Refuting Torah Legalism
Refuting Torah Legalism

Refuting Torah Legalism

What are Judaizers?

“Judaizer” is a technical term that pertains to a faction of Jewish Christians, both of Jewish and non-Jewish origins, who regard the Levitical laws of the Old Testament as still binding on all Christians. They tried to enforce Jewish circumcision upon the Gentile converts to early Christianity and were strenuously opposed and criticized for their behavior by the Apostle Paul, who employed many of his epistles to refute their doctrinal errors. The term is derived from the Koine Greek word Ἰουδαΐζειν (Ioudaizein) used once in the Greek New Testament (Galatians 2:14).[1] While Judaizers in this day and age don’t typically advocate circumcision of the flesh, they advocate Torah observance in many other Levitical laws including sabbath observance, dietary laws and observations of feasts and holy days.

The meaning of the verb Judaize[2], from which the noun Judaizer is derived, can only be derived from its various historical uses. Its biblical meaning must also be inferred and is not clearly defined beyond its obvious relationship to the word “Jew.” The Anchor Bible Dictionary, for example, says: “The clear implication is that gentiles are being compelled to live according to Jewish customs.”[3] The word Judaizer comes from Judaize, which is seldom used in English Bible translations (an exception is the Young’s Literal Translation for Galatians 2:14).

[1] Wikipedia contributors. “Judaizers.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 Jul. 2021 Web. 26 Aug. 2021.

[2] from the Koine Greek Ioudaizō (Ιουδαϊζω); see also Strong’s G2450

[3] Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 3. “Judaizing.”

Galatians 2:14-16, Youngs Literal Translation

14 But when I saw that they are not walking uprightly to the truth of the good news, I said to Peter before all, ‘If thou, being a Jew, in the manner of the nations dost live, and not in the manner of the Jews, how the nations dost thou compel to Judaize? 15 we by nature Jews, and not sinners of the nations,16 having known also that a man is not declared righteous by works of law, if not through the faith of Jesus Christ, also we in Christ Jesus did believe, that we might be declared righteous by the faith of Christ, and not by works of law, wherefore declared righteous by works of law shall be no flesh.’

Paul’s Rebuke

Those who seek to subject us to the Mosaic law seek to enslave us. (Gal 2:4) As beneficiaries of the New Covenant, we are to protect our freedom in Christ. (Gal 2:4-5) Observing days and months and seasons and years is to turn back again into slavery to the weak and inferior precepts. (Gal 4:9-10) Christ has set us free to give us freedom; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1) A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Gal 5:9) We were called to freedom. (Gal 5:13)

We should not pursue righteousness through the law (by legalism), as Paul wrote, “If I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor” (Gal 2:18) and, “If righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal 2:21) Again we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. (Gal 2:16) Paul rightly accuses the Judaizes of distorting the gospel of Christ (Gal 1:6-7) We do not receive the Spirit by works of the law but by hearing with faith (Gal 3:2) He who supplies the Spirit to us and works miracles among us does so by hearing with faith, not the works of the law. (Gal 3:5-6) We should not revert back to the old ways of being perfected by the flesh after having begun in the new way of the Spirit. (Gal 3:3) Otherwise the preaching of the Gospel is in vain. (Gal 3:4) 

Those who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law and do them.” (Gal 3:10) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” – so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13-14) The law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. (Gal 3:24) Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in in Christ Jesus, we are children of God, through faith. (Gal 3:25-26)

 Those who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal 3:27) Those who would be justified by the law are severed from Christ – they have fallen away from grace. (Gal 5:4) It is through the Spirit, by faith, we have the hope of righteousness. (Gal 5:5) All that counts for anything is Christ Jesus is faith working through love. (Gal 5:6) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal 5:14) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)

In Christ Jesus we are one – there is no distinction between Jew or Greek, male or female. (Gal 3:28) And if we are Christ’s, then we are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Gal 3:29) We have been redeemed from the law. (Gal 4:4-5) The one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Gal 6:8) Observance or lack of observance to circumcision (dedication to the Mosaic Law) counts for anything, but only becoming a new creation. (Gal 6:15)

Matthew 5:17-18, I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it

In Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus said, “I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” What is meant by “fulfilling the law”? Does “fulfilling the law” simply mean performing it as Moses required? However it is a fundamental mistake to suppose that Jesus merely reinforced the need to observe all the laws given to Israel through Moses. 

