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New Testament Types in Acts: Part 2

Nov 27, 2006

Prophetic types and shadows did not end at the cross. They have continued to the present time and serve as "the signs of the times." Types are of two varieties: short-term and long-term types. The short-term types are the ones that we personally see and experience in our daily lives as we walk with the Lord. The long-term types are the ones written in Scripture that are applicable to us today.

The book of Acts is full of Pentecostal types awaiting a Tabernacles anti-type (fulfillment of the type). Thus, on the surface we see the outworking of Pentecost, but under the surface we see prophetic types of Tabernacles. In that Pentecost gives us a downpayment of the Holy Spirit, we ought to expect to see this relationship to Tabernacles, which gives us the fulness of the Spirit. Pentecost is a small portion of Tabernacles. The main difference is that, whereas Pentecost is a leavened feast (Lev. 23:17), Tabernacles is not leavened, for it is designed to make us incorruptible.

The disciples in the upper room came to understand that in the story of Absalom's revolt against David, Ahithophel was a type of Judas--David's friend who betrayed him. And so in Acts 1:16 and 17, Peter said,

"(16) Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. (17) For he was counted among us, and received his portion in this ministry."

David did not write with Judas in mind, of course. Ahithophel was his "Judas," for we read in 2 Sam. 15:12 that Ahithophel was David's counselor. Peter called him a "guide" (Greek: hodegos). The verb form of this word is used in John 16:13 about the Holy Spirit who would "guide" us into all truth.

Both Ahithophel and Judas represented false guidance, a Holy Spirit counterfeit, whose end is betrayal. In Psalm 41:9, David wrote about Ahithophel,

"Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me."

Ahithophel was David's "close friend" (NASB), even as Judas was Jesus' close friend (Matt. 26:50). Peter then quotes David from Psalm 69:25 and 109:8, saying in Acts 1:20,

"For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his homestead be made desolate, and let no man dwell in it' and 'His office let another man take'."

These are other prophetic statements that David wrote about Ahithophel, which Peter applied directly to Judas. Because it was so written, they knew that Judas was to be replaced. Apparently, the disciples had two candidates for this office: Joseph and Matthias.

The lot fell to Matthias, and then we hear no more of him. He was able to occupy the office of Judas temporarily until the apostle Paul replaced him by divine appointment. I have seen this happen a number of times in my own experience, where people are able to stand in an office temporarily until the appointed one is ready. In this case, Paul was still called Saul and was not even a Christian yet.

Why would God lead the disciples to appoint a temporary replacement for Judas? I suppose their leading was that there needed to be the full twelve at the time that the Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost. But God had a deeper motive here. He intended to illustrate the principle of the two goats in Leviticus 16, who were determined by casting lots.

Here is where we see a continuation of the Old Testament type (the goats), which prophesied of a New Testament fulfillment that was largely independent of the situation at hand in the upper room. In the law, the first goat was to be killed and its blood sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement. Then they were to lay hands on the second goat, impute all the sins of the people upon its head, and lead it alive into the wilderness (Lev. 16:21).

Jesus was the fulfillment of both goats, of course, but each in its own order. As the first Goat, He died, and His blood was sprinkled upon the mercy seat in heaven (Heb. 9:7-12). As the second Goat, He must be sent into the wilderness (the world) to remove all sin from all people. This is a living work, by which He overcomes the world and its temptations. This work actually began at Pentecost in Acts 2 and culminates with the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

And so also, on the day of His baptism, He presented Himself as the first goat to be baptized by John at the same time that the first goat was being killed in the temple. Then he came out of the water of baptism (death), and He was immediately led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. This was a type of His second work as the second Goat.

The first Goat was "for Yahweh" and the second "for Azazel," (Lev. 16:8) which was a satyr, or devil figure. Thus, as the second Goat, Jesus was given into the hands of the devil to be tempted. In this way, He overcame the devil, all temptation, and the world.

All of this is the background by which we may understand the lots cast for Joseph and Matthias. Matthias was chosen, for he represented the first goat and the first work of Christ that would be extended through the Church Age. The primary message was the cross and Him crucified. Joseph represents this second work of Christ, and so his time would come later in Acts 4:36.

Even Joseph's name prophesies of this, for he carries the name of the birthright holder, Joseph, the son of Jacob-Israel (2 Chron. 5:1, 2). We read in Acts 1:23 that Joseph had more than one name, or rather that he was called by different names in other languages. Joseph was his Hebrew name. Barsabas was, I understand, his Aramaic name. We are also given his Roman name, Justus, which is Latin.

In Acts 4:36 we find that he was also called Joses, which is the Greek form of Joseph, and Barnabas, which is Hebrew for Barsabas and means "Son of Consolation." He was truly representative of all men and nations. This man, then, represents the second manifestation of Christ. Thus, in Acts 4, we find that his leading was to portray the work of the feast of Tabernacles. He sold some land, literally, "a field," and put the money at the apostles feet.

We know that "the field is the world," (Matt. 13:38), and that the money represents the field itself. Thus, the work of this Son of Consolation, this man of Tabernacles, is to bring all things under the feet of Christ (1 Cor. 15:25).

This principle is important enough in the Old Testament to warrant an entire prophetic book on the subject. It is the book of Jonah, who is a type of Christ as well (Matt. 12:39, 40). Jonah was called twice. The first time he took a ship to go to Tarshish. A storm arose, and the sailors cast LOTS to find out who was the problem. The lot fell upon Jonah, and he was cast overboard. In the belly of the great fish, he became a type of Christ who died and rose again.

Included in this type is the fact that Jonah's name means "dove." He represents the Holy Spirit who is "swallowed" by the great fish (the symbol of the Church under Pentecost). Thus, he portrayed the Church being filled with the Spirit. He was a type not only of Passover, but also of Pentecost.

After this, he was called a second time (Jonah 3:1) to preach to Nineveh, and the whole city was converted. Nineveh means "city of fish," and it shows the whole world becoming part of the Church and placed under the feet of Jesus Christ. Nineveh had 120,000 citizens (Jonah 4:11), and they are represented by the 120 disciples in the upper room. This world evangelism is the Tabernacles work, the second work of Christ, the work of the second goat. This is what Joseph-Barsabas-Justus-Joses-Barnabas portrayed in the book of Acts.

This is the second part of a series titled "New Testament Types in Acts." To view all parts, click the link below.

New Testament Types in Acts

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Category: Teachings
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones