TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH
portions of Scripture are better known than that which records David’s
victory over the Philistine Goliath, 1 Sa 17, but what is less well known is
that that conflict is a foreshadowing of the greater victory accomplished at
Calvary by David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
That it is such a picture, however, becomes clear as we examine the
means stripped (as a captive), a meaning which is particularly apt in
its reference to the one represented by Goliath, Satan.
As the giant headed up the Philistine forces opposing Israel, so does
Satan head up the forces of evil arrayed against mankind, saved and unsaved
alike; but he is a “stripped” champion, for he who is now the prince of
darkness has been stripped of the glory that was once his as Lucifer, the
shining one, the anointed cherub.
is unnecessary to dwell on all the details which constitute David a type of
Christ, but it is significant that he was the eighth son of Jesse, for eight
is the biblical number of a new beginning.
Apart from that victory accomplished at Calvary the new beginning which
is synonymous with a new spiritual birth would be impossible.
David’s being sent to seek the welfare of his brethren, and to bring them
bread, none will have
difficulty discerning the figure of the Lord’s being sent to seek the
welfare of His brethren, and to bring them “bread,” for it was as the true
Bread that He presented Himself unto them.
assurances of verse 25 are but a condensation of the promises of Scripture
relative to the man who would defeat Satan, “... the man who killeth him
(Goliath), the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his
daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.”
Christ is the Man. As the
Victor, He sits at the Father’s right hand today crowned with glory and
honor; He has been given a bride, the Church; and “His father’s house”
(the household of faith) has been made free.
antagonism of Eliab, David’s eldest brother, and Jesse’s firstborn, is
invested with special significance when it is remembered that the Israel which
was so antagonistic to Christ, is described also as a firstborn, “Thus saith
the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn,” Ex 4:22.
Nor should we fail to note that, beginning with Cain, the firstborn in
Scripture is invariably presented as the adversary of the secondborn, and for
a very good reason: he represents the natural opposed to the spiritual, “For
the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and
these are contrary the one to the other,” Ga 5:17.
Eliab’s imputation of wrong relative to David’s coming to his
brethren represents that of Israel in regard to Christ.
rejection of Saul’s armor points to the Lord’s rejection of every human
expedient. The victory won by
David, through seeming impossible means, foreshadows that of Christ by even
more unlikely means,
weakness and defeat, He won the meed and crown,
Trod all His foes beneath His feet, by being trodden down.”
he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the
brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had....” verse 40.
The staff is the biblical symbol of the written Word, reminding us that
the “staff” of the Word was never out of the hand of Christ.
is the Biblical number of responsibility.
Those five stones, smoothed by the action of the water (symbol of the
Word as ministered by the Holy Spirit), declare symbolically that as Man, the
Lord’s five senses were also “smoothed” (perfectly conformed to the
Divine will) through the leading of the Holy Spirit by means of the written
Word. Their being in “a
shepherd’s bag” reminds us that Christ’s five senses were also hidden in
a “shepherd’s bag,” for He is the good Shepherd Who didn’t just risk
His life: He laid down His life for the sheep.
confident assertion, “This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine
hand....” verse 46, reminds us that the Lord also had perfect foreknowledge
of the outcome of the battle fought at Calvary.
site of the battle is also significant, “The Philistines stood on a mountain
on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there
was a valley between them,” verse 3. That
place was the valley of Elah, verse 2. It
means terebinth: oak.
As a tree was associated with the valley where David slew Goliath, so
is there also a tree associated with the “valley of death” where the Lord
vanquished Satan. It was by His
willingness to be nailed to that tree that the Lord delivered your soul and
mine. The praise of a grateful
Israel greeted David. The praise
of a grateful spiritual Israel, the Church should greet Christ as we remember
His death and commemorate His victory in the Lord’s supper on the first day
of each week.