Coming Out of Shadows
An incredible plan of salvation, revealed through the religious culture of ancient Israel, foreshadowed the future of the world!
God’s laws including; Sabbaths and holy days, ceremonial sacrifices and rituals associated with the tabernacle and priesthood, were only an shadow of something more substantial to come, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come,” (Hebrews 10:1). They foreshadowed what God had planned for mankind; how it was to be accomplished, and by whom.
Law and Atonement
The ten principal commandments codified and written in stone at Mt Sinai formed the basis of Israel’s religious culture (Exodus 20:1-17). They defined sin, “…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20). All sin, “… is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). Transgression automatically invokes punishment, “… the wages of sin is death;” (Romans 6:23). And the punishment for sin is death, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20). While the penalty may seem harsh, God did make provision for atonement.
The Hebrew word translated as atonement means to ‘cover over’ sin. In ancient Israel this was achieved by substituting an animal to suffer the penalty for sin (Leviticus 4:1-35). As a form of appeasement, or penance, it avoided the penalty but did not remove the attitude that caused the sin, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4). Neither the law, nor sacrifices justified anyone in God’s eyes, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:…” (Romans 3:20).
Animal sacrifices only absolved sinners from a penalty imposed by the law for their sin on a physical level. They also served to remind man of his/her sinful state and the need to atone, “But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.” (Hebrews 10:3). They foreshadowed the spiritual redemption to come, that would truly justify people before God so that they would have access to eternal life in His Kingdom, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” (Hebrews 10:1).
The atoning sacrifices of ancient Israel and in particular the annual sacrifice of the Passover lamb, foreshadowed Christ’s own sacrifice, “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:” (I Corinthians 5:7). He took upon himself the punishment for the sins of all others to help facilitate their reconciliation with God, “…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10:10-12).
Perfection and true reconciliation with God can only be achieved because Christ sacrificed His life, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (appeasement) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:23-25). His perfect life was substituted for all mankind so that those who turn to God can be saved, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28).
To begin the process of reconciliation the demands of the law had to be met. Christ substituted His own life to pay the penalty for all mankind. His righteous life, which was without sin, was more valuable than the sum total of all humanity which in its existing sinful state is under condemnation of death. Once the penalty had been paid mankind was effectively redeemed because it enabled individuals, through a truly repentant attitude, to become righteous in God’s sight. Christ’s sacrifice literally took away the sins of the world, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).
We have all sinned, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23). And it is God’s will that we all be saved from the death penalty that hangs over us, “who will have all men to be saved,” (I Timothy 2:4). He is - “not willing that any should perish but, that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). He has made provision for mankind to be delivered from their current state of sin to one of righteousness, “… Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” (Galatians 1:3-4). Also, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:” (I Peter 2:24).
To be righteous is to be without sin, a state that is acceptable to God, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:18). It enables reconciliation to take place with God who abhors sin. Once reconciliation is achieved people can received their inheritance in God’s kingdom where there is no sin, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” (Romans 14:17-18). Righteousness cannot be obtained simply by obeying the law, “…no man is justified by the law in the sight of God,” (Gal 3:11). Righteousness comes as a result of having God’s Spirit, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;” (Ephesians 5:9).
God’s Spirit is the very substance and essence of God Himself. He is holy (Psalm 99:9), and is comprised of spirit (John 4:24). He is Holy Spirit! When the Holy Spirit is given to an individual they receive a portion of the very mind and essence of God that is also in Christ, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5). The same mind is imparted to those who, responding to God’s calling in heartfelt repentance and are baptized in Christ’s name, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit).” (Acts 2:38). With God’s Spirit they are of the same mind as both the Father and Christ, “…ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” (John 14:20).
The Holy Spirit adds a new dimension to the human mind that enables it to think and act in the same manner as God, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”(I Corinthians 2:9-14).
With that spiritual dimension comes the righteousness required for eternal life, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:9-11). Although the physical body dies the spiritual component can be resurrected.
Administration of Death
Paul the Apostle described the law as the ‘administration of death’ when comparing it to the much better ‘administration of the spirit’ it foreshadowed, “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.” (II Corinthians 3:7-9).
