The Spirit of God’s use of types and shadows as pictures prefiguring future events is quite extensive in Scripture. By them the believer receives instruction concerning greater truths and realities that are the fulfillment of the types. The fulfillment is always the substance of greater value. The type is always the shadow cast by the true substance and always prefigures the substance.

The teaching by the Spirit through God’s use of types and shadows in His Word is for the believer/church. It is not for Israel. They do not have the Spirit of God, therefore cannot know the things of God (I Cor. 2:11). Not only do they not have the Spirit of truth, but they cannot receive Him, being very much part of the world.

The Believer’s privileged position

John 14:17 

“…the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

The believer has the Spirit of truth in him. This is a significant difference between the believer/church and Israel. The believer has been placed in an entirely new position from that of the first Adam. We are the new creation of God in Christ. And in this position as sons of God we have been given certain privileges.   One important benefit of this new position is that we are no longer called servants but friends, so that we may fully know all that the master is doing (John 15:15). This particular privilege is about the imparting of spiritual knowledge concerning the plan and counsels of God. It is only for the believer because we have been given and sealed with the Spirit of truth.

It is the Spirit who searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (I Cor. 2:10) – and so God has revealed these things to us through His Spirit. By the Spirit we might know all the things that have been freely given to us by God. We have the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:12, 16). Now this privilege is characterized for us in the Old Testament type of Abraham. He was a friend of God. And as a friend it was revealed to him what God was about to do in His judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18:17). In this character Abraham becomes a type and shadow of the privileged position of the believer as the friend of God. The believer can know the things of God, the plan of God, even those things that God will do that do not directly concern us, as it was with Abraham.

Types and Shadows as teaching examples

1 Corinthians 10:1-11

(1) “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, (2) all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, (3) all ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (5) But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.”

(6) “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. (7) And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” (8) Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; (9) nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; (10) nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. (11) Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

All of the events from the Old Testament and Israel are instructional examples for the believer. However, many of these events and things are types and shadows. All types and shadows are instructional examples, but all examples are not types and shadows. For example in the passage above, there are instructional examples that teach directly and literally.

1.      The believer should not lust after evil things (v.6)

2.      The believer should not become an idolater. Israel immediately made a golden calf when waiting on God and Moses at the foot of Mt. Sinai (v. 7)

3.      The believer should not commit sexual immorality. Israel’s judgment from God in this incidence was 23,000 dying in one day (v.8)

4.      The believer should not tempt Christ. By this many in Israel died by serpent bites (v.9)

5.      The believer should not murmur and complain against God. Many Israelites died at the hand of the destroyer (v.10)

All these things happened with Israel when they were in the wilderness and they are examples that teach the believer direct truths and godly morals. It remains however in a general sense, that Israel in the wilderness is a type of our present walk as believers on this earth and in this world. Also it is true that Israel, viewed corporately as a people in the wilderness, is a type of professing Christianity in the world.

Israel as a corporate People or Nation

If we trace the use of this type – Israel as a people and nation – it becomes instructional concerning redemptive realities today. In the first five verses of the above passage Israel is viewed corporately as a people.

1.)    All the fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea (v. 1)

2.)    All were baptized into Moses, in the cloud/sea (v. 2)

3.)    All ate the same spiritual food (v. 3). The manna that Israel ate is a type of Christ, the true bread of life given by God from above (John 6:32-35, 41, 48-51, 58)

4.)    All drank the same spiritual drink (v. 4). The Rock is also a type of Christ and the water from it a type of eternal life (John 4:13-14)

The point of emphasis is Israel being viewed as a people, as a corporate entity. But God was not pleased with this people. As a nation Israel was a mixture of faith and unbelief. This mixture leads directly to their experiences in the wilderness, the judgment of certain ones, and many bodies being scattered there (v.5).

Hebrews 3:16-19

(16) For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? (17) Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? (18) And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? (19) So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

In this passage Israel is viewed as a people when it says, “…was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?” The whole nation came out. But all of them didn’t go into the land. Jehovah was angry with many of them for the span of forty years. He swore that many of them would not enter into the land. Many corpses fell in judgment in the wilderness.

The mixture of Professing Christianity

Christianity on the earth and in this world (the wilderness) has always been a mixture of wheat and tares in a crop planted in the field of this world. The wheat was sown by the Son of Man, the tares by the wicked one. They exist together, mixed together, until the harvest time in the end (Matt. 13:24-30, 37-43). What is clear is that just like with Israel, there is a mixture of faith and unbelief in professing Christianity.

