From OT Baptisms to the Cross: Behold Your Escalating Bible

From OT Baptisms to the Cross: Behold Your Escalating Bible

From OT Baptisms to the Cross: Behold Your Escalating Bible

Jesus is the purpose of redemptive historical past. In Ephesians 1:10, Paul observes that God has “[made] identified to us the thriller of his will, in accordance with his goal, which he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of timeto unite all issues in him.” In Galatians 4:4, the apostle has the identical view in thoughts: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son.” Hebrews 1:1 additionally highlights the climactic arrival of the Son of God: “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.”

Briefly, the apostles, as mannequin interpreters, perceive all redemptive historical past to be resulting in Jesus.

Instance of Baptism

Consequently, it’s not stunning to seek out that the “typological structures” of the Previous Testomony escalate till they discover success in Jesus. In different phrases, the Scriptures start with glimpses of the pre-incarnate Christ and steadily add contour and shade to the portrait of the approaching Messiah. Over time, such glimpses of grace are developed and made extra concrete as the categories—that’s, forward-looking individuals, occasions, and establishments of the Previous Testomony—repeat and escalate.

One distinguished occasion repeated within the Previous Testomony is “baptism.” As Peter observes in his first epistle, baptism “corresponds” (by way of success) to Noah and his life-saving—make that humanity-saving—ark (1 Pet. 3:20).

On this article I need to present that Previous Testomony “types” don’t simply prefigure Christ and his work of salvation, but in addition develop in depth and efficacy because the incarnation nears.

We’ll take baptism as a case research.


In line with 1 Peter, baptism begins not on the waters of Aenon (John 3:23), however in Scripture’s opening chapters. In Genesis 6, God tells Noah that humanity’s sin has reached a essential mass (v. 5) and that he plans to destroy the world with water. In that trial by water, God guarantees to avoid wasting Noah and his household.

That is the origin of baptism, the headwaters of each different baptismal font. At first look, it might appear to be essentially the most distinguished of all baptisms, however it’s really the weakest. Granted, the waters engulfed the entire earth, however after we take into account Noah’s ark solely saved seven folks in addition to himself, we see simply how weak this “baptism” was. It set in movement the sample of salvation by means of judgment, nevertheless it did little to impact salvation.

That is the origin of baptism, the headwaters of each different baptismal font. At first look, [Noah’s] could appear to be essentially the most distinguished of all baptisms, however it’s really the weakest.

In a purely bodily sense, it spared the human race, nevertheless it had little religious impact. Noah functioned as a priest who mediated—and in a way, nonetheless mediates—a non-salvific covenant for all folks. As Genesis 9 exhibits, nonetheless, Noah’s covenant mediation was weak. Like Adam, he too fell bare as a result of fruit of the vine. His sons inherit a combined blessing—Shem is blessed, Ham is cursed, and Japheth stands someplace in between.

Noah’s trial by water will get baptism began, however it’s the weakest hyperlink within the typological chain.


Subsequent, the folks of Israel are baptized into the salvation mediated by Moses (1 Cor. 10:2). Moses himself undergoes a baptism of types when he’s thrown into the Nile (a spot of demise) and rescued miraculously by means of Pharaoh’s personal daughter (Ex. 2). Harkening again to Noah’s baptism, the basket Moses is positioned in is definitely an “ark” of refuge (a deliberate linguistic connection between the 2 tales).

Eight many years later, when Yahweh saves the nation, he does so each by substituting a lamb for the firstborn of Israel (an escalation of the substitution sacrifice present in Genesis 22) and in addition by parting the Pink Sea. Paul later calls this occasion Moses’s “baptism” (1 Cor. 10:2), and, like Noah’s ark, it corresponds to the salvation finally present in Christ.

In redemptive historical past, Moses’s baptism is bigger than Noah’s, for it saves various relations. Moses’s baptism saves the entire nation of Israel. Even the occasion’s depth is unmatched by the primary flood. Whereas Noah boarded the ark earlier than the waters got here (Gen. 7), Moses’s waters stood able to swallow Israel as Pharaoh’s armies chased them. With Israel fearing for its life, God instructions Moses to boost his employees, that he would possibly half the waters and supply salvation (Ex. 14:10–16). After their secure passage, Moses pulls again his hand because the waters cowl the Egyptians’ heads (v. 26). On this dramatic narrative, it’s plain to see how the efficacy and depth of baptism have escalated.


A era later, Joshua takes Moses’s place. Whereas he doesn’t measure as much as Moses’s standing as a prophet (see Ex. 34:10–12), he too is named “the servant of the LORD” (Ex. 24:29)—an appellation typically used of Moses (Deut. 34:5; Josh. 1:1–2, 7, 13, and so forth). In Joshua’s quest to steer Israel into the Promised Land, they’re once more blocked by raging waters in flood stage (Josh. 3:15). Like Moses, Joshua receives his instruction: “Command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan’” (v. 8). Joshua obeys. The monks enter the flood waters; the waters get up in a heap (v. 13); and Israel is ready to enter the land.

As on the Pink Sea, Israel’s chief guides God’s folks by means of harmful waters at God’s command. However discover the escalation. As a substitute of elevating a employees, God asks the monks to stand within the water. The chance is bigger, however so is the payoff. As a substitute of delivering Israel from Egypt, Joshua brings the kids of God into the very land God had promised. Moses efficiently introduced Israel out of bondage, however he didn’t deliver the nation to dwell with God. A brand new Moses, nonetheless, completes the duty. And so Israel, by means of Joshua, is as soon as once more saved by baptism.


Quick ahead practically a millennium to Mediterranean shores. God’s prophet Jonah is tasked to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to God’s enemies (Jonah 1:2). Think about touring to Mecca in 2015 to evangelise repentance to leaders of ISIS. Such was Jonah’s cost.

Reluctant to obey, Jonah goes in the wrong way to Tarshish (1:3). Whereas he’s asleep on the boat, God hurls a storm and threatens to destroy the entire vessel (1:4). Within the midst of the divine fury, Jonah confesses his sin and begs the sailors to throw him overboard (1:12, 15). They oblige, and instantly the storm abates (1:15). The boys are saved and provides homage to Yahweh (1:16), however Jonah’s demise is definite—to these on the boat at the very least.

Jonah 2 continues the story from the stomach of the fish. In that casket with gills,  Jonah recounts how the waters engulfed him, and he cries out to God. God saves Jonah, who doesn’t deserve deliverance. What usually meant the tip of life (demise by aquatic consumption) serves because the technique of his rescue. Three days later (1:17), life returns because the fish spit him out on dry floor (2:10).

Amid the drama, one other image of baptism emerges. Like Moses and Joshua—the consultant leaders of Israel—Jonah too occupies an workplace amongst God’s covenant folks. As a prophet, his life does greater than deliver God’s phrases to the nation. He embodies the nation. And his revolt shows Israel’s perspective within the days main as much as exile.

Nonetheless, Jonah’s life, “death,” and “resurrection” do greater than communicate to historic Israel. They depict the form of baptism Jesus will bear (Matt. 12:40). Following the trajectory of earlier baptisms, Jonah’s baptism is each comparable and in addition totally different. It too shows the fury of God’s wrath, and the technique of salvation is a sort of baptism—Jonah’s substitutionary “death” spared the Gentile sailors and his preaching introduced an entire metropolis to repentance (Jonah 3).

With out stepping into the main points of his repentance, it’s noteworthy that Jonah’s baptism was each extra pricey and in addition extra highly effective than any earlier one. With Noah, Moses, and Joshua, nobody died. The folks of Israel and the monks within the Jordan could have thought they had been going to die, however they didn’t. In Jonah’s case, he did die—or at the very least he appeared to die to his fellow sailors.

We who know the entire story can view his three-day fish trip as an act that regarded like demise. And his baptism precipitated a wave of repentance far bigger than something Israel had ever seen. The Israelites delivered from Egypt by Moses’s baptism died within the wilderness (Ps. 95), and the era that took the land loved the blessings therein, however nothing is claimed of a spirit of repentance. By escalation, the miracle in Nineveh was far bigger in scope than every other baptism to this point.

Nonetheless, it was solely a shadow of the true factor.


Like Moses, Jesus skilled two baptisms. On the onset of his ministry—“to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15)—Jesus first underwent the baptism of John (Matt. 3). This recognized him with the folks of Israel, whom he was about to steer on a brand new exodus (Luke 9:31). Like Joshua getting into the Promised Land, Jesus (as a brand new Joshua) was baptized by John, who was baptizing exterior the land on the opposite aspect of the Jordan (John 1:28). And like Moses’s first baptism, Jesus’s wasn’t for the salvation of his folks; it was an identity-marker of his ministry.

Like Moses, Jesus skilled two baptisms.

Jesus’s second baptism is the one to which all of the earlier shadows level. In Mark 10:39, whereas discussing who’s the best together with his disciples, Jesus says to James and John: “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized.” His language implies the baptism of his demise (cf. Rom. 6:4–6) and the struggling he involves earth to embrace. He tells his followers they too will endure with him and for him, however not earlier than he first goes to the cross. In line with Jesus, baptism is an ordeal whereby he willingly places himself below the floodwaters of God’s wrath.

  • Like Noah’s ark, Jesus’s cross will develop into a refuge for all who search relaxation in him.
  • Like Moses’s employees, Jesus might be lifted up, in order to ship his folks from impending demise.
  • Just like the monks within the Jordan, Jesus will insert himself into the stream of God’s wrath.
  • Like Jonah, Jesus will volunteer himself to be swallowed within the earth, in order that he would possibly rise to avoid wasting the nations.

In these methods and extra, Jesus each fulfills and in addition eclipses Scripture’s earlier “installments” within the sample of baptism.

Placing It All Collectively

With the complete mild of revelation, we will see how every of those biblical baptisms foreshadows with growing depth and efficacy the cross of Jesus Christ. In every case, the magnitude of the struggling does relate (in some unspecified method) to the magnitude of God’s mercy. As redemptive historical past progresses, the varied varieties enhance in ardour (struggling) but in addition within the measure of their salvation—from Noah’s household, to the nation of Israel (Moses and Joshua), to the nations of the world (Jonah). In every case, the baptism is bodily, not religious, since none can accomplish what Christ alone can.

In Jesus’s case, since his sacrifice is obtainable together with his personal blood, his demise has the ability not solely to acquire forgiveness for all his folks, but in addition to make sure that his message will attain his elect in each nook of the earth. He’ll save the entire household of religion from the floodwaters of God’s wrath.

To this present day, the ability of Christ’s bloody baptism is displayed because the cross reconciles all issues (Col. 1:20). So after we learn the Previous Testomony, could we observe the intricate particulars by means of which God paves the way in which for his Son. And will we marvel at his knowledge and energy to avoid wasting sinful believers by means of Christ’s superlative baptism.

From OT Baptisms to the Cross: Behold Your Escalating Bible

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