Which are a Shadow of Things to Come
This phrase has probably caused more religious debate in religious matters than any phrase in the Bible. Those who are in favor of the feast days, new moons and Sabbaths have a tendency to through out Paul. Others who attend church on Sunday use this phrase to do away with the feast days and the Sabbaths.
Catholic scholars have access to manuscripts in the Vatican and otherwise, that the general public does not have access to. Nor do they make them available to the public. The Protestant has to cling with his whole soul to what is available to him.
Let us consider Colossians 2:17. When Paul said, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink," he was not talking about meat offerings and drink offerings! Because the Colossian believers in the Messiah were not offering meat and drink offerings as in Hebrews 9:10, which would be in denial of the Messiah. Besides this, according to the law of the meat offering, it was presented to the Levitical priests who would take and burn it on the altar, not for the ordinary person to perform (see Leviticus chapter 2). Paul commended these believers in Colosse as being steadfast in the faith (Col 2:5, 7). Do you really think that Paul was trying to recommend or justify the Colossian believers for offering a meat or drink offering? By saying "Let no man judge you" for this??? I don't think so!!!
Paul was saying, "Let no man therefore judge you in eating and drinking . . . but the body of Messiah." Colossians 2:16, 17 margin
Now, please explain to me how eating and drinking is a shadow of things to come!
Now for the most interesting part, the feasts, the new moon, and the Sabbaths.
By the way, the word "holyday" in Greek means the festivals or feasts, as translated by the New King James Version and others. When Paul wrote this, he simply mentioned all three together as other Biblical writer did. Compare I Chr. 23:31; II Chr. 2:4; 31:3; Neh. 10:33; Isa. 1:13, 14; Ezek. 45:17 & Hosea 2:11.
Paul here is talking about the set feasts, the new moon, and the seventh day Sabbaths, just as these other Biblical writers.
Only in this one spot do Sabbath observers who wish not to observe the festivals declare these "sabbath days" to be the feasts. Everywhere else in the NT they interpret "sabbath days" to mean the seventh day of the week. But Paul had already mentioned the feast days, why needeth he to repeat himself by meaning the "sabbath days" to mean the feast days also??? Obviously he did not intend this!
Next phrase, "which are a shadow of things to come". Please explain to me how the New Moon is a shadow? Try as they may, no one has successfully explained this to me, how a "light in the firmament" can be a shadow. The New Moon is reflecting light, and you want to call this a shadow??? Neither has anyone explained to me successfully how the New Moon is even typical or pointing forward to anything to come. It's the real thing. A shadow is a figure pointing to the real thing. The seventh day Sabbath is the real thing, it's time, and time or appointments to meet with someone is not a shadow of the real thing, it is the real thing!
However the seventh day Sabbath is a prophecy of the seventh millennium, when the land shall rest desolate for a thousand years, with the saints resting with YAHUSHUA in His Father's house. Likewise the Feast days are a prophecy. The Passover lamb was a shadow or figure of Messiah, and the schedule for Passover prophesied as to the time of that event. Even marriage is a prophecy, it foretells of the marriage of YAHUSHUA and His bride, but that does not do away with our present covenant with our spouse.
A prophetess once said concerning the seventh day Sabbath: "There was nothing in it shadowy." Patriarch's & Prophets p. 48. Is she contradicting Paul? For it appears that Paul said it was a shadow of things to come. Also concerning the statutes (Exodus 21-23) the same prophetess said, "These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of (Messiah)." Review & Herald May 6, 1875
Nowhere in Scripture is it a statute to offer up a burnt offering or trespass offering, or any other offering! However the word "statute" is connected to the Levitical priesthood which did offer up the sacrifices, as seen in Exodus 27:21; 28:43; 29:9, 28; 30:21; Lev. 3:17; 6:18, 22; 7:34, 36; 10:9, 15; 16:29, 31, 34; 23:14, 21, 31, 41; 24:3, 9.
Now notice the language of Scripture concerning the sacrifices; "This is the law of the burnt offering." Lev. 6:9. "This is the law of the meat offering." Lev 6:14. "This is the law of the sin offering." Lev. 6:25. "This is the law of the trespass offering." Lev. 7:1. "This is the law of the sacrifice of peace offering." Lev. 7:11. Not once is the word "statute" connected directly to the sacrifices. But what are the statutes that were obeyed by Abraham before the Levitical priesthood was instituted??? Scripture says, "Abraham obeyed My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." Genesis 26:5. The statutes which Abraham obeyed are found in Exodus 21-23. This is the covenant that was given at Mt. Sinai.
