The Nation of Israel as Type

by Jerry Shugart

I. Introduction

A "type" is merely a sketch or illustration of the antitype. The word "type" comes from the Greek word tupos:

"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure (tupos) of him that was to come" (Romans 5:14).

Here Paul says that Adam was a "type" of the Lord Jesus. A "type" is a sketch or illustration that paints a picture of the antitype:

"Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern (tupos) shewed to thee in the mount" (Heb.8:5).

The Lord showed Moses a "sketch" or "illustration" that depicted the antitype, the heavenly tabernacle. In this verse the earthly tabernacle is described as "the example and shadow" of the heavenly tabernacle. The Greek word translated "example" means a "representation", and that is what an illustration or sketch is. The Geek word translated "shadow" means "an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object...a sketch".

Ada R. Habershon writes that "It is very important to understand what is meant by a type. In I Cor. x. we are told concerning the various wilderness experiences of the children of Israel, that 'all these things happened unto them for types' ; and Paul explains that the record of these events is given to us in the Bible for a special purpose, viz., to teach us certain lessons. This passage seems to cover all that befell God's redeemed people in their journey from the place of bondage to the land of promise ; and we may also conclude from it that other portions of their history are given to us for a similar purpose" [emphasis added] (Habershon, Study of the Types [Kregel Publications, 1993], p. 11).

There are many divinely designed "types" where blessings bestowed on the "nation" of Israel illustrate the blessings that the "individual" believer receives under today's New Covenant.

II. From Egypt to the Promised Land

David R. Reid writes,"Imagine that God has painted the entire 40 year journey from Egypt to the Promised Land as a huge mural, which we may examine to learn valuable truth and lessons for our lives today. We find the written material for this mural in the biblical books of Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua" (Reid, Crossing the Jordan, Growing Christians Ministry).

Redemption

Reid continues, saying that "In the first panel of the mural we see Egypt, a pagan polytheistic civilization, and we see the Israelites as slaves, under the domination of cruel taskmasters (Exodus 1:8-14). The Bible often uses Egypt as a picture of the world that has rejected God, so bondage and slavery in Egypt presents a vivid spiritual picture of our helpless bondage in sin before Christ. But the next scene in the mural shows us the Passover (Exodus 12), which pictures the means by which God rescued us from our slavery to sin! Just as the Israelites were delivered from Egypt after the blood of the Passover lamb was applied to their homes, so we have been redeemed, 'not by silver and gold, but by the precious blood of the Lamb' (1 Peter 1:18-19). 'Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us' (1 Corinthians 5:7), and when the blood of our Passover Lamb is applied to our lives, we are redeemed from slavery of sin" (Ibid.).

Sanctification

The Greek word hagiazo is translated "sanctify" and it means "to render or acknowledge to be venerable, to hallow, to separate from things profane and dedicate to God, to consecrate; to purify" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).

The next step that we see in regard to the nation of Israel is the "sanctifying" power of the blood. After delivering the children of Israel from Egypt, the Lord brings them to Mount Sinai. There He warns them not to come near to Him. They must not even touch the base of the mountain: "Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it. Whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death" (Ex.19:12).