The Roles of the Different Types
I have taken a long time to get here, I know, but I have finally arrived at a point in my discussion where I can begin to offer a general compare and contrast between David and Jesus.
In my last post (read here), which I called a precursor to the offspring (seed) of David I laid out an explanation of sorts for the protoevangelium (the first peek at the gospel of God) as disclosed in Genesis 3:15. This verse offers a promised conflict and conclusion between the war that was first waged in the garden long ago.
Types and Anti-Types…
If you read my endnotes you will already have a general idea what “type” and “anti-type” means. However, not everyone reads them. So, I will give a quick explanation of them and their use in Scripture. A type is perhaps easiest to understand in the sense of a shadow or a reflection. This ought to sound familiar to us if we are aware of what it means to be created in God’s image. To be an image bearer means to reflect or to shadow the image being represented. Therefore, a biblical type is an example of something else—imperfectly so. Types reflect or shadow the image they represent to a certain degree without perfection. They can be objects, persons or things. What they reflect or shadow or the image they represent is called the “anti-type.”
Anti-type does not mean what you may think it does. As soon as we see the prefix “anti” in English we tend to assume something negative since the term can mean “oppose” or “against.”[i] That is understandable given words like anticoagulant (against-clotting), antiacademic (opposed to academics), antibug (against bugs), antiauthority (opposed to authority), etc.
That being said we derive our understanding of “anti” from the Greek which means “instead of, for, in behalf of.”[ii] In this way then the “anti-type” is seen as the actual replacement of the type which was portrayed earlier in revelation.
In Light of Adam and the Serpent…
Our earthly father Adam was a type of what was to come (see Rom 5.14), in that he represented his offspring after him. Adam the rebel brought forth rebels—in his image—because of the curse of sin and death he ushered in. From his seed he produced sinners. At first glance all seems lost, but in Genesis 3:15 God promises they are not.
The serpent in the garden narrative was also a type of what was to come; or rather, the type that was, but was not seen. Thus, the serpent (type) imaged Satan (anti-type), the “Father of lies” and “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8.44-45). The hostility it showed to the woman (Eve—the mother of all living) in deceiving her to eat the forbidden fruit in order to kill her would continue through the two representative types (offspring of the woman and serpent; Gen 3.15), until the end.
The final conflict would be fought between the two anti-types of whom the offspring of the serpent and the woman represented. Christ Jesus is the anti-type of the seed of the woman, of whom godly men and women, products of grace, essentially mirrored. Whereas, Satan is the anti-type of the seed of the serpent, of whom ungodly men and women, born of Adam’s corruption, essentially mirrored.
In Light of David and Jesus…
Of David it was said by the Lord God, “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my own heart, who will do all my will” (Acts 13.22; cf. 1Sam 13.14; 15.28; 16.13). It was David the Psalmist[iii], the shepherd[iv], the warrior king[v], the prophet[vi] and priest[vii] that we find a type of Christ to come. To have a heart for God, to desire to do all that God commanded, this is what God singled out as pleasing to Him.
Perhaps it is unknown or believers do not give it much thought, but what is true of David here as a type of Christ in that he loved God and wanted to be obedient—i.e., a man after God’s own heart—is actually true of all believers.
Of the line of Judah, we find a comparison between the good and bad kings (leaders of the people). If a king was good, doing right in the eyes of the Lord he was compared to walking in the steps of David (e.g., Jehoshaphat—2Chr 17.3-6; Hezekiah—2Kgs 18.3-5; Josiah—2Kgs 23.25). If he was a bad king, the opposite was said of him (e.g. 1Kgs 15.3).
God promised through Moses that if a person “will seek the Lord your God…you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut 4.29; Also see: Isa 55.6-7). Bear in mind these are pleas from the Lord for the people who are covenanted to Him to abandon their whoredom. To stop chasing after false gods in rebellion against Him, refusing to obey what He has spoken. Some attempt to apply such passages to only Israel, and while we must admit contextually it most certainly applied to them first, it was not limited to them. The whole earth is the Lord’s, and His call has gone out to the ends of it seeking a people who will acknowledge and obey Him. This too we find in Solomon’s prayer of dedication, which includes the foreigner as well (cf. 1Kgs 8.41).
The point being, that God’s people demonstrate a heart for God, and a love for His Word. God promises the repentant that He will, “give…shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer 3.15). David was surely such a man, who though like the rest of Adam’s race was tormented by sin knew that God’s grace sufficiently covered all iniquity. This David desired to teach others:
“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psa 51.14-15).
And while some may deny that these words are David’s, the heartfelt sentiments are surely his:
“I will speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame, for I find my delight in your commandments which I love” (Psa 119.46-47).
