- Published: 09 December 2010
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For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices ...make the comers thereunto perfect. Hebrews 10:1
When the Apostle Paul wrote these words to Jewish Christians, he touched upon problems that have plagued Christendom down the centuries. It isn't that God has not given us instructions concerning such temporary things as rituals and ordinances. It is because man is naturally religious by nature and he does not want to let go of these. In the Bible these are the mere shadows that symbolized and anticipated a fulfillment called the substance. Most of these shadows and types find their fulfillment in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Two shadows that continue to plague believers today are:
1. Water Baptism. This ritual has probably caused more strife and division in Christendom than any other. It is a shadow, with it's roots in OT prophecy, intended to pass off the scene just like any other type and shadow. It was exclusively Jewish, and part and parcel of the Law given to Israel and never intended to be adopted by Gentiles as some kind of initiatory rite into Christianity. Naturally this also means it cannot be practiced as a witness to the world of the believer's identity with Christ in death, burial and resurrection.
2. The So-called Lord's Supper. It is incredible how this shadow has trapped and made a spoil of so many who claim to love right division of Scripture. These folks recognize that Acts 28:28 represents a great climax in the national and spiritual life of ancient Israel, and yet they take a show-piece given to Israel anticipating the fulfillment of their kingdom hopes on earth and insist it is to be practiced by believers today.
After the Acts period when Paul received the capstone of all revelation contained in the so-called Prison Epistles religion and ritual were completely eliminated . Many warnings concerning this are found in these epistles.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col 2:8