How do we reconcile this contradiction when a primary function of the Feast days and Sabbaths were about eating and drinking (Deut. 14:23-26, Neh. 8:10,12)?
10) The Gnostics considered everything that is physical as being evil, which is why they spiritualized away all physical commandments, including the observances of feast days.
Why would the Gnostics be compelling the Colossians to be keeping the Feast days when it was against everything they believed in?How would that work?
11) Why does Paul appeal to the value of the Feasts if he is arguing against keeping the feasts? How can we make that make sense?
12) (2:18-19) Why does verses 18-19 distinguish between the worship of angels, and knowledge of things not seen verses not holding to the things from God? Are the Feast days, dietary instructions, and Sabbaths not from God? Are they knowledge of things not seen? Are they not written in scripture to be seen? Are they not practiced in plain sight by Paul himself and even our Savior in scripture?
13) (2:20) Since when are God’s commandments “elementary principles from the world”
14) (2:20) Why would observing God’s commandments be acting like one “still belonged to the world?” If keeping the Sabbaths and Feast days was “acting” like one still belonged to the world, why are there numerous instances in which Paul kept the Sabbaths and Feast days? Scripture clearly states that it is the Sabbath and Feast days that set us apart from the world.
In addition, if Paul kept the feasts and was also acting like he still "belonged to the world," why would he supposedly criticize the Colossians for observing them as well?
15) (2:20) Since when are God’s commandments "regulations of the world"
16) (2:21) A focus of the Feast days were centered around the handling, tasting, and eating food and drink.
How is keeping God’s Feasts the same as “do not handle, do not taste, and do not touch" in matters of food and drink?
17) (2:22) Since when are God’s commandments “human precepts and regulations”. Did humans create the "law of God" or did God create the "law of God?"
18) (2:23) Since when are God’s commandments “lacking wisdom”? What do we do with all of the Scripture that states that the "law of God" is the beginning of all wisdom?
19) (2:23) Since when are God’s commandments “self made religion”, and what scripture can be cited to support this?
20) (2:23) Since when are God’s commandments “self abasement” and “severity to the body”, and what scripture can be cited to support this?
21) (2:23) If the opposing group is arguing for the Colossians to keep the feasts, how is that consistent with “self abasement,” “severity to the body,” and “avoiding fleshy indulgences,” such as...let’s say...maybe feasting and drinking on Feast days and Sabbaths?
22) The Gnostics considered the "God of the OT" as evil and so they worshipped angels. The Gnostics did not keep Sabbaths and Feast days of a God they considered evil, thus they would have been telling the Colossians to not keep the Sabbaths and Feast days.
How can we teach that the Colossians were being incorrectly compelled to keep the Sabbath and feast days? Remember, Paul has to be teaching against the doctrine of the false teachers, the Gnostics. If the Gnostics were against the Feast days and Sabbaths because of food and drink, then Paul was for the feast days and Sabbath.
This is why Paul appealed to the prophetic value of the Feasts and Sabbaths in verse 17. This is why Paul said to the Colossians to not let themselves be judged, because the Gnostics were judging the Colossians for their keeping of God’s feasts and Sabbaths, based on the false Gnostic doctrine...
All of this is easily reconciled and Scripture makes complete sense when one realizes that the Gnostics would never subscribe to Feasts comprised of much eating and drinking. Paul was stating to keep the feasts and avoid the contrary ascetic doctrinal practices of the Gnostics.
The Gnostics practiced as much abstinence from anything physical as they could, as anything physical and for the flesh was evil, and were judging the Colossians in their keeping of the Sabbaths and Feasts. They believed the more things for the flesh that was avoided that the closer to God you became.
The keeping of the Feasts was the exact opposite of their beliefs! The Colossians were not being judged by the Gnostics for not keeping God’s Feasts. The Gnostics were judging the Colossians for their Biblical obedience in keeping of God’s Feasts. We should be careful not to add or subtract from God’s commandments, and certainly be careful not to accuse Paul, and especially God of doing so (Deut. 12:32). How is it concluded that Paul is teaching against the "law of God" in the midst of so much contrary evidence? We should all agree that Scripture does not contradict itself.
