TYPES AND SIMILITUDES   

                         This web-site is part of  biblesecrets.org 

                        and explains some of  the types and similitudes used by 
                            The Book of Isaiah and The Book of Job         

  The Book of Job  is an allegory for Jesus Christ while He was  stuck up 
on the cross by the "arrows in array"  (Job 6:4) 
 trying to figure out why God had forsaken Him: 
 He was sure He hadn't committed any sin.
       Copyright 2000  DSOTO--    By Keith  Hepworth --

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

Types and similitudes are usd to prefigure later events, usually more important events, and are commonly used in the Old Testament. Abraham offering his son as a sacrifice, prefiguring the Father's sacrifice of Jesus, is probably the best know example of a type. Types like this are especially important in the book of Isaiah, where the Lord uses them as arch-types or similitudes to tell us of important events to come, or in other words for prophesying. The Lord said: "I have spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of prophets" (Hosea 12:10, emphasis added). This tells us that not only does he use types or similitudes, but also takes an active part in designing these divine patterns. The following verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes, although a bit cynical in tone, points out the natural consequences of these repetitions--that there is "no new thing" because everything has happened before. Notice that the writer (thought to be Solomon, see Eccl. 1:1) repeats himself in synonymous parallelisms, illustrating the very thing he is explaining. ("No" has been added for clarity.)

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be;
and that which is done, is that which shall be done:
And there is no new thing under the sun.
Is there an thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new?
[No] it hath been already of old time, which was before us. (Eccl. 1:9-10).

Then, to illustrate his own point that history repeats, he repeats himself in the third chapter, and adds that the past was, indeed, God's doing. Eccl. 3:15

That which hath been is now;
and that which is to be hath already been;
and God requireth that which is past.

Again, this tells us that history repeats, and strongly suggests that God takes an active part in its design. This becomes quite apparent when one considers how much of the Old Testament typifies Jesus Christ. How could God not have taken an active part when the lives of so many others that went before typify things about Jesus? And because they each typify Jesus, they would, of course, parallel each other, which is the reason the Jewish scholars discovered them. The following from Samuel Rapaport's, A Treasury of the Midrash, points out how Joseph's life compares to Jacob's (pg. 142).

"Jacob's mother was for a time barren; so was Joseph's. Jacob's mother had two sons only; so had Joseph's mother. [1] Jacob's brother, Esau, sought to take his life; so did Joseph's brothers.. [2] Again, each went from Palestine to a foreign land, [3] each had children born in a foreign country, [4] each made his brothers swear to keep the promise made to him, [5] each was embalmed, the bones of each were taken away from Egypt, etc., etc." (Also see pp. 228-230 for comparisons of Joseph's life with the history of Zion.) (Bracketed numbers are added to help in comparing the parallels with the parallels of the following paragraph.)

Christian scholars, of course, go on to see that these parallels are in similitude of a greater story, even that of Jesus Christ and God's great plan of salvation. The following explanations for the above parallels are examples of this: (1) Jesus' brother and enemy, Satan, is the brother that wants to take his life. Also, during Jesus' life, his "brethren," the Jews, sought his life. (2) Jesus left his celestial home in heaven to come down to earth\Egypt (a "foreign" land), where (3) "his children" also come to be tried (born in a "foreign" country). (4) "His brothers," meaning all of us, are to make promises or covenants with him. (5) His body\bones were taken out of the world\Egypt, which means he lives, following his resurrection.

Today, Christians refer to these stories as types, echoes, and shadows, while the Old Testament referred to them as similitudes and figures. The story of Abraham and his son is probably the best known. They see this story as a type or similitude of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ by God the Father. Lengthy books have been written about this type showing the dozens of parallels between Isaac and Jesus, from their births to their deaths. Another well-known type is the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt by passing through the Red Sea into the wilderness of Shur. They traveled in this wilderness a "lifetime," until they passed over the Jordan River into the land of milk and honey. This series of events is compared to our personal sojourn on the earth (and also to Zion's); that is, from a watery birth--to a lifetime in a wilderness (spiritual)--to a homecoming in a land of promise (salvation) .

