Shadow of What Has Come – Lesson Seventeen

Shadow of What Has Come


The aim of this lesson is to encourage Christians to read, understand, believe and place our faith in scriptures in the New Testament that reveal our new environment and relationship with God “in Christ.”  The title of this lesson is found in Hebrews 8:5.  What was presented in Lesson Eight about the function of the Levitical Priesthood, the tabernacle and later the temple, was a shadow of what Christians now enjoy as a member of the body of Christ.

The 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, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.  Heb. 8:1, 2


Jesus Christ preached the kingdom of God, trained apostles and shed His blood on the cross for Christians “atoning sacrifice” in His priesthood (I John 2:1).  “This is how God fulfilled what He had foretold through all the prophets, saying His Christ would suffer.”  Acts 3:18.  “But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.”  Acts 2:24.  “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.  Exalted to the right hand of God, He has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”  Acts 2:32, 33.  Jesus Christ now serves God for His people as Christians’ king and high priest (Acts 2:33-36; 5:31; Heb. 1:8, 13; 4:14-16).

Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of the water and the Spirit.” John 3:5.  See John 19:34; I John 5:6-9.  Christians first listened to God tell us why He created us to be children in His kingdom (Rom. 8:28-30).  It is “God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.”  I Cor. 2:7.  This was our faith that led us to repentance (Acts 3:19).  It was in this process of turning our minds and hearts to God; that is, in our repentance we accepted His new covenant in Jesus’ blood (Matt. 26:28; II Cor. 7:10; Heb. 8:10-12).  With these words of faith now in our hearts we confess, “Jesus is Lord.”  Rom. 10:9.  This confession is not a ritual performed before baptism.  Faith in God’s will for mankind, repentance and confession of our faith are processes that happened in our minds and hearts before we obeyed the form of teaching Ananias told Saul of Tarsus to obey:  “And now what are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name.”  Acts 22:16.

Saul, who we know as the Apostle Paul, explained to the Christians in Rome what happened to our inner man while we were under the “waters of baptism.”  Rom. 6:4-11.  Our “selves” were made alive as we were obeying the form of doctrine taught by those who were guided by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 8:12).  The foregoing process is how Christians have been transferred to the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ (John 3:3; Eph. 5:5).  The God-ordained “practice of baptism” preceded by faith and repentance is a “work of God.”  Please carefully read Col. 2:9-15.    All practices ordained by God include theology, divine ethic and the particular practice God ordained.  Christians have obeyed our faith in the proper theology, (death burial and resurrection with Jesus); divine ethic, (our repentance involved the acceptance of the new covenant based on our faith in the covenant); practice of baptism as a burial in water.  The result of being born again is that she or he “has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24.

Christians have been saved by the grace of our new birth from our past sins we committed while we were covenant breakers.  We repented, that is, we turned from not accepting God’s new covenant in our previous lives to opening our hearts and minds to God’s laws of life.  Christians have salvation from our past sins by grace in order to begin to “grow up in our salvation.” See Eph. 2:8-10; I Pet. 2:2; II Pet. 1:5-11.  However, we are still “in Adam” with the capacity and responsibility of “knowing good and evil.”  We need the doctrine of justification by faith working for us continuously (I John 1:7).  This is another grace based on the fact:  “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  II Cor. 5:21.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.              Rom. 5:1, 2

Please note the visions the Apostle John recorded as he looked through “a door standing open in heaven.”  Please read Revelation chapters four and five.   The excitement in the second vision is caused by the presence of Jesus Christ.  “See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.”  Rev. 5:5.  See Acts 2:29-36 for the fulfillment of prophecy made to David (II Sam. 7:16).  “In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’”  Rev. 5:12.  “God exalted Him to His own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might give repentance and forgiveness of sin to Israel.  We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”  Acts 5:31, 32.  This vision of God’s throne includes His people from every nation singing:  “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”  Rev. 5:13.  People who have been brought “into the kingdom of the Son He loves” have the scene in chapter five as a part of our daily reality.  See Rev. 1:4-6.

Our “door of faith” is being opened wider into God’s kingdom by our study of His word in a sequential order.  We need to build our faith in some topics before we can understand and have faith in other teachings in God’s word.  The lessons in this book have been organized in a sequential line of thought as a suggestive order of a Christian’s Bible study.  People in the world cannot see themselves in God’s kingdom while “in Adam.”  Christians can view ourselves in His kingdom because we are “in Adam/in Christ.”  We can enter God’s presence because, through our door of faith, we approach God through Jesus Christ’s priesthood.  The activity in Acts, chapter two, is the pivotal point of history.  For the first time in God’s story all three Persons of Deity actively embraced specific roles for developing God’s “children of promise” with eternal life (I Pet. 1:1, 2).

