“Sabbaths, New Moons, and Appointed Feasts….”


This is the 2nd post in a series, for the previous post please click HERE

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Col 2:16-17 ESV

I was taught as SDA that the above verse was not speaking about the weekly Sabbath at all but only the “Ceremonial Sabbaths” such as the Passover.  I accepted this as a child, however these days I have a hard time believing that 1st century Christians reading this passage for the first time could have arrived at such a notion naturally.  Just think about it for a second, does it seem logical at all that the first time this was read aloud there would have been Christians nudging each other to say “Psssst…. Paul is really only speaking about the non-weekly Sabbaths he just forgot to put it that way…”.

That is my take on it now, however by rightly dividing the word of God we can discern whether or not Paul includes the weekly Sabbath in the above verse.

However, since I am only an “Armchair Theologian” I am going to quote an expert.   Pastor Greg Taylor puts it like this in his book “Discovering the New Covenant” on Page 68 and 69:

“It is crystal clear in these verses that Paul is specifically addressing the New Covenant interpretation of the Old Covenant Jewish Laws. No other religion emphasized circumcision, food laws, and Sabbaths.  There can be no confusion as to what Paul is addressing here. Paul is telling the Colossians not to let these people, who were trying to push their Jewish religious views and customs on the Gentile believers, lay a guilt trip on them about the food laws, the festivals new moons, or the Sabbaths.   Because these were a part of the system that prefigured, or pointed to Christ.  “They were a shadow of things to come”…..

“Throughout the Old Testament this same Construction is used [‘festival or a new moon or a Sabbath’] . Paul was simply reiterating a formula that was used repeatedly to refer to the entire old system, including the seventh-day Sabbath.  This same construction is found in ascending or descending order repeatedly throughout the Old Testament.  There can be no mistake what he meant.  The “Sabbaths” in this common Old Testament construction always refer to the weekly Sabbath.  To try to make this Colossians passages refer to the ceremonial festival Sabbaths ignores this construction.”

“Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the Lord my God and dedicate it to him for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him, and for the regular arrangement of the showbread, and for burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of the  Lord  our God, as ordained forever for Israel.” 2 Ch 2:4 ESV

“And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening, and whenever burnt offerings were offered to the  Lord  on Sabbaths, new moons, and feast days, according to the number required of them, regularly before the  Lord.” 1 Ch 23:30-31 ESV

“We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly a third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: for the showbread, the regular grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts, the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God” Neh 10:32-33 ESV

“And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts.    And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,  of which she said, ‘These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.’ I will make them a forest,  and the beasts of the field shall devour them.” Hos 2:11-12 ESV

Above you can see that scripture has interpreted scripture.  Col 2:16-17 must certainly include the weekly Sabbath.  To infer otherwise is eisegesis (reading into the text one’s pre-conceived notions).

So how are these Sabbaths, New moons, and Appointed feasts a “shadow of things to come”?  Understanding that the Sabbath was a shadow and now “obsolete” may be theologically correct but it isn’t enough to stop there.  Instead, we should find out what was meant by that shadow and let the Bible come alive.    I cannot explain this better than Dale Ratzlaff does in his Book Sabbath in Christ Page 72:

“Each of the Sabbaths pointed them forward with hope to the next sabbatical event.  The seventh-day Sabbath was a weekly reminder of the coming seasonal Sabbaths.  The seasonal Sabbaths were a reminder of the coming sabbatical year.  The sabbatical year was a reminder of the coming Jubilee.  This kept of alive.”

To me this understanding shows how the whole Sabbath system pointed to Jesus Christ, who is our Sabbath rest now.  I cannot tell you what a blessing it was for me to rely on Christ alone for my salvation.  Keeping the Sabbath was always my “get of the end times alive” insurance card.  I saw myself as extra saved, although I would have never worded it that way.

Could I be wrong about how Adventists view the Sabbath?  Do they really teach that we must keep the Sabbath to be saved?  I’ll let you make that call yourself after you read a quote from the “Clear Word for Kids Translation” put out by the SDA Church.

Col. 2:16-17, Easy English and Clear Word for Kids: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to go through certain rituals, eat certain foods, keep certain feasts, or observe extra Sabbaths to be saved…..”

Forgive me but this clearly seems to be implying that one must keep the old covenant Saturday Sabbath to be saved, and is directed squarely at the children.  I actually had a clear word when I was growing up.  If you want to learn more about the Clear Word please click HERE.


About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Leaving Adventism, New Covenant and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to “Sabbaths, New Moons, and Appointed Feasts….”

  1. Pingback: Good Friday, or Good WEDNESDAY? | When is Jesus Coming Back?

  2. Andrey says:

    If you are really taking the Bible as whole as you claim you seem to “forget” that Sabbath was first introduced at creation. The seventh day is called “the sabbath of the Lord,” and it is never called “the sabbath of the Jew” (Exodus 20:10). Christ also taught that “the sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). Adam and Eve were the only two people who existed when God actually established the Sabbath. There were no Jews in the world until 2,000 years later, so it was never meant just for the Jews. Jesus uses the term “man” in the generic sense, referring to all mankind. The same word is used in connection with the institution of marriage that was also introduced at creation. I’m pretty sure nobody believes now that marriage was made only for the Jews.


    • nursingninja says:

      I thought the same. However there is no prescriptive command to keep the sabbath in Genesis. None.

