Q. What Are the Shadows
A. The word “shadow” is used in Col 2:17, Heb 8:5 & 10:1 to denote the typical relation of the Jewish to the Christian dispensation.
A shadow has no substance; it is cast by that which is real. The Jewish ceremonies were shadows cast by heavenly realities. Christ’s life, ministry, and kingdom are the reality.
Col 2:17 tells us that everything listed in verse 16, “are a shadow of things to come.” They symbolize the reality that is Christ. These words refer to the meal and drink offerings presented in compliance with the sacrificial system. They are a shadow of Christ’s sacrifice of flesh and blood. Therefore, the statement in verse 16, “let no man judge you in meat” does not mean we can go against the prohibition in Lev. 11 by eating unclean meat, as this is separate from and antedates the ceremonial law.
The Sabbath days Paul declares to be shadows, point to rest in Christ. They cannot refer to the weekly Sabbath, which is a memorial of an event at the beginning of earth’s history, but must indicate the ceremonial rest days that reach their realization with rest in Christ and His kingdom.
In finding Him, Christians leave the typical, shadowy outlines, walking now in the fullness of the divine Presence. The shadows have served their function now that Christ, the reality, has come.
Mt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.