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Types, Shadows, Symbols,
Parables, and Figures

Types, Shadows, Symbols, Parables, and Figures are words that refer to ILLUSTRATIONS in the O.T. to N.T. truths.

We have a wealth of teaching in the Old Testament that prefigured truths taught to us about God's plan for man, God's intent to teach, and the beautiful illustrations of the glory of His grace.

The plan of God is awesome for how He has intended to allow forgiveness and grace to bring us back into His family for fellowship. It is an awesome plan, and our finite minds are incapable of every fully understanding it.

It is like taking a newborn baby, and trying to instruct them in algebra, geometry, and calculus on day one. The baby would stare and comprehend zero, no matter the good intentions of the teacher. God has therefore, as we do, unfold His plan of salvation, one step at a time.

God revealed His intent early, telling mankind, that a 'Seed of woman' would some day come and 'bruise' the head of the serpent. That initial lesson put fear in the devil, put hope in Adam and Eve, and was a start of God's illustrated lessons to teach us God's plan.

God's plan is still unfolding, and some of mankind has not gotten past '2 + 2 = 4' on understanding it. Others have progressed, and progressed in understanding a plan that is beyond our full comprehension. Since we have many books, Old Testament and New Testament, and we have millennia of revelations in picture form, in written essays, in spiritual revelations, let us look anew at the unfolding of the plan of God.

In every study, we need a good foundation. This study is to teach basic Bible types which enlighten, bring in to focus, and unveil the truths of the new covenant. God, Who in His foreknowledge, has always known the plan and revelation of the new covenant with all its details. So, in the Old Testament, He shows in picture form, in types and figures, what would soon come to pass in reality.

Just as a picture of an absent loved one, is treasured and often viewed, while awaiting that one’s return... so a type in the Old Testament, showed the image of what was to someday come in reality. The reality is the truly valuable and loved, as a lamb on the altar of burnt offering showed in type the sacrificial nature of Jesus. When Jesus came, the lamb, though a beautiful picture, is not preferred to the reality of Jesus.

Yet, the picture of the lamb, is a beautiful way to teach the reality of Jesus’ nature and work for us. We can view in clearness, His way and manner of approaching the sacrifice He gave for us. Typology should not replace the reality, but should make the reality more clear, more understood.

We miss much if we do not get the groundwork of typology correct. It can also be related to the foundation of a building,... and to have a good foundation in typology, strengthens the beauty and reality of the structure upon such foundation.

There are two kinds of truth in Scripture.

Hebrews 5:12-14

"For when for the time, ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age; even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."


Milk and meat... are one way to describe truths in the Word. Meat represents the deeper truths, and milk represents the basic, simpler truths. Typology contains both, and yet, by its nature, it is like a bridge, to carry us from the milk to the meat. It takes a truth, puts it in simple form, and then allows, or encourages, deeper seeking into that ‘milk’ truth, to find a ‘meat’ revelation.

I Corinthians 10:11

"these things, written for our admonition’

Hebrews 8:4-5

"Who serve as an example and shadow of heavenly things"

Hebrews 9:8-9

"which was a figure for the time present"

Hebrews 10:1

"... law having a shadow of good things to come."


The words ‘shadow’, ‘example’, ‘pattern’... all contain the idea we refer to as ‘types’. Types are used to prefigure some person, thing, or event that would appear in the future. Types are a ‘sort of’ prophecy. Prophetically, types show us what was to come, and the type shows the foreknowledge and planning of an Almighty God.







The borders on the garments of the priests were to be blue. (Numbers 15:37, 40) Blue speaks of the heavenly nature of our Lord. We are to spiritually remember that our garments include a ‘blue fringe’, reminding us we are a heavenly people.


Philippians 3:20

"our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven..."

This is why we should ‘lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.’ (Matthew 6:20). We are also told to ‘seek those things which are above’ (Colossians 3:1-2) for we are soon to be homeward bound.




This is the royal color. The kings of Midian are said to wear purple. (Judges 8:26) Mordecai was dressed in linen and purple. (Esther 8:15) Belshazzar clothed Daniel in purple.

Purple refers to the kingship of Christ.

He has a name above all others.

Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV)

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He is the ‘King of kings’.

1 Timothy 6:14-15 (KJV)

14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

Jesus shall rule the world.

Revelation 11:15 (KJV)

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.

We shall rule and reign with Him. Just as His claim to being‘royalty’ brought Him persecution and death. They clothed Jesus in purple to mock Him, and the world, sensing our ‘royalty’ (being children of God) are also persecuted.


This is the color of suffering and sacrifice. It is the color of blood. Jesus suffered on our behalf, shedding His blood for us.

God with ‘determinate counsel’ sent Jesus to die and shed His blood for us.

Acts 2:22-23 (KJV)

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:


The Passover lamb, with its blood on the doorposts pre-figured, foreshadowed Jesus.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 (KJV)

7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:

8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

We need His blood applied to us.



White typifies righteousness.

Christ was perfectly righteous for He was ‘without sin’ (Heb. 4:15).

Our righteousness is as) ‘filthy rags’ (Isa. 64:6).

We need to share His. In heaven, we shall be righteous, and shall be clothed in white (Rev. 19:8).





Gold is the symbol of sovereignty and glory. The head in the dream recorded in Daniel was gold. This represented Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. Throughout the tabernacle, gold represented divine glory. It was overlaid wood, and thereby represented the God-man, Jesus Christ.


Silver, in type, represents redemption. Moses numbered men of Israel, having them pay a redemption tax of silver, a half shekel per male. Silver was used in the tabernacle. Peter refers to this type, in I Peter 1:18-19 "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot or blemish." The type is no longer necessary, for the price for our redemption has been paid by the blood of Jesus.


Brass (or perhaps really ‘copper’) represents judgment. Pillars that represented judgment for sin, held the linen curtain around the tabernacle, to keep people from approaching God. The brass serpent (Numbers 21) speaks of passing our judgment to Christ Who died for us. We need not be judged for our sins now, for Jesus has taken that judgment for us. In Revelation 1, Jesus is seen walking in the midst of the candlesticks (churches) with feet of brass, as though they burned in a furnace...

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