For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Hebrews 10:1
The definition of a shadow is an image cast by an object. The word doesn’t usually bring warm feelings. Someone hiding in the shadows is a person with a questionable agenda. Someone afraid of their own shadow is a poor soul gripped by shyness. Someone who sees shadows in the night is one who sleeps lightly. And we know the familiar phrase in the 23rd Psalm, ‘in the valley of the shadow of death.’
While the topic of shadows makes us think of something foreboding, shadows can also be beautiful. In Acts, the sick were brought near to Peter in hopes that his very shadow would bring healing. Acts 5:15 But this is nothing compared to the poetic descriptions elsewhere in scripture. How about these ~ I dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 I am concealed in the shadow of God’s hand. Isaiah 49:2 And, I take refuge in the shadow of my Father’s wings. Psalm 36:7
God is also described as One who casts a shadow, and His shadow provides shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4 His presence shadows His children ~ going with them wherever they go. Psalm 121:5
What can get better than God’s shadow accompanying me and providing a place of refuge? It would be Him ‘overshadowing’ ~ as He did when Mary was overshadowed by the Spirit and Jesus was conceived. Or, as He did when He overshadowed a dead planet and Earth came to life. Or, as He did when He overshadowed a crowd when Jesus was speaking and they heard God declare that Jesus was His beloved Son. Matthew 17:5
The law and the sacrificial system were shadows of more perfect things to come. The law would be fulfilled by Jesus. The sacrifices of animals would be replaced by the Perfect Lamb who would only have to die once. These shadows in the O.T. were shadows of Jesus.
If you and I are in Christ, we are overshadowed when the Spirit moves in us to conceive something holy, or to heal something broken, or to prepare something yet unformed, or to sanctify something fleshly. More than just interesting concepts, they are powerful realities in the life of every believer. While all these shadowing movements aren’t visible to the naked eye, we feel the impact and tremble, do we not? The most powerful things are unseen but earthshattering.
Of all You have done, I know I’ve seen nothing yet. My eyes are fixed on You. Amen