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SABBATH BIBLE STUDY
ReNEWed COVENANT Ministry
Compiled by JS LOWTHER
Why We Keep the Feasts
Exposition of Colossians 2
(with focus on vrs.16)
As I had offered the systematic resources in the last part of this message to confirm the way by which we should be reading the NT scriptures and particularly that of the epistles, which should be remembered that that comprehension we are exercising is that of understanding the limited context and that of understanding the general context of the Epistles, and doing so by the Law, Prophets, wisdom-writings and the Histories of Israel which Paul in 2Ti_3:15-17 call the holy scriptures, which are able to make wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Therefore, the Spirit of God calls us to repentance first, and then we respond by faith to what we have been called to: The Faith we are called to is primarily a total and absolute Trust in the infallibility of the WORD of God as contained in the Scriptures able to make us wise unto Salvation in Jesus Christ who is in fact the WORD of God that we will be judged by.
Belief in the God of the Bible is a package deal as it is revealed to us on an individual level yet it must start with Faith in the Spirit of the WORD of GOD, that is present in the Man Jesus Christ and in the Holy Scriptures, in many ways this is the only way the Gospel made any impact on the Gentiles of the Diaspora in order to tear down the wall of separation made by the ordinances of God himself which came by our sin against the covenant.
So with that admonition to Faith lets look at the Epistle of the Colossians starting in Chapter 2, and lets begin with character context, knowing abit about what Paul says concerning himself:
Paul the Author has provided an understand of his perspective (and of course remember his words to Timothy already read as part of that testimony), as well this is provided, as a direct confession of Paul’s persuasion:
Act_24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets…
So, as Paul, Because we believe the Law of God as the revealed WORD to Moses and codified for Israel, we do not start our presupposition with an objection of a-nomian or anti-nomianism resting upon Paul, due to the confession of Paul in Acts_24:14, rather we Trust the Word revealed as did Paul, the Law and Prophets, wisdom-writings and history is our lens to read the epistles of the apostles with, like glasses for the blind eyes dim with sin, as matter of fact Psa 119:105, says, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Because we are speaking specifically of Col chapter 2, I will begin in verse 2 and retroactively tie some of the needed thoughts from chapter 1 into the understanding:
Col_2:2-4 That … hearts might be comforted, being knit together (lit. instructed ABP) in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
A good synopsis of this mystery which will be seen in this section of Scripture is:
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of messengers, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Col 2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
WOW…that’s a lot of instruction, and understanding… all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which is in the God head. The word hear translated ‘knit together’ in the KJV is generally translated ‘instructed’, as found in the ABP of this verse and in the LXX of Exo_18:16, where Moses says:
…I instruct G4822 themG1473 (Knit) in the orders of God, and his law. (ABP)
and what is the wisdom and understanding prior revealed in God’s Word?
Deu_4:5-8 …statutes and judgments…Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people…And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law..?
