Colossians 2:16 and Sabbath
Colossians 2:16 is the one particular verse in the Bible that many Christians who don't observe the seventh day sabbath like to quote, to suggest that the sabbath day is no longer binding and that you can keep any day you like. The problem is that many sincere Christians forget to look at the whole context of Bible verses and miss the true meaning of what God is saying. Let's look into Colossians 2:16 and find out the real truth as to what it means.
Colossians 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.'
Now taken on their own, these verses could well suggest that the sabbath day may no longer be important for us to keep. But when we look at the whole context of what is being said, then new light is shed upon the Word of God. Notice that the verses above start with, "let no man THEREFORE judge you..." That word "therefore" connects this verse to the previous ones. So let's look at the previous verses:
Colossians 2:14-15 .....'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 shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.'
Now this sheds a whole new light upon Colossians 2:16. There are a couple of key words that give us clear understanding about what Paul was saying here. The first is "handwriting of ordinances". What are they? Are they the ten commandments, written by the finger of God? Is Paul simply calling the great law of God "ordinances"? Of course not. So what are these ordinances? Take a look at the following Bible verses:
Hebrews 9:6,9,10 .....'Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God ..... 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; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ORDINANCES, imposed on them until the time of reformation.'
DO YOU SEE?? The ordinances that Paul is talking about were to do with the priestly service with the sacrifices of animals and meat and drink offerings, etc. Now the next key words in Colossians 2:14 are "that was against us". Paul is saying that these ordinances were against us. Were the ten commandments, God's great moral law of love, against us? No, of course not, they are there to help us and guide us to Jesus. So what law was against us? Take a look at the following:
Deuteronomy 31:26 ..... 'Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.'
This "book of the law" contained the carnal ordinances of the priestly service. Now the ten commandments, written on stone were placed INSIDE the ark, and yet this book of the law, containing the carnal ordinances was placed BESIDE (outside) the ark, and note, AS A WITNESS AGAINST THEE. So it was the ordinances of sacrifices, offerings, washings etc, that were against us, NOT the ten commandments. It becomes so clear if we just use the Bible to interpret itself, rather than take verses out of context.
Jesus said the Sabbath was made 'FOR' man (Mark 2:27). This means the ordinances Paul said were 'AGAINST US' in Colossians 2, cannot include the 7th day Sabbath, which is 'FOR' us.