The Shadows & Reality.

Jesus is the reality in time, which casts a shadow back on the centuries God worked with the Jews. One way we can see the identity of Jesus is in the design of the Tabernacle/Temple. Hebrews 8:1-5.

Temple Gate, Ex. 27:16 shadows Jesus as the Gate, Jn. 10:9.

Bronze Altar, Ex. 27:1-8 shadows the Lamb of God in Jesus, Jn. 1:29.

Bronze Laver, Ex. 29:4 & 30:17-21 shadows the cleansing Jesus provides  in baptism, Hebrews 10:22 & 1st Peter 3:21.

Golden Lampstand, Ex. 25:31-40 shadows the Light of the world in Jesus, Jn. 8:12, 9:5 and reflection of him, Mt. 5:14-16.

Bread of The Presence, Ex. 25:30 shadows the body of Jesus he gave in paying our price for sin, Jn. 6:35, 51, Lk. 22:19.

Altar of Incense, Ex. 30:1-10, shadows the mediation of Jesus in our prayers, Revelation 5:8, Mt. 6:5-15, Rom. 8:26.

The Veil, Ex. 26:31-33, shadows the work of Jesus making access to the presence of God for everyone in His body. Mt. 27:51 & Heb. 10:19-20.

The Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant, Ex. 25:10-22, shadows the presence of God while Jesus sacrificed Himself by blood.

Inside the Ark were tablets of stone (10 commandments), The law shadowed the reality of God’s Spirit writing the perfect law of liberty on disciples’ hearts. Jeremiah 31:31-33, Hebrews 7:18-19, 9:15, James 1:25.

Old Law                                                            New Law
1. God designed it, (Dt. 5:2)                          1. God designed it, (Jer. 31:31)
2. Very little Mercy, (Heb 10:28)                      2. Abundant Mercy, (Heb 8:12)
3. Condemnation, (2Cor. 3:9)                         3. Righteousness, (2Cor. 5:21),  
4. Death, (2Cor. 3:7, Rom. 8:2)                      4. Life, (Rom 8:2)
5. Ineffective sacrifice, (Heb. 10:4,11)              5. Effective sacrifice, (Mat 26:28)
6. Stirred Sinful Desires, (Rom 7:5-8)              6. Strength over sin, (Gal 5:16)
7. Weakness through the flesh, (Rom. 8:3)      7. Life through the Spirit, (Eph. 3:16)
8. Wrath, (Rom 4:15)                                     8. Reconciled Friendship, (Col. 1:22)
9. Imperfection, (Heb 8:7)                               9. Perfect Law of Liberty, (Jas 1:25)
10. Law Cannot Justify, (Rom 3:20)                 10. Faith Justifies, (Rom 5:1)
11. Cannot make Heirs, (Rom 4:14)                 11. Makes Heirs, (Rom 8:17, Gal. 4:7).
12. Temporarily covers sin, (Heb 10:4)             12. Forgives Sin, (Heb. 9:15)
13. Mediator is Moses, (Dt. 5:5)                      13. Mediator is Jesus (Heb. 12:22-24)
14. Started during Exodus, 1Kg. 8:9               14. When Jesus died, (Heb. 9:16-17)
15. Dedicated by blood of animals, Ex. 24:6     15. By blood of Jesus (Mt. 26:27-28)
16. Made only for Israel, (1Kg. 8:9)                 16. Made for all humanity, (Mrk 16:15)

God’s Promises to Moses, David & Christians

Truly the Law was a promise-bearer, given to bless the Jews. Within the law was the promises of blessed prosperity (land) and the promise of a powerful ruler (messiah), for the Israelites, NOT the Gentiles. Both promises inside the law had their original condition shadowing the reality of Christianity and Christ. We Gentiles are beneficiaries of God’s grace, not the law. Yes the law teaches us about God, but it does not bless us with the fulfilment of any of it’s promises. However, The Jews are beneficiaries of the law, as long as they kept the law. The law’s benefit was not salvation, it was the privilege of bringing The Messiah into the world AND peaceful possession of their land. Once that was completed, the law would be fulfilled and made obsolete in the Messiah Jesus. So today, the Jews still strive in futility to possess their land in rejection of their own Messiah. We should pray for them. The covenants God made with Moses & David, reflect truths we can grow & strengthen our faith upon in Christianity, let’s look at both of them:

Moses: The Book of The Covenant, Ex. 24:7-8. The most important covenant for Jews was not in this book. CIRCUMCISION. Circumcision was a sign for Jews from Abraham, BEFORE the book of the Covenant through Moses. The promise within circumcision is: blessing the world with Christ Jesus’ salvation, the seed of Abraham. However the promise in the book of the covenant or law of Moses, is different. What is it? Firstly, peaceful Possession of the Land with prosperity and secondly the BRINGING of the Messiah into the world to bless everyone. Neither the Land, nor the BRINGING of the Messiah made the Jews SAVED for eternity in Heaven. Only Jesus can do that. For Gentile Christians, the most important truth we can learn from the old Book of The Covenant through Moses for the Jews, is this: within it’s laws were sacrifices showing everyone the BLOOD OF THE COVENANT. This element of the Book of the Covenant is what attracted Gentiles to be proselytised. It was not the superiority of the 10 commandments or the rigid tithes, or all the many feast days observed by Jews which attracted Gentiles to be proselytised, but indeed the blood of the sacrifices, made the Gentiles take an interest in the God of the Jews. See Acts 8:30-34. This need for sacrifice is what Christians should grow in, because Jesus is our High Priest and we are a Royal Priesthood. Herein we find a way to please our Savior & God, 1Peter 2:9 & Romans 12:1, and show Him thanks for saving us.

 David: The Covenant of Salt, 2Chronicles 13:5. Salt was a necessary addition to all sacrifices, Leviticus 2:13. When people ate together, they became friends and often used phrases like, “there is salt between us”, which always meant that they had cemented a friendship and promised loyalty with one another. You can see this in Ezra 4:14. Offerings to God were to be made with a statute forever before Him, Numbers 18:19. What exactly was the covenanted promise of salt between God and David? That his dynasty would last, unlike Saul’s dynasty. Actually Jesus is legally kin to David through the legal guardianship of Joseph, being Mary’s husband. Jesus said “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another”, Mk. 9:50, this obviously means we should be living sacrifices, meeting one another’s needs in service. Paul said Christians were living sacrifices. He says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”, Colossians 4:6. The rule of Jesus as King in your life is exercised by your usage of His grace and words.  David’s covenant of salt is to remind us that our dynasty in Jesus to rule forever will never be broken as long as we confess Him daily in our ‘salty’ lifestyle, Luke 9:23 & Mt. 10:32.  In this we are made a ROYAL Priesthood, 1Peter 3:9, here and in eternity!

The Blood of Jesus

The Blood of Jesus is unique, it was physically different and also divinely appointed to be an acceptable sacrifice. From the Garden of Gethsemene to the Grave of Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus deliberately paid a full price for our sins with his blood.  It was unique physically in the sense that Jesus had no physical father. The virgin birth necessitates a genetical miracle in the womb of Mary. Every babies blood supply and type is different from the mother, if it isn’t, then the baby would not develop and neither would the baby be male. But Jesus was circumcised on his eigth day, and his blood was holy.  His blood paid a full price on the cross, and it is not to be under valued, the effect of the cross is powerful. The apostle Paul wanted it’s effect to stay full, he warned, “…preach the gospel, not with clever words so that the cross of Christ will not be emptied of it’s effect. (1st Cor. 1:17-18). The effect of Christ’s blood-stained cross results in bringing peace between us and God, His price paid, covers the damage incurred against our fellowship with God. Our sin makes us enemies against God, His price makes us friends again, that is spiritual eternal peace to be enjoyed here and now and into eternity. The only way to get true peace with God is as Paul declared, “by making peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20).

The blood of Jesus is the reality of a shadow cast over centuries by the Mercy-seat on the Ark of the Testimony in the Temple’s Holy of Holies. The High Priest once a year would sprinkle the blood of a bull and goat upon it seven times. (Leviticus 16:11-29). What reality cast this shadow on the past historically? The blood of Christ. It is significant that there are seven places the gospels mention, where the blood of Christ was exposed.

