1999-02-13 - Typology: BEWARE
Originally Published 1998-04-04Lately I have been asked a lot about typology. Yes there is some significance to it in the Bible. I can say that I am well aware of its use in the tabernacle of Israel and the appointments surrounding it. I also know that later in Jewish history the Temple and the items in it, were patterns of spiritual realities in heaven. The book of Hebrews is explicit on these points. Yet there are some dangers with typology also. Especially when everything about the Bible is loosely personalized or spiritualized. The danger lies in that the primary meaning in the context is lost (or replaced) and a different meaning than what was originally meant is born. In other words the truth is missing. In fact, if this is to be our only way of understanding the Bible, then each of us can have a different perspective; and, the inherent truths inspired by the Holy Spirit are also not absolute and change according to how we have read. This is preposterous, and most emphatically inspires me to study harder to discover the author, the dates, times, laws, economy and any other pertinent facts in a passage of the Bible so that I can understand just what was going on. I want the truth, nothing less and nothing more--and nothing else! This in and of itself tells me we need to be very cautious in how we study, and typology can be deceiving if we go to extremes with it and avoid the actual contextual meaning.
The expression "spiritualizing the scriptures" is a common term used to apply to the method of interpreting scripture. It says -- yes the Scriptures say one thing -- but we are not to take them at their face value; we are to seek some hidden or veiled meaning. This is called spiritualizing. Many folks use this method without really even knowing that they are doing so. Someone I know has aptly called it phantomizing the scriptures, and another called it evaporating the Scriptures. One can easily do that. When we resort to such a method of interpretation, one can make the scriptures say and mean anything they desire, thus proving anything by the scriptures. But you can not do so that easily if you take them for what they say, and believe and act accordingly.
I have had more folks laugh at me for quoting this from memory and very few take me seriously yet for the sake of truth I shall repeat it again here.
"When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning -- unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic fundamental truths, indicates clearly otherwise.."
The scriptures are to be taken literally and are to be interpreted that way unless there are facts in a given context that indicate a departure from the literal meaning of the very words employed.
Does extreme typology fall into the category of the allegorical method of interpreting Scripture? To answer this question let me say at this point it is rather difficult to be dogmatic and specific. I could answer definitely when certain examples are given, yet I need to say that any kind of extreme position, regardless of what it is, should always be viewed with suspicion and viewed as potentially dangerous. Remember folks, the devil masquerades as an angel of light and he ummmm lies, steals and murders. Personally I am very suspicious about much of what is called typology. However, there is such that may be called typology in the Bible; about that fact no one can deny, who is acquainted with the Word of God.
In His Service,