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Is Paul giving Christians license to omit Sabbath observance in Colossians 2:16-17 and Romans 14:5-8? Is this corroborated by Acts 15?

Below the passages:

Colossians 2:16-17

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.

Romans 14:5-8

5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

Acts 15:5-11

5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Acts 15:23-29

23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you[d] with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

Taken together, can we unambiguously conclude from these passages that Christians are free from the mandate to observe the Sabbath, and therefore that they can either keep it or not without feeling any remorse either way? Or is there still room for interpretation that may lead to the opposite conclusion?

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    As previously, this question will elicit almost hysterical responses from some quarters. – Dottard Sep 29 '20 at 1:42
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    @Dottard should that prevent us from discussing the topic though? I'm pretty sure that for almost any topic you can find a denomination/group that may respond with visceral reactions. – Spirit Realm Investigator Sep 29 '20 at 2:46
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    T he original of Romans 14:5 reads 'one esteemeth one day above another ; another esteemeth every day. Some regard one day a week as sabbath. Some regard every day as a rest from (legal) works. – Nigel J Sep 29 '20 at 21:17
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+100

Background
The command to rest was based on God's work of creation:

16 Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. 17 It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” (Exodus 31) [ESV]

Regardless of whether the first man and woman received instruction about the Sabbath, they experienced the seventh day of creation; they were there when the LORD rested and was refreshed. For them the shadow of the Sabbath would have been a reminder of that first rest they experienced with God when He rested and blessed the seventh day.

The first record of the command to observe the Sabbath comes one month after the Israelites are freed from bondage and before the Ten Commandments (cf. Exodus 16:22-26). The day of rest was inseparable from the daily manna and as such showed the LORD was their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt (cf. Exodus 16:12, 32).

Despite this, there is a "Sabbath rest" (σαββατισμὸς) for the people of God, which those who received the command and ate the manna, never entered:

1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. (Hebrews 4)

The Sabbath is to be a day of holy convocation:

1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, These are the appointed feasts of the LORD that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts. 3 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the LORD in all your dwelling places. (Leviticus 23)

"Feast" is מוֹעֵד which means appointed time. If the Sabbath is a shadow of things to come, then the things it represents the appointed time for a holy convocation with the LORD. That is the "Sabbath rest" which remains for the people of God.

Conclusion

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. (Colossians 2:16)

There is no reason to assume Paul is giving license not to observe the Sabbath especially when there is so much evidence he continued to observe the Sabbath as well as the annual feasts. Rather, the issue is more likely to be how and/or when the Sabbath was to be observed. Then the meaning is just as the Pharisees objected to the way in which Jesus and His disciples observed the Sabbath, the Christians in Colossae are facing the same type of criticism. Paul's instruction are to not to let others (i.e the Jewish community) pass judgement on their Sabbath observations.

Finally, while it is possible to take this to the extreme and say one needs not observe the Sabbath, it must be remembered Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath and if His people claim the Sabbath no longer exists, then they have stripped Him of His lordship.

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To understand those passages, you need to understand the ‘sabbath’. And that understanding is provided for us. Hebrews 4 outlines this.

Those passages you quoted also point to this, by outlining that the 4th commandment was a ‘shadow’ of what we are now ‘under’. The sabbath was a rest day. NOT A rest from our work, but a rest IN Gods work. God provides. Example, Manna, God provided enough on the 6th day for the 7th. The Law needs to be able to ‘measure’ observance - so setting aside a day ‘with strict rules’ did this.

It’s important to understand what observing the sabbath meant. It acknowledged God as the source - for everything, as opposed to ‘man’ being his own provider. Breaking the sabbath was essentially rejecting God, (as our source for all our needs.) hence the seriousness of breaking it.

Man was created on the 6th day, and placed into a finished (fully completed) work. God had provided every and all of mans needs. It was only after the ‘fall’ that man had to start providing for himself (sweat and toil).

But now, through Jesus, we have again been placed in a finished work. The cross finished everything - so we can enter our rest, our sabbath. No Laws required, only faith.

But, most importantly the ‘bottom line’ is that each needs to decide this matter of ‘sabbath’ for themselves. The Bible clearly says we are not to judge, nor decide for others. I provide my answer for consideration.

