Let’s begin by defining (or asking Merriam-Webster) the word shadow:
- An imperfect and faint representation
- An imitation of something
Now let’s look at what New Testament Scripture has to say about living in the shadows …
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Hebrews 10:1 (NASB)
Not the very form of things … remember that.
Now if He (Jesus) were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Hebrews 8:4-6 (NASB)
Who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things …
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17 (NASB)
Things which are a mere shadow of what is to come …
But the substance belongs to Christ … check out the definition:
- Ultimate reality that underlies all outward manifestations
So it would seem to me that in the Old Testament the shadow of heavenly things … the substance belonging to Christ … were very long shadows. With the coming of Christ Jesus and the New Testament (or Covenant) those shadows became shorter … but we were still not yet to the substance. And finally when we find ourselves in New Jerusalem (Revelation 21) we find ourselves in the midst of the heavenly things … IN the very substance of Christ Jesus … no more shadows.
Consider what Paul wrote …
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (NASB)
Even now as a follower of Christ Jesus, we see in a mirror dimly and we only know in part.
Let me close with these hope-filled words of Christ Jesus …
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” John 14:1-4 (NASB)
Lord Jesus, thank you for your promises.
Help me Lord to remain devoted to the Way, the Truth and the Life!