The above scriptures suggest that we can look for types in every story in the scriptures, that they are there for us to find if we only look for them. Didn't Jesus tell us the same thing when he admonished us: "Search the scriptures, .. . they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). In this admonition He meant the scriptures of the Old Testament, the only scriptures that existed at the time. But how could the Old Testament testify of Jesus when there are no direct references to him? Then it must testify of him in other ways, with types and shadows, etc.. Jesus also said unto his disciples, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all thing must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me" (Luke 24:44). What could this mean except that the law of Moses, the lives of the prophets, and Psalms contain deeper meanings about Jesus and the plan of salvation?

The apostle Paul knew about these deeper meanings hidden in types and shadows and said about Jewish laws: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat or drink [what you eat], or in respect of an holyday [holy festivals] or of the New Moon [celebration] or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [the real thing] is of Christ." (Col. 2:16-17, emphasis added). This means, all of their laws, which were given to them by Moses concerning food and drink and the keeping of holy days such as the Passover and the other Sabbath days, will not bring salvation, but instead are only a shadow or similitude of what will really bring them salvation, i.e., Christ himself. Only in Christ will sins be forgiven once and for all. Paul explained it this way in his epistle to the Hebrews, "For the law [of Moses] having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never, with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereof perfect. . . .Then said he [Jesus], 'Lo, I come to do thy will, O God," He taketh away the first [covenant], that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ and for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:" (Heb, 10:1-11, emphasis added). If Israel's laws, which were so all-encompassing and exacting, were shadows of things to come as Paul said, was any of Israel's history not a shadow of things to come? Moses himself was "figure of him [Jesus] that was to come" (Rom. 5:4).(Cf. 1Cor. 10:11.)

From these statements it is clear, indeed, that all of the Old Testament, especially the prophets and the Laws of Moses, are for the "typifying" of Jesus Christ. This is also made especially plain when one reviews the many books that are available on the subject of typology on the Old Testament. It appears there isn't anything in the Old Testament that isn't typological, that isn't a paradigm for the future or doesn't have hidden meanings. The Book of Mormon confirms this conclusion. Several of its writers recognized the importance of types in the Old Testament. Jacob, for example, was very clear. His words leave no room for doubt.

Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ;
for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given
of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him (2 Nephi 11:4.)

According to Jacob, then, the law of Moses as well as all that has been written in the scriptures is for the "typifying" of Jesus Christ. In other words, all of the ancient stories in the Old Testament are messianic in some way, and will repeat or illustrate gospel principles. Jacob's statement is all-inclusive and plainly tells us that if we haven't been studying these types we have been missing much of the Old Testament, if not the most important parts. Jesus himself confirms this conclusion, more particularly about the book of Isaiah, when he said to the Nephites:

And all things that he [Isaiah] spake, have been, and shall be..... (3 Nephi 23:3)

This confirms that Isaiah's words are also typological; that all things that he said have happened before and shall happen again. In essence, this verse means the same thing that Ecclesiastes, Paul, Jacob, and even Jesus said. This means that when we read Isaiah we can virtually ignore the ancient history, and study it for its other meanings, as they apply to our time.

Perhaps Isaiah himself gave us an additional clue about these dual meanings when he said, "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept: line upon line, line upon line;. . . ," and then repeated it again in verse 13 (Isaiah 28:10). Besides the obvious, which means we must learn of God step by step (not eating meat before we are weaned from milk; cp. 1Cor.3:2 and Heb. 5:12), this could also be explaining how Isaiah's lines have been constructed. That they have more than one meaning, one on top of another, so to speak--"line upon line, precept upon precept." This was surely the case for the "eat, drink and be merry" scriptures we just looked at in the intro. to Isaiah. Surely, Jesus' admonition to search the scriptures suggests that there are many things, even deeper things that we have not understood, and to find them we must search "diligently." (Cp. John 5:39; 3 Nephi 23:1; Morm. 8:23.)

Based upon these statements in the scriptures, the Book of Isaiah must typify Jesus and things about him in its entirety. If this is so, then most of Isaiah must still remain hidden to most of us. A possible reason so many chapters of Isaiah are repeated in the Book of Mormon is that Nephi also knew about these dual meanings and that they apply to another time. He said, that which Isaiah had spoken of had come to pass among the Jews; but in the next verse he speaks of another fulfillment of the same prophecies, which is to be in the last days.

