Ten Commandments, Sabbath or Ceremonial Law?
This verse would have to be the most abused and misunderstood Bible passage in regards to the ordinances of the ceremonial law. So what actually is the ceremonial law, and is it possible for this passage on Colossians 2:16 to refer to the Ten Commandments or just the Lord's Sabbath as some claim?
The ceremonial law with its sacrificial system pointed the people to the coming of Christ. Every time the blood of an animal was shed in the old Jewish temple, it was a reminder to the onlooker that One would come and die for his sin. Hence, John the Baptist pointed to our Lord and declared the significant words, “Behold the Lamb of God.” When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, the veil of the great temple curtain was torn from top to bottom to signify that the entire ceremonial system was forever finished. No longer do the priests need to offer up sacrifices.
How do the Ten Commandments and this Ceremonial law relate to each other? If a man sinned, he broke LAW No. 1 - the Moral law of the Ten Commandments. So then he brought his offering, according to LAW No. 2 - the law of sacrifices, and he received forgiveness. LAW No. 1 defines sin, for sin is the transgression of the moral law. (1 John 3:4) LAW No. 2 defined sacrifices, the Ceremonial law which was the remedy for sin. When the Israelite sinned, he broke the first law. To secure forgiveness he had to obey the second law. So here are two very distinct laws.
When the One great and perfect final Sacrifice was offered that Friday afternoon and the true Passover Lamb bowed His head and died and cried out, “It is finished”, the now obsolete ceremonial law that pointed the people to His sacrificial death was nailed to the cross. Jesus is now the permanent remedy for when we break LAW No. 1. When we now sin, we genuinely repent and ask Jesus for forgiveness.
While the word ceremonial is spoken frequently of in scripture, the term ceremonial law is not. In the KJV Bible, it is normally translated to ordinances which Strong's dictionary translates to as being a law of ordinances or ceremonial law. As it was a system of commandments given by God to Israel, there can be no doubt that it was a law which involved ceremonies so it will be frequently called the ceremonial law. Since this law ended at the cross it was only observed by literal Israel.
The key to understanding Colossians 2:16 is found two verses earlier in Colossians 2:14. The key phrase is, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances.” The Greek word for blotting is “exaleipho”, pronounced “ex-al-i'-fo”. Strong's dictionary gives the definition; “to smear out, that is, obliterate (erase tears, figuratively pardon sin): - blot out, wipe away.” The next keyword in this verse is “handwriting” and the Greek word is “cheirographon”, pronounced “khi-rog'-raf-on” and the definition is, “something handwritten (”chirograph”), that is, a manuscript (specifically a legal document or bond (figuratively)): - handwriting.” And the last and final very important word we need to look at is “ordinances”, Greek word is “dogma”, pronounced “dog'-mah” and the Strong's definition is “a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical): - decree, ordinance.”
Did you note the last one? It means “a law”, but what type of law? The two words we should be very familiar with now are “ceremonial” i.e., “ceremonial law” and “ordinances” which comprised the things contained in the ceremonial law.
The Thayer dictionary is even clearer and you will note that it does not say the Ten Commandments. It directly and unmistakably says the “Law of Moses” outright. Thayer Definition: “The rules and requirements of the Law of Moses; carrying a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment.”
So what was nailed to the cross as Paul explains in verse 14? The “Law of Moses,” which is also called the “Mosaic Law”, the “Book of the Law” and as we have just seen by the definition given by the KJV Bible, the “Ordinances.” There should be no doubt that the ceremonial law is not the Moral law and that Paul has said that we no longer need to observe the holy feast days that were associated with the ordinances as some erroneously teach. This was the whole problem that Paul was addressing as some Jews were still doing this.
The ceremonial law was for Israel alone as the Gospel did not go to the Gentiles for 3.5 years after Jesus died on the cross. This is why there is so much confusion between the ceremonial law and the Ten Commandments. That one and final perfect sacrifice of Jesus ended this whole sacrificial system, thankfully giving us no requirement to obey this law. Since Jesus replaced this law, He has become the remedy for sin, which is the breaking of God's Ten Commandment law.
