Three Ways in Which Prophecy Is Presented

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
There are three ways in which prophecy is presented—
(1) Direct Prophecy.
(2) In Type.
(3) By Biography.
1. Direct Prophecy—This includes all direct statements as to future events. The first instance is found in Genesis 3:1515And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15) — “It [the woman's seed, that is Christ] shall bruise thy [Satan's] head, and thou [Satan] shalt bruise His [Christ's] heel.”
How magnificently this was fulfilled when Satan, so far as his intention and purpose went, was instrumental in bringing about the death of Christ, though in reality the Lord surrendered Himself to the will of God at the cross. Satan's apparent triumph was but short-lived, for Christ rose triumphant the third day, having shattered his power, and fully atoned for sin. The right moment shall assuredly come when Satan will be cast into the bottomless pit and finally and forever into the lake of fire. His head shall thus be bruised.
Let this suffice to explain what is meant by direct prophecy. The reader will recall many a prophecy on Old Testament page as to the coming Christ, His sufferings and His glory, that falls under this head.
2. In Type—All the types are prophetic in character. For Instance, God clothing Adam and Eve with coats of skins was typical, and therefore prophetic. Sin had come in. The sinner was naked. To obtain the needed covering the death of innocent animals had to take place, and with their skins (the skin constituting the beauty of the animal) the naked sinner was covered. Now the root meaning of the Hebrew word rendered “atonement” is to cover.
It is affecting that when sin came in, and the sentence of death was passed, the first death to take place was not that of the sinner in judgment, but of the innocent victim, the sacrifice, the substitute, thus showing forth God's intention to bless and save, and that righteously. The victims typified Christ in His wondrous sacrifice, the covering skins the wondrous atonement effected and its application to the needy sinner in righteousness.
Then, again, the Passover was prophetic. We are not left to guess this, but have the authority of Scripture for putting type and Antitype together. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:77Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (1 Corinthians 5:7)).
The tabernacle and its service in the wilderness, the temple and its service in the land, were all typical of Christ, His deity, His humanity, His life, His death, His resurrection, His glories, of the sinner's approach to God, of the believer's fitness for worship in His presence.
3. By Biography—The Bible biographies of Adam, Isaac, Joseph, David, Solomon, and many others, are in certain details prophetical of Christ.
Adam, the Head of the first creation, is typical of Christ, the Head of the new creation. “Adam... is the figure of Him that was to come” (Rom. 5:1414Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (Romans 5:14)).
Isaac is the type of the heavenly Christ. The first mention of love in the Bible is when God said to Abraham, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of” (Gen. 22:22And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:2)).
Does this not illustrate most beautifully the love of God the Father to His well-beloved Son, and bring before us in type the great sacrifice that righteousness demanded and love provided?
The second mention of love is found when we read, “And Isaac brought her [Rebekah] into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife: and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death” (Gen. 24:6767And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death. (Genesis 24:67)).
This brings us to a beautiful picture of Christ and His Church, of Christ with His earthly links with Israel broken, typified in Sarah's death, and heavenly links formed with His Church, His bride, typified in Isaac's union with Rebekah.
Joseph is a beautiful type of Christ, in that he was loved by his father, hated by his brethren, sold for twenty pieces of silver, passing in figure through death and resurrection in his prison life in Egypt, and finally exalted to the place of rule and authority, becoming in figure the Savior of the world.
Was not Christ loved by His Father, hated by His brethren the Jews, sold for thirty pieces of silver, did He not pass through death and resurrection; and will He not yet come forth as the Savior and Ruler of the world for its peace and blessing in the Millennium?
David is typical of Christ in His rejection.
Solomon is typical of Christ in His exaltation and glory.
Moreover, much of the Psalms, which are in part autobiographical, at least of the feeling of the writers of the Psalms in their circumstances, are prophetic of the feelings of Christ. The writers clearly go again and again clean beyond what could be their own experiences.
The matchless Twenty-second Psalm is the most notable example of this. In it the sufferings of Christ are detailed in a most wonderful way. You can see, as it were, the nails being driven into His hands and feet, and the soldier—robbers gambling for His clothes at the foot of the cross. Without introduction or preamble the Psalm opens with a sob. Right from a heart torn by anguish it comes. “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (verse 1). Surely this was prophetic. One thousand years before the actual cry was uttered on the cross in all its desolating anguish by Christ, the Spirit of God used David to go far beyond his own experiences, thus to place on record a prophetic forecast of the story of the cross.