The Shadowless Cross
Rom 5:14c -21 GW Adam is an image of the one who would come.
Adam is a figure or a type of the One who would come....namely Jesus. You will likely hear the term “type” often in sermons dealing with the Old Testament. So much of what we read in the Old Testament was a shadow or a type of what was to come in Christ.
Ever wonder about all those OT feasts like the Feast of Tabernacles or the Day of Atonement or the Feast of Unleavend Bread, or Passover? They were all types, that’s why we don’t celebrate them today. Paul said in his letter to the Colossians:
Col 2:16-17 GW Therefore, let no one judge you because of what you eat or drink or about the observance of annual holy days, New Moon Festivals, or weekly worship days. (17) These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body that casts the shadow belongs to Christ.
All those holy days, and festivals, or weekly worship days that were commanded by God in the OT were shadows, cast from eternity from the eternal Christ. But when He bodily came to this earth and accomplished His mission, there was no more need to observe them. They were just shadows or types.
What would you rather embrace a shadow or the real deal? We are so privileged to live in this era of the church. For the body that cast the shadows has come and by grace we have been embraced by Him and not some mere shadow.
No wonder John, speaking about Jesus said in 1 Jn 1: The Word of life existed from the beginning. We have heard it. we have seen it. We observed and touched it.” You can’t do those things with a shadow!
These types or shadows are very important when it comes to understanding the OT. They are important because they provide a unifying theme for the Old and the New Testament. Some wish to separate the two testaments as if they were two separate books, and they wind up throwing out the Old Testament, attempting to replace it with the New, but what did Jesus say?
Mat 5:17 GW "Don't ever think that I came to set aside Moses' Teachings or the Prophets. I didn't come to set them aside but to make them come true....He came to fulfill them.
The shadows and prophecies of the Old would become true in Christ. And one of their great benefits for you and me is the affirmation of our faith.
Others see the Old Testament as nothing but Law and the New Testament as nothing but Gospel, but the truth is Law and Gospel are very much present in both. And one of the ways you can see the presence of the gospel in the Old is through the use of types or typology.
Understand this about the Old and the New testament. They do not conflict and they both have a theological center and that center is Jesus Christ. He is the center of the Old and the center of the New. And the cross is the hinge of history!
Jesus was talking about the OT when He opened up the Scriptures to the two disciples walking down the road to Emmaus:
Luk 24:27 GW Then he began with Moses' Teachings and the Prophets to explain to them what was said about him throughout the Scriptures.
He was talking about the OT when He challenged the Pharisees to look for Him in the Law and the Prophets because that’s where He is found, and when He is found, eternal life is found in Him!
Joh 5:39 GW You study the Scriptures in detail because you think you have the source of eternal life in them. These Scriptures testify on my behalf.
There is also only one system of faith in the Old and the New. And as we have constantly repeated from this pulpit, it is not the faith that believes merely in the existence of God, it is the faith that believes God. That is the faith unto righteousness. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.
The saving faith of the OT was based on the belief of the promise of a coming Messiah and the work He would finish, the saving faith of the NT is faith in the finished work of the Messiah on the cross at Calvary.
The shadow of the cross can be seen from eternity, and it was typified throughout the OT .But on Good Friday the real physical body of Christ was on that tree and the sky went dark from noon to 3 p.m. There was no more shadow! It became the real deal!
If the New Testament is superior to the Old it is only because more information is given. Hindsight is 20-20 vision! The NT is high noon if you will. There is more revelation in the New as the shadows of the OT disappear into the fullness of the Son S-O-N.
Images or types of the OT have become anti-types or fulfillment of what was only “pictured” or imaged in the Old. The Old Testament is like a paint by numbers set. Until it is filled in, you only have a vague idea of what it is going to look like, and when it is filled in or “fulfilled” you get the whole beautiful picture.
The prophets longed to see what this picture looked like, but all they got was a blank paint by numbers set with no color, just a black and white shadow.
1Pe 1:10-12 GW The prophets carefully researched and investigated this salvation. Long ago they spoke about God's kindness that would come to you. (11) So they tried to find out what time or situation the Spirit of Christ kept referring to whenever he predicted Christ's sufferings and the glory that would follow.