Everyone since Adam, with the exception of Christ, has been under the administration of death because all have sinned, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12).
In a world that was under the administration of death, Israel was set up to portray in a physical manner a much better, future administration under which all nations of the world will be saved, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3). Reconciliation with God and the inheritance of eternal life in His Kingdom is the blessing offered to all of mankind.
The culture and religion of ancient Israel portrayed in physical terms the future spiritual administration that was to come through Christ, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16).
Administration of Spirit
Christ was sent by the Father to administer His plan of salvation through to its outcome, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:24-28).
He came to replace the old administration of death with the administration of spirit, “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.” (II Corinthians 3:7-9).
The law previously written in stone can now be written in the hearts of men through having the Holy Spirit in them, “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”(II Corinthians 3:3). Also, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (I John 3:9). The outcome of having the Holy Spirit is a state of righteousness necessary for eternal life.
Although Christ’s sacrifice paid the penalty for all, personal sacrifice in the form of repentance and obedience is still required of the individual, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1).
John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ’s new administration by preaching repentance, “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mark 1:4, see also Luke 3:3). And, “ John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” (Acts 19:4). John said, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:2-3). He prepared the way for the one who was foreshadowed by the law and foretold by the prophets.
Repentance is not a momentary feeling of guilt or regret for wrong doing that can be rectified by some ritual sacrifice. It takes an honest and powerful realization of the vileness of the sin and an abhorrence of one’s own sinful state that drives sinners to confess their sins in heartfelt sorrow to God, seeking His forgiveness and the power of His Holy Spirit to make an attitudinal change that will result in a permanent behavioral change, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9). Repentance is the beginning of the salvation process converting individuals from a self-centered way of unrighteousness to a God-centred way of righteousness.
Repentance is the first step in the conversion process that leads to baptism and the receipt of God’s Holy Spirit necessary to bring about the changes required by God,“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit).” (Acts 2:38). Having repented and received God’s Spirit through Christ they come under the administration of spirit. The unrepentant are still under the administration of death until they do repent, “…except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3).
The fate of those who wilfully sin and refuse to turn to God is eternal death from which there is no redemption, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8).
True conversion, can only be accomplished through the Holy Spirit that is administered by Christ, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he (Christ) that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11). The Spirit helps transform the mind, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
Through the process of conversion believers have their sins forgiven and make the changes in preparation for eternal life in God’s Kingdom, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”. Also, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 2:38-39, 3:19).
Christ did not come to change the ten principle commandments that govern human behaviour. He came to pay the penalty so that those willing to be reconciled to God can repent and remain in a state of sinlessness through obedience to the commandments, “And being made perfect, he (Christ) became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Hebrews 5:9). Also “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (I John 2:2).
That state of sinlessness is maintained through continuing to repent when the law is transgressed in any way, “But 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:7-9). Resurrection to spirit completes the conversion process bringing the individual to the fullness of the stature of Christ himself, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13).
This was not possible under the old administration of death which was only a shadow of the more glorious administration of Spirit and life that Christ introduced, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Col 2:16-17).
He gave substance to the shadows because He offered eternal life over which death has no power, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” (II Timothy 1:10). He made it possible for believers to come out from under the old administration, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2). Christ opened up the way for mankind to come out of the shadows into the reality of spirit and life.
Resurrection to Spirit
It is God’s will that all who have ever lived have the opportunity of eternal life in His Kingdom, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
However, since Adam millions died who have not even heard of Christ let alone received the Holy Spirit through Him. Fortunately God’s merciful plan of salvation has been designed to accommodate these people. Those called to salvation in this age and who have made the necessary changes under Christ’s administration will be resurrected to eternal life when Christ returns, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (I Corinthians 15:22-23). They will rule with Christ over this earth for a thousand years, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:”……”and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” (Revelation 20:4-5).
After a thousand years the rest of the world will be resurrected back to a physical existence in what is known as the White Throne Judgment and will be able to compare life under the administration of death with life under administration of spirit. They will be given understanding of the Bible and will be judged according to how they live during that time. This will be their opportunity to repent, receive God’s Spirit and make the changes in their lives that are a pre-requisite to eternal life.