"I have made mention unto my children concerning the judgments of God, which hath come to pass among the Jews, unto my children, according to all that which Isaiah hath spoken, and I do not write them. But behold, I proceed with mine own prophecy, according to my plainness; in the which I know that no man can err; nevertheless, in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass." (2 Nephi 25:6-7; Emphasis added.)

By now you should know that types abound in the Old Testament. Many books have been written about them. Some types are Messianic, some reveal the Lord's plan of salvation, and some foretell what has and is to happen to Israel--both nationally and spiritually. They are an important part of the Old Testament and any serious student of the Bible must study them. After all, they are one of the Lord's most important tools for showing us the future. They are also rock solid proof that God knows the future and takes an active part in shaping it. Knowing these things contributes to the strength of our testimonies, that God lives. The following are examples of some of the better known types. Many of them we already know. 

The story of Abraham and his son, Isaac, is the best known. The fact that Abraham was ordered by God to sacrifice Isaac should be easily seen as a type for Jesus. Isaac was close to the age of Jesus (33), if not exactly the same (scholars can't agree). Isaac was completely submissive to his father, as was Jesus. Isaac carried the wood for the fire upon his back, and Jesus carried his cross on his back. When Isaac asked about the sacrifice, where it was? Abraham said, "God will provide himself a lamb," which He did; and not only did God provide a "lamb" in replacement for Isaac, but He also provided Jesus Christ as a substitute for the sins of all mankind. As a type, Isaac goes far beyond the occasion of the sacrifice on Mount Moriah. The events of his birth are also significant. For example: Isaac was the long-awaited son, as was Jesus. His name was known before his birth, decided in the heavens (Gen. 17:19), the same as Jesus. Due to his mother's age, his birth was considered a miracle, as was the birth of Jesus, to a virgin. His brother, Ishmael, was sent away from his father's presence, as was Christ's brother, Satan (cp. Rev. 12:7-10). 

As many as twenty-eight comparisons have been made by scholars between Joseph, son of Jacob, and Jesus Christ. Here are just a few. Both were granted a new name. Both were most loved by their father. Both were clothed in power and authority by their father. Both were revelators, seeing the future. Both were completely obedient to their father, while their brethren were not. Both were betrayed by their brothers. Both were cast into a pit. Both were sold for pieces of silver. Both were tempted with great sin, and did not yield. Both were falsely accused. Both were thirty years old when they become prominent in their life's work. Both were saviors, Joseph literally through "bread," and Jesus figuratively as "bread." 

All of the Israelites history is filled with types. Moses, as a figure for Christ, freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, taught them the ordinances of God, and lead them to the promised land. Abraham's wife, Sarah, typifies each of us, as well as the church in general, in that she was purchased by gifts and promised a better life with Abraham, the groom. She had to accept the "bridegroom" based upon her faith, with a hope of a better future just as we accept Jesus as our bridegroom . Just as Abraham purchased Sarah with great gifts, our bridegroom purchased us with his blood ( a great gift).

These are just a few, and then extremely brief, of the many types in Israel's long history. Others that are interwoven with the metaphor of water are discussed later. They have to do with the Israelites when they first left Egypt, including their stay at Mount Sinai (which was a type for their future temple). Other types of this same era are: (1) the serpent that was raised up on a staff--all one had to do to be saved from the serpents (Satan) was to believe, and look; (2) the Mosaic laws of sacrifice--they point to the remissions of sins through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. They include the Day of Atonement, the offering of the first fruits, the burnt offering, the meat offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. All of these ordinances had to do with the forgiveness of sins, and were replaced by the great and last sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which was accomplished so that forgiveness could be granted to us by God.

