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The elucidation of the types

Arthur Pink16. The elucidation of the types. No treatise on hermeneutics would be complete if it ignored this important and interesting department of exposition. Yet such a vast field pertains thereto that it is impossible to do it justice in a few sentences. The New Testament plainly teaches that there is not a little in the Old which anticipated and adumbrated things to come. From earliest times it pleased God to prepare the way for the grand word of redemption by a series of parabolical representations, and the business of the interpreter is to explain the same in the light of the fuller revelation which God has vouchsafed since then. Types belong to that sphere which concerns the relation of God’s earlier and later dispensations, and therefore a type may be defined as a model or sign of another object or event which it depicted beforehand, shadowing forth something which should later correspond to and provide the reality of the same. But the question arises, How are we to avoid the erroneous and the extravagant in our selection and unfolding of the types? Space will only allow us to offer the following hints and rules.

First, there must be a genuine resemblance in form or spirit between any person, act or institution under the Old Testament and what answers to it in the Gospel.

Second, a real type must be something which had its ordination from God, being meant by Him to foreshadow and prepare the way for the better things under Christ. Thus the resemblance between the shadow and the substance must be real and not fancied, and designed as such in the original institution of the former. It is that previous intention and pre-ordained connection between them which constitutes the relation of type and antitype.

Third, in tracing out the connection between the one and the other, we have to inquire, What was the native import of the original symbol? What did it symbolize as a part of the then existing religion? And then the expositor is to proceed and show how it was fitted to serve as a guide and stepping-stone to the blessed events and issues of Messiah’s kingdom. For example, by means of the tabernacle and its services God manifested toward His people precisely the same principles of government, and required from them substantially the identical disposition and character, that He does now under the higher dispensation of Christianity.

Fourth, due regard must be had to the essential difference between the actual natures of the type and the antitype: the one being material, temporary and external; the other spiritual, eternal and often internal.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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