Fulfillment and typology are two major methods that New Testament writers use to connect the Hebrew Bible with the Christian New Testament. Fulfillment deals with the very words of the prophets who, according to New Testament writers, verbally predicted events that the Messiah would accomplish. Typology is similar, yet it is not a prediction, nor does it directly correlate to future events in the manner that fulfillment does. Rather, it is simply an event from the Hebrew Bible that is said to foreshadow another event in the Christian New Testament.
Regarding fulfillment, the New Testament writers have identified Jesus Christ as the Messiah. They believed that the prophecies from the Hebrew Bible have been performed by Jesus and that He was sent by God. First of all, God told Abram in Genesis 12:3 that the world would be blessed through him. A Messianic prophecy was that the Messiah would be a descendent of Abraham, from the tribe of Judah, and also from King David. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:2-6 reveals that He descended from Abraham, Judah, and King David. Thus, the author of Matthew is asserting that according to Jesus’ forefathers, He qualifies as being the Messiah.
In addition, The Messiah would also be a prophet like Moses. A specific example comes from Deuteronomy 18 and is quoted in Acts: “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you another prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you’” (Acts 3:22). Because Jesus was known as a great teacher, the author of Acts believed that Jesus was the prophet who Moses was foretelling would arrive.
Also, according to Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The...
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... captive permanently in these confined areas. While Jonah was cast from the fish, Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead and left the tomb.
In conclusion, fulfillment is the New Testament writers connecting verbal predictions from the Hebrew Bible to events in the Christian New Testament, performed by the Messiah. The key is that the New Testament writers believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and so these predictions of the Hebrew Bible, according to the New Testament writers, correspond to Jesus’ life. Typology is the relationship between an event in the Hebrew Bible and another event in the Christian New Testament. The New Testament writer of John, for instance, believed the near-sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis was to foreshadow the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
NIV Study Bible. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.
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