“You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy.” Ps 16:11

Israel and the Church

In connecting the dots between the Old Testament and the New Testament, we’ve seen that Scripture makes formal comparisons using similes. Some of these comparisons are quite interesting. We link various Old Testament sacrifices with aspects of the work of Christ. Other comparisons are larger and more comprehensive. For example, David and his kingdom are types of Christ and His Kingdom.

In the same way, Moses and Israel are types of Christ and the church. Hebrews 3:1-2 makes these comparisons. “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.” The writer to the Hebrews compares Christ and Moses. He also compares Israel and the church. We see this in verse 5. “Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house– whose house we are…” Moses was the chief executive in God’s house in the Old Testament. Christ is the heir set over God’s house, the church, in the New Testament. Moses looks forward to Christ. Israel portends the church.

Note again the language of Hebrews 3:5. Moses and Israel existed “for a testimony,” that is, to testify or witness to things in the future, “things which were to be spoken later.” Hebrews 9:9 indicates the whole ceremonial apparatus under the supervision of Moses was “a symbol [parable] for the time now present.” As already indicated, we readily recognize the sacrificial system points forward to the time and the work of Christ. The ceremonial system was but a part, albeit a central part, of life in God’s house. “Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later.” Again, Hebrews speaks of Moses and all God’s house. In like manner, Hebrews compares Moses and all God’s house with Christ and the church. Christ was faithful as a Son over His house-whose house we are…”

Needless to say, this typological comparison is overarching and comprehensive and affects our whole approach to Scripture. It affects biblical interpretation or hermeneutics. To properly understand the New Testament, we must adequately understand the Old Testament. To adequately understand the New Testament, we must properly understand the Old Testament. The New Testament interprets the Old Testament. The Old Testament informs the New Testament.

It affects our understanding of covenant theology versus dispensationalism. Hebrews indicates there is a vital connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament. We cannot separate the two. Scripture positively compares Moses and Christ, Israel and the church. Israel and the church are not distinct. God does not have differing plans for Israel and the church as dispensationalism indicates. The typological connections between Moses and Christ as well as Israel and the church exist because covenant theology is valid.

Finally, the typological comparison between Moses and Christ, along with Israel and the church, enables us to freely preach and teach Christ from the Old Testament. Many commentators insist we must stick with the grammar and history in the Old Testament when expounding and applying Old Testament texts. However, the Bible itself uses typology to set forth Christ and discuss the church. Many commentators also object that we are not the inspired writers of Scripture. True. It is therefore important to understand biblical typology and to operate within its parameters. When doing so, we may freely and fully preach and teach Christ.

2014-01-16T18:42:32+00:00 December 9th, 2013|