 One of their celebrations, the Passover, is especially significant--even a magnificent type. It is truly surprising that the Jews fail to see how their beloved Passover points to the sacrifice of Jesus in every detail. Why can't they see that their male, blemish-free, lamb (sacrifice) is a type for the Lamb of God, even Jesus Christ, who was also sacrificed? Why can't they see that the blood of the sacrificed lamb, which they put on the lintel and door posts, saving them from the destroying angel in Egypt, was a type for the blood of Jesus, even the blood that will save them from their sins, and consequently from a spiritual death? And speaking of sins, why haven't they seen how the striped and pierced matzah bread, which is made without leaven (sin), is a type for the sinless Jesus who was also striped and pierced (striped by the scourgings and pierced with the nails)? And, in their Passover feast, how can they wrap the matzah bread (which represents his body) in white linen (which represents his burial wrappings), and hide it (representing his burial), only to retrieve it later (representing his resurrection), and still not see the parallels? After they retrieve it, they even "eat" it with wine, duplicating the last supper and completing the metaphor of eating the "bread," which represents his body. This symbolically represents the eater's acceptance of their Lord and Savior. How is it, that they can see how everything they do during the Passover represents their exodus from Egypt, but they fail to see how both the Exodus and the Passover point to the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, yea, how the sacrifice and "eating" of the blemish-free "Lamb" can free them from their sins? Chapters forty-eight through fifty-five of Isaiah appear to be just ancient prophecies about the release of the Jews from Babylon, and names Cyrus, the great King of Persia, as the one who will free them. But he too is a type figure (44:28, 45:1-5). He typifies the servant of the last days who will be instrumental in freeing the Jews from the wicked world, preparing them for the return of the Messiah. John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus (40:3), was also a type figure for this same servant of the last days. Bruce R. McConkie said that this verse (40:3) is only an incidental prophecy of John the Baptist, and so is primarily speaking of the servant in the last days (See DNTC, Vol. 1, p. 116) Notice that these typological forerunners of the "servant figure" of the last days, such as Moses and Cyrus (even the "servant figure" himself) typify Jesus. That is, each one of these servants of the Lord prepares a way, or leads the children of God to freedom, to political freedom and/or to spiritual freedom. This "way" that they prepare is a type or shadow of "the way" that Jesus has prepared for all of God's children to become free--free from their bondage of sin.

FLOODS

The flood in Noah's day was a type for another very important flood, in fact two of them. They are not floods exactly the same as Noah's, though, where everything was destroyed by water. God promised He wouldn't do that again. But still, a second flood did happen anciently and another one is not far off. These later floods are different in that they are floods of men, even an army of men advancing like a flood. The one that happened anciently was prophesied by Isaiah in chapter eight. It is an important key to understanding much of Isaiah because he uses this image of a flood again and again typologically, giving us a picture of the more important flood that is to come. Historically, the one in chapter eight was fulfilled when the Assyrian armies came into Israel like a great destroying flood. Isaiah prophesied that Assyria would come like a river, mighty and strong, overflowing its banks and destroying the whole land (8:7-8), even very much like Noah's flood destroyed the whole land. This image of outsiders coming upon them like a flood with great power, destroying the land, becomes the type for the next flood. But the next flood of men will not destroy the land like the Assyrian army did.

This flood of men will only destroy the land in the sense of destroying the wicked out of the land, and then only by conversion. This image is used by Isaiah to describe how an army of Gentiles will come upon them with their "Glory" (peace/salvation), and ultimately how effective they will be in destroying (nurturing) the Jews with the truth. He brings this image back to the readers mind each time he refers to this event by using linking words, such as, flowing, flood, river, and waters. Consider these "flood" verses that link to harvesting, the proud falling, and peace.

27:12 from the . . . river . . . ye shall be beat out one by one [harvested].
28:15 [they say] when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us,
28:17 the waters shall overflow their hiding place.
28:18 the overflowing scourge shall pass through.
30:25 there shall be rivers and streams of waters in that day . . .when the towers [proud] fall.
54:9 this is as the waters of Noah to me.
59:19 When the enemy shall come in like a flood,
66:12 I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream:

Isaiah makes it clear who's "army" will make up this flood. He also makes it clear what the Jews can expect to receive from this "flood" of Gentiles. Instead of death, it will be the Gentile's "riches," and their "milk." It means their spiritual riches, even the truth that will lead to "peace" (salvation). The spiritual riches of the Gentiles shall be "eaten" by Israel, metaphorically.

24:15 thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles;
60:3 the Gentiles shall come to thy light;
60:5 the forces of Gentiles shall come unto thee;
60:11 that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles;
60:16 Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles;
61:6 ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles. (Cp. 1 Nephi 22:8);
66:12 I will extend peace/salvation to her like a river/flowing stream
          (The glory of the Gentiles.)