If we trace the experiences of Israel, from their slavery as a nation in Egypt to their entrance into the Promised Land under Joshua, we may readily see how Israel is a type prefiguring greater realities to come. To do this we will look at a list of the different types that are seen.

                                               Israel in types and shadows

·         The Passover lamb Israel ate and the blood of this lamb on the doorposts staid the hand of God’s righteous judgment of Israel, while the firstborns of Egypt suffered. Christ is the believer’s Passover lamb (I Cor. 5:7).

·         Egypt is a type of the world, Pharaoh a type of Satan, the god of this world. Israel was in slavery to the world (Egypt) and its god. Israel needed deliverance and separation from Egypt and its Pharaoh. God, in sovereign power and glory accomplishes this deliverance and salvation (Rom. 9:17). For the believer in Christ, this type is fulfilled in true redemption, a separation from this world and its god, by the power of God (Eph. 2:1-5). For Israel it is only an external redemption and deliverance. It is types and shadows, and in the flesh only.

·         Israel’s passage through the Red Sea is type of faith in the blood of Christ in redemption and salvation for the believer. Moses stretched out his hands and said, “Behold the salvation of the Lord.” Passing on dry ground is type of the sovereign power of God in the work of salvation – we are His workmanship in Christ Jesus.

·         Both the manna they ate and the rock that gave them water are types of Christ, and how He gives eternal life (John 4:10, 14, and 6:48-51). What they ate and drank from God only sustained them for one day. It was not the substance that is Christ, but only a shadow prefiguring Him. However, this does readily point out how Judaism is a walk by sight – water coming out of a rock and food dropping from the sky. The Jews demand a sign and are led by signs. In the wilderness Israel would lift up their heads and look with their eyes to see where the cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night would lead them on their walk.

·         The law given to Israel at Mt. Sinai is Judaism. It is a walk by sight and a religion of the flesh. It is God’s one true religion given to man in Adam, for the purpose of separating Israel on the earth from all the other man-made religions and human idolatry. In this sense Judaism is God’s religion for the earth and the earthly calling. This will become abundantly clear during the coming millennium. Then Israel will be exalted as the greatest nation on the face of the earth, and become the center of the government of God.

·         In the wilderness Israel wandered for forty years as a mixed people of faith and unbelief. This is a type of the spoiled crop of wheat and tares in professing Christianity in the world. Israel wanders in the wilderness and never sets up residence in it. The believer also is on a walk on this earth and in this world, always a pilgrim traveling. Where we are headed to is the rest of God, just as Israel was headed to the land.

·         The Promised Land is a type of the rest (Sabbath) of God for the believer/church in glory. In the type, God swore that many would not enter His rest because of their unbelief (Heb. 3:17-19). They would not enter the land, but their corpses fell in the wilderness. The reality of the Promised Land is for Israel saved as a remnant in the end. Israel is the earthly calling of God. For the believer/church, we enter into the rest of God, the glory of God, where we have ceased from our works as God did from His (Heb. 4:10).

·         Israel crossing over the Jordan into the land is type of the believer/church entering into the glory of God through its rapture from the earth and this world (wilderness). Joshua leads Israel from the wilderness into the land, just as Jesus catches up the church from the earth and world to bring it to glory (John 14:3, and I Thess. 4:16-17). Joshua is a type of Christ. Upon entrance into the land, Israel is immediately circumcised (Josh. 5:6-7). This is a type that depicts sin being removed from the believer’s flesh and our bodies glorified. Israel crossing on dry ground is the display of the exceeding greatness of God’s power towards us who believe (Eph. 1:19) in the rapture of the church and entrance into His glory. This is the blessed hope of the church.

Israel’s wanderings in the Wilderness – the Believer’s walk in this World

The believer’s walk in this world is reflected in a general way in type by the fact that Israel wandered in the wilderness. The believer’s walk is in the world, but not of the world. Previous to Israel’s wilderness experience they were delivered out of slavery in Egypt under Pharaoh. Israel was part of Egypt (the world) and then they were delivered apart from Egypt (the world). This type is the previous state of the believer – part of the world, a slave to sin, and under the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2-3, John 8:34). Israel in Egypt is type of the believer’s previous state before redemption and deliverance. We all walked according to the course of this world. Yet it was the Father and the Son who chose us out of the world (John 15:19). Now in Christ, we are not part of the world as Christ is not part of the world (John 17:14).

