Vol. 3, No. 11
The Old Testament contains types of New Testament anti-types. A type is a "representative form" or "characteristic" of something else. There are striking similarities between the liberation of Israel from Egyptian captivity and the freedom enjoyed in Christ from the slavery of sin. Judaism was never intended by God to be his final revelation to man, but it contains figures, types, patterns, shadows and examples of New Testament counterparts (1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 10:1).
Old Testament types perfectly fit the New Testament church and its doctrine. Therefore, one can learn valuable principles relating to the Lord's church and its teaching by examining Old Testament types. Types confirm that the church of the first century is the fulfillment of the long standing will of God (Ephesians 3:10-11).
The background to the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery begins when Joseph invited his father and brothers to resort from famine to the land of Goshen in Egypt (Genesis 46:27, [70 souls]; 47:1-12). Later, a different line of kings ruled Egypt, during which time the Israelites were enslaved. Moses was born during this period of oppression. Eighty years later, while a shepherd in the wilderness of Sinai, to which area he fled from Egypt 40 years earlier, Moses was commissioned by God to liberate Israel (Exodus 4).
By the mighty hand of God, Egypt was punished and Moses was enabled to lead Israel across the Red Sea to freedom. These points especially need emphasis: (1) All the power at the command of Pharaoh was ineffective in his argument with God, (2) Pharaoh's attempts to bargain with God were useless, and (3) Israel was not free from bondage on the near side of the Red Sea, but only after crossing the Red Sea like God through Moses commanded.
For the next 40 years, Israel wandered, marching toward the promised land of Canaan. God refused Israelites entry into Canaan when they attempted to do so outside a covenant relationship with him (Numbers 14:40-45). Finally, as every young Bible class student knows, Israel crossed the Jordan River and entered Canaan.
The anti-type of deliverance from Egyptian bondage is salvation from the slavery of sin. Every accountable soul is initially in the bondage of sin from which he cannot liberate himself without Divine help (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). The Heavenly Father sent Jesus Christ to deliver men from sin (Romans 5:8-10; 1 John 4:9-10).
Even the mightiest of men cannot obtain redemption from sin or receive the promise of heaven outside a covenant relationship with God. Further, God still refuses to bargain with his creation -- man. Jesus Christ alone is the door through which one must pass from the state of being lost to redemption (John 10:1, 9; Colossians 1:13).
Just as the Red Sea served as the line of demarcation between Egyptian slavery and freedom for the Israelites, immersion in water (baptism) for the remission of sins is the line of demarcation today between the lost world and the saved (the church) (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:20-21). The Israelites rejoiced after crossing the Red Sea; the time for rejoicing today is after baptism (Acts 8:36-39).
Our Canaan toward which faithful Christians march is heaven with God. Tens of thousands of Israelites perished before Israel entered Canaan; by Divine inspiration the apostle Paul referred to the same (1 Corinthians 10:1-11), citing it as an example, capped with this warning: "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Jesus, our Savior, will not compromise; he will refuse every alternative plan offered to him by man. No one can cross into heaven who is outside a covenant relationship with God.
Thousands of years ago, the God of heaven made three promises to a man best known as Abraham. Later, God repeated these promises to Abraham's son, Isaac; much later, God again repeated these promises to Abraham's grandson, Jacob. Two of these promises affect every living person today in a small way. However, one of those promises directly affects the salvation of everyone who ever lived, who lives now and those who will be born in the future.
God told Abraham: "And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered" (Genesis 13:16). This promise to multiply the descendants of Abraham was repeated to him in Genesis 22:17 and told to Isaac in Genesis 26:4 and Jacob in Genesis 28:14.
References to numbering Abraham's descendants (commonly called the Jews) in Scripture and observation of millions now living prove that God caused this promise to come true. This is important to us because God also caused Jesus Christ our Savior to be born as one of Abraham's descendants.
Second, God promised Abraham that he would receive a large portion of land, stretching from the Euphrates River to the River of Egypt in the desert. "In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" (Genesis 15:18).
Other verses in Genesis repeat this promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God caused this promise to be completed while the Jewish king, Solomon, reigned. "And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life" (1 Kings 4:21).
Years before, the Jewish leader Joshua said generally that God had fulfilled this promise. ". . . ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof" (Joshua 23:14). The land promise is important to us because it sustained the Jews while God made them responsible for keeping the Word of God through the ages. Also, the land sustained the Jews until after the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The third promise affects our salvation. God told Abraham "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Genesis 22:18). This promise was repeated to Isaac (Genesis 26:4) and Jacob (Genesis 28:14). Through Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham, all people have been blessed with the saving Gospel.
"And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham" (Galatians 3:8-9).
When God gave the promises to Abraham, God planned to fulfill the promise of blessing through Jesus Christ. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Galatians 3:16). This he did thousands of years after the promise was made. Only the God of heaven could make a promise thousands of years before it was fulfilled. Only God can save the souls of men.
Although God has provided the spiritual blessing of salvation to all souls through Christ, only the souls who obey God will actually receive the forgiveness of sins. Jesus said: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).
Dear Friend, God's spiritual promise of blessing becomes void toward us if we do not obey the Word of God. The God of heaven has done his part to fulfill that promise and each of us must now do his part. Contact us for assistance in recognizing and obeying God's plan for our redemption.