The Truth About Shadows – Should Believers Still Observe Yah’s Appointed Times?

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Posted in Appointed Times by Jason

Shadows - Colossians 2When it comes to obeying the Father’s clear instructions to observe His Sabbath and Appointed Times, most believers are quick to argue that they were merely “shadows” which have been done away with and no longer hold any value for us today. The belief that the Creator’s calendar is nothing more than an ancient and outdated “Jewish tradition” has been widely spread in modern-day churchianity, but is this the truth? Were the Sabbath and Feasts ever supposed to be replaced?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at exactly what Scripture has to say about this matter, and it’s my prayer that you will have an open mind and spirit to test what you currently believe to the perfect and unchanging Word of YHWH.

Let No Man Judge You

It’s no secret that one of the most popularly used passages to support disobedience in the areas of the Sabbath and Appointed Times is Colossians 2:16-17. Many believe that Paul is teaching that the things which we’ve been instructed to observe “throughout all our generations” have been abolished, but is that rightly dividing the Word? Let’s take a closer look…

Colossians 2:16 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: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Notice anything strange there? A careful reading of the above verses reveals a far different meaning than what is currently being taught in churches today. Most will tell you that these verses are a “free pass” to disregard the Father’s crystal clear instructions and do whatever their heart desires, yet what we really see here is Paul instructing others not to allow others outside of the body of Messiah to judge them for keeping His Torah.

First of all, notice that in verse 17 Paul is describing the Shabbat and Appointed Times as those things which are (not were) a shadow of things to come (not what where to come). Keep in mind that at this point in time, our Messiah has already died and been resurrected — clearly revealing that these things are all still in-effect and pointing to that which is still to come in the future! Please take a minute to really dwell on that. This is post-resurrection, yet these remain shadows of things that are to come.

It’s also very important to note that the word “is” near the end of verse 17 is italicized in the KJV. What this means is that it was added by the English translators and is not in the original text. While this slight change may seem subtle at first, the addition of the word “is” completely changes the meaning of the statement and seemingly pits the Messiah against the Torah. My personal opinion is that this was done intentionally.

So, despite the fact that Colossians 2:16-17 is often misused as a proof-text for disobeying the Torah, Paul is in no way telling us that these things have been done away with, outdated, and without value. In reality, Paul is instructing believers not to allow others outside of the body of Messiah to judge them for keeping the Father’s instructions — the complete opposite of what is being taught in most churches today!

Are Shadows a Bad Thing?

Shadow of MessiahAnother thing I can’t help but notice is how often the word “shadow” in the above passage is used in a negative manner, one that elicits thoughts of something void of value. One quick look at the more popular Christian commentaries of the day will prove my point (scroll down below the verses on that page for commentary).

Here are some phrases from those commentaries which really stand out: “dim outline”, “mere outline”, “no value”, “imperfect or unsubstantial”, “shadows are gone”, “feasts of the Jews”, “Gospel dispensation”, “substance belongs to the Christian economy”, “The body as a thing of substance and physical strength, he sets against shadows”, “We are to pay no attention to the shadows since Christ has come”, “Which are but a lifeless shadow”, “defects of the law”, “When the substance was come, the shadows fled”, “Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities”, “sabbath of the Jews”, “The first day of the week, or the Lord’s day, is the time kept holy by Christians”…

As you can clearly see, “scholarly” Christian commentators make absolutely no effort to hide the fact that they view the Torah as worthless. They have gone to great lengths to replace the Father’s instructions with the doctrines and traditions of men, and millions upon millions of church-goers have taken the bait — hook, line, and sinker.

Stop for just a minute to think this through — if we do away with the shadow of something, we’re doing away with the very substance of it. For example, if my shadow is gone, it either means that I’m in total darkness, or I’m literally not there anymore. If we take away the “shadow” of Messiah, the things which point to what He did and is also going to do soon, what we’re actually doing is removing Him from the equation. Furthermore, if Paul truly believed anything remotely resembling what is stated in these popular commentaries, why would he still be keeping the Torah, the Feasts, the Sabbath, and instructing other believers to do likewise?

1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore let us keep the Feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.”

Jewish Shadows?