COL 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

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  • How is the 4th commandment a shadow but the other commandments are not shadows? Your answer assumes that the word "sabbaths' includes that the 4th commandment of the Decalogue but there is plenty of evidence that it is limited only to Jewish ceremonial Sabbaths. Having read many books on the topic the best resource is Du Preez, Ron. Judging the Sabbath: Discovering What Can’t Be Found in Colossians 2:16. Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press, 2008 – Derek Dec 26 '20 at 7:26
  • @Derek how can all the other appointed festivals and sacred assemblies be considered shadows, but the weekly sabbath not considered a shadow? See: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/80230/… – Spirit Realm Investigator Dec 26 '20 at 14:18
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator As someone already pointed out on your post, the 7th day Sabbath was instituted at Creation (Gen 2) before sin, as was the institution of marriage. God Himself cited this event in the 4th commandment (Ex 20:11). The Sabbath is no more of a shadow than is marriage, both precede sin. Furthermore the Hebrew term hag and it's Greek equivalent heorte were used for the three pilgrim festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. There is no evidence that these words hag/heorte were used for Trumpets, Atonement, or Sabbatical years. – Derek Dec 27 '20 at 1:03
  • @Derek The marriage between man and woman is clearly a shadow of the marriage between Jesus (the bridegroom) and the Church (the bride). Remember that in heaven there will be no marriages (Matthew 22:30). But back to the weekly Sabbath: is there evidence of anyone keeping the Sabbath prior to Moses? Did Noah or Abraham keep the Sabbath? Btw, check out this question: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/53952/… – Spirit Realm Investigator Dec 27 '20 at 2:47
  • @Derek - you might find this question interesting as well: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/53956/… – Spirit Realm Investigator Dec 27 '20 at 2:48
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Hebrews explains it well

For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in with those who heard it in faith. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “ As I swore in my anger , ‘They will never enter my rest! ’” And yet God’s works were accomplished from the foundation of the world. For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this way: “ And God rested on the seventh day from all his works,” but to repeat the text cited earlier: “They will never enter my rest!” Therefore it remains for some to enter it, yet those to whom it was previously proclaimed did not enter because of disobedience. Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. For the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience. Hebrews 4:2‭-‬6‭, ‬9‭-‬11 NET

The way the Sabbath rest is a shadow of things to come is the way it prefigures the rest that a believer in Jesus has onece they belief. As God finished His works on the seventh day, so the Christian rests in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

So a Christian who gets accosted because of the day he wished to worship should not worry. Since he trusts in Christ, he has kept the Sabbath in its fullest sense.

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The promise of a circumcision of the heart is found in Deuteronomy 30:1-6

“So it will be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have placed before you, and you call them to mind in all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul in accordance with everything that I am commanding you today, you and your sons, 3 then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If any of your scattered countrymen are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 5 The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will be good to you and make you more numerous than your fathers.

6 “Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live.

which reinforces the idea that Jews (and ofc non-Jews) can't satisfy the law (sin). The law is holy, just and true, promoting the knowledge of sin by revealing God's character to a sinful world. God is a just (2 Thessalonians 1:6) and so what should all expect by not satisfying the law? Wrath from God. In fact, Romans 6:23 shows that our lives are the obvious payment for sin. Yet God all loving choose a path in which He remained just and also justified us... and this required the death of His loved son Jesus (Romans 3:25-26).

Just like in that passage in Colossians, Paul goes on to assert that the law necessarily points to Christ, our Saviour, from whom we can get peace with God / justification by faith (Romans 5:1). More clearly in Romans 10:4

For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

and in Galatians 3:24

Therefore the Law has become our guardian to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Faith in the work of Christ is the key to everything. Now we can say what's in Romans 6:14

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under the Law but under grace.

and in Galatians 2:19-20

19 For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Now in regards to the question "Should Christians keep Sabath?", Galatians 5:13-15 provides a good add-on for your Colossians 2:16 and Romans 14:5-8 passage,

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

While salvation by faith can lead to excuses to live unjustly (which was something they've always done without that "excuse"), don't forget the other extreme too. Those who have external signs but without internal obedience ... those who maintain an apparently respectable facade of going to church, reading the Bible and doing charitable works just to look like respectable people ... those whose circumcision has become uncircumcision (said the apostle Paul) ... God wants our hearts! (And with this I’m not advocating the “so why bother with the external?” attitude).

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Hi this is an interesting discussion. I will make a separate post for each scripture to do this justice. Let's start with Colossians 2:16-17

Colossians 2:16-17 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 sabbath days [GNP]. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Some try to claim by pulling scripture from context that Paul is teaching in Colossians 2:16-17 that God's 4th commandment is a "shadow law" of the old covenant fulfilled in Christ without considering that there were many different kinds of annual ceremonial "sabbaths" in the old covenant from the Mosaic book of the law that were not God's 4th commandment “seventh day” Sabbath.

Some of these annual ceremonial sabbaths that were not God’s 4th commandment and could fall on any day of the week included the ceremonial sabbaths in the feast days and days of holy convocation where no work was to be done.

