The Cross as Seen by Typology
While the cross was alluded to in the Old Testament, the deeper truths of “the cross,” those which Paul says “the power of God unto salvation” were never revealed in the Old Testament… or were they. Yes, they are revealed as seen by the hindsight of the Pauline truths found in his 13 epistles (Romans to Philemon).
Paul tells us the things of the Old Covenant are mere shadows, used to barely reveal the truths of Jesus’ cross-death and sufferings. In Bible hermeneutics (the methods of Bible study), these shadows are what are called “types” in the study device referred to as typology. There we find the essential meaning of the O.T. shadows with ever increasing clarity.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (reality of these) is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17 (KJV)
Paul sometimes refers to these as “allegory,” which means “a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.” Most Bible students know well the story of Sarah bearing Isaac, but only after erring, suggesting that Abraham sire a son, Ishmael, by Hagar, his handmaiden.
Paul uses these actual happenings in the lives of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar to reveal that Israel later, as we are today, may be saved by faith in the Son of the “freewoman,” Jesus Christ, and that the believers are not the product of the Hagar, slave woman (bondwoman). Thus, Paul tells us the life of Sarah and the offspring of Sarah and Hagar are… are to be seen in allegory or type.
“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after (according to) the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise
(Isaac came only by Abraham’s and Sarah’s faith in God’s word of promise to them. Isaac was born of a miracle to Sarah who was dead in her womb, barren. Similarly, later we see Jesus who was miraculously born by conception by the Holy Spirit of God… to a 15-year old virgin, Mary; who at that time was betrothed to be married to Joseph.)
24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai (the place of the Law), which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar (Hagar). 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above (spiritual, celestial) is free, which is the mother of (bears) us all. 27For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate (Sarah, though seemingly abandoned) hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise (cf. Ephesians 1:13).
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh (Ishmael, the father of the Arabs and Muslims) persecuted him that was born after the Spirit (Isaac), even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” (Gal. 4:21-31 (parenthesis added)
I trust that which is found in the parenthesis I’ve added will help you see the fuller meaning of these verses. It is in these verses that we plainly see the foremost place of “faith” in obtaining “the promise” of the words of God.
Paul used typology in the form of allegory to reveal these and other deep truths that he was first to receive, as were revealed to Him by Jesus from heaven (cf. Gal 1:12), which Peter learned from Paul (2Pet. 3:15-16).
Having the introduction to Biblical Study by typology, let’s now note how detailed the Lord is in using typology to reveal the very meaning of the Lord’s suffering in His passion of the cross.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum (aromatic gums); these sweet spices with pure frankincense (for white smoked incense): of each shall there be a like weight: 35And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered (Heb., malah, pulverized) together, pure and holy: 36And thou shalt ‘beat some of it very small,’ and put of it before the testimony (the Ark) in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. 37 And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD.” (Exodus 30:34-37)
There are many helpful ways of grouping the types together. For example, we often find those which differ in many respects have one detail in common.; and in this case, we may assume that the teaching conveyed by that one point is the same in each case, and by linking all together it is emphasized and impressed. Such is the case when we see types of the Lord’s suffering.
There are, used in the building and equipping of the Old Testament and for its priestly service, many elements that were produced by the same method of being “beaten.” Consider that all these elements had the word “beaten” in common when they were described in the Jehovah God’s explicit instructions to Moses for their making. There’s the Beaten gold, the Beaten ears of corn, the Beaten flour, the Beaten olive oil, and the Crushed and finely Beaten spices that are mentioned in these verses; Exodus 27:20, 29:40, 37:17, 37:22, Leviticus 2:14, 2:16, 16:12, 24:2, Numbers 8:4, 28:5, 2 Chronicles 2:10, 9:15-16, and more.
Each of these is a significant “type” or representation of The Lord’s sufferings, and death that yields so much to us as believers today, as is also promised to be received by the believers of Israel in the coming Kingdom at His 2nd coming. In the Tabernacle and its service, and elsewhere, we again and again have the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ typified by the crushing and beating of different substances.
In the Tabernacle, itself, the pure beaten gold of the mercy seat, upon which the Priest sprinkled only drops of the blood, of an innocent sacrifice bullock, off one “finger” (Leviticus 16:14), to expiated or take away the sins of the people. That beaten gold mercy seat covered “the Law” that was in the ark beneath it. Two gold Cherubim were poised looking downward toward the beaten gold mercy seat that received the drop of blood. This spoke of Christ shed blood taking away our sins.
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (Romans 3:25 (KJV)
The candlestick also was not only pure gold but “beaten gold.” The beaten crucified and resurrected Lord is now “the Spirit” who gives us the light of Christ now in us to guide our way.
The spices for the holy ointment and for the “altar of incense” was made of “crushed and beaten” frankincense and other spices that were added to the compounded “beaten Olive oil.” As an ointment, this typified the Holy Spirit that arose out of Jesus’ death and resurrection, who would come upon the believers of Israel and then as “the Spirit of life” who now dwells within us today as members of the body of Christ.
Consider how the Tabernacle Anointing Oil was compounded of spices and oil.
Ultimately, we as believers should come to realize that everything we possess of the Lord comes to us via Jesus’ sufferings and His Cross. This can be seen in the compounding of the Holy Anointing Oil used in the O.T. Tabernacle and its service. The elements of the Compounded Anointing Oil, as seen in Exodus 30:32-25, are symbolic of the All-Inclusive Riches of the Spirit of Christ that flow to us from the cross. The elements of the Holy Anointing Oil typify:
- Jesus in His Incarnation
- Jesus in His Suffering
- Jesus in His Death
- Jesus in His Resurrection
The resurrected Christ brought His humanity and experience into the eternal God-Head (Rom 1:3-4). The Spirit of God, typified by “Olive Oil” is now fully Compounded to be all that man needs… for eternity.