If Jesus demands that we carry out the precepts of the law as given by Moses, then clearly circumcision in the flesh is still mandatory for all. We should remember that circumcision in the flesh was a sign of the covenant made with Abraham (after he had believed the Gospel, Gal 3:8; see Rom 4:9-12) and a mark of the true, obedient Israelite. The law had said quite clearly: “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘When a woman gives birth and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean for seven days…On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised’” (Lev 12:2-3). Note also the commandment which ensured that “no uncircumcised person may eat [the Passover]. The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you” (Ex 12:48-49) In Exodus 4:24-26 God had threatened death to Moses if he did not see that his children were circumcised. This was one of God’s most fundamental commandments to Israel. Yet none of us feels the obligation to carry out this part of God’s law, though we can find nothing in the recorded teaching of Jesus which would do away with the requirement of physical circumcision.

Circumcision is now “in the heart,” for “he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the spirit, not by the letter” (Rom 2:28-29). There is surely a vast difference between circumcision in the flesh and circumcision in the spirit. Yet the New Testament sees spiritual, inward circumcision as the proper response to the command that we are to be circumcised. The law has been spiritualized and thus “fulfilled.” It has not been destroyed. It has certainly taken a quite different form under the New Covenant.

Jesus embarked on just such a spiritualization of the ten commandments and other laws when in the Sermon on the Mount he announced, “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’…but I say to you…” (Matt. 5:21-22). “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I say to you…” (Matt. 5:27-28). “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you…” (Matt 19:8-9).

By “fulfilling” the law Jesus is altering it — actually changing it — but not destroying it. He is in fact bringing out the real intention of the law, making it more radical, in some cases (divorce) repealing the law of Moses in Deuteronomy 24, stating that this provision was temporary. This is an important fact: Jesus’ teaching actually renders Moses’ divorce law null and void. He takes us back to an earlier marriage law given by God in Genesis 2:24. Jesus thus appeals to an earlier and more fundamental part of the Torah. He overrides the later concession given by Moses as Torah.

Jesus brought the law to its destined end, the ultimate purpose for which it was originally enacted (Rom. 10:4). For example, what of the law of clean and unclean meats? Does Jesus say anything about the meaning of that law for Christians? Jesus goes to the heart of the problem of uncleanness: “Whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated” (Mark 7:18-19). Then Mark comments: “Thus Jesus declared all foods clean” (Mark 7:19). The law of clean and unclean food was no longer in force. Jesus had been referring to this change under the New Covenant.

Matthew 5:17-18 (ESV), the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Matthew 5:19, Whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments

Matthew 5:17-19 is often used by those who advocate following the law of Moses. This includes Matthew 5:19 which says, “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” They fail to acknowledge that this is an introduction to Jesus’ sermon on the mount and that the commandments that he is referring to are the ones that come out of his mouth. Matthew 5:19-20 serves as an introduction to the teachings of Jesus on righteousness that are elaborated on in chapters 5-7. The Scribes and Pharisees emphasized a legalistic adherence to the Mosaic Law, but the commandments Jesus emphases pertained to having a pure heart and righteous conduct covering topics such as anger, lust, divorce, oaths, retaliation, loving enemies, giving to the needy, praying, forgiveness, fasting, anxiety, judging others, the golden rule, and bearing fruit.

It is apparent from the context that Jesus is exhorting the crowd not to compromise his teachings when he says,  “whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:19) He is not referring to the ordinances laid down by Moses which the scribes and Pharisees constantly argued over. Rather Jesus said, “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 5:20)  The righteousness that he is referring to are his commandments summarized in his teachings given over three chapters. 

