Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 144:575 (Jul 1987)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“The Relationship between Prophecy and Typology,” Geoffrey Grogan, Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 4 (Spring 1986): 5-16.

The relationship between the Old and New Testaments is particularly important to evangelical hermeneutics. Grogan explores this relationship through two avenues—prophecy and typology. He approaches this task through a study of how the New Testament uses the Old.

While there is a wide range of usage in the New Testament’s quotations of or allusions to the Old Testament, that range of usage is greatly reduced when the New Testament interprets the Old Testament message as fulfilled. Such an interpretation necessarily implies that the Old Testament message has a sense of anticipation, and the interpretation identifies a realization in some sense in the event, person, or institution in the New Testament.

This implication invalidates as fulfillments a number of uses included by Grogan—employing Old Testament terminology, endorsing Old Testament teaching, quoting commands, exhibiting principles, embodying ideals, and answering Old Testament questions. His overly broad range of usage results from his imprecise understanding of fulfillment as “an appropriate counterpart…in such a way as to go beyond it, giving the reader a deeper understanding….” Unless that deeper understanding implies some realization of a commitment to act on the part of the Author, then there is no fulfillment.

His discussion of the relationship between prophecy and typology is unnecessarily complex. This reviewer prefers a simpler set of definitions and comparisons. Typology concerns a historical record of an event, person, or institution that anticipates the future because of the context and

points to a promise. The type—the event, person, or institution— constitutes a partial fulfillment of that promise. But the record also anticipates an antitype that will completely fulfill the promise. So typology is prophecy through history.

Prophecy, on the other hand, is a verbal statement that directly states God’s intention to act in the future. He will act in accord with His statement of promise or prediction. Herein lies the distinction. Though the Old Testament text anticipates the future reference to it, in typology the textual basis of this anticipation is not always clear; whereas in prophecy this anticipation is a matter of direct statement.

While the phenomena of the text ultimately express what is happening between the Testaments, the language of the text (fulfillment) and the language of hermeneutics (prophecy and typology) share content within which interp...

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