Understanding Colossians Chapter Two

Understanding Colossians Chapter Two

Colossians 2:13-14 says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made alive together with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses, blotting out the handwriting of ordinances against us, that were contrary to us, and has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.

Many have been taught that Paul’s phrase “the handwriting of ordinances against us” referred to God’s Torah, a word that means instruction. If that were true (and it’s NOT) then Paul lied in Acts 25:8 when he defended himself against the false charge that he taught against the Torah. Paul never said the Torah was nailed to the cross! The ordinances against us are our trespasses! Our trespasses were nailed to the cross, not God’s instruction manual, not His Torah, which Paul declared spiritual in Romans 7:14 and holy, just and good in Romans 7:12. In fact, in Romans 3:31, after asking, “…is the Torah annulled through faith?” Paul answered his own question by saying, “Let it not be! But we establish the Torah.” 

Col 2:16-17 “Therefore, do not let anyone pass judgment on you in matters of food or drink, or in respect to a festival or new moon or Shabbat. These are a foreshadowing of things to come, but the reality is Messiah.” Paul instructed the Colossians not to let their pagan contemporaries judge them in keeping God’s ordained Feasts, New Moons, and Sabbaths!

The Festivals are God’s “moedim”, set-apart (holy) Appointed “miqra kodesh”, God’s Divine Rehearsals. They’re YHVH Elohim’s “prophetic shadow-pictures”. They reveal the Creator’s entire plan for Salvation and Redemption:

Passover/ Salvation through the Lamb of God

Unleavened Bread/ removing sin from our life

First Fruits/ Yeshua’s Resurrection

Shavuot/ the Giving of His Torah (His instructions/ His Marriage Contract) and the outpouring of His Holy Spirit

Yom Teruah/ the shadow-picture of Yeshua’s Return

Yom Kippur/ Atonement for the nation of Israel

Feast of Tabernacles/ Ingathering of nations and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb! 

Paul goes on in Col 2:18-23 to say: “Let no one disqualify you by insisting on false humility and worship of angels—going into detail about what he has seen, puffed up without cause by his fleshly mind. He is not holding fast to the Head. It is from Him that the whole body, nourished and held together by its joints and tendons, grows with a godly increase. If you died with Messiah to the basic principles of the world, why—as though living in the world—do you subject yourselves to their (the world’s) rules? Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch! These all lead to decay with use, based as they are on man-made commands and teachings. Indeed, these are matters that have an appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and humility and self-denial of the body—yet none are of any value for stopping indulgence of the flesh.”

To properly understand this passage, one must know the geography and history of Colossae. It was a pagan metropolitan city in Phrygia, Asia Minor, 15 km southeast of Laodicea, the congregation Yeshua warned, in Rev 3:17, “You say, ‘I am rich. I have made myself wealthy and need nothing.’ But you do not know that you are miserable, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.”

Many in this Colossian congregation mixed human philosophy, based on the traditions of men, with God’s biblical truth. Their philosophy held to a Greek form of dualism that believed all matter was evil and only pure spirit was good. Paul warned them to be on the alert for philosophical religious arguments based on human tradition, on empty speculations of men, rather than the sure revelation of God (2:8, 18 with 2:3).

Their philosophy–an eclectic Phrygian mysticism–contained ascetic elements designed to control the flesh (2:20-23). :19-20; 2:9-10). This Colossian heresy included worship of angels (fallen angels and demonic spirits). It flaunted the exclusivity of mystery and superiority embedded in Gnosticism, which taught salvation, not by faith, but through esoteric, occult knowledge procured through mystical experiences. Seeing themselves as the “spiritual aristocracy” of the church, Gnostics promised “perfection” through prescribed ceremonies that put them in touch with heavenly beings.

So you see, Paul was not teaching against God’s instructions, His Torah! He was preaching against manmade regulations. I will close with Paul’s words in Col 3:16-17 “Let the word of Messiah dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

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