When Jesus makes reference to the Law or the Prophets, it is in the context of fulfilling them. He is the one who would accomplish all that is written about him. Through this fulfillment, he has established a new covenant in his blood. Now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not the old way of the written code. (Rom 7:6)

Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV), Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees

17Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 You have heard that it was said to those of old … But I say to you …

  • Regarding Murder and Anger: Matthew 5:21-26
  • Regarding Adultery and Lust: Matthew 5:27-30
  • Regarding Divorce: Matthew 5:31-32
  • Regarding Swearing and oaths: Matthew 5:33-37
  • Regarding Retaliation: Matthew 5:38-42
  • Regarding Loving Enemies: Matthew 5:43-48
  • Regarding Giving to the Needy: Matthew 6:1-4
  • Regarding Praying: Matthew 6:5-13
  • Regarding Forgiveness: Matthew 6:14 
  • Regarding Fasting: Matthew 6:16-18
  • Regarding Anxiety: Matthew 6:25-34
  • Regarding Judging Others: Matthew 7:1-5
  • Regarding the Golden Rule: Matthew 7:12-14
  • Regarding Bearing Fruit: Matthew 7:15-20

Romans 7:6 (ESV), We serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code

6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

Matthew 7:21-23, Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness

Often, Jesus words are taken out of context in Matthew 7:23 where Jesus says to those who do not know Christ, that he will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ They define lawless ness is not upholding the law which they understands the old covenant Mosaic law. The question is within the context of Jesus’s ministry, what is his understanding of lawlessness? Indeed it is not as the Judaizes make it out to be as evidenced By Matthew 23:27-28 where Jesus calls the scribes (lawyers) and Pharisees, hypocrites, saying, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 

By Jesus’s own words we understand what he takes lawlessness to be. To him it is the inner condition that counts and that the outward appearances of righteousness account for nothing. To Christ , “lawlessness” is a condition of the state of someone’s inner being, not their worldly reputation of being in compliance with commandments and ordnances.  Following the Torah does not prevent someone from being lawless nor establish them as being righteousness. Again, Jesus called out those who focused incessantly on the written code as being full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

There is much other evidence from the Apostolic writings that supports this understanding of what the word “lawlessness” means as it was used by Christ and his Apostoles. In Luke 13:27 Jesus says of those who are false, “Depart from me, all you works of evil.” The word here in is the Greek word adikia (ἀδικία) which BDAG lexicon defines as (1) an act that violates standards of right conduct, wrongdoing, (2) the quality of injustice, unrighteousness, wickedness, injustice.  Considering that the wording is very similar to Matthew 7:23, we can infer that what Jesus means by lawlessness is wrongdoing or unrighteousness, and that he didn’t use the term for describing one who is not in conformance to the Mosaic law.

 The word ‘lawlessness’ as found in the New Testament pertains to evil or sin. Having been free from sin, we have become slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:18) Paul understood the contrast of righteousness vs lawlessness in the same manner as he said, “just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Rom 6:19) He contrasted righteousness with lawlessness, light with darkness. (2Cor 6:14) The grace of God has appeared, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life in the present age, (Tit 2:11-12) Jesus Gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people. (Tit 2:14) The New Testament association of lawlessness is with sin, not non-compliance with the Mosaic law. This is confirmed by 1 John 3:4 which says, “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” Thus, the New Testament concept of lawlessness pertains to being a servant of sin and darkness as opposed to following the light and abiding by the Spirit. We are to serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not the old way of the written code. (Rom 7:6)

Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV), depart from me, you workers of lawlessness

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 23:27-28 (ESV), Outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Luke 13:26-27 (ESV), Depart from me, all you workers of evil

26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!

Romans 6:15-19 (ESV), You once presented your members as slaves to impurity, lawlessness leading to more lawlessness

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV), Righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

Titus 2:11-14 (ESV), who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

1 John 3:4 (ESV), Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness

4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

Matthew 19:17, If you  would enter life, keep the commandments

When Jesus was asked by a rich man in Matthew 19:16-21, “What good deed must I do to have eternal life,” Jesus said, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” But when questioned about which ones, Jesus did not say all of them or the entire law of Moses. He only mentioned six commandments. Five of them are from the ten commandments including, You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, and Honor your father and mother and he added, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Rather than appealing to the entire law, he appealed to these select group of commandments consistent with his teachings of righteousness.

