The Greatest Type in the Bible

The Old Testament is a book full of types—actual people, places, and things that prefigure Christ, the church, or New Testament spiritual realities. The NT authors made abundant use of the types in the OT, and this approach to Scripture flourished in the early church through the allegorical method at the hands of people like Origen and Augustine.

However, just like not all prophesies carry the same weight, not all types are equally momentous.

Witness Lee says that the greatest type of Christ in the OT is the good land.[1] And his book, The All-inclusive Christ, is out to prove it. This book is a typological exposition of the geographical features (ch. 1-8) and the historical conquest (ch. 9-16) of the land of Canaan. And it is one of Lee’s classics that exemplifies what his ministry is all about.

Christ is the Good Land

The way to make this typological leap (good land = Christ) is the book of Colossians.

Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you for a share of the allotted portion of the saints in the light. (Col. 1:12)

As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, having been rooted and being built up in Him… (Col. 2:6-7)

The term “allotted portion” (Greek: klyros) in chapter one is an allusion to the good land in the OT.

Douglas J. Moo says,

This verse reflects the most common use of the words in the OT, where they are often applied to the territories allotted to Israel’s tribes in the land of Israel… In a move typical of the NT ‘christifying’ of the OT ‘land’ theme, Paul applies this language to the spiritual privilege enjoyed by God’s new covenant people.[2]

The God given portion is not simply an inheritance in heaven or our eschatological hope, but is Christ, for our present experience and enjoyment.

In chapter two, Paul unpacks the land allusion by telling us that he is talking about receiving Christ. Then he says: walk in Him, be rooted in Him, and be built up in Him. These experiential verbs are drawn from Israel’s life in the good land. They walked in the land to possess it (Deut. 11:24), they developed its resources and enjoyed its produce, and they built up God’s temple and kingdom there.

Saved Into Something

The good land was the focus of all the action in the OT. It was central to God’s purpose. Just like God promised to bring Abraham into this land, God has promised to bring us fully into Christ. The good land is the goal of the exodus (Exo. 3:8). Our Christian life is not just about salvation from something (sin), but more importantly salvation into something (Christ).

So, God’s promise in history to bring His OT people into an all-inclusive land anticipates God’s action in salvation to bring His NT people into the all-inclusive Christ.

Just like the good land provided for all the needs of Israel, God wants to bring us into a Christ who can meet all our needs. Christ is not simply a lamb; He is a land—an all-encompassing realm with an all-inclusive supply.

A Road Map to our Experience

Deuteronomy 8:7-9 says,

Jehovah your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of waterbrooks, of springs and of fountains, flowing forth in valleys and in mountains; a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees with oil and of honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity; you will not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and from whose mountains you can mine copper.

This paradise-rivaling description of Canaan can be viewed as a typological key to unlock the different aspects of the experience of Christ. It is a road map to the experience of Christ.

On these verses, J. Gary Millar says,

We must not miss the fact that this is making a theological rather than an agricultural point.[3]

Lee’s book, The All-inclusive Christ, explores how these descriptions apply to our experience of Christ today. The description here points to a progressive, stage-by-stage experience of Christ that culminates in the fulfillment of God’s purpose—a built up church that brings in His kingdom.

Below is a chart I made to help people get an overview of this book!

Download PDF of chart

 


 

1. Witness Lee, The All-inclusive Christ, p. 182
2. Douglas J. Moo, The Letters to the Colossians and to Philemon [PNTC], p. 101
3. J. Gary Millar, Now Choose Life: Theology and Ethics in Deuteronomy, p. 56

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