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. ~ Colossians 2:16-17
This verse is probably the number one most cited verses in the New Testament used by people who are anti-obedience to prove that the laws and statues of the Most High are done away with.
The theory holds that our Messiah died and was resurrected so that the entire world could remain ignorant and in sin and still get to “heaven”. They may not word it like this, but this ideal is exactly what this common belief perpetuates.
At best, it’s a half-truth told and portrayed by people who do not want to be held accountable for their disobedience to the Father and his Son, Yahushua.
This article is about the biblical feast days and all the pagan “holi-days” that came to replace them. However, we must first dispel the myth that many Paulinian worshipers spread in the European Christian doctrine. It won’t take long…
In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul tells his audience, who are gentiles in predominately gentile regions in Colossae and Laodicea, not to worry about people judging them for consuming or not consuming certain foods and drinks. He also says not to worry about others judging them about keeping or not keeping holy days, new moons, or sabbaths.
It is commonly assumed by Christians that Paul is telling the gentiles to eat pork and bottom feeders all they want and honor holidays like Easter, Christmas, and Halloween instead of Yahuwah’s established holy days, such as the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Sabbath.
(I bet when you read it like this none of it makes sense anymore!)
It’s more likely that Paul is telling a gentile people who live in a gentile nation that does not follow biblical laws, statues, and holy days, not to be concerned with what others have to say about their set-apart lifestyle. Those in Christ would likely follow Christ, meaning they would eat as he did and honor what he honored, rather than participate in the paganism of the gentiles of that region and era, making them targets to be judged by those around them.
In this chapter of Colossians, Paul also talks about the blotting out of the ordinances that were against them, which was nailed to the cross (Col 2:14) and the commandments and doctrines of men (Col 2:22). None of these statements imply the commandments and doctrines of God were “done away with”. See, New Testament Christians had two enemies, Pagan Romans and Grecians and Judaic Jews. The doctrines and commandments of men came from both of these groups, but they have nothing to do with the commandments of the Most High. He’s likely referring to “Jewish” law which is man’s corrupt and ignorant interpretation of God’s laws and commandments and Roman law, which eventually caused widespread persecution. More than likely, Paul is specifically referring to gentile law since the people he is talking to live in gentile regions that were under gentile rule, not Jewish rule or Mosaic law.
To say that Paul is telling these people they don’t have to follow the same lifestyle as the Messiah would be to assume that the gentile nations they lived in followed the lifestyle of the Messiah and was judging the gentiles for not doing so…?
See, we must study the word and ask why. We must also reconcile Paul’s and every man’s teachings with that of the one they claim to represent. If Jesus himself says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18), then why would we assume his follower, Paul, is saying the exact opposite?
I believe that this common and widespread misconception is the result of human nature. We naturally want to understand God’s words in a way that requires nothing of us. We are inclined to resist change. As a result, we understand scripture with a bias. It is a bias that causes us to see things the way we want to see them. When someone confirms the deception for us, we are eager to go along and when another dispels the lies, we tend to reject it.
But the whole point of Jesus and the Father can be found in this very truth. Jesus came so that we can be as perfect as the Father in all our ways (Matthew 5:48), this requires that we overcome our basic human nature and act, like our Messiah, with authority and God-purpose. It means overcoming the flesh.
Yahushua did not come so that we could continue in sin, as many want to believe. We didn’t need him for that. Humanity was doing a fine job of continuing in sin before and after he came to save us from sin. He came so that, like him, we could overcome our simple and sinful nature and accept, within ourselves, the way, the truth, and the life which is Him according to John 14:6 and the Word, according to John 1:14, and God which is also him according to John 1:1.
As TRUE followers this is what the Messiah brings to us, the ability to excel above our basic human instinct to receive the truth that is him and the Word and God! This truth is a way of life. This is the Messiah that we must follow, receive, and become one with.
In Mark 9:40, Yahushua’s disciples see someone who had not been taught by the Master casting out devils in his name and they forbade him from doing so. Yahushua says, “Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. He that is not against us is our part.”
This brings us to a complex conclusion. Either Paul is operating in the conditions described above and readers are misinterpreting the context and setting of Paul’s messages, or he is one not taught by the Messiah but who gives water in his name. Both are conclusions no one wants to draw about Paul. But it’s either this or his writings are fictitious and made up by someone against the Messiah and his teachings, which I DO NOT believe.
One thing I will admit, Paul’s communication style leaves lots room for error and misinterpretation and it’s not a new phenomenon. Early leaders of the Messianic movement had to take time out to address misuse of Paul’s epistles, which are still misused today. Peter wrote to assure Israelites who had been informed of Paul’s teachings that his way of communicating was difficult to understand, but he was saying the same thing that all of the apostles and disciples were saying – Obey the commandments of God and of the Messiah. Just read first and second Peter to see what they were all teaching. He warned that some are twisting Paul’s teachings and other scriptures to lead people astray.
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Peter 3:15-17)
Taking all this into consideration, don’t be led astray! As far as the enemy’s game goes, it’s like New Testament times were yesterday… Not much has changed. None the less, we are still falling for the same old tricks.
Let’s move on to study Yahuwah’s holidays and feast days, beginning with the weekly Sabbath.