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Colossians 2:14-17 - Was the Law Nailed to the Cross?

Col 2:14-17 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."

Overview:

What does this text mean?
  • The 10 Commandments were done away with when Christ died on the cross.

    OR

  • The law of ordinances which pointed to Christ (shadows) were done away with.

Evidence:


Col 2:14-15 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it".

In this difficult text, something called ordinances were nailed to the cross. In the previous study of Eph. 2:15, we saw that ordinances are different from the 10 commandments. This text also provides further clarification of what ordinances are...They are a shadow of things to come (v. 17), and Christ was the reality (or what cast the shadow).

The word translated to "ordinances" in both Col. 2:14 and Eph. 2:15 means:
dogma (dog'-mah); from the base of NT:1380; a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical): decree, ordinance.
(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Col 2:16-17 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."

Shadows represent Jesus: The 10 commandments are not a shadow of things to come. However, meat, drink, holydays, new moon, and the seven special sabbath days connected with the feasts and temple services were shadows (these ordinances are sometimes called the ceremonial law). Many Jews did not recognize that these things represented Jesus (shadows) in their religious ceremonies. These things were no longer needed when Jesus came into their midst and was nailed to the cross.

Sabbaths: The "sabbath days" mentioned here (Col. 2:16-17) refer to the seven Sabbaths connected with the Israelite feasts, which could occur on any day of the week. These were rest (sabbath) days. Leviticus 23:32,37-38 "It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath...These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord."

There are feast sabbaths, which are beside [Hebrew=separation] the 7th day "sabbaths of the Lord."

Christ's offering replaces ordinances: The tabernacle in the wilderness was a copy of the one in heaven. There they offered gifts and sacrifices required by the law of Moses. There is no mention of gifts and sacrifices in the 10 commandments, and this scripture must have been referring to the ceremonial law (ordinances).

Heb 8:3-5 "And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law of Moses. They serve in a place of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven." NLT

Heb 8:10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:"

God is going to put His moral law, not ceremonial laws, in the mind.

Summary:

Ordinances (sacrifices, ceremonies, festivals, etc.) that pointed to Christ's ministry were nailed to the cross.