So just to make sure there can be no misunderstanding. The ceremonial law was practised when one sinned and that sin was the breaking of the Ten Commandments. So which one of these is a ceremonial law? Which one do we practise if we sinned before the cross? Do we go and commit adultery to make reconciliation for our sin? Or do we take a lamb for sacrifice to the temple priest to cover our sin such as adultery? Note also that our God is “is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33) and did not place a ceremonial, sacrificial law that was practised when we sinned, with a law that when broken was sin. We can rest knowing God is not the author of confusion and all Ten Commandments are moral laws.
Now that we have a clear distinction between these two laws, we can now look at all the verses that such an astonishing amount of controversy occurs over. The verses in contention are Colossians 2:16, Galatians 4:9-10 and Romans 14:5. Since Colossians 2:14-17 is the main area of confusion we will cover that first.
Colossians 2:16 reads “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink [offerings], or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” And so the belief of some is the fourth Commandment was deleted from stone. What was actually done away with here was the ordinances (ceremonial law). This is clearly seen by noting what Paul said two verses earlier. Colossians 2:14 reads, “blotting out the handwriting (has to be Moses handwriting) of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” Paul then goes on to say, so “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:“
Luke 1:6 KJV also demonstrates that the ordinances and the Ten Commandments are two totally different things. It states, “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the Commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” And Hebrews 9:1-2 says, “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary.” The first Covenant had also the ordinances as well as the Ten Commandments, but the New Covenant has only the Ten Commandments that God now writes in our hearts so it will be our hearts desire to obey Him. God said that the fault with the Old Covenant was the people would not obey it and nowhere does God say that His law lost any Commandments. When God said he will write His law on our hearts, He meant all of His Ten Commandment law.
Did you note in Hebrews 9:1-2 that these ordinances belonged to the Hebrew sanctuary sacrificial system. It was the ceremonial law that was nailed to the cross and “not one jot or one tittle” of any of the Ten Commandments. The obvious differences between the Ten Commandments and the ordinances of the ceremonial law are that the Commandments were written by God's finger, written in stone, placed inside the Ark of the Covenant, are love, eternal, for all people and is sin to break them. The ordinances were in Moses handwriting, written in a book, placed in a pocket on the outside of the Ark of the Covenant, are not love, not eternal, were only for the Jews and were practised because of sin. When that One great and perfect and final Sacrifice was offered that Friday afternoon, when Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” and the true Passover Lamb bowed His head and died, that now obsolete ceremonial law that pointed people to His sacrificial death was nailed to the cross once and for all.
So is the phrase “sabbath days” in Colossians 2:16 referring to the Lord's Sabbath? Definitely not. Firstly, every Greek scholar will tell you that “sabbaths” is unquestionably plural here, which there were several in the ordinances of the ceremonial law, and secondly, everything in verse 16 belonged purely and solely to the ordinances, which Paul specifically tells us is in verse 14. Paul also exhorts that the contents of verse 16 was nailed to the cross because that is what had to be practised because of sin prior to the cross, and of course why it ended at the cross. Sin is breaking of the Ten Commandments (1 John 3:4) and the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. Think very carefully about what God actually calls HIS Sabbath. We find more than once the phrase, “But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God:” It is the Lord's Sabbath! The ceremonial sabbaths belonged to Israel only and were very significantly called “Her sabbaths” and are never referred to as the Sabbath of the Lord yet alone the Sabbath of the Lord your God. The Sabbath of the Lord was not kept for breaking the Sabbath of our Lord or any other Commandment for that matter. This of course makes no sense at all.
Studying the table below will give clarity between the ceremonial sabbaths mentioned in Colossians 2:16 and the fourth Commandment, the Sabbath.