So we receive Christ through our Faith in his Being heretofore described, in whom is hid all of the wisdom and knowledge…
Col_2:6-7 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
This is how we walk in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Col_2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy (love of wisdom) and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Twice we have read a warning, bewaring of being beguiled and spoiled, looted as that done in war, spoken to the Colossians limited context most probably the rival Greco Spiritual religion of Gnosticism now being combined to Christianity: Gnostic christianism taught (much like churches are today) that all things material are not holy or pure, all things spoken of in the law have a spiritual meaning and the material is irrelevant, this follows suit in applied Gnosticism to Christ as well, them, for him to be truly pure he could not have been material, the son of man, never made flesh, never was bodily, that is he was not born to a virgin, not an Israelite, not of the tribe of Judah, not then the son of David, rather he was the spiritual son of a higher god than the YHWH who gave the law to Moses, Gnosticism taught belief in non-material ‘faith alone’- this would be the Idea limited- being combated at this time historically (while this spiritual religion is very well alive in Christianity today). Generally or transcendently to our modern and eternal context the fact that is being substantiated is what is said in Col_1 and being forwarded and fortified in Chapter 2, that is:
Col 1:13 the Father hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
19-18 says For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
So if any wisdom, or knowledge attempts to beguile and spoil the compleateness of Christ the son of God and the Son of man, found in that Word made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the wisdom and knowledge, all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
When we conclusively couple the Word of God found in Genesis 1:1 with this revelation you have begun laying the ground work for Christ the Law giver from Genesis to Revelation, the Alpha and the Omega, and to that Law giver live, renewed by Faith because he has
Col 1:20 … made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Col 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Col 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
Col 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard…
This is part and parcel to the message of reconciliation contained in the Gospel which makes way for acceptance and completeness in Christ from the moment one is granted grace greater than him self
For If we believe in Christ, as the fullness of the Godhead bodily, as the Word of God then it is that we walk in to understand the wisdom and knowledge of all things taught by the WORD, this is the lens wherewith a Christian sees the world: the essence of Christ is seen first by faith when we are not complete, believing that we are… complete in him,.. Because He is… the head of all principality and power: Col_2:10 and this will link directly Christ’s ability to forgive.
Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Col_2:14 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;
Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Let us stop and allow the past parts of this study impact our thinking here, and join it with the message of chapter 1 in its description of principalities and powers:
Israel had sinned in the way of Jeroboam, they forsook Faith in YHWH as found in his Law, they forsook the lawful place of worship in preference for local high places, they ordained idolitry and image worship, and they forsook YHWH’s holy days upon which YHWH ordained for worship, they also ordained priests who were NOT of the sons of Levi, and then as the history of Israel continues they abandon YHWH’s law entirely as Hosea clearly shows us. So what was against the Gentiles? Sin, plain and simple, sin is transgression of the law…every law of God is against us when we do not live by Faith, for the just shall live by faith, didn’t we discuss that prior that ‘Rom_3:19-20 … every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
So then, let us not just limit our mind to the specific sins of Jeroboamism, or of the sins of Samaria: but to realize that we are condemned by the law as a whole the handwritting is lit. a receipt and in this case it is the receipt of the knowledge of the wage due as Rom 6:23 tells us ‘the wages of sin is death’ and the blotting out of that sin is ‘the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ that is grace, for we can never demand payment when our mouth is stopped, God’s choice to save and justify is only by Faith. And in this generational covenant relationship in focus, the sin of Samaria found in the Histories of Israel offer a legible handwriting of our payment due in death, and no less due to Israels sister Judah for her attempt to succor justification by faithless works of the law.
So let us consider this as a provable meaning for the handwriting chirograph(on) in an example its use in scripture it’s the word chirograph(on) (χειρογραφον G5498) :
A curious thing to notice is how piles of commentaries will discuss the supposed meaning of this word, because it does not appear in the scripture anywhere else…except for in the Apocrypha, which most reformed commentaries will not even crack open for fear of it’s influence upon their doctrine, yet the book of Tobit is part of the LXX Septuagint, and we have a Greek copy of it (as well a Aramaic or Hebrew found in the dead sea scrolls) but for understanding the meaning of this word from a Hebraic-Greek context it’s awful easy if you consult Tobit:
A son says to his father in:
Tob_5:2-3 But how can I receive the money, seeing I know him not? Then he gave him the handwriting, and said unto him… go and receive the money.
And the conclusion is found, using exact same word ChiroGraphon, in
Tob_9:5 and he gave him the handwriting: who brought forth bags which were sealed up, and gave them to him.
So what is the compare in the language as Paul is refereeing to it as? As a ‘holding note’, a receipt ? or perhaps a bill? we’d call it today, it is literally a ‘hollow writing’, this is what your dollar bills use to be when you could get lawful money of silver or gold from the bank, in this case the handwriting is the knowledge of ownership or a wage owed. Here is the parallel: The note is in the letter of law and it demands our death as payment for our sin. Like in the story of Tobit a man held the bags of money for his kinsman, that money was owed to Tobit, the man Gabael was only holding it.