Now let’s read God’s formula for the Holy “anointing oil” taking it by its phrases in Exo. 30:23-25:
23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices,
- of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and
(Speaks of Jesus’ death – Note: Wise men brought (500 shekels - Used to anoint dead bodies)
‘gold,’ representing His kingship, ‘frankincense” a symbol A shekel in weight equals 11 grams or 0.4 ounces.
of Jesus’ priestly role, and the ‘myrrh’ here prefigures
Jesus’ death, as used in His embalming (Jn. 19:39).
- of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and
(Speaks of the sweet fragrance of His life offered) (250 shekels; the offering and sacrifice of His life is a sweet-
smelling savor unto God (Ephesians 5:2)
- of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, 24And
(A sweet reed or cane that grows up out of muddy estuaries. (250 shekels; the dried reed was pulverized beyond
It speaks of His death that released His essence as a sweet recognition for its use in the Holy ointment.
Smell of the Spirit)
- of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and
(Speaks of His humble life offered, from which He rose, (500 shekels; “Cassia” in Hebrew means “to bow down the
destroying all the power of the Devil (Heb. 2:14) Head” as Jesus “humbled Himself to death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8). It is used as a remedy for snakebite. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746536/
- of oil olive an (one) hin: (One (1), Symbolic of God’s One Spirit)
(Olive Oil here speaks of “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” that came by Jesus being “crushed” to death for its release to us. The fact that all the spice elements that were added into the oil speak of what is included in the Spirit.
Thus, the Oil speaks of the divinity of God into which the elements of Jesus’ incarnation, suffering death, burial and resurrection were added or compounded.)
- 25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound (of more than one component) after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
- (“Compounded” together, these are the one All-Inclusive Ointment now within every believer)
Since, Christ brought His humanity and entire human experience into the eternal Godhead Spirit;
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 (KJV)
The Significance of The Holy Ointment Spices (As adapted from a writing by Witness Lee)
Let us now consider the spices in more detail. We must note the quantity of each of the spices.
Exodus 30:23 says, “Take thou also unto thee finest spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of fragrant calamus two hundred and fifty shekels”
The quantity of the first spice, myrrh, is five hundred shekels.
However, the quantity of the second and third spices, cinnamon and calamus, is only two hundred and fifty shekels. Put together, the cinnamon and the calamus make one complete unit of five hundred shekels.
Like myrrh, cassia, the fourth spice, is in the quantity of five hundred shekels. These three complete units of five hundred shekels signify the Triune God, and the hin of olive oil signifies the unique God who “is Spirit” (John 4:24). Hence, in this compound we see the three in one.
The second of the three complete units of five hundred shekels was split. This points to the fact that the Son, the second of the Godhead, was split on the cross. The splitting of the second unit of five hundred shekels thus implies the death of Christ.
The number “four” (four spices) indicates ‘Christ’s humanity.’ Jesus is God who is 3, plus 1for man. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh (man)” (John 1:1, 14). When the Word became flesh, the Triune God became involved with humanity. The Triune God was involved with the man Jesus. At a certain time, Christ, the second of the Trinity, was crucified, split, put to death as noted by the “half so much” of the cinnamon and calamus in the Holy Ointment.
Myrrh signifies the sweetness of the death of Christ.
Cinnamon, differently, signifies the savour or aroma of the effectiveness of His death. The death of Christ is both sweet and effective. In this compound ointment, we have not only divinity and humanity, but also the sweet death of Christ and the effectiveness of the death of Christ. This means that when we receive this ointment within, it there is the effectiveness of Christ’s death in putting off the Old Man of the flesh.
Calamus is a type of reed that rises high, even shoots high, into the air out of muddy ground. It surely indicates the power of Christ’s resurrection, for Christ resurrected from the mud of death into the heavenly air as the Spirit. Jesus Christ is the real calamus.
Cassia signifies the flavor of the power or effectiveness of the Lord’s resurrection. According to some lexicons, in ancient times cassia was used not only as a spice, but also as a repellent to repel insects and snakes. Satan, the snake, is afraid of the crucified and resurrected Christ who has freed mankind from their sins and the Sin-nature and judgment... if they receive Him by faith.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12 (KJV)
Today Christ’s Spirit is seen as the Holy Anointing Oil that every believer possesses within.
“But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” (1 John 2:20 (KJV)
“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:27 (KJV)
By these spices, we see the fragrant odor of Christ’s work that pleased God the Father.
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour (odor) of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour (odor) of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour (odor) of death unto death; and to the other the savour (odor) of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (KJV)
Christ As Seen in Many More Bible Types:
The oil of the “meal offering” was “beaten oil”; and for the candlestick “pure oil olive beaten for the light.”
The corn for the meal offering was “beaten out of full ears”; and for the same flour offering, which speaks to us of the Lord Jesus Christ offering to God a spotless life, was “fine flour,” as also the flour for the daily produced 12 loaves of “shewbread.” The “captain of our salvation” was made “perfect through sufferings” (Heb 2:10). In Isaiah 28:8 we read that bread corn is “bruised” and the “manna” in the wilderness needed to be ground in mills or beaten in a mortar. Jesus is the one dying grain that multiplied to give us His life.
“Except a corn (grain) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12:24 (KJV)
We are told that Gethsemane means “olive press”; it was not only that last terrible night that He visited Gethsemane, we read that He “ofttimes He resorted thither with His disciples.” His whole life was one of suffering, thus we note the prophetic words “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” (Isa. 53:10) … and Paul’s words “that I may know Him… and the fellowship of His sufferings.
All these are different elements picture of the sufferings of our Lord throughout His lifetime on earth in order to save us and give us His eternal life.