Category Archives: Typology

Ezra 6:22, Darius King of Assyria? Error or Typological Biblical Theology?

Time was slipping away from me yesterday, so some parts of the sermon manuscript got passed over. For instance, in Ezra 6:22, the king of Persia, Darius, is referred to as “the king of Assyria.” Here’s how the part of the manuscript that got skipped read:

Ezra isn’t confused here about the identity of the king (cf., e.g., 1:2 “of Persia,” 3:7 “of Persia,” 4:3 “of Persia,” 5:13 “of Babylon,” 6:14 “of Persia,” 7:1 “of Persia”). The point of the reference to Assyria is the linkage of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia, all of which represent the evil empire over against the kingdom of God. Those who oppose Israel are identified with one another, just as Ezra identifies his own generation with the generation who returned to the land and successfully rebuilt the temple.

Ezra knows that Darius is king of Persia and calls him that in Ezra 4:24, “until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” It’s possible that calling Darius the king of Assyria in 6:22 is merely an incidental way of referring to the territory or realm that was first ruled by Assyria, then Babylon, then Persia. But even that incidental conflagration has significance for our understanding of what Ezra took for granted.

I’m inclined to think that Ezra intentionally refers to Darius as king of Persia in 4:24 then as king of Assyria in 6:22 to make a point. Similarly, he has referred to Cyrus as king of Persia in 4:5 only to call him king of Babylon in 5:13.

The point Ezra is making by referring to King Darius of Persia as the king of Assyria in Ezra 6:22 represents a profound, yet subtle, biblical theological move that reflects the typological identification of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. The enemies of God and his people are distinguished from one another, but at the same time they are identified with one another because they are, in a sense, all the same.

3 Comments

Filed under Biblical Theology, Preaching, Typology

Review of Joel Kennedy’s The Recapitulation of Israel

Joel Kennedy. The Recapitulation of Israel: Use of Israel’s History in Matthew 1:1–4:11. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2.257. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008. 264pp. 9783161498251. $105.00 (paper). Published in Bulletin for Biblical Research 20.2 (2010): 268-69.

This book is a revision of a dissertation supervised by Francis Watson at Aberdeen. The subject of the book is “the Christological use of Israel’s history in Matthew 1:1–4:11” (3), and its “primary focus . . . is examining Israel’s history and the recapitulation of it in Matthew” (17). Though Kennedy defines “recapitulation as a particular subset of typology,” he thinks “at this point in the discussion, it appears best to step aside from trying to defend typology as a legitimate label for Matthew’s work” (21). He states that typology needs “further refinement,” and therefore his study avoids “the term typology and seek[s] to strictly examine Matthew’s text itself in regard to recapitulation” (22). Kennedy states, “The term most apt in describing [the] utilization of Israel’s history in Matthew is recapitulation, which includes repetition, summing up, representation, and embodiment” (23).

After the Introduction, Chapter 2 looks at Matthew’s Genealogy (Matt 1:1–17). Kennedy passes over Matthew 1:18–25, moving directly to what he refers to as the “Passive Recapitulation of Israel’s History” in Chapter 3 (Matt 2:1–23). Chapter 4 then treats the “Active Recapitulation of Israel’s History” (Matt 3:1–4:11).

Kennedy’s treatment of Matthew’s genealogy first discusses the multilinear and unilinear genealogies in the Old Testament, then proposes that unilinear genealogies can also be teleological when they aim to highlight a key figure at the climactic end of the genealogy, such as the genealogy in Ruth that concludes with David. He then shows that genealogies are compressed narrative summaries. All this sets up a useful discussion of the way Matthew uses the genealogy to present Jesus as the recapitulation of Israel. The sense in which Israel’s history is “passively” recapitulated is that Jesus relives and repeats it in the events that happen to him as a child. Kennedy reads Matthew 2 from the perspective that it is narrating the new exodus. Chapter 4 then discusses the baptism and testing of Jesus.

This book makes an important contribution to the discussion of the use of the OT in the New. More work like this needs to be done, looking at the larger patterns and frameworks in the OT and then examining how these are used in the New. This goes far beyond citation formulas, verbal quotations and allusions, and other connections that are established at lexical levels. The kind of work that needs to be done, like Kennedy’s, is only possible from reading the texts in their original languages, gaining a thorough knowledge of the stories and patterns, and then engaging in slow reflection on textual connections. Too much work on the use of the OT in the New has been done without respect for OT context. Too many assertions have been made by NT scholars (and OT scholars too) whose conclusions betray simple failure to understand what either the OT or NT author was doing.

My only complaints about the present volume have to do with the way it tries to avoid the issue of typology. The attempt to circumvent the issue fails because though the word “typology” is avoided, the term that is used, “recapitulation,” is presented as a subset of typology. I cannot find a statement that differentiates between the two, nor do I see appreciable distinctions between what Kennedy calls “recapitulation” and what Allison, for instance, calls “typology” (Kennedy briefly summarizes Allison, with approbation, on p. 21). Connected to this is Kennedy’s dissatisfying decision to pass right over Matthew 1:18–25. The thesis of my essay (“The Virgin Will Conceive: Typological Fulfillment in Matthew 1:18–23,” in Built upon the Rock, ed. John Nolland and Dan Gurtner [Eerdmans, 2008], 228–47) fits perfectly, it seems to me, with Kennedy’s thesis, and he cites other essays from Built upon the Rock, so he had access to the volume. Perhaps the sticking point was the word “typology,” but in the absence of clear discrimination between that term and “recapitulation,” it seems that one word is merely standing in for the other. Many people have reservations about typology as a method of interpretation, but I do not think that using a different term for the same thing will alleviate those concerns. These complaints registered, let me say that this is an enjoyable and insightful volume that moves in a productive direction. Kennedy models an interpretive approach that will yield sound conclusions regarding how the New Testament authors understood the Old and presented their work as its fulfillment.

4 Comments

Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, Messiah in the OT, Messianism, OT in the NT, Typology

And If We Refuse We’re Rebels

Eric Auerback (Mimesis, 14-15) writes that the intent of biblical stories:

“is not to bewitch the senses, and if nevertheless they produce lively sensory effects, it is only because the moral, religious, and psychological phenomena which are their sole concern are made concrete in the sensible matter of life. But their religious intent involves an absolute claim to historical truth. . . . Without believing in Abraham’s sacrifice, it is impossible to put the narrative of it to the use for which it was written. . . . The world of the Scripture stories is not satisfied with claiming to be a historically true reality—it insists that it is the only real world, is destined for autocracy . . . The Scripture stories do not, like Homer’s, court our favor, they do not flatter us that they may please us and enchant us—they seek to subject us, and if we refuse to be subjected we are rebels.”

HT: A. Philip Brown II, Hope Amidst Ruin, 28 n. 23.

2 Comments

Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Books, Discipleship, Great Quotes, History, Inerrancy, Spiritual Discipline, Typology

Dale Allison on Jesus as the Embodiment of God’s Will

This is just a plug for anyone interested in typology to go read Dale C. Allison Jr.’s fascinating essay, “The Embodiment of God’s Will: Jesus in Matthew,” in the volume Seeking the Identity of Jesus.

This is an essay that will repay careful study, and I expect to cite it a number of times.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Typology

Revelation 2:12-17, Repent of Nicolaitan Teaching

Sermon audio from yesterday morning (link fixed) here: Revelation 2:12–17, Repent of Nicolaitan Teaching

1 Comment

Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Preaching, Sermon Audio, Typology

Was Joseph a Type of Christ?

I think so, and I try to prove it in this essay: “Was Joseph a Type of the Messiah? Tracing the Typological Identification between Joseph, David, and Jesus,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 12.4 (2008), 52-77.

The gist of my article is this: From the reuse of key words and phrases (linguistic connections) and from parallels in significant event sequences (historical correspondence) we can see that the author(s) of the narratives concerning David in Samuel deliberately sought to point their readers to the narratives concerning Joseph in Genesis. Thus, the author(s) of Samuel saw Joseph as a type of David, and the two play similar roles in the outworking of salvation history. We find the same kinds of linguistic connections and parallels in event sequences between the narratives about Joseph and the narratives about Jesus, and Jesus fulfilled everything to which both David and Joseph pointed (escalation). Thus, Joseph was first a type of David, and then both Joseph and David were types of Jesus. In my judgment, this provides the necessary textual warrant to demonstrate both historical correspondence and escalation from Joseph through David to Jesus.

For the details, check out the essay: “Was Joseph a Type of the Messiah? Tracing the Typological Identification between Joseph, David, and Jesus.”

Here are my other attempts to exposit the typological interpretation practiced by the biblical authors in the Old and New Testaments:

The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel,” a Julius Brown Gay Lecture presented at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,” March 13, 2008.

The Virgin Will Conceive: Typological Fulfillment in Matthew 1:18-23,” in Built upon the Rock: Studies in the Gospel of Matthew, ed. John Nolland and Dan Gurtner, 228-47. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.

2 Comments

Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, OT in the NT, Typology

Audio of “The Typology of David’s Rise to Power”

Dr. Moore has just posted the links to the text of Graeme Goldsworthy’s addresses on Biblical Theology given this week at SBTS, and he has also linked to the newly posted audio of the Julius Brown Gay Lecture I gave last week, The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel (right click, save as).

5 Comments

Filed under Messiah in the OT, Messianism, Sermon Audio, Typology

The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel

It was my joy and privilege to present a lecture yesterday at Southern Seminary on the topic in the title of this post.

For those interested in the presentation, I will update this post with the audio if/when it appears on the SBTS website. For anyone interested in the bibliography and the sections I had to skip, here is the manuscript: The Typology of David’s Rise to Power.

3 Comments

Filed under Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, Typology

Julius Brown Gay Lecture at SBTS

I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to deliver a Julius Brown Gay Lecture at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

7369-gay-lecture-cha_134512.jpg

If you’re in Louisville and find the topic interesting, it would be a joy to see you there (particularly if we know each other from my time in Louisville!). 

Otherwise, please pray for me as I prepare my remarks on “The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel.”
Soli Deo gloria

7 Comments

Filed under Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT, Messianism, Typology

Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Temple in the Gospel of John, by Paul Hoskins

Paul M. Hoskins, Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Temple in the Gospel of John, Paternoster Biblical Monographs. Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 2006. xiv + 265pp. $35.00. Paper.

This volume is a revision of a dissertation done by Paul Hoskins, who now teaches at Southwestern Seminary, at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School under the supervision of D. A. Carson. Carson pens a foreword to the book that points to the feature of this volume that sets it apart from the many others that treat Jesus and the temple in John. That distinctive feature is the fine treatment of typology offered by this volume.

Hoskins opens with a chapter that provides a helpful summary of what is happening in Johannine studies, a clear methodological framework, and a very important survey of the state of the scholarly discussion on the issue of typology. Anyone interested in typology should begin their research with this excellent, up to date discussion of the issue.

Chapter two then examines the significance of the temple in the Old Testament and in some extra-biblical Jewish literature. The Old Testament establishes key patterns that will be matched and exceeded by Jesus. Chapter three exegetes passages in John that point to Jesus fulfilling and replacing the temple: John 2:18–22; 1:14; 1:51; and 4:20–24. Chapter four takes up the relationship established in the Gospel of John between the temple and the Jewish feasts and the provision Jesus brings in his death, resurrection, and exaltation.

Chapter five moves on to a key issue in the discussion of typology. A typological relationship between the temple and Jesus is established on the three points that in fulfilling the temple, Jesus has (1) fulfilled an Old Testament institution (2) through the significant correspondence between the institution and himself, and (3) he has also surpassed the temple in the greater provision he makes. The question Hoskins moves to in chapter five is whether the Old Testament temple typology is to be understood as “prospective or predictive.” In other words, did the temple point forward to what Jesus would do? Or, alternatively, should the temple typology only be understood retrospectively, since its import was unknown to the Old Testament author? Hoskins identifies the position that the typology was predictive as the traditional view, and he points to the way that this view highlights divine intention in the Old Testament patterns. This position is informed by what Hoskins argued in the introduction to the volume: that proponents of the traditional understanding of typology “can appeal to a canonical approach that views one divine author as ultimately responsible for the unity of the whole canon” (25). As indicators that the Old Testament types are understood by John as predictive, Hoskins points to John recounting statements that Moses wrote about Jesus (John 1:45; 5:46) and to the words of John 19:36, which state that what happened to Jesus happened in order to fulfill Scripture, and these considerations imply that “John is comfortable with the idea that a type can predict or prefigure its antitype” (188).

Chapter six summarizes the findings of the study and compares them to similar material in Paul and Revelation. Hoskins finds that John provides the basis for Paul’s identification of the church as the temple of the Holy Spirit, and he suggests that the temple blessing of God dwelling with his people finds its consummation in what is described in Revelation.

This book is perhaps the most important study of typology to have been produced in many years, and the clarification of the typological nature of the relationship between Jesus and the temple in John makes a significant contribution to Johannine studies. The temple has received a good deal of attention lately, with G. K. Beale showing the connections between The Temple and the Church’s Mission, my own study, God’s Indwelling Presence, exploring the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in terms of new covenant believers enjoying blessings that were found only at the temple under the old covenant, and Paul Hoskins helps us to see that Jesus is the antitype of the temple. The implications of this volume extend beyond the boundaries of Johannine scholarship, for in some circles there is a good deal of confusion regarding the way that the New Testament authors understand and refer to the Old Testament. A renewal of interest in and consideration of typology is a development that will bring clarity to much of this confusion. This volume can move that discussion forward and deserves significant attention, worthy as it is of careful reading and frequent citation.

7 Comments

Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, OT in the NT, Typology