Reality Demands the Abandonment of Shadows
By Fred O. Blakely
For three years the Lord Jesus instructed His disciples, imparting such wisdom as Solomon never knew. But as His short earthly ministry drew to a close, He still had many things to say to them which they were not then able to bear (Jn. 16:12). The slowness of the human heart to understand heavenly things is almost inconceivable!
How well does this rebuke fit us all: "O fools, and slow of heart to believe!" (Lu. 24:25)! We are so full of our own childish interpretations, so plagued with our pet doctrines, so enamored with our traditions that we can understand nothing as we ought to do (I Cor. 8:2). If we are ever to understand the truth as God would have us do, we will find ourselves unlearning almost all we thought we knew. The things which we think we know for certain and the revelation of the Lord do not always agree. I have no hesitation in saying that much of theology is nothing more or less than a vast conglomeration of human ideas, passed on as tradition from century to century.
It is apparent that John chapters 13 through 17 comprise one marvelous discourse by our Lord which was closed by the prayer of Chapter 17. It shows as nothing else has done that the dwelling place of God is in His people, and that the dwelling place of His people is in God. "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one" (17:23). That is the theme of the whole discourse and prayer.
The time has come when we must give up the shadows and grasp the reality as it is in the glorified Christ. Century after century Israel offered bulls and goats upon their altars, but "it is not possible" that these sacrifices "should take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). ('But now once in the end of the world hath He [Christ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (ch. 9:26). Thus, all the former "shadows" have been done away; for what need is there of shadows when the "body" which they prefigured has come (Col. 2:16-17)? In His death and exaltation, our Lord took away "the first," that He might "establish the second" (ch. 10:9-10). The "time of reformation" has truly come (ch. 9:10). The shadows of heavenly things are of no profit to us, except as they assist us in more perfectly comprehending the blessed substance that has now come upon us. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is that Substance. Let us, therefore, "seek those things which are above" (Col. 3:1-4), and not be entangled with the outmoded principles and ordinances of the foregoing dispensation. —Revised and Supplemented from an Exchange