These ceremonial sabbath(s) and days of holy convocation excluding work included…

(1) Feast of Unleavened Bread (first and last day) *Leviticus 23:6-8

(2) Feast of Trumpets *Leviticus 23:24-25

(3) Day of Atonement *Leviticus 23:27-32

(4) Feast of Booths *Leviticus 23:34-36

(5) Feast of First Fruits *Leviticus 23:39

(6) Feast days of Holy convocation of no work *Leviticus 23:7-8; 21;24; 27; 35-36

(7) Sabbath rest of the land (7-year cycle) *Leviticus 25:2

(8) Sabbath of Jubilee culminating of the 7x7 yearly cycles sabbaths *Leviticus 25:9-54

All of the above of course were different to God’s 4th commandment and could fall on any day of the week unlike Gods’ 4th commandment which is strictly every ) “seventh day” of the week.

(9) God’s Sabbath of the 4th commandment of the 10 commandments which is one of God’s 10 commandments that give us the knowledge of what sin is when broken *Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7; 1 John 3:4; Exodus 20:8-11 and a “memorial” and celebreation of creation and God as the creator of heaven and earth outlined in Genesis 2:1-3.

When these annual ceremonial sabbaths which could fall on any day of the week depending on the yearly cycle, fell on God’s 4th commandment weekly Sabbath it was called a “High Sabbath” as two sabbaths in one (see JOHN 19:31; more here). So one of the questions we need to consider is what sabbath plural was Paul talking about in COLOSSIANS 2:16-17.

It cannot be “the Sabbath” of God’s 4th commandment as the Greek application and use in Colossians 2:16 is GNP which means genitive neuter plural meaning plural application. The within chapter and scripture contexts will help to show what sabbaths are being referring to so we will look at both the within chapter and within scripture contexts to help determine the Greek word application.

Greek application of sabbath and word meanings why are they important here?

Keep in mind here that the Greek word for sabbath is σάββατον; sabbaton (G4521). The Greek word for Sabbath unlike the Hebrew has many different meanings and application depending on the context that it is used and can mean; (1). the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath of Gods 4th commandment), or (2) day of weekly repose from secular work; (3) the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: - sabbath day, or (4) a week.

So with the many meaning and application of the Greek word for sabbath (sabaton) it is the context as to how it is used that determines the application and word meaning. The above is only provided to show that the Greek word for sabbath has many different meanings and applications and is different to the Hebrew meaning which for sabbath is שׁבּת; shabbâth (H7676) which simply means the Sabbath or from one sabbath to another. This word has its' root word in שׁבת; shâbath (H7673) which means to rest, stop work, to cease and celebrate and to keep sabbath.

So why is this important?

The Greek word has a higher use definition which is outside of the Hebrew. For example sabbaton can be applied to the week (not the Sabbath) or any day of weekly repose (ceasing from work) that is not the Sabbath of God's 4th commandment. Sabbaton can also be applied to the intervals between the seventh day sabbath as well as God's 4th commandment seventh day Sabbath.

The questions that need to be considered here to correc are …

(1) How do we know what the Greek word sabbaton is being applied to in Colossian 2:16-17?

(2) What is the within chapter and scripture contexts of Colossians 2:16-17?

(3) What sabbath plural are being referred to in Colossians 2:16-17 and are they shadows?

(4) Is Paul possibly referring to something in the old testament?

(5) How does what Paul is saying in Colossians 2:16-17 link to the scriptures in rest of the bible?

Here in this post we have only touched the surface and have shown through the scriptures alone that there are many different kinds of ceremonial sabbaths of the old testament which include the annual shadow sabbaths in the feast days, the days of holy convocation where no work was to be done and the sabbaths of the land all of which are not God’s 4th commandment of the 10 commandments and can fall on any day of the week.

We have also shown in this post by God’s grace that the Greek word used for sabbath has many meanings and applications determined by the within scripture chapter and contexts and is not always a reference to God’s 4th commandment but can mean simply ceasing from weekly work or a week or the days inbetween the Sabbath as well as God’s 4th commandment Sabbath.

Notice that none of the above shared here is considered at all when surface reading Colossians 2:16-17 pulled from it’s contexts to the rest of the old and new testament scriptures.

In this post let’s begin to consider the within chapter and scripture context of Colossians 2:16-17 and consider the following questions.

(1) How do we know what sabbaths the Greek word sabbaton is being applied?

The answer to this question of course is the context. Let’s look at the within chapter and scripture contexts.

WHAT IS THE WITHIN SCRIPTURE CONTEXT OF COLOSSIANS 2:16?

