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FIGURES OF SPEECH IN THE BIBLE
Victor M. Eskew
A. One of the most prominent figures of speech in the Bible involves “types.”
B. Types revolve around people, places, things, and events, especially those found in the Old Testament.
C. What we find in the types is that God was preparing His people for what was to come under the New Covenant. When we examine these things in detail, we are surprised that the Jews still did not accept the Christ and the Christian religion.
D. This lesson involves a lot of material. We will study types in two lessons.
I. THE DEFINITION OF TYPE
A. The English word “type” comes from the Greek word “tupos.”
1. The word means “the mark of a strike or a blow, an impression.”
2. I have a stamp in my office that contains my name and initials that I use to imprint on all of my books.
a. Each book contains the “tupos,” that is, the mark or the blow of the stamp.
b. The stamp, on the other hand, is the real and true. It is called the “antitype.”
c. See John 20:25
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
1) The word “print” is the Greek word “tupos.”
2) The nails made a print in the hands of Jesus. The nail and the print could be matched together.
B. Other definitions:
1. It is an event, person, or institution in redemptive history of the Old Testament that prefigures a corresponding but greater reality in the New Testament.
2. A type is a copy, or pattern, or model that signifies an even greater reality.
3. A figure is an ensample of something future and more or less prophetic, call the Antitype.
4. “…denotes a figure, image, effigy, or representation of anything, and that is either painted, feigned, or engraven, or expressed by any other way of imagination” (Preaching from the Types and Metaphors of the Bible, Keach, 225)
5. Events, persons, or statements in the Old Testament are seen as types pre-figuring or superseded by anitypes, events or aspects of Christ or his revelation described in the New Testament.
II. A WORD STUDY
1. It is interesting that the Greek word tupos is found several times in the New Testament, but the translators never translated it using the word “type.”
2. Romans 5:14
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
a. The Greek word “tupos” is translated “figure” in this verse.
b. Adam is a “figure” or a “type” of Jesus Christ.
c. In essence, there are some likenesses (and differences) that can be drawn between the two.
a. Strong (5179): a die (as struck), that is, by implication a stamp, scar, resemblance
b. Thayer: the mark of a stroke or blow, print, figure found by blow or impression…of a type, i.e. a person or thing prefiguring a future (Messianic) person or thing
c. This word is translated with several English words:
1) Print (John 20:25)
2) Figures (Acts 7:43)
3) Fashion (Acts 7:44)
4) Form (Rom. 6:17)
5) Examples (I Cor. 10:6)
6) Ensamples (I Cor. 10:11)
7) Pattern (Tit. 2:7)
B. Shadow (Heb. 10:1)
For the law having a shadow of 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 thereunto perfect.
1. Definition of shadow
a. Strong (4639): shade or shadow
b. Thayer: an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object
2. This word is found 7 times in the New Testament and is translated “shadow” every time.
C. Pattern (Heb. 9:23)
It was therefore necessary that the pattern of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
a. Strong (5262): an exhibit for imitation
b. Thayer: representation, copy, figure, or example
c. It is translated “pattern” only here. The other five times it is used, it is translated “example” (See John 13:15).
2. Notice the two phrases:
a. The patterns of things in the heavens (types)
b. The heavenly things themselves (antitypes)
D. Figure (Heb. 9:9)
Which was a figure for the time present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience.
a. Strong (3850): a similitude
b. Thayer: A placing of one thing by the side of another, comparing, comparison of one thing with another
c. NOTE: This is the Greek word “parabole” from which we get the word “parable.”
2. It is translated several ways in the New Testament.
a. Parables (Matt. 13:3)
b. Comparison (Mark 4:30)
c. Figure (Heb. 9:9; 11:19)
3. In the verse the writer says: “Which was a figure for the present time.”
E. Another important word: “antitupon”
a. Strong (499): corresponding…that is, representative, counterpart
b. Thayer: a thing resembling another, its counterpart, something in the Messianic times which answers to the type
2. It is used 2 times in the New Testament.
a. Hebrews 9:24
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
b. I Peter 3:21
The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
III. RULES REGARDING TYPES
A. Types are grounded in history, that is, the history of Israel.
B. Types were formed by God. The people, the places, the events were deliberately chosen by God to prepare for the coming Christian system.
C. Types point to a greater truth: “There is a graduation from type to antitype; of the lesser to the greater; of the material to the spiritual; the earthly to the heavenly” (www.christiancourier.com, “A Study of Biblical Types, Wayne Jackson).
D. When studying types, one must distinguish between what is essential in the type of what is incidental (Ex. Jonah in the belly of the whale).
1. The type involves the time that Jonah spent in the belly of the fish, three days as Jesus would be three days in the earth (Matt. 12:40).
2. While Jonah was in the belly of the fish, he had some experiences that he recounts in Jonah 2. None of these things are part of the figure.
A. There is a multitude of figures in the Bible.
B. In our next lesson, we will look at all of the categories of figures recorded in the Bible.