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Ishmael Compared with Other Types

Feb 23, 2010

When we study types and shadows, we find many "overlaps" in the characters. For instance, there are many types of Christ--Adam, Isaac, Moses, David, Joshua, and Hosea, to name just a few. Yet while all of the above are types of Christ, they each have their unique portrayal of a particular aspect of Christ. So to get a complete picture of Christ Himself, one would need to understand ALL of the types.

Adam portrays Christ as the Head of creation, but the first Adam (fleshly) is also contrasted with the Last Adam (spiritual). Isaac reveals Christ as the Manchild, the ultimate Heir of the Birthright. Moses reveals Christ as the Lawgiver, David reveals Him as the King, and Joshua reveals Him as the one who brings us into the Promised Land as joint-heirs with Christ. Hosea, of course, reveals Christ as the Husband of harlot-Israel (in the flesh), as well as her Redeemer in the end through a new marriage covenant.

So when we come to the various types of the opposition that God has raised up in the earth, we must study all the fleshly types of the OT. That study also begins with Adam, through whom came death to all mankind. Another important type is Esau, who was called Edom (Gen. 25:30). Adam means "ruddy," while Edom means "red." The names are almost identical, and whereas we are told very little about Adam, Edom is the epitome of the carnally-minded man.

Ishmael, when contrasted with Isaac, gives us another portrayal of the flesh. Like Edom, he was prone to resort to violence in order to obtain what he thought was rightfully his.

In the end, the fine distinction between Edom and Ishmael in prophecy is that Ishmael represents the followers of Judaism in general (has having Hagar as their "mother"), while Edom represents modern Zionism. Judaism and Zionism are related, but are not quite the same. Many Jewish organizations today insist upon this distinction, because not all Jews are Zionists.

Edom was a skilled hunter, as was Nimrod, the founder of Babylon. Both loved carnal means of conquering and subjecting others to themselves. I have already shown in the recent series on Babylon how Esau-Edom killed Nimrod and usurped his power. It was not a good man fighting an evil man; it was two carnally-minded men in competition for the Kingdom.

Then there is always that third factor--the one whom God has truly called as the Heir. Esau is contrasted with Jacob, and Ishmael is contrasted with Isaac. Isaac is the type of the blind "servant people," for he was dedicated upon the altar of God in Gen. 22), and his blindness prophesied of Israel in later years. "Who is blind as My servant?" (Is. 42:19), the prophet asks. This is not a prophecy of Christ, the Ultimate Servant, but of His children, the Christian people. On a more physical level, it prophesies of the lost tribes of Israel, which included Manasseh, the "forgetful" one who would not remember his father's house (Gen. 41:51).

When we study the contrast between Jacob and Esau, it is not only the story of carnal vs. spiritual, or a prophetic account of the controversy over the Birthright; it also focuses much upon Jacob himself and how God had to train him in order to qualify him to be the Heir.

Jacob is the classic overcomer. He is born Jacob, the supplanter, but in the end he qualifies for the title Israel. Jacob was not born an Israelite. Though he was a believer from the start, he was acarnal believer. He thought that God needed some fleshly help to fulfill the prophecy that "the elder shall serve the younger" (Gen. 25:23).

Jacob outwitted Esau by his carnal mind. Later he outwitted Laban. It was only when he tried to fight the angel that he lost the battle, and in losing, he won. He did not win the wrestling match against the angel. He "prevailed" over his own flesh, his own carnal mind, his own way of thinking that his destiny as the heir could only come to pass if he could prove that he had a superior carnal mind.

Jacob had to become more than a believer to be fit to inherit the promises of God. While he was still Jacob, he was not fit to rule in the Kingdom of God. While he was called Jacob, he had many of the same characteristics as Esau and Ishmael, though his carnality was not as prone to outright violence. He used brains, rather than brawn. Yet he did not receive the name Israel, "God rules," until he recognized the sovereignty of God. Only then did he truly "see" God face to face through the angel, and he called the name of that place Peniel, "God's face."

The basic pattern of Ishmael carries over into other types as well. In many of these cases, the Ishmaelite type is seen through the symbolism of donkeys. He was, after all, "a wild-ass man," which is the literal translation of Gen. 16:12, where the angel prophesies over Hagar.

Many years later we find Saul searching for his father's donkeys (1 Sam. 9:3). This alerts us to the connection between Saul and Ishmael. Saul searched for the donkeys for three days (1 Sam. 9:20) before going to Samuel. Meanwhile, God had told Samuel that He would send the man to his doorstep that was called to be Israel's new king.

Saul arrived on schedule, and Samuel then told him to wait for another seven days before the coronation (1 Sam. 10:8). The coronation finally occurred on the day of "wheat harvest," which was Pentecost. It is a Pentecostal story. In Samuel's speech, he said in 1 Sam. 12:17, "Is it not wheat harvest today?"

In the NT, Jesus ascended on the 40th day, and the disciples waited ten more days until they were "crowned" by the Spirit at Pentecost (the 50th day). The OT Saul was told that the Spirit of God would come upon him, and he would prophesy and be turned into another man (1 Sam. 10:6). Obviously, Saul was a type of the Church under Pentecost.

But when we contrast Saul with David, we find that Saul was carnally-minded, while David was the overcomer. Saul, then, was a Pentecostal believer, certainly called of God and anointed by Samuel, and yet his throne rights were only temporary. Saul was, after all, of the tribe of Benjamin (1 Sam. 9:1), while the promise of the Scepter had been given to Judah (Gen. 49:10). So while it was the WILL of God that Saul and his house would rule Israel permanently (1 Sam. 13:13), it was the PLAN of God that he would fail to achieve this so that David the Judahite could be the heir.

Saul, then, identifies more with Ishmael than with Isaac. In Saul's persecution of David, he acted precisely as a spiritual Ishmaelite would act in his persecution of Isaac (Gal. 4:29). The NT Saul, who was also of the tribe of Benjamin (Rom. 11:1), persecuted the Church until his conversion.

Here is where we see another complexity of layered types. In one sense, Ishmael and Saul are Old Covenant men who are carnal yet who are given the first opportunity to FAIL. By contrast, Isaac and David are types of New Covenant heirs of the promise.

Secondly, in another layer of prophecy, Ishmael and Saul are types of the Church under Pentecost--in contrast to the Church under the anointing of Tabernacles (i.e., the overcomers).

To re-state this, the types either portray Old and New Covenant contrasts, or the contrast between Pentecost and Tabernacles. Both views are valid in their own way. But the link between these two layers lies in the fact that the Church under Pentecost is like Saul, who started out very good but went downhill from there until finally being fully overcome by the Philistines (who also represent those with carnal minds).

Pentecost, then, is not the position of inheritance.

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Category: Teachings

Dr. Stephen Jones

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