This past Sunday, I completed a series through the book of Hosea entitled “Love Defined.” You can access all the sermons here. I learned so much from this book about God, Israel, the sufficiency of Christ and much about my own sin. I also learned that this book is full of typology. I see two main qualifiers for typological events: (1) historical correspondence and (2) escalation. Here are a couple of examples from Hosea:
Hosea 6:1-3 “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
[Historical Correspondence: Israel is torn to pieces (see chapter 5, with Yahweh pictured as a raging lion). Yet they are given a promise that He will soon raise them. . .on the third day. Paul seems to pick on this this in 1 Corinthians 15:4, saying that Christ rose from the dead on the third day “according to the Scriptures.” Escalation: It is, according to Paul, Jesus himself, the true Israel, who rises from the grave on the third day and conquers death where Israel failed. . .and I think he’s pointing to this text as typological evidence!]
Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
[Historical Correspondence: Yahweh, interestingly referring to Israel as His son, calls his son out of Egypt. Matthew reads this event as a type, pointing to a greater event and greater Israel. He sees a people (referred to as God’s son) enslaved to a foreign nation, Egypt. He sees an order for the slaughter of infant males by Pharaoh and one baby miraculously rescued from certain death. (Exodus 1). He sees God call out this baby as a prophet to lead the people out of Egypt. The nation was rescued (called out of Egypt) and yet were unfaithful (like a vine, grapes, toddler, heifer–images used by Hosea).
Escalation: He also sees a baby who is born to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) his name would be called Immanuel (translated meaning “God with us” cf. Hosea 11:9). He sees another king who orders the slaughter of male babies 2 and younger. He sees a baby again miraculously saved and then called out of Egypt to safety, where he grows up to be totally faithful where Israel was faithless. . .Matthew reads Hosea 11 typologically.]
It is almost as if these original events, having real particular meaning at the time, changed, given the end of the story. That is a bit provocative, I admit, but the NT authors (I could mention other typologies in Hosea and in the OT) quote these events as if they were clearly picturing Christ (which they were!).
I’m reading Deep Exegesis, (HT: Jim Hamilton) by Peter Leithart. His chapter on typology is fascinating! Maybe this clip will be helpful in seeing the depth of the Bible regarding typology in a new way. Here’s a taste:
“Events themselves change over time, taking on new properties because of later events. Consider an assassination. At 10:00a.m., the assassin aims, shoots a gun, and hits his target with a bullet to the head. At 1:00p.m., the victim dies at the hospital. . .At 1:00p.m. we can announce that ‘an assassination took place, a horrific and brazen murder.’ We cannot say that at 10:30a.m. because there has not yet been an assassination or murder. At most, at 10:30, we can say that there has been an attempted murder. How are we to account for this?
We have changed our description, from shooting to murder, but that is because the victim died. Shooting and killing qualify as two different descriptions of the same event. That is true in one sense. At 2:00 p.m. we can call what happened at 10:00a.m. either a shooting or a killing. But those are not alternative descriptions between 10:00a.m. and 1:00p.m. They are two different events, and only one of them happens before 1:00pm. . .We can say that we do not know fully what happened at 10:00a.m. This is correct, but it is important to see the reason why it is correct. We cannot know the event fully because we do not yet know how the events of 10:00a.m. will be modified by later events.
The cleanest way to anwer the conundrum is also the most unsettling: the past event changed from a shooting to a murder as a result of subsequent event, the death of the victim. At 10:00a.m. there was a shooting, at 1:00p.m., that original event changed from a shooting to a killing.” (pages 40-44)
“What happened when Abraham took Isaac to the altar? We can describe the event in sheer physical terms: Abraham and Isaac walked up the mountain, Isaac carrying the wood; Abraham bound Isaac; Abraham raised his knife; he heard a voice; he stopped. We might even give a thicker description of the event: by delivering Isaac from the knife, Yahweh promised Abraham that his seed would rise from the dead. Once Jesus rises from the dead, though, that earlier event becomes something more specific. It becomes a promise of Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, a type and a foreshadowing of the great deliverance of Golgotha, the final sacrifice.” (44)
May God continue to reveal the mysteries of His Word to us!