Sabbath of the Lord
|Spoken by God personally
(Exodus 20:1, 8-11)
|Spoken by Moses
|Written in stone by God Himself
|Written by Moses hand on paper
|Put inside the Ark of the Covenant
|Stored on the outside of the Ark
|Was made at creation
|Were made after Sinai
|Was established before sin
|Were established after sin
|Breaking the Sabbath is sin
(1 John 3:4)
|These were kept because of sin
|It is a law of love
(Matthew 22:35-40, Isaiah 58:13-14)
|They were not love
(Colossians 2:14, Galatians 4:9-10)
|It is a law of liberty (freedom)
(James 1:25, 2:10-12)
|They were bondage
(Galatians 4:9-10, Colossians 2:14)
|The Sabbath is for everyone
(Mark 2:27, Hebrews 4:9-10)
|Only for the children of Israel & Jews
|God calls it MY Sabbath
(Exodus 31:13, Ezekiel 20:20)
|God calls them HER sabbaths
(Hosea 2:11, Lamentations 1:7)
|The Sabbath is eternal
(Exodus 31:16-17, Isaiah 66:22-23)
|Were nailed to the cross
(Colossians 2:14, Ephesians 2:15)
Consider the following three questions:
1) Why didn't God put His Sabbath with all the ceremonial sabbaths in Moses hand writing if it was to end at the cross?
2) Why didn't God put His Sabbath with the Jewish ceremonial sabbaths that ended at the cross, if His Sabbath was only for the Jews?
3) Why would our omniscient (all knowing) God put His Sabbath in His eternal law of love if it is not eternal or not love?
Observe how every single part of Colossians 2:16 and associated verses do refer to the ceremonial law. Unfortunately, most modern Bible translations have translated the word meat in verse sixteen incorrectly and most non-Jews get this wrong and this includes some theologians. Ask some Jews that understand Hebrew. The King James Bible is one of the few translations that does translate these words correctly and is therefore recommended in these studies. So much gets lost when the translators do not have a good understanding of Jewish culture and terminology. To be referring to clean or unclean foods here would be totally out of context for this passage. But when kept in context, every single point here refers to the various holy feast days and the sacrificial sanctuary system. Further clarification can be found in the book of Hebrews. Note that the context of this passage is undoubtedly the sanctuary service in regards to sacrifices and offerings, of which Jesus Christ became the final perfect sacrifice for us.
Paul is possibly the author of Hebrews and we see that the meat and drink has to be meat and drink offerings by the unmistakable context of this passage in Hebrews 9:7-14 below. The author speaks of meat and drink [offerings] and carnal ordinances which were imposed until the time of reformation, being Jesus Christ who obtained eternal redemption for us and brought an end to the sacrifices prescribed by the ordinances of the ceremonial law once and for all.
This continues to illustrate the perfect context of Colossians 2:16 and as per Colossians 2:14, we see everything described is part of the ordinances of the ceremonial law, which Paul said in this verse was against us and contrary to us, and it was taken out the way and nailed to the cross by Jesus' perfect sacrifice.
Hebrews 9:7-14 “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 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. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
As you can plainly see, like Colossians 2:16, nowhere in this passage are clean and unclean foods referred to and nowhere in the Bible where clean and unclean foods are discussed, are there issues of unclean drinks. In fact there is no mention of unclean drinks anywhere in the Bible as they do not exist. What is spoken of in Colossians and Hebrews are references to meat and drink offerings that were part of the sanctuary service and were in the ordinances of the ceremonial law. This is all that can be referred to and when done so fits the context perfectly of both passages as it remains harmoniously in context with the sanctuary service.
Since many Bibles have failed in the translation of meat and drink [offerings] in Colossians 2:16, some try and make meat and drink about dietary laws etc, so let's clarify further. When Paul says “therefore,” he is referring to what he just spoke of in Colossians 2:14 that was nailed to the cross. So why did Jesus die on the cross? Did He die for the food we eat? Did Jesus die for any type of religious practise that involved eating and drinking? Of course not! Jesus died on the cross for one thing only and that was our SIN. Is this really so hard to understand? It is meat and drink offerings that were practised because of sin. So simple and perfectly in context.
