Colossians 2:16 - 18
ESV - 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.
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I would say that, in these verses, Paul was referring to the various observances that had characterized the written Law or customs of Judaism, with regard to subjects such as whether particular food items were or were not to be eaten (that is, whether they were considered "clean" or "unclean"); the various Jewish religious feasts or observances; or other days of religious significance (such as the Jewish Sabbath, or the new moon marking the beginning of each month (Numbers 28:11-15)) that occurred throughout the annual Jewish calendar. At the time that Paul wrote these words, there were so-called "Judaizers" who claimed that Christians needed to continue to obey the requirements of the Mosaic Law (in addition to having faith in Christ) in order to be saved (Acts 15:1-31). Paul was saying that Christians were not to allow themselves to be judged or accused by such people if the Christians did not continue to keep the Jewish observances, since the purpose of those observances had been to point to the complete and final fulfillment of the Law that had been accomplished by Christ, and from which Christians, because of their faith in Christ, were now freed.
The Bible talks about two set of laws: God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments (TC), and the ceremonial law of Moses, which contained scores of regulations and the Bible sets clear distinction between the (TC) and the ceremonial law. The TC contains 10 moral laws written in stone by God, while the ceremonial law was written by Moses on paper and contained over 100 ordinance (Deut 4:13-14). Because of the curses and judgments spelled out in the law of Moses, the ceremonial law was considered to be “against” them. The TC does not contain such curses and judgments. The mosaic law of ordinances ended at the cross and we are no longer obligated to offer lambs in sacrifice. To better understand Col 2:16-18 we should first take a look at Col 2:14-16. After describing the “set aside” and “nailing” of the ordinances that were against us, Paul wrote, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink.” “Therefore” means “based on what has just been said. In other words, Paul is saying, “Based upon the fact that the ordinances have been set aside, therefore let no one judge you in meat or drink.” Because there isn’t one single commandment dealing with meat and drink in the TC, we can confidently say that Paul is talking about the ceremonial law and not the TC. “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: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Col 2:16, 17). Is Paul here talking about the 7th-day Sabbath, better known as the 4th commandment? Absolutely not! And we know that because these are “shadows of things to come.” The weekly Sabbath was instituted by God before sin came into the world and there couldn't be any type and shadows before sin exited. All the shadows were introduced because of sin and pointed forward to the deliverance from sin through Christ. All the lambs slain represented Jesus, the true Lamb, who would die for the sins of the world. If sin had not entered the world, there would have been no need of a Saviour, and therefore, no lambs or shadows pointing to a Saviour. So these “Sabbath days which are a shadow” are referring to the yearly Sabbaths which are part of the “ordinance” system which ended at the cross. This also has nothing to do with consumption of clean or unclean foods. In Acts 10, Peter has a vision in which a voice tells him 3 times to kill and eat all kind of unclean creatures. Confused Peter replied: “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." (Acts 10:14). Peter who spent over 3 years with Christ knew that unclean foods were still unclean and not fit for human consumption years after the cross. Paul is simply saying if anyone want to keep feast days and holy days let him do it, but do not judge someone else who decided that these ordinances are not important for salvation.
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