Return to Eden: Part 2 – Shadows of Things to Come

Our Father does nothing by accident.  There is no coincidence.  Before He said “Let there be light” He knew what we would become; how we would fall; that He would send His Son to fix it.

And while He is unsearchable, He doesn’t hide His plan from us.  He’s been making it clear to us since He began to repair the world in Genesis 3:

And I will cause hostility between you and the women, and between your offspring and her offspring.  He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:14-15 NLT

Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure…” Isaiah 46:9-12 NASB

He wants us to know what He’s up to.  It’s not a secret.  And nothing shows this more clearly than looking at the seven feasts that Israel was instructed to observe each and every year.  In fact, the Apostle Paul described them this way:

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.  Colossians 2:16-17 NIV

The feasts are a shadow of things to come.  Think about that for a moment.  A shadow can give you the outline; you can’t see the details and the faces, but you can get an idea of what is casting the shadow.  That’s what Paul described the feasts as: a way to get an idea or understanding of what was coming.

And looking back at Jesus’ first coming, it’s easy to see what was making the shadows.

Every spring, Israel was commanded to observe the Feast of Passover.  This feast commemorated the events that led to their release from bondage in Egypt.  On the 14th day of the first month of their religious calendar, each family slaughtered a lamb in recognition of the lambs slain to buy their freedom from slavery.

Four days before that, each family selected the lamb that would be their sacrifice.  It was brought into the home and examined up until the time of the sacrifice, to ensure that it truly was a spotless lamb, without any blemish.

And around 1,500 years after the first Passover lambs were killed in Egypt, Jesus entered Jerusalem in pomp and circumstance.  He went to the House of the LORD, and spent the next four days being examined by every religious and political group in the land.  He was declared faultless by Pilate.  And around 3pm on the day that the lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple, Jesus completed His work as the “Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)

There isn’t any major revelation in this.  We know that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Passover lamb.  But the story doesn’t end there.  That’s only the start.  The next three feasts complete the shadows of what Jesus did in His first coming.

Next Post: Jesus’ First Coming

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Return to Eden: Part 1 – A Broken World

“What if my greatest disappointments – and the aching of this life – are the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?” – Laura Story

The world is broken.  We know that.  Watching the first five minutes of the evening newscast will convince even the most optimistic person that things in this world are not going well.

It’s been that way for around 6,000 years now.  And that’s where most of us focus.  We live in the world between Genesis 3 and Revelation 20.  But that’s not God’s original plan for Creation, and He’s not going to leave it that way.  He’s been working to put it back together since the moment it became broken.

When God finished Creation and said, “It is good,” His intention was to walk in relationship with Humanity.   Genesis 3 says that God, Himself, used to walk in the Garden with Adam and Eve.  There’s a picture in every Hebrew word and the picture in the Hebrew word translated here – “halak” – is one of relational intimacy.  Imagine God coming down in physical form, putting one arm around Adam, and the other around Eve, and walking through the Garden asking them, “How was your day?”  That’s what God created us for.

But that was “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”  We look at that as being so long ago that it’s not even real.  But it is.  And it’s what God is working to restore.  His desire is for us return to Eden.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. – Ecclesiastes 3:11

Our Western mindset makes it difficult for us to understand time the way God does.  We see everything moving forward, with eternity – Heaven – at the end.  It’s a straight line.  But that isn’t God’s view of time.

His view of time has no beginning or end.  There is no straight line leading to Heaven.  Humanity existed in eternity already.  But we walked away from it.  By choice, we got off track.  What we know as “time” or “history” is simply God guiding us back to the place we were before we screwed up.

I’ve seen this happen in my own life time and time again.  I’m heading down God’s path, and then I make a choice that eventually leads me to realize that I have messed things up big time.  My life becomes broken.  So what does God do?  He brings me full circle to where I was when I made the wrong choice.  He takes my right back to where I was and says, “Let’s try this again.”

And that’s what God is doing right now.  He’s bringing us full-circle.  He’s returning us to Eden.  But to see that in what we know as “history,” we’ve got to understand God’s shadow pictures of good things to come.  We’ve got to see how God has communicated His plan to us.  We have to look in the shadows.

Next Post: Shadows of Things to Come