Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Colossians 2:17

The picture that Paul draws with the phrase “shadow of things to come (Greek skia ho mellonton) is that what the Old Testament presented was an image or outline cast by the reality. Plato’s cave analogy was an example of this visual. All of the festivals, Sabbaths, and other types presented in the Scriptures only were there to prepare us to see the one true image – Jesus Christ. The word in the Greek translated as reality is soma. It is the word that is usually translated as body. It can mean that which casts a shadow as distinguished from the shadow itself.[1]

Paul wants the Colossian believers to understand that they have learned the truth, and those who are seeking to infiltrate their minds and hearts with falsehood are not to be listened to. While we learn from the Old Testament the shadows, types, and images of the truth, Jesus when He walked upon this Earth embodied all the reality. What the Old Testament provided in pictures for us, we could now hold to the truth. While even today some of the images are future for us, they are the true reality.

Paul in his letter to the Corinthian believers[2] discusses how the sacrifice of Christ is the reality, while the Passover in Egypt foreshadowed it. He equates the festival of unleavened bread following Passover is the picture of the reality of the Christian life made possible by the sacrifice of Christ.[3]

Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith, and so we do not need to keep looking at the shadowy images. The ceremonies are shadows, superseded, and need to be abandoned. Jesus Christ has come, and since He has, we no longer need the symbols (Heb. 8:13; 10:1).[4]

Prayer: Author and Finisher of MY Faith, I so often look back, and I see the shadows and become confused. Help me to train my eyes to look upon the reality of these truths. Help me to see Jesus and what He has for me. My salvation and my future all lay in His nail-scarred hands. Amen.

[1] Thayer, J. (n.d.). Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Retrieved February 28, 2017, from StudyLight.Org: http://www.studylight.org/ 
[2] 1 Cor. 5:7 – 8 
[3] Bruce, F. F. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Eerdman's Publishing Co, 1984. Page 116. 
[4] Falwell, Jerry, ed. Liberty Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Page 2462.

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