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The Types

Our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and were all in Moses baptized in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual food, and did all drink of the same spiritual drink, and they drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the desert. Now these things were done in a figure to them of us. . . .All these things happened to them in figure, and they are written from correction, upon whom the ends of the world are come.1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 11

1. It may be safely said that the Jewish people looked upon the words of the prophets as but one source of information concerning the Christ that was to come. Perhaps even it was not the chief source; the more does this seem true if we consider the allusions that are made in the New Testament. To them their whole history was prophetic; their great heroes were prophetic; their rites and ceremonies were prophetic; in some way everything eventful seemed to foreshadow Him Who was to be the fruit and perfection of them all. As the saints who came after Him were to be His reflection, so the saints who went before Him were His anticipation.

2. Thus, to take but a few examples, in Abraham was foreshadowed His fidelity, His generosity, His obedience, His unworldliness; in Isaac His prayerfulness and His spirit of contemplation; in Jacob His patient toil, His hope, and His tenderly affectionate nature; in Joseph His unspotted purity and His ruling spirit; in Moses the Father of His people, the Lawgiver of the New Covenant, the Deliverer of the people from bondage; in Joshua the Destroyer of the enemies of God; in Samuel the Prophet of the New Covenant; in David the King of the New Kingdom; in Solomon the Builder of the New Temple; and so on through succeeding generations.

3. So, too, did the chosen people see in themselves and their history signs and figures of Him that was to come. They had been in bondage in Egypt; then this was in some way to be the lot JerusalemUgglan1(Temple)of the Messiah. The Nazarene was a word of consecration; then He would be called a Nazarene. The sacrifices of the Temple were of the essence of their faith, and even of their life as a nation; then of His life, also, the essential feature would be the great sacrifice. This mine is almost inexhaustible; it has certainly never been completely worked. For we could now go back upon the almost infinite series of types representing the Christ that was to be in countless ways, from the murder of Abel by his brother, the sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham, the selling of Joseph by his brethren, and the saving of the brethren by Joseph in return, the prayerfulness of Moses, the brazen serpent in the desert, the slaying of Goliath by David in all these the Jews before Christ found matter for contemplation.

Summary Meditation Points:

1. Besides prophecy strictly so called, the Jews saw in all that went before a figure of that which was to come.

2. Thus in all their heroes, patriarchs, prophets, kings, and great men, they saw traits of the ideal Christ Who would include all.

3. And in their own history, and in many recorded details, they pondered on their significance as shadows of the future.


Editor’s Note: This meditation is from Archbishop Alban Goodier’s “The Prince of Peace” (1913).

Archbishop Alban Goodier SJ (1)Art: Ideal reconstruction of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem according to the description from the Bible, first published in the 1st (1876—1899), 2nd (1904—1926) or 3rd (1923—1937) edition of Nordisk familjebok, PD copyright expired, Wikimedia Commons. Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J.,, all rights reserved, used with permission.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Joan

    Oh this is beautiful! What lovely descriptions of all the types representing Christ, Thank you for this.

  • Thanks, Dan. I love to share the idea of typology with my homeschooled children, then watch them try to find the types as we read the Old Testament. This is a great Advent practice and goes hand-in-hand with setting up a Jesse Tree.

  • Patricia

    Christ is the fulfillment of all expectations and foreshadowings! These readings /meditations are are real treasures, I’ m glad you are posting them as they would not otherwise be available to us. Thamk you!

  • GregB

    You can see the Messianic role of Christ foreshadowed in the Old Testament in the matter of David and Bathsheba. In the incident between David and Bathsheba, David becomes guilty of adultery and murder. If you look at the charges that David was guilty of they are the same ones that the Israelite people were guilty of. Israel’s lapses into idolatry, which started at Mt. Sinai with the Golden Calf, led to the prophets calling Israel a harlot. Israel also stood accused of being the killer of the prophets. The unnamed son of David, whose life God took as ransom for David’s life, is the type of Christ the Messiah. In taking the life of the son of David and Bathsheba God established the role of the victim substitute. Christ as Son of David was also a victim substitute. David by his own words told the prophet Nathan that what he had done was deserving of death. When God and Moses got into the discussion at Mt. Sinai about God wiping out the Israelite people, it was God’s way of letting it drop that the Israelite people had incurred a death sentence because of the Golden Calf incident. The Israelite people left Mt. Sinai under the cloud of a commuted death sentence. Christ took Israel’s covenant curses to the Cross and redeemed them with His Own blood.


    David did seven days of repentance, which ended when the child died. Seven is a number of perfection in the Bible. David did perfect penance, but it still was not enough to clear David’s sin debt.


    To me the woman taken in adultery was the type of idolatrous Israel. It is said that the elders were the first ones to leave. I wonder when Christ was writing on the ground if He wrote some verses from Hosea and Jeremiah?

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