Replacement Theology| They Were Types of Us #13
In our study of Replacement Theology, it is difficult to over-emphasize this installment and the ones to follow. In the previous article, I demonstrated that in Israel’s own prophecies, YHVH had always– always – intended to “replace” the Old Covenant identity of Israel with the New Covenant realities of Christ. Since this is so important, I will reiterate those points here.
The Old Covenant itself was supposed to be “replaced” by the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31; Hebrews 8). Even Dispensationalists agree with this point, and yet, they tell us that the promised New Covenant has not yet been established! See my new book, The New Covenant: Future or Fulfilled? for a great discussion of this issue.
The Old Covenant land was supposed to be “replaced” by the heavenly “father land” (Hebrews 11).
The Old Covenant City was supposed to be “replaced” by the “heavenly Jerusalem” the city of the Living God” (Hebrews 12:21f).
The Old Covenant physical circumcision supposed to be “replaced” by the circumcision of the heart. (Romans 2:28f; Philippians 3:1-5, etc.).
The Old Covenant restricted priesthood was supposed to be “replaced” by the nation of priests, “he has made us to be a kingdom of priests” (Revelation 1:5f).
The Old Covenant, ineffective animal sacrifices were supposed to be “replaced” by the perfect, one time for all time, sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 10:5f).
The Old Covenant physical Temple supposed to be “replaced” by the True Tabernacle that God pitched, and not man (Hebrews 8:1-2).
The Old Covenant physical people was supposed to be “replaced” by the people yet to be created (Psalms 102; Isaiah 43; Isaiah 65, etc.).
I closed that previous article by taking note: “But, someone may say that while it may be true that the land, the city, the temple, etc. were all types and shadows of the coming better things (which is a fatal admission when properly considered) but, that does not prove that Israel herself was a type or shadow of another people, a new people.”
I suggested that this claim is untenable in light of Psalms 102 and Isaiah 65-66 where God did promise to remove Old Covenant Israel and create a new people. That is undeniable. Now, to drive this point home, and to demonstrate that not only were Israel’s Old Covenant elements, of the land, the City the Temple, etc. shadows of the better things to come, but, please catch the power of this, Israel herself was a type and shadow of the body of Christ!
Replacement Theology| They Were Types of Us!
Read carefully what Paul had to say in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11:
“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
This passage, rendered in the NKJV, is somewhat– no, a good bit – misleading. Rendered as it is, it gives the impression that it was just the events that took place in Israel’s history that served as “examples” that Paul could point to, in some almost parabolic manner, just to draw a homeletic point. However, that would be, and is, and improper assessment.
Now, to be sure, Paul seems to refer to the events themselves as “examples” (again in the KJV and NKJV) but, once again, this is an unfortunate rendering. In verses 6, Paul actually says “Now these things (were) types (Greek tupoi) of us. Do you see the power of this? Paul was indeed saying that the events in Israel’s past were typological, but, he did not actually focus on the events, per se. He said “they were types of us.” He did not say those events were types of the events taking place in his day, although, that would be included in his purview. (After all, in Rabbinic thought, it was taught that Israel’s past history served as a typological template for the last days). No, as several scholars have noted, the correct rendering and thought of not only the literal Greek rendering, but of Paul’s thought is that the past events and Israel herself, were typological.
Hays notes: “The events narrated in Scripture ‘happened as tupoi emon’ (10:6). The phrase does not mean–despite many translations–‘warnings for us.’ It means ‘types of us,’ prefigurations of the ekklesia. For Paul, Scripture, rightly read, prefigures the formation of the eschatological community of the church” (Richard Hayes, Conversion of the Imagination, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2005)11. Hays also refers to the “figural reading” of the Old Covenant by the New Testament writers. By this he says in the NT, the writers discovered (through the Spirit), “the discernment of unexpected patterns of correspondence between earlier and later events or persons within a continuous temporal stream” (Richard Hays, Reading Backwards, (Waco, Baylor University Press, 2014)93). So, through the Spirit, the New Testament writers came to interpret the Old Covenant events, and people, as pointing to the people and events of the first century– Christ and his church. (Cf. 1 Peter 1:9-12 on this principle).
Likewise, Davis offers this: “Paul is not saying that the events can now be seen to be tupikos– as if they had became tupoi as a result of some later occurrence or factor. Rather, Paul insists that in their very happening, they were happening tupikos. The tupoi-quality of the events was inherent in their occurrence, not invented by the Pentatuechal historiographer or artificially given a ‘typical’ significance by Paul the exegete. The divine intent of the events clearly includes the tupos-nature of the event” (Richard Davidson, Typology in Scripture, (Berrien Springs, MI., Andrews University Seminary Doctoral Thesis Series, Vol. II, 1981)268).
Thiselton prefers to render verse 6 and verse 11 as “formative model for us,” or “paradigmatic models”, (Anthony Thiselton, New International Greek Text Commentary, (Carlisle, Eerdmans, Paternoster, 2000)732) but the point remains essentially the same
Now, to reiterate, it is clear that Paul has both the events and the people themselves as typological: “They were types of us.” The point is that “these things” is inclusive of the nation itself., and the incredible implications of this cannot be over-stated. The nation of Israel was a type of another, better nation that was to come!
The millennialist confuses– or denies, or overlooks – the typological nature of the Law and Israel, saying, in effect, that the Law and its cultus was a type or shadow of itself, and herself.
Pentecost claimed, “Eschatological studies are not concerned with…the Mosaic Covenant made by God with man, inasmuch as all these are temporary and non-determinative in respect to future things, but only with the four eternal covenants given by God, by which He has obligated Himself in relation to the prophetic program.” (Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1980, 67). Now, if eschatology is about the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, and is not related to the end of the Mosaic world (D. Pentecost), how could Paul say that what was happening in his ministry—the ending of the Mosaic World (2 Cor. 3-4), and the calling of the Gentiles–was in fulfillment of the Abrahamic promises (likewise Peter, Acts 3), and the prophecies made to Israel under the Law?
Even though he said that eschatology is not about the end of Torah, Pentecost nonetheless says that Israel remains “the determinative purpose of God.” (1980, 471). However, this view flies in the face of Paul’s declaration that Old Covenant Israel “they were types of us.” Who was Paul’s “us” in 1 Corinthians 10? It was not Old Covenant Israel distinct from the body of Christ. It was the body of Christ! Thus, Paul was stating, very clearly and undeniably, that Old Covenant Israel was a type of the body of Christ! Israel was the “body of Moses”; the church was / is the body of Christ, the better Creation!
We will continue our discussion of Replacement Theology in the next installment, but for now, it is imperative to grasp the power of the fact that the very nation of Israel herself was a type and shadow of the “better things to come.” It should be clear by now that in God’s scheme, “replacement theology” meant replacing the shadow with the “body,” the far greater reality, the body of Christ!