Stephen’s message before Jerusalem’s Council in Acts 7 constitutes a great history of Israel. Similarly, Hebrews 11 lists individuals who acted in specific expressions of faith throughout Bible history. Both of these histories are fascinating, instructive, and inspiring. However, there is more to them than just this, for each contains many types of Christ.
For example, in the beginning of Stephens’ speech he recalls God’s words to Abraham, “Leave your country and your relatives and come into the land that I will show you.” This was a type of God calling Jesus to come out from His family and nation according to the flesh, and go to the cross which would take Him to “a new land.” If Abraham’s journey required his faith, how much more did Jesus’ journey require His faith. And this is how types of Christ work – the actuality of Christ is always greater than the type that preceded it.
At the beginning of Hebrews 11, mention is made of Abel who was killed by Cain. This typifies Jesus because He, too, was killed by His own brethren – and for the same reason: His deeds were righteous and His brethren’s were not. Thus Jesus has obtained a greater testimony than Abel.
By the way, one other quick example is Hebrews 11:17-19 which explicitly states that the story being told is a type of Christ.
See how many types of Christ you can find in both these passages. Don’t strain. The Holy Spirit will make them know to you as you consider each story in which they occur. The more patterns we see of Christ in the Scripture, the more inspired we become to imitate Him because they enable us to see Him better. It took thousands of years of Bible history to produce the biographies required to fashion a composite photograph worthy of Jesus Christ. We’ll be studying the facets of that portrait forever.