What David desired as an image bearer of God (the true meaning of having a heart after God’s own) was to obey His voice, which is better than sacrifice (1Sam 15.22; Eccl 5.1). The folly of Cain, a son of Adam, is that his heart desired the exact opposite; which is what set him apart from his brother Abel.
And yet, in Christ Jesus we are told of a blood more precious than Abel’s sacrifice of devotion (Heb 12.24). Peter explains that “Christ also suffered…leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1Pet 2.21). He loved God the Father and His Word so much that He too declared the truth before sinners and kings, and sent out His disciples to continue the work.
How Does Jesus compare with David?
David as King was chosen to lead God’s people in God’s ways. The responsibility of leadership is to lead in truth, down the correct path, in order to teach people to live righteously. Now Jesus made the claim, audacious to some, that He is “the way, the truth, and the Life” (John 14.6). He swore that if anyone wanted to see life, to walk in the right steps, to know the truth correctly then they must come through Him. He alone is access to God.
David, though his desire and motivations were sincere, they were divided. What Paul speaks of in Romans 7 of a divided nature is true for every genuine believer: past, present, and future. Bear in mind, it is not natural to want to seek God and serve Him. What is natural is to walk in the steps of Cain, the offspring of the serpent. There is a reason why the Holy Spirit says that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1John 5.19). Thus, the need for grace in every age.
Where David failed Jesus of Nazareth, his offspring, did not. Of the seed of David, it is said that His enemies shall be a footstool for his feet (Psa 110.1). In order to be a footstool, something must be above you, therefore David’s offspring is above His enemies. Which also means, he possesses or exercises dominion over them (Gen 22.17; Gen 1.26-28; Psa 2.8; Matt 28.18). In a word He crushes the heads of His enemies under His feet (Gen 3.15).
When God compared David to Saul, He said that David was the better man (1Sam 15.28). Contextually, this statement by God was in reference to obedience, something Saul failed (refused) to do. Jesus made a similar claim in Matthew 5 when he said, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5.20). What sort of righteous standard was Jesus speaking of? Perfect obedience.
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect” (Matt 5.48).
This was not a new standard but an old one. To be perfect like God means to be holy like God (Lev 20.26). This is our charge from the very beginning. Adam was created for obedience. True obedience is an act of faith where you take God at His Word and act faithfully regarding it. Without this faith, you cannot please God. What is the measure of this faithfulness, this holy perfection you may ask? Obedience to the Torah (Law; instruction) of our Creator, which is the foundation from which Jesus makes the claims in Matthew 5 that I have already cited above (see Matt 5:17-19).
The Seriousness of Christ
How serious was Jesus about obeying God the Father? For starters, He treated it as a chief and necessary desire (by comparing it to food):
“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4.34). When the old serpent Satan tried to tempt him from this standard in a weakened state the Lord replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matt 4.4; cf. Deut 8.1-3). In other words, it is impossible to live apart from the Word of God. In His word we find truth, life and the way that we should go.
To draw this discussion to a close I turn the reader’s attention to one last portion of Scripture, the 5th chapter of John’s Gospel.
Jesus’ desire was to be perfect as His heavenly Father is. He explained several times during His ministry that He came to speak and act on the Father’s behalf (see John 6.39; 8.28; 10.30-33; 12.49). These things that He did and said bothered many, for they found in them clear claims of deity: “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5.18).
Now it’s possible you’ve heard it said that Jesus never identified himself as God. The statement is inaccurate. It is true Jesus did not say, “I am God!” to the gathered crowds. However, this does not mean He never identified himself as such.
Why were the Jews angry with Him? Well, for starters He refused to follow their traditions. He worked on the Sabbath, healing and doing good. If that wasn’t bad enough, He called God His Father.
The Scriptures teach that God created six days and rested on the seventh. The seventh day He made holy. That is to say, He set it apart as a day of rest (refreshment, enjoyment and worship). God didn’t need to rest, but He set one day aside during the week for His creatures so that they might rest. The Sabbath was a gift given to mankind. It is true that God commanded no work on the Sabbath, and when He called out Israel from Egypt, He instituted punishments for violating it but that was to train the people in the way they ought to go. Since sinners do not appreciate, respect, or listen to things they ought to do, unless they are disciplined to do so.
Jesus is working on the Sabbath, and the Jews are like “What do you think you are doing? Do you not know what is written? Don’t know you know what today is? Who do you think you are, to do whatever you wish?”
Jesus’ response is that what He is doing is exactly what the Father is doing. “My father is working until now, and I am working” (John 5.17). This infuriates His audience. And so, Jesus continues,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5.19).
