Yeah, I'm bringing it up again!!
For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form [literally, image] of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Hebrews 10:1
A visit to most local church buildings should provide sufficient proof of the hold shadows still exert upon us. Ironically, we credit the attempted re-establishment of the old shadows to the Book that speaks of their ending. Why is that? Now, in case you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about let me give you an example related to the above verse regarding sacrifices.
Do we assume the church holds a New Testament view just because it doesn't offer blood sacrifices anymore? If so, why does it insist on perpetuating that shadow-feature known as the altar? And why would a shadow hold a place among those who know the reality behind it ... unless fear suggests the shadow might still be needed? One way or another this shadow-feature has crept back in to become a barrier between God and those who worship.
A barrier? Yes, I'm saying it's something designed to come BETWEEN us. Why else do our worship services leave us with the impression that drawing near to the altar - or maybe just coming up front - brings us closer to God? Is God in any way closer to the front of a church-building than to its other areas? For that matter, is God somehow constrained to keep His presence more concentrated in ANY particular place? Consider, a successful barrier might simply create an illusion that one is as close as possible while in fact that one is kept outside by the thing that's supposed to help close the gap.
Why else do meetings designed to bring people to God keep them coming back to the altar to get closer to the one who came to make His worshipers ONE? Maybe fear keeps the bogus perception alive that coming to the altar, or coming up front, might in some way make perfect those who draw near? After all, how many times have you gone forward in the attempt to get right with God for one reason or another?
The perception is addictive, for it perpetuates a sense of fear that demands we need it so that one must offer it again and again ... just like those who stood before the God-sanctioned altar. But that God-object was not an end in itself, as it was only a vivid picture in the minds of those who came before it that something FAR SUPERIOR was needed - because the object simply did not perform as perceived. None of the sacrifices laid upon it EVER had any real effect toward the cleaning of those involved. The shadow DEMANDED that something REAL was needed, it declared that something REAL was coming. AND THEN THE ONE WHO WAS ABLE TO FULFILL THE NEED CAME!!! End of story. *And since the ADEQUATE has come, there is no more need for the INADEQUATE.
Next time: Leaving the shadows behind ...