Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Historical Prophetic Types

Not only is the Bible resplendent with prophetic verses, it is also full of prophetic types. Prophecy in type is symbolic prophecy. Think of it as prophecy that has come alive, embodied in the life of a person, ceremony or thing.

Some historical events are prophetic types. A dramatic example is the Passover experience (Exodus 12). To prevent the death of the first born of both man and beast in each family on the day that the Lord passed over Egypt, each Jewish family had to slay a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses. This was a prophetic symbol that the salvation of all men would be made possible through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and the appropriation of His blood.

Bronze Serpent
Another historical event with prophetic significance occurred in the Wilderness when the Children of Israel were attacked by fiery serpents (Numbers 21:4-9). A bronze serpent was placed on a pole and lifted up for all to see. Those bitten by the snakes were told to look upon the bronze serpent for healing.

That bronze serpent was a type of Christ. Just as the Israelites bitten by the fiery serpents died, so men bitten by Satan's serpent of sin must suffer spiritual death. And just as the bronze serpent was lifted up for their salvation, in like manner, Jesus was lifted up on a pole to save men from their sins (John 3;14).

Bronze and serpents are both Biblical symbols of sin. Jesus is typified as a brazen serpent on a pole because He took the sins of Mankind upon Himself while He was on the Cross.

Finally, those bitten by the snakes only had to look in faith at the bronze serpent in order to be healed. And in like manner, sinners need only look to Jesus in faith in order to be saved.

Early History of Israel
The early history of the Jewish nation is the story of Jesus in prophetic type. The Children of Israel were born in Canaan, descended into Egypt, emerged through the Red Sea (the baptism of Moses), endured testing in the Wilderness, and then entered the Promised Land. Likewise, Jesus was born in Canaan, descended into Egypt, emerged publicly at His baptism, and led the way to Heaven.

Excerpt from The Christ in Prophecy Study Guide by Dr. David R. Reagan, pages 9-10.

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