INTRODUCTION TO TYPES & SHADOWS

Updated 08/26/14

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"And he looked up, and said, I see men AS trees, walking." Mark 8:24

"I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself LIKE a green bay tree." Psalm 37:35

 

  WHAT ARE TYPES & SHADOWS AND WHY SHOULD WE LEARN THEM?

Types and Shadows are a means by which God speaks to us through the things He has created. This is done by substituting spiritual realities (which are hid from the natural senses) with the natural things we are more familiar with. So basically a type is nothing more than a substitute for something else that helps to bring forth the meaning of the latter. It's like this; we are told in the Bible of the fallen creature "Heylel" (Latin: Lucifer) called Satan, but since this creature dwells in a realm totally different and separate from our own we know very little of him. Therefore God uses allegoric "type" references to give us a greater understanding. So the Bible says Satan is as a roaring lion; he's a serpent; he's as an angel of light, etc. In essence the Bible tells us the natural environment was created not only for human existence and interaction, but to increase our understanding of that which is spiritual:

"For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example [type] and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the showed to me in the mount." Hebrews 8:4-5

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" Romans 1:19-20

 

  "SHADOW" TYPES AND THERE USAGES 

Let's start off with the definition for the word "shadow" (a.h.d.)

Shadow

I like to use the word "shadow" to describe certain "types" because its modern day definition seems to carry more of a meaning for our day and age. Although keep in mind, a "shadow type" is nothing more than a prophetic type used by God to "foreshadow" that which is to come. Shadow types express the "Thus saith the Lord...," and the "It shall come to pass..." statements that we find in the Bible. One will also find that just as there are prophetic pronouncements in the Bible for all to see, there are just as many (more) that the Father has hid from the wise and learned. In fact, one will never understand the Bible as one should without first utilizing the types for guidance, insight, and the God inspired doctrinal "checks and balances" that they are intended for. Therefore one might as well determine to learn the types and to learn them well! 

 

  DID GOD REALLY INTEND TO "HIDE" MESSAGES IN HIS WORD? 

"And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel." Isaiah 45:3

"I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:" Psalms 78:2

"To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings."
Proverbs 1:6

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." Revelation 2:17

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:" 1-Corinthians 2:7

You may still be asking yourself why God would need to hide "hidden meanings" in His Word. Isaiah 45:3 (see above) tells us one of the reasons: it shows that men could not have authored the books of the Bible even though men were used to write and compile them. I've heard it explained this way one. Have some people write "sixty-six" different books, and have them write these books over the span of some "one thousand five hundred years." There must be at least forty different authors and some need to be ethnically diverse. These people cannot compare or correspond in their writings either, and the contents of each book must contain things like historic accounts, poetry, autobiographies, personal letters, etc. Finally, all the books must directly mention the other books by quoting, allegoric reference, or prophetic proclamation. You see this is how God compiled the Bible. God used typologies to show yet another "proof" that He and He alone authored the books of the Bible, of course the carnal mind will never perceive these things anyway. Yet once the underlying links, principles, and the dominate themes within the books of the Bible are revealed by the Spirit, the man of faith can only marvel and rejoice at GOD'S wisdom. This understanding alone has brought many "reasonable" people to the inevitable conclusion that the Bible (though they still may not understand it) is the inspired Word of GOD. "Parables" are the most obvious way that hidden meanings were put into the Word. The types are also used in conjunction with parables as they test the heart of the reader. In the Word it is called, "deep calling unto deep." Jesus made it very clear during His earthly ministry that His Father desires that our responses to His Word come from the heart, and not from a "mechanical religious reaction of the mind." In other words the mind may be fruitless to God's "message within the message," but once the types are revealed and understood they greatly help to confirm and bring understanding to many verses that were previously obscured through the lack of this knowledge.

 

 

I believe there's an absolute need for us to understand the typologies of the Bible. First of all to read the Bible and only see its "written content" would severely limit the Holy Spirit's ability (especially on a personal level) to express the deeper truths within the Word; you would only know to believe God for that which is written on the pages, when the Spirit would have otherwise expressed a multitude of deeper truths into the soul. It would be like feeling your way around in a dark room: you would eventually become very familiar with everything in that room, but it's not until "the lights are turned on" that you would be able to see the depth, width, and height of that room all at the same time.

Knowing the different types or symbols/figures (similitude as some prefer to use) of the Bible can help one to accurately understand the many hidden revelations in God's Word. Whereas "shadows" are nothing more than types that point to futuristic things or events  ‒a foreshadowing as it were. One example of a normal type would be a tree; a (green) tree is a type for a Christian and it remains that type all throughout the Word ‒past, present, and future. An example of a "shadow-type" would be "Adam," because Adam was a shadow of the Christ to come. Furthermore one should also possess the understanding as to where the Bible mentions such things as types & shadows (similitudes). This way you would be able to recognize them whenever the Bible says things like, "...and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands," or when you read verses like so and so "is as a…," like in 1-Peter 5:8: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." This "as a..." prompt, is one obvious clue that a type is about to be established or further built upon, but one should find at least two or more verses pertaining to whatever is being "typed-out" before you go and teach it or establish it as God's truth. Here I will let you in on a little secret, for the most part types just don't "introduce" themselves to you; you need to possess a chronic alertness to their presence as you diligently search the Bible. Now let's go to Hosea 12 where it says straight-out that "God has ordained" this substitutionary word principle as a means to communicate truth to us: 

"I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." Hosea 12:10

"And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life."
Hebrews 7:15

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Colossians 2:16-17

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect."
Hebrews 10:1

"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come." Romans 5:14

"The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience." Hebrews 9:8-9

"But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar." Galatians 4:23-24

"But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee." Job 12:7-8

One can find many more examples in the Bible where this "type & shadow principle" is found. Like when Yeshua used parables that illustrated the use of natural elements to project spiritual truths. Essentially you are going to find that by definition a shadow-type will always point towards a prophetic person, place, thing, or event to come. Whereas a type "can be" something in the future, although for the most part types are usually seen as generic preexisting items. As previously stated, these preexisting types will remain locked-in as that particular symbol all throughout the Bible. However, they usually change to become the "fullness" of a thing or situation. You will usually see this "increase principle" the closer you get to the book of Revelation. Some of these types can be seen as trees, dogs, rocks, waves, a woman, clouds, stars, etc.

I hope this little study has given you enough understanding for now so that we can go on to look at four basic "guidelines" that can be used when interpreting God's Word through types. Although we must also look at one last matter concerning what is called an "anti type." Anti anything can actually mean "just like," only the opposite of (a type of antonym). This means that anything that is considered "anti" can be in the place of, or trying to replace something in opposition to it. Thus Satan "as a roaring lion," is trying to replace Jesus "the lion of the tribe of Judah."

 

  GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETING THE TYPES & SHADOWS IN THE WORD:

RULE #1: Types and Shadows will almost always have their interpretations brought forth in the Word.

However some "can be" interpreted through their natural characteristic. "Animals" are just one of the groups that usually falls into this category. As mentioned earlier you'll see this "biblical defining" whenever the Bible says, "so and so is as a…" This then is God's way of showing us how He sees a thing from the spiritual side of the matter. For example in Job 25:6 man is first labeled as a "worm," and in Isaiah 41:14 God confirms this thought. So you look up what a worm is in the natural and you find it is defined as a "maggot!" Strong's also defines the biblical definition for a worm as a "rising up," a breeding [like how maggots consume a dead body and multiply their numbers] and mounting up [on high as it were]," which speaks of pride. Then in another place the worm is described as a "voracious consumer," assimilating everything in its path by feeding on death. So as you see some types have multi characteristics attributed to them and this will be discussed in rule #3. Furthermore when first establishing the typed meaning for a word, one should lean heavily toward its first usage as found in the scriptures. Although confirmation should always include the continued usage of an attributed meaning in some form throughout the Word.

 

RULE #2: Types & Shadows usually grow in meaning once established in the Bible.

This means once a type first appears ‒let's say in Genesis‒ you may see a progressive change taking place in that type by the time you get to the book of Revelation. This change usually manifests in stature and nature, meaning it will grow to a fullness of the intended type. Like in Ezekiel 1:10; we see that the "ox face" of this symbolic creature in fact changes back as it were into a "calf's face" by the time you get to Revelation 4:7. This change symbolizes a change for the better towards submission by the calf (child) like nature. Thus the fighting, resistant, stubborn nature that was once the ox (a nature that God attributes to man) has been changed back into the submissive tender nature of a calf. In other words, God wants us to know there is a tendency for Christians to hold on to that which God wants to take from them. Yet we are told symbolically that there will be some who will learn to submit to God through their struggles and trials and become like little children.

 

RULE #3:  A Type may have more than one interpretation applied to it.

Types may take on different meanings for different situations, but the Spirit will always quicken you as to which meaning should be applied. Another way a type takes on different meanings is by becoming an "anti type." This is best illustrated using the dualistic types given for a lion. Jesus is typed-out as the "Lion of the tribe of Judah": Revelation 5:5, but then the Bible also says Satan is as a roaring lion: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour": 1-Peter 5:8. So as you can see one just cannot apply types & shadows like they're set in stone; you still have to hear by the Spirit as to the proper application or anti type. One of the marvelous things about the types is the more you learn to look for their hidden messages, the more you will start to see them!

 

RULE #4:  Types & Shadows confirm doctrine by exposing the tares of the enemy.

God hid meaning in His Word to protect the "Truth seekers" from Satan's foreseen attack against His Word. As you will hopefully learn, some of the most faith-anchoring revelations you will come to know in the Word will come through the types. One need not even fear deception because "type revealed truths" would have (or should have been) already revealed to you through the "logos" of the Word. That means any interpretation brought forth using types should also be found plainly spelled out in the Bible. This might appear to you as some natural story or situation in the Bible that you previously thought carried little or no significance for the "modern day Christian." Case in point, the Old Testament Levitical sin offerings, especially that of the spotless lamb, which not only pointed to Jesus/Yeshua the Lamb of God who was to come, but to the way God wants Christians to die to the sin that so easily besets them. This comes through the knowledge of the pathways (open-doors) of the soul. Again, this will all be made the clearer as you get before the LORD on these matters.

 

NOTE: because of space the interpreted meanings of the types and shadow-types in this website may not contain all the different examples for each. Keep in mind though that some types and shadows-types will have more than one meaning as with the word Christian. This one word can be seen typed-out in the Bible as a rock, a tree, a bride, a harlot, a virgin, a cloud(s), etc. Thus the condensed interpretations that follow will be those most typically used for that word. This means you still have the responsibility "as always" to hear by the Spirit as to which type should be used for any particular passage, especially if that type is going to define the interpretation. Additionally, the Holy Spirit might be speaking more meanings to you at different times for the same word; add those to your list of types or compile additional sheets to your study book. Now as always the best place to put them would be in your heart! Finally, the listing of the types and shadows will be in alphabetical order. The words, interpretations, and verses marked in blue represent the shadow-types having futuristic prophetic meanings. Likewise words, interpretations, and verses marked in red will represent the shadows and or types having dual anti-type meanings.