Consider the following scene. There is a large room with several people seated in various places. A door to the outside is open and someone very important is approaching, about to enter through the door. He casts a shadow ahead of him that can be seen on the floor of the room. There are some that can see the shadow very clearly because of where they are sitting. Others can hear the voice and footsteps of the person when it's not too noisy in the room. Still others can sometimes get a glimpse of him in a mirror or through a window. Each of these people can tell something about the person coming and about how close he is to the door. The closer he gets, the more those in the room can tell about him. They are able to pass along some of their information to others in the room at times. Some can tell what they hear, some can tell what they see and some can tell what they have learned by studying the shadow. However communication is very poor due to disorder and conflict between the people inside. Some are expecting the arrival of the person, others will be extremely surprised. Once he enters the room their knowledge of him will begin to increase dramatically and soon will be far more complete and accurate.
This is a picture of the Church today. She is about to receive a visit from the Lord. His prophets know he is coming, in a spiritual sense first, others only look forward to His physical return, still others aren't expecting Him very soon, if at all.
This is not a visitation like past visitations. It is more than just a visit. He is coming to stay. He is not coming as a guest to spend a short time. He is coming as the Head of the church, to take up permanent residence. He is coming to take over.
Those who can hear His voice and footsteps are those who prophesy the words he gives them. Those who catch occasional glimpses of Him are those who relate their visions. Those who see the outlines of His shadow are those who are prophetic teachers. The shadows are the prophetic types and shadows found in the bible.
"Let no man judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of an holy day or of the new moon or of the sabbath which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Col. 2:16 Note that the last clause of this verse could be translated 'and the body of Christ' So this verse speaks of things in the bible which are shadows of things to come and the body of Christ [the Church]
Their meaning is imparted to the prophet by revelation. So that to discern the shadows is to understand the bible and what it says about the return of the Lord.
The closer he gets, the more those in the room can tell about him. This means you can see His shadow more clearly. We know that 'the books [of the bible] are sealed till the time of the end'; so when their meaning is revealed we know the time of the end has come.
The Lord gave me this illustration of the people in the room to show how He speaks to His people. And so I would understand that I was one of those who discern the shadows.
That is there are three kinds of prophets, the hearers, the seers, and the teachers.
It wasn't till later that I found that this verse in Hosea says practically the same thing. "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes [types and shadows], by the ministry of the prophets." (Hosea 12:10)
Once He enters the room their knowledge will become far more complete and accurate.
"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (1 Corinthians 13:9-10) This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
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