Biblical Typology

Throughout the Old Testament there are people, places, things, and events which foreshadow even greater realities found in the New Testament. Typology is the study of these types that historically and theologically connect the two Testaments.

Typology helps to interpret Sacred Scripture and to understand how God prepared the way for Christ and carried out his plan for salvation.

While on the surface the Old Testament appears to be a series of stories about God’s chosen people, a deeper investigation of salvation history reveals that they are foreshadowing Jesus and his saving Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension.

The Old Testament points to what will happen in the New Testament and what takes place in the New Testament fullfils what was prefigured in the Old Testament.

Biblical types primarily foreshadow Jesus Christ but they also point to the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, Mass and the sacraments, and more.

Seeing how God was preparing his people:

A technique that comes from Jesus Himself:

And He said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the Scriptures.

Luke 24: 25-27

Prefiguring something that is yet to come:

Foundation and fulfillment:

Reading the Old and New Testaments in harmony:

Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself. Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament. As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 129

Prototypes of Jesus:

Connections that cannot be faked:

From apostolic times and in her living Tradition, the Church has stressed the unity of God’s plan in the two Testaments through the use of typology; this procedure is in no way arbitrary, but is intrinsic to the events related in the sacred text and thus involves the whole of Scripture. Typology “discerns in God’s works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son”. Christians, then, read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. While typological interpretation manifests the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament from the standpoint of the New, we must not forget that the Old Testament retains its own inherent value as revelation, as our Lord himself reaffirmed. Consequently, “the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, 30 September 2010

Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Tomorrow’s priests:

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