December 24 – When You Follow a Shadow


  • Heb. 6:13-10:18


The writer of Hebrews continues his explanation of how Jesus and the new covenant are superior to the Law of Moses and the old covenant. Yesterday, we looked at the various roles that Jesus serves, including that of our high priest. Today’s reading continues that thought by comparing the Jewish system to that of a shadow which points to Jesus.

What happens when you follow a shadow all the way until it ends? You come to the object which was casting that shadow, of course. Try this some time, then the truths revealed in this section of GOD’s Word will be even more profound and meaningful. Every part of the old covenant is a shadow, pointing us to something in the new covenant. For example, consider the tabernacle which Moses built. Hear what the Scripture says:

1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
(Heb. 8:1-5 NIV)

The new covenant was necessary because there was a critical problem with the first covenant—no amount of animal sacrifices could ever take away sins. Recall how there were regular sacrifices of animals and the Levite high priest would go into the most holy place once per year, after first offering animal sacrifices for his own sins, in order to make atonement for the Israelites. This, too, was a shadow of Jesus. The text reads:

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
(Heb. 9:11-15 NIV) 

It is the offering of the blood of an innocent Man, Jesus the Christ, that has taken away our problem of sin and made Jesus our high priest, our Mediator between us and GOD, and the author of the new covenant. The Hebrew writer says:

1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
(Heb. 10:1-18 NIV) 

Hallelujah! Praise GOD for His indescribable gift, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and for the forgiveness of our sins! Thank you Jesus! Amen.


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