<<example, picture or model>>

Typology uses something we can relate to now as a resemblance of something in the future.

Many things in the OT are a pattern or semblance of what would be fully outworked in the NT. For example, the OT animal sacrifices were a symbolic analogy of Christ being the innocent ‘Lamb of God’ who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29); those that looked to the bronze snake Moses lifted up didn't die, likewise all who would put their faith in Jesus when He was lifted up on the cross would be saved (Num 21:6-9; Jn 3:14,15). The law was only a shadow (not the reality) of what was to come in this period of grace (Heb 10:1). 

An understanding of biblical typology can help inspire and motivate our faith as we see how God has worked throughout history in profound ways that continue to impact our lives. However, an unhealthy focus on symbolism can take place that may not have been intended in the biblical text and so should more accurately be called illustrations and appreciated in proper perspective. 

See also: example, symbols.

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