COLOSSIANS 2:16 [16] Let no man therefore judge you in (1) MEAT, or in DRINK, or in respect of an (2) HOLYDAY [FEASTIVALS], or of the (3) NEW MOON, or of the (4) SABBATH DAYS

PAUL'S within scriptures CONTEXT and use of COLOSSIANS 2:16-17 is in reference to the OLD TESTAMENT scriptures.

EZEKIEL 45:17 [17] And it shall be the prince's part to give BURNT OFFERINGS, and (1) MEAT OFFERINGS, and DRINK OFFERINGS, in the (2) FEASTS, and in the (3) NEW MOONS, and in the (4) SABBATHS, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.

NUMBERS 28 [9] And on the Sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a MEAT OFFERING, mingled with oil, and the DRINK OFFERING thereof: [10] This is the burnt offering of EVERY SABBATH, beside the continual BURN'T OFFERING, and his DRINK OFFERING.

ISAIAH 1:10-14 [10] Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.[11] To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I AM FULL OF THE BURNT OFFERINGS of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.[12] When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?[13] BRING NO MORE VAIN OBLATIONS; incense is an abomination unto me; THE NEW MOONS AND SABBATHS, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.[14] Your NEW MOONS and your APPOINTED FEASTS my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

LEVITICUS 23:4 [4] These are THE FEASTS OF THE LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. [5] In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is THE LORD'S PASSOVER. [6] And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread…… [13] And the MEAT OFFERING thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savour: and the DRINK OFFERING thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.

HOSEA 2:11 [11], I will also cause all her mirth to CEASE, HER [ISRAEL'S] FEAST DAYS, her NEW MOONS, and HER SABBATHS, and all HER [ISRAELS] SOLEMN FEASTS.

Note in HOSEA the prophecy to put an end to all the end to all the annual feasts and in all the above scripture applications that link directly to Colossians 2:16, the sabbaths being referred to here are always applied the annual feast days, meat and drink offerings, and the new moons? So the scripture context is to the annual sabbaths in the feast days that are shadows of things to come. As shown earlier these annual ceremonial sabbaths or days of holy convocation included

(1) Feast of Unleavened Bread (first and last day) *Leviticus 23:6-8

(2) Feast of Trumpets *Leviticus 23:24-25

(3) Day of Atonement *Leviticus 23:27-32

(4) Feast of Booths *Leviticus 23:34-36

(5) Feast of First Fruits *Leviticus 23:39

(6) Feast days of Holy convocation of no work *Leviticus 23:7-8; 21;24; 27; 35-36

WHAT IS PAUL REFERRING TO IN COLOSSIANS 2?

Well of course it is the ceremonial “shadow laws” and the annual ceremonial shadow sabbaths of the Mosaic book of the law. The chapter context of Colossians 2:11-17 is to “circumcision” and “baptism” and the blotting out of the “ordinances that were against us” that were all “shadows of things to come v17.

WHAT IS THE CHAPTER CONTEXT OF COLOSSIANS 2:16-17?

COLOSSIANS 2:11-17 [11], In whom also you are CIRCUMCISION with the CIRCUMCISION made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: [12], Buried with him in baptism, in which also you are risen with him through the faith of the working of God, who has raised him from the dead. [13], And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; [14], BLOTTING OUT the HANDWRITING of ORDINANCES that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [15], And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. [16], Let no man therefore judge you in FOOD AND DRINK, or in respect of a HOLY DAY [FESTIVAL], or of the NEW MOON, or of the SABBATH DAYS: [17], Which are a SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME; but the body is of Christ.

Note in v11 the chapter context of Colossians 2:16 is to the shadow laws in the ceremonial ordinance of circumcision pointing to circumcision of the heart made without hands by the circumcision of Christ.

THE SHADOW LAWS FORETOLD IN THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

DEUTERONOMY 10:16 [16] CIRCUMCISE THERFORE THE FORESKIN OF YOUR HEART, and be no more stiff-necked.

DEUTERONOMY 30:6 [6] And the LORD your God will CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEART AND THE HEART OF YOUR DECENDENCE, TO LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH YOU’RE YOUR SOUL, THAT YOU MAY LIVE.

JEREMIAH 4:4 [4] CIRCUMCISE YOURSELF TO THE LORD, AND TAKE AWAY THE FORESKINS OF YOUR HEART, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Note: new covenant fulfillment of the shadows of the ceremonial ordinance of circumcision pointing the circumcision of the heart through faith in Christ…

ROMANS 2:25-29 [25] For circumcision verily profits, if you keep the law: but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. [26], Therefore if the uncircumcision keeps the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? [27], And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfils the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? [28], FOR HE IS NOT A JEW, WHO IS ONE; NEITHER IS THAT CIRCUMCISION, WHICH IS OF THE OUTWARD FLESH: [29], BUT HE IS A JEW WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY; AND CIRCUMCISION IS THAT OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT AND NOT IN THE LETTER; WHOSE PRAISE IS NOT OF MEN BUT OF GOD.

