When I was a child, sometimes at night one of us would use a flashlight and our hands to make shadow creatures appear on the wall while the others attempted to guess what creature was being made. Sometimes you were sure the shadow was supposed to be a dog, but found out it was a lion. You might think it was a rabbit, but it was a kangaroo. When you are staring at shadows, one person may be convinced they are seeing one thing while another person is convinced of the opposite. This confusion should be expected because shadows are only produced by blocking out the light.
Shadows are not the same as reflections. Reflections reveal the truth. Shadows hide it. Jesus Christ is the reflection of God’s glory. The Bible says he is “…the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” Hebrews 1:3. The Law of Moses along with its ordinances and rituals are merely shadows. Paul said, the Law had “a shadow of good things to come,” but it was not “the very image” Hebrews 10:1 of that good thing.
Moses’ law served to hide the glory of God from the people, whereas, Christ reveals the glory of God. Paul wrote concerning the Law, “…when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.” II Corinthians 3:15. Yet concerning Christ, Paul wrote, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image…” II Corinthians 3:18.
Paul also described the Jewish rituals, ordinances, holy days, and the Sabbath as being merely “a shadow of things to come; but, the body (the body which cast the shadow) is of Christ.” Colossians 2:17. Paul was alarmed that believers were turning to religious ritualism. He said such a person was “intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” Colossians 2:18. They believed themselves to be finding wisdom and spirituality in their religious rituals, but Paul was warning, “It’s just a shadow! There is nothing there to see but darkness!”
In every generation there have been those who think they will understand redemption through studying the Law and the Tabernacle along with its feast days and ceremonies. They seem blind to the simple truth that Christ came to do “What the Law could not do!” Romans 8:3. It is evident that the Law can never reveal the work of redemption because the Law could never accomplish that which redemption does in us. Consider the record of the scripture below:
“For the law made nothing perfect (complete), but the bringing in of a better hope did;” Hebrews 7:19. The Law could ceremonially cleanse the outside of a person, but because it cannot wash sin from the heart, its work is always incomplete. We who come through Christ have “our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22. We are made complete!
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away (remove) sins.” Hebrews 10:4. You can know everything there is to know about the sacrifices of the Tabernacle or even the Passover lamb, yet still know nothing about the blood of Christ. Christ shed his blood to do what it was impossible for the blood of animals to accomplish. The Bible says “…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:10. The blood of animals could never accomplish such a thing.
Christ is never found in the shadows. Yet, many professing believers are searching the “shadows” of religion, believing they will find a closeness with God. Some turn to the rituals of Judaism while others put their trust in baptisms and other religious ceremonialism. These are not necessarily evil, but they are just shadows. Those who walk in shadows always walk in darkness.
A walk in Christ is one of simple faith and trust. We believe the gospel as recorded in the scripture, and we trust in Jesus Christ. He shed his blood to take away our sin, and we walk in that freedom as we walk with him. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:7.