So let's re-examine Colossians 2:14-17 again to see if everything does actually refer to the ceremonial law by the fact that the context of the passage remains the same throughout. “Blotting out the handwriting”, the ceremonial law was written in Moses handwriting. “Ordinances”, Strong's dictionary also directly translates this word to ceremonial law, “that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way”, the ceremonial law is now against us and contrary to us, as Christ has become that One and perfect sacrifice for us. “Nailing it to his cross”, and of course now that Christ has become that perfect sacrifice for us, no longer are meat and drink offerings and animal sacrifices and all associated holy days necessary, so the ceremonial law was nailed to the cross. Moving onto verse sixteen, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink”, and as we have now seen were part of the ceremonial law. “Or in respect of an holyday”, these holy days included such days as Passover, Feast of Weeks and many others. “Or of the new moon”, new moon celebrations were also part of the ordinances. “Or of the sabbath days”, Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Feast of Weeks, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles and many others were all sabbath days.
When referred to in plural and the context of the passage is the ceremonial law, then the sabbaths referred to can be nothing else but ceremonial sabbaths. Verse seventeen goes on to say, “Which are a shadow of things to come.” These sabbaths were called a shadow because Passover was a shadow of the crucifixion and Feast of Weeks was a shadow of Pentecost etc. These Old Testament holy day feasts were shadows of what was to come and once those things had come and gone then the shadows also disappeared. Here is one verse from Leviticus that refers to such feast holy days, which involves meat and drink, that is, meat and drink offerings that Paul also refers to in Colossians 2:16. Leviticus 23:37 “These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day”
Some who would like us to believe it is only nine Commandments have claimed that the Sabbath of the Lord was a shadow as referred to in Colossians 2:17. Is this true? We have seen that this Hebrew sanctuary system had many feast days that were ceremonial sabbaths and these were all shadows of something. What was Passover a shadow of? Who became our Passover Lamb? On what day was Jesus crucified? What was about to be sacrificed in the temple when Jesus died and an unseen hand ripped the temple curtain from top to bottom? Jesus of course became our Passover Lamb and died at the exact same time that they were about to sacrifice the Passover lamb in the temple. So was Passover a shadow of something? Most definitely! It was a shadow of the true Passover lamb dying on the cross for our sins. Since some are calling the Seventh day Sabbath a shadow, perhaps they would like to tell me what it was a shadow of. Happy hunting because the Sabbath is not a shadow of anything! All these feasts ended at the cross because they were practised because of sin and why they ended with the sacrifice of Jesus. They came about as a result of sin. So when was the Sabbath created?
Genesis 2:2-3 “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. 3 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.” Most Christians do not know that the word translated “rested” in our English Bibles in Genesis 2:3 is actually “shabath” in the Hebrew and means Sabbath. God said the Sabbath “is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever...” Why did God say it was a sign? Because “...in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:17 There can be no doubt that the Sabbath was made at creation and was before sin. This is just one of many reasons that it cannot be a ceremonial law as some have erroneously stated and cannot be a shadow of anything as it was instituted before sin and so can have nothing to do with the ordinances of the ceremonial law. The Lord's Sabbath has never been associated with sacrifices, and we are told that is a sign that it is God we love and worship and that it is God that sanctifies us and makes us Holy when we keep His day Holy.
Some will argue this sign and perpetual covenant that was to last forever was only made with Israel, but note that we are children of Israel from Abraham. Galatians 3:29 “And if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” We are and have to be children of Israel as both covenants were only made with the house of Israel. Hebrews 8:10, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel…says the Lord: I will put My Laws into their mind and write them in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” See also Romans 2:28-29, Romans 9:6-8, 1 Corinthians 10:18 and Galatians 6:16.
The final proof and Perfect Parallel that can leave no doubt
Note below the perfect parallel between Colossians 2:16 and Ezekiel 45:17 and that this was a sin offering, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel for breaking God's Moral law (Ten Commandments) as prescribed by the ceremonial law until such time that Jesus nailed this law to the cross. This is what Israel had to do to make atonement for sin, which is the breaking of the Ten Commandments which of course includes the fourth Commandment, the Seventh Day Sabbath. It clearly demonstrates the issue and leaves no doubt as to what Paul was explaining to the Colossians. A comparison is also given in table format for those who prefer that. Note first Strong's dictionary definition for holyday in Colossians 2:16 and that festivals, feasts and holydays are synonymous. Parentheses are added.