1 CORITHIANS 7:19 [19] CIRCUMCISION IS NOTHING, AND UNCIRCUMCISION IS NOTHING, BUT THE KEEPING OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD.

This is the operation of GOD in the NEW COVENANT…

HEBREWS 8:10 [10], For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS, AND WRITE THEM IN THEIR HEARTS [NOTE: THE SHADOW OF CIRCUMCSION]: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

CONCLUSION; The chapter contexts of Colossians 2 is to the ceremonial ordinance of circumcision, baptism laws in ordinances that are a shadow of things to come pointing to a new heart to love and obey God in the new covenant not God’s 10 commandments of God’s 4th commandment.

……………..

Now that we know what Colossians 2:16-17 is referring to let’s look at other scriptures by Paul on the same subject matter here…

HEBREWS 9:1-12 [1] Then verily THE FIRST COVENANT HAD ALSO ORDINANCES of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.... [9] WHICH WAS A FIGURE for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;[10] WHICH STOOD ONLY IN MEATS AND DRINKS, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.[12] NEITHER BY THE BLOOD OF GOATS AND CALVES, BUT BY HIS OWN BLOOD he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

HEBREWS 10:1-9 [1], FOR THE LAW HAVING A SHADOW OF GOOD THINGS TO COME, AND NOT THE VERY IMAGE OF THE THINGS, CAN NEVER WITH THOSE SACRIFICES which they offered YEAR BY YEAR continually make the comers thereunto perfect. [2], For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. [3], But in those SACRIFICES there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. [4], For it is not possible that THE BLOOD OF BULLS AND GOATS should take away sins. [5], Why when he comes into the world, he said, SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS YOU WOULD NOT BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME: [6], IN BURN'T OFFERINGS AND SACRIFICES FOR SIN YOU HAVE HAD NO PLEASURE. [7], Then said I, See, I come in the VOLUME OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME, to do your will, O God. [8], Above when he said, SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND BURNT OFFERINGS AND OFFERINGS FOR SIN YOU WOULD NOT, neither had pleasure therein; WHICH ARE OFFERED BY THE LAW; [9], Then said he, See, I come to do your will, O God. He takes away the first, that he may establish the second.

NOTE; the LAW in reference here is NOT God's 10 Commandments but the law of sin offerings from the SHADOW laws of the MOSAIC BOOK of the LAW *DEUTERONOMY 31:24-26 from the OLD COVENANT *EXODUS 24:7 (Please look at the attached scriptures)

……………

CONCLUSION: Context matters dear friend. Colossians 2:16-17 is in reference to the context of the annual sabbaths in the feast days connected to the meat and drink offerings, the annual feast days, the new moons which were all shadows of things to come but the body is of Christ. Colossians 2 has nothing to do with God’s 4th commandment or God’s 10 commandments.

Hope this helps.

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  • If you've written four answers to this question that's a good sign you need to edit them down to be more concise. Each distinct answer is supposed to stand alone - they won't be presented in the order your wrote them and people won't know they are meant to read one after the other. – curiousdannii Dec 26 '20 at 3:11
  • @3rdAngel Have you read the following book by Dr. Du Preez, lots of excellent additional evidences to support your conclusion. See: Du Preez, Ron. Judging the Sabbath: Discovering What Can’t Be Found in Colossians 2:16. Berrien Springs: Andrews University Press, 2008 – Derek Dec 26 '20 at 7:31
  • @3rdAngel Doesn't your whole argument fall apart with Leviticus 23:1-3? The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies. 3 “‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord. Leviticus clearly lists the weekly sabbath as the first appointed festival. The weekly sabbath is a festival, as much as the others. – Spirit Realm Investigator Dec 26 '20 at 14:05
  • You special treatment of the weekly sabbath is inconsistent with Leviticus 23, where it is clearly listed as the first one of many festivals and sacred assemblies. If a general statement is made about festivals and sacred assemblies, that statement also applies to the weekly sabbath. – Spirit Realm Investigator Dec 26 '20 at 14:11
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Are Christians being licensed not to keep the Sabbath according to Colossians 2:16-17,

Romans 14:5-8 and Acts 15?

Sabbath-keeping was a Temporary Observance

God established the observance of a weekly Sabbath after he delivered the Israelites from Egypt. He later made it part of their Law given to Moses. ( Read Exodus 16:22-30 and Exodus 20:8-10),

Exodus 20:8-10 NASB

9“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 For six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male slave or your female slave, or your cattle, or your [a]resident who [b]stays with you.

