Volume. XXXV, No. 12
Sunday, 20 September 2020

Typology (Part 3 - Final)


  1. Melchizedek as a type for Christ

Melchizedek is described in Genesis 14:18-20 as a person who possesses all the characteristics of Jesus. He was the “king of Salem,” and he “brought forth bread and wine,” and he is “the priest of the most high God.” He also blesses Abraham, and Abraham tithes Melchizedek. His is in fact a very intriguing character in the Bible.


All the characteristics above sound like they belong only to Jesus. First of all, the name Melchizedek (Heb. malki-tsedeq) likely means “my king is righteous” or “king of righteousness.”[1] The word “Salem” itself is translated as “peace.” So, Melchizedek is the king of peace.


This is also such a contrast to the other king that was there. The “king of Sodom” gives out such a negative vibe. Moses wrote this encounter as if to juxtapose good and evil. And Abraham here chooses and pledges his allegiance to Melchizedek. The bread and wine he brought forth sounds like Jesus serving bread and wine at the Last Supper. And then, who could bless Abraham but God? Whom would Abraham give tithes to but God? It seems like this mysterious character comes out of nowhere, but he fits all the descriptions of God.


However, was Melchizedek really a preincarnation of Christ? Commentators point out that Melchizedek might be specifically or purposefully be a type for Christ, but he was not Christ. Hebrews 7: 1-4 starts by describing Melchizedek as being very similar to Jesus. Verse 3 says that Melchizedek is “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” But, this is meant to be taken that there was no genealogy concerning him. R.C. Sproul writes:


“While most figures in Genesis are located in a genealogical line, Melchizedek appears without ancestors or progeny and without notice of his birth or death. The Holy Spirit has described him in a way that is typologically pointing to Christ. As he has no genealogy or record of death, it is as if Melchizedek had no beginning or end, but Jesus is much greater because unlike Melchizedek, the eternal Son of God always and truly has been and always and truly will be.”2

Fairbairn writes that there is no evidence to suggest that Melchizedek was a preincarnate of Christ or an angelic being. Fairbairn writes that “he was simply a Canaanite sovereign, who combined with his royal dignity as king of Salem the office of a true priest of God.”3


Furthermore, the only other place in the Old Testament where Melchizedek is mentioned is in Psalm 110. This Psalm is taken by the Jews as a Messianic Psalm, pointing to Christ, the truth that the Hebrews writer points out in Hebrews 5:6.

  1. Abraham Sacrificing Isaac as a type for God Sacrificing His Son

I suppose there is no other event in the Bible where the resemblance of God sacrificing His Son is more striking than that with Abraham sacrificing Isaac. Here we have a father who loves his one and only legitimately begotten son, a son he has longed for for such a long time. Isaac is nothing short of a “miracle-child” for Abraham and Sarah. Conceived and delivered at a very old age, Isaac was finally a realization of God’s promise to Abraham.


We must not forget the fact that Isaac is not Abraham’s only son. But he is the first legitimate son, born of his legitimate wife Sarah. This is why God calls Isaac Abraham’s

only son and said to Abraham to “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2.) God’s instructions to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac must have come as an incredibly absurd command to him. Not only does this act kill his beloved son, but it also put into question the fulfillment of God’s promises to him. However, Abraham is obedient to this command.  

The emphasis of only here creates a stronger element of the type for God’s sacrifice of Jesus. God loves Jesus, and Jesus is His only Son (John 3:16.) The message could not be stronger. We can see that Abraham was the type for God here. We can also see Isaac as the type for Jesus. This is not only the fact that they are both the only son, but also the manner of their conception. O.L. Johnson in his book Bible Typology writes that “Isaac was born when his parents were over 100 years old, and this is contrary to natural law. Therefore, it necessitated a miracle for Isaac to be born; and when Jesus was born, He was born contrary to the natural laws of human reproduction. A virgin conceived without knowing man, being moved upon by the Holy Ghost. Here it necessitated a miracle for Jesus to come into existence, His being offered willingly.”4


Both Isaac and Jesus are willing participants in their sacrifices. Isaac is old and strong enough to travel with his father for three days (verse 4 says that Abraham saw the place afar off on the third day), and he could have easily refused to be tied up by his elderly father. But there is no indication in the chapter that he is inclined to disobey his father. This echoes Jesus’ time in Gethsemane, where He prays and says that to His father that “thy will be done” (Matthew 26:36.)


What Abraham says is also of interest to us. When asked by Isaac where the lamb for the offering is, Abraham replies “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering” (Genesis 22: 8.) This reminds us of God’s providence not just for Abraham, but for humanity. The Lamb – Jesus, His only begotten Son – is provided by God Himself. The Gospel message is very loud in this narrative.


  1. Moses as a type for Christ

Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt. He is seen as a type for Christ in that God sent him to free His people from bondage. In 1 Corinthians 10:2, Paul writes that “And we were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Paul here is explaining to the Corinthians that they had been baptized, yet they must leave their old ways (as described in verses 7-8) just as the Israelites were baptized and yet they then lusted “after evil things” (verse 6.)


The point here is, however, that Paul is saying that, “Just as Christian salvation is symbolized by being baptized into Christ (see Gal 3:27), Israel’s salvation from Egypt was symbolized through its figurehead and prophet, Moses.”5 So, a major truth here is that Moses was called by God to lead His people out of slavery, just as Jesus was sent by God to save his people from sin. Sydney Graidanus writes that “Moses is the leader whom God used to bring his people out of slavery in Egypt and who now leads them to the promised land. As leader and redeemer of God’s people, Moses is a type of Christ who leads his people out of the slavery of sin and violence to the promised land of the new earth.”6



The Bible consists of typology, as a way God revealing His redemptive plan to us. The recurring theme of His work through Christ is very apparent throughout the Bible. We have seen the benefits of studying typology. A correct understanding of typology assists us in seeing this theme of God’s plan for salvation throughout the Bible. More specifically, there are Old Testament individuals, places, events, that are types for Christ and His redemptive work. A lack of understanding of typology could result in our reading too much between the lines, and as such we lose the real values of the message God intends for us to receive.


[1] Barry, Faithlife Study Bible, Ge 14:18.

2 Sproul, The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition), 2207.

3 Fairbairn, Typology of Scripture: Two Volumes in One, 302.

4 O. L. Johnson, Bible Typology (James L. Fleming, 2005).

5 Barry, Faithlife Study Bible, 1 Co 10:2.

6 Greidanus, Preaching Christ from the Old Testament: A Contemporary Hermeneutical Method, 327.


More Lively Hope




  • Because our Service time now is the same as our neighbour Trinity Baptist’s, please DO NOT PARK on their side of the street.
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Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence.
  • Church activities in the past week.
  • God’s mercy & protection from COVID-19 in South Australia.



  • Healing: Rev Mathews Abraham, Rev Pong Sen Yiew & others who are sick.
  • COVID-19 pandemic – God’s continued guidance and protection for Australia & all who are affected.
  • Our church purity of doctrine & unity of fellowship.
  • Missions – Rev Sun Sokha & family; Faith Ang Krang Church (Phnom Penh).  




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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041