The man said, “All these I have kept, What do I still lack?” Jesus further states in Matthew 19:21, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Here we see Jesus’ standard is not the entire Mosaic Law but those principals of God’s law that pertain to loving humanity and living a selfless life. If Jesus believed the 613 commands of the Mosaic law was critical, this would have been the perfect opportunity to say so. Rather, Jesus’ prescription to focus on the principles of goodness that pertain to love and charity. Rather than complete conformance to the law of Moses, his standard of perfection was living a selfless life as a servant.

Matthew 19:16-21 (ESV), If you would be perfect

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

Dependence on Matthew

Thus far we have covered sayings in Matthew that Judaizers twist to their liking and it is evident that they rely heavily on Matthew. Of the sayings of Jesus that they point to in Matthew, there is no parallel in any of the other Gospels or the rest of the New Testament.  If following the Mosaic Law was fundamental to Jesus teachings, these sayings which Judaizers misuse to advocate Torah observance should also be reinterred elsewhere in the Apostolic writings. It should especially be exhibited in Luke-Acts which was written in light of Matthew and seeks to set the record straight in terms of what Jesus did and taught by the same person who also documented what the Apostles did and taught.  For more on the creditability of Luke-Acts in comparison to Matthew see https://ntcanon.com

Luke 22:7-20, Jesus Eats the Passover Meal

Some point to the last supper of Jesus and his disciples being a Passover meal being an indication that we should keep the Passover (as an annual feast). Before we jump to conclusion we should note that in Luke 22, the emphasis is on the meal (feast) as Jesus desired to feast in a large furnished room (nice setting) as his last meal with his disciples. The context of this, is not being a routine observance but being a special occasion in which Jesus will not feast until the kingdom of God is fulfilled. (Luke 22:17) When he said, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” clearly he his making a general reference to feasting. (Luke 22:18) Jesus considered the meal special because it was his last feast with his disciples prior to the kingdom of God being established. Jesus said “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15) The emphasis here is on enjoying a final meal with those who were near to him. 

Jesus further makes the feast all about a new covenant (not the old) when he says of the bread, “This is my body, which is given for you,” and of the wine, “this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 2:19-20) Indeed the significance of the Passover commemorating the Israel being delivered from the land of Egypt is overshowed by the new covenant established by the blood of Jesus. Rather than saying to partake of the bread in remembrance of Israel, he said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) As often as we take the body and blood of Christ we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1Cor 11:23-26) Christ is our Passover has been sacrificed. (1Cor 5:7). The unleavened bread is sincerity and truth (1Cor 5:8) 

In 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 Paul applies the same “spiritualizing” principle to the annual Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread as with the Sabbath. “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.” Our Christian Passover is no longer a lamb slain annually but a Savior slain once and for all, with the power to deliver us daily, not once a year. “Let us therefore keep festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1Cor 5:8). For this reason we are not to eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner but to first examine ourselves. (1Cor 11:27-29) That which is to be purged from our midst is sexual immorality, greed, fraud, idolatry, drunkenness’ and abusive behavior. (1Cor 5:9-11) This is the evil that is to be purged – not failure to comply with the old written code. (1Cor 5:9-13) These are the real spiritual issues, not the matter of cleaning out leaven from our cars and houses for one week in the year. Christians, says Paul, are to be “keeping festival” permanently. The Mosaic system of law as a set of statutes has been replaced by the law of freedom in the spirit, summed up in the one commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves (Gal 5:14).

Luke 22:7-13 (ESV), Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

Luke 22:14-20 (ESV), I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV), For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

1 Corinthians 11:23-32 (ESV),  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

1 John 5:1-5, This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments

1 John 5:1-5 is often taken out of context. Some automatically associate the commandments of God with the Mosaic law (Torah) and thus claim that John is telling us to follow the Mosaic law. However, this is a twisting of John’s words and intentions which is evident from looking at the overall context of 1John. Looking at 1John, the commandments being communicated  pertain to the new covenant and not the old. The commandment of God is summed up in 1John 3:23 as believing in the name of Jesus Christ and loving one another. Taking a survey of the book of 1 John, the commandments of God according to John is (1) to believe in who Jesus is, (2) abstain from sin and evil, (3) abide by the teachings of Jesus, (4) be lead by the Spirit and (5) to love one another. These are the commandments of God under the New Covenant that John summarized: 

The Commandments of God according to 1 John

  1. Believe in who Jesus is (the Christ, the Son of God):  1John 1:1-3, 1John 2:1-2, 1John 2:22-25, 1John 4:2-3, 1John 4:10, 1John 4:14-16, 1John 5:1, 1John 5:4-15, 1John 5:20
  2. Abstain from sin and evil (darkness): 1John 1:5-10, 1John 2:15-17, 1John 3:2-10, 1John 5:16-19 
  3. Abide by the teachings of Jesus (walk as he walked): 1John 2:3-6, 1John 3:21-24
  4. Be lead by the Spirit (abide in God’s anointing): 1John 2:20-21, 1John 2:27-29, 1John 4:13
  5. Love one another (love your brother): 1John 2:7-11, 1John 3:10-18, 1John 4:7-12, 1John 4:16-21

1 John 5:1-5 (ESV), This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

1 John 3:21-24 (ESV), This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another

21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 John 4:20-21 (ESV), And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother

20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

2 Peter 3:15-17, Paul – some things which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction

Judaizes clam that Peter is referring here to those who reject following the Law because he is speaking in reference to Paul and because it refers this to the error of lawless people. Looking at BDAG Lexicon for the Greek word athesmos (ἄθεσμος), The primary meaning is pertaining “to being unprincipled, unseemly, disgraceful, lawless. Lawless in this context isn’t necessarily those who don’t practice the Mosaic Law but those who are unprincipled and use Paul’s writings as a license to live in sin.

What is telling in verse 16, is that Peter says it is the unstable that twist such things for their destruction. The Greek word here for unstable is astēriktos (ἀστήρικτος). This word is used only one other place in the New Testament which is also in the book of 2 Peter, so the context should give us further indication of who Peter is referring to which are those who twist Paul. 2 Peter 2:14 refers to those who entice unsteady (astēriktos) souls as those who “have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin” – having hearts “trained in greed.” In the same passage it further states they “loved gain from wrongdoing” (2Pet 2:15) and, “they entice by sensual passions of the flesh.” (2Pet 2:18) Clearly in the context of 2 Peter, Peter is referring to those who use Paul’s writings as a license to live in sin including sexual immorality and greed. This does not pertain to Christians who are living according to the teachings of Christ, yet not under the Mosaic Law.   

2 Peter 3:15-17 is not a license to reject Paul’s teachings. Peter not saying they should disregard Paul’s teachings, rather he is affirming them by saying, “Our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according the the wisdom given him.” (2Pet 3:15). Peter is not invalidating Paul – he is confirming him. We have so many explicit teachings from Paul as to the correct understanding including the fact that we don’t serve under  the old way of the written code but the new way of the Spirit. (Rom 7:6-7) People who continue to live in sin are not serving in the new way of the Spirit as Paul said, “If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Rom 8:13). The law of the Spirit of life has set us free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Rom 8:2)

2 Peter 3:15-18 (ESV), There are some things in them –  which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction

15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable (astēriktos) twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability

2 Peter 2:14-20 (ESV), They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls.

14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady (astēriktos) souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness. 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

Romans 2:13, It is not the hearers of the law – but the doers of the law who will be justified

