by Jerry Shugart
Differences Between the "Type" and the "Antitype"
Sir Robert Anderson writes that "As with the parables, so also with the types; intelligence is needed in deducing the spiritual lessons they are meant to teach. In neither case should we force a meaning upon every detail. But the main outlines are always clear" (Anderson, Redemption Truths, [Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1980], p.61).
"Types" do not exactly fit the "antitype" in every single detail. Charles Ryrie correctly understands that the blessings of Israel's New Diatheke are not exactly the same as the blessings under today's New Diatheke:
"Nevertheless, even progressives have to admit that certain of those blessings can only be partially realized today. For instance, the promise of the new covenant 'to remove a heart of rebellion' and give us 'hearts fully compliant' is not fulfilled today in the experience of believers. The progressives' need to qualify the fulfillment as being 'not fully free' from resistance to God's will is not at all similar to the promise of the new covenant (to remove rebellion)" (Ryrie, Dispensationalism [Moody Press, 1995], pp. 170-171).
This explains why Ryrie says that the blesssings under Israel's New Diatheke are only "similar to those experienced by the church today" and not the exact same things: "Two of the blessings of the new covenant for Israel in the future are similar to those experienced by the church today..." (Ibid.,p.173).
We can therefore conclude that the blessings promised under Israel's New Covenant more closely resemble a "type" of today's New Diatheke than they resemble the "same" exact blessings of today's New Diatheke.
K.J. Woolcombe defined typology in the following way: "Typology, considered as a method of exegesis, may be defined as the establishment of historical connexions between certain events, persons, or things in the Old Testament and similar events, persons, or things in the New Testament" (Woolcombe, "The Biblical Origins and Patristic Development of Typology," in Essays on Typology, vol.22, Studies in Biblical Theology, ed. Geoffrey W. H. Lampe and Kenneth Woolcombe [Naperville, IL: A. R. Allenson,1957], p.39-40).
Now let us look at some of the historical connexions between things in the Old Testament and similar things in the New Testament:
Type: Promises Received Through the Operation of a Diatheke (A Promissory Disposition)
The "nation" of Israel will receive all of her promised blessings through the operation of a Diatheke: "For this is the covenant (diatheke) that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people" (Heb.8:10).
Antitype: Promises Received Through the Operation of a Diatheke (Last Will and Testament)
Under the New Testament the believer is told that God has promised him eternal life: "And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life" (1 Jn.2:25).
We also know that this eternal life is "in Christ Jesus": "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim.1:1).
How does the believer receive the promise of eternal life which is in Christ?: "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel" (Eph.3:6).
The author of Hebrews points out another typological connection, that neither a "testament" nor a "promissory disposition" can be made operational apart from a "death": "For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood" (Heb.9:17-18; NKJV).
We can see a typological relationship between the New Diatheke promised to Israel and the new Diatheke which is in regard to the Body of Christ. This typological relationship includes the fact that the diatheke promised to Israel is established on the grace and promises of God and therefore it is immutable. That can also be said about the Church's New Diatheke.
The blessings of Israel's New Diatheke, including the future forgiveness of sins and the spiritual regeneration of the nation of Israel, picture the forgiveness of sins and spiritual regeneration experienced by the individual believer today. In both cases the New Diatheke resulted from God's own instigation and in both cases God chose to bind Himself to fulfill what was promised in each diatheke.
The typological relationship examined in this study reveals that there can be no doubt that there is a definite resemblance between Israel's New Diatheke and the New Diatheke that is in force today.
The design of these types is exactly the same design of the various types which are in regard to Israel's journey from Egypt to the promised land. Even though the types are not exact in every single detail, the broad outline is so clear that one cannot fail to see a typological relationship between Israel's New Diatheke and the New Diatheke that is operation in the Body of Christ.
The typology of Israel's New Diatheke answers to today's New Diatheke, as Sir Robert Anderson would say, "As exactly as a key fits the lock it is intended to open."