Seventh-Day Adventists/The shadow of Colossians 2:16-17


Frank wrote at 2015-02-13 03:22:12
<<< The expert's answer: >>>

Before I deal with your objection I would ask you to reread Leviticus 23:1-4 where the 7th day Sabbath is clearly mentioned along with and on equal terms with the other Sabbaths or appointed times. First we read of the weekly Sabbath and then the other appointed times which are associated with a particular date are listed.

<<< The Sabbath of the 4th commandment is not an “appointed time.” The new moon does not determine the timing of the observance of the seventh day Sabbath. It is a “holy convocation,” however. >>>

The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:

3 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.

<<< This verse (3) says the Sabbath of the 4th commandment is a “rest” and a “holy convocation.” It is not a feast (appointed time). (Vs. 2) Verse 4 begins the feasts (appointed times). >>>

4 ‘These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them" (NASB).

<<< The feasts are now listed and are called “appointed times” because their timing is dependent upon the first new moon of the Hebrew year. >>>

Now on to your objection. I appreciate your opinion here, as you rightly note v. 17 does say "things to come" which is future not "things that have come."

"So 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, but the substance is of Christ" (Colossians 2:16-17 NKJV).

However, I believe Paul is meaning "things to come" not from his time, but from the institution of the festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths. The yearly, monthly, and weekly special days of Israel were all shadows pointing to Christ. "For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near" (Hebrews 10:1 ESV). The substance of these shadows can only be realized through union with Christ.

<<< The Sabbath of the 4th commandment was blessed and sanctified by God when the seventh day ended. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:3 KJV) Since it was made before sin it cannot be a ceremonial ordinance that pointed to the cross. Its observance says nothing about Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and ministry as our High

Priest. The "rest" of the seventh day Sabbath is not and never has been a rest from the bondage of sin. The rest from sin is a continual rest and is a result of a continual abiding in Christ. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30 KJV) >>>

"But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Hebrews 9:11-14 ESV).

Paul learned from the Bible and from Jewish society the customary way to list all the holy days of Israel: the yearly festivals, the monthly new moons, and the weekly Sabbaths. There were two common ways to do this. One was to list them all in ascending order, for example:

"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 Chronicles 2:4 ESV).

<<< This verse is about what “burnt offerings” were performed at the Temple and upon what days. Since there were burnt offerings added to the seventh day Sabbath, they are included with the burnt offerings that were associated with the Jewish feasts and new moons. Burnt offerings were required on the six common working days as well but that didn’t make those days Jewish ceremonial observances either. Also the burning of incense and the arrangement of showbread was a daily occurrence. There is no sequence here that is a mirror of Colossians 2:16, 17. >>>  

"He also appointed the king’s portion of his goods for the burnt offerings, namely, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths and for the new moons and for the fixed festivals, as it is written in the law of the Lord" (2 Chronicles 31:3 NASB).

<<< Once again, there were burnt offerings as part of the Jewish ceremonial law as well as the daily offerings but that did not make the Sabbath of the 4th commandment or the six working days Jewish ceremonial observances that ended at the cross. Also the sequence is different from that in Colossians. The morning and evening burnt offerings were daily offerings. >>>

The other way, the way Paul chose, was to list them in descending order, for example:

"It shall be the prince's duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel: he shall provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement on behalf of the house of Israel" (Ezekiel 45:17 ESV).

<<< The sequence here starts with the three annual pilgrimage festivals followed by the new moon festival followed by the weekly Sabbaths followed by the rest of the appointed times (trumpets, atonement, sabbatical years). Clearly there is not a simple yearly, monthly, daily sequence here. >>>

"I will also cause all her mirth to cease, Her feast days, Her New Moons, Her Sabbaths—All her appointed feasts" (Hosea 2:11 NKJV).

Paul also learned from the Bible and from Jewish society that all these days stood or fell together because they were all part and parcel of the Old Covenant. Therefore, he calls them "a shadow" not "shadows". The Old Covenant Law was one unit that was nailed to the cross of Christ.

<<< Morality didn’t die with Christ. The moral law soldiers on in the hearts and minds of believers (Heb 8:10). The law that for more than a thousand years pointed to the sacrifice and High Priestly ministry of Christ was rendered obsolete in performance at the cross. >>>  

"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:13-14 NKJV).

