In our article on the Prophetess Deborah, we explored the account of her career in Judges Chapters 4 and 5, serving as Judge of Israel. The battle against the Canaanites was a miraculous victory in which that highlighted Deborah’s spiritual leadership as God went before the Israelite army and fought the powerful Canaanite forces to give them the victory over their oppressors. A major point in this battle was the prophesied defeat of Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army, at the hands of a woman. Jael, the woman of that prophecy, showed great faith in God by assassinating Sisera. Her victory also provides a foreshadow of Christ’s victory over Satan and the Antichrist.
Types and Shadows – Key to Understanding the Bible
This article is based on the idea of “types and shadows” in the Bible. This is essentially the Bible’s way of foreshadowing future prophetic events through Old Testament Scripture. Here are some passages that highlight this:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Hosea 12:10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a ‘similitude’ as: 1. Likeness; resemblance; likeness in nature, qualities of appearance; as similitude of substance.
It is very important to understand this concept because this is essentially, the “writing style” the Lord has used to communicate a great deal of revelation in Scripture. The Lord has used many of the historic events of the Old Testament to provide a preview of future events. The Passover Lamb from the book of Exodus, whose blood was placed over the door of the Israelites to protect them from God’s avenging angel, was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ, the “lamb of God” whose shed blood protects the souls of His believers from Hell. This is an example of how a type and shadow works.
When discussing the events surrounding the Israelites in the wilderness in the book of Exodus, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) . Old Testament events provide a preview of the fulfillment of future Bible prophecy. Thus when reading the Bible any future prophetic event should have a type or shadow in a prior part of Scripture.
The Battle of Mt. Tabor as a Type of Armageddon
The battle waged by the Israelites under the spiritual leadership of the Prophetess Deborah and the military leadership of Barak is detailed in Judges Chapters 4 and 5. The battle took place at a time that Israel was being oppressed by the Canaanites for 20 years. Sisera, the captain of the Canaanite army was greatly feared because of his massive army and unit of men on chariots of iron. As discussed in our article on the X-Men: First Class movie, iron is often symbolic of the end times fallen angelic kingdom that will torment the world during the reign of the antichrist. This Kingdom was part of two visions described in the book of Daniel:
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. – Daniel 7:7-8.
This vision represents both the Kingdom and person of the Antichrist in the image of“the little horn” and the beast in the vision has “iron teeth.” Additionally, other biblical foreshadows of the Antichrist, like the Philistine giant Goliath for example, had a “spear of iron.”
In the account of Barak’s battle against Sisera’s army we are told of the location:
“The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo…” — Judges 5:19.
The final battle between Jesus Christ, the Antichrist and their respective armies takes place in the same location of “Armageddon” or the “hills of Megiddo”:
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of [Satan], and out of the mouth of the [Antichrist], and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty…And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. – Revelation 16:13-16.
God Fights For His People
In the article on the Prophetess Deborah, we detailed that it was God Himself who fought the battle first against Sisera’s fearsome army. Judges Chapter 4 says the Lord “discomfited” the Canaanite armies. In Judges Chapter 5 we are provided with a more detailed explanation of fight:
They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon. O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength. Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the pransings, the pransings of their mighty ones. – Judges 5:19-21.
Heavenly powers fought against Sisera’s army and God caused the river Kishon, where the Canaanite armies were stationed, to flood. This left the mighty chariots of Sisera in confusion and turned over as the horses lost their footing in the mire and were swept away. And Sisera himself was forced to flee off his chariot and run for cover, providing another amazing type and shadow of the Antichrist and His armies who will all be vanquished when Jesus Christ returns to Earth with His saints at Armageddon:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.
And I saw the beast [the Antichrist], and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” – Revelation 19:11-20.
When Jesus Christ returns, He is going to personally wage war against the seemingly-invincible Antichrist and his armies and defeat them immediately. Just as God did for the Israelites, Jesus will fight for His people.
The Murder of Sisera – Foreshadow of Christ’s Victory
And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.
And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty.
And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No. Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. — Judges 4:15-24.
Jael’s assassination of Sisera is a stunning tale. In her loyalty to God’s people, she was ready to join the battle. And there are several types and shadows this moment teaches:
After Barak showed a lack of faith in God’s plan, the Prophetess Deborah shared God’s proclamation that: “the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” – Judges 4:9. After Adam and Eve showed a lack of faith and sinned in the Garden of Eden, The Lord declared that Satan would be defeated by “the seed of the woman..” The prophesied seed, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, had many Old Testament prophecies that foretold of His victory over Satan and sin for all of humanity.
The Wounded Head
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. – Genesis 3:14-15.
Not only did God proclaim that the seed of the woman would destroy Satan, He said the way it would happen: the Messiah would “bruise” or crush (which is the nature of the Hebrew word in this verse) the head of the serpent to destroy him. This is exactly how Jael killed Sisera, by driving the tent nail through both of his temples, crushing his head.
In Revelation Chapter 13, we are told that the Antichrist will also have a mortal wound on his head:
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. – Revelation 13:1-3.
The Antichrist will have a literal deadly wound to his head. In our article on David and Goliath: Foreshadow of Armageddon, we also noted that the Philistine giant Goliath, a foreshadow of the Antichrist, was killed by a wound to the head at the hands of David, who was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ. These are the pictures and types used throughout Scripture to teach Christians today. Our understanding of Bible prophecy can become much clearer when looking at the shadows in the Old testament.
Christ’s Victory on The Cross
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified…. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.
And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. – Matthew 27:22-35.
Jesus was beaten, mocked, tortured, stabbed and murdered unjustly on the cross. Did this seem like a victory for the Savior of the world? Did this seem like the Kingdom of God was at hand? Certainly to the enemies of God, it seemed like a sure defeat for Jesus. But they were sadly mistaken. In taking the wrath of God and offering Himself as a sacrifice, Christ won the victory by dying for the sins of the world that all who believe in Him can have eternal life. And just as His enemies thought they were victorious, so did Sisera wrongly think he had outsmarted the Israelites by entering Jael’s tent. He thought he had avoided certain defeat but had actually walked right into biblical prophecy by Jael killing him. And just as Jael took the nail and smashed it through the temples of Sisera, crushing his head, so too was the cross, literally driven into the “place of the skull” and with it the victory was won by the risen Savior.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: –Ephesians 2:15-16.
Jesus literally ended the “enmity”, or the war between humanity and God. Through Christ, a person can have peace with God and be freely forgiven of sins. This victory was also Christ’s time to reclaim rightful rulership of the Earth, which He will physically commence at His Second Coming. And thus the Serpent is crushed and will one day bow and confess that Jesus is Lord. The Prophetess Deborah describes Jael’s victory in a similar fashion:
She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead. – Judges 5:26-27.
The study of types and shadows is not only exciting, but it brings a new dimension to Old testament scripture. It is in line with the way The Lord intended to reveal many of the truths of Scripture. And in them we can always see some aspect pointing to Jesus Christ, the Son of God and risen Savior. Jael, was blessed to be among the many wonderful foreshadows of the Son of God.