The Sabbath, Pt. 5

The Sabbath, Pt. 5

Scripture: Colossians 2:14-17, Hebrews 10:1, Deuteronomy 31:24-26
This is the fifth and final part of a series on the Bible Sabbath. Today's topic focuses on the question, "If the law was nailed to the cross, then why should we be concerned about keeping the fourth commandment, the Sabbath?" One passage is specifically discussed at length, Colossians 2:14-17.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts, Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry, as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned, because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hello friends, and welcome to Bible Talk. I'm John Bradshaw. With me is Gary Gibbs. And on Bible Talk, we talk about the Bible and what the Bible has to say to us today. Gary, here's a subject for discussion, and it's a good question that a lot of people have had. We've talked before on Bible Talk where Jesus says, "If you love me, keep my commandments." Seems to be no doubt he was talking about the Ten Commandments. But when Paul was writing to the Colossians, it seems like he indicated that the law of God, and specifically as it relates to the seventh day Sabbath was nailed to the cross. In other words, when Jesus died, that was it, it wasn't important, and the Sabbath no longer needed to be kept.

Gary Gibbs: John, that's a very common teaching in Christianity. They say that the Ten Commandment law was nailed to the cross, and therefore we don't need to keep the Ten Commandments. Now, we're going to look at that text today on Bible Talk in Colossians two, verse 14. But first I want to ask you a question. If the law was nailed to the cross, then do we need to keep any of the commandments?

John: Well, I would imagine, and I think reason demands that you accept that if one commandment is gone, they've all got to be gone. Didn't James say that the breaking of one commandment impacts all the other commandments? So, it would appear that they all stand, or they all fall. Is that reasonable?

Gary: Right. So, if the law is nailed to the cross, then I can go out and I can commit adultery. I can steal, I can lie, I can commit murder, even, if I choose. Because the law was nailed to the cross. But there are few people who will take that reasoning that far. In fact, the only commandment it seems that they really nailed to the cross is the seventh day Sabbath of the fourth commandment.

John: Well, look at that with us in Colossians chapter two, because it talks about something being nailed to the cross, taken out of the way. And it talks, too, about Sabbath days. So, a lot of people look at that and put two and two together and get what they think is four, but maybe it's five.

Gary: I can see where people do look at it that way. But if you study it carefully, you'll discover that there are actually several laws mentioned in the scripture. There's the Ten Commandment law, written by the finger of God. But there's also the ceremonial law that dealt with the sacrificial system and all those type of things, written by the hand of Moses.

John: You're not going to put those two laws together and say that the ceremonial law and the Ten Commandments is all just part of one great, big thing?

Gary: No, John, because the Ten Commandment law and the ceremonial law in that the ceremonial law pointed us forward to Jesus. You know, the killing of lambs and sacrifices prefigured what Jesus would do on the cross. The Ten Commandment law has been in existence even before the ceremonial law and transitions all the way down through eternity, in fact.

John: So, what you're going to suggest by the sounds of things is that if anything was nailed to the cross and done away with, it's the ceremonial law.

Gary: That dealt with sacrifices and offerings.

John: But Paul wrote to the Colossians and he said it also dealt with the Sabbath.

Gary: Well, let's look at it, because we are going to discover that there were annual Sabbath days in connection with the ceremonial law. Let's look at Colossians two, verse 14.

John: OK. You read through that for us.

Gary: We read there, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us." Now, don't miss a couple things here. Number one, it's a handwriting. God wrote the Ten Commandment law with his finger, but this is a law of ordinances that is against us, written by someone's hand.

John: Well, couldn't you argue that the Ten Commandments were written with God's handwriting?

Gary: You could argue every point, John, if you'd like to. But take your time, let's march through it, and we'll see what it's saying.

John: All right, shoot.

