TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
It is suggested that the
reader first read Genesis chapter 6 to familiarize himself with the details
concerning the Ark.
It was to be of gopher wood
(cedar, cypress or fir), and as that which sheltered the believing
antediluvians from judgment, it is a type of Christ in Whom believers of every
dispensation find shelter from Divine judgment. Wood, in Scripture, is used
symbolically to represent man in the body. The Ark as a type of Christ points
to the Lord’s humanity. It was as man that He went to Calvary on man’s behalf
and endured the flood waters of God’s judgment. (That overwhelming waters are
symbolic of judgment is clear from such Scriptures as Ps 69 and 88).
“Rooms shalt thou make.” The
word translated “rooms” is literally “nests,” and conveys the idea, not only
of security, but of peace. It is beautifully descriptive of the refuge the
believer finds in Christ.
Pitch is the translation of
the Hebrew word kaphar, literally “to cover,” and it is also translated
as “atonement,” literally “covering.” As that which shut out the judgmental
waters and secured the safety of everything inside the Ark by acting as a
covering, the pitch very fittingly portrays Christ’s work of making atonement,
covering man’s sin with His own shed blood, and thus covering or sheltering
men from judgment.
The pitch was applied inside
as well as out, and the spiritual truth conveyed is that the pitch outside met
God’s eye, while that inside met the eye of the Ark’s occupants. Speaking as
it does of the atonement made through Christ’s shed blood, it portrays the
result of that work manward and Godward. To God it testifies to the
satisfaction of every claim of violated justice; to man it conveys the same
assurance, and gives him peace.
“... without shedding of blood
is no remission,” Heb 9:22. Man is redeemed only, “with the precious blood of
Christ,” 1 Pe 1:19. “The blood of Jesus Christ ... cleanseth us from all
sin,” l John 1:7.
The Ark without pitch would
have afforded no safety, nor would a Christ whose blood had not been shed. He
who will not be saved by trusting in a crucified Christ will not be saved at
“And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: the length of the ark
shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height
of it thirty cubits.”
As later with the Tabernacle,
so now with the Ark, no detail of its construction was left to man’s
imagination. The Ark which was to be the only place of refuge, is a picture
of the refuge God has provided for men, in Christ. So far as the method of
that salvation is concerned, man has no part in it. This is the truth God
would teach in that He, and not man, decided upon the details of the Ark’s
dimensions and construction. Those details neither required nor permitted
departure from the Divine blueprint. It is the same with salvation.
Anything, even one small detail, added or subtracted makes it, “a way that
seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” Pr
There is only one way to be
saved, only one place of refuge, to be entered in God’s time: that way and
that place are Christ, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh
unto the Father, but by me,” Jn 14:6.
These divinely given
dimensions also furnish a lesson. In the symbolic language of Scripture,
length is associated with duration of life, and breadth with the character or
quality of the life. Since the Ark is a type of Christ, the length of it,
then, points to something associated with the length of His life. The 300
cubits of length factorize to 22 X 3 x 52. Two is the
number of witness or testimony; three, of resurrection; and five, of
responsibility. Since two is raised to the second power it speaks of a
two-fold witness before God and man. The testimony of Christ’s life was
that He had come to lay it down for man’s sin, but that He would take it up
again in resurrection, of which three is the symbolic number. Five, the
number of responsibility, is also raised to the second power, conveying the
lesson that His whole life bore witness to responsibility fully met both as
Representative of God and man.
While the factors supply
details, the whole number 300 emphasizes resurrection. His whole life was
lived in the light of the knowledge that having laid down His life to redeem
our souls, He would be raised again as proof of our justification, (Ro 4:25).
The fifty cubits of the Ark’s
width speak of the character of Christ’s life. Fifty factorizes to 2 X 52,
and here the emphasis is upon responsibility (5). The character of His life
was that it witnessed (2) to a twofold responsibility fully met. As the
Representative of God He displayed Divine perfection. As the Representative
of man He displayed human perfection, but the responsibility He had willingly
assumed could not be discharged until He had paid the price for man’s
failure. The full discharge of that willingly assumed responsibility took
place at Calvary when He presented His own perfect life in place of man’s,
which unfulfilled responsibility had rendered forfeit. Those who live,
because of unfulfilled responsibility perfectly atoned for in His death, now
have the responsibility to live as becomes those whose lives have been
redeemed at such cost.
