SermonBeyond the Shadows


Summary:  The tabernacle is a parable of Christ and his priestly ministry which brought us a new covenant of eternal forgiveness and inner transformation for all who have been faithful to God.  Everything else of this earth is a shadow, whether it be a tabernacle or other things not of Christ that demand our attention, energy, commitment, and investment.  Therefore, we need to focus our commitment on Christ.


Know:  Everything of this world is temporary and fleeting, and only a shadow of heavenly realities at best.  Therefore, we need to invest our lives in what is solid and eternal, which is Christ.


Feel:  The futility of investing emotionally in things of this world and not in the things of Christ


Do:  Discuss ways in which the tabernacle and its items and services are a symbol or parable of Christ and deeper spiritual realities.  Compare the Levitical system and the Christian system and discuss how Christ and his ministry is superior.  Remembering that this is an exhortation to look forward to the substance of Christ and not back to the shadow of the tabernacle, identify what may be possible shadows for us today, and what realities we need to invest our selves in and commit to.


Text:  Hebrews 9:1 - 10:18


Scripture Reading:  Col 2:16-17



1.  Remember filmstrips in classroom at school

            a.  When over, screen turned white

            b.  We used to make shadows on the screen

            c.  What is a Shadow?  A silhouette created by a real object

2.  Walking at night, and see a shadow of something moving, what do you do?

            a.  You look to see what is casting that shadow

            b.  What is casting the shadow is more important than the shadow

            c.  Shadow can't do much, but the one casting the shadow can

3.  This morning's text reminds us there are shadows in the world

            a.  If all we ever do is focus on the shadows, we miss what is important

            b.  If we never look past the shadows, we will be stuck in the shadows

            c.  Everyone is looking forward to something brighter ahead

            d.  The only way to get something brighter is to move past the shadows

4.  The text for this lesson helps us to move past the shadows

            a.  First, it starts with the shadow, then moves to the substance

            b.  Section actually starts in chapter 8:4-5

                        - Tabernacle had to be made according to a pattern

                        - Acts 7:44 - Suggests that Moses had "seen" a scale model

                        - There was a reason it had to be made a certain way

                        - The tabernacle was to be a sketch, copy, or shadow of something

            c.  (Heb 9:1-10:18) - Huge section

                        - Main point:  The heavenly, spiritual ministry of Christ is the only

                          thing effective to bring us back to God

                        - Text makes this point by looking beyond the tabernacle to the

                           eternal reality it foreshadows in Christ

            d.  Plan:  Will first look at tabernacle, what if foreshadows, then application


I.  The Shadow:  Earthly Tabernacle

            A.  Remember what the purpose of the tabernacle was

                        1.  It was the place where God symbolically dwelt

                        2.  The tabernacle was in the middle of the camp

            B.  Calls attention to some details of the tabernacle

                        1.  Outer tabernacle, called the "Holy Place" (9:1-7)

                                    a.  Lampstand - Gave light

                                    b.  Table of shewbread

                                                - Twelve loaves of bread

                                                - Eaten only by priests

                                                - Replaced weekly

                        2.  Inner tabernacle, Most Holy Place

                                    a.  Golden altar of incense

                                                - Text seems to say it in the inner sanctuary

                                                - Literally:  "which had the altar of incense"

                                                - Some translations say, "Holy of holies, to which

                                                  belongs the altar of incense"