Why did God give the Law, including the Sabbath, in the first place?

Rather than changing his mind, God used the Sabbath as a temporary arrangement to teach people that they should regularly take time to meditate on spiritual matters. The apostle Paul wrote:

Galatians 3:24-25 NASB

24 Therefore the Law has become our guardian to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice and “abolished . . . the Law

The apostle Paul explained that Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice and “abolished . . . the Law of commandments consisting in decrees” and " and taken it out of the way and nailed it to the cross." (Eph 2:15; Col. 2:14)

Ephesians 2:15 NASB

15 by abolishing [b]in His flesh the hostility, which is the Law composed of commandments expressed in ordinances, so that in Himself He might [c]make the two one new person, in this way establishing peace;

Colossians 2:14 NASB

14 having canceled the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Conclusion

What was canceled and nailed to the cross?: The Law, this included the literal observance of the 24-hour Sabbath rest, for Paul wrote: "Therefore, no one is to act as your judge in regard to food and drink, or in respect to a festival or a new moon, or a Sabbath day." (Colossians 2:16 NASB) It should not be remembered as a historical event, but also a reminder to us that that spiritual activity should take priority over material needs and recreational pursuits.

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  • Do you really mean that Jesus abolished the law? Are Christians completely free of the law? Does this mean we can do anything? If not, what do you mean? – Dottard Dec 25 '20 at 10:12
  • Col 2:14 does not say that the law was removed - the "it" is singular and the "decrees" is plural. Whatever was nailed is grammatically singular. The only singular antecedent is the certificate of debt - our sin and debt created by sin as defined in the law. This debt was nailed to the cross NOT the law. – Dottard Dec 25 '20 at 10:15
  • 1
    Dottard: Christians are not under Law ,but they do not need to observe any laws? Not at all. Jesus introduced a “new covenant,” based on the better sacrifice of his own perfect human life. Christians come under this new covenant and are subject to Christian laws. (Hebrews 8:7-13; Luke 22:20) Many of these laws have been taken from the law of Moses. Although Christians are not commanded to keep a weekly Sabbath, we learn something from that arrangement. The Israelites rested in a literal way, but Christians must rest in a spiritual way. – Ozzie Ozzie Dec 25 '20 at 11:03
  • Christian apostle Paul, who was formerly a Jewish Pharisee, affirmed th the cancellation of the Law. (Eph. 2:13-16; Col. 2:13-17) The Christian congregation was in a new covenant with God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Nine of the Ten Commandments have been included in the Christian laws , except the Sabbath-Acts 15:28, 29; 21:24, 25. (Matthew 4:10; 1 Corinthians 10:20-22 ,1 John 5:21; 1 Corinthians 10:14, Matthew 6:9, Ephesians 6:1- 2 , Revelation 21:8; 1 John 3:15; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; Ephesians 4:25, 28; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Luke 12:15; Colossians 3:5. – Ozzie Ozzie Dec 25 '20 at 11:03
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    Dottard: I said that Christians are not under the Law given to Moses but that Christians are under the law of Christ .(1 Cor 9:21 NASB)The Ten Commandments—the nucleus of the Mosaic Law—were written on stone tablets. But of the new covenant, God said: “I will put my law within them, and in their heart, I shall write it." (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Paul in his Letter to the Hebrews ( Chapters 7-9) makes a contrast of the old and the new covenant. Why not read the commentaries on Bible Hub Heb 8:13? biblehub.com/commentaries/hebrews/8-13.htm – Ozzie Ozzie Dec 25 '20 at 19:48
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Let's respond now to the claims that Romans 14:5-8 is even talking about God's 4th commandment??

Romans 14:5-8 5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

Once again more scripture that people try to pull from context to claim that we no longer need to keep God’s 4th commandment of God’s 10 commandments, but lets look at the detail from the scriptures. The question that can settle this once and for all is where in all of Roman 14 does it say or teach anywhere that God’s 4th commandment is abolished and we are now commanded to keep any day as a Holy day? If one reads the chapter they will find no such scripture to to come up with Romans 14 referring to God's 4th commandment they need to read the Sabbath which is not in the chapter into the scriptures.

Let's be honest? Where is the scripture that shows that Romans 14 is talking about God’s 4th commandment Sabbath? You will not find any scripture in the whole chapter of Romans 14. When reading Romans 14 you will see that the context is to eating and not eating on days that men esteem over other days and judging others in this regards. These scriptures are not talking about days that God esteems but days men esteem and the scriptures teach the things that men esteem are an abomination in Gods eyes *LUKE 16:15.

