Teacher pointed to a shorter stick and said “One” and we repeated after him.Then he pointed to a longer stick counting “Two“…
Next day, the lesson was to repeat but this time he raised the longer stick expecting us to start counting. “No, there is a mistake here” one pupil corrected him: “We have to start counting with the shorter stick!”
To the young mind the objects – the sticks – embodied numbers. The sticks were numbers and the numbers were sticks. So, to posess sticks was to posess numbers. Did teacher despise our ignorance when we asked that question? No. He gladly complied knowing that “precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isa.28:10). However, growing up later, we could count without the aid of sticks. We could count ‘in the heart’.So we threw away the sticks. However, throwing away the sticks did not amount to throwing away arithmetic. Sticks are not numbers no more than works of the Law are righteousness.
Sticks were ‘shadows’ pointing to the REAL CONCEPT of numbers! When they FULFIL their purpose, one is no longer bound to OBSERVE them. I love God so much that I dont need a written Law on the doorposts of my house telling me “Thou shalt not profane the Name of the Lord”. He lives in me. I am dead to the flesh and Christ liveth in me. I dont need to be warned that if I dont go to church I will be punished. Like Jeremiah prophesied: “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me” (Jer.31:34). Everyday is church time and I earnestly look to gather with the saints whenever there is opportunity. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Col.2:16-17).