If anyone could find one verse to suggest Paul was upholding the law, this would be the one. They do this by taking this as an isolated verse – out of context with the point that Paul is making. We must look at the context to correctly understand what Paul’s words here should be taken as meaning. Clearly, Paul is referring to the “law” in a loose sense. Here “law” is used to express the guiding principles of morality rather than the Mosaic law as a whole including the specific ordnances of the written code. It is only in this sense that those without the law could be said to “by nature do what the law requires” (Rom 2:14). Those generalized principles of the law are what Paul is referring to as the “law” – not the 613 Levitical laws that was instituted by Moses. We can see in Romans 2:8-9, Paul is making a contrast between those who seek salvation (glory and honor and immortality) and those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness. The contrast is between those who do good verses those who do evil without regard to being a Jew or Gentile.  (Rom 2:9-10) Paul is asserting that God shows no partiality. (Rom 2:11) 

How is it that God who shows no partiality, justify those who are without the law? The key Point that Paul makes is that those who are of faith follow the higher principles of the law although they don’t follow the law to the letter. It is indeed possible for Gentiles who do not have the law, to do what the law requires. (Rom 2:14) They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness. (Rom 2:15) Paul believed that if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, his uncircumcision will be regarded as circumcision. (Rom 2:26) In conclusion, Paul believed a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. (Rom 2:29) Indeed, Romans 2:29 provides a direct refutation of those who misinterpret Romans 2:13, as Paul advocating following of the Mosaic Law. Paul’s emphases is on the Spirit (not the letter) including having the right heart, and adhering those higher principles expressed by the law. (Rom 2:29)

Romans 2:6-29 (ESV), God shows no partiality

6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Romans 2:12-16 (ESV), Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires

12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:25-29 (ESV), Circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter

25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Isaiah 56 – The foreigners – everyone who keeps the Sabbath 

Judaizes point to Isaiah 56 as pertaining to the coming salvation and that the seventh-day sabbath is to be expected to be practiced for both Jews and foreigners (Isaiah 56:2, 4, 6). What is true as that this passage is speaking about a future event when, “soon my salvation will come and my righteousness be revealed.” (Isa 56:2) Indeed, the righteousness that was to be revealed is the New Convent through the new law giver, Jesus Christ. Both Jews and foreigners will have access to this new righteousness through Christ and abiding in his teachings. Considering Isaiah speaks about a new covenant, he is not speaking about Mosaic law in terms of a seventh-day sabbath since that way of righteous had already been revealed in the law. He is talking about the new and living way of observing Sabbath by the Holy Spirit that we have access to through the blood of Jesus. 

The general principal of Sabbath is a time of resting from work and devotion toward God. It can pertain to any day or period of rest.  Although those who practice according to the old law and written code presume this is the seventh-day Sabbath, there is no reason to read that into this passage which is looking forward to the salvation and righteousness that is coming. Sabbath as a general principal is different distinct from specific application of observing particular holy days. Although pagans do not observe the Sabbath according to the Mosaic law, they are said in the Scripture to observe Sabbaths. (Hos 2:11-13) God hates the Sabbaths conducted by a wicked people who engage in evil (Isa 1:13-17) Despite the fact that the scribes and Pharisees  celebrated the seventh-day Sabbath, Jesus called them lawless for having the appearance of holiness on the outside but being unclean on the inside. (Mat 23:27-28)

To not profane the Sabbath is to not neglect setting aside time for devotion to God and for mediating on the things of God – not that it has to be observed according to the Mosaic law or Jewish customs. In Isaiah, what is being emphasized is keeping justice, doing righteousness, (Isa 56:1) keeping ones hands from doing any evil (Isa 56:2), and choosing the things that please God (Isa 56:4) Again Sabbath in this context is maintain devotion and prayer to God. Jesus is our best example of how we should find rest in God according to the new way of the Spirit and not the old way of the written code. 

Priests who offered gifts according to the law served as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. (Heb 8:4-5) The law has but a shadow of the things to come instead of the true form of these realities. (Heb 10:1) 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. (Col 2:16-17)

Isaiah 56:1-8 (ESV), Soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed

1 Thus says the LORD:
Keep justice, and do righteousness,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my righteousness be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man who does this,
and the son of man who holds it fast,
who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it,
and keeps his hand from doing any evil.
3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say,
“The LORD will surely separate me from his people”;
and let not the eunuch say,
“Behold, I am a dry tree.”
4 For thus says the LORD:
To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
5 I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
6And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD,
and to be his servants,
everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it,
and holds fast my covenant
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”
8 The Lord GOD,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,
“I will gather yet others to him
besides those already gathered.”