These "forces of the Gentiles" that come "flowing" into Israel will be as effective in "destroying" Israel again as Assyria's forces were anciently. Yes, Israel is to be destroyed again, but this time in a different, peaceful, and constructive way. This time it will be a spiritual battle, with captives (converts) taken, yea, men, women, and children, even until they are thrust through by the sword of the Lord, which is to say, by "His word." The riches of the Gentiles will come, nurturing "thee" with the truth. Here is another use of this same image, but this time Isaiah uses the "roaring sea" for the linking words (Isaiah 5:26-30). A roaring sea is like a flood. This image, or type, again refers to the last days when the flood of missionaries, who are enemies to the Jewish traditions and false beliefs, will come, sweeping in like a "roaring sea" with great power upon Israel, to "destroy" them--by conversion. From the KJV-5:26

26 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far,
and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth:
and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly:
27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them;
none shall slumber nor sleep;
neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed,
nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:
28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent,
their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint,
and their wheels like a whirlwind:,
29 Their roaring shall be like a lion,
they shall roar like young lions:
yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey,
and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it.
30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea:

These lines mean: The "nations from far" (v26) are coming to Israel at the call of the Lord with great spiritual power (v27-28). Their power is expressed as a lion expresses power, with great confidence and strength; and they "take" their converts surely, losing none (v29). They come like the "roaring sea" with the great power of the "word," which is "light," into a land of "darkness" where there has been no "light" (v30). Isaiah 60, which follows, explains what the "forces of Gentiles" shall accomplish in Israel. The Hebrew translation (1965 edition, published by The Jewish Publication Society of America) is the most clear. The Hebrew word that is translated as "nations" also means "Gentiles."

1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
and gross darkness the people:
but upon thee the LORD shall arise,
and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
3 And the nations [Gentiles] shall walk at thy light,
and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see:
They all are gathered together and come to thee:
thy sons shall come from far,
and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together,
and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged;
because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee,
the wealth of the nations [Gentiles] shall come unto thee.
10And aliens shall build up thy walls,
And their kings shall minister unto thee;
For in My wrath I smote thee,
But in my favor have I had compassion on thee.
1Thy gates also shall be open continually,
Day and night, they shall not be shut;
That men my bring unto thee the wealth of the nations [Gentiles],
16Thou shalt also suck the milk of the nations [Gentiles].
And shalt suck the breast of kings;
And thou shalt [come to] know that I the Lord am thy Savior,

Historically, a destruction of the wicked happened like this before, where they came to know the Lord, that he was their Savior. It happened to the wicked of the Book of Mormon. "And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words. And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton: and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that the band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites" (Hel. 6:36). (Emphasis added.)

Now a re-reading of the prophets of the Old Testament is worth while to see just how many of them speak of the last days in this same positive light. Many take on completely new meanings, even making more sense than ever before. Joel, for example, speaks of the complete history of Israel, beginning with its spiritual decline and punishment, and ending with its overthrow by the Lord's army, bringing them to know their God and Savior again. It begins by explaining how the worms have crept in to eat away the basis of their knowledge, likening it to the vine, which produces wine--a metaphor for truth. Using the metaphors of water, wine, bread, and oils ( meaning spiritual riches or truth) Joel tells of a great renewal for Israel, brought to them by the Lord's army. It will be a time of conversion, not another doomsday. For more information about the flood  and how it applies to the BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON click the link.

For additional reading about types the following are suggested.

Fairbain, Patrick. The Typology of Scriptures. Vol. I and II. Edinburgh. T. & T Clark. 1975.

Gileadi, Avraham. The Book of Isaiah. Deseret Book Co. Salt Lake City, Utah. 1989

Gileadi, Avraham. The Last Days: Types and Shadows from the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
Covenant Press.. Salt Lake City, Utah. 1991
Habershon, Ada R. The Study of the Types. London; Morgan and Scott LTD.. 1907.

McConkie, Joseph Fielding. Gospel Symbolism. Salt Lake City, Utah. Bookcraft. 1986

Trent, Kenneth E. Types of Christ in the Old Testament. New York. Exposition Press. 1960

Wilson, Walter Lewis. Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Co.. 1975, 1983.

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