**Let’s do a little observational reading here and breakdown the Lord’s words above.
“I can do nothing on my own.” In other words, I am not acting solo here. I’m not acting on my own authority independently, but on the authority of another dependently.
“The Son [of God] …does…only what he sees the Father doing.” In other words, it is not my will being enacted, but the will of the Father. I am mirroring God. I am doing God’s will. I am witnessing what He would have me do, and I do it.
“For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” Which means what precisely? That the Son is perfect like His Heavenly Father is perfect. That the Son images the Father without fault. There is no error in Him. What God does, Jesus does. What Jesus does, God does. What the Father wills, the Son wills. What the Son wills, the Father wills.
Jesus tells the Jews that they marvel because of what He is now doing and saying. He heals a lame man on the Sabbath (John 5.11, 14), and says He does exactly what He sees the Father doing, and if that is not enough: “greater works than these will [the Father] show [the Son], so that you may marvel” (John 5.20; italics added).
The Father raises the dead, so too the Son for the life that God the Father has, the Son has as well (John 5.21, 24-26, 28). The Father is the Judge, and yet has deferred judgment to the Son (John 5.22, 27, 29-30). Why? So, “that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father” (John 5.23). Who shares equal honor with God? Who retains the right to enjoy honor supposed to be given to the Father? The Son—Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.
Why Jesus is the Anti-Type
This is why Jesus is rightly called the anti-type, the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, the seed of David. He is the perfect image of God, being God manifested in flesh. He demonstrated dominion over all aspects of creation (in heaven and earth) through various signs, but the greatest of which is His victory over death and sin and the Devil who bred them.
The place of the crucifixion has a fitting name, it is called Golgotha. Which, means “the place of the skull” (Matt 27.33; Mark 15.22; John 19.17). The protoevangelium states that the promised seed of the woman would crush the serpents head. Obviously, the language is figurative but has a real-life application.
In the garden, Satan (the serpent) murdered the first man by deceiving his wife getting him to doubt God’s Word. The second (or last) Adam first entered the wilderness where the enemy had encamped. He fought the first battle and was victorious, and for the next three and a half years He continued winning ground. He did this because He was a man after God’s own heart, and He is better than all other men because He was in all things obedient to the Word of God. He proved this in the garden where He prayed:
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22.42).
“What was Jesus attempting to accomplish at that moment?” you may wonder.
“Now is the judgment of this world…” Jesus says, “now will the ruler of this world be cast out…because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 12.31; 16.11).
The writing on the wall appeared, so to speak, when Jesus in His last breath exclaimed, “It is finished!” (John 19.30). What was finished? The crushing of the serpent’s head. The victory promised in the beginning was accomplished over 2,000 years ago. But you say, “What about all this evil? That cannot be! How can Christ have defeated Satan, the seed of the woman triumphing over the seed of the serpent, if there is still all this wickedness?”
You ever smashed a snake’s head? Perhaps, you’ve gone the other route and cut it off. Either way you know that even though a death blow has been delivered the serpent still squirms, still opens its mouth as it is in its death throes. Satan, for all his movement in this world is in his death throes. He’s been defeated. He’s lost the war. Since he is the father of lies, it makes sense that he deceives himself into believing it’s not over yet. The problem we face is whether or not we are going to take him at his word, or believe what God has already spoken:
“But thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ…lead[ing] us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere…For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1Cor 15.57; 2Cor 2.14; 1John 5.4).[viii]
[i] “Anti,” s.v. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition.
[ii] Warren C. Trenchard, Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament, Rev. Ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 14. Also see: Friedrich Bushel, “anti,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 10 vols., ed. Gerhard Kittle and trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 1:372.
[iii] 2Sam 23:1. Not to mention the many psalms attributed to him in the book of Psalms. E.g. Psa 19.
[iv] 1Sam 16.19; 17.15. “He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds” (Psa 78.70).
[v] 1Sam 18.5-7; 2Sam 8.10; 19.9. “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” (Psa 144.1).
[vi] Acts 2:25-31.
[vii] 1Chron 21.19-28. This does not mean that David took on the priestly role in a formal setting. There was a separation between ecclesiastical offices and civil. The Levitical priesthood occupied the former and the line of Judah the other. However, David take on a priestly role in intervening for the people, building and altar unto the Lord and offering sacrifices there. Whether or not those how accomplished the proceedings were Levitical priests at the time is not my point, it is the role of intercessor that David makes on behalf of the people and on behalf of his own sin that I am referring to. In the same sense then, Solomon’s dedication prayer for the temple, while done as king was performed in the role of intercession on behalf of God’s people domestic and foreign in a priestly manner.
[viii] I understand and am fully aware of the different contexts in which these texts are used, but the points in them are sound in illustrating the truth as it stands in the finished work of Christ Jesus.