In the final talk in the series (17 mins), we'll spend some time considering the biblical metaphor of shadow and substance.

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  • Deals with a set of teachings remarkably similar to modern Messianic Judaism.
  • As in Romans, the phrase “the Law” refers to Torah, not works-righteousness. The issue isn’t whether we can scratch and work our way to Yahweh, but whether the regulations of Torah are essential.
  • The Law, for the ancient Israelites, was a sort of pedagogue or nursemaid or tutor. Theologian N. T. Wright compares the law to a booster rocket: after its thrust takes its load above earth's atmosphere, it drops off. Maturity is found in Christ, not in circumcision, phylacteries, tassels, and Sabbaths.
  • The true Jerusalem is above—not in the Middle East! And true Jews, the Israel of God, are all who by faith were baptized into Christ—regardless of their religious or ethnic background.


  • Paul is taking preventative action, lest the chaos of Galatia infect the capital Christians.
  • Abraham was justified by faith before and without the Torah
  • No one group today enjoys special status before God. True Israel is not an ethnic group, since, as Paul puts it, “not all descended from Israel are Israel…” Only those who put their trust in Christ will be saved.
  • We fulfill the law by loving our neighbor—not by eating kosher!

New material

Genesis 49:10: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”

  • Jesus as anointed priest—ministry in heaven, no need for sacrifices and priests down here on earth.
  • Jesus as anointed prophet—the ultimate prophet—he’s where we need to look (Heb 1:1).
  • Jesus as anointed king—“scepter”—just as he warned that the kingdom would be taken away from the Jews (Matt 21:43).
  • Adam Clarke (1762-1832), writing a century and a half before the emergence of Messianic Judaism: “Judah shall continue a distinct tribe till the Messiah shall come; and it did so; and after his coming it was confounded [blended together] with the others, so that all distinction has been ever since lost.” Why would Clarke say that? Because Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Rom 10:4).

Hebrews 8:3-7, 13; 10:1; 12:22

  • The Law is a shadow of what was to come in Christ.
  • It is neither necessary nor wise to uncritically combine the two covenants. Similarly, when we read the Bible, we need to pay great attention to which testament we are reading in.
  • This is not to say OT is unimportant, or that we shouldn't read it in its entirety, with reverence and awe!

Colossians 2:11-17

  • Let’s appreciate the hints and types and shadows of the O.T.! But that’s not where we're called to live. The substance—the reality—is in Jesus Christ.
  • Dwelling in the light of Christ and the new covenant in his blood is much more substantial than any half-baked combination of the testaments!

1 Timothy 1:3-7

  • Despite some positive points, as a system Messianic Judaism is misguided. It has the potential to sidetrack, or even derail, the faith of many.
  • Yes, at first blush, the Messianics seem to make a good case. They have Bible verses, doctrines, and confidence that they are right. (If we aren’t deeply rooted in God’s Word, we may be easily persuaded.) Yet, in the words of Paul, “they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”

Further resources: