"For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come and not the very image of things, can never with these same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect."

Hebrews 10:1

In this verse the writer of Hebrews says that the ceremonial law was a shadow of good things to come. Much of what we read in the first five books of the Bible are actually 'shadows' of what was to come. Another word for shadows is- 'typology'.



Typology is where things in the Old Testament represent things in the New. Almost all typology are shadows of Christ or His work on the cross. Even the experiences of people in the Old Testament may give us some valuable lessons, but are not necessarily shadows.

1. What does l Corinthians 10:6 say about this?



Genesis 6-8

The story of Noah's ark is rich in typology. God ordained these things to be so in order to firstly- point to the cross and secondly teach His people about the coming New covenant.

2. Fill in the following-

(a) God's decision to flood the earth, 6:3-7 =


(b) God's exact instructions for the building of the ark, =


(c) Noah, his family, and animals are spared, 6:18-22 =


(d) Noah invited into the ark, 7:l =


(e) The flood =


(f) All flesh died, 7:21-24 =


(g) The raven, 8:7 =


(h) The dove, 8:8 =


(i) The ark =



Exodus 25-30

The Tabernacle typifies nearly all aspects of Christ's person and work. God told Moses to build it according to the plan shown him on the mountain. Even this has significance. Firstly, it shows us that God had no other plan. The plan He gave was exact and detailed. This typified God's plan of salvation. He never had any other plan in mind but by the work of His Son- Jesus Christ. Secondly, He repeated it so often so that it would be clearly understood that this was God's only way. Today we have many people who say that Jesus Christ and His work are not the means, or only means, of salvation. They believe that truth naturally lies within a person and each must find his/her own personal salvation within themselves by whatever means they like. Underlying this thinking is the philosophy that they are actually the God of their own life.

3. What did Satan say to Eve in the Garden, if she rebelled against God? (Gen.3:5)



Each of the offerings in the Ceremonial Law speak of Christ or His work on the Cross.

4. According to Colossians 2:14 what did the death of Christ do away with?


BURNT OFFERING- the person who had to make this sacrifice had the choice of a bullock, kid, turtle-doves, pigeons or a ram. All the sacrifice was burned and the person identified with it by understanding that his guilt was also burnt with the sacrifice. Exodus 29:15-18.

5. What was this typical of?


MEAL OFFERING- this was bloodless, consisted basically of flour and oil. Leviticus 2:1-3; 6:14-18.

6. What did this typify?


PEACE (FELLOWSHIP) OFFERING- a bullock, a lamb, or a goat. It celebrated peace between God and man. Leviticus 3:6-11.

7. What was this typical of?


SIN OFFERING- a bullock, a kid, turtle-dove, pigeons, or fine flour. The offering was burnt outside the camp. It concerned paying the price for sin. Exodus 29:10-14.

8. What was this typical of?


TRESPASS OFFERING- consisted of a ram and restitution money. It provided for particular transgressions rather than forgiveness as a whole. It recognised atonement as the basis of restitution. Leviticus 5:1-7.


Israel's High Priest Our High Priest

Once a year _________________________________

In purity of dress _________________________________

Entered the Holy of Holies


Made atonement by the scape-goat


For the nation of Israel _________________________________

For one year _________________________________

Ministered Mosaic covenant


Made a priest by God _________________________________

Interceded for his people _________________________________

on special occasions

9. Overall, how is Christ a better priest than others?


The High Priest typifies most aspects of Christ's priesthood although there were some things that the Old Testament priests had to do that in no way apply to Christ, but speak more to believers today about their priesthood. For example, the ceremonial washing that they had to do everytime they were about to come into God's presence. Christ does not need to wash Himself before He speaks to the Father, because He was the 'spotless lamb of God without blemish'. However, we must approach God with pure hearts and clean hands (Ps. 24:3-4)


Each of these seven great feasts signify some aspect of Christ and His work before and after the cross.

The Feast:

Typical of:


Commemorated deliverance from death and Egyptian bondage

- Christ shed blood on the cross to release us from bondage.


Ate unleavened bread for one week

- Holy walk follows salvation


It looked forward to the harvest

- Resurrection of Christ


Two loves baked with leaven offered

- Uniting of the Gentile and Jew into the Church.


One goat killed and one goat allowed to go free

- God's justice and God's grace Christ's death satisfied God's demand for justice and met man's need of forgiveness of sins.


- Regathering of Godís people


- Israel's kingdom rest

Typology serves as a means to find Old Testament shadows of New Testament truths. These can illustrate the eternal nature of God's plan and nature and show us how beautifully God works.

However, we should never use typology as a basis for doctrine. It serves purely as an instrument of illustration. Some people have gone overboard with typology seeing almost anything in every Old Testament event. On the other hand, some have restricted the use of typology to include only what the New Testament cites. For example, Paul uses Abraham, Sarah and Hagar in Galatians- chapter four as typology. Possibly without Paul having done that we may never have seen the typology.

Typology also includes people. There are many types of Christ in the Old Testament.

9. Who are some of the people in the Old Testament who are types of Christ?


May God bless you as you study the various types He has given us in His Word.



Next Study

New Testament Survey

© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania