Pastor Keith Williams,
High Prairie Bethel Baptist Church
I like to spend time in the bush with nature, exploring new places and looking for animals.
At night, darkness impedes my view of things I am unable to see clearly. Sometimes, shadows give me enough of a clue that I know what it is that is out there. The moon may cast the shadow of a four–legged creature, and I might understand that a deer or a moose is standing just off to the side. Hopefully, not a bear or wolf!
The shadow of a winged creature may indicate that a bird or a bat is flying overhead. The shadow usually provides us with enough information to understand something of the reality behind the shadow.
“The New Testament often speaks of the old covenant saints as living in a time of types and shadows, particularly in regard to the ceremonies and sacrifices of the Mosaic law.” [Hebrews 10:1-18]
These ceremonies and sacrifices were like shadows in relation to Christ because in them, the old covenant saints saw something of what would be required for their redemption.
Seeing bulls, goats, sheep, and other animals offered up in the temple showed the people that the high price of death had to be paid to cover their sin. They didn’t yet fully understand that the only death that could pay for their sins would be the death of God’s Son in their place, but they did realize that life had to be given for atonement.
The substance, the reality that these shadows anticipated, is Jesus, the One whose death alone is sufficient to pay for our redemption.
These shadows were another way that God preached the Gospel to the saints who lived before the incarnation [before Christ]. Colossians 2:16-17 is but one of many texts that prove this point. In it we learn that no matter how important these sacrifices were, we fail if we locate this importance in the ceremonies themselves and not in their ability to point people to the Messiah.
Nothing in the law was ever revealed as an end in itself but was given to show us our need for Christ and the work He would do in our behalf. [Galatians 3:23-29]
This is why it is so important to get the Gospel right. There are wolves out there in sheep’s clothing. They also lurk in the shadows. Their shadows don’t always give them away but it is usually easy to point them out, not by how they look but by what they preach. Salvation equals Christ plus nothing. He completed the task given to Him by His Father, so those of us who trust Him and Him alone for our salvation will be saved. Period!
“God preached the Gospel for centuries leading up to the birth of Jesus, but in Christ Jesus He fulfilled what He had been saying all along, proclaiming the truth of salvation in Jesus alone most clearly.” [1 Peter 1:10-12]
Let’s be thankful that we live today when the fullness of the Gospel is available to all the people of God.
Let’s be grateful for this and also thankful that we have God’s complete revelation, and Apostolic word that shows us how to understand the Lord’s acts in history. Let us study the Apostles’ writings carefully so we might know Christ truly.
Soli Deo Gloria!