although Jordan means death and Canaan heaven (which they do) fighting should characterise the place in Joshua, for the first thing he meets there is a man with a sword drawn … Yes, heaven will be ours! I am not quarrelling with the use of the image in that way. Jordan is a type of death and Canaan of heavenly places." J.N.D.

That is our point in the passage cited. We do not object to the use of the image in a secondary way. The contention about Heb. 3 and 4 is clearly wrong, because that passage specifically teaches that Joshua did not bring them into rest, but that the rest awaits us!