"Bravely did the Israelites speak the words promising obedience to (YAHUWAH), after hearing His covenant read in the audience of the people. They said, 'All that (YAHUWAH) hath said will we do, and be obedient.' Then the people were set apart and sealed to (Elohim)." Seventh-day Adventist BIBLE COMMENTARY on Exodus 24 Ellen G. White
"The covenant that (Elohim) made with His people at Sinai is to be our refuge and defense. . . This covenant is of just as much force today as it was when (YAHUWAH) made it with ancient Israel." SDA Bible Commentary on Ex 19 EGW
Since there is nothing shadowy about eating and drinking, and the statutes are not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Messiah (R&H 5/6/1875) and the seventh day is not shadowy. Also by the context, which makes more sense when put this way, "Let no man therefore judge you in eating and drinking, or in respect of a feast day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days; but the body (or congregation) of Messiah." I can't help but see that some anti-sabbitarian inserted "which are a shadow of things to come". "I saw that (Elohim) had especially guarded the Bible; yet when copies of it were few, learned men had in some instances changed the words [in this case added a few words], thinking that they were making it more plain, when in reality they were mystifying that which was plain, by causing it to lean to their established views which were governed by tradition. But I saw that the Word of (Elohim), as a whole, is a perfect chain, one portion linking into and explaining another. True seekers for truth need not err; for not only is the Word of (Elohim) plain and simple in declaring the way of life, but the Holy Spirit is given as a guide in understanding the way to life therein revealed." Early Writings p. 220, 221
The plain simple phrase "but the body of Messiah" got mystified to "but the body is of Messiah." The word (is) is supplied to make it conform to such anti-sabbatarian views, as if the feast days, new moons, and Sabbaths were the shadow, but Messiah is the body of which the shadow is cast. Which is somewhat mystical to try and comprehend. The Feast days point to events, or I should say, the timing of events. But not at the person per say. If the Feast days were done away with at the cross, then the Holy Spirit must have been misinformed of such a view, for the Holy Spirit was poured out in rich currents after the cross on a Feast day.
Many more arguments could be presented as the early apostles, especially Paul, and their train of followers still observed the Feast days after the cross.
Consider the following inspired quotation, "The book that is to judge him [Satan] and his followers, he puts back into the shade, just where he wants it." Early Writings p. 265. The book that will judge Satan is the book of the law, he puts it in the shade by calling it shadowy.
"After the saints are changed to immortality and caught up together with (YAHUSHUA), after they receive their harps, their robes, and their crowns, and enter the city, (YAHUSHUA) and the saints sit in judgment. The books are opened - the book of life contains the good deeds of the saints; and the book of death contains the evil deeds of the wicked. These books are compared with the statute book, the Bible (especially Deuteronomy where the statutes are repeated), and according to that men are judged." Early Writings p. 52
"I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living El: and cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our Elohim in their foreheads." Rev 7:1-3
"Oh, that all could get a view of it as (Elohim) revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away (YAHUWAH's) people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of (El shaddai)) could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling.
"Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were (no advancing in truth), until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over (YAHUWAH's) people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of (Elohim), in the seven last plagues. (Elohim) has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter." Early Writings p. 44. Compare this sealing with Nehemiah 9:38 margin; 10:1
"During the loud cry . . . the light of present truth will be seen flashing every-where . . . . The Word declares: . . . 'I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes.' This is the descent of the Holy Spirit (the Latter Rain), sent from (Elohim) to do its office work . . . .
"As men, women, and children proclaim the gospel, (YAHUWAH) will open the eyes of the blind to see His statutes . . . . preparing here below for translation . . . .
Other chapters will open before us, and in order to discern their meaning, we shall need keen perception." Advent Review & Sabbath Herald "The Closing Work", October 13, 1904 Ellen G. White
Really we didn't need Ellen White to say this to us, for it is contained in Scripture, Moses said, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. Because I will publish the name of YAHUWAH ascribe ye greatness unto our Elohim." Deuteronomy 32:2, 3
Good council has once come to my ears, that we shouldn't take one statement in the Bible and build on it when other texts seem to conflict, but take the weight of evidence on a certain subject. Enough the Scripture does say that we should obey YAHUWAH's statutes, and the statement "Which are a shadow of things to come" should not get in the way of our obedience. This is not a plain thus saith "their done away".
So let no man judge you for your faithfulness to the covenant in respect of the festivals, new moons, or of the Sabbaths.
If the Sabbath day or the book of the law (the Torah) is at all shadowy, it must be understood in this sense. The Hebrew sanctuary "served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of Elohim when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern which thou wast caused to see (in vision) in the mount." Hebrews 8:5 (blended with Ex. 25:40 margin). Since the Ten Commandments are in this sanctuary, which served as a shadow of heavenly things, by this we understand that there is in heaven the original tables of testimony, where the pope could never enter and alter the fourth commandment, thus only thinking to change the times in the law. Also the book of the law, points us to heaven to the great book in the heavenly sanctuary, which book Moses referred to in Exodus 32:32
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