1. The Garden of Gethsemane on Mt. Olive, Luke 22:44
2. The High Priest’s Courtyard, Luke 22:54-64, Mt. 26:57-68, John 18:22 & Isa. 50:2-9
3. Pilate’s Judgment Hall & Stone Pavement, John 18:28, 19:13.
4. The Praetorium & Herod’s Quarters in Jerusalem, Mark 16:15, John 19:1-5, Mt. 27:26-29, Luke 23:7-11
5. On the Road through the city and out the gates. John 19:1-5, Mt. 27:26-29
6. Golgotha (Calvary), Mt. 27:31-34
7. Gravesite of Joseph’s Tomb, John 19:38-42

In each place mentioned, the blood was seen and eventually recorded for us to remember. Remember what? That Jesus was the reality of the Mercy-Seat of God. Paul makes this clear in Romans 3:25, by using a particular word in the Greek which is synonymous with the Hebrew word for Mercy-Seat, it is “Propitiation”. The annual observance of this act of sprinkling blood seven times upon the Temple’s Mercy Seat was called the “Day of Atonement”, (Lev. 23:27).  Since Jesus covered himself in the blood, and died in giving his blood, he now offers us all a blood bought covenant to be born into. God is moved by mercy toward sinners that unite with Jesus in His victorious death and join His covenant in His blood. Never forget what was kept under the Mercy-Seat. The budding rod of Aaron which reminded everyone of God’s power to bring life from death. The gold jar of manna, reminding us of God’s love in providing for our daily needs, and of course the stone tablets of commandments, reminding us of God’s will and justice enforced by our lifestyle being in accordance with His word. All of this was covered by God’s mercy-seat, and it was covered annually with blood. Is your spirit sealed and touched by God’s sign of this new covenant in the blood? If not, then we by faith must enter into it by baptism, Romans 6:1-7, & Colossians 2:10-12. The necessity of remembering the new covenant in His blood is seen in the memorial of the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day (Sunday) by His people in a covenant relationship with him.

Comparing Covenants

When we approach the subject of God’s promises, we should start at the beginning. Firstly, Peter tells us that God foreordained Christ as providing a Covenant in His blood, and He did this before the foundation of the world (1st Peter 1:19-20).  Isaiah knew of this ancient Covenant and claimed it applied to all humanity (Isaiah 42:5-6). Even Hosea mentions God’s covenant with Adam (Hosea 6:7). In the garden of Eden, God prophesied that a descendent of Eve would victoriously crush the head of the serpent’s descendant (Gen. 3:16). What does Peter, Isaiah, Hosea and Adam have in common? God’s covenanted promise to provide a Christ who would rescue us from sin, death & the devil. This is good news! We praise God because He has always wanted to save us and bless us, even though we continually play into the hands of Satan and sin against Him. This covenant and promise to save us is first and more important than any other covenant God has ever made. All the other covenants hang on this one primary promise, to save us.

Let’s view them.                                                                              

Noah: God covenanted a promise to Noah regarding humanities maintenance with seasons, never to destroy it again with water. This is still in effect with His promising sign of a rainbow. This will only end at the appointed Day, when God will send Jesus and destroy the earth by fire (Genesis 6:18 & 8:15-9:17). Peter understood how this covenant was still effective and how it will come to an end (2nd Peter 3:4-13).                                             

Abraham: God covenanted a promise to Abraham with the solitary agreement of acceptance by Abraham, being circumcision.  It was kind of like getting into a movie, with a ticket that didn’t cost you any money, you just had to obtain the ticket and present it at the door. Remember, you couldn’t see the show without having the ticket!  Read all of Genesis 15 through 17, it was God who passed through the blood of animals. It was God who would do the blessing, God would provide Abraham’s descendant through a barren wife, and God would provide His descendants with an inherited land through a miraculous journey of freed slaves out of Egypt. This was based solely on God’s gracious power to perform the fulfilment of these promises, on ONE condition, that Abraham and his descendants would accept the ‘ticket’, circumcision. Circumcision was the sign. Inside this covenant is the promise of BLESSING the whole world through Abraham’s seed (descendant), which turned out to be Jesus Christ, (Gen. 12:3 & 17:3-14 & Galatians 3:15-18, 3:27-29). Originally Abraham thought his descendant to be Ishamael, then Isaac, but finally he realized it was Jesus Christ, See John 8:56.                                                                           

The Christian: Both Peter & Paul teach on the subject of circumcision as having been replaced in significance with baptism. Read Colossians 2:10-12 & 1st Peter 3:18-21. The new covenant which ensures God’s promise of salvation with a Christian is prophesied by Jeremiah 31:31-34. The human heart is to have God’s law written upon it, and that is what God’s Spirit of Christ does today, 2nd Corinthians 3:3. Remember it was Peter who proclaimed to circumcised Jews admitting their guilt of sin,  that if they were not repentant and baptised, then God’s wrath was upon them, Acts 2:37-41. The beauty of this covenant is that it’s power to provide the blessing of forgiveness and eternal life, lay in the blood of Christ, which we get applied to our heart by faith in the watery grave of baptism,  by the Holy Spirit of Christ, Roman 6:1-7 & 1st John 1:7, Hebrews 10:15-22. Do we have the seal of God’s Spirit in our spirit? Read Romans 8:9. In the new covenant, the sign is the blood and it is sealed with His Spirit on our heart, Eph. 1:13. For these three testify, the Spirit, the water & the blood, 1st John 5:7-8.