Another important correction which needs to be made is that Scripture clearly tells us that the Sabbath and Appointed Times belong to our Creator, not the Jewish people…

Leviticus 23:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.”

Exodus 31:13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.'”

Isaiah 56:4 “For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant,”

Ezekiel 20:12 “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.”

It is vital to remember that the Jewish people are of the tribe of Judah, but there are 12 tribes of Israel in all. The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of Israel is not Jewish and will be regathered in the last days as the House of Judah and Ephraim are reunited. The House of Israel has lost her identity, but a process of restoration is underway as the lost sheep of the House of Israel are being brought back into covenant with the Most High. Halleluyah!

Ezekiel 37:15 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 16 “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand. 18 “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’— 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.'” 20 And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. 21 “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 24 “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.'”

Are We Abiding in Yeshua’s Shadow?

Hosea 14 is another beautiful, prophetic passage that paints a picture of the day when the Father will restore Ephraim, also known as “The House of Israel”, the prodigal son, and the northern 10 tribes which were scattered and lost. Of particular interest to this discussion of “shadows” is verse 7 which speaks of dwelling under the shadow of Israel.

Hosea 14:1 O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2 Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. 3 Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. 4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. 5 I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8 Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. 9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

You may also want to check out the various English translations for verse 7, I really thought that the Darby Bible Translation was particularly noteworthy — “They shall return and sit under his shadow“.

Final Thoughts

In closing, here is an important thought to consider: Are we abiding in Yeshua’s shadow? Or have we cast away His shadow (and in the process, the substance that goes with it) based on the doctrines of men?

As followers of Messiah, we are called to walk exactly as He walked and we must never forget that in order to be standing in the shadow of something we need to be quite close. The reality is — if we’re not standing in His shadow, we’re afar off.

1 John 2:6 “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

*Have something to add? Please share your comments below...
26 Responses to “The Truth About Shadows – Should Believers Still Observe Yah’s Appointed Times?”
  1. Unclepaul oramx

    This is raw truth.

  2. Shonti

    Do you have proof that the Feast Days should be observed today? And did not the Israelites and believers in the Scriptures keep the Feast Days in Jerusalem?

    • Jason

      Shalom Shonti, thanks for your comment. The proof that the Feast Days are still to be observed today is all over Scripture. We are instructed over and over again to observe them forever, throughout all of our generations. Also, Sabbath and Feast Day observance is all over the Messianic Writings, continuing even after the death of Yeshua Messiah.

      As far as going to the land to observe the Feasts, that’s something that I’ve been praying a lot about lately and I am at the point where I honestly cannot understand why we are not making every effort to do that today. We are instructed to appear before YHWH three times a year — even though there is currently no Temple, Scripture makes it clear that Yerushalayim is still the place where He has placed His name forever.

      2 Chronicles 33:7 “…In this house and in Yerushalayim, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Yisra’ĕl, I put My Name forever,”

      1 Chronicles 23:25 “For Dawiḏ said, יהוה Elohim of Yisra’ĕl has given rest to His people, and He dwells in Yerushalayim forever,”

      • Jenny

        I think that for most people, traveling to Israel is very cost-prohibitive. It costs thousands of dollars to fly, book lodgings, and eat out at restaurants for days at a time. Most of us don’t have that kind of money to spend once in a lifetime, much less three times a year. I would love to visit Israel, but I think it will most likely be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

        • Jason

          Shalom Jenny! Remember that there is a specific tithe which has been set aside for the Feasts (Deuteronomy 14:22-26). While it’s certainly true that some cannot afford it, many can… it is just not a priority to them. Their funds are instead being spent on trips to Disneyland and big screen TV’s. 🙁

          As far as being cost-prohibitive, it really depends on how you travel. You could spend tens of thousands of dollars staying in 5-star hotels and eating out at fancy restaurants every day… or you could stay in a hostel and prepare your own food each day. This makes a huge difference.

          Much love and shalom to you!

          • Lacey

            I don’t understand. If the House of Yisreal was exiled and scattered among the nations then how can we go for the Moadi? For my family of 4 to go to even one Moadi it would cost over $7000 just to get there. I thought YHWH was going to gather us. You’re making it sound as though we’re damned if we cannot afford to go to Jerusalem 3 times per year.

