Colossians 2:17
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

New Living Translation
For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.

English Standard Version
These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Berean Study Bible
These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body that casts it belongs to Christ.

Berean Literal Bible
which are a shadow the things coming. But the body is of Christ.

New American Standard Bible
things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

King James Bible
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
These are a shadow of what was to come; the substance is the Messiah.

International Standard Version
These are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Messiah.

NET Bible
these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ!

New Heart English Bible
which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Because these things are shadows of those things that were future, but The Messiah is the body.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body [that casts the shadow] belongs to Christ.

New American Standard 1977
things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Jubilee Bible 2000
which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of the Christ.

King James 2000 Bible
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

American King James Version
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

American Standard Version
which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ.

Darby Bible Translation
which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

English Revised Version
which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's.

Webster's Bible Translation
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Weymouth New Testament
These were a shadow of things that were soon to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

World English Bible
which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's.

Young's Literal Translation
which are a shadow of the coming things, and the body is of the Christ;
Study Bible
Alive in Christ
16Therefore let no one judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a festival, a New Moon, or a Sabbath. 17These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body that casts it belongs to Christ. 18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you with speculation about what he has seen. Such a man is puffed up without basis by his unspiritual mind,…
Cross References
Hebrews 8:5
They serve at a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary. That is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle, "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."

Hebrews 10:1
The Law is only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. It can never, by the same sacrifices offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.
Treasury of Scripture

Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

a shadow.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 8:5 Who serve to the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses …

Hebrews 9:9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered …

Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very …

the body.

Matthew 11:28,29 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…

Hebrews 4:1-11 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering …

(17) Which are a shadow . . . but the body (the substance) is of Christ.--The spirit of the passage is precisely that of the argument which runs through the Epistle to the Hebrews. "The Law had a shadow of good things to come, not the very image (or, substance) of the things" (Hebrews 10:1). When St. Paul deals with the legal and coercive aspect of the Law, he calls it "the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ." (See Galatians 3:24, and Note there.) When he turns to its ritual aspect, he describes it as simply foreshadowing or typifying the substance; and therefore useful before the revelation of the substance, useless or (if trusted in) worse than useless, after it. In every way "Christ is the end of the Law" (Romans 10:4).

Verse 17. - Which are a shadow of the things to come, but the body is of Christ (Galatians 3:23-25; Galatians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 3:11, 13; Hebrews 7:18, 19; Hebrews 9:11-14; Hebrews 10:1-4). The apostle's opponents, we imagine, taught in Platonic fashion that these things were shadows of ideal truth and of the invisible world (comp. Hebrews 8:5), forms necessary to our apprehension of spiritual things. With St. Paul, they shadow forth prophetically the concrete facts of the Christian revelation, and therefore are displaced by its advent. The singular verb (literally, is) quite grammatically combines the particulars of ver. 16 under their common idea of a foreshadowing of the things of Christ; and the present tense affirms here a general truth, not a mere historical fact. How this was true of the "sabbath," e.g., appears in Hebrews 4:1-11; comp. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; John 19:36, for the Christian import of the Passover feast. The figurative antithesis of "shadow" and "body" is sufficiently obvious; it occurs in Philo and in Josephus: to refer to ver. 19 and Colossians 1:18 for the sense of body, is misleading. For "the things to come" (the things of Christ and of the new, Christian era, now commencing), comp. Romans 4:24; Romans 5:14; Galatians 3:23; Hebrews 2:5; Hebrews 10:1. This substance of the new, abiding revelation (2 Corinthians 3:11) is "Christ's," inasmuch as it centres in and is pervaded and governed by Christ (Colossians 1:18; Colossians 3:11; Romans 10:4; 2 Corinthians 3:14). Nothing is said here to discountenance positive Christian institutions, or the observance of the Lord's day in particular, unless enforced in a Judaistic spirit. The apostle is protecting Gentile Christians from the re-imposition of Jewish institutions as such, as impairing their faith in Christ (comp. Galatians 5:2-9), and as, in the case of the Colossians, involving a deference to the authority of angels which limited his sovereignty and sufficiency (vers. 8-10, 18, 19). This verse contains in germ much of the thought of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Which are a shadow of things to come,.... By Christ, and under the Gospel dispensation; that is, they were types, figures, and representations of spiritual and evangelical things: the different "meats and drinks", clean and unclean, allowed or forbidden by the law, were emblems of the two people, the Jews and Gentiles, the one clean, the other unclean; but since these are become one in Christ, the distinction of meats is ceased, these shadows are gone; and also of the different food of regenerate and unregenerate souls, the latter feeding on impure food, the ashes and husks of sensual lusts, or their own works, the former on the milk and meat in the Gospel, the wholesome words of Christ; and likewise the clean meat was a shadow of Christ himself, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed. The "holy days", or "feasts" of the Jews, the feasts of tabernacles, of the passover and Pentecost, were types of Christ; the feast of tabernacles, though it was in remembrance of the Israelites dwelling in tents and booths when they came out of Egypt, yet was also a representation of the people of God dwelling in the earthly houses of their tabernacles here on earth; and particularly of Christ's dwelling, or tabernacling in human nature, and who likewise was born at the time of this feast; See Gill on . The passover, as it was a commemoration of the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt, and of God's passing over their houses when he smote the firstborn of the Egyptians, so it was a type of Christ our passover sacrificed for us, and was kept by Moses in the faith of him, Hebrews 11:28; there is a very great resemblance, in many particulars, between Christ and the paschal lamb; See Gill on 1 Corinthians 5:7. The feast of Pentecost, or the feast of harvest and firstfruits, was a shadow of the firstfruits of the Spirit, which Christ having received, gave to his disciples on that day; and of the harvest of souls to be gathered under the Gospel dispensation, of which the conversion of the three thousand on the day of Pentecost was an earnest and pledge. The "new moon" was typical of the church, which is fair as the moon, and receives all her light from Christ the sun of righteousness; and of the renewed state of the church under the Gospel dispensation, when the old things of the law are passed away, and all things relating to church order, ordinances, and discipline, are become new. The "sabbaths" were also shadows of future things; the grand sabbatical year, or the fiftieth year sabbath, or jubilee, in which liberty was proclaimed throughout the land, a general release of debts, and restoration of inheritances, prefigured the liberty we have by Christ from sin, Satan, and the law, the payment of all our debts by Christ, and the right we have through him to the heavenly and incorruptible inheritance. The seventh year sabbath, in which there was no tilling of the land, no ploughing, sowing, nor reaping, was an emblem of salvation through Christ by free grace, and not by the works of men; and the seventh day sabbath was a type of that spiritual rest we have in Christ now, and of that eternal rest we shall have with him in heaven hereafter: now these were but shadows, not real things; or did not contain the truth and substance of the things themselves, of which they were shadows; and though they were representations of divine and spiritual things, yet dark ones, they had not so much as the very image of the things; they were but shadows, and like them fleeting and passing away, and now are gone:

but the body is of Christ: or, as the Syriac version reads it, "the body is Christ"; that is, the body, or sum and substance of these shadows, is Christ; he gave rise unto them, he existed before them, as the body is before the shadow; not only as God, as the Son of God, but as Mediator, whom these shadows regarded as such, and as such he cast them; and he is the end of them, the fulfilling end of them; they have all their accomplishment in him: and he is the body of spiritual and heavenly things; the substantial things and doctrines of the Gospel are all of Christ, they all come by him; all the truths, blessings, and promises of grace; are from him and by him, and he himself the sum of them all. The allusion seems to be to a way of speaking among the Jews, who were wont to call the root, foundation, substance, and essence of a thing, "the body of it" (n): so they say (o),

"the constitutions concerning the sanctification of the offerings and the tithes, are, both the one and the other, , "the bodies", or substantial parts of the law:

and again (p), that "the constitutions or rules about the sabbath, the festivals and prevarications, they are as mountains that hang by an hair; for the Scripture is small, and the constitutions are many; the judgments and the services, the purifications and uncleannesses, and the incests, they have, upon which they can support themselves, and these, and these, are , "the bodies of the law":

they say (q) of a small section, or paragraph, that all the bodies of the law depend upon it: once more (r),

"the sabbaths, and the good days (the feasts or holy days) are "the bodies" of the sign;

which the phylacteries or frontlets were for; but our apostle says, that Christ is the body and substance of all these shadows, in opposition to these sayings and notions of the Jews: some connect this last clause with the former part of the following verse, rendering it as the Arabic version thus, "because of the communion of the body of Christ, let no man condemn you"; and the Ethiopic version thus, "and let no man account you fools, because of the body of Christ", but there is nothing in the text to support these versions,

(n) Vid. Misn. Abot, c. 3. sect. 18. & Bartenora in ib. & Halicot Olam, par. 2. c. 1. p. 48. (o) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 32. 1.((p) Misn. Chagiga, c. 1. sect. 8. T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 11. 2.((q) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 63. 1.((r) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 36. 2. Vid. T. Bab. Ceritot, fol. 5. 1.17. things to come—the blessings of the Christian covenant, the substance of which Jewish ordinances were but the type. Compare "ages to come," that is, the Gospel dispensation (Eph 2:7). Heb 2:5, "the world to come."

the body is of Christ—The real substance (of the blessings typified by the law) belongs to Christ (Heb 8:5; 10:1).2:8-17 There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word complete, is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. In him, not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
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