“He is conceived in the fullness of time by the Holy Spirit in Mary” by Herman Bavinck

“Promised under the Old Testament as the Messiah who is to come as a descendant of a woman of Abraham, Judah, and David, He is conceived in the fullness of time by the Holy Spirit in Mary (Matt. 1:20) and born of her, of a woman (Gal. 4:4).

He is her son (Luke 2:7), the fruit of her womb (Luke 1:42), a descendant of David and Israel according to the flesh (Acts 2:30; Rom. 1:3; 9:5), sharing in our flesh and blood, like us in all things, sin excepted (Heb. 2:14, 17–18; 4:15; 5:1); a true human, the Son of Man (Rom. 5:15; 1 Cor. 15:21; 1 Tim. 2:5), growing up as an infant (Luke 2:40, 52), experiencing hunger (Matt. 4:2), thirst (John 19:28), weeping (Luke 19:41; John 11:35), being moved (John 12:27), feeling grief (Matt. 26:38), being furious (John 2:17), suffering, dying.

For Scripture it is so much an established fact that Christ came in the flesh that it calls the denial of it anti-Christian (1 John 2:22). And it teaches that Christ assumed not only a true but also a complete human nature.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ, vol. 3, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 296.

“Allusions to Eden in the Gospel of John” by L. Michael Morales

“Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection are situated more deeply within the Gospel’s creation theology by allusions to the Garden of Eden. Before His crucifixion, we read that Jesus and His disciples “entered a garden” (John 18:1).

The particular name Gethsemane supplied by Mark and Matthew is left out in John’s Gospel, which offers garden as something of a type-scene echoing Eden. The garden locale is mentioned throughout this section of John’s Gospel, as a contextual backdrop to the narrative (see John 18:1, 26; 19:41; 20:15), a usage all the more notable when we realize that the word “garden” (kēpos) is not used whatsoever in any of the other three Gospels, with one exception (in a parable in Luke 13:19).

Later we discover that “in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb wherein no one had ever been laid” (John 19:41). Within this setting of the garden, John’s Gospel adds the detail that Jesus was crucified “in the middle,” that is, between two others (John 19:17–18).

As Mary Coloe explains, the phrase “in the middle” (meson) “echoes the phrase in Genesis where God plants ‘the tree of life in the middle of the garden’ (Genesis 2:9). The evangelist depicts the Crucifixion with the iconography of Genesis 2: there is a garden, and in the middle of the garden is the cross, the tree of life.”

As a supporting argument, John uses similar Eden motifs in his Apocalypse, but in a more obvious manner. We read that a pure river of life flowed out from the throne of God and the Lamb, and “in the middle (mesō) … was the tree of life” (Revelation 22:1–2).

Grasping the Gospel’s layered depths, early church fathers understood the opening of Jesus’ side after his death in relation to Adam’s “sleep of death” within the Garden, when Yahweh had opened his side to create the woman for his bride (Genesis 2:21–25)—Jesus’ blood and water were poured out for the creation of the church as his bride.

Such Adam typology is evident already in the writings of the apostle Paul (Romans 5:12–21; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22; Ephesians 5:25–33) and, as we have observed, informs John’s depiction of Jesus before his crucifixion when, robed in purple and wearing a crown of thorns, he is presented by Pilate with the words, “Look! The Man!” (John 19:5), alluding, as Jeannine Brown observes, “to that first man, Adam, in the first creation story.”

This creation theology also explains Jesus’ use of “woman” (rather than their names) for the various women that appear throughout the Gospel of John, including his own mother. As the last Adam, He has come to redeem His bride: Jesus calls his mother “woman” within the context of a wedding in Cana (John 2:1–12);

His encounter with the “woman” in Samaria takes place at a well, a familiar locale in Scripture for betrothal (John 4:1–26; see Genesis 24:10–28; 29:1–30; Exodus 2:15–22); and finally Jesus the “gardener” and a “woman” are found within a garden on the first day of the week (John 20:11–18).