Romans 14 is not talking about God’s 4th commandment Sabbath of the 10 commandments or is it talking about any one of God’s 10 commandments and there is no scripture linking Romans 14 to God’s 4th commandment of the 10 commandment that give us the knowledge of what sin is when broken *ROMANS 3:20; ROMANS 7:7; 1 JOHN 3:4.

SOME POINTS TO CONSIDER IN ROMANS 14:1-23

[1] the days spoken of are associated with eating/drinking, not eating/not drinking.

[2] the matter is over those 'weak' and 'strong' in faith concerning eating/drinking and days to do and not do those things on

[3] the context deals with "One man esteemeth", and not what God esteems (Isaiah 56:1-8, 58:13; Psalms 89:34) as permanent and so, and God's word is clear about what men esteem:

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

The Jews continually argued over which were better days to do this thing or that thing, like fasting, feasting, etc: [Matthew 9:14; Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33, 18:12 KJB]

[4] the words for sabbath is not present in all of Romans 14, neither in all of Romans

[5] the words of the seventh day is not present in all of Romans 14, neither in all of Romans

[6] the words for the Lord's day is not present in all of Romans 14, neither in all of Romans

[7] Romans 14 is in the context of Romans 13, which directly cites the latter (2nd) table of the Ten Commandments, for love to neighbour, which is also found in Leviticus 19:17-18, in the context of sin and the Ten Commandments

[8] Romans 15 is the other end, and when combined with 1 Corinthians 8-10, the context is clear that the sabbath of the LORD thy God (Exodus 20:8-11) is not in view in the least, and is sustained by the rest of Paul in Romans by his statements on the eternal spiritual, holy, just and good Law (Exodus 20:1-17) of God, which identifies what sin is (Romans 7:7; 1 John 3:4)

[9] the entire context of Romans 14 is to do nothing (even if allowed normally, yet not under special circumstances) to cause others to sin:

Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

[10] Paul never contradicts himself, and Paul's writings are scripture (2 Peter 3:16), and scripture cannot be broken, John 10:35) and does not teach transgression of God's Law (Exodus 20:1-17) at any point:

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Romans 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Romans7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

[11] the words for "law", "commandments" are never used in Romans 14

[12] Paul in numerous places lists and upholds every single one of the Ten Commandments in the NT, including the 4th Commandment (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11) in Hebrews 3-4, etc.

[13] Romans 14 is about excluding those things which were "doubful disputations", and not a single one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) were ever doubtful or to be disputed in any place in all of scripture (KJB), for the Commandment of God are "sure" (Psalms 111:7).

[14] the words for "covenant/testament" are never used in Romans 14

[15] the words for 'first [day] of the week' are never used in Romans 14, neither in all of Romans

[16] none of the 'Sunday' (first [day] of the week) churches use Romans 14 to teach that I may ignore the day they gather on, even though that day is not sanctified by God in any way what so ever in scripture (KJB), and is never called "the Lord's day" in scripture, neither is it "the seventh day the sabbath of the LORD thy God".

[17] nobody uses Romans 14 to teach I can simply stop eating/drinking on every day

[18] anyone who quotes Romans 14, has in mind 'restrictions', rather than allowances

....................

CONCLUSION: Nothing about God's 4th commandment in there at all. The scriptures are talking about food connected to days (eating and not eating (fasting) on days men esteem over other days. Not what days God esteems and judging others.

The things that men esteem are an abomination in God's eyes.

LUKE 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God

There is no mention in all of ROMANS 14 of God's 4th commandment or any of God's 10 commandments. Your reading into the scriptures something it is not talking about.

Hope this helps.

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Now let's consider Acts 15 and see what it is really talking about once the context is added back in?

Acts 15:5-11 5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” 6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

For me this is quite amazing that some would try and use these scriptures once again taken out of their context to claim that gentile believers do not have an obligation to keep God’s 10 commandments. Simply reading the rest of the bible proves this interpretation in error, but we do not even need to provide these many scriptures showing that all of God’s 10 commandments are a requirement for all who name the name of JESUS and are repeated all though the new testament scriptures spoken by JESUS and the Apostles.

All one needs to do here to determine what is being discussed in ACTS 15 is to simply read the chapter contexts to see that these claims are not true.

Now let's add back in the CONTEXT left out of ACTS 15:23-29 that shows this error and false teaching that makes Paul contradict himself.

WHAT IS THE QUESTION THAT ACTS 15 IS CONSIDERING?

ACTS 15:1:21 [1], And certain men who came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, EXCEPT YOU BE CIRCUMCISED AFTER THE MANNER OF MOSES YOU CANNOT BE SAVED.

NOTE: ACTS 15:1 is the question that needs to be answered and the topic of conversation and CONTEXT of the chapter of ACTS 15. Here we have Jewish believers coming to Paul and Barnabas saying if the new GENTILES believers are not circumcised and made proselytes then they cannot be saved. This is the chapter context and issue of contention.