As length speaks of duration;
and breadth, of quality of the life; height speaks of the life as viewed by
God; and depth, of the life as viewed by man. The height of 30 cubits
therefore, points to the character of Christ’s life in God’s estimation. The
value of that estimation is measured in the 30 cubits which speak primarily of
resurrection, since 30 is 3 multiplied by 10.
The measure of God’s approval
of Christ’s life was His resurrection. The measure of God’s approval of a
man’s life is resurrection to eternal life when the Lord returns. The final
measure of God’s disapproval is for man to be raised at the resurrection of
damnation for the judgment that will result in his being consigned, body, soul
and spirit to die the second death, that is, to enter the eternal torment of
the lake of fire.
Thirty factorizes to 2 X 3 X 5
which translates simply into the truth that resurrection (3) to eternal life
is the witness (2) to responsibility (5) completely fulfilled.
“A window shalt thou make to the Ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it
above; and the door of the Ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower,
second, and third stories shalt thou make it.”
There are differing opinions
as to the nature of this window. Some regard it as a one and-a-half foot
space for air and light, between the sides and the roof, extending the full
length of the Ark. Others take it to be a skylight of some unknown
transparent material set in the roof. Still others take the cubit to be the
height of the peak of the roof, thus giving enough pitch to run off the
The uncertainty as to these
details in no way obscures the spiritual truth being presented. As it was in
the Ark of the Tabernacle, where every detail spoke of Christ, so is it in
this Ark. Every detail speaks of Him.
Wherever its exact location
may have been, the basic thought connected with a window is light. It speaks
of Him Who is Light, and Who, in becoming man, brought to men the “light of
the knowledge of the glory of God,” 2 Co 4:6. The window teaches us that not
only was the Ark a place of refuge for those inside it, but it was also a
place of light. This is the experience of every man who is “in Christ.” He
is eternally secure, and in addition, has spiritual light as well as life.
In his natural state man is in
darkness. He cannot understand the Scriptures, “The natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither
can he know them because they are spiritually discerned,” 1 Cor 2:14. He must
therefore walk in darkness, for only the believer can say, “Thy word is a lamp
unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” Ps 119:105.
Contention over such details
as the dimensions or exact location of the door, tends only to obscure what is
important - the spiritual truth God would teach us by what details He has
supplied. The only information needed here to bring us God’s message is that
there was a door, and it was in the side of the Ark.
Not only does the Ark as a
whole represent Christ, but every part of it performs the same service, for
this door is but the symbol of Him Who said, “I am the door,” Jn 10:9.
Furthermore, there was only one door, which is the typalogical declaration of
His uniqueness as the only Door by which men can enter heaven.
Its being in the side of the
Ark is also significant. It was through that opening in its side that the
occupants passed into the place of refuge and rest. The side of Christ, the
true Ark, opened by the spear of the Roman soldier, provided the blood which
alone can cleanse sin and give men access to heaven.
“... with lower, second, and
third stories shalt thou make it.” Whatever other significance may attach to
these three stories, in the rooms or nests of which redeemed creation found
refuge, one thought presents itself: through Christ’s redemptive work, the
believer enjoys the redemption of all the three parts of his being. That
redemption includes his body (the lower part); his soul (the second part); his
Spirit (the third part).
“And the Ark rested in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, upon
the mountains of Ararat.”
Ararat means the curse
reversed: precipitation of curse (to hasten the end of the curse). The
Ark, having endured the judgmental waters that had destroyed everything else
on earth, and then coming to rest on the mountains of Ararat, is a double
type: first, of Christ in resurrection; and then of the rest into which every
believer enters as a result of His finished work.
Having survived the judgment
that had overthrown the antediluvian world, the Ark rested on the seventh
month, and blessing (the reversal of the curse) began.
Seven (number of perfection or
completeness) points to a completed work. When the Lord Jesus Christ emerged
from the flood waters of Divine judgment that had enveloped Him at Calvary, it
was to rest, with all the redeemed, in His completed work, as the occupants of
the Ark were able to rest, knowing that it had brought them beyond reach of
judgment, as it is written, “For we which have believed do enter into rest,”
Heb 4:3. That finished work of Christ has brought the believer spiritually to
“Ararat” so that he can experience the reversal of the curse and enjoy instead
the blessings of a God to whom he has been reconciled, “Therefore being
justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ....
we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son,” Ro 5:1,10.