Saturday, December 22, 2012
Lesson 5 of Bible Interpretation.
This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.
Rule 5: Never build a Doctrine on a Type
This link in the chain of rules for correct interpretation is the one which is most flagrantly violated by the cults—and by some who are not misled by false teachers. It is a rule which, if carefully followed, will prevent a serious spiritual “accident”! The importance of observing this rule cannot be over emphasized. Many an earnest believer has had to “pick himself up” after taking a “terrible spill” from either ignoring the rule or of being ignorant of it. Here’s how our instructor handled the subject:
1 Corinthians 10:6 “Now these things were our examples…11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:* and they are written for our admonition…”
We shall find great value in types (1 Corinthians 10:11). Here we must use great care. We cannot build a doctrine on a type lest man’s ingenuity and imagination become authority rather than the word itself.
A type may be a PERSON (one whose life illustrates some great truth of redemption, as the life of Joseph); an EVENT (the Passover); a THING (the brazen serpent); or a RITUAL (the tabernacle worship).
*The word “ensamples” is literally TYPES; it is the same word “examples” (verse 6); it is found 16 times in the N.T., translated PRINT, FIGURE, PATTERN, FASHION, MANNER, FORM, and EXAMPLE.
In Galatians 4:22-26, Hagar and Ishmael represent LAW, while Sarah and Isaac represent Grace.
Here we must note carefully that no type is EVER complete in itself; there is always an inevitable breakdown, and that break down prevents us from mis-using the type to build a doctrine! Joseph, for example, is one of the most lucid types of Christ. In the Record, his life magnifies the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ at almost every turn. But there is a break down: In the case of Joseph, he died (a natural death, in no way resembling the death of Christ on the cross). Joseph’s body was embalmed (Christ’s was not). Many years later his bones were carried out of Egypt to the Promised Land (but the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead the third day, and He now ever living at the right hand of the Father where He is making intercession for us!) Thus the typology of Joseph comes to an abrupt end! And this is true also of every other type employed in the Bible.
Now let us follow the teaching of one of the more or less prominent cults (although they very badly wish to be recognized as “evangelical” so they can deceive many more people), in one of their great doctrinal errors:
One of the outstanding teachings of Seventh Day Adventism was, for many years, that Satan is the sinbearer, a doctrine built on THE TYPE OF THE SCAPEGOAT. This teaching by this organization makes Satan equal with Christ in providing salvation. This teaching is now emphatically denied in their official publication, “Questions on Doctrine” (1957); but that same official publication reveals enough other doctrines out of harmony with the Word to confirm the longstanding conviction that the essential error is not the question of the seventh day as they would have you to think. Furthermore, the fact that they have had to change their position indicates that their basic teachings are in error, the TRUTH NEVER CHANGES! If they, or any cult for that matter, had the TRUTH, they would not be constantly changing their doctrines, nor their emphasis.
That frank discussion brings up this question: WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE TYPE OF THE SCAPEGOAT? Only one passage refers to it: Leviticus 16. Two goats are required to convey one truth. One goat typifies the death of Christ! This goat is offered “for a sin offering” (verse 9). This goat is burned completely as a picture of how Christ endured the fires of judgement in bringing us our redemption! But that goat is now unable to do anything further. It is nothing but a goat, and, having been sacrificed, has been burned up completely on the altar! All that remains of it are ashes!
Another goat is needed, if the typology is to be completed. The first goat fully portrays the death of Christ for our sins—but Christ did more than just die for us! We read in Colossians 2:14 that in His finished work on Calvary, He took our sins “out of the way, nailing them to His cross”. The goat, which was sacrificed, now dead, and consumed in the fire, cannot typify this part of our perfected redemption, the second goat is brought in:
Leviticus 16:10 “But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”
The key phrase here is: “to make an atonement WITH him…”—both goats are required to picture one truth! This second goat fulfills the typology of the completed atonement—one is not adequate! How is this done? Note the specified procedure:
Leviticus 16:21 “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:”
In the ceremonial law, Aaron, in typology, transfers the sins of Israel to the head of the goat. Then this goat—the scapegoat—is taken to the wilderness and released, picturing the fact that our sins will be remembered against us no more, for ever. While, typically, we might be saved from our past sins by the death of our Lord, unless they werer completely taken away from us, we would know no spiritual victory! And that’s the truth of being “saved by his life” as revealed in:
Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Now—the important thing regarding SCAPEGOAT theology of that cult: There is no “fit man” by whom to lead Satan (if he were that scapegoat) out into the wilderness; nor could we trust Satan to take our sins away, for the Devil is so deceitful, so untrustworthy, he would have them right back on us, just as soon as that “fit man” should release him in the wilderness!
No type is complete in itself; therefore, never build a doctrine upon a type!
In his book, “CHRIST IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL”, Dr. Lowe adds another statement worth noting:
Typology cannot teach doctrine but, rather, doctrine must point out the type. Types do not prove the New Testament truth but they do illustrate it. First, the doctrine must be known, then and Old Testament window will let in the light. There is no N.T. doctrine but what is illustrated by some O.T. type.
So, link Five in this chain of Biblical rules must be kept ever before the Bible student:
“NEVER BUILD A DOCTRINE ON A TYPE”