Good News, God The Father Provides The Way

Everyone appreciates and values ‘originals’. Originals teach us where we came from, and warn us of mistakes we shouldn’t repeat. Originals stand for success.  Original cars, computers, artists and even original molds, which make great casts for several copies to come.  We have in Acts the original church in God’s design. This is good news because since it is God’s original, it doesn’t change or deteriorate. The church is not only described with various pictures like Bride, Body, Light, Flock, Vine, Temple, Nation and Family we viewed in the last lesson. But the Church has also been titled with only one owner, shown as the following:

Church of God Acts 20:28,
Churches of Christ, Romans 16:16.
Church of the Firstborn, Hebrews 12:23,
Church of the Living God, 1st Timothy 3:15.

With all of these names in the title for ONE owner, it is comforting to know that the Owner and Head of the Church tell us of it’s original name. THE WAY.

John the Immersionist proclaimed preparation for the Way of the Lord, Mark 1:3, and Jesus spoke of the Kingdom as near, he also spoke of the Way as being straight and narrow, with only a few finding it (Mat. 7:14).  Later on towards the end of his ministry, Jesus claimed that He Himself is THE WAY, (Jn. 14:6). As the church was born and started to become established, the Hebrew writer by inspiration of God described the House of God as The Way, (Heb. 10:19-21).

Chronologically, the first time people of the world are on record as calling the church a name, it was in a derogatory sense, speaking in Acts 9:1-2, “The Way”, was the term they used to target disciples of the Lord Jesus.  Then in Acts 11:26, the Disciples are called Christians. This sequence of descriptions, proves to us who owns and controls the Church. Jesus Christ, The Way. There are seven more examples of Christians being described by Luke as belonging to the Way, Acts 16:17, 18:25, 26, 19:9, 23, 24:14 & 22. Even in the mind of Paul (Romans 14:16-20) and Peter (2nd Peter 2:1-2) was the idea of the Church being called the “Way”. To the first Christians, there was only ONE way to please God, love God and grow closer to God.  In every instance we talk of a “way”, we are always in need of a map or directions. This is good news, and the Way of Truth & Life with God can be seen clearly as:

Hearing about Jesus, Romans 10:13-15.
Believing in Jesus as God’s Son, John 3:16.
Confessing Jesus as Lord, Mat. 10:32, Romans 10:9 & Acts 8:37.
Changing/Repenting for Jesus, Luke 9:23 & Acts 3:19.
Immersed with Jesus, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:37-38, Romans 6:1-8.
Following Jesus Forever, 2nd Tim. 2:10, James 5:11 & Rev. 2:10.

It is good news to be given such a clear and certain, original Way to grow closer to God and be accepted by Him now and for eternity.

Good News of The Kingdom

Key Texts: Matthew 4:23, 9:35 & 24:14

Jesus treated the Kingdom’s nearness as the reason people needed to change their lifestyles and attitudes,  Mt. 4:17- 5:12, it was good news because His Kingdom had God’s power ruling over the minds & hearts of His disciples, making them more than happy! This good news message is repeated in Mt. 9:35.  The good news of the Kingdom mentioned in Mt. 24:14 relates to how good it was for His followers to have the warning to flee in the oncoming persecution upon Jerusalem by the Romans. Their physical escape and their spiritual deliverance is certainly good news. Following Jesus had it’s price to pay, but it also had much bigger benefits. His royal authority exercised in our heart helps to change our lifestyle and results in our salvation. Being in His Kingdom gives us the advantage of being, “forewarned is forearmed”! In “Him” we are more than conquerors, Rom. 8:37.

As His Kingdom grew in nearness and was established in the hearts of people during Pentecost, it became synonymous with the ‘church’.  Colossians 1:13-14, 18, Ephesians 1:22-23 & 4:4 &  1Corinthians 1:10-13.  Once your in the kingdom/church, we have access to His power, but unless we pick up our cross DAILY, deny ourself and try to follow Him, (Luke 9:23) we do not enjoy His power and use it to bear fruit.  Do we continue to let His authority and power be exercised in our heart through prayerful reading of His good news!

