Nehemiah: A Type of Christ

I always find it interesting looking at the characters in the Old Testament from the light of the New Testament. In His infinite wisdom, God orchestrated the events and characters of the Old Testament for our learning (Romans 15:4), and one of the ways we can learn is through typology, that is, something in the Old Testament that foreshadows something else in the New Testament.

Well, in this sense, Nehemiah foreshadows Jesus Christ, and is therefore a ‘type’ of Christ.

There are quite a few similarities that I’ve found, which you’ll see listed below. If you find others not on this list, please let me know in the comments below!

Nehemiah

• Was cup-bearer to the king; as such was ready to die for the King (1:11)
• Wept over the state of Jerusalem (1:4)
.
• Sent & empowered by the King, where he had been waiting & serving (2:8)
• Left his position with the King to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
• Answered trials and temptations with faith in God (2:9)
• Prayed to God and watched night and day – a picture of constantly abiding in Christ (2:9)
• Came to seek the well-being of the children of Israel (2:10)
• Did not confide in other men (2:12)
.
• Protected the people from intruders who would kill the people (2:20)
• Was mocked for doing the work of God (4:1)
• Set the slaves free, broke the yoke of oppression over the people (5:5-11)
• Was falsely accused by his enemies with partial truths and outright lies (6:6-7)
• Did not flee when his life was threatened (6:11)
• When the work was finished, his enemies were disheartened (6:16)
• Re-established the truth of God’s word in the land, restored the covenant (8:1-9; 9:1-13)
• Came not to be served, but to serve (5:14-19)
• Did not burden the people (5:18)
.
• Held himself from all temptations, lived a pure life (5:14-19) Also no record of him sinning.
• They plotted against Nehemiah’s life (6:10-13)
• Had to return to the king (13:4-6)
.
• Re-instituted true Sabbath rest (13:19)
• Cleansed the temple of Tobiah’s stuff: Tobiah represents the flesh nature; we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (13:7-9)
• Judged the children of Israel (5:14)
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• Pulled hair during judgement (13:25)
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• Cleansed them of everything pagan (13:30)
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• Refused to come down off the wall because he was doing a great work (6:3)

Jesus

• Drank the cup that was given to Him (Lk 22:42)
• Had great compassion for the lost (Mark 6:34)
• Sent and empowered by the Father (Jn 14:10)
• Gave up His position in the throne room of God to come and reclaim creation
• Epitomized faith in God (Jn 14:7-11)
.
• Often went to pray alone in the night (Mk 1:29-30) always replenishing spiritually. Abide in Christ, He in the Father Jn 14 etc.
• Came to seek and save the lost (Mark 2:17, John 14:6)
• Jesus did not commit himself to other men (John 2:24)
• Is the Good Shepherd, protecting His sheep (John 10:27-29)
• Was mocked by the soldiers and the crowd (Mat 27:27)
• Set the spiritual slaves and captives free (Is. 61:1)
• Falsely accused by the priests and false witnesses (Mat 26:60-61)
• Walked through the crowd when His life was threatened (John 12)
• When His work was finished every enemy was completely defeated
• Christ fulfilled the covenant and instituted a new one (Heb 9:15)
.
• Came not to be served, but to serve. (Matt. 20:28)
• Jesus’ yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30)
• Jesus never sinned despite being able to identify with our weakness (Heb. 4:15)
.
• Pharisees were constantly plotting against Jesus’ life (John 10:39)
• Returned to the Father, sent the Holy Spirit in His place (John 16:5-7)
• (Isaiah 2:1-4, 11:1-10, 66:17-25)
• Jesus cleansed the temple of the money changers (Matthew 21:12-13)
.
• Will judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42, Jn 5:22, 27)
• Will rule with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:9, Rev 2:26)
• Has cleansed us of all sin and impurity (John 1:29, 1 Pet 2:24)
• 4 different groups tried to get Jesus off the cross, and He refused as He was doing a great work of building up His kingdom.

  • Love the comparisons. Thank you for sharing! Another comparison to consider is that Nehemiah refused to come down from the wall because he was doing a great work of rebuilding the God’s earthly kingdom (Neh. 6:3) even though they initially sent 4 messages for him to come down (Neh. 6:4). When lifted up on the cross, 4 times various groups tried to get Jesus to come down and he also refused, since he was doing a great work of building up His kingdom.

  • Jonathan

    Hi David – that’s another great one, I hadn’t seen that before! Thanks, I’ll add it to the list. 🙂

  • Wonderful comparison – and very helpful. As I am preparing to preach on chapter 6, I could not help but notice in verse 9 that Nehemiah prays to God for strength; not far from our Lord in the Garden praying for the cup to pass, but yet – for His Father’s will to be done. Both relied on our Father for strength in trying times.

    Blessings in Christ, from the swamp known as Houston.

  • Jonathan – perhaps the reference for Christ fulfilling the old covenant and establishing the new would be Heb 9:15, and the reference for Christ returning to His father and sending the Spirit would be John 16:5 – 7.

    Blessings in Christ,

  • Jonathan

    Thanks Manfred, those are very appropriate references – I’ve included them in the list now.

  • I really like and appreciate your blog post. Much obliged.

  • Simone

    I love comparing people to Jesus it gives me hope