Isaiah 1:13-17 (ESV), New moon and Sabbath – I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly

  13 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17 learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.

Colossians 2:16-23 (ESV), A festival or a new moon or a Sabbath – these are a shadow of the things to come

16 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. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations21Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Isaiah 66:17, into the gardens – eating ping’s flesh and the abomination and mice

Judaizes point to Isaiah 66:17 as an indication that the dietary laws of the Old Testament Torah are still in effect claiming an association pig’s flesh with what is abominable. This verse, addresses pagan worship. The reference to “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst” is likely pertaining to an Asherah Pole. These poles or sometimes stylized trees, stood as a sacred monument and tribute to the Canaanite goddess, Asherah. Although eating pig’s flesh and mice is associated with pagan peoples, the eating of pig and mice (what was once considered unclean) is not the principal reason these people will come to an end. It is fundamentally because these are pagan worshippers and they do what is abominable. Eating pig’s flesh and mice are listed separately “the abomination”. This indicates whatever “the abomination” is it is worse than eating pig’s flesh and mice since pig’s flesh isn’t called “the abomination.”

Let no one pass judgement on you in questions of food and drink. (Col 2:16) If with Christ you died to the elemental sprits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, to you submit to regulations – “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch.” (Col 2:20-21) Beware of those who require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth -For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim 4:1-5) When Jesus declared, “whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled,” he declared all foods clean. (Mark 15-19) He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him – For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” (Mark 7:21-22) All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. (Mark 7:23)

Isaiah 66:17 (ESV), Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst

17 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the LORD.

Colossians 2:16-23 (ESV), Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink

16 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. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations21Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

1 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV), Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Mark 7:14-23 (ESV), There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Zechariah 14:15-19,  The punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths

Zechariah 14:16-19 speaks of the coming day of the Lord. This is after a tribulation period and pertains to the survivors of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem.  This passage speaks of a curse of famine and plague to those who will not go up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles). This feast, celebrated at the end of the harvest season, involves living in temporary huts for seven days. In the Mosaic Law, all native Israelites were to dwell in booths, that their generations may know that God made the people of Israel dwell in booths when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. (Lev 23:42-43) According to Zechariah 14, it will be properly observed only in Jerusalem. Many who advocate following the feasts and the days, including the feast of Booths (Sukkot) do not travel to Jerusalem to observe the feast in a way that is compliant with the prophecy of Zechariah 14:15-19.  

In the context of the prophecy, it appears to be a penalty for those nations that were previously enemies to Israel, that they may recognize the God of Israel. This requirement is not necessary universal and does not apply to the present era, although it appears that it will apply after the tribulation in the millennial kingdom of Christ. Although particular feasts may be instituted and prescribed in a future age, this doesn’t mean these feast apply universally in the current age. When Jesus takes power, those who are in his kingdom will be happy to take part in whatever traditions and observances that he establishes. When Jesus returns he will reign as king over all the nations and the people will obey him according to the rules he clearly establishes. 

As believers in the Gospel, we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Rom 3:28). We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Gal 2:16) In Christ we tear down the old way having died to the law, so that we might live to God by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and  give himself for us. (Gal 2:18-20)  All who rely on works of the law are under a curse. (Gal 3:10). The righteous shall life by faith and the law is not of faith. (Gal 3:11-12) In Christ Jesus the blessing of  Abraham has come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:14) Let no one pass judgement 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. (Col 2:16-17)

Zechariah 14:16-19 (ESV), the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths

16 Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. 17 And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18 And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. 19 This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.

Romans 3:28 (ESV), One is justified by faith apart from works of the law

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Galatians 2:16-21 (ESV), We have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Galatians 3:10-14 (ESV), The law is not of faith

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Colossians 2:16-17 (ESV), Let no one pass judgment on you with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath

16 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. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.