SHADOW TO SUBSTANCE
God, I desire a confident and courageous faith; hear my prayer.
Read Hebrews 8:1–6
The High Priest of a New Covenant
8 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.”[a] 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
- Hebrews 8:5 Exodus 25:40
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs it hard for you to imagine Jesus as truly flesh and blood reality?
The ‘true tabernacle’ (2) isn’t ‘true’ in opposition to false, but as the ultimate fulfillment of an earlier ‘shadow’ or type. This is in much the same way that Jesus is ‘true bread’ (John 6:32) – bread temporarily satisfies physical hunger, but Jesus permanently satisfies a far deeper hunger.
‘These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ’ (Colossians 2:17, NIV). In Jesus, who ‘made His dwelling’ (literally, tabernacled) among us (John 1:14), we have the superior sacrifice of a superior servant serving in a superior sanctuary. The ‘shadows’ (tabernacle, sacrificial system, priesthood) were signposts, guiding our journey; their fulfillment is Jesus, the guide who is also our destination. Shadows can be distorted by factors such as distance or light; hence the warning to Moses to be faithful to the ‘pattern’ (5).
Our journey from shadow to substance is marked by struggle because heavenly realities elude the senses. Faith is a way of seeing. The unseen is no less real and relevant, but spiritual realities must be received, and responded to, by faith rather than sight (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV).
What promises of God are you having a hard time believing? ‘I will never leave you’? ‘You are a new creation’? Write it down and repeat it over to yourself through the week.
Though I have not seen You, I love You, Jesus. I believe in You. Fill me with Your inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8).
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