“Shadows and Substance” a Review

I just finished reading my pastor Neil Silverberg’s new book, “Shadows and Substance: The Truth About Jewish Roots and Christian Believers”. It has been an excellent read, though it has taken me a while to get through it just because the amount of time I have to focus on intelligent reading only comes in short increments. 

I have been thinking a lot about what I want to say about this book. What I really want is for all my friends who are involved in the Hebrew Roots Movement to stop what they are doing, pick up this book, read it, and then have a discussion with me. And maybe I would invite my pastor to come along so that it could be a real meeting of minds and you could talk to someone who is Jewish and hear him explain why he does not folllow the Hebrew Roots Movement.  https://neilsilverberg.com/shadows/

Second best is that you would buy the book and read it and truly allow yourself to be confronted by what it says. https://neilsilverberg.com/shadows/

Third, fourth, and fifth best, go at least read the reviews of the book left by people who are more eloquent than I am. reviews

Maybe sixth best thing is that you read what I have to say about the book. And I think the best I can do is give you some excerpts.

Concerning the Law, here is an excerpt from the book:

“More than any other book in Scripture, Hebrews attempts to make sense out of fifteen hundred years of Old Testament history, promises, covenants, and rituals. And it does so to set forth the powerful truth that what has come in the Messiah is so much better than everything that preceded it! The Messiah has come and introduced a brand new order, superior in every way to what existed under the old order.

One of the ways the writer of Hebrews communicates this is by referring to everything in the Old Covenant as a “shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities” (Hebrews 10:1; italics mine). By referring to them as shadows, the author doesn’t mean they weren’t real; they were, in fact, real personages, real events, and real rituals. But they were not complete in themselves, being mere reflections of reality. The fullness of those things would not be known untl the Messiah came. Then those shadows would give place to the substance which has come in Jesus.” (pg 193-194)

Learning about the Jewish roots of Christianity is fascinating and enriching. It helps us to understand so much better and deeper how Jesus fulfilled the law and the Old Covenant, how the entire Old Testament points towards His Coming. But then Jesus instituted a New Covenant. Another quote from the book:

“Do you see what Paul is saying? The righteous requirement of the Law is now fulfilled in believers who “do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4b). In other words, the righteousness the Law demands is now exhibited by a believer as he or she walks in the Spirit. Paul reminds the believers at Galatia that as they walk by the Spirit, they are no longer under the Law but under the law of Christ (Galatians 5:18).” (pg 67)

In the end, my takeaway is that it is so easy to get entangled in Law. The free forgiveness that Jesus has offered us, the grace he calls us to walk in, the simplicity of walking in the Spirit, it never feels like it’s enough. Because we aren’t doing any of the work. We aren’t earning our salvation in any way. And that doesn’t feel right. We always feel like we have to do some of the work or it doesn’t count. But, we come to Jesus on his terms, not our own. And his terms say that you accept his completed work on the Cross and you come to him through faith, not works. 

For anyone who is aware of  their own tendency to slip into legalism, this is a great book. For anyone who has dabbled in the Hebrew Roots Movement, this is a great book. For anyone who just wants to grow in their knowledge of the Gospel, this is a great book. 

I hope you can read it.