Have you ever asked yourself the question: “What is the real difference between The People of Israel and Christian People?” Perhaps a better way is to ask: “What is the real difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant?” To attempt to answer these questions I need to ask you to read the following passages please:
Heb 8:3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
Heb 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4 because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Heb 10:11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Two words come to mind, and the first is shadow. When the “Law” is referred to here, it means the Law appertaining to the sacrificial system. Moses needed to be careful to build a tabernacle according to exact descriptions given him when God gave him the Ten Commandments on the mountain. Because God is perfect and holy, whatever represents Him on earth needed to be perfect and holy. You’ll remember how God was with Israel in the desert … in the cloud. Now, He would be with His people in a tabernacle.
The specifications were given to represent the Tabernacle in glory, God’s abode. In the earthly Tabernacle, there was a place where the priests would sacrifice animals brought by the people to appease God for their sin. All of this was a shadow of the real in heaven. You also understand that a shadow is temporal. A shadow appear and disappears. The earthly tabernacle and the earthly sacrificial system with its priesthood was never intended to be permanent. It was a shadow … it was intended to pass away. It was a teaching tool and pointed to something far better that was to come.
The other word is type. The passages above show us that the sacrificial system was a type … meaning, it was not the real thing, but pointed to the real thing that was to come. The animals were a type of the real offering. The altar was a type of the Cross. The priesthood was a type of the real priesthood. Because it was a type, the sacrificial system could never deal with sin once and for all. It was repetitive … day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out and year in and year out. For hundreds of years this type was practiced. The teaching was that sacrificial payment needed to be made for sin … but the sacrificial system was a type and could not deliver the final blow to deal with sin and the enemy, Satan. Both the type and the shadow were teaching tools pointing to the real thing.
Before getting to the real thing, there is another concept to consider … the Promised Land. The type and shadow had as their end result the Land of Promise, a geographical location in the Middle East that would be the home of Israel. The capital would be Jerusalem, housing the tabernacle, which eventually changed into a Temple. God’s presence amongst His people would be within the Temple. But even this earthly temple was both a shadow and a type. Both pointed towards the real thing. So what is this real thing?
The real thing is fulfilled in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is the real sacrificial Lamb … pure, sinless, blameless … and a worthy offering to appease God’s anger towards sin. He is the real High Priest, for in His righteousness He ends the sacrificial system as the final priest. His Cross is the real altar, for it is final place of true sacrifice as it was the slaughter house that would once and for all take away man’s sin. It was a never-to-be-repeated offering. No further priest, altar or sacrifice would ever be required again! The shadow turns into the real thing. The type turns into the real thing. The Promised Land turns into the Promised Life for the destiny of the people of God through Jesus Christ … not an earthly Jerusalem but a heavenly one where Promised Life is lived out!
There is one great concern though. Israel had faith to get out of Egypt … but she never had faith to get into Canaan. Her desert wanderings took 40 years! In many cases, people have faith for salvation but they don’t have faith to “take hold of eternal life” (1 Tim 6:12). What is needed is that one trusts the Word of God because it alone declares the end result in Christ!
Dear God, thank You that in Messiah Jesus, the shadow has vanished and the type has been fulfilled. Thank You that the Land of Promise is the Life of Promise for all who believe, as our sin has been dealt with once and for all through the substitutional sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Lord. To You be all the glory through Jesus. Amen.