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In Old Testament Types

The resurrection of Christ as recorded in the four Gospels is a story of absorbing interest. It is also of vital consequence, because Christ's sacrificial death would have been of no avail had it not been followed by His triumphant resurrection. Our hearts, therefore, rejoice as we read Paul's assuring words:

"But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep" (1 Corinthians 15.20).

The theme of this article, however, is Christ's resurrection as seen in the types of the Old Testament. The history recorded in the Old Testament Scriptures is wonderful from the point of view that it gives not only the train of events in those early days, but also contains shadows or types of what would happen in days then in the distant future. Of the Book of Genesis it has been stated, "There is no doctrine of Christianity, however advanced, which is not found, at least in outline, there. It contains the germ of every future truth."

Let us look at some of the stories of this Book; firstly, that of the Flood in the days of Noah. He built an ark at the bidding and under the direction of God. This was for the salvation of himself and his house, together with the creatures which God directed into the ark. Man's dreadful guilt, whereby the earth became corrupt and was filled with violence, caused God to come in judgement, and for a period of many days the waters increased and prevailed until they rose above the highest mountains some fifteen cubits. This indicates the universality of the Flood. Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing with him in the ark, and made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged, with the ark resting on the mountains of Ararat in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month. What is the significance of the Holy Spirit giving us the month and the day that the ark came to rest on the resurrected earth? Surely it is to link it with- the fact that this day and month agrees with the day and month of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The seventh month of the secular year became, at the time of Israel's redemption, the first month of the sacred year:

"This month shall he unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Exodus 12.2).

Christ our Passover was slain on the fourteenth day of the month, and three days after this, the seventeenth, He arose a Victor over the powers of Hell.

The story of Abraham offering up Isaac has shadows of the resurrection. Isaac's birth was a miracle, and his father loved him dearly; yet God called him to offer in sacrifice his son, his only son, whom he loved, even Isaac. Here is shadowed the activity of the Father and the Son whom God sent to be the Saviour of the world. The hand of Abraham, however, was stayed while the knife was raised to slay, and Isaac was released from the altar, a substitute being found in the ram that was caught in the thicket by his horns. The Holy Spirit's comment on this in Hebrews 11.19 is relevant: "Accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence he did also in a parable receive him back." Another translation of this verse is, "Hence he did get him back, by what was a parable of the resurrection."

Before passing from Genesis we may refer briefly to the account of Joseph. His life was commendable before God, and points to the greater than Joseph, the Lord Jesus Christ. Though Joseph had pleased God in his service, yet through the sin of his brothers on the one hand, and the wickedness of Potiphar's wife on the other hand, he was thrust down into the dungeon. Like the great Antitype he was suffering for sins not his own. The butler who had heard good news from Joseph went back to the palace, only to forget his benefactor. But God did not forget. Through a dream that troubled Pharaoh, Joseph was summoned to the court, and after interpreting the dream was honoured by Pharaoh, who said, "Can we find such a one as this?... Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people he ruled: only in the throne will I he greater than thou ... And they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he set him over all the land of Egypt" (Genesis 41.3843). The seven steps of the Lord Jesus from the throne in heaven down to the cross on Golgotha, as recorded in Philippians 2, verses 7 and 8, are followed by exaltation. "Wherefore also God highly exalted Him, and gave unto Him the name which is above every name: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow ... and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." The resurrection came between the humiliation and the exaltation, as Joseph's exaltation was preceded by his ascending from the prison house.

In God's dealings with Israel, further shadows can be traced. Jacob went down to Egypt with his family. In number they were some 70 souls. There they multiplied and became a mighty nation. They were, however, in cruel bondage and servitude. God commissioned Moses and Aaron to go to Pharaoh and say, "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is My son, My firstborn: and I have said unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and thou has refused to let him go: behold, I will slay thy son, thy firstborn" (Exodus 4.22, 23). So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, "And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God" (5.3). God terms Israel His son, His firstborn, thus giving us a shadow of Christ. The three days' journey into the wilderness indicates death, burial and resurrection. Death when the lamb was slain, and the firstborn of Egypt died; burial when the people passed through the sea, and the cloud was overhead; resurrection when they emerged on the wilderness side of the sea. Here they beheld their enemies dead upon the shore, and victory in resurrection is portrayed. The defeat of the enemy was overwhelming. "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying,

I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea."

In Leviticus 14.7 we have a further type of Christ in resurrection. For the cleansing of the leper two living clean birds were brought. One was killed in an earthen vessel over running water. The blood was sprinkled on the leper, and the living bird was dipped in the blood of the bird that was killed. Then the priest let go the living bird into the open field. As it rose heavenward bearing the stains of blood it prefigured Christ who rose from the dead, and through His own blood entered in once and for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9.12). So we rejoice and say, "Unto Him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by His blood ... be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1.5,6).

"Ye shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it" (Leviticus 23.10,11). This sheaf spoke of Christ in resurrection. We should note the words, "on the morrow after the sabbath". That was the first day of the week, and was the day of the week when the Lord left the grave. "When the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him (Jesus). And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun was risen" (Mark 16.1,2). They found the stone rolled back, and they entered the tomb, thereupon a young man arrayed in a white robe said to them, "He is risen; He is not here: Behold, the place where they laid Him!" He charged them to go and "tell His disciples, and Peter, He goeth before You into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you." (verse 7). Galilee was a despised place, and it is still true that He is to be found among those whom the world despise. When they met Him there He gave commandment to go "and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28.19,20). Those loyal to the risen Lord still gather on the first day of the week (Acts 20.7) to wave Christ before God-the Christ in whom we find acceptance.

We make one more reference to resurrection in shadow as seen in Jonah the prophet. The Lord Jesus said, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign he given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet: for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea-monster; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12.39,40 R.V.M.). When Jonah went and preached to Nineveh the preaching that God had bidden him he was like a resurrected man. In the sign of Jonah the prophet, God spoke to the men of Ninevah, and they repented of their evil. They also received mercy and were saved from judgement. The three days and three nights which the Lord spent in the heart of the earth are also a sign which God expects man to accept. The promise is, "Because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10.9).

To summarize-in the Ark on Mount Ararat God is pointing to the day and month of Christ's resurrection: in Isaac we see somewhat of the love and affection which exist between the Father and the Son whom He raised from the dead: in Joseph it is the honour, power and authority which are Christ's in resurrection: at the Red Sea there is victory in resurrection, with rejoicing and praises to God through the overwhelming defeat of the enemy: in the living bird stained with the blood of the victim, and soaring upward, it is the cleansing power of the blood of Christ who in resurrection entered the holies in heaven through His own blood: in the wave sheaf it is Christ raised from the dead on the first day of the week, the Firstborn from among the dead: in Jonah we have a resurrected man with a message for sinners, prefiguring the Lord in resurrection whose message is forgiveness through faith in His name.