by Daniel Botkin

  A certain man owned a large field.  The man had two sons who tilled the ground and planted and harvested the crops.  In the center of the field was an immense boulder.  The father told his two sons that this rock was very valuable. 

``You will learn that there are many things which make this rock precious,''  the father told them, ``but I want to tell you about one benefit the rock  will provide for you.  This rock will cast a shadow and make a nice, cool place for you to rest from your toil.  The rock won't cast the shadow every day, though.  It's a supernatural rock, and it will only cast the shadow every seven days, plus a few times a year on certain holidays.  On the days when the rock casts its shadow, I want you to take the day off.  Lay down your tools, come out of the hot field, step into the shade, get close to the rock, and enjoy one another's company.''

Sure enough, on the seventh day the rock cast a shadow.  The first son  laid down his tools, stepped into the shadow, and sat down close to the rock.   ``Aren't you coming?'' he asked his brother.

``No, I think I'll wait til tomorrow,'' the second son replied. ``I think I'll do some yard work today, go shopping, and clean the house.''

So the second son spent the day working, shopping, and cleaning, while  his brother sat and enjoyed the cool shadow of the rock. 

The next day the first son, greatly refreshed from having rested in the rock'sshadow, went back to work in the field. The second son said to himself, ``I guess I'll go sit in the shade today.''

When he arrived at the rock, though, there was no shadow.

``Oh, well,'' he said. ``I can still sit close to the rock and just relax. I don't need a mere shadow.''

He sat by the rock, but the heat of the sun beat down on him all day long. Without the shadow, the rest was not nearly as refreshing as the rest his brother had gotten a day earlier, when the shadow was there.

Year after year this arrangement continued. The first son rested in the shadow of the rock every seventh day, and the second son rested in the hot sun the following day.

The first son really learned to appreciate the rock and the shade it provided  for him every seventh day.  Many times he tried to persuade his brother to  step into the shade with him.  The second son always declined the invitation.   ``It's only a mere shadow,'' he said. 

Now tell me: Which son was wiser?

  The Sabbath and holy days are a shadow of things to come. (Col. 2:16f)  They  are a shadow, not ``were'' a shadow which existed only before the Messiah.  They are a shadow of things to come, not just of things that have already come with the first Advent of the Messiah.

  About the author:  Daniel Botkin is the pastor of the Gates of  Eden Messianic congregation in Peoria, Illinois.  He edits a bimonthly magazine,  also called Gates of Eden, in which this article originally appeared.  For a sample issue, write to Mr. Botkin at PO Box 2257,  East Peoria, IL 61611-0257.   1   


1 Editor's Note:  Messianic Judaism is a rapidly-growing international movement of Jews who believe that Jesus is the Promised Messiah and Savior of the world.  Like the believers of the first century, Messianics maintain  a Jewish lifestyle, including celebration of the Sabbath and annual festivals.  The Messianic movement leads the way in evangelism in the Jewish community  and in teaching Christians about the Jewish roots of their faith.


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