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Query for the Month

of July 2000

 

Next up-date: August 1st (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

 

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

What does it mean to "be led by the Spirit"?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

 


Query:

Colossians 2:13-17

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has He quickened [made alive] together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 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; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [reality] is of Christ.

Does this mean that the 7th day Sabbath was done away with at the cross? It's a follow on from last month's query and is just as misunderstood.

Response:

The first thing we need to do is?

That's right, read the chapter to get the context.

There we find that God says beware of the "traditions of men" (v8), and that we are "circumcised" and "baptised" by His death. (v11-12). And that we have risen to a new life (v13) and no longer need fear the requirements of the ceremonial law. (v14).

In verse 14 we are told that He blotted out the handwritten requirements of the law, which are "shadows" of things to come. As shadows they are not the real thing.

The next few verses deal with those who would teach Christians to exercise false humility, probably in fasting and other forms of self-denial, and to worship angels, and in doing so turn away from Christ who holds all things together. (v18-19). The following verses in the NKJ makes it all very clear.

Colossians 2:20-23

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though [still] living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations – "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using – according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

So, when in verse 16 we are told not to let others control us in how we, as Christians, eat, drink, or keep holy days, the ceremonies of the new moon, and the seven yearly sabbaths, we need to take notice. Obviously there were (and still are) men and women who would pull Christians back into "righteous by works" in place of "justification by faith". That is the main thrust of the verses we are querying. The conflict between works and faith.

The items mentioned were all "shadows" and have now either met their fulfilment or are in the process of doing so. There was a time when eating special foods such as the Passover lamb had a great meaning. 1 Corinthians 5:7. The priests’ eating of the confessional lamb was also important as we have seen. Leviticus 6:25-26. Similarly, the holy days of Purim (see Esther 9:26-31), and others like them were useful in keeping in memory events that had great significance for the people of God before the picture of Calvary was given. The observance of the new moon gave the date for the first day of the month and therefore the timing for many other events.

The sabbaths mentioned are the ones we have already looked at, starting with the day after the Passover, and concluding with the one that prefigured the end of time and the beginning of eternity. They had, and still have, great spiritual meaning in the lives of Christians but it is no longer necessary to keep them literally since we have the added light of the life of Jesus. Despite the claims of the false teachers that religious rules will make us more spiritual, keeping such regulations may make us look holy, but they really lead to self-pride.

All these ceremonies were written in the book of the law, Leviticus, as well as in Exodus and the other books of Moses, and were extra to the weekly Sabbath day.

Leviticus 23:37-38

These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire to the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: beside the Sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give to the LORD.

The seventh-day Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God on two tables of stone. Exodus 24:12. It is part of the moral code our Saviour lives by, for the Decalogue [The Ten Words] is simply a word picture of His character. It is also the written standard for sinless people to observe in front of their neighbours. The last six commandments deal with our behaviour towards one another with a special emphasis on how to behave towards our earthly parents, and are obviously necessary where two creatures meet.

The first four, however, show us how to meet our heavenly Parent.

He must be foremost in our lives;
Him only should we listen to;
we should behave as He would in the same circumstances (name = character);
and we need to "rest" in Him for our existence.

We do none of these things to earn salvation. They should be done from a heart of love because we want to show that love, and so that our neighbours can see on whose side we are.

The weekly seventh-day Sabbath was instituted in the garden of Eden by the LORD for Adam and Eve to observe with Him.

Genesis 2:1-3

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.

He blessed that day in a special way for it showed the "rest" that His creatures had in Him.

Hebrews 3:13-19; 4:1-3

But exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today"; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end; while it is said, "Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts," as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

But with whom was He grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not?

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Chapter 4

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For to us was the gospel preached, as well as to them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as He said....

Then He told us that His people will still be observing that day as a special one even in eternity.

Isaiah 66:22-23

For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, said the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, said the LORD.

Therefore each Sabbath in the new world the people of God will come together to worship Him, and each first day of the month they will come to eat of the fruit of the tree of life.

Revelation 22:1-4

And he [the angel] showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.

 

Conclusion:

The "sabbaths" of Colossians 2:17 are special sabbaths which were "shadows" of things to come. They were separate from the weekly seventh-day Sabbath which is part of the Ten Commandments and therefore everlasting.


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

 

Spiritual Dictionary:

Sabbath versus sabbath:

Apart from the weekly seventh-day Sabbath of the Ten Commandments, there were seven holy days spread throughout the year, which were also known as sabbaths, or holy convocations. Leviticus 23:37-38. These special days shadowed forth coming events and after the crucifixion their job was done and they were no longer observed by God's people.


Next query: To be discussed from August 1st 2000.

Romans 7:25

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

What nature does a reborn person have and what happened to the old, sinful nature?

 


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