G1859 heorte, Of uncertain affinity; a festival: - feast, holyday.
Colossians 2:14-16 “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; [sin] 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink [offerings], or in respect of an holyday [feast], or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”
Ezekiel 45:17 “And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts [holyday], and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.”
|meat, or in drink, [offerings]||meat offerings, and drink offerings,|
|KJV of an holyday,
NKJV regarding a festival
|in the feasts,|
|or of the new moon||and in the new moons,|
|or of the sabbath days:||and in the sabbaths,|
Here is another verse confirming the ordinances were part of the “Law of Moses” as the Thayer dictionary states, which had holyday feasts, new moons and ceremonial sabbaths as just described in Ezekiel 45:17 and Colossians 2:16 that were practised because of sin until Christ became our one and final perfect sacrifice.
2 Chronicles 8:13 “Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.”
The following verse also confirms that the ordinances were by the hand of Moses and are separate from the whole law despite those who would try and tell you that the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments are the same thing. How anyone could believe this or not understand the difference is beyond me!
2 Chronicles 33:8 “Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.”
Two erroneous web sites claim sabbath days in Colossians 2:16 is referring to the Lord's Sabbath because they insist that feast days can only be annual ceremonial sabbath days and thus claim Paul would effectively be saying, “don't let anyone judge you on sabbath days, new moons and sabbath days” if sabbath days was not the Lord's Sabbath. So the facts are ignored in favour of second guessing what they think Paul is saying. Colossians 2:14 states that the contents of Colossians 2:16 are the ordinances. (Mosaic Law, Ceremonial law). Strong's dictionary states the ordinances are the ceremonial law and the Thayer dictionary states the same in that these ordinances are the Mosaic Law. So the two main and most reputable dictionaries agree that Colossians 2:14-17 refers to the sacrificial law of Moses as you would expect. The sacrificial law of Moses is NOT the Ten Commandments! The Law of Moses is what was practiced for sin until Christ replaced this law and why Colossians 2:14 says it was nailed to the cross. The Lord's Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments and was never practised because of sin but the Law of Moses was practised when the Lord's Sabbath was broken! And of course not forgetting the meat and drink offerings, feasts days, new moons and sabbath days are also exactly what was part of the Mosaic law and fits perfectly as already seen.
There were in fact many feast days that were not ceremonial sabbaths! The feast of unleavened bread is a week long festival (feast) and only the first and last days were ceremonial sabbaths. So not all feast days are ceremonial sabbaths as these web sites claim! So when Paul said, “don't let anyone judge you in holy feast days, new moons and sabbath days,” that is exactly what he meant!
These same people while trying to give credibility to their fallacy, also try and turn sabbath days in into the singular, when the original Greek records “sabbath” as been plural here. The Mosaic law had several ceremonial sabbaths and so “sabbaths” or “sabbath days” is correct and fits. Sabbath day does not fit in any way at all. So what was inspired by God? The original Greek and Hebrew text etc, or the multitude of Bible translations? Obviously the original Greek text was. Many Bibles have wrongly translated “sabbaths” in two places in the singular as sabbath sounded right. But was it? The argument is that since some translations translated “sabbaths” as “sabbath” when the Greek text showed they should have been plural, then “sabbaths” in Colossians 2:16 must also be “sabbath.” This of course is bad logic and just another attempt at attacking the truth of the Lord's Sabbath. The original Greek text is inspired and is what is correct regardless of what some Bible translations may have wrong. Below are two translations that did correctly translate “sabbath” in the plural as the original Greek text was written in regards to the two verses the proponents use for their fallacy. John 19:31 informs us that the crucifixion Passover was a high day meaning that the Passover sabbath fell on the Lord's Sabbath. This is why Matthew 28:1 is in fact correctly sabbaths!
