Webster defines typology as a thing, person, or event that symbolizes or represents another. Generally speaking the one prefigured in the type is not a mere man, but is the God-man. The types of the Old Testament have the same function as parables in the New Testament They are windows to shed light on certain symbols or objects. Consider the parables of Matthew 13 and the letters to the seven churches in Asia from Revelation 2 and 3.
It is extremely helpful and important for us to know that the typology of the Old Testament is the alphabet in which the language of the New Testament is written. The New is in the Old contained, the Old is in the New explained. There are many types from which we can draw important lessons. Genesis is the seed plot of the Bible. This book contains, in germ form, many of the great doctrines of the New Testament. For example, the truth of salvation is typically revealed in Genesis 3. Our first parents realized that they were naked and unfit for the presence of God. The trajectory of the Fall was as follows: (1) Man discovered that something was wrong with him. (2) Man tried to hide his sin by a self-provided covering. (3) Man attempted to hide himself from God. (4) Instead of confessing his sin, man sought to excuse it. God clothed them with coats of skin; to procure these skins, death had to occur! Blood had to be shed; the innocent had to die instead of the guilty. This was the only way that man’s shame could be covered. The only way he could stand before God. The death of the Lord Jesus is foreshadowed here. The application of the type to the antitype is almost perfect. It was God who provided the skins, made them coats and clothed our first parents. Adam and Eve did nothing; God did it all.
Let us now backtrack to see why this procedure was necessary. Genesis 3:7 says, “And the eyes of them both were opened and they knew that they were naked.” The first effect of the Fall upon Adam and Eve was a realization of their shame. At this time of human tragedy two great events took place, the end of the dispensation of innocence and the beginning of the dispensation of conscience. This was something new. They never had a conscience before. They now knew good and evil. They knew what was right and what was wrong. They knew that they had sinned. They had two options. They could come out into the open and confess their sin or they could endeavor to hide. They chose the second option. They hid among the trees and sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. Bloodless religion is man’s attempt to save himself by a bloodless religion of good works (Cain). People are doing the same thing today. They try to hide from God. Religion - church attendance - they hide behind their own self-righteousness. They are trusting in their good works. All these are fig leaves which may look good in time, but which will not endure the test of eternity.
Let us consider the fig tree on which Jesus found no fruit. Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together! The Lord cursed the fruitless fig tree. The fig tree was the only thing that Jesus cursed while here upon earth. This action shows us that all the schemes that man employs to hide his nakedness came under the curse of Christ and are doomed to wither away.
Genesis 3:8 says, “When Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord God, they hid themselves.” What was it that urged them to hide themselves? It was their newly acquired attribute, a conscience. The conscience tells us of the holiness of God. The conscience makes us aware of our sinfulness. The conscience urges us to hide. Genesis 3:9 proves two things: (1) Man is lost, and (2) God has come to seek man. Notice God’s concern for his fallen creatures in the way he called Adam (“Where are you?”). It is not the voice of a policeman, but rather the voice of yearning love. Adam responded, “I heard your voice, I was afraid, I was naked, I hid myself.” God’s response is, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree that I commanded you not to eat?”
As God brought Adam face to face with his sin, He was giving him an opportunity to confess his sin. Note that instead of a broken, haunted cry of repentance and confession Adam “excused” himself. “The woman you gave me, gave me of the tree and I did eat.” He first blames God, then Eve. When God asked Eve what she had done, she excused herself as well saying, “The serpent beguiled me.” It is a human tendency to blame others for our failures and shortcomings. We make excuses for our wrongdoings. It was this way at the beginning of time and it is true to life in the twentieth century. Adam and Eve’s excuses only condemn them. All human subterfuges are inadequate when a man stands face to face with God. They certainly will be when he stands naked and bare before God at the Great White Throne.