          • Jason

            Shalom Lacey, the commandment is for the males to go to Yerushalayim three times a year. If the entire family can make it, great! If not, just the males go.

  3. Laura

    If we will look into the future and see what the Lord has us do in it then it will be clear what is important to him and what we should be doing in the present. Isaiah 66:22,23,Zech 14:16-19,Isaiah 2:3,Micah 4:2 🙂

    • Jason

      Without a doubt, sister Laura! Much love and shalom to you…

  4. Susan

    When speaking of the Sabbath as a Shadow, here is a verse that stumps all Christians.

    Mat 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

    Mat 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

    Because they are so soaked in modern Christian theology they can never tell me what Sabbath day Yeshua is speaking of, IS IT Sunday, Saturday, any day of the week??

    The answer is clear.

    The Sabbath is the 4th commandment!

    • Jason

      …and here is another, which speaks of a FUTURE time:

      “Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.” -Ezekiel 45:17

      Shalom Susan!

  5. shae

    Shalom!
    I have enjoyed reading and learning from your teachings… I’ve been following the “Messianic” teachings for a few years, and it seems as though it becomes sweeter and sweeter. In other words, I’m enjoying it. As I read the comments, I’m yet a little disappointed, of the words “stump all Christians”…. reason is, we should write and speak with love… I am one who shares your writing with Christians and if they seem to be attacked, it only pushes them from TRUTH…. so I challenge all of Messianics, let’s win soul wisely.

    Shalom!

    • Jason

      Shalom Shea, thank you for your comment. I don’t feel that the comment you mentioned was necessarily meant to be derogatory, but I absolutely agree that it’s vital to share the Truth with others in a loving manner.

      Much love and shalom to you! 🙂

  6. Steve

    Shalom Jason,
    You said, “We are instructed to appear before YHWH three times a year — even though there is currently no Temple, ”

    Didn’t Yeshua tell us we are now the temple? That he now dwells in us?

    -Steve

    • Jason

      Shalom brother Steve, this is very true. However, we know that the physical Temple will be rebuilt in the future and Yerushalayim is the place where YHWH has chosen to place His Name FOREVER.

      There is certainly much to consider and pray about, but at this point I feel that we should make every effort to go to the Land for the Moedim (and we plan to next month, Yah willing). Despite the fact that there is currently no Temple, there are many other reasons to go (such as being a good witness to our brother Judah).

  7. jon12

    I don’t think i follow the logic here. Surely Paul goes to great lengths to argue that no additional burden is to be put onto the gentile believers. Hence his big barny with Peter about circumcision. I see this passage to say that the gentile believers shouldn’t be judging the jewish believers if they want to stick to their holy days etc but neither should the jewish believers be judging the gentiles if they don’t!!

    • Jason

      Shalom Jon, thanks for your comment. If you are referring to Acts 15, it is dealing with the issue of circumcision for salvation and forcing those turning to the faith to take on everything at once. The decision was that converts should immediately begin observing 4 very basic TORAH COMMANDMENTS related to pagan worship (because you cannot serve two masters), then begin to fellowship with the rest of the body (both Jew and Gentile) on the Sabbath day so that they can begin to learn (and apply) the rest of Moses (Torah).

      “but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. For MOSES has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every SABBATH.” -Acts 15:20-21

      Let’s take a quick look at Ephesians 2, because Paul says something there that is very important not to overlook…

      “Therefore remember that you, ONCE Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that AT THAT TIME you were without Messiah, being aliens from the CITIZENSHIP OF ISRAEL and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without Elohim in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah.” -Ephesians 2:11-13

      “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but FELLOW CITIZENS with the saints and members of the household of Elohim…” -Ephesians 2:19

      When one makes the decision to become a follower of Messiah, they are grafted in to Israel and become fellow citizens. They are no longer strangers and foreigners (Gentiles). Israel has always been made up of the native-born and the grafted in foreigner, and there has always been one Torah for all…

      “ONE Torah shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” -Exodus 12:49

      “You shall have the SAME Torah for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am YHWH your Elohim.” -Leviticus 24:22

      “ONE ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before YHWH. ONE Torah and ONE custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.” -Numbers 15:15-16

      “You shall have ONE Torah for him who sins unintentionally, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel and for the stranger who dwells among them.” -Numbers 15:29

      When you have a few minutes, would you please consider taking the time to watch and test the following teaching? I believe it will present some things that you may not have previously considered…

      http://yisrael.me/the-lost-sheep-teaching-by-119-ministries-video/

      Much love and shalom to you, Jon!