Matthew 28:1 YLT “And on the eve of the sabbaths, at the dawn, toward the first of the sabbaths, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre,”
Matthew 28:1 ALT “Now after [the] Sabbaths, at the dawning into [the] first [day] of the week [i.e. early Sunday morning], Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the grave.”
Luke 4:16 ALT “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And He entered, according to His custom, on the day of the Sabbaths into the synagogue, and He stood up to read aloud [the Scriptures].”
Since Colossians 2:14 says “handwriting of ordinances” which Moses wrote in a book. It should be clear to all that if God intended for His Sabbath to be temporary, He would have had Moses put it in his own handwriting along with the rest of the ordinances that included all the other temporary Sabbaths that were nailed to the cross. However, the fact is, God did not include the Sabbath that He blessed and sanctified in the beginning at creation, and wrote in stone with His own finger along with the other nine Commandments, and placed inside the Ark of the Covenant of which the original is in heaven right now and will be for all time. This leaves us with only two options. Either God is not omniscience (all knowing) as the Bible tells us and our perfect God made a mistake, or the only other possible answer there can be — God never did have any intentions on changing or abolishing it and it is to last as long as Heaven and Earth just as Jesus told us. Matthew 5:18 Perhaps Jesus actually meant what He said!
Below are two Bible Commentaries from famous theologians and as you would expect had no trouble in understanding the truth on Colossians 2:16.
Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, LL.D., F.S.A., (1715-1832)
“Colossians 2:14 - Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances - By the hand-writing of ordinances the apostle most evidently means the ceremonial law: this was against them, for they were bound to fulfill it; and it was contrary to them, as condemning them for their neglect and transgression of it. This law God himself has blotted out.
Nailing it to his cross - When Christ was nailed to the cross, our obligation to fulfill these ordinances was done away.”
Colossians 2:16 - Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink - The apostle speaks here in reference to some particulars of the hand-writing of ordinances, which had been taken away, and the necessity of observing certain holydays or festivals, such as the new moons and particular sabbaths, or those which should be observed with more than ordinary solemnity; all these had been taken out of the way and nailed to the cross, and were no longer of moral obligation. There is no intimation here that the Sabbath was done away, or that its moral use was superseded, by the introduction of Christianity. I have shown elsewhere that, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, is a command of perpetual obligation, and can never be superseded but by the final termination of time. As it is a type of that rest which remains for the people of God, of an eternity of bliss, it must continue in full force till that eternity arrives; for no type ever ceases till the antitype be come. Besides, it is not clear that the apostle refers at all to the Sabbath in this place, whether Jewish or Christian; his σαββατων, of sabbaths or weeks, most probably refers to their feasts of weeks, of which much has been said in the notes on the Pentateuch.”
Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible (1798-1870)
“Colossians 2:14 - Blotting out the handwriting - The word rendered handwriting means something written by the hand, a manuscript; and here, probably, the writings of the Mosaic law, or the law appointing many ordinances or observances in religion. The allusion is probably to a written contract, in which we bind ourselves to do any work, or to make a payment, and which remains in force against us until the bond is cancelled. That might be done, either by blotting out the names, or by drawing lines through it, or, as appears to have been practiced in the East, by driving a nail through it. The Jewish ceremonial law is here represented as such a contract, binding those under it to its observance, until it was nailed to the cross. The meaning here is, that the burdensome requirements of the Mosaic law are abolished, and that its necessity is superseded by the death of Christ.
Of ordinances - Prescribing the numerous rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion.
Which was contrary to us - Operated as a hindrance, or obstruction, in the matter of religion. The ordinances of the Mosaic law were necessary, in order to introduce the gospel; but they were always burdensome.
Nailing it to his cross - As if he had nailed it to his cross, so that it would be entirely removed out of our way. The death of Jesus had the same effect, in regard to the rites and institutions of the Mosaic religion, as if they had been affixed to his cross.