The fact that the Old Covenant Law was ended by Christ's crucifixion Paul restated in a different way.

"But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace" (Ephesians 2:13-15 NASB).

<<< The “law of commandments contained in ordinances” is the Jewish ceremonial system. This law was added because of sin and ended with Christ’s atoning sacrifice. “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” (Hebrews 9:1 KJV) The “we who formerly were afar off” are the Gentiles. The Jewish rites, ceremonies and sacrifices that pointed to the one all sufficient sacrifice that when performed restored the Jew to a right relationship with God, was not available to the Gentiles. They were considered unclean and unworthy by the Jews. Peter was shown in vision that the Jews were to call no man common or unclean. The Jewish ritual remedy for sin in the Law of Moses that was a “dividing wall” that separated the Gentiles from God’s forgiveness was abolished. Jew and Gentile now have equal access to to God's forgiveness through faith in Jesus alone. >>>

Further, that it was all that the Old Covenant contained including the 7th day Sabbath that ended at the cross was succinctly stated, "In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:13 NKJV).

<<< The reason God made a New Covenant had nothing to do with the law itself. “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Romans 7:12 KJV) Scripture tells us there was a fault with the covenant. “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” But the fault was not with the law but with the people. “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” He makes a New Covenant because His people did not keep the old one but it is not according to the covenant made at Sinai. “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:” (Hebrews 8:7-10 KJV) We see that there is no change in the law even though the people did not keep. The change is in the writer of the law and where He writes it. Not in stone but on the fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Cor 3:3) Moses wrote the law that God promises to write in the hearts and minds of His people. It’s the same law but the dead works of the Old Covenant are replaced by the fruit of the Spirit. The word Paul uses for laws is “nomos”. It is the word the expert and other critics say doesn’t refer to New Covenant commandments but only to the law given at Sinai.” >>>   

SDAs cannot accept the obvious because it conflicts with their belief. The progression of yearly, to monthly, to weekly proves that "sabbaths" refers to the 7th day Sabbath. In fact SDAs almost always agree with other Christians that Sabbath/Sabbaths in the New Testament refers to the 7th day Sabbath. Their one exception is in this one verse, Colossians 2:16.

<<< Paul also referred to the veil between the Holy and Most Holy Places of the Hebrew sanctuary as “the second veil” which other Bible writers did not do. He obviously was not compelled to pattern his speech after theirs. >>>

May I suggest that the reason for this is that SDAs feel they must defend their belief even in the face of the biblical evidence to the contrary?  I believe that Colossians 2:16-17 lends more support to my contention that the 7th day Sabbath is a shadow than to your contention that it is not.  

"So 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, but the substance is of Christ" (Colossians 2:16-17 NKJV).

<<< Or could Paul be telling the Gentile believers that they shouldn’t be unduly influenced by the Judaizers who said they had to be circumcised and keep the rites and ceremonies of the Law of Moses? (Acts15:5) Just as Jesus contested with the Pharisees over their man made Sabbath restrictions, Paul found himself at odds with the Judaizers  who wanted the Gentile converts to conform to all the rules and regulations of the Law of Moses rather than keep the law through walking after the Spirit. The Sabbath of the 4th commandment isn’t a Jewish ceremony as has been pointed out repeatedly. It is impossible for it to be an ordinance of the Jewish law that ended at the cross. It was made when the seventh day of creation ended and will be celebrated in the new earth. (Isaiah 66:22, 23) >>>

God Be With You,

Brother Sal  

<<< In Christ’s love,

        Frank >>>

Seventh-Day Adventists

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I am privileged to be able to offer an alternative insight into the complicated world of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) theology. I will rely heavily on the Bible, but will also consider history and use logic in exposing deficiencies in SDA teachings. I would ask anyone who is considering becoming a SDA or if you are already in the SDA church, but are searching for the truth, to please allow me to offer a different explanation for the claims of the SDA. Remember : "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32). I can answer your questions pertaining to the beliefs and history of the SDA. I am not able to answer questions concerning spirituality or church discipline.


I have extensively studied the theology of the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) for a number of years. I have many books and tape sets produced by experts in this field of study. I have debated current members of the SDA church. I have a great desire to help these people see the truth.

M.S. degree in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics

©2017 All rights reserved.