“Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Col 2:17)
Jesus the Christ, is the main point of the bible which was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world. “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1Pet 1:20).
This means that the things written before in the Old Testament point to the things in the New Testament. This concept gives us better understanding of what Paul wrote in Rom 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
While we cannot use the commands of the OT for doctrine today, we can look into the OT for the message of Christ. These messages are contained in Types and Shadows. “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” (Heb 10:1).
Types and shadows are Old Testament people, events, or ceremony the foreshadow the coming Messiah and His church. We often use the terms “Type” and “Antitype. For some this can be confusing. The “TYPE” is the shadow of the real thing. The “ANTITYPE” is the real thing.
There are three kinds of SHADOWS.
- PERSONS, like Adam, Cain, Abel, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Jonah.
- EVENTS, like the Flood, the Plagues of Egypt, the Passover, the Brazen Serpent, Crossing the Jordan, Cities of Refuge.
- CEREMONIES, like the Offerings, Ceremonial Cleansing, Feasts, Year of Jubilee, Day of Atonement. To this could be added STRUCTURES, like the Ark, the Tabernacle, the Temple, and the furnishings in the temple. We would also include COLORS & NUMBERS.
Another way to describe these 3 types is as Historical, Legal, and Prophetic types.
The purpose of the SHADOWS.
The first purpose of the SHADOWS was to give a picture and outline representing something in the future. Especially the Scheme of Redemption. Such were the point of the SACRIFICES from patriarchal to Jewish age. (Heb 9, 10:18)
Another purpose of the type or shadow was as proof and as a demonstration of the Divine origin of the antitype. “And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb 3:5-6).
Here’s what is of powerful interest to us. The TYPES & SHADOWS must have originated by ONE who perfectly understood the antitype toward which the type or shadow pointed. God alone understood them from before, and could author them perfectly.
The Patriarchs and the Jews engaging in the events, setting up and writing on the types, could not understand them. Hence, they are not the originators of them. The Bible is all of God!!! This is another evidence for the validity of the Bible as being the Inspired Word of God.
The System of Sacrifices serve as a Shadow for the sacrifice of Christ.
“Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:9-14)
If you find reading the Old Testament boring, or you are unable to see its relevance, looking for the Types & Shadows may help you develop an excitement to read those things written before. The Old Testament is about Jesus. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39).