  8. Ger'Al Yisrael

    I’m loving this thought provoking truth. I’m glad The Most High has given me bits of Truth to be able to receive this and understand exactly how I am to live. I would not have been able to understand and reason with this knowledge years ago. Praise Yah for His longsuffering on my behalf…now I know…..no turning back.

    • Jason

      Amein and amein, Ger’Al. He is so gracious and every one of His righteous commandments is truth! May YHWH continue to lead you and guide you in every step you make…

  9. Lacey

    Shalom! I am in the process of learning the Torah and the Appointed Times. One question I’m struggling with is whether or not we are commanded to slaughter a lamb on Passover. Some say yes some say no. The first Passover all the firstborn slaughtered the lamb and it was not in Jerusalem. But then in Dueteronomy Yah says to only slaughter the Passover where he has chosen to put his name. Some say we are commanded to slaughter a lamb and others say it would be a sin to slaughter the lamb. Do you have any insight? Thank you!

    • Jason

      Shalom Lacey! The slaughtered Pesach lamb is indeed a commandment, but one that we cannot obey at this time as there is no Temple in Yerushalayim…

      “You may NOT sacrifice the Passover within any of your gates which YHWH your Elohim gives you; but AT THE PLACE where YHWH your Elohim chooses to make His name abide, THERE you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt. And you shall roast and eat it IN THE PLACE which YHWH your Elohim chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.” -Deuteronomy 16:5-7

      • Lacey

        Thank you so much for your reply!!!! I’m also trying to figure out the Calendar and oh boy is that a debate!!!! What are your thoughts?

        • Jason

          You’re most welcome, Lacey. 🙂

          Ah yes, the calendar… that’s definitely a topic of hot debate. The conjunction (dark moon) and sighted moon calendars are the only ones that I believe are real contenders, and out of those two, I feel that the conjunction is most compelling. There are great points made on both sides of the debate — I would really encourage you to study the topic out for yourself as there is much to consider.

  10. Yah's daughter Kate

    Shalom Jason,
    I’ve read the post, questions and comments and I only see one discrepancy. There is no Temple building, no Mosaic priesthood, the Melchezidek has been established with the new covenant, Jeremiah 31:31. Yes, we must celebrate the Feasts, and yes Jerusalem is Yah’s Holy City, but how can you say to celebrate the Feasts there, but you can’t slaughter a lamb?

    • Jason

      Shalom Kate! The instruction is for all males to appear before Yah in Yerushalayim three times a year for the Chagim — nothing is mentioned beyond that. The fact that we cannot offer sacrifices at this time does not do away with this instruction anymore than it does away with the observance of Shabbat and the other Moedim…

      Instead of continuing to do what is right in our own eyes by organizing various Feast sites all over the world, we should be doing things His way by celebrating together in His city. There are rich blessings which result in being obedient to this mitzvah, including greater unity within the body and beautiful opportunities to share with our brother Judah.

      Much ahava and shalom to you!

  11. Michael

    Rather than debating whether or not the Feasts have been away with, which is purely Chrtistian and in truth an anti-christ doctrine. To remember what Yahshua said about fulfillling the Torah. In the Greek this word ‘Fulfill’ is ‘Pleroo” and does NOT mean ‘termination’ as is taught by the Christians but rather it means to ‘overflow as a fountain’. We are literally to be an overflowing fountain of the Torah, Yet this is The Word of Truth speaking here, and it is strongly implied that this is an ‘inward’ overflowing an inward fulfillment of the Torah. It is within this fest that the Torah is written upon the heart and mind. It is within this feast that Torah becomes the our consciousness. To refuse the feast of Unleavened bread is to sacrifice one’s place in the New Covenant. It is thru this feast that the Covenant is established within, which is where it is supposed to be. The feast of unleavened bread begins the exodus and this feast is also the culmination of the wilderness journey. It begins and ends with this feast. Christianity and their members have unfortunately chosen to remain in Egypt for these past 2000 years.

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