TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
Exodus chapter sixteen we find the children of Israel murmuring
for bread, in response to which God gave them, first,quails, and then the manna.
The quail represents Christ given first to die for our sins; and the manna, of
course, represents Him as the spiritual food
that nourishes the new spiritual life obtained through faith in Him.
Now in chapter seventeen we
find the Israelites murmuring again - this time for water; and again the response of
God is to give them what they needed. That
water, and the smitten rock from which it came, are no less types of Christ than are
the quails and the manna; but whereas we see in the quails, Christ dying for us; and
in the manna, Christ the living Word presented in the written Word as the food
necessary to sustain our new life, the water represents Him as the written Word to
refresh and cleanse us while journeying through the wilderness of this world on our
way home to heaven.
in so many other places, however, God would have us see here
another symbolic picture of Calvary, and certainly the details
are easily discerned. In that thirsty multitude God bids us see ourselves, doomed to die
unless given the water of Life. We
“drank” that Water once to obtain spiritual life, and we must drink it still to
sustain that life.
The place where they
thirsted was Rephidim, meaning supports: shrinking of hands.
It is a picture of the world, for inasmuch as the hand in Scripture represents
our deeds, the description of the hands as “shrinking” reminds us that the best
deeds of these “shrinking” dying hands cannot redeem our souls; and all the
“supports” of human theology are found to be more worthless than straws as a
foundation upon which to rest for eternity.
is commanded, “... take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod.... Behold I
will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock,
and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink...” Ex 17:5-6.
It requires little spiritual discernment to see here a foreshadowing of
Calvary. Horeb means a waster,
with a dry place, suggested by some as an alternative meaning.
There could be no more vivid picture of Calvary.
It was the place of wasting and dryness, for it was there that the wrath of
God against sin “wasted” Christ as our Sinbearer, bringing Him into “dryness”
- the dust of death, Ps 22:15.
question as to the rock’s being a type of Christ is settled by the Scriptures,
“... that Rock was Christ,” 1 Cor 10:4.
Moses, bearing the rod with
which the rock was to be smitten, is a figure of the law which must strike the
The type of the “elders of
Israel” who stood with him at Horeb, was fulfilled when the Jewish leaders stood
around the cross, watching in mockery when Christ was “... stricken, smitten of
God, and afflicted,” Isa 53:4.
“... and there shall come
water out of the rock.” This too was
fulfilled, for we read, “... one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and
forthwith came there out blood and water,” Jn 19:34.
The lesson to be learned from the fact that the blood is mentioned before the
water, is that there must be redemption by blood before the water of the Word can
cleanse or refresh.
The lesson to be learned
from the fact that water alone came forth from the smitten rock is that the
Israelites didn’t require the blood of redemption: they had already been redeemed
by the blood of the Passover lamb (also a type of Christ).
As typical believers, they needed only the “water of the Word,” Eph 5:26,
for daily cleansing and refreshment.
In that smitten rock God
would have us see Christ at Calvary, “stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted”;
but He would have us never forget the purpose of that smiting, “He was wounded for
our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace
was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed,” Isa 53:5.