Christ is the key to what God had been pointing to in all the history of God’s people. One way to see this is to examine parallels between Old Testament people, events, and things, and the life of Jesus in the New Testament.
We find some of these parallels in Romans 5. Paul writes that sin entered into the world through one man, Adam, and sin led to death for all men, for all have sinned. He also writes that Adam was a figure of someone who was to come (Romans 5:12).
Paul said that if the sin of one person, Adam, would cause many to die, how much more could the gift of God’s grace, by one person—Jesus Christ, cause many to be righteous and have eternal life!
The Bible is full of these parallels or “types.” The study of “types” is called typology. In the example above, this method (typology) calls Adam the type and Christ the antitype (opposite). For this week’s Bible Reading Challenge, try to do the following exercise with various people in the Bible that you’re reading about.
Adam (Genesis 2–3) – Typology Exercise
Adam was the first human God created. He was responsible to care for the Garden of Eden. His disobedience of God’s commandment introduced sin and death, so humanity and all of creation became corrupted by sin.
Activity: Complete this chart comparing the typology of Adam to Christ. Want to check your answers? Highlight the text with your computer mouse!
|Adam was the first person in this creation.||In his resurrection, Jesus is the first person in this New Creation (1 Corinthians 15:23).|
|Adam was called the son of God (Luke 3:38).||Christ is the Son of God (John 1:14).|
|Adam was God’s administrator or ruler (Genesis 1:28).||Christ is God’s Anointed to be King (Matthew 1:16).|
|Adam was the head of the race (Genesis 3:20).||Christ Jesus is the Head of the New Creation (Romans 5:12–24).|
|His actions brought consequences to his children causing them to inherit sin and death (Genesis 3:16–19).||His actions brought consequences to God’s children causing them to inherit righteousness and life (Romans 5:12–19, 1 Corinthians 15:20–22, 45–49).|
|Adam joined Eve and rebelled against God (Genesis 3:6).||Christ redeemed his bride (the church) by obeying God (Revelation 19:7–9).|
|Adam’s shame required the death of an animal to cover it (Genesis 3:21).||Christ was shamed, stripped and slain to cover our shame (Matthew 27:27–35).|
|Instead of closeness with God, we experience isolation and loneliness. Instead of love and care for each other, we experience violence and hatred.||Through Christ’s redemptive action, we can experience true life, a close relationship with God and his love, and care for others.|
Question: Because of Adam’s sin, the good world God made became corrupt. How does Christ “fix” what Adam “broke?” (Romans 5:15–19)
Adam is a good first example of a type. It shows very clearly that typology focuses on specific events or character traits rather than on the person as a whole. There are big differences between Adam and Christ; in fact, they are opposites of one another. So it is not that Adam was like Christ; rather, some features of his story parallel Christ’s life and ministry. Some are positive and others are negative.
The above excerpt is from the $3.99 ultra-slimline pamphlet Christ in the Old Testament from Rose Publishing. To see the other 11 types, get it here.
All of Biblical History is about Christ, including the Old Testament. Throughout the Old Testament, we see God setting up history for the coming of Christ, not simply by speaking prophetic words, but by arranging the lives of human beings. “Typology” deals with significant historical people that have symbols or events in their lives that correspond to symbols and events in the life of Christ.
In quick reference chart format, this pamphlet highlights the lives of people who “prefigure” that central Life who is the Life of the World Himself. Includes Melchizedek, King David, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and more. The pamphlet has 14 panels and fits inside most Bible covers. From Rose Publishing.