“He who has the bride,” John the Baptizer had said, “is the bridegroom” (John 3:29)—indeed. That Jesus’ mother is called “woman” (John 2:4; 19:26) and designated “mother” (John 2:1; 19:25) may allude to the names given to the first woman: “She shall be called Woman” (Genesis 2:23); “The man called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20).

In any case, the mother of Jesus, the Samaritan woman, and Mary Magdalene, and possibly the woman caught in adultery as well (John 8:2–11), each being called “woman” by Jesus, likely serve to recall Eve as archetypes—theological portraits—of the church, the bride of Adam, the only Son of God.

Jesus even compares His disciples’ sorrow at his death to the woman (hē gynē) in birth pangs, who finally rejoices with the birth of a “man” (anthrōpos, John 16:21), an image strikingly similar to that found in John’s Apocalypse where the Eve-like “woman” who represents the church cries with labor pangs and gives birth to a child, the risen Jesus, who ascends to God and his throne (Revelation 12:1–6).

Then in glory the church is described “as a Bride prepared” for the marriage and wedding supper of the Lamb, a “Bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 19:7–9; 21:2). Jesus is the last Adam; the church is both the children of God and the last Adam’s bride, the new Eve. Since the true exodus forms a reversal of the exile from Eden and a passage from the old creation to the new, this creation imagery is especially relevant to the Gospel’s message about Jesus’ new exodus.

The Eden imagery is developed even more richly for Jesus’ resurrection and appearances to his disciples (John 20). Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, having approached the garden tomb, sees Jesus standing before her and supposes him to be “the gardener” (John 20:15), an allusion to Adam within the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8–9; 9:20)—and he calls her “woman” (John 20:15).

Then, for the first and only time, Jesus calls a woman by name, “Mary!” (John 20:16). As the Greek form of Miriam, the name of Moses’ sister who rejoiced over the original exodus out of Egypt (Exodus 15:20–21), the use of her name at just this point—the new exodus of Jesus’ resurrection—may be part of the Gospel’s exodus motif. Later in the same chapter, Jesus breathes the Spirit on his disciples (John 20:21–22) just as Yahweh had once breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of the first human in the Eden narrative (Genesis 2:7).

A garden, a tree in the middle, two angelic beings, a gardener, and a woman—these aspects of the Eden narrative are equally present in John’s telling of Jesus’ passion and resurrection. Perhaps most telling, even the tomb is located “within the garden,” and described as “new, wherein no one had ever been laid” (John 19:41)—the tomb, in other words, is not associated with death at all but with newness and life, ultimately with the indestructible resurrection life of the Lord Jesus in the garden.

The Garden of Eden allusions with which John’s Gospel concludes enable readers to grasp the theological reality of Jesus’ crucifixion death, burial, resurrection, and ascension as the new exodus out of the old creation and into the new creation, out of this world and into the heavenly reality of the Father’s presence—all from the angle of the Bible’s main plotline: an exodus out of the primal exile and into paradise with God.

In chapter seven we observed the same plotline in how the Day of Atonement ritual portrayed the high priest as an Adam figure who once a year reentered the cultic Garden of Eden (the holy of holies) through the cherubim-laden veil with the blood of atonement.

One may discern a similar theological portrait in the Fourth Gospel: an allusion to the atonement lid of the holy of holies within John’s presentation of the garden tomb. Mary looks within the tomb and sees two angels sitting “one at the head and one at the feet” of where Jesus had lain (John 20:12), perhaps symbolizing the two cherubim positioned at the two ends of the atonement lid, with “one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end” (Exodus 25:18–19).

Outside the tabernacle texts, the only other place where cherubim are found in the Pentateuch is at the entrance to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24). Because the cherubim on the tabernacle’s veil and on the atonement lid of the ark are themselves allusions to Eden’s gateway, it seems probable that John’s Gospel also has both in mind: Jesus’ resurrection from the grave fulfills the Day of Atonement, for Jesus as a new Adam has reentered the garden of paradise.

