THE OLD IS A SHADOW OF THE NEW

Colossians 2:16-17—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: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Hebrews 8:3-6—For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hebrews 10:1—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.

One should be able to see why it is important to study the Old Testament; it helps us better understand the New.

 THE TABERNACLE

(Outline taken from Nave’s Topical Bible, Electronic Database Copyright © 1990 by Biblesoft, Inc. and TriStar Publishing)

UNDERSTANDING THE FIRST TABERNACLE

South-East View of the Tabernacle Joshua 18:1
South-East View of the Tabernacle Joshua 18:1

Matthew 24:35 tells us that God’s word will endure, even when everything else has passed away.

One might first review some of the things about the book of Hebrews. First of all, Paul is thought to be the author in part because Timothy is mentioned in the salutation (Heb. 13:23). Timothy is known to have worked solely together with Paul. Secondly, greetings are given from Italy and the writer is in Italy and waiting for Timothy to come (Heb. 13:23). Timothy was recently released from prison, and the writer is waiting in Italy for him to come.

The author of the book of Hebrews is exhorting these brethren to understand what it means to have a high priest.   With a High Priest standing up for us, we can have courage to draw near to God for help (Heb. 4:14-16Heb. 5:5Heb. 8:1-2Heb. 9:11Heb. 10:19-22).

Why was the book written? The main purpose of the book is described especially in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, Heb. 5:11-14Heb. 6:4-9Heb. 10:26-31Heb. 12:5-12Heb. 12:28, and others—not to continue to grow weaker but to press on to the goal of becoming complete in Christ (Heb. 6:1-3).  Even though the author emphasizes the different worship of the Old Law of Moses, the brethren were encouraged to obey the New Testament laws rather than the laws in the Old Testament.

The tabernacle was built by God’s people in the wilderness (). Some people may say that it is not important to study the Old Testament since the things we need to know to be Christians and go to heaven are in the New Testament. But a study of the book of Hebrews will show that one must study the Old Testament in order to understand some things in the New Testament. This is particularly true of the comparison between the temple worship and today’s worship. If one does not know and understand the Old Testament, much of the book of Hebrews would be a mystery. The book of Hebrews shows how much of the worship in the Old Testament was as shadow of the New Testament (Heb. 9:2-9).

The study of the tabernacle is important because it was a central place of worship for God’s people. The tabernacle was a tent put up in the wilderness as a place for God to dwell and provided a way for the people to seek God (Exo. 25:21-22).

Around the outside of the tabernacle hung a beautiful curtain, like a fence. It was hung upon posts made of brass.

Inside the curtain stood the tabernacle, which was made of boards. These boards were covered with pure gold. They stood on end close to each other so that they made a golden room. The room had only three walls and a beautifully embroidered curtain of scarlet and purple cloth covered the fourth side. The golden room was divided into two parts by a curtain called the veil. This curtain was the most beautiful of all. The furniture of the tabernacle, like the walls, was also made of gold. The cover of the ark was made of solid gold and on either end of it (Exodus 25:18-20), were two Cherubim—(see Ezekiel, chapters 1 and 10 for a description of Cherubim) of solid gold facing each other with their wings stretched above (actually shadowing) the mercy seat between them. The beautiful Ark of the Covenant was placed in the most sacred place of all, the golden room behind the veil called the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies. It was called by this name because God Himself came down into this room filling it with his glory. No one was allowed to enter this place except the high priest and he entered only once a year. The Holy of Holies “had the golden censor, and the Ark of the Covenant overlaid round about with gold” (Heb. 9:3-4) A small altar of gold was made and placed just inside the veil of the Holy of Holies. It was this altar, which was used to burn sweet smelling incense.

The larger of the two golden rooms was called the Holy Place. The golden candlestick had seven branches, on top of which was a little gold cup. Olive oil was burned in these cups to furnish the light in the Holy Place (Exo. 27:20). The other article of furniture in the Holy Place was a golden table on which twelve loaves of fresh unleavened bread or showbread were placed every Sabbath morning.

