Lesson 7 – The Types of Christ
The light—typifying Christ as the light of the universe and the light of life
First, the light typifies Christ as the light of the universe. The light-bearers, such as the sun and the stars, are merely shadows, but the body is Christ. He is the true light of the universe. He is the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings (Mal. 4:2). He is also the bright morning star (Rev. 22:16b), appearing privately to His lovers before the darkest hour, prior to dawn. Furthermore, He is the great light that dispels the death and shadow in man (Matt. 4:16).
Christ as the light is the light of life (John 8:12; 1:4). The entire Bible shows us that life comes from light. When light comes in, life comes in. Where light is, there is life. The amount of light there is determines the measure of life that is present. Genesis chapter one tells us that before the work of God’s restoration began, the earth was waste and dark, that is, full of death. Hence, the first step of God’s work was to command light to come forth. When light comes, it dispels death, which belongs to darkness, and begins to bring in life. Therefore, life comes after light and begins with light.
The tree of life—typifying Christ as the embodiment of God, who is the source of life
The tree of life is a symbol, signifying that God is life and the source of life (cf. Psa. 36:9; John 1:4; 10:10b; 11:25; 14:6; 1 John 5:12; Col. 3:4). This God became flesh (John 1:14) and was embodied in Christ (Col. 2:9). The Gospel of John tells us that in Him was life (John 1:4), He came that we may have life (John 10:10), and He is life (John 11:25). Hence, the tree of life mentioned in Genesis 2 typifies Christ as the embodiment of God, who is the source of life.
Adam—typifying Christ as the Head of all God’s creation and the One who bears God’s image and likeness
Adam was created as the head of the human race, and the human race was the center of God’s creation. Therefore, Adam was the head of God’s creation. This is a type of Christ as the Head of all God’s creation. Colossians 1:15 says that Christ is “the Firstborn of all creation.” Christ as God is the Creator. However, as man, sharing the created blood and flesh (Heb. 2:14a), Christ is also part of the creation, and He is the Firstborn of all creation, having the preeminence in all creation.
Adam was created in God’s image and according to God’s likeness (Gen. 1:26). This typifies that Christ bears God’s image and likeness. Colossians 1:15 says that Christ “is the image of the invisible God.” God is invisible. But Christ, who is the effulgence of His glory and the impress of His substance (Heb. 1:3), is His image, expressing what He is. John 1:18 also says, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son [Christ], who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” Actually, Christ was the very image in which Adam was created (Gen. 1:27; Rom. 5:14); Christ is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4).
The ark—typifying Christ as the salvation of God’s elect
The ark is a type of Christ as the salvation of God’s elect (1 Pet. 3:20-21). Noah built the ark which eventually saved him not only from God’s judgment but also from that crooked and perverted generation. The ark which he built terminated the old generation and ushered in a new one. That was the kind of salvation that Noah built. It was not merely a salvation from eternal perdition but a salvation from the crooked and perverted generation. Christ as the salvation of God’s elect is also of two aspects: the redeeming aspect and the saving aspect.
The ark is a type of Christ as the salvation of God’s elect in two aspects: the redeeming aspect and the saving aspect. The redeeming aspect is to redeem God’s elect from God’s condemnation and judgment. The saving aspect is to save God’s elect from God’s punishment that they may not suffer the plagues that the world will suffer; it is also to save them from the crooked and perverted generation and to usher them into a renewed age, into a new realm of resurrection, that they may live a new life, the church life, before God and for God.
The good land—typifying the riches of Christ as the enjoyment of God’s elect
The good land typifies the riches of Christ as the enjoyment of God’s elect. Christ has saved God’s chosen people into a new age that they may enjoy the riches of Christ in the new age. Christ is all-inclusive and unsearchable, and the good land of Canaan is the type of such an all-inclusive One. The riches of the good land include water—waterbrooks, springs, and fountains, typifying the supply of the life of Christ as the living water within us, which makes us feel refreshed and watered and which also flows out of us to water others. There are eight kinds of rich food in the good land. There are four kinds of trees: the vine, typifying Christ as the One who cheers God and man, the fig tree, typifying the sweetness and satisfaction of Christ as our supply, the pomegranate, typifying the abundance and beauty of Christ’s life, and the olive tree, typifying Christ as the Son of oil, a man full of the Holy Spirit. Finally, there are milk and honey, signifying the goodness and sweetness of the life of Christ, produced by His generating life—the vegetable life—and by His redeeming life—the animal life.
Melchisedec—typifying Christ is as the king of righteousness and peace and the priest of the Most High God
The name Melchisedec first is interpreted “king of righteousness,” and then also “king of Salem,” which is “king of peace” (Heb. 7:2). Melchisedec typifies Christ as the King of righteousness who made all things right with God and made all things right with one another. Righteousness issues in peace (Isa. 32:17). As the King of peace (cf. 9:6), Christ, through righteousness, brings in peace between God and us.
The ram provided by God—typifying Christ as the One provided by God and as the substitute of those who inherit God’s promised inheritance
The ram that replaced Isaac on the altar was provided by Jehovah God. Abraham called the name of the place where he offered the sacrifice Jehovah-jireh, which means “Jehovah will provide.” The ram provided by God typifies Christ as the One provided by God to replace God’s chosen people, those who would inherit God’s promised inheritance, as the burnt offering for God’s satisfaction.
As the ram was killed on the altar instead of Isaac, so Christ, the Lamb of God, was crucified on the cross for us (2 Cor. 5:14). We all should have gone to the cross, but God replaced us with the Lamb of God. Christ as the Lamb of God lived in the world as a man absolutely for God. He offered Himself as a sacrifice without blemish to God for the carrying out of God’s will, and He became a sweet savor to satisfy the requirements of God’s holiness, righteousness, and glory. We are also accepted in Him by God through our union with Him (Heb. 10:5-8).
Isaac—typifying Christ Inheriting all that the Father has
Isaac as the son brought forth by Abraham through his wife Sarah became the unique seed to inherit all that his father had. When Abraham’s old servant was securing a wife for Isaac, he testified that his master had given all that he had to his son (Gen. 24:36). Genesis 25:5 also tells us that “Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac.” Hence, Isaac became the one who inherited his father’s riches. Isaac’s inheriting of all that his father had is a type of Christ’s inheriting all that God the Father has. John 3:35 says, “The Father loves the Son and has given all into His hand.” Furthermore, in John 16:15 the Lord said, “All that the Father has is Mine.” Hence, Christ not only has received all that was given by the Father but has also inherited all that the Father has.
The ladder set up on the earth and reaching to heaven—typifying Christ as the way for the communication between God’s elect on the earth and their God in heaven
Christ as the heavenly ladder set up on the earth and reaching to heaven signifies that He brings the earth into communication and union with heaven. He is the One who brings heaven to earth and joins earth to heaven. First, through His incarnation He brought heaven to earth; then, He went through death and resurrection to join earth to heaven. Now He is not only in heaven but also on earth. Christ has been set up on the earth and has reached into heaven for the purpose of bringing God to us and bringing us to God.
Moses—typifying Christ as the Prophet of God raised up by God and speaking for God, speaking forth God, and revealing God to His elect
A prophet is God’s spokesman, not mainly to predict things that are coming but to speak for God and speak forth God by God’s revelation. In his forty years of leading the children of Israel, Moses continually spoke to them for God, and especially in Deuteronomy he repeatedly spoke God’s words to them. Although it was Moses who spoke, he did not speak his own words; he spoke God’s words. He spoke for God, spoke forth God, and spoke God into the children of Israel. Every word he spoke also became God’s word. As such a prophet Moses was also a type of Christ (Acts 3:22-23).