      Also the seventh day was not a creation day at all, no evening no morning. As stated in Hebrews 4 the israelites were to enter the rest on the seventh day. Just as we are to enter the rest of Christ “today” heb 4:7.

      We are still in the seventh day rest. Ever ask yourself what God rested from? Creation obviously. He is not still creating the Earth now. He is still resting. He finished that and wont do so again until the new heavens and new earth.


      • Andrey says:

        Wait..what? There were 6 literally days but the seventh is like 6000 years and counting? Where is this coming from?


      • nursingninja says:

        Well the Bible actually. But you want the exegesis on it.

        Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 ESV

        “God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. 

        And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 

        And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. 

        And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. 

        And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 

        And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

        And the in Chapter 2 we see this:

        Genesis 2:1-3 ESV

        “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”

        What I see is that there is no evening and morning delineating and end to the Seventh Day. The word for day in Hebrew can mean 12 hours, 24 hours, or an unspecified period of time. Such as “Day of the Lord”. We know from Revelation that the day Day of the Lord is at least five months but probably much longer than that even so.

        Translators determine what day is in view by the context. The six days of creation are clearly 24 hours due to the morning evening construction as quoted above.

        I argue that without a stated end for the seventh day we should base it on what God is resting from. That being creation. Since there has been a cessation of creating the Earth we are therefore in the Sabbath now.

        This makes sense as Israelites were referred to as ” entering” Gods rest. Or not entering it as the case may be:

        Hebrews 4:3 ESV

        “For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.”

        I would like to say that I’m not married to the age view of the sabbath. I can certainly be convinced that it was 24 hours if done entirely from scripture. I just think the preponderance of evidence is pointing towards it.

        What is absolutely certain is there is no prescriptive command to keep the sabbath in Genesis. And there is a lot of evidence that the Jews were not taught to keep it in any fashion until exodus 16. To assert otherwise requires at the very least imagining words into the text that are not there.


  3. Fatima says:

    Simple question that has long confused me. If Adventists are wrong for keeping the seventh-day Sabbath in contravention of Col 2, why do other Christians keep other Jewish festivals based on the lunar calendar? The classic example would be Easter.

    The word Easter is merely a poor old English translation of the original Latin Pascha and Greek Paskha (Πάσχα), in turn a further translation of the Hebrew word Pesaḥ‬ (‫פֶּסַח), which is to say Passover.‎ Thus, when Christians say they celebrate Easter they are literally saying they celebrate Passover. For this reason, in the early Church there was much debate about when Easter should be celebrated. Some said it should be at the exact same time as Jews celebrate Passover, which because of the Hebrew lunar calendar might fall on a weekday. Others argued it should occur on the weekend (Easter Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday) close to Passover. This resulted in the Quartodeciman Controversy (c.195 AD), followed by the Council of Nicaea (325 AD), as the first two major attempts to impose uniformity. However, debate still abounds, with further serious attempts in 1923, 1928 and 1997 by the World Council of Churches still failing to achieve agreement.

    Given Adventists don’t celebrate Easter (or Christmas and Halloween for that matter) as a mandatory holy day, it is interesting that Christians who do sometimes have no problem calling them legalists or Judaizers.


    • Armchair Theologian says:

      Thanks for the comment! I don’t see a command to keep Easter in the Bible either. I also don’t see a command or even sound Biblical principle that would forbid it.

      Reformers called such things adiaphora. That is to say, things neither commanded nor forbidden.

      So, if you believe it is wrong or just don’t want to do it please don’t keep Easter. But if you like it and are blessed by it please do. Make sense?


  4. Tumusiime Edson says:

    if you well know that sabbath is the seventh day of the week you have to keep it holy my friend. Jesus never changed the week days nor changed or removed the sabbath. please don’t be against religions just tell the reallity as the whole bible tell.


  5. I like the reading. But i believe it is a bit bias. I can see clear evidence of what you are seeing but why not expound also on the text which speak to keeping the sabbath and explain those as well.


  6. Gene Greer says:

    The weekly cycle of seven days is not a universal concept. There have been 10 day cycles, 8 day cycles, 20 day months with 5 days a year with no names. Do not be deceived.


  7. Dee says:

    Hmmm…. I will keep reading:) Not totally sure yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. K2369 says:

    Not true, I am afraid. Look up Leviticus chapter 23, especially verses 23-32. The first day of the month is holiday-Sabbath; and the tenth day is holiday-Sabbath! Amazing, because they cannot both fall on a Saturday.

    This is what the apostle Paul is speaking of in Collosians 2:16-18.

    We need to stop confusing circumcision, feasts and rituals with God’s moral Law. The former ones were a shadow, but God’s Law stands forever.


    • ACTheologian says:

      You present a false dichotomy. All of these are Sabbaths. In col 2:16 he identifies the annual, monthly, and weekly Sabbaths. You’re argument is that he is identifying the annual, monthly, and monthly. With respect, that doesn’t make sense.


      • K2369 says:

        Wordplay doesn’t matter. FACTS matter. Day 1 and day 10 on the same month – cannot both fall on a Saturday.

        There is more. Leviticus 23:7,8
        Day 1 is a holiday-Sabbath; and Day 7 is holiday-Sabbath. Again, they cannot both fall on a Saturday. This is a second example within the same chapter.



      • ACTheologian says:

        I didn’t claim that they did, Paul is saying that all Sabbaths are obsolete. This includes the weekly and the monthly. You assume a distinction where none exists.


  9. Pingback: The Sabbath | Armchair Theologian

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