(12) God revealed to the prophets that the things they had spoken were not for their own benefit but for yours. What the prophets had spoken, the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven, has now made known to you by those who spread the Good News among you. These are things that even the angels want to look into.
The typology of the OT is a necessary element of understanding the whole of Scripture. The OT prefigures and predicts, the NT reports what has happened and explains the significance. The NT is the answer to the one big catechism question, “What does this mean?”
The OT and the NT reveal the same action, the act of redemption, from different perspectives.
One points forward to Calvary, the other points back. And both testaments also point to the final Day!
Let me quickly list some of the “types” or “shadows” found in the OT. The tabernacle in the OT with all it’s perfect dimensions was where God met His people, it was a shadow of “Immanuel, God with us” in the New.
Israel, a political nation chosen by God in the OT was a shadow of the NT church.
All those nasty enemies we read of that the Israelites did war with in the OT? They were real, but they were shadows of our NT spiritual enemies and it’s associated spiritual warfare.
A type or a shadow in the OT could be a person, such as Moses or Joseph or as our text mentions, Adam, who were “types” of Christ.
A type could be an event such as the exodus which typified our deliverance from slavery to sin. Jonah in the belly of a fish for three days as Christ was in the tomb,
A type could also be an object or an institution, such as the tabernacle, or the Passover, or circumcision, or the brass serpent upon the pole! All these items anticipate and point forward to Christ and the NT event of redemption.
Jesus used typology when He spoke to Nicodemus about what must happen to Jesus to effect salvation for the world:
Joh 3:14 GW "As Moses lifted up the snake on a pole in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.
This is one of my favorite examples because of the use of a snake. Why didn’t Moses hoist up a lamb? Why a snake? Why would looking at a snake save them? What does the snake typify? A snake represents sin and Jesus became sin for us! And all who had been bitten by the poisonous snakes (sin) looked to the one who became sin for them and were spared!
The Apostles also used the typology of the OT to help explain the New!
Act 7:37 GW This is the same Moses who told the Israelites, 'God will send you a prophet, an Israelite like me.'
Moses was a type of Christ.
Perhaps the most extensive use of typology in the Bible is found in the exodus. You will find as you go through the Old and the New Testament, that constant reference is made to this wonderful and miraculous act of deliverance by God. References to the Red Sea dividing and then devouring Pharaoh’s army abound!
The Psalms are full of references to the exodus and Stephen made the connection as he preached to the religious leaders before he was stoned to death. The language of the exodus is the terminology we still use today as related to our redemption.
Words and phrases like slavery to sin, redeem, chosen, God’s possession, kingdom of priests , etc all come from the exodus! Even in the Book of Revelation we are reminded of this “shadowy” event. As we are told that we will sing about it in heaven.
Rev 15:3 GW and singing the song of God's servant Moses and the song of the lamb. They sang, "The things you do are spectacular and amazing, Lord God Almighty. The way you do them is fair and true, King of the Nations.
This was the song that Moses sang after Pharaoh’s army was drowned in the Red Sea. It is sung in heaven because that’s when we will realize to the fullest extent God’s victory over our enemies.
Having said all this about types, I hope that you will have a greater appreciation of the OT. I hope that you will read this wonderful part of the Bible with deeper understanding. I hope that you will see that Christ is not just present in the New, but He and His redemptive work indeed are all over the Old.
Read the Old. Drink Him in and get a new appreciation of the blessings that we enjoy by living in NT times. We are not dealing with shadows concerning His first coming. He has already arrived and we can say with Simeon:
Lk 2:30,31, My eyes have seen your salvation, which You have prepared for all people to see.”
Here is the beautiful thing to contemplate as we consider “types.” The type is always exceeded by the antitype. The fulfillment is always superior to the shadow.
Now, let’s look at our text once again: Adam is an image (a shadow, a type) of the one who would come. Why is Adam deemed a “type” of Christ? How does he foreshadow Christ?
The most obvious answer is that he was created perfect, without sin, but Jesus remained perfect Adam didn’t. Adam was created....Christ is eternal. Adam succumbed to the devil’s temptations, Jesus didn’t. Sin, death, and condemnation came into the world through Adam, but righteousness, life, and justification came through Christ.