Gary: So, it's a handwriting of ordinances that was against us. We're going to let the Bible define which law, written by whose hand, was against us. "He took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross." And then we skip down one verse to verse 16. "Let no man therefore judge you, since this law that was against us was nailed to the cross." Don't let anyone judge you. Now, here's where people think this deals with the seventh day Sabbath.

John: Because he's going to talk about Sabbath right here.

Gary: He's going to say, he says, "Don't be judged in meats, drink, or respect of a holy day, or of new moon, " now watch this, "or of the Sabbath days."

John: Why, there it is. The Sabbath days. Don't let anybody judge you on the Sabbath days. And I'm going to point something out here. You're probably reading from the King James version. I know you why. And that word "days" is supplied, shouldn't even be there. So, there's license to say, "Don't let anyone judge you on the Sabbath." There it is.

Gary: Yeah, actually, in the original language, it's plural for Sabbath, is it not?

John: Well, now there's going to be someone who will argue that. So, let's see, even if it wasn't plural, is there a way around this?

Gary: I believe that you don't really have to know the Greek language and have to look at all that to understand truth. Because just read the next verse.

John: OK. So, we're looking at context.

Gary: Verse 17 is the context. "Which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ."

John: Now, back up here. What's the shadow? Tell us what's a shadow.

Gary: A shadow is something that represents the reality. So, what he's going to do here is he's saying, "These Sabbath days, new moons, holy days, feast days, these are all shadows of things that were fulfilled in Christ."

John: I see a real danger here. If a person were to read this passage and stop at verse 16, without reading verse 17, that's when they're going to find themselves in a theological pickle. Because it's verse 17 that says, "These are shadows." And without that context, you're going to miss it altogether.

Gary: And if you chart what the text is saying, that's how you study the Bible, you first ask yourself, "What does it say?" before you ask yourself, "What does it mean?" If you chart what it's saying, it's saying there is a handwriting of laws that's against us. These laws have to do with meats, drinks, holy days, new moons, and Sabbath days. They are a shadow that was fulfilled in Christ. Now, let's use, John, the rest of the Bible to find these elements that we've just outlined in Colossians two. Let's go to Hebrews chapter 10.

John: OK.

Gary: Verse one. Here we're going to read about a law that has shadows. "For the law having a shadow of good things to come." That's the same thing we just read about in Colossians two.

John: Yeah, that's right. Sure.

Gary: "A law of shadow pointing forward to good things to come. And not the very image of the things can never with those sacrifices, " which they offered, year by year, continually, "make the comers thereunto perfect." Now, this law has to do with sacrifices, doesn't it?

John: That's what it says.

Gary: So, this is talking about the sacrificial law. Now, nowhere in the Ten Commandments will you read about sacrifices. Those sacrificial laws are given to us in what we call, and what the Bible calls, the Law of Moses.

John: So here you've got shadows pointing forward, dealing with sacrifices and so forth and that's just what Colossians was talking about. Meat and drink, new moons. It's true, Gary, you don't read anything about meat and drink offerings and new moons and ceremonial Sabbath days in the Ten Commandments.

Gary: But you do read about it in the Law of Moses. Go with me over to Deuteronomy 31 verses 24 through 26. There in Deuteronomy verse 24 we read this "It came to pass when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book." Did you catch that, John? Who was writing?

John: Moses wrote it.

Gary: And what do you think he wrote with?

John: He probably wrote with a pen or a quill or...

Gary: With his hand.

John: He wrote with his hand?

Gary: He wrote with his hand.

John: That's right.

Gary: And he wrote the words of law in a book! So this is what's commonly called Moses Law. And he took these laws that God had given them, they were the Ceremonial Laws and he tells the Levites, they were the priests, they were the ones in charge of the sacrificial system and the sanctuary and he says "Take this book of the law and put it in the side of the Arc of the Covenant." And that's a quote from the text here. So he says "I want you to take these Ceremonial Laws that I've carefully transcribed and put in this book and put them in the side of the Arc." Now the Arc of the Covenant held the Ten Commandments. And the Ten Commandments were in the center of the Arc but they had pockets on either side of the Arc and that is where they put these Ceremonial Laws written by the hand of Moses.