                                                - 1 King 6:22 - Says the incense altar, "belongs to" or

                                                   "pertains to" the inner chamber

                                                - Had to burn incense before approach God, Lev 16

                                    b.  Ark of Covenant

                                                - Jar of manna - Reminder of God's miraculous

                                                   provision in the wilderness

                                                - Aaron's Rod - Reminder God selected sons of Aaron

                                                   to be High Priest

                                                - Tables of the Covenant - The tablets with the

                                                   covenant written on it

                                                - Cherubim overshadow mercy seat - Place where

                                                   God symbolically dwelt

                        3.  Priests minister constantly into outer tabernacle

                                    a.  They perform acts of divine worship

                                    b.  Eat and replenish the bread

                                    c.  Burn incense morning and evening

                        4.  Only the High Priest goes into the second/inner tabernacle

                                    a.  Only goes once a year

                                    b.  Takes the blood of a bull for himself

                                    c.  Takes the blood of a goat for the people

                                    d.  Offers blood on mercy seat - given to God

            C.  It was all a temporary shadow, or a symbol (9:8-9)

                        1.  Symbol is parabolh, which means, "parable"

                        2.  The tabernacle was never intended to be permanent

                        3.  It was a shadow, a sketch, or parable of deeper spiritual realities

                        4.  By itself, it didn't have the power to do anything

            D.  The earthly tabernacle is just a shadow, not the substance


II.  The Substance:  The Heavenly Tabernacle

            A.  (v.10) - These were in place until a time of "reformation"
                        1.  Bible may say, "new order"

                        2.  Would be coming a time when things were going to change

                        3.  Means the earthly tabernacle was intended to be temporary

            B.  Now calls attention to Christ's ministry

                        1.  (v.11-12) Jesus appeared as a heavenly High Priest

                                    a.  Offered up his own blood, not bulls and goats

                                    b.  Did not go into earthly tabernacle

                                                -  Went through greater, more perfect tabernacle

                                                -  Went literally into presence of God in Heaven

                                                -  Offered God his own blood to God

                        2.  (v.13-14) Blood of Jesus does not merely make you

                              ceremonially clean, but cleanses your conscience

                                    a.  Old Testament rites cleansed defilement

                                                - Various sacrifices

                                                - Washing of the ashes of a red heifer, Num 19

                                    b.  But Jesus cleanses your conscience.  What is that?

                                                - suneidhsis - Consciousness, moral consciousness,

                                                  spiritual awareness, scruples

                                                - It is - sense of right and wrong that governs actions

                                                - Our conscience is defiled by sin

                                                - Only blood of Jesus can cleanse this defilement

                                    c.  Jesus writes his law on the heart and mind

                        3.  (v.15-22) Jesus blood inaugurated a new covenant

                                    a.  Diaqhkh - In Greek can mean either covenant or will

                                                - Text uses both definitions to make the point

                                                - Whether a will, or covenant, a death is required

                                    b.  As a will

                                                - There is an inheritance given by the testator

                                                - It does not go into effect until the testator dies

                                    c.  As a covenant: Hebrew, tyrb trk is "cut a covenant"

                                                - Always involved a death, a sacrifice

                                                - Moses offered up blood of sacrifice

                                                - Sprinkled people, tabernacle, vessels with blood

                                                - Blood purified and sanctified

                                    d.  Jesus is both testator and executor

                        4.  Jesus blood is sufficient for all

                                    a.  (v.23-28) - Only needed to offer himself once

                                                - Not need to sacrifice continually like old covenant

                                                - v.15 - His sacrifice forgive those in Old Testament

                                    b.  (10:3-4) - Old Covenant was a sketch, no power in itself

                                                - Was a "reminder" of sin every year

                                                - Blood of bulls and goats not take away sin

                                                - (10:5-6) - God was not after the sacrifice

                                                            = No inherent power in blood of bulls and goats

                                                            = They were a parable. a sketch

                                                            = It is through blood of Christ

                                    c.  (10:12-14) - Jesus did the job and sat down

                                                - In the earthly tabernacle, no chairs.  Job never done

                                                - But Jesus took away our sins with his blood

                                    d.  (10:17) - Jesus takes away our sins completely

            C.  ILL:  This reminds me of my dorm room at York College - tile floor

                        1.  Got carpet from another student, he was athlete

                        2.  You think small children are unsanitary?  Try college boys!

                                    a.  That carpet had chip residue, sand, and stuff. 

