QUESTION: “Is the Seventh day Sabbath the same as “the sabbaths which are a shadow of things to come” in Colossians 2:14-17 ?

ANSWER: This is one of the most misunderstood passages in the New Testament. Note the context: Paul wrote, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us … nailing it to his cross” (verse 14, KJV). The “handwriting of ordinances” that was “blotted out” and nailed to the cross was not the Ten Commandments, which were not written by any man’s hand, but with “the finger of God” (see Exodus 31:18). It was the ceremonial law, with its animal sacrifices, that was written by the hand of Moses. This “handwriting” was a continual witness “against” Israel (see Deuteronomy 31:24-26) because its very existence testified that Israel had broken the Ten Commandments. That’s why they needed to offer lambs. When Yahushua died, this entire system of ceremonial sacrifices was “blotted out.”

“Therefore,” wrote Paul in Colossians 2:16, “Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come.” Verses 16, 17. The “meat,” “drink,” “holy day[s],” and “sabbath days” referred to in this text are the seven annual Jewish “feasts” (Passover, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, etc) with their “meat offerings” and “drink offerings” (see Leviticus 23:37-38). Those yearly Jewish feast days, along with their blood offerings, were also called “sabbaths” (see Leviticus 23:24, 32, 37-38), but they were very different from the Seventh day creation Sabbath of the third Commandment. Paul referred to those annual “sabbaths” as “shadows” because their ceremonies and sacrifices pointed forward to Yahushua Mashiach / Christ and were abolished when He died on the cross. Hebrews 10:1 specifically states that it was the ceremonial law, written by the hand of Moses, with its annual feasts and bloody sacrifices that was a “shadow,” not the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments are not the least bit shadowy. They point forward to nothing, but reveal God’s standard of character for the human race. The Seventh day Sabbath of the fourth Commandment is also not a type or shadow, for instead of pointing forward to the death of Yahushua, it points back to Creation Week. See Exodus 20:8-11. Ever unchangeable, it remains in the New Testament, beyond the cross. See Luke 23:56. Paul continued to keep this Sabbath. See Acts 16:13.”

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