John: Something I want to come back to you for, for clarification. You mentioned before that the Ceremonial Laws, the Law of Moses, but you said it was given to him by God. This isn't something that Moses dreamed up or invented. This came from God also, didn't it?

Gary: Yes, because God was teaching them how Jesus one day would come and be the Sacrifice for our sins. I don't want to overlook this next part of this verse here in Deuteronomy 31. "Not only was this law written by the hand of Moses and put into the side of the Arc, a separate place than the Ten Commandments." Moses continues and he says there "Put this in the side of the Arc of the Covenant of the Lord your God that it may be there for a witness against thee." The very same phrase, John, that's used over in Colossians 2: 14 through 16. Where it says that "This was a handwriting of ordinances that was against us."

John: It appears pretty clear then that in Colossians chapter two Paul was indeed not referring to the Ten Commandments being blotted out and nailed to anything at all, rather the Ceremonial Law having been done away with.

Gary: And these Ceremonial Laws dealt with feasts and meats and drinks and Sabbath days. Now, John, this is where a lot of people make a mistake, is they think of the Seventh Day Sabbath but it's really referring to annual Sabbaths. You know, like we have Christmas as an annual holiday. Holiday can also be pronounced holy day. The Israelite nation, they also had annual holy days that were rest days and that's simply what the word Sabbath means. Rest day.

John: And what days were these?

Gary: They fell on dates which meant they fell on different days of the week depending on how the year cycled. If you go to Leviticus 23, you'll see this. On the seventh month of the year they had two Sabbath Days, one was on the 10th day of the month, the other was on the 1st day of the seventh month. So one might fall on a Sunday and the other might fall on a Tuesday 10 days later.

John: But these special days were known as Sabbath Days?

Gary: They were called Sabbath days. Now let me wrap this up here by looking at Leviticus 23:37 and 38. Here it says, talking about the ceremonial annual Sabbath days "These are the feasts of the Lord which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations Holy gatherings"...to offer an offering made by fire to the Lord, a burn offering." Notice "A meat offering, a sacrifice, drink offerings everything upon its day."

John: And these days were days such as what? Passover?

Gary: Passover, Day of Atonement, all those special days that the Jews kept and they even still keep today. Reading on here it says "These annual holidays or Sabbath days are beside the Sabbaths of the Lord." Referring to the Seventh Day Sabbath.

John: Distinguishing them and making them very different from the Seventh Day Sabbath.

Gary: That's right. And these were those that were shadows. You see, Passover was a shadow, it was a type, an example of what Jesus would do for us when He died. And which day did Jesus actually die on, on the cross?

John: Jesus died on the...

Gary: On the Passover day. And so the Bible says in one Corinthians 5:7 that Jesus is our Passover. So that's why we no longer keep the literal Passover. Jesus has become our Passover. So those were shadows of what was going to happen in Jesus' life and that's why we don't keep the Ceremonial Law any longer. But the Ten Commandment Law is something different. And it's in the Ten Commandment Law, John, that we find "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy."

John: And the benefits that occur to a person from honoring the Lord and keeping the Sabbath Day holy, how could you sum them up? We only have a few moments.

Gary: There are so many, just the fact that you get to rest every week, you get to re-ignite your relationship with God and with one another. You're honoring the Lordship of Christ, you're recognizing that He is your Savior. Having the peace and assurance that you're following God so many benefits in following God in the Sabbath.

John: And what a great benefit it is to know too, friend. That God has asked you to follow Him and you've said "Yes, Jesus. That's what I'll do!". God has said "This is My will." And you've said "I'm embracing Him right within my heart. And help me to do Your will, Lord Jesus Christ." We're so glad you joined us today. Join us again next time. I'm John Bradshaw with Gary Gibbs on Bible Talk.

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