The wilderness is also a type of the world. However Israel wandering in the wilderness is different from Israel in bondage in Egypt. In Egypt they are a type of the unbeliever before salvation, as part of the world. In the wilderness they are a type of the believer now saved and not of the world, but left behind in this world as a stranger and pilgrim (John 17:11). The believer is on a walk in the wilderness (world).

The Rapture – the Church entering into God’s Rest

Israel was always headed for the Promised Land, at least early on in their wilderness experience. The believer/church walking in this world has a destination as well – the rest and glory of God. Israel crossing the Jordan to their destination, the land, is the church being taken to their destination – into the glory of God. The promise remains of entering His rest (Heb. 4:1) and we who have believed do enter that rest (Heb. 4:3). Joshua did not give Israel rest, even though he led them into the land (Heb. 4:8).[16] There remains therefore a rest for the people of God – His rest, God’s rest, God’s glory (Heb. 4:9). The rapture of the church will take the believer into His rest.

Noah and the Jewish Remnant

There is another shadow found in the scriptures of the rapture of the church. We are all aware of Noah and his family preserved in the midst of judgment. They were protected from harm in the ark with the animals when God destroyed the world that proceeded from Adam. The sin of man filled the earth and it grieved the heart of God (Gen. 6:5-7). Noah and his family were saved through judgment.[17] As a type they do not represent the church, but rather the Jewish remnant preserved through the hour of trial that is to come upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10).

Enoch and the Rapture of the Church

Genesis 5:21-24

(21) Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. (22) After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. (23) So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. (24) And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Enoch is a type of the church. He walked with God. The true church walks on this earth as sons of God and with Him. God took Enoch before the judgment in the time of Noah. God will remove the church before the time of His coming judgment of this world. And there is more to the story of Enoch.

Jude 1:14-15

“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, (15) to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

It was revealed to Enoch about the coming judgment and God used Him to prophesy about it. But this prophecy is really about a judgment of this present world; this judgment he speaks of is yet to come. The church also has been made aware of the coming judgment of the world. We have been given the Old Testament scriptures containing the writings of the prophets as well as the book of Revelation. The church stands in this privileged position like Enoch. But as Enoch was taken before the judgment, so will we be taken. This is the believer’s earnest expectation. This is the blessed hope of the church.


                                                             Chapter 6: Endnotes


[16] Joshua led Israel into the land, but this was not rest for Israel – Hebrews 4:8. This becomes an important understanding in viewing Israel as a type and shadow of the future church. Once Israel crosses the Jordan and they are in the land, and are circumcised, all the types and shadows end as far as the church. The Promised Land is a type of the rest and glory of God for the believer/church. The end of Israel being a type prefiguring the church is this (Heb. 4:10) – “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.”  When the believer enters the rest and glory of God there will be no battles to be fought, no enemies to be driven out. We cease from our works. After the rapture of the church, its removal from the earth, and entrance into the presence of God, three spiritual truths become a physical reality for the believer.

1.       Sin from Adam is removed from the flesh for our bodies to be glorified. Much of our present struggle as a believer is against the flesh. One purpose of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us is the spiritual energy He supplies to us for this struggle – for the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh (Gal. 5:17). However in glory there is no sin and there is no temptation. We have been conformed into the image of His Son by sin removed from the flesh and our bodies glorified.

2.       The church will have physically departed the earth and world. Presently, as believers, we are on a walk in the wilderness. As we walk in this world our feet get dirty. We have a faithful High Priest who is constantly washing the feet of the believer. This world is defilement for the believer in his walk in it. But this will all change after the rapture, having been physically removed from this world.

3.       After the rapture of the church, Satan will no longer be a source of temptations, tribulations, or attacks for the body of Christ. Presently he is the god and prince of the world that the believer walks in as a stranger. By the armor of God we quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Eph. 6:12-18). Resist the devil and he will flee from the believer. He is a defeated devil presently (John 12:31, Heb. 2:14-15). It is just that the time of his final physical judgments has not come. These physical judgments will be in this manner and order:

a.)    He will be physically removed from the heavens and cast down to the earth (Rev. 12:7-12). He comes down with great wrath, knowing his time is short.

b.)    He will be chained and cast into the bottomless pit for the duration of the millennium (Rev. 20:1-3).

c.)     After his last temptation of the nations at the end of the millennium, he is cast into the lake of fire eternally (Rev. 20:10).

It remains then, that the types and shadows prefiguring the church stop when Israel enters the land under Joshua and he circumcises them. Israel in the land is a nation under the law and being tested by God for obedience. In the land Israel fails in responsibility after the battle of Jericho. Then they write a history of failure in responsibility from that point on, with occasional bright points in King David and the early years of Solomon. There is no similitude in this to the church now in the rest of God.

What the battle of Jericho and the events surrounding it prefigure is how Jehovah will display His awesome sovereign power on behalf of the Jewish remnant in the end under the oppression of the Antichrist and the Roman beast. This is a type prefiguring the saving of the nation of Israel in the end. It will be a time of the return of the glory of Jehovah in the midst of Israel for the defeat of their enemies. This glory hasn’t been in Israel since the time of Ezekiel. The sovereign power of God, the glory of Jehovah, and the Ark of the Covenant play the dominant role in the battle of Jericho. Israel does nothing but walk and shout. This prefigures how the sovereign power of God will deliver Israel in the end. Jesus, their Messiah, will either destroy or drive out their enemies from the land. But as a type it has nothing to do with the church, which is in the rest and glory of God and has ceased from its works as God has from His.

Other types that point to Israel in the end (and not to the church) are found in Israel’s first experience in the Promised Land. David is the suffering king which points to Jesus Christ having suffered for the nation (John 11:50-51). David also is the victorious king who defeated all the enemies of Israel. Jesus Christ, in His return, will do the same for the nation, only on a much grander and glorious scale. Solomon, the son of David, is a type of the true Son of David. Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah in Jerusalem, built an earthly house for Jehovah, and reigned in righteousness and peace. These types point to the reign of the Son of Man from earthly Jerusalem during the millennium, the true Son of David as Israel’s Messianic Prince, and the royal priesthood of Melchizedek (Christ) – righteousness and peace and blessing to Israel after the defeat of their enemies. But all these things are types that point to Israel in the end, not to the church. Again, Israel being a type prefiguring the church stops after Israel enters the land and is circumcised under Joshua. In this Joshua is a type of Christ who in the rapture will lead the church into God’s rest and glory (I Thess. 4:16-17).

[17] There is a Biblical principle established in God’s dealings with Israel as the earthly calling. Noah and those with him, representing the future Jewish remnant in type, are saved and preserved through judgment. In principle, Israel is always delivered through judgment. Noah has this character in his experience representing them. Israel, as a nation, was delivered out of Egypt with and through the judgments of God. In the end, the sealed Jewish remnant is the woman on the earth in Revelation 12, who flees into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God (Rev. 12:6) for three and a half years. Being sealed, she will be preserved and protected during the time of great tribulation on the earth. This time is known as Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). “But he shall be saved out of it.”

There is another type that relates to this Biblical principle in Israel, and is seen in the different positions between Abraham and Lot concerning the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot is a type of the end-time Jewish remnant that is delivered through judgment. Abraham however is type of the church, viewing the judgment of these cities from a high and distant place.

Abraham is the Old Testament character who has the greatest connection of any to the church. This is seen in the types and shadows in his character and experiences that prefigure the church.

§  Abraham’s calling is like the church/believer – it was a calling out from his present world. God said to him, “Get out of your country, from your kindred and from your father’s house…” (Gen. 12:1)   God wanted Abraham separated from the present world. The believer’s/church’s calling is heavenly (Heb. 3:1). While in this world we are not of it. By the rapture we are physically removed from it to the heavens.

§  Abraham walked in the land as a stranger and pilgrim (Heb. 11:13). It was a walk by faith – “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country…for he waited for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” In this, Abraham’s faith was the substance of the things he hoped for, the evidence of the things he did not see (Heb. 11:1). In all this, the believer is practically the same.

§  The other character of Abraham’s faith was that he believed in the God who raises the dead (Rom. 4:17, Heb. 11:19). The believer is similar to the father of the faithful:

Romans 4:23-25

Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be                             imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.

We believe in the God who raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 10:9). But more than this, the believer knows that at the rapture God will resurrect the church by His exceedingly great power that was prefigured in raising Christ from the dead.

§  Abraham was a friend of God. The believer is not a servant but a friend of God. We are privileged to know the things God will do just as Abraham.

§  Abraham watched the judgment of Sodom from a remote and high place. After the rapture, the church will view the judgment of the world from a high and distant place.

§  Abraham’s greatest connection to the church is his connection to his one Seed, who is Christ, and in that the covenant of promise was confirmed in Christ. This plays out in his only-begotten son Isaac, who is type of Jesus Christ in resurrection (Heb. 11:17-19). The church can only be seen as hidden ‘in Christ,’ the one true Seed of Abraham.