We want to ensure we do not fall in the trap of being part of the error of the lawless that Peter warned us about in his letter:
2 Peter 3:15-17 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation— as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twistto their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the lawless;
Hopefully Peter’s warning resonates as a wakeup call. What did Peter mean, unstable? Who are the unstable?
Well simply put, according to a dictionary, unstable means being in an unsolid position, going back and forth. Here is what an unstable person does with Paul: We have Paul telling us to keep the feast here, supposedly annulling it there. Then sailing to Jerusalem for Pentecost after celebrating church on Sunday only after leaving Unleavened Bread to honor several Sabbaths. We have him fulfilling Nazarite vows with others to prove he follows the law of Moses, and then we have him supposedly stating that all unclean animals are now clean food.
Then we have Paul abolishing the whole law, just because we are under grace. We have Paul making offerings and alms in one place, and in another place Paul being critical of his converts of any law they observed. Instead of just unstable, feel free to use that as a definition of pure and utter insanity if you would like. It certainly fits. What did Peter mean, as untaught? Peter very clearly states that Paul’s letters are very difficult to understand, and that if you are not taught correctly, his writings can be twisted leading one to destruction through lawlessness, which is sin.
In Peter’s day, before there was a New Testament, all teaching derived from and was tested to the Old Testament. Consider this, when Paul commended the Bereans for testing Paul’s teachings to scripture, the only scripture that existed was the Old Testament itself! (Acts 17:11)
So what does it mean to be taught correctly according to Peter? You must understand the Old Testament! In other words, don’t start in the middle of the Book as some teach, but as the book of John implies, start in the beginning (John 1:1). As anyone knows, if you start in the middle of a book, it is slightly difficult to figure out exactly what is going on in the story.
And even worse, if you still ignore the beginning, you are forced to use assumptions to build the story, or just as bad, rely solely on others to tell you what to believe. Did the Bereans (Acts 17:11) conclude that Paul was stating that God’s Sabbath and Feast days had been abolished?
That is very doubtful since the Bereans would have read the Old Testament in both the Greek and Hebrew and quickly seen that God said the Sabbath and Feast days were to be observed FOREVER and that they were to be EVERLASTING.
So the Bereans would not have misunderstood Paul like we apparently have. Perhaps that is why they were commended by Paul, as often as the guy was misunderstood. The Bereans would have known and understood that if there is no prophecy from God stating that His law was going to change, then God’s law can not change....
How do you suppose they were equipped to insulate themselves against false teachings and false teachers?
Amos 3:7 Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.
Otherwise anyone could come along saying this changed, and that changed, and so on and so on. The only way to determine if such teachers are true of false is to test what they say to the Word of God.
This scriptural truth ensures that there is at least 2-3 witnesses in scripture to protect us against false prophets and teachers (Matthew 18:16), yet many teach that Paul, which of course, embarrassingly enough would be just one witness, taught that God discarded many of His laws. Paul himself even taught this scriptural concept.
2Cor13:1 “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”
Sadly, from mainstream doctrine’s point of view, there are no such statements from the Lord stating that He was going to discard any of His laws relating the Feast days and Sabbath, etc. Where did God reveal that such things were ever going to be abolished? He didn’t. In fact, as already mentioned, He stated they were to be observed FOREVER, FOR ALL GENERATIONS, AND PERPETUAL. So if Paul teaches that God’s law was to be abolished, and we want to test Paul’s teachings to scripture, Paul would FAIL THE TEST. But this is only if we misunderstand Paul.
If one is careful in his reading and study, one finds that Paul was likely the best law teacher in all of scripture. If we really want to discard what FOREVER actually means, perhaps we should consider what impact that might have on how long we expect to be in our eternal status as believers. If FOREVER means NOT FOREVER then eternity might be somewhat disappointing when it comes to an end as well.
So when Peter states that we can misunderstand Paul’s writings, what would that look like? What Peter is obviously saying here is that the misapplication of Paul’s letters would indeed generate the abolishing of laws and commandments, and as a result, if you thought they were abolished, by default, you would certainly no longer be obedient to them.
You would be led away, as he states, by the “error of the LAWLESS or WICKED”, because you would be observing less law or even worse, no law. As fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I urge you to take all of this seriously. Test everything we have said to scripture. Never take a man’s word for Truth, but test it to the only established Truth we have, God’s Word.
