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What do you mean by shadows and substance?

Submitted: 3/9/2010
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Question: While reading your last reply I see that the you use the imagery of 'shadow' and 'substance' a lot. Could you further explain what you're hinting at when you use these terms? I surmise that you are probably referring to the passages in Colossians 2:11-17, Hebrews 8; and Hebrews 10.

Answer: A shadow is an outline of an object designed to teach some underlying truth about that object. It serves the purpose of helping us to correctly identify the actual object when it comes into view. The law contains many shadows of New Testament realities. For example, Passover is a shadow of the death of Jesus; Unleaven Bread is a shadow of removal of sins; Firstfruits is a shadow of the resurrection of Jesus; circumcision is a shadow of water baptism; the Sabbath is a shadow of the gift of the Holy Spirit; all animal sacrifices are a shadow of the sacrifice of Jesus and the spiritual sacrifices of believers; the priests are a shadow of the priesthood of Jesus and all believers; the dietary laws are a shadow of the division between Jews and Gentiles; new moons are a shadow of the new birth; the temple is a shadow of the body of Christ; and so on.