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Christ’s Sufferings In Type: Christology, S. Lewis Johnson

April 29, 2013 2 comments

S. Lewis Johnson’s Systematic Theology series, Christology section, again brings great lessons regarding biblical typology, with “Christ: His Sufferings in Type” (this audio message; transcript here).

As noted from previous S. Lewis Johnson typology lessons (also reference these posts, typology in reference to Joseph and David), a type is not some special technical term reserved only for the “types” explicitly called types in the New Testament.  Rather, a type is just another word for “illustration” or “example,” one that has specific characteristics, including historicity and pattern, with spiritual correspondences between people, things (or institutions), or events within historical revelation – that is, within the Bible.  Typology is a form of prophecy: prophecy conveyed through history.  A type prefigures. A prophecy foretells.  The word type is not a technical term.  that Greek word is a word that does not have any special significance.  It means simply, example. 

Yet the idea of a special classification of only explicitly-named types is not unique to our day (reference this post), for S. Lewis Johnson responded to such a notion in this, the early 1970s Systematic Theology lesson, noting the following:

1)     The New Testament never says that Joseph is a type of Christ.  But there is not a clearer OT example of Jesus Christ than Joseph.  The NT does explicitly call Adam a type of Christ, in Romans 5.   Yet Adam is a type in only one particular point (a representative man), and is actually more to be contrasted with Christ in every other aspect.

2)    Jesus describes Himself as the reality of several Old Testament types, none of which are explicitly called types in the New Testament: as for instance the Temple, Jacob’s ladder, the manna in the wilderness, the brazen serpent, the smitten rock, the pillar of fire.

Also from this lesson: why is typology valid? God controls all of history, and so we observe that Old Testament events were designed by God to express aspects of the ministry of our Lord Jesus.

Now to some actual types of Christ’s sufferings:

In Typical Persons:

  1. Joseph: a man of dreams, dungeons and diadems.  Parallels to Christ in His suffering:
  • the object of the desire and heart of his father’s love.
  • Received a commission from his father to his brethren.
  • Rejected by his brethren, into captivity.
  • lived a life of humiliation (prison)
  • exalted to be a ruler in Egypt (Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of the Father.)
  • acquired a bride in his exaltation; Jesus is acquiring a bride (the church).
  • used to bring about the restoration of his brethren.  Jesus at His second coming shall be used to bring about the restoration of Israel.

2. Moses.  New Testament reference typology: Stephen’s speech in Acts 7.  Moses was rejected by his people, same as Jesus is now rejected by His people Israel.

3. David.

  • Rejected, hunted by Saul, and persecuted. Lived in rejection, and gathered a group of troubled, depressed people to himself. Likewise Christ is now gathering a peculiar people to Himself.
  • Anointed king, then slew Goliath; then rejection. Christ at the cross slew Goliath; then was rejected.
  • David later came into his kingdom, as Christ will at His Second Coming.

In Typical Events:

  • Coats of skins in Eden, Genesis 3.
  • The Passover.  Exodus 12
  • The Smitten Rock — Exodus 17.  The rod that had turned the water of Egypt into blood.

In Typical Institutions:

  • The Tabernacle
  • The brazen altar, the mercy seat
  • The Priesthood:  ordination of the priests.
  • The Offerings: the day of atonement; the offerings in Leviticus 1-4; the offering for the cleansing of a leper