This is what we are accountable in the end. Show yourself approved, and study the scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3) Seek out His ways and His path. (Jeremiah 6:16). Test your heart and ensure that it desires God’s ways and not the ways of the world, doctrines of men, or traditions of our fathers (2 Corinthians 13:5).
As Jesus stated, we can do many things in God’s name, but if we were not doing it out of pure love and obedience to Him, then it matters not. In fact, our heart can still be so far from Him, that He could state, "Depart from me. I never knew you, you who works lawlessness". (Matthew 7)
Earlier in the study, we mentioned that the Law of God is also called the way, truth, life, light and freedom in God’s Word. We would like to provide the scripture at this time by providing scriptural support on how the Bible defines the Law of God....Keep in mind that you might want to pause this teaching so that you have time to look up each verse.
1. The Law blesses (obey) and curses (disobey). (Deut 11:26-27)(Ps 112:1)(Ps 119:1-2)(Ps 128:1)(Prov 8:32)(Is 56:2)(Mat 5:6)(Mat 5:10)(Luke 11:28)(Jam 1:25)(1 Pe 3:14)(Rev 22:14)
2. The Law defines sin. (Jer 44:23)(Ez 18:21)(Dan 9:11)(Ro 3:20)(Ro 7:7)(1 Jo 3:4)
3. The Law is perfect. (Ps 19:7)(Jam 1:25)
4. The Law is liberty. (Ps 119:45)(Jam 1:25, 2:12)
5. The Law is the way. (Ex 18:20)(Deut 10:12)(Josh 22:5)(1 King 2:3)(Ps 119:1)(Prov 6:23)(Is 2:3)(Mal 2:8)(Mark 12:14)(Ac 24:14)
6. The Law is the truth. (Ps 119:142)(Mal 2:6)(Ro 2:20)(Gal 5:7)(Ps 43:2-4)(Jo 8:31-32)
7. The Law is life. (Job 33:30)(Ps 36:9)(Prov 6:23)(Rev 22:14)
8. The Law is light. (Job 24:13)(Job 29:3)(Ps 36:9)(Ps 43:2-4)(Ps 119:105)(Prov 6:23)(Is 2:5) (Is 8:20)(Is 51:4)(2 Cor 6:14)(1 John 1:7)
9. The Law is Jesus, the Word made flesh. (PERFECT-LIBERTY-WAY-TRUTH-LIFE- LIGHT). (Ps 27:1)(Jo 1:1-14)(Jo 14:5-11)(1 Jo 1:7)
10. The Law is also for the Gentiles (foreigner/alien) who are grafted in. (Ex 12:19) (Ex 12:38) (Ex 12:49) (Lev 19:34) (Lev 24:22) (Num 9:14) (Num 15:15-16) (Num 15:29) (ie: Ruth) (Is 42:6) (Is 60:3) (Mat 5:14) (Eph 2:10-13) (Ac 13:47) (Ro 11:16-27) (Jer31:31-34) (Ez 37) (1 Jo 2:10) (1 Jo 1:7)
11. The Law is God’s instructions on how to love God, how to love others, and how to not love yourself. (Ex 20:6)(Deut 5:10)(Deut 7:10)(Deut 11:13)(Deut 11:22)(Deut 30:16)(Deut 6:5)(Lev 19:18)(Neh 1:5)(Dan 9:4)(Mat 22:35-37)(Matthew 10:39)(Mat 16:25)(Jo 14:15)(Jo 14:21)(Ro 13:9)(1 Jo 5:2-3)(2 Jo 1:6)
It is our faith in the Word of God -which is also the same as Christ- that matters, but if there is no evidence of faith in your life that is demonstrated by a sincere interest in the keeping of God’s commandments, then begin asking yourself why you do not trust God’s ways, but instead rely on man’s ways and your ways.
As Proverbs 28:9 says "He who turns away his ear from hearing the Law, Even his prayer is an abomination."
We need to humble ourselves and see Truth in the place where Truth is written. We can not pretend to invent Truth, but only have it delivered to us through His Word. We are told by Yeshua Himself that God is seeking True worshippers that worship in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23)
We hope that this study has blessed you, and remember, continue to test everything...
Article courtesy of 119 Ministries