Typology (was Re: Alma, Parthenos, Virgin)

John Ronning ronning at nis.za
Thu Nov 11 15:32:47 EST 1999

Chris M. M. Brady wrote:
> If we accept there is
> intertestamental typology (can we include the example of Elijah in the
> wilderness as  a type of Moses?) then how is it "anti-biblical?
Moses > Elijah is a nice example. 40 days without eating for
both of them, they see God on Mt. Sinai, where they receive
a commission which they themselves do not fulfill, but which
must be fulfilled by their successor who is in that respect
greater than them.  Moses is the covenant mediator, is
commissioned to tear down the Canaanite altars, kill the
Canaanites - Elijah complains that Israel has broken the
covenant, torn down the Lord’s altars and killed the Lord’s
prophets, and so he is commissioned to destroy the
Israelites (except for the remnant that has not kissed
Baal). Note that this typological relationship between Moses
and Elijah would cast the king opposing Elijah (i.e. Ahab)
in the role of Pharaoh who opposed Moses, and would cast
Israel as a largely Canaanite (morally speaking) nation.

Moses cannot carry out his commission because he is
prevented from entering the land because of his episode of
unbelief, so his successor Joshua does it.  God begins to
exalt him at the Jordan River (Josh 3:7 “This day I will
begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may
know that just as I have been with Moses, I will be with
you”).  Before Elijah is taken up to heaven, he reverses the
steps of Joshua to cross over the Jordan on dry ground, so
he departs from the same side of the Jordan as Moses was on
when he died.  Like Joshua, his successor Elisha is then
exalted in the miracle of the crossing of the dry Jordan,
and Elisha goes on fulfilling the commission of Elijah.

It’s interesting that for a believing Israelite the names
Joshua and Elisha mean the same thing because Eli = jah.

The NT extends this typology to the pair John (the Baptist)
> Jesus, of whom John says “he who comes after me is greater 
than me.”  Like Joshua and Elisha, Jesus (same name) is
at the Jordon River (his baptism).  The new Pharaoh/Ahab is 
Herod, and John perishes on the same side of the Jordan as

If you look at John 1, you can also see some parallels with
Joshua's actions after the crossing of the Jordan.

Like Samuel Clemmens said, history doesn't repeat itself,
but it does rhyme (seems especially true of biblical



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