It is perhaps not too much to say, then, that for John’s Gospel the taking away of the stone from the tomb forms the theological parallel to the rending of the temple veil in the other Gospels.

In sum, through allusions to Eden the Gospel of John presents the reality of Jesus’ new exodus as a reversal of humanity’s exile and an entry into the new creation. The first day of the week signifies the theological reality of the new creation and finds a man and a woman (back) inside a garden.

As with the historical exodus of Israel out of Egypt, the new exodus is the deliverance of God’s firstborn Son from death. And even as the sea crossing was narrated with creation imagery to convey that Israel had become a new people (Exodus 14), John’s Gospel uses creation imagery to convey the reality of the new creation ushered in with Jesus’ resurrection as a new humanity.”

–L. Michael Morales, Exodus Old and New: A Biblical Theology of Redemption, The Essential Studies in Biblical Theology (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2020), 169–172.

“Typical of Gospel things” by Jonathan Edwards

“Almost everything that was said or done that we have recorded in Scripture from Adam to Christ was typical of Gospel things.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Typological Writings (ed. Harry S. Stout; vol. 11; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1993), 11: 51, fn. #6.

“The church shall swim in the ocean of His love” by Jonathan Edwards

“Christ rejoices over His saints as the bridegroom over the bride at all times. But there are some seasons wherein He doth so more especially…

The time wherein this mutual rejoicing of Christ and His saints will be in its perfection, is the time of the saints’ glorification with Christ in heaven.

For that is the proper time of the saints’ entering in with the bridegroom into the marriage (Matt. 25:10). The saint’s conversion is rather like the betrothing of the intended bride to her bridegroom before they come together.

But the time of the saint’s glorification is the time when that shall be fulfilled in Psalm 45:15, ‘With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought; they shall enter into the king’s palace.’

That is the time when those that Christ loved, and gave Himself for, that He might sanctify and cleanse them, as with the washing of water by the word, shall be presented to Him in glory, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.

That is the time wherein the church shall be brought to the full enjoyment of her bridegroom, having all tears wiped away from her eyes. And there shall be no more distance or absence.

She shall then be brought to the entertainments of an eternal wedding feast, and to dwell eternally with her bridegroom; yea to dwell eternally in His embraces.

Then Christ will give her His love, and she shall drink her fill, yea she shall swim in the ocean of His love.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Church’s Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1743–1758, Vol. 25, Ed. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 25: 181–182.

“In Thee we see everything fulfilled” by Charles Spurgeon

“What meant the Saviour, then, by this—’It is finished?’ He meant, first of all, that all the types, promises, and prophecies were now fully accomplished in Him.

Those who are acquainted with the original will find that the words—’It is finished,’ occur twice within three verses. In the 28th verse, we have the word in the Greek; it is translated in our version ‘accomplished,’ but there it stands—’After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.’

And then He afterwards said, ‘It is finished.’ This leads us to see His meaning very clearly, that all the Scripture was now fulfilled, that when He said, ‘It is finished,’ the whole book, from the first to the last, in both the law and the prophets, was finished in Him.

There is not a single jewel of promise, from that first emerald which fell on the threshold of Eden, to that last sapphire-stone of Malachi, which was not set in the breast-plate of the true High Priest.

Nay, there is not a type, from the red heifer downward to the turtle-dove, from the hyssop upwards to Solomon’s temple itself, which was not fulfilled in Him; and not a prophecy, whether spoken on Chebar’s bank, or on the shores of Jordan; not a dream of wise men, whether they had received it in Babylon, or in Samaria, or in Judea, which was not now fully wrought out in Christ Jesus.