                                    b.  Worse thing:  It smelled like feet

                        3.  Didn't want to get rid of, so spray air freshener on it

                                    a.  It seemed to work

                                    b.  But on hot humid day, smell came back

                                    c.  Periodically had to spray it again

                        4.  That is how Old Covenant was

                                    a.  It was like air freshener

                                    b.  Never got rid of the sin, but there was a reminder

                                    c.  Kept coming back

            D.  Only the blood of Jesus can truly take care of the problem permanently

                        1.  Removes sin

                        2.  Cleanses your conscience, transforms you inwardly

                        3.  Have an inheritance with the Father


III.  The Lesson?

            A.  May not seem there is much of a practical application

                        1.  We are not Jews in danger of sliding back to Judaism

                        2.  But remember, the foundation of all practical exhortation stems

                             from good, solid, biblical doctrine and theology

            B.  Do we live for the shadow or the substance?

                        1.  For the Jew, the shadow was the earthly tabernacle

                                    a.  It was not the true form of things

                                    b.  It was a reflection, of spiritual realities

                                    c.  They needed to look past the shadow to the substance

                        2.  We need to look past the shadows in life to the substance

                                    a.  Think about all the substance of life

                                                - The sun comes up every day, rain, trees

                                                - We have water, food, homes, clothing

                                                - We work, live, laugh, love

                                    b.  All that exists is a creation of God & reflection of God

                                                - Rom 1 - God's nature is seen in creation

                                                - Can know something about God

            C.  ILL:  Sometimes you can see the maker through what is made

                        1.  Can look at a painting, tell that it is a Picasso

                        2.  Can hear score of music, tell that it is Bach

                        3.  Can also know something of God from what he created

            D.  But what is created is not God, and will pass away

                        1.  1:10-11 reminded us that world and sky will get old and end

                                    a.  The tabernacle with its service all passed away, it ended

                                    b.  Everything on this world will end

                                    c.  Subject to rust, decay, age

                                    d.  Nothing in this world has inherent value

                        2.  The true substance is beyond what is in this life

                                    a.  The Jews needed to look past the shadows

                                    b.  We also need to look past the shadows

                        3.  Our shadows are different, but are still worldly

                                    a.  Could be car, yard, clothes, reputation, money

                                    b.  Nothing wrong with any of this

                                    c.  But we do not build our life on these

                                    d.  Jesus is the foundation

                        4.  As Christians we do not live in the shadows, but in the light

                                    a.  We walk by faith, not by sight

                                    b.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for

                                    c.  Our citizenship is in Heaven

                                    d.  Our treasure is in Heaven



1.  Someday, all you see will be over

2.  Question will be - In what, or who did you invest your life in?

3.  Many things can get in the way

            a.  My uncle Mike resisted Christianity for many years

            b.  Finally, he obeyed a year ago

                        - The cancer got his attention

                        - Caused him to consider what was really important

                        - Made him consider eternity

            c.  Jesus changed the character of his life

                        - He was a biker, craftsman, father, husband, uncle

                        - As of a year ago, he became a Christian biker, father, husband

            d.  He made Jesus Lord of his life, and that changed everything

4.  This life is a drop in the bucket

            a.  What you do with that drop makes a huge difference for eternity

            b.  Don't squander it, respond today and look past the shadows of this life

            c.  Always look forward, not backward, upward, not downward (inv)


Small Group NotesBeyond the Shadows


Summary:  The tabernacle is a parable of Christ and his priestly ministry which brought us a new covenant of eternal forgiveness and inner transformation for all who have been faithful to God.  Everything else of this earth is a shadow, whether it be a tabernacle or other things not of Christ that demand our attention, energy, commitment, and investment.  Therefore, we need to focus our commitment on Christ.



Open:  (choose one)

- What is the most beautiful church building, shrine, or cathedral you have ever seen?

- What kind of shadow can you make with your hands or other parts of your body?



Explore:  (Hebrews 9:1 - 10:18)


1.  How is the tabernacle a "symbol" or "parable" (v.9) of Christ and his ministry?  How do the tabernacle, the multitude of priests, the ongoing annual sacrifices, the veil, etc., all teach us about God?  About man?


2.  Compare the levitical system and Christ's ministry.  In what ways is Christ's ministry superior?  Discuss some of the ways Christ's ministry is similar yet different.


3.  Discuss the significance of the blood of Christ.  How is it better than the blood of bulls and goats?  What did it do that is superior?


4.  Why did the Hebrews need to be taught that the tabernacle, the law, and the priesthood were a shadow, sketch, parable, and symbol?  What did they need to do and think?





5.  If the true substance and reality belongs to Christ (10:1), how should you evaluate things of this world?  What should be your relationship to them?


6.  What are some possible "shadows" of this world that you are tempted to turn to rather than to Christ? 


7.  What exhortation can you draw from this passage for yourself or for others?