Biblical Types and Antetypes
A major key to understanding biblical prophecy is to recognize the relationship between antetypes and types in the Scriptures. This means that an event or a series of events occurred once, was recorded in the Scriptures, and then at a later time a similitude of the event repeats itself, but with different characters and scene.
An antetype is a type or pattern of something that occurs before the actual event occurs (sometimes incorrectly referred to as an antitype, which means opposite rather than before). In other words, the first event predicts or points prophetically to the future event. This is a way for the Creator to give clues and hints about future events that will come to pass. Those who are ardent students of his Word and those “who have (spiritual) ears to hear” will pick up on these clues and be able to have a sense of what the Creator is going to do at some future date. In this way, those who diligently seek him are rewarded with understanding or “inside information” about what he is planning to do in the future. At the same time, his divine plans and purposes will be obscured from those who don’t have a diligent heart to seek him and his truth, and who could possibly misuse the truth, if they were to discover it, for selfish purposes if they were to learn it.
Similarly, the Gospels record that Yeshua explained deep spiritual truths via parables not to make the meaning clear to the general public, but rather to obscure it. His teachings were meant to be understood only by those whom he had called that they might know the mysteries or secrets of the kingdom of Elohim (Matt 13:10–11; Luke 8:9–10).
For thousands of years, the prophets of the Bible, as well as biblical students, scholars and sages have understood the concept of antetypes and types and it has helped them to understand Bible prophecy and future events.
Biblical antetypes are identified in three ways. First, the Scriptures themselves identify events as being antetypical. Examples would be:
- The life of Moses pointed to Yeshua (Deut 18:15–19; Heb 3:3–6).
- The serpent on the pole pointed to Yeshua’s crucifixion (John 3:14).
- The rock from which the Israelites drank prefigures Yeshua (1 Cor 10:4).
- The manna the Israelites ate prefigures the Word of Elohim or flesh of Yeshua (John 6:32, 48–51).
- Aaron as the high priest was antetypical of Yeshua’s high priesthood (Heb 5, 7 and 8).
- The sacrificial system pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross (Heb 9 and 10).
- Jonah in the whale is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s death and resurrection (Matt 12:40).
- Melchizedek was an antetype of Yeshua (Heb 7).
- The first exodus (or redemption of Israel out of Egypt) was prototypical of a second exodus or redemption of Israel out of the world in the end times (Isa 11:11; Jer 23:7–8).
The Jewish sages from antiquity have also identified antetypes. Examples would be: Continue reading