Outside the tabernacle in the courtyard was a large altar made of brass. On it were to be burned the animal offerings or sacrifices. There was also a large brass bowl called the laver in which the priests had to wash their hands and feet before offering sacrifices to the Lord.

The tabernacle in the Old Testament was a shadow of some things in the New Testament. The book of Hebrews, in fact, calls the old tabernacle “a shadow of . . . things to come.”(Heb. 10:1) What does that mean? The tabernacle in the Old Testament was a shadow of things to come in the New Testament.

SOLOMON’S TEMPLE

temple-orig

The original building of David’s temple is best described in 1 Kings 6-7. Measurements may be figured by using the cubit as it relates to our own foot, yard, or meter.  Notice the “porch” and the “columns” had names. The rebuilding of the second temple is described in the book of Ezra; however, it is obvious from the reading in Ezra 3:1213 that the second foundation was really nothing to compare to the first one.

I understand that both the tabernacle (tent) and Solomon’s temple (stones and gold) as the same entity, describing God’s temple in heaven.  Like the temple had a holy of holies, it matches up with the ‘temple’ where God is. Now, we can enter by a new and living way – and come directly to the throne through our High Priest.

Of course, coming directly before the throne without knowing what to say, might not help a lot! But the High Priest, who could directly relate with God, has been replaced with the ‘real’ High Priest who searches hearts and reins and thus knows what to pray for.  The Holy Spirit dwells in the new temple (like he did in the OT temple) and searches all things and thus knows what to pray for.  Our prayers are a ‘sweet smell’ to God like the OT incense was to man. In the fact that we seek him, it shows faith in his help and ability and not our own, and gains favor (sweet smell?).

Our sacrifices are the fruit of our lips (Heb. 13:15) acknowledging his authority over us and thus promising submission, subjection and obedience.  Any other spiritual sacrifice such as giving to the poor, giving our time and goods to help his children, building in his children’s hearts, etc., is humility, which is pleasing to him.

Thus, the OT temple was a shadow – dealing mainly with physical things. The NT temple is the real in heaven, dealing with spiritual eternal things of the different parts of his love.

Following the weekly WordPress challenge: SHADOW

7 thoughts on “THE OLD IS A SHADOW OF THE NEW

  1. This is so neat! I was in a Bible Study with a group of ladies last year. We did a Beth Moore one that was on the Tabernacle and how it relates to our coming eternal home. It is amazing how significant each and every measurement is and every detail.

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    1. The word “shadow” is what conjured this research for me. The mind can ruminate on these shadows for a long time to come. So much is waiting in store.

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  2. Good morning, Beth, and greetings from the USA. Thank you for your work in writing this amazing lesson. My mind kept bouncing around ideas on how I could use this when teaching various ladies’ and girls’ classes. I know I will enjoy the study, and, hopefully, will be able to present it in a way that my students will glean much from it. Hope all is going well with you, Bro. Dennis and all those working with you.

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    1. Karen, sometimes it just pays to know these things, whether or not you have an opportunity to teach them again. I pray you do find ways to enlighten others; that would be grand. Why did the laws have to be made in the first place? They were made for the lawless–to protect us from each other. I remember studying a soul searching poem in high school by Robert Frost–Fences. Why do we have to have walls? Why do I need a fence between myself and my neighbor? We need to protect ourselves from each other.

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  3. Whew! What a lot of study went into this post! Thank you for sharing your work and understanding. We all need a thorough knowledge of both Old and New Testaments, which is impossible to gain by Sunday/Wednesday only classes, even if our teachers offered exceptionally serious study of the entire Bible itself. Thank you for encouraging us all to dig harder!

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    1. For me, this is a great way to study. If I can plow through a topic, then I can see (understand) the phrases related to it. Levels of understanding seem to open wide. When the light shines on a topic, it is hard to forget.

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