In the case of Colossians 2:14: YHWH God holds the bag of wrath to be paid in full eternal death, and God has the principality and power to pay us back to our face, justly, and according to God’s righteousness we are owed death, because the wage of sin is death (1John 3:4 confirms sin as transgressing the law), and the ordinance socalled in the KJV is the Geek word Dogma G1378 , lit. meaning an authoritive decree (Ex. Dan_2:13 as well as Luk_2:1) and God is that authority that decreed your death as payment for sin (because The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (1Co_15:56).
I hope this point is made here before I speak a word concerning the feasts, which will be soon to discuss, rather my very focused point is that if you have been taught that this section of scripture is about anything else but your completeness being in Christ by his atonement and forgiveness whereby he is offering us a walk in Him to abound in the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, not in: philosophy and vain deceit, tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, but in he who spoke the rudiments of all things into existence and was made flesh, who is the same as gave every Word of the Law which brings us to the knowledge of Sin, and that inclueds our ancestors and our own neglect, disregard and ignorance of YHWH’s devine worship and service found in his Sabbath, new moon and feasts days, but it in no way is limited to it, Paul is teaching the simplicity of our sure damnation with out the effective power of Christ’s person and blood for our reconciliation and as the highest benefit to have access through his manifestation to all wisdom and knowledge.
Walking in him who is rooted, built up in him, and stablished in the faith, all of which will not leave us standing still but rather we will abound in the WORD of God with thanksgiving, moving forward in our walk in God’s Word and being thankful he has revealed his perfect way to us, knowing it is impossible to obtain it’s righteousness of ourself therefore we are rooted in Christ’s righteousness wherein we can abound unto perfection by faith and sanctification.
So then what interpretation does context cast upon the possible meaning of:
Col_2:16-17 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: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ?
The way this verse is phrased is direct, How do we disallow other men from Judging us? Can we force him to not do so? If we ignore mens judgment of us it does not cause it to cease. The obvious answer is to desist in the action we are judge in by a man. So could the apostle be speaking of willfully disregarding meat or drink or regarding the holy days or the Sabbath or new moons? By considering the prior context of the validation of the Word of God and the Law of God this verse is not even dealing with the keeping of the timing of the feasts, that is a settled matter of service and worship which is easily commanded in the law of God and applicable for those walking in Christ by Faith.
This verse is dealing with the regard to the portion of the feasts that called for ‘meat and drink offerings’ at the temple on ‘the holy days, sabbath and new moons as direct by the law in Numbers 28-29 and called the shadow in Heb_10:1, in biblical context it isn’t even touching the subject of what a person eats or drinks. and importantly, the common sense of the verse is telling us “Let no man therefore judge you” in those things… even if they are shadows. Now the flow and phrase is from Eze_45:17 … when he says ” meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel” ( this is the ONLY other place in the bible where this flow and ordering of the words are identical (norm. Sabbath, New Moon, holidays, which is more significant than I have time to discuss).
So with that explanation, this would imply that at the time of Paul, when he is writing to the Colossians he is saying…”Let no man therefore judge you in” in what is also refered to by Ezekiel on the feasts, new moons and sabbaths, which unless the Gentiles had been properly approved by those who judge such matters in Jerusalem’s temple (which were not real fond of Christians), they couldn’t even enter past the most outer court for worship.
