The ceremonies are a different matter: they have been abrogated not in effect but only in use. Christ by his coming has terminated them, but has not deprived them of anything of their sanctity; rather, he has approved and honored it. Just as the ceremonies would have provided the people of the Old Covenant with an empty show if the power of Christ's death and resurrection had not been displayed therein; so, if they had not ceased, we would be unable today to discern for what purpose they were established.
Consequently Paul, to prove their observance not only superfluous but also harmful, teaches that they are shadows whose substance exists for us in Christ [ Colossians 2:17]. Thus we see that in their abolition the truth shines forth better than if they, still far off and as if veiled, figured the Christ, who has already plainly revealed himself. At Christ's death "the curtain of the temple was torn in two" [ Matthew 27:51] because now the living and express image of heavenly blessings was manifested, which before had been begun in indistinct outline only, as the author of The Letter to the Hebrews states [ Hebrews 10:1]. To this applies Christ's utterance: "The law and the prophets were until John since then the good news of the Kingdom of God is preached" [ Luke 16:16]. Not that the holy patriarchs were without thepreaching that contains the hope of salvation and of eternal life, but that they only glimpsed from afar and in shadowy outline what we see today in full daylight. John the Baptist explains why the church of God had to pass quite beyond these rudiments: "The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" [ John 1:17]. For even though atonement for sins had been truly promised in the ancient sacrifices, and the Ark of the Covenant was a sure pledge of God's fatherly favor, all this would have been but shadowf242 had it not been grounded in the grace of Christ, in whom one finds perfect and everlasting stability. Let it be regarded as a fact that, although the rites of the law have ceased to be observed, by their termination one may better recognize how useful they were before the coming of Christ, who in abrogating their use has by his death sealed their force and effect.
From The Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin