Colossians 2:16-17 (ESV) “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”
Shadows. Merriam-Webster defines them as the following: 1) a figure or image cast upon a surface by a body intercepting the rays from a source of light, 2) an imitation or representation of something, a copy (a version of something that is identical or almost identical to the original), 3) shelter from danger or observation.
According to Colossians 2:17, the Sabbaths and festivals are shadows of things to come and the substance belongs to Christ. I have and continue to hear this verse quoted in Christian circles to support one’s view that because of what Christ has done for us, we no longer have to observe Sabbaths and festivals. They are merely part of the past and not part of our present or our future. There essence of being just shadows seen in a negative light. What has been overlooked is the beauty of what the shadow beholds and offers.
The definition of a shadow when incorporated into the study of Colossians 2 will bear witness to the importance of the Sabbaths and festivals in the life of a believer in Messiah. To take this journey, let us go back to the beginning.
Genesis 1:1-4 (ESV) “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.”
Or (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/216.htm), the Hebrew word for light, was spoke into existence on day one of creation. When we think of light, we think of that which is produced by natural or artificial sources, such as the sun or a light bulb. The or of day one existed without the presence of the sun or electricity. The word or comes from the root word owr (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/215.htm) which means to be light, a luminary or a body that gives light. Messiah, as recorded in John 8:12, proclaimed to be the “Light of the world.” He is the or of day one.
Paul’s words testify to a physical and spiritual truth. In order for a shadow to be experienced in the physical, the presence of a light source is required. Isn’t this precisely what Colossians 2:16-17 is communicating? The Sabbaths and feasts are shadows, appointments in the physical or natural, that reflect the substance of the light source, the Light of the Word Himself, Christ. By engaging the shadow, one has the opportunity to have an intimate encounter with the Light Source. These special occasions surpass time in the natural and extend into the realm of the spiritual, giving the participant the gift of experiencing communion with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Leviticus 23:1-2 (ESV) “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, these are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts. “
Appointed feasts, or moedim (http:/biblehub.com/hebrew/4150.htm) in Hebrew, are divine appointments established by the Lord Himself. It is during these set times throughout the year, Israel, native born and those grafted in, gather to encounter the God with whom they are in covenant with. More than just a meeting, these moedim are eternal pillars in the Kingdom that tell the story of redemption and restoration. They are rehearsals for something bigger than we can comprehend.
Parables exist all throughout the scriptures. Parables are simply physical representations of a spiritual concept or principle. The second definition of a shadow is an imitation or representation of something, a copy, a version of something that is identical or almost identical to the original. In the context of Sabbaths and festivals, the divine appointments are physical engagements that teach us a spiritual concept or principal. Through our participation in the seven festivals and weekly Sabbaths, we tell the story of mankind’s need for redemption, God’s provision, and His promise to restore His creation back to its perfect state. We humbly acknowledge our fallen state, repent, and exchange our selfish ways for His perfect Way of living. We strive to bear witness to the One who restored us back into covenant by reflecting His image in this world while we await the promise of eternal rest and glory.
Additionally, because the substance of the Sabbaths and festivals is Christ, the divine appointments are a shadow or version of what Messiah would accomplish for us. He became our Passover Lamb and gave His life as a ransom for mankind. He was buried during Unleavened Bread, taking upon Himself our sins and punishment. On First Fruits, Messiah resurrected, conquering death. During Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks also known as Pentecost, He poured out His Holy Spirit as prophesied in Ezekiel that would empower His followers to keep the commandments of the Father and take the Good News to the ends of the earth. But it doesn’t end there! We anticipate the future work of our Redeemer. We look forward to the sounding of the shofars, the glorious trumpets that will usher in the coming of Messiah and His kingship on earth. As our High Priest, whose own life was offered for the purification of sins in the Heavenlies once for all time, Messiah, on the Day of Atonement will judge the earth and all that is in it. Death and sin will be defeated and the Bride invited into the marriage supper with the Bridegroom for the greatest Feast of Tabernacles ever to be celebrated and eternal Sabbath rest gifted to those that dwell with the Lamb. The new heavens, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem a fulfillment of it all!
Psalm 91:1 (ESV) “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
The third definition of a shadow is its ability to offer shelter and protection. Participation in the Sabbaths and festivals offers divine protection and rest from the world. Failing to guard the instruction to meet with the Creator at His set appointments, leaves one open to the arrows, pestilence, and attacks of the enemy that exist outside of His refuge. Festivals created by man that counterfeit the true appointments will not offer covering under His wing, but leave one vulnerable to chaos and void of rest and peace.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 (ESV) “Now concerning the times and the seasons (moedim), brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.”
Participation in the moedim also offers awareness of the coming tribulation and judgment to be witnessed in the earth. The coming day of the Lord will not come like a thief or a surprise to those that walk in the or of day one. The Lord will keep and guard His own under His wings. No need to fear, true peace and security is provided in the shelter of the Most High.
Over the course of the next week, those that have been grafted into the covenant and commonwealth of Israel through faith in Messiah, have the opportunity to engage in the appointed times of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits. For years, our brother Judah has preserved these appointments at the cost of much suffering, persecution, and even death. Now, we have the privilege of guarding these sacred times with them, united in purpose, to declare the kingship and authority of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We get to bear witness to the entirety of Scripture that prophesied of a day when the commandments of God will be remembered and kept in anticipation of the coming of Messiah who will fulfill the cups of Passover to their truest meaning and purpose; the cup of sanctification, the cup of deliverance, the cup of redemption, and the cup of hope, bringing complete restoration, peace, and rest to the land and people of Israel.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you for keeping the festivals and Sabbaths, they are shadows; shadows that proclaim the Light of Christ and the work of redemption and restoration! Let us be givers of that Light, physical vessels that proclaim spiritual truth to a world in need of the rest that comes by dwelling in the presence of the Almighty.
Revelation 21:23 (ESV) “And the city (New Jerusalem) has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
Ephesians 5:8 (ESV) “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”
By: Christine Mancuso
Passover 2016 (5776)