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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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I should not have paused at this word by way of explaining the word itself, had that been all. Every one knows what it means, and the Scriptures frequently use it. We meet with life, represented under the figure of a shadow; and we read of the shadow of death, and the like. But I rather fear that when the word shadow is used in reference to the things of the law, when it is said, "the law was a shadow of good things to come, but the body is of Christ," (Colossians 2:17) the full sense is not so generally understood as it were to be wished. I beg therefore to offer a short observation upon the subject.

Now it is and must be, very plain to common sense, that before there can be formed a shadow, there must be a body that is somewhat of substance to form that shadow. Let that shadow be what it may, suppose the shadow of a man, or of a tree, or of a house, plain it is, that the man, tree, or house, must have been before the shadow; it could not be formed before the substance which gave birth to the shadow was formed; that would be impossible. A shadow, strictly and properly speaking, is formed from some substance, no matter what, standing between the shadow formed and light of any kind forming that shadow, by shining upon the substance. If I stand between the light of the sun, or the light of the moon, or any lesser light than either, and the earth which is behind me, my shadow will be formed upon the earth in consequence of that shining. If there be no substance between, or if there be no light shining upon that substance, there will be no shadow. All this is so abundantly plain that it can need no farther proof.

To apply this then to the shadow of the law, the law is said to be a shadow, but the body or substance is Christ. And consequently Christ the substance was before that shadow, yea, formed that shadow, when as the, lamb slain before the foundation of the world, Christ stood up at the call of JEHOVAH from everlasting. (Revelation 13:8) But how stood up? Surely not openly revealed to men, but openly to and before JEHOVAH, when in the council of peace he was the Man, the Branch; and that in the ancient settlements, of redemption before all worlds. (Zechariah 6:11-12) Hence, Moses was admonished of God "when he was about to make the tabernacle: for see, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the Mount." (Hebrews 8:5; Exodus 25:40) So then, the pattern or substance in the Mount preceded all the shadows that followed in the tabernacle service. And if Christ be indeed, as the Holy Ghost by Paul saith he is, the body, while all the services of the tabernacle were but shadows, (Colossians 2:17) is it not plain that, however, not openly to the church, yet openly to God, the substance of the pattern must somehow have been before the shadow? Never could these shadows have had even the shadow of a being, had not the substance been before, and formed them. If we could go farther, and demand how these things could be, the only answer proper to be given is read to us by the prophet: "If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in mine eyes, saith the Lord of hosts?" (Zechariah 8:6)

I will only detain the reader with a short observation upon the whole, namely, to say that it must be very blessed and very precious to the soul of the believer to discover in this instance, as in every other, that Jesus, as Christ, God, man, and mediator, was as the apostle saith he was, and is, "before all things, and by him all things consist." It was essentially necessary that he should be so, and the Holy Ghost bears witness by his servant Paul to it, that "in all things he might have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:15 etc.) Hail! thou glorious Alpha, and Omega, of thy church's glory! Thou art indeed the substantially all of thy people's persons, safety, security, happiness, as well in grace as glory. All but thee are but as shadows, for thou alone art the body, and as thou hast said, "I will cause them that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures." (Proverbs 8:21)

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Shadow'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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