Those who embrace God’s way will be resurrected to eternal life and those who don’t will die the second death from which there is no further resurrection, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books (of the Bible) were opened (to their understanding): and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12-15).
Spiritual House of Israel
God spoke of this future time through the prophet Jeremiah, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
Although addressing His people (Israel) at that time who, like everyone else, were under the administration of death, God was referring to the future when His people will be those under the administration of spirit. They would not necessarily be Israelites by descent. The future House of Israel was not going to be bound by race or gender. It was going to be comprised of believers whom Paul said are spiritual (not physical) descendants of Abraham through Christ, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” And, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:7 and 26-29).
This future spiritual House of Israel is the kingdom that ancient Israel foreshadowed. It is God’s Kingdom. Jeremiah was not talking about the physical restoration of ancient Israel, he was referring to God’s spiritual Kingdom of which ancient Israel was a mere shadow. Those who have God’s Spirit already have an assurance of eternal life in that Kingdom, “…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14). The House of Israel whom the prophet said would have the law written in their hearts by the Spirit of the living God (confirmed by Paul in II Corinthians 3:3) is the New Testament Church.
The law that Jeremiah said would be written in the hearts of this future spiritual Israel, was the spiritual law which was codified in the ten commandments, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33). The Ten Commandments that govern behavior toward God and toward fellow man have not changed, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18).
Fulfilling the Law
The law recorded in Exodus 20 comprised the ten principle commandments to which the laws concerning the tabernacle, ceremonies, rituals and sacrifices were added as part of the covenant with Israel. The covenant was an agreement between Israel and God, that Israel would keep God’s law and when Israel failed miserably to keep their side of the agreement it was superseded by a new and better covenant based on the same ten principle laws but without those ceremonial laws that Christ had fulfilled. The New Covenant was designed for the salvation of all humantiy on an idividual basis, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13).
Christ came not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them,“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matthew 5:17).
He fulfilled the prophecies that foretold of His coming and the Kingdom. He told the Pharisees that through His presence the Kingdom was in their midst, “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them,The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you." (Luke 17:20-21 RSV). Christ the one who had been sent to administer the spirit that guarantees eternal life in the Kingdom, was at that time standing amoung them. In other words prophecy was being fulfilled before their very eyes. Also by implication the events foreshadowed by the rituals and ceremonies were being fulfilled. He was the substance of those shadows.
Some maintain that this passage confirms that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom within the hearts or minds of believers. This is a case of poor translation as the margin note in the KJV confirms. It is inconceivable that Christ would be telling these Pharisees, who sought to kill Him that the Kingdom of God existed within them! He rebuked them because they, “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men... ...for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13). The Kingdom of God is something we enter – it does not enter us.
Christ fulfilled the laws that govern behaviour by living God’s way. He was a living embodiment of the law because He was without sin, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14). The word ‘love’ encapsulates the very nature and character of God and His way of life, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (I John 4:16). Love is not some sentimental syrup that many ‘so called Christians’ would have us believe. Love is defined as keeping the law, “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” ( II John 6). Through obedience to the law love is expressed to God and our fellow men.
Christ Himself summarized the law that He embodied as follows: “… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40). It is the law that leads to perfection, “And above all these things put on charity (love), which is the bond of perfectness.” (Colossians 3:14). Living by the law fulfills the law, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2).
Christ did not do away with the law. He made it possible for those who have God’s Spirit to live the law to a far greater extent than its codified form required. The law physically codified at Mount Sinai was a shadow of the spiritual fulfillment that God had in mind for those who were to have His Spirit.
The codified commandments physically represent the spiritual nature and character of God that is passed on to individuals who receive His Spirit, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5). And “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13). The very nature of Christ is inculcated in all who are resurrected to spirit, “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (I Corinthians 15:28).
Having the same mind and character of God that is in Christ also enables believers to fulfill the law in the same manner, “…but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (I Corinthians 6:11). Having Christ’s Spirit they become righteous, thus fulfilling the law, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4).