And, brethren, what a wonderful thing it is, that a mass of promises, and prophecies, and types, apparently so heterogeneous, should all be accomplished in one person! Take away Christ for one moment, and I will give the Old Testament to any wise man living, and say to him:

‘Take this; this is a problem; go home and construct in your imagination an ideal character who shall exactly fit all that which is herein foreshadowed; remember, he must be a prophet like unto Moses, and yet a champion like to Joshua; he must be an Aaron and a Melchizedek; he must be both David and Solomon, Noah and Jonah, Judah and Joseph. Nay, he must not only be the lamb that was slain, and the scape-goat that was not slain, the turtle-dove that was dipped in blood, and the priest who slew the bird, but he must be the altar, the tabernacle, the mercy-seat, and the shewbread.’

Nay, to puzzle this wise man further, we remind him of prophecies so apparently contradictory, that one would think they never could meet in one man. Such as these, ‘All kings shall fall down before Him, and all nations shall serve Him;’ and yet, ‘He is despised and rejected of men.’

He must begin by showing a man born of a virgin mother—’A virgin shall conceive and bear a son.’ He must be a man without spot or blemish, but yet one upon whom the Lord doth cause to meet the iniquities of us all. He must be a glorious one, a Son of David, but yet a root out of a dry ground.

Now, I say it boldly, if all the greatest intellects of all the ages could set themselves to work out this problem, to invent another key to the types and prophecies, they could not do it. I see you, ye wise men, ye are poring over these hieroglyphs; one suggests one key, and it opens two or three of the figures, but you cannot proceed, for the next one puts you at a nonplus.

Another learned man suggests another clue, but that fails most where it is most needed, and another, and another, and thus these wondrous hieroglyphs traced of old by Moses in the wilderness, must be left unexplained, till one comes forward and proclaims, ‘The cross of Christ and the Son of God incarnate,’ then the whole is clear, so that he that runs may read, and a child may understand.

Blessed Saviour! In Thee we see everything fulfilled, which God spoke of old by the prophets; in Thee we discover everything carried out in substance, which God had set forth us in the dim mist of sacrificial smoke.

Glory be unto Thy name! ‘It is finished’—everything is summed up in Thee.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, ‘It Is Finished,’ in Majesty in Misery, Volume 3: Calvary’s Mournful Mountain (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2005), 218-220. (MTPS, 7: 586-587)

“The whole Scripture” by John Newton

“I agree with you, that some accounted evangelical teachers have too much confined themselves to a few leading and favourite topics. I think this a fault, and I believe when it is constantly so the auditories are deprived of much edification and pleasure, which they might receive from a more judicious and comprehensive plan.

The whole Scripture, as it consists of histories, prophecies, doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, admonitions, encouragements, and reproofs, is the proper subject of the Gospel ministry.

And every part should in its place and course be attended to, yet so as that, in every compartment we exhibit, Jesus should be the capital figure, in whom the prophecies are fulfilled and the promises established, to whom, in a way of type and emblem, the most important parts of Scripture history have an express reference, and from whom alone we can receive that life, strength, and encouragement, which are necessary to make obedience either pleasing or practicable.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 275.

“A plotline that flows from Eden” by David Schrock

“In the end, the only typology worth preaching is that which we find in Scripture. Fortunately, we do not need to ‘go over hedge and ditch’ to ‘make a way’ to get to Christ, as the old Welsh preacher said it.

All of Scripture already is written with a plotline that flows from Eden through Israel’s hills and valleys until it terminates and overflows in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We do not need to fear typology nor create new spiritual meaning.

Rather, following the terrain of the text, we need to keep reading the Bible until we like beekeepers find the sweet scent of gospel honey in the pages of God’s Word.

If we do that, we will not (need to) add meaning to the text through some spiritual method of interpretation. Rather, we will hear what the Spirit originally intended as we pay careful attention to the contours of the biblical plotline.”

–David Schrock, “From Beelines to Plotlines: Typology That Follows the Covenantal Topography of Scripture,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 21.1 (2017): 48-49.