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  II Cor. 13:14

Even though the world failed to record this historical turn of events, the “children of promise” relished the day.   All the “signs, wonders and various miracles” that happened on the first Pentecost after Jesus ascended back to heaven had been foretold by God through the prophets.  This present age is where God’s new covenant is being offered through the priesthood and by the kingship of Jesus Christ.  It is the last days of time for human beings on earth (I Cor. 15:24).  The beginning of this age started on the first Pentecost after Jesus Christ, the Son of God, returned to His Father’s right hand.  See Acts 2:1-4; 11:15; Heb. 1:8; 5:5, 6.

The spiritual function of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ had been foreshadowed by the physical Levitical Priesthood.  The remnant of physical Israel was saved to inherit the kingdom of God and the life therein in God’s great evangelism campaign by Jesus Christ in Acts Chapters One through Nine (Matt. 19:29; 25:34; Rom. 9:7-10).  Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help the apostles and other Christians to verbally continue teaching and preaching the kingdom of God (John 15:26; Acts 8:12; 20:25).  At the same time, some men wrote God’s messages in literature form as they were guided by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:10-13; II Tim. 3:16, 17; II Pet. 1:21).

This message is embedded in “real life events” in the first century Bible stories and letters; consequently, disciples of Christ need to do historical analysis to properly hear God speak to us through Christ via the Holy Spirit.  Ignorance of the Bible has led to spiritual dwarfs of many Christians because teachers and preachers often attempt to proclaim the meaning of scriptures before they learn what they meant.  Each Christian is responsible for the development of his or her personal faith by hearing God’s word (Rom. 10:17).

The environment for Christians, who function in the body of Christ, is “real” reality (Heb. 9:23-28).  The all new “in Christ” realm is where the forces of heaven and earth have been combined to re-create the spiritual mental environment of the Garden of Eden for Christians’ sanctification (I Thess. 2:14; 5:4-8; II Thess. 2:13, 14).

  • “We are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.”  Gal. 4:31.
  • “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”  Eph. 2:6.
  • Our citizenship is in heaven.”  Phil. 3:20.
  • “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Col. 3:3.
  • “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day.”  I Thess. 5:5.
  • “It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.”  Heb. 9:23, 24.

The mental/spiritual environment “in Christ” is similar to the Garden of Eden before they broke covenant.  The environment “in Christ” and the Garden of Eden have been developed by three entities – two negatives and one positive.  Adam and Eve felt no guilt of sin, or fear of death – plus they enjoyed fellowship with God.  By the grace of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit, Christians enjoy the same environment “in Christ.”  Christians’ consciences are free from guilt because of the doctrines of “born again” and “justification by faith.”  See John 1:12, 13 and Rom. 3:21-26.

  Christians’ faith in the foregoing portion of this lesson will be necessary in order for us to fully appreciate how the sanctuary in the tabernacle Moses built served as a “copy and shadow of what is in heaven.” Heb. 8:5.  Our faith “is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  NIV, Heb. 11:1.   “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  KJV, Heb. 11:1.  “Substance” in the KJV and “sure” in the NIV have been translated from the Greek word hupostasis.  This same word has been translated “person” and “being” in Heb. 1:3.  The meaning of hupostasis in this context explains how Jesus Christ gave “divine essence” to the true nature of the living God, our Father.  By understanding the use of hupostasis in Heb. 1:3, we can better appreciate the meaning of the same word in the context of Heb. 11:1.  “Evidence” in the KJV and “certain” in NIV have been translated from the Greek word elegchos.  It denotes proof.

What this means for a Christian with proven faith: What he or she has understood and believed in their mind and have faith in their heart about God’s word has become a reality in their present life.  This can happen because living beings have been endowed with imagination.  We use our imagination in conjunction with our Bible study.  For instance, in our meditation on what we read in Romans 8:28-30, we imagine we are sons in God’s kingdom.  Our faith gives substance to what we imagine.  In this manner, we are empowered with “God’s power.”  I Cor. 2:4, 5; 4:20.  The kingdom of Christ and God has “divine essence” with our “selves” as citizens while on earth (Phil. 3:20).  We need this vision and power to overcome sin and enjoy what God is doing for us every day as we use the gifts we have received to serve others (I Pet. 4:7-10).  “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  Jas. 1:17.  “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”  I Cor. 8:6.  Our faith in the theologies, ethics and practices we learn, believe and place our faith provides us with armor to win over Satan, just as Jesus won (Luke 4:1-13; I Pet. 5:8).  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and request.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Eph. 6:11-18