Christ did not do away with the law. However, its codified form becomes superfluous to the individual who lives God’s spiritual law in its entirety by the very nature of God that is them, especially once they are perfected by resurrection to spirit in God’s Kingdom. Having reached the fullness of the stature of Christ and it will be impossible for them to sin and they will be the living, spiritual fulfillment of the law for all eternity.
As long as the administration of death exists the codified form of the law is necessary to define sin to those under that administration and for those coming out of it.
Although Christ did not do away with the law we have seen how the law becomes superfluous once fulfilled by living God’s way. It is the same with prophecy, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” (I Corinthians 13:9-10). Much of the ritual and sacrificial law was prophetic and when Christ came He fulfilled these prophecies so they are no longer relevant. For example there is no longer any need to continue a succession of men in the role of High Priest when Christ is now our eternal High Priest, “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” (Hebrews 9:11).
Those laws that He fulfilled by becoming what they foreshadowed became superfluous and others were changed, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Hebrew 7:12). The meaning of the Holy days that Christ’s disciples continued to observe took on greater significance with a focus on the future and the plan of God that Christ had come to implement. Having fulfilled the role of the Passover lamb for instance, Christ then changed the observance introducing the new symbolism of the bread and wine that depicted God dwelling in those whom He called.
He did not change the ten principal commands that define sin because not everyone at this stage is under the administration of spirit. Those laws will not be fulfilled until every person who is going to be resurrected to eternal life has been resurrected. Then and only then will those laws be totally superfluous because no one will be able to sin, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (I John 3:9).
Return to Shadows
Having moved from the shadow into the light cast by God’s glorious Kingdom, God does not expect believers to step back into the shadows. On the subject of seeking the Kingdom Christ said,“No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
When the Galatians were troubled by some wanting them to return to Jewish traditions, in particular circumcision, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” (Galatians 5:2). Circumcision was no longer required because they were circumcised of the heart as Paul explained to the Romans, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:28-29).
Paul reminded them that having been redeemed from the bondage of death by the sacrifice of Christ they had now entered into a spiritual relationship with God. He gave strong warning against returning to the physical forms of worship. Especially when those forms of worship, set up under the administration of death, were only poor images of what they now had. To do so would mean that everything they had achieved was in vain, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.” (Galatians 3:3-4).
He said, “Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” (Galatians 4:1-11).
He told them to, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1).
Unfortunately many today are being led back into Judaic forms of worship that are no longer appropriate seeking solace in observations, ceremony and ritual rather than experiencing the full richness of a direct and uncluttered spiritual relationship with God. These ceremonies and rituals are only shadows. They are ignoring the substance to chase shadows which is futile. Paul’s warning to the Galatians is just a relevant to believers who today are making the same mistake. We are to come out of the shadows into the light.
Out of Shadow into Light.
Through the religious culture of ancient Israel God foreshadowed what He had planned for mankind; how it was to be accomplished, and by whom. Their culture was a living portrayal of the future - a shadow of good things to come. It pointed toward a great and glorious future for mankind in the Kingdom of God.
Their physical culture revealed God’s spiritual plan of salvation and it is currently being implemented by Jesus Christ so that all who lived will eventually be given the opportunity of eternal life in God’s Kingdom.
Through the Holy Spirit mankind is now able to step out from under the administration of death into Christ’s administration of spirit. Out from the shadow of death into the glorious light of God’s Kingdom. A Kingdom that will last for all eternity.
According to Bullinger the use of the name ‘Elohim’ in the phrase “ God spake all these words…” (Exodus 20:1) which precedes the pronouncement of the ten words (Commandments) indicating that they have universal application. This is because “Elohim’s first occurrence connects it with creation, and gives it its essential meaning as Creator. It indicates His relationship to mankind as His creatures” (Companion Bible Appendix 4). The universal application of the ten principle commandments is confirmed in Romans 5:12 and 3:23 which tells us that all people as far back as Adam have sinned. If the law did not exist in Adam’s time then he could not have sinned because, “…sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (Romans 5:13). His sin put all of humanity under the administration of death. The fact that he did sin proves that the law existed from the beginning and applies to all of mankind since that time.