[2], When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, THEY DETERMINED THAT PAUL AND BARNABAS AND CERTAIN OF THEM SHOULD GO UP TO JERUSALEM UNTO THE APOSLTLES AND ELDERS ABOUT THIS QUESTION.

NOTE: ACTS 15:2 Which question? Weather your salvation depends on being CIRCUMCISED.

They then travelled to Jerusalem about this question to determine if new gentile believers needed to be CIRCUMCISED in order to be saved. Once they got to Jerusalem, the question was then asked and the discussion continued with the Pharisees stating their case first..

[5], But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

NOTE: KEEP in mind here the question was never over if gentile believers should obey God's 10 Commandments but to keep the Shadow laws of Moses, in this case CIRCUMCISION as a means of salvation. CIRCUMCIONS is from the law of MOSES not God’s 10 Commandments written by God on two tables of stone.

[6], And the apostles and elders came together TO CONSIDER THIS MATTER.

NOTE: Again the topic of discussion and chapter CONTEXT that is being considered is the question stated in ACTS 15:1 which was IS CIRCUMCISION A REQUIREMENT OF SALVATION?

[7], And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

[8], And God, who knows the hearts, bore them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us;

NOTE: After much discussion between the Apostles, Peter then rose up showing that God gave the gentile believers the Holy Spirit being UNCIRCUMCISED.

[9], And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

[10], Now therefore why test God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

[11], But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

NOTE: They came to the conclusion then that salvation is not by being circumcised but be what circumcision pointed to. A new heart by faith. This is made plain latter in other scripture written by PAUL here...

ROMANS 2 [25] For circumcision verily profits, if you keep the law: but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. [26], Therefore if the uncircumcision keeps the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? [27], And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfils the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? [28], FOR HE IS NOT A JEW, WHO IS ONE; NEITHER IS THAT CIRCUMCISION, WHICH IS OF THE OUTWARD FLESH: [29], BUT HE IS A JEW WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY; AND CIRCUMCISION IS THAT OF THE HEART, IN THE SPIRIT AND NOT IN THE LETTER; WHOSE PRAISE IS NOT OF MEN BUT OF GOD.

If ACTS 15 was talking about the 10 Commandments then Pauls writings in to the CORINTHIANS do not make any sense.

1 CORITHIANS 7 [19] CIRCUMCISION IS NOTHING, AND UNCIRCUMCISION IS NOTHING, BUT THE KEEPING OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD.

The scripture above is a contradiction of how some interpret the outcome of ACTS 15. You do not believe, that we are now free to break any of God's 10 Commandments now do you?

[12], Then all the multitude kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring what miracles and wonders God had done among the Gentiles by them. [13], And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: [14], Simeon has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. [15], And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, [16], After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: [17], That the rest of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, says the Lord, who does all these things. [18], Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

[19], THEREFORE MY JUDGMENT IS THAT WE TROUBLE NOT THEM WHO FROM THE GENTILES ARE TURNED TO GOD: [20], BUT WRITE UNTO THEM THAT THEY ABSTAIN FROM THE DEFILEMENT OF IDOLS, FORNICATION AND THINGS STRANGLED AND FROM BLOOD.

NOTE: JAMES conclusion is that new Gentile believers should not be troubled with CIRCUMCISION as a requirement of salvation which was the matter being considered and the question being discussion as shown in *ACTS 15:1-2; ACTS 15:6 but asks them to abstain from idols, fornication and from things strangled and from blood.

[21], FOR MOSES OF OLD TIME HAS IN EVERY CITY THEM THAT PREACH HIM, BEING READ IN THE SYNAGOGUES EVERY SABBATH.

NOTE: The reason why JAMES sends this letter to the new Gentile believers is that they would continue learning God's WORD EVERY SABBATH.

……………

CONCLUSION So the conclusion of the matter with CONTEXT added back in is fould in v19-20 We are not to trouble the new gentile believers with CIRCUMCISION as a means of salvation. They are new converts that will learn more about GOD'S WORD when? EVERY SABBATH. In the meantime you should abstain from anything offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication.

NOPE nothing written about the 10 Commandments being abolished in this chapter. Here is what PAUL says of the matter here...

1 CORITHIANS 7 [19] CIRCUMCISION IS NOTHING, AND UNCIRCUMCISION IS NOTHING, BUT THE KEEPING OF THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD.

ACTS 15 is about “CIRCUMCISION” as a requirement for salvation and is not even considering Gods 10 Commandments. “Circumcision” is one of the shadow laws of the MOSAIC BOOK of the COVENANT.

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