Canaan Land, A Type: Heaven, The Antitype, Compared
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Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011
by Joel Hendon
The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary provides this simple definition of the word “type“: “a person or thing (as in the Old Testament) believed to foreshadow another (as in the New Testament)”. A biblical scholar, Mike Riley, adds this to the definition: A study of Bible “types” and “antitypes” is a fascinating study. A “type” is defined as: “A biblical person, thing, action, event, ceremony, structure, furniture, number, etc. that prefigures an ‘antitype’ of the same in the New Testament”.
It was God’s plan, from before the creation, that he would send a savior to live on the earth and devise a plan whereby mankind could be redeemed from his sins and have an opportunity to choose to obey him and thereby live eternally in heaven after this life. In order to bring the world into the proper condition and to bring that savior to earth at the proper time, much had to be planned before it.
As the ages past and people became more knowledgeable and God had determined when, where and how that savior would be sent, he found a faithful man in Abram, whom he later changed the name to Abraham. The world had already returned to evil doing and worship of idols in the relatively short time after the universal flood. This is perhaps the reason God chose Abram. He lived in an area filled with idolatrous people, yet he was faithful to God.
So God approached him and made a covenant with him, that he should leave the area of his relatives and he would be shown the land that God would give his children, a land described as flowing with milk and honey. The land he showed him was the land of the Canaanites. Basically it was the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, from Lebanon in the north to the Brook of Egypt in the south. It was inhabited by various peoples most of whom were descendants of Ham and his son, Canaan.
When God assisted Moses and the children of Israel to escape from their bondage in Egypt, the first priority was to escape from the Pharaoh and his army, so they were miraculously led across the Red Sea which put them on the opposite side of the sea and the Jordan river from where their promised land was to be. But as they traveled northward, they encountered opposition from residents. As they traveled they were challenged by the Amorites and their king Sihon. However, with the help of God, the Amorites were routed and Sihon was killed. They also conquered the lands of the Moabites and the Midianites. These lands were good for grazing and the tribes of Gad and Reuben asked permission to locate there rather than to go over Jordan.
After the men agreed to continue own with the other tribes to help with the conquest on the west side of Jordan, they were granted permission to settle in these lands east of the river. Half the tribe of Manasseh also opted to stay on the east side.
After they successfully conquered the lands of the Canaanites and were settled in, they then had fulfilled the promise of God to Abraham several centuries before. Although, through their straying from God, their lives were often made miserable by outside sources and eventually they lost their promised land and even their identity as God’s chosen people.
But the overall picture of this escape from the cruel bondage of Egypt, and their eventual successful conquest of the promised land is considered by many scholars as a prefigure or shadow of the New Testament coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the establishment of his kingdom which frees people who will accept it from the bondage of sin. Read these verses:
Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin; (Romans 6:3-6 ASV)
For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual food; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them: and the rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 ASV)
The apostle Paul made the clear comparison that, as the Israelites were baptized by being covered with the cloud and surrounded by the sea, they were freed from Egyptian bondage when they emerged out of the sea, then through hardships and problems, they eventually reached their reward of the promised land.
The passage from Romans above shows that the Christian, when he is baptized in water, into Christ’s kingdom, he is freed from his old sins, and even though he will be faced with trials an troubles, if he is faithful unto death, he will reach the promised land of Glory.
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