Needed: A Revelation About Types
by Raymond C. Treat
Looking for types in the word of God is a very fruitful and exciting way to study. It is also a gives us necessary form of study if we want to obtain everything possible from the word of God. The discovery of types will not only provide you with additional prophecy that you did not know was in the word of God, but this revelation will also give you assurance that God really is in control.
What do we mean when we say a certain passage of scripture is a type? We mean that it is a pattern for future events. The American College Dictionary says a type is "a prefiguring symbol as an Old Testament event prefiguring an event in the New Testament." Therefore, we can also say that a type is a prophecy because it prefigures or foretells future events. A type is a likeness. Consider this verse about types:
And, behold, all things have their likeness;
And all things are created and made to bear record of
Both things which are temporal, and things which are
Things which are in the heavens above, and things which
are on the earth,
And things which are in the earth, and things which are
under the earth, both above and beneath,
All things bear record of me [emphasis added].
If the physical world is a type for the Creator, then certainly the word of God can also be a type. I believe that every significant event that will happen between now and the beginning of the millenium is in the word of God. Many of these events are in type form. If this statement is true and if we have our own revelation as to its truthfulness, then our scripture study will become more exciting as we expectantly look forward to unlocking the prophecies hidden in types.
How do we discover types? By pondering the story line. Nephi wanted to know the meaning of his father's vision. As he sat pondering in his heart, God gave him the vision and the meaning of it (1 Nephi 3:37-38).
Lehi's vision tells us there are four responses to the word of God. The top response includes pondering.
Psalm 1 is the Bible version of Lehi's vision. Psalm 1:2 gives us the top response:
But his delight is in the law of the Lord;
And in his law doth he meditate day and night [emphasis added].
To meditate means to ponder; therefore, choosing the top response means that we are constantly pondering the word of God.
Of the four responses, the top response is the only one that bears fruit. The other three responses all end up rejecting the word of God.
In Lehi's vision, the second best response is partaking of the fruit and then becoming ashamed. If we do not want to become ashamed of the word of God then we must make the top response like Nephi did and not be ashamed. We do this by refusing to listen to the advice of unbelievers and by keeping our covenant.
The conclusion to all of this is that if we do respond properly we will ponder, and we will discover the types God has put into his word. Not only that but the promises of Psalm 1:3 will be fulfilled in our lives:
And he shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
His leaf also shall not wither;
And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
If you want to prosper, start pondering.
Most Book of Mormon believers do not know its story line very well. The more we learn about types, the greater will be our motivation to become acquainted with the stories in the Book of Mormon with an eye to unlocking the prophecies in the types.
The purpose principle says that what is in the Book of Mormon is there for a purpose. This is a valid principle which is well documented in the Book of Mormon. This means there is a purpose for everything in the Book of Mormon including the story line. Nephi tells us:
Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people
the truth of the coming of Christ;
For, for this end hath the law of Moses been given;
And all things which have been given of God from the
beginning of the world are the typifying of him.
2 Nephi 8:7-9
Lehi's Wilderness Journey a Type
Let's take a look at the story of Lehi and his group in their journey from Jerusalem to the land of promise. We are told in Alma 17:80 that this journey is a type for the life of the believer until we enter our land of promise:
And now I say,
Is there not a type in this thing?
For just as suredly as this director did bring our fathers,
by following its course, to the promised land,
Shall the word of Christ, if we follow its course,
Carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land
God warns Lehi to flee from Jerusalem. Jerusalem represents the wicked world. As believers we, like Lehi, are warned by God to flee from the ways of the wicked world. After three days they make camp. They are told to go back to obtain the plates of brass. We, like Lehi and his group, need the word of God to guide us on our journey to the land of promise. In Mosiah 1:4-7 we read about the plates of brass and how Lehi and the rest would have dwindled in unbelief without the word of God. Lehi had to journey through a wilderness. The wilderness journey is part of the life of every believer as a test of our belief in the word of God. We, like Lehi, have a compass (the word of God) to guide us in a direct course through the wilderness. If we are slothful, our wilderness journey will be longer than necessary. Remember that the children of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness when a direct course would have led them to the promised land in less than two weeks. It took Lehi eight years to pass through the wilderness. They could have passed through sooner as we read in Alma 17:76-77:
They were slothful and forgot to exercise their faith and
And then those marvelous works ceased and they did
not progress in their journey.
Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not
travel a direct course,
And were afflicted with hunger and thirst because of
This type has a powerful message for us. Do not be discouraged by the wilderness journey. You will get through it if you give heed to the compass-the word of God. Our discussion has not by any means exhausted this type so study it yourself for further insights.
Nephites/Lamanites a Type
Another type emerges from this story. We know that Nephi exercised belief and that Laman and Lemuel exercised unbelief. Throughout the Book of Mormon the Nephites are a type for the believers and the Lamanites are a type for the forces of Satan. The exception to this is when the Lamanites were converted. The problems the Nephites had with the Lamanites were in inverse proportion to their diligence in keeping the word of God. This is a very fruitful type which we all need to study in order to learn how to handle the spiritual opposition in our lives.
Warfare a Type
Another major type in the Book of Mormon comes from warfare. Physical warfare in the Book of Mormon is a type for spiritual warfare. I have heard several people say they were turned off by the Book of Mormon because of the warfare. The purpose principle tells us that the warfare was there for a purpose, as it is in the Bible. It is the description of the warfare that gives us information about geography. However, now we can add that the warfare, as a type, gives us much valuable information on how to fight spiritual battles.
The following example was brought to my attention by David Lamb. In Alma 20:49 we see that the Lamanites slew many of the Nephites by cutting their head-plates in half, piercing their breastplates and cutting off their arms. This sequence is not coincidental but is a type telling us how Satan overcomes us. First, he attacks our head, or in other words, he puts a thought in our mind. If we entertain the thought and do not cast it out it will enter into our heart or our spirit. At this point Satan is piercing our breastplate. As we continue to rebel by following Satanic thoughts the Holy Spirit begins to withdraw from us and we become spiritually weak. This is like having our arms cut off, meaning that we no longer have power to do God's will. This is the outcome of those who entertain incorrect thoughts. As with the other types mentioned, we should all be motivated to study the warfare in the Book of Mormon to unlock the spiritual types.
In the article "158 Years: A Type for Our Day" (pp. 209-211) is a discussion of another major type called the 158 years. The 158 years covers the time from 124 B.C. when Mosiah 11 became king to A.D. 34, the year of the coming of Jesus Christ. The books of Mosiah, Alma, Helaman and Third Nephi cover this period. The 158 years are a small part of the 1,021 years of Nephite history, but they make up a large part of the Book of Mormon. Because Mormon was directed what to put in the Book of Mormon, we know that so much information about such a short period of time was part of a deliberate plan by God. This period is, in fact, a type dealing with the gathering, the gospel going to all the world, the tribulation and the coming of Christ in glory followed by the millenium.
It is very revealing to note that in the book of Helaman, which is in the middle of the tribulation, there are periods of great prosperity for the believers when tens of thousands of people join the church. Also in Third Nephi 2 we have the story of Lachoneus who defeated the Gaddianton robbers (the forces of Satan) by gathering all non-robbers into one place with provision for seven years. It should be pointed out that at the three-and-a-half-year point of the seven years they had the greatest battle ever in the life of the Nephites. This type correlates with Revelation 9:16 that speaks of the greatest battle ever in the history of mankind at the three-and-a-half-year point of a sevenyear sequence.
This discussion has only touched a few points of some of the types in the Book of Mormon. I hope this information will help you to obtain your own revelation of the importance of types and motivate you to look at the Book of Mormon with renewed expectation and excitement.
In summary, types are a pattern found in scripture which foretell future events. Types are only gleaned by those who "feast" on the word of God. Pondering and meditating on the stories in scripture gives powerful understanding about how to apply to our personal lives the principles found in the word of God.
This article taken from Recent Book of Mormon Developments vol. 2 p. 226-228