Here are some descriptions of the Church in God’s word. This list will help us identify our goals in the churches of Christ. 

  • The Body of Christ, Colossians 2:19 & 1Corinthians 12:27. The goal of working as His spiritual body in a physical world. Being Benevolent and Truthful. This is also seen in the description of the church as the…

  • The Building or Temple of God, Ephesians 2:21, & 1Peter 2:5 & 1Corinthians 3:10.  
  • The Spiritual Israel, Philippians 3:3, Galatians 4:24-26, & Hebrews 12:23.
  • The Spiritual Light of the World, Php. 2:15, 1Thes. 5:5, John 9:5, Matthew 5:14.


  • The Bride of Christ, John 3:29 & Revelation 21:1. The goal of loving Christ  in worship, not just on Sundays! Being full of praise, Php. 4:4.This is also seen in the description of the church as the…
  • The Family of God, Romans 8:15 & 2Corinthians 6:18 & Galatians 3:19-27.


  • The Flock of The Good Shepherd, Luke 12:32, Acts 20:29, John 10:1-10, Isaiah 40:11 & Zechariah 9:16.   The goal of Growing Faith, Grace, Knowledge & The Fruit of the Spirit.  Flocks need feeding and branches need pruning!   This is also seen in the description of individual Christians as the…

  • Branches of The True Vine, John 15:2

 It is good news to have a God-given identity, purpose and goal which has rewards now and also is rewarded in eternity, Hebrews 11:6              

Good News about Deliverance

Key Text: Ephesians 1:13 

One of the most difficult things for all of us humans to admit, is that we need help and direction. Our self (human spirit) is innately selfish and self-destructive, and without help, we lose strength to do what is right, and ultimately our own spiritual health & life. All humans, no matter how intellectually advanced, have a tendency to be our own worst enemy, and this is made worse by the existence and work of the Devil. This help we need, God calls salvation and it is good news, Romans 1:1.

Deliverance from our spiritual peril and weaknesses, is very real. Biblically the word is used in a graphic physical way and of course in a spiritual sense.  An example of how the word “salvation” is used in both a physical and spiritual sense, is Acts 27:31-44. It is good news that God would want to rescue us from our own foolish rebellion against Him.

Romans 5:8. Preservation is another word used to describe what God is doing for us, see 2Timothy 4:18.

What has God the Father done to deliver or save us? The obvious answer is John 3:16. But before the cross, He promised to make Gentiles holy. Read Isaiah 66:18-21 and Obadiah 15-17,  compare them with Romans 15:14-16. Holiness is what God gives us in our hearts, this holiness replaces and cures the sin-sickness of our heart, helping us fulfil the requirement for entrance into Heaven, Hebrews 12:14.  The Spirit of Holiness fills the desire of every human heart to know God and worship Him. In 1656, mathematician & philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote of “a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person”, which can’t be filled with more ‘things’, but only by God. When will humanity ever accept and apply this truth? We must put more effort in using our spiritual gifts instead of our physical gifts, 2Timothy 1:13-14.  In giving us His Holy Spirit, he has sealed our salvation for eternity. See 1John 2:20 & Ephesians 1:13. But if we do not grow the fruit of the Spirit, will we be cut off, like a useless branch? Jn. 15:6

Perhaps the most important question regarding how good God is, in saving us, is this:

Would God ever quit saving us? Can we lose our deliverance? Since our deliverance is secured by the gift of the Spirit, would His Spirit ever leave us before our entrance into Heaven? This certainly happened to King Saul. Consider the following series of events:

Foolish Burnt Offering at Michmash – 1Sam. 13:11-14

Weak-willed Sacrifice at Gilgal – 1Sam 15:17-26, 16:14

Consulting a witch at Endor – 1Chron. 10:13-14

If such loss can happen to an anointed King, why not us? God was very good to Saul, but more than 3 times Saul neglected God’s goodness and ended up losing His Spirit. God patiently tried to get Saul’s genuine repentance, but eventually, Saul kept turning away. We can drift away from God’s grace and lose the rescue attempt God has ensued upon us. Galatians 1:6, “turning away” is a direction in our life, we do not ever want to take.

Ananias & Sapphira (Ac. 5:1-10), Hymanaeus & Alexander (1Tim. 1:19-20) & Demas (2Tim. 4:10) and Diotrephes (3Jn. 9-10) are all personal examples of how Christians can turn away from God’s good & gracious Spirit and forsake the rescue operation of God. Proving we must each prayerfully keep feeding on His word and grow His fruit.