Colossians 2:16 - Or in respect of a holy day - Margin, part. The meaning is, “in the part, or the particular of a holy day; that is, in respect to it” The word rendered “holy-day” - εορτὴ heorte - means properly a “feast” or “festival;” and the allusion here is to the festivals of the Jews. The sense is, that no one had a right to impose their observance on Christians, or to condemn them if they did not keep them. They had been delivered from that obligation by the death of Christ; Colossians 2:14.
Or of the new moon - On the appearance of the new moon, among the Hebrews, in addition to the daily sacrifices, two bullocks, a ram, and seven sheep, with a meat offering, were required to be presented to God; Num 10:10; Num 28:11-14. The new moon in the beginning of the month Tisri (October) was the beginning of their civil year, and was commanded to be observed as a festival; Lev 23:24, Lev 23:25.
Or of the Sabbath days - Greek, “of the Sabbaths.” The word Sabbath in the Old Testament is applied not only to the seventh day, but to all the days of holy rest that were observed by the Hebrews, and particularly to the beginning and close of their great festivals. There is, doubtless, reference to those days in this place, since the word is used in the plural number, and the apostle does not refer particularly to the Sabbath properly so called. There is no evidence from this passage that he would teach that there was no obligation to observe any holy time, for there is not the slightest reason to believe that he meant to teach that one of the Ten Commandments had ceased to be binding on mankind. If he had used the word in the singular number - “the Sabbath,” it would then, of course, have been clear that he meant to teach that that Commandment had ceased to be binding, and that a Sabbath was no longer to be observed. But the use of the term in the plural number, and the connection, show that he had his eye on the great number of days which were observed by the Hebrews as festivals, as a part of their ceremonial and typical law, and not to the moral law, or the Ten Commandments. No part of the moral law - not one of the Ten Commandments could be spoken of as “a shadow of good things to come.” These Commandments are, from the nature of moral law, of perpetual and universal obligation.”
Sadly, there is no shortage of Christians that do not understand Colossians 2:16 or the other passages. They often call the Sabbath a shadow which we have seen is impossible, and some have gone to extreme lengths to even try and prove the “Sabbath Of The LORD” is a ceremonial law, which is what did have the shadows. The Fourth Commandment was never practised because of sin. The ceremonial law was written in a book and why it was also called the “Book of the Covenant.” This is where God would have written it if it was for Israel only but God by no mistake of course wrote it in stone with the other nine Commandments. The “Law of Moses” (ceremonial law) is not the Ten Commandments as the Ten Commandments were not practised because of sin. It is sin to break them. We have also seen how God differentiates between the ceremonial sabbaths and His Sabbath by calling His Sabbath, “My Sabbath” and calling the ceremonial sabbaths that were only for Israel, “Her Sabbaths.” It also saddens me that others have attacked certain denominations and said that they are at a loss to explain how Colossians 2:14-16 says the Ten Commandments were nailed to the cross, and that only the blind and deceived could miss the simple truth of Colossians 2:16. I agree with them on that last point but it is not those they condemn that are wrong. I for one have had no trouble proving they are in error. And even sadder is how they expressed their statements with animated graphics of one Christian punching another one's lights out! This is not from God. These same people claimed that the antichrist is Grandma in a rocking chair because she does not believe in Jesus Christ. They also deny that the word sabbaths is plural, because they say in other places where the Greek is plural for Sabbath, it has been translated in the singular. Do they know that other Bible translations did translate those verses in the plural and that it is the other translators that were in error, and not the ORIGINAL Greek text, which is intact and not in error? The extreme lengths that some people go to just to avoid one Commandment of God saddens me deeply. Do they truly love God or not? Many of these people say that the early Church habitually worshipped on Sunday but that is also incorrect. Habitually? Not even close! There are two scriptures and the one most typically used is actually a Saturday night meeting. If these Christians teaching this heresy actually understood their Bibles or wanted the truth they would know this. One site called got questions pushes this point, and so I sent them an email showing them what and how they had missed this. They did not even have the courtesy to respond. Why not? Read is the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday or who changed the Sabbath day to Sunday for the detailed truth. See the resources page for more sites on Colossians 2:16 and the feasts.
Page 2 - Galatians 4:9-10