La Mesa Adventist Community Church

4207 Spring Gardens Rd, La Mesa, CA, 91941-7964

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The Bible Sabbath - Commonly Asked Questions, 1
Since Paul wrote, "Let no one judge you regarding sabbaths," isn't Sabbath-keeping unnecessary (Col. 2:16, 17)?

I am frequently surprised by the widespread misunderstanding of Col. 2:16, 17.  It is one of the most misunderstood passages in the Bible.

The Bible is actually quite plain regarding the Sabbath.  It was given at creation (Gen. 2:1-3).  Jesus observed it (Luke 4:16).  Paul observed it (Acts 13:42-44), and it will be observed in heaven (Isaiah 66:22, 23).

What is less commonly known is that the Bible mentions two kinds of sabbaths: the seventh-day Sabbath, and the yearly, or festival, sabbaths.

The seventh-day Sabbath, instituted at creation and also a part of the Ten Commandment law, is a weekly reminder of the Creator.

The yearly sabbaths relate specifically to the history of Israel.  Col. 2:16, 17 specifically states "Let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come . . ."  The seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of creation NOT a shadow of something to come.  Heb. 10:1 connects the law of shadows with animal sacrifice.  Ezekiel 45:17 uses the exact same expression in the exact same order as Col. 2:16, 17 and connects it all with the ceremonial systems of feasts and sacrifices (meat offerings, drink offerings, feasts, new moons, and sabbaths to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.  Leviticus 23:3 discusses the Seventh-day Sabbath.  Leviticus 23:5-32 discusses the ceremonial sabbaths (passover, verse 5; unleavened bread, verse 6; wave sheaf, verse 10; first fruits, verse 17; trumpets, verse 24; Day of Atonement, verses 27-32; tabernacles, verses 34-36).  Both the feast of trumpets (verse 24), and the Day of Atonement (verse 32) are specifically called sabbaths. 

These annual sabbaths were intimately connected to events foreshadowing Christ's death and His Second Coming.  They were designed by God to be shadows of, or pointers to, the coming Messiah.  Lev. 23:37 uses the language of Col. 2:16, 17 to describe these ceremonial sabbaths.  Leviticus 23:38 distinguishes the ceremonial sabbaths from the seventh-day Sabbaths by using the expression "besides the Sabbaths of the Lord." 

Since Christ has come, the shadowy sabbaths of the ceremonial law have found their fulfillment in Him.  The seventh-day Sabbath continues to lead us back to the Creator God (who is also Jesus Christ, according to John 1:1-3, 14).  God's people will keep it as a distinguishing sign of their relationship to Him (Rev. 14:12; Ezek. 20:12, 20)

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