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The law as “a shadow of good things to come”:
How do we know that the covenant of law was not God’s best?
If that covenant was good enough, God would not have had to send Jesus to die on the cross for us.
God sent His only Son, JESUS CHRIST, to fulfil the law perfectly on our behalf at the cross of Calvary.
Jesus, who knew no sin, took upon His own body all the curses and the full payment for all the sins of humanity,
so that under this NEW COVENANT through Him we can completely depend on His unmerited Favour for every Blessing in our lives.
The Blessing-Favour that we enjoy today through Jesus under the new covenant is God’s BEST for us!
To prove that Jesus (and not the law) is God’s best, God has already concealed shadows pointing to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in the very same chapter that the Ten Commandments were given.
The Old Testament is full of shadows, types and pictures that point to the person of Jesus and His death on the cross.
Paul explains this in the Book of Hebrews when he speaks of the law as “having a shadow of the good things to come.” – Hebrews 10:1
When you see the shadow of an object, you know that the object is nearby.
Knowing that the law is “a shadow of good things to come”, we need to find out what “the good things to come” refers to…
Paul answers this question when he talks about how the rituals under the law “are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of CHRIST.” - Colossians 2:17.
The shadows hidden in the Old Testament point to the substance in the New Testament, which is JESUS CHRIST!
Would eating the shadow of a hamburger satisfy you?
No, you need to partake of the actual substance to be filled!
Even as God gave the Ten Commandments, JESUS was on His mind?
God was already preparing to send His Son to die for us!
Jesus is in the old covenant CONCEALED and in the new covenant REVEALED!
He is the key to unlocking the Old Testament, and makes unveiling every detail that is recorded in the Bible so exciting.
In Exodus 20, the Ten Commandments were given.
Even when God was giving the law, Jesus’ death on the cross was already on His mind.
He knew that the people could not keep the law, so he made provision for the cross as the answer to the people’s failure.
God’s immediate instruction to Moses after the law was given was to build Him an altar.
What is an altar?
An altar is a place where offerings were sacrificed.
But God didn’t stop there. ..
He gave some instructions about building the altar, which reveal even more about the cross.
In the last 2 verses of Exodus 20, God told Moses, “And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.” - Exodus 20:25.
This instruction tells us that there can be no human effort (no hewn stone) involved.
It tells us that man’s works cannot be added to the finished work of Jesus, for that would profane it.
God also said, “Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it”– Exod.20:26
Man cannot gain access to God’s BLESSING-FAVOUR by his own steps.
Man’s self-efforts to deserve God’s Blessing-Favour will only expose his own weaknesses.
Blessing-Favour comes only from Jesus’ finished work on the cross.
You cannot add to His work nor can you deserve His Favour by depending on your obedience to the law.
Jesus did a complete work on the cross and declared that “It is finished!” – John 19:30.
What about the offerings?
God told the children of Israel to sacrifice offerings to Him.
These offerings are found in the Book of Leviticus, which gives a detailed account of the burnt offering, peace offering, meal offering, sin offering, and trespass offering.
All five offerings are shadows that point to our one perfect offering – Jesus Christ on the cross.
That one sacrifice of Jesus is so rich with truths that it takes five offerings to depict His one offering on the cross.
Even as God gave the Ten Commandments, His heart was already set on sending Jesus as the final sacrifice to redeem man from his failings.
He knew from the very beginning of the covenant of law that man would fail him and that no man could ever keep the law fully and be blessed.
And that is why in His love for man, He made a provision for the offerings even as He gave the law.
God wanted to ensure that there was a way out for His people so that when they failed to keep His laws, they could bring their offerings to Him before the curses could come upon them.
Even the process that the Israelites followed when they made their offerings is full of truths.
For example: When a sinner brings his offering to the priest, the lamb that he brings must be without spot, wrinkle or blemish. After the priest has examined the lamb, the sinner must lay his hands upon the lamb’s head.
The sinner then kills the lamb and offers it upon the altar as a sacrifice.
The lamb must be perfect because it is a picture of Jesus’ perfection – He is our perfect sacrifice, without any spot, wrinkle or blemish of sin!
This act had dual significance: The sinner is transferring his sins to the innocent lamb, while the lamb’s innocence is transferred to the sinner.
The sinner is now made righteous and walks away free from any curse.
It has everything to do with us because this is an amazing picture of the divine exchange that took place on the cross.
At the cross, all our sins were put upon Jesus, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.
But Jesus did not only take away our sins.
He also transferred His righteousness to us, so that today, we can be forever redeemed from the curse of the law!
For the sacrifice to be complete, the lamb has to be killed.
The man who brought the offering can walk away with the righteousness of the lamb.
Instead of the curses that he deserves, he can now expect God’s blessings.
Jesus’ one perfect payment cleared your lifetime of sins and now you walk in newness of life with the righteousness of the Lamb of God!
You can now live life with a confident expectation of God’s blessings coming upon you. What a life!
Jesus had to die an agonizing death because “the wages of sin is death.” - Romans 6:23.
He did not just take away your sins and give you His righteousness.
He also took upon His own body the punishment for your sins.
Once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour, you are no longer a sinner.
All your sins – past, present and future – have been punished at the cross once and for all.
Jesus does not need to be crucified ever again.
His one perfect payment cleared your lifetime of sins!
Today, you can enjoy all the blessings of the new covenant because of what Jesus has done for you.
You are now under the Covenant of His Blessing-Favour and all the terms to be met for you to be blessed have been met by Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
THE PRICE IS PAID IN FULL…THE ACCOUNT IS SETTLED…IT IS FINISHED…IT IS DONE…YOU HAVE A COVENANT!