In every way, Jesus was superior to Adam. The antitype is always superior to the type. Adam was the way it was supposed to be until he sinned. Jesus is the way it will be now and forever for all who put their trust in Him.
Adam was created for fellowship with God, Christ is fellowship with God (I and the Father are One!) and Christ makes it possible for us to have this fellowship restored!
Oh people, Adam was just a shadow of Christ. The fulness has come to you in a stable in Bethlehem and walked up the hill to Calvary where He bled and died for your sins. All for the purpose of regaining the Paradise for you that Adam lost.
Bow your knee to Him today! Surrender your life to Him today, ask Him to come into your heart and rule just as Adam ruled as a shadow in the Garden.
If you have received Jesus as Lord and Savior let me tell you one more thing about types. They aren’t completely restricted to the OT. We still have some shadows that need to be realized! Some numbers that need to be filled in. Paul spoke about this in his first letter to the Corinthians:
1Co 13:12 GW Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.
Even with the knowledge of the great salvation and redemption that Christ has won for us, there is still more to come! For instance the Lord’s Supper is a shadow of what the marriage feast with the Lamb will be like.
And those mansions that Jesus talked about that He is preparing for us. What do you suppose they are a shadow of?
And what is this Paradise that HE promised to the thief on the cross?
And what about all those references to heaven in the Book of Revelation?
Rev 21:18-22:5 GW Its wall was made of gray quartz. The city was made of pure gold, as clear as glass. (19) The foundations of the city wall were beautifully decorated with all kinds of gems: The first foundation was gray quartz, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, (20) the fifth onyx, the sixth red quartz, the seventh yellow quartz, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth green quartz, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. (21) The 12 gates were 12 pearls. Each gate was made of one pearl. The street of the city was made of pure gold, as clear as glass. (22) I did not see any temple in it, because the Lord God Almighty and the lamb are its temple. (23) The city doesn't need any sun or moon to give it light because the glory of God gave it light. The lamb was its lamp. (24) The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. (25) Its gates will be open all day. They will never close because there won't be any night there. (26) They will bring the glory and wealth of the nations into the holy city. (27) Nothing unclean, no one who does anything detestable, and no liars will ever enter it. Only those whose names are written in the lamb's Book of Life will enter it. (22:1) The angel showed me a river filled with the water of life, as clear as crystal. It was flowing from the throne of God and the lamb. (2) Between the street of the city and the river there was a tree of life visible from both sides. It produced 12 kinds of fruit. Each month had its own fruit. The leaves of the tree will heal the nations. (3) There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him (4) and see his face. His name will be on their foreheads. (5) There will be no more night, and they will not need any light from lamps or the sun because the Lord God will shine on them. They will rule as kings forever and ever.
Can you imagine? These are just images, shadows, types of what heaven will be like and remember the anti-type is always superior to the type. How can we be so careless with this great gift of salvation won for us at Calvary! With this faith given to us at our baptism.
Think of the most precious and sparkling jewels you have ever seen. Think of the tastiest and lushest fruit you have ever tasted, and these are just a shadow of what awaits those who finish the race.
In fact, this whole world is nothing but a shadow, it is fleeting. What could you possibly desire to hang onto in this world that is better than what is to come? Your sin? Your material goods? Your gods? Your pride? Your will? Let go of it all and come to Jesus.
One final type before we wrap up. When God kicked Adam out of the Garden of Eden He placed angels and a flaming sword that turned in all directions east of the Garden of Eden. He placed them there to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:24)
These angels are a type of Christ. Christ, who stands guard over the gate to Paradise and turns all unrepentant sinners away, He banishes them forever to hell with these words, “depart from Me for I never knew you.” but Jesus is superior to this type because He says:
Joh 6:37b GW I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.
And so the thief on the cross humbly came to Jesus and acknowledged Him as Lord and Jesus said, “today, you will be with Me in Paradise.......the antiytpe of Eden.
Repent as the humble thief on the cross did and Come to Jesus......the superior antitype of Paradise waits for you!