The 2 contexts, limited and general say the same thing: Believe
Now in our modern context, the time after the temple was destroyed we know that the hour had come where it is not in Jerusalem or on any mount we shall go to worship, but in the days of Paul and the Colossians, when the Temple stood this meant something different in the limited context, the only way for the readers to comply with this request of Paul’s would have been to do what the law said in order to defer judgment of those who would judge, if it were applicable to them under the words of the Law literally. In other words, while the Jerusalem Temple stood, the very earthly Temple our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles worshiped in before and after his resurrection this verse says “Let no man therefore judge you…” when you consisted that Gnosticism would have taught the a-nomian doctrine that no material or physical law including the temple is spiritually holy, this verse is admonishing the people to worship according to the law of God in the calling they are called in, which mind you, according to the law every person did not entered the temple and offer the meat and drink offering on the altar ONLY the priest did, rather the peoples tithe given to the Levites and then to the Priests the sons of Aaron and of that form of public expense the offering was taken. This means, “Let no man therefore judge you…” in this limited context of the time that one paid his tithe according to the Law, that is the family to the Elders of his patriarchal Church, who took it to a God’s ordained Levites who took it to the God ordained Priest (Heb_7:5)(all of this you can find by reading the law and prophets and history and believe it without spiritualizing it or ‘new testamentizing’ it with no Lawful authority to do so.) that is God’s law in opposition to man’s traditions.
Christian Levites and Priests Bro. Joshua? That is absurd!
Act_4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas was a Levite…
Act 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
Not so absurd after all..?
We can choose to cling to manmade traditions as doctrine and continue robbing our selves of the reward found in Jesus Christ the consistent WORD of God if we wish, and it seems like that pre-disposed wish is often the case in Traditional christianisms, but at some point here in this choice we step over the dividing line concerning our stance on God’s Law, the line between pro-nomian (For Law) into being Nomian (Lawful) into a-nomian (no law) to anti-nomian (against Law). The Word of God doesn’t need us to defend it it’s it fights for itself when we say every word of God is pure, it’s a shield and a sword all in one (Psa_18:30, Pro_30:5) so if this makes you defensive who are you fighting?
So, before I let the subject go, that of offerings in the temple after the resurrection, and before the destruction of the Jerusalem, I’d like to offer another set of verses to support this consistent meaning of Col_2:16 also from the testimony of Paul he is ready to offers upon the Altar at Jerusalem while it yet stood in taking a Nazarite vow in starting in Act_21:20-29; here is a summary of the situation starting with Peter speaking to Paul:
purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. … Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them…
The Nazarite vow as the only vow one shaved his head for and then offered sacrifice and offerings (which you can find in Num_6:13-15 ) which did indeed involve a blood sacrifice of a he lamb, a ewe lamb for sin and a ram, for those who ignorantly say “that vow required no blood”. Therefore if Paul would have offered according to the law even the sin offering of a ewe lamb why would we conclude that he could not be admonishing contributing the tithe which supplied the meat offerings and drink offering at Sabbath, new moon and feast time? Truly, no objection exists which can be proven from scripture.
This is not a forward for Christians to sacrifice blood in our modern setting, that is a sin in and of it self as mentioned in Lev_17:1, this message is a call for Christians to learn to take time and read the text and believe what it says, and what the evidence offers from scripture is “let no man therefore Judge you” was a call in Paul’s day back to God’s Law that was applicable in that day, under faith through grace of the paid debt blotted out by the blood of Christ, so that when that temple and altar was destroyed every pro-nomian Christian was fully confident that the blood of Christ was Expiated upon the altar of Heaven for forgiveness as it is this day.
Our call is a return to YHWH’s Service, the blood of Christ was given to eliminate excuse for our disobedience. The inconsistent doctrine of new dispensation, which gives license to ignorance of God’s Holy Law found in scripture is in error and it is further perpetrated as sin beyond ignorant error when new laws, requirements or so called “God inspired suggestions” are then added to Christian worship. Rather if we believe in the coming of Christ as being the Word made flesh and being the propitious sacrifice for sin and iniquity thereby making peace, we find reconciliation between YHWH the God of Scripture and Man, reconciliation which calls us back to worship services God’s way.
Therefore we, No more can we say there is a wall of partition between us and God which disallows us to do the right thing by faith.