The Shadow of Things to Come

1994

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit – Romans 14:17

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” – Yeshua

The Kingdom of God is not made up of words or symbols, rituals, dogmas, organizations, books on theology or doctrine or declarations of faith or the Bible itself, but of the Reality to which they all point.

The Torah -the Law of God- is also termed similarly: The Law is a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves (Hebrews 10:1). Does that mean to say that the Law is done away with, and should not be practiced?  Not any more or less than is the cup and bread of the communion, which are also a shadow of that which is to come. “Drink this in remembrance of me,” said Yeshua, as a memorial that, as Paul wrote, as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:26). It too is a shadow of a reality yet to come.

That ‘communion’ originally was not a mere religious ritual practiced among strangers, but part of a meal partaken together with friends, who know each other face to face. It was an event of men and God seated together in common, in community to dine in remembrance of the ultimate Passover and its ultimate Lamb. It was a living communion (fellowship) rather than simply ceremony of agreement for membership.

Shadow in Hebrew is tzel, the same root used in the name Betzalel- in the shadow of God. To dwell in the shadow of the Most High (Psalm 91:1) is to dwell in a safe place. It is also related to the tzelem Elohim- the image of God. In Biblical terms, the shadow is normally a positive thing, not a negative.

Therefore let no one judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a festival, a New Moon, or a Sabbath, these are a shadow of the things to come; the reality, however, is found in the Messiah (Colossians 2:17). But when the shadow becomes an end in itself, rather than the means to an end, we are in deep trouble. When religious observance, or attendance in a congregation or conferences or rallies, becomes an end in itself, it becomes stagnant like a lifeless swamp, and there is a grim disconnect between the shadow and the reality. If those proclaiming belief that Messiah has already come do not make every effort in their own lives, with the powers granted, to reduce the disconnect between the heavenly vision and the earthly shadow, what benefit is that vision on the Earth? For a shadow is an indicator of that which is casting the shadow, which is the Reality behind the shadow.

For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known – 1 Corinthians 13:12