The aim of this lesson is to help us open wider our “Door of Faith” into the kingdom of God by enjoying the substance and proof of Jesus Christ as our high priest and king.  Jesus Christ our priest is serving us as our “advocate” and “sacrifice of atonement” continuously in our Heavenly Father’s presence (I John 2:1, 2; Heb. 2:16-18; 4:14-16; 5:7-10; 7:25).  Gentiles did not have the foreshowing view the Israelites had of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ; however, they were finally granted “repentance unto life.”  Peter was summing up his presentation about his meeting with the house of Cornelius before the “circumcised believers” in Jerusalem in the following scene (Acts 11:2, 3):

So if God gave them the same gift as He gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?’  When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘so then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.”  Acts 11:17, 18

This series of lessons has been organized as a sequential topical study.  The aim is to help Christians enhance our Bible study so we can have faith that produces a righteous quality of living (Rom. 6:13, 16, 22).  We are saved by grace to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  Phil. 2:12.  The spiritual aspects of God’s word cannot be understood and enjoyed about life as children of God in His kingdom unless we maintain an open door by faith into God’s heavenly kingdom.  God has “opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”  Acts 14:27.  But, because all Christians are “justified sinners,” we must maintain an open door into the “true tabernacle” where Jesus is now serving as our high priest:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.                    Heb. 10:19-23

Christians and Jesus Christ have a common interest in the kingdom of God.  Jesus was concerned about God’s will for creating mankind to have children in His kingdom.  We are concerned about God’s will being done on earth because we know this is where we will find His kingdom (Matt. 6:10).  His kingdom will be in us if we do His will (Luke 17:20, 21).  God has given Jesus the priesthood and kingship to deliver children to the family of God (Heb. 2:8-16).  Jesus has been given the power to do what He was ordained to do, “to seek and save the lost.”  Luke 19:10.  This required much more of Jesus Christ than dying on the cross to become mankind’s sin offering.  Satan is active in the world.  Kings, presidents or chief ministers cannot stop the devil, but Jesus has removed Satan’s power of death for those who have faith in Him as the light of our lives.

Christians understand God’s kingdom did not have its beginning when the Christ appeared.  The kingdom is spiritual and eternal; God is spirit and the eternal spiritual king (I Tim. 5:13-16).  We cannot separate God from His kingdom.  Jesus Christ serves God’s people today as king under the rule of His Father, the king of kings.  God allowed Satan to approach mankind (Gen. 3:1; Matt. 4:1-11).  God did not want Adam and Eve as He created them: He wanted them after they exercised their “right to choose” to obey or disobey His covenant.   “Given the privilege of choice” is the only way children can properly function, as parents know – or we need to learn.

God’s historical story about His “purpose and grace” starts in Genesis 1:1 (II Tim. 1:9).  Satan is the antagonist in God’s story.  He shall continue to rule in the hearts and minds of mature people in the “world realm” until Jesus is revealed (Rev. 12:9; 19:6-21).  Satan has power to rule only in the hearts and minds of people through their sin.  Sin has produced spiritual death in all mature people in the world and sin can produce the death of the spirit of a Christian (Jas. 1:13-15).

The plot in God’s story is to have all people as His sons (Heb. 2:10).  His purpose and grace was in His mind before the creation of the world (Rom. 8:28-30; I Pet. 1:18-21).  God is able to control His will so that what is in His mind will happen.  The plot resolution will happen when Jesus Christ is revealed (II Thess. 1:3-10).  Reward or punishment for each faithful Christian will be made known on Judgment Day.  See Rev. 20:11-15; 21:7, 8.

All the great prophecies of Jesus Christ about Christians’ inheritance of eternal life as sons in His kingdom is only for those who learn to love God (I Cor. 2:9; Rom. 8:28).  Christians presently have faith in God’s covenants and hope for our inheritance when Jesus is revealed (I Pet. 1:7).  Christians love God because of our faith in His love for us (II Cor. 1:3-6).  Faith and hope are significant words for this world only – love is eternal (I Cor. 13:13; I John 4:12).  Christians’ hope is based on God’s promises.  “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  In this way love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on Judgment Day because in this world we are like Him.”  I John 4:16, 17.   This is what Jesus was teaching in His parable at the end of His “Sermon on the Mount.”  Matt. 7:24-27.  Learning to love as God loves us and laying a solid rock foundation of strong character are synonymous sanctification exercises for Christians.  Let us close this series of lessons with the spirit of love found in the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the young Thessalonian church.

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with His holy ones.  I Thess. 3:12, 13

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