What does it mean to be a Type of Christ? Join me on this journey and allow the Bible to come alive to you. Throughout scripture, there are many types of Christ. Some of those types are people who walked this earth thousands of years before us. The events in their lives pointed forward to the new covenant and to Jesus Christ.
You don’t need to know these things to be a Christian or to live in the power of God. Yet, understanding the foreshadowing helps us understand what God is really about. Understanding gives us insight into His character and the way God does things- past, present, and future. Understanding increases our faith and our hope.
Abraham, a type of Christ.
Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelite family, was a man of faith and of obedience. His life points forward to the long-awaited Messiah. Abraham, a type of Christ, is an example of our Savior. His life continues the scarlet thread in scripture that points from the old covenant to the new – and to our Savior.
Abraham was born in the 10th generation following the flood; he was a descendant of Shem, son of Adam. God called Abraham to leave all that was familiar to him and move to another place. He was to leave his family and his kindred – and he did. Christ our Savior left His home in Heaven to come to earth and live among men. In the same way, Abraham left his home and lived in a place that was not a part of who he was. When God called Abraham to move, he moved. In the same way, our Savior moved from His position of Heaven to an earthly home and an earthly family, to live among people who were not a part of His heavenly realm. Psalms tells us of Christ, “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children”(Ps 69:8).
A sacrificial love
God gave Abraham and his wife Sarai a son, Isaac. Years later, God asked Abraham to sacrifice this son. Abraham faced the possibility of death for his son and life without him – even though he was a promised son. God our Father gave His own Son to become a sacrifice for our sins. The sacrificial love of a father is evidenced in Abraham’s life. This is just one of the ways we see in Abraham a type of Christ.
A covenant for keeps
God made a covenant with Abraham. He promised generations of Israelites would become his descendants. Through these descendants, a Savior would come. To signify this covenant, God required circumcision. [Yes, I wonder about that too, but He is God!]. Circumcision was a external sign of a covenant. This covenant was a sign of reconciliation, of putting off the old and becoming a new people. The covenant between God and Abraham was the sign of reconciliation. Circumcision was a symbol of the covenant as we put off the old man and enjoyed the new man who is made in the image of God (Col 3:9,10).
The eternal seed
The covenant and the promise was not just to Abraham, but also a promise to Christ. The promises were made to Abraham and his offspring, which included Christ. Galatians 3:16 tells us: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ.”
Abraham paved the way for all of us. Abraham, a type of Christ, became a father of many nations. The covenant with God started with him and his people. That covenant continues today and is available for all the rest of us if we but choose to believe – and obey.
A new name
When God promised a new covenant and a new nation, He gave Abram a new name. He changed his name to Abraham. Because, He said, “you will be a father of many nations.” Christ promised that to those who overcome, He will give a new name. The new name signifies a new era, a new life, and a new citizenship. In his new name, we see Abraham as a type of Christ.
Abraham made many mistakes. So do we. His relationship with God and his obedience is what gives us courage to walk in obedience even when life is hard and doesn’t make sense. As a type of Christ, Abraham’s life points forward to the promised Messiah. We live today in the fulfillment of that promise!
Attribution for photos goes to Richard Gunther through www.freebibleimages.org