Colossians 2:16
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16-19) To the warning against speculative error succeeds a warning against two practical superstitions. The first is simply the trust in obsolete Jewish ordinances (the mere shadow of Christ) with which we are familiar in the earlier forms of Judaism. But the second presents much strangeness and novelty. It is the “worship of angels” in a “voluntary humility,” inconsistent with the belief in an intimate and direct union with Christ our Head.

(16) Let no man therefore judge you.—That is, impose his own laws upon you. See Colossians 2:8. (Comp. Romans 14:3; Romans 14:10, “Why dost thou judge thy brother?” in this same connection.)

In meat, or in drink.—Or rather, in eating and drinking. We see by the context that the immediate reference is to the distinctions of meats under the Jewish law, now done away, because the distinction of those within and without the covenant was also done away (Acts 10:11). (Comp. on this subject the half-ironical description of Hebrews 9:10.) But a study of Romans 14:2; Romans 14:20-21, written before this Epistle, and 1Timothy 4:3, written after it—to say nothing of the tone of this passage itself, or of the known characteristics of the later Gnosticism of the ascetic type—show that these laws about eating and drinking were not mere matters of law, but formed significant parts of a rigid mystic asceticism. Of such, St. Paul declares indignantly (Romans 14:17), “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

An holyday (feast), or of the new moon, or of the sabbath.—Comp. Isaiah 1:13-14, “the new moons and sabbaths . . . the new moons and the appointed feasts My soul hateth;” also Ezekiel 45:17; Hosea 2:13. The “feast” would seem to be one of the great festivals; the “new moon” the monthly, and the sabbath the weekly solemnity. With this passage it is natural to compare the similar passage in Galatians 4:10, “Ye observe days and months and times (special seasons) and years.” But there the specially Judaic character is not so expressly marked; and, in fact, the passage has a wider meaning (like Rom. 14:56), showing the different position which even Christian festivals held in Apostolic days. Here it is the Jewish festivals, and they alone, which are noted. It is obvious that St. Paul gives no hint of any succession of the Lord’s Day to be, in any strict sense, a “Christian Sabbath.” We know, indeed, that the Jewish Sabbath itself lingered in the Church, as having a kind of sacredness, kept sometimes as a fast, sometimes as a festival. But its observance was not of obligation. No man was to “judge” others in respect of it.

Colossians 2:16-17. Let no man, therefore, &c. — Seeing these things are so, and the ceremonial law is now abolished, let no one, who is in a bigoted manner attached to it, judge and condemn you Gentile Christians; that is, regard none who judge you, in regard to the use of meat or drink — Forbidden by it; or in respect of a holyday Η εν μερει εοπτης, in respect of a festival. The festivals, distinguished from new moons and sabbaths, meant days of rejoicing annually observed. Of these some were enjoined in the law, others by human authority, such as those instituted in commemoration of the deliverance of the Jews by Esther, and of the purification of the temple by Judas Maccabeus. Or the new moon, or the sabbath days — The weekly Jewish sabbaths; which are but a lifeless shadow emblematical of good things to come — Intended to lead men’s minds to spiritual and evangelical blessings. But the body — Of those shadows; is of Christ — The substance of them is exhibited in the gospel of Christ, in whom they all centre; and having the latter, we need not be solicitous about the former. “The whole of the ceremonial law of Moses being abrogated by Christ, (Colossians 2:14,) Christians are under no obligation to observe any of the Jewish holydays, not even the seventh-day sabbath. Wherefore, if any teacher made the observance of the seventh day a necessary duty, the Colossians were to resist him. But though the brethren in the first age paid no regard to the Jewish seventh-day sabbath, they set apart the first day of the week for public worship, and for commemorating the death and resurrection of their Master, by eating his supper on that day; also for the private exercises of devotion. This they did, either by the precept or by the example of the apostles, and not by virtue of any injunction in the law of Moses. Besides, they did not sanctify the first day of the week in the Jewish manner, by a total abstinence from bodily labour of every kind. That practice was condemned by the council of Laodicea, as Judaizing.” — Macknight.2:8-17 There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word complete, is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. In him, not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.Let no man, therefore, judge you - compare Romans 14:10, note, 13, note. The word judge here is used in the sense of pronouncing a sentence. The meaning is, "since you have thus been delivered by Christ from the evils which surrounded you: since you have been freed from the observances of the law, let no one sit in judgment on you, or claim the right to decide for you in those matters. You are not responsible to man for your conduct, but to Christ; and no man has a right to impose that on you as a burden from which he has made you free."

In meat - Margin, or eating and drinking. The meaning is, "in respect to the various articles of food and drink." There is reference here, undoubtedly, to the distinctions which the Jews made on this subject, implying that an effort had been made by Jewish teachers to show them that the Mosaic laws were binding on all.

Or in respect of a holy day - Margin, part. The meaning is, "in the part, or the particular of a holy day; that is, in respect to it" The word rendered "holy-day" - ἑορτὴ heortē - means properly a "feast" or "festival;" and the allusion here is to the festivals of the Jews. The sense is, that no one had a right to impose their observance on Christians, or to condemn them if they did not keep them. They had been delivered from that obligation by the death of Christ; Colossians 2:14.

Or of the new moon - On the appearance of the new moon, among the Hebrews, in addition to the daily sacrifices, two bullocks, a ram, and seven sheep, with a meat offering, were required to be presented to God; Numbers 10:10; Numbers 28:11-14. The new moon in the beginning of the month Tisri (October) was the beginning of their civil year, and was commanded to be observed as a festival; Leviticus 23:24, Leviticus 23:25.

Or of the Sabbath days - Greek, "of the Sabbaths." The word Sabbath in the Old Testament is applied not only to the seventh day, but to all the days of holy rest that were observed by the Hebrews, and particularly to the beginning and close of their great festivals. There is, doubtless, reference to those days in this place, since the word is used in the plural number, and the apostle does not refer particularly to the Sabbath properly so called. There is no evidence from this passage that he would teach that there was no obligation to observe any holy time, for there is not the slightest reason to believe that he meant to teach that one of the ten commandments had ceased to be binding on mankind. If he had used the word in the singular number - "the Sabbath," it would then, of course, have been clear that he meant to teach that that commandment had ceased to be binding, and that a Sabbath was no longer to be observed. But the use of the term in the plural number, and the connection, show that he had his eye on the great number of days which were observed by the Hebrews as festivals, as a part of their ceremonial and typical law, and not to the moral law, or the Ten Commandments. No part of the moral law - no one of the ten commandments could be spoken of as "a shadow of good things to come." These commandments are, from the nature of moral law, of perpetual and universal obligation.

16. therefore—because ye are complete in Christ, and God in Him has dispensed with all subordinate means as essential to acceptance with Him.

meat … drink—Greek, "eating … drinking" (Ro 14:1-17). Pay no regard to any one who sits in judgment on you as to legal observances in respect to foods.

holyday—a feast yearly. Compare the three, 1Ch 23:31.

new moon—monthly.

the sabbath—Omit "THE," which is not in the Greek (compare Note, see on [2419]Ga 4:10). "Sabbaths" (not "the sabbaths") of the day of atonement and feast of tabernacles have come to an end with the Jewish services to which they belonged (Le 23:32, 37-39). The weekly sabbath rests on a more permanent foundation, having been instituted in Paradise to commemorate the completion of creation in six days. Le 23:38 expressly distinguished "the sabbath of the Lord" from the other sabbaths. A positive precept is right because it is commanded, and ceases to be obligatory when abrogated; a moral precept is commanded eternally, because it is eternally right. If we could keep a perpetual sabbath, as we shall hereafter, the positive precept of the sabbath, one in each week, would not be needed. Heb 4:9, "rests," Greek, "keeping of sabbath" (Isa 66:23). But we cannot, since even Adam, in innocence, needed one amidst his earthly employments; therefore the sabbath is still needed and is therefore still linked with the other nine commandments, as obligatory in the spirit, though the letter of the law has been superseded by that higher spirit of love which is the essence of law and Gospel alike (Ro 13:8-10).

Let no man therefore judge you; he infers none should be condemned: none condemns another for exercising Christian liberty; none hath power to judge and censure herein: q.d. Suffer not any one (he excepts none) to impose upon you that, as necessary in the use and practice of it, which is not after Christ, Colossians 2:8, not warranted by his law of liberty, Romans 14:3,4 Ga 5:1 Jam 1:25. Paul himself would not be imposed on, 1 Corinthians 6:12 7:23 Galatians 2:5,11,14, &c.; he would not (as one of the words doth note) be domineered over by any, or suffer any to exercise authority over him, who held the Head, and owned Christ to be Lord of the conscience, and sole dictator of what way he will be served in.

In meat, or in drink; he therefore would not have the practice of ceremonials obtruded, instancing in some, as the difference of meats and drinks, in the use or not use of which (now after Christ had nailed those decrees to his cross) superstitious ones would, from the antiquated rites of the Jews and Pythagorean philosophers, place holiness in, and add them to the Christian institution.

Or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; or the difference of festivals and sabbaths, whether annual, or monthly, or weekly, from the Levitical institutions. Let no man therefore judge you,.... Since they were complete in Christ, had everything in him, were circumcised in him; and particularly since the handwriting of the law was blotted out, and torn to pieces through the nails of the cross of Christ, the apostle's conclusion is, that they should be judged by no man; they should not regard or submit to any man's judgment, as to the observance of the ceremonial law: Christ is the prophet who was to be raised up like unto Moses, and who only, and not Moses, is to be heard; saints are to call no man master upon earth but him; they are not to be the servants of men, nor should suffer any yoke of bondage to be imposed upon them; and should they be suffered and condemned by others, as if they were transgressors of the law, and their state bad, for not observing the rituals of the former dispensation, they should not regard such censures, for the judaizing Christians were very censorious, they were ready to look upon and condemn a man as an immoral man, as in a state of damnation, if he did not keep the law of Moses; but such rigid censures were to be disregarded, "let no man judge", or "condemn you"; and though they could not help or hinder the judgment and condemnation of men, yet they could despise them, and not be uneasy with them, but set light by them, as they ought to do. The Syriac version renders it, "let no man trouble you", or make you uneasy, by imposing ceremonies on you: the sense is, that the apostle would not have them submit to the yoke they would lay upon them, nor be terrified by their anathemas against them, for the non-observation of the things that follow:

in meat or in drink; or on account of not observing the laws and rules about meats and drinks, in the law of Moses; such as related to the difference between clean and unclean creatures, to abstinence in Nazarites from wine and strong drink, and which forbid drinking out of an uncovered vessel, and which was not clean; hence the washing of cups, &c. religiously observed by the Pharisees. There was no distinction of meats and drinks before the law, but all sorts of herbs and animals, without limitation, were given to be food for men; by the ceremonial law a difference was made between them, some were allowed, and others were forbidden; which law stood only in meats and drinks, and such like things, but is now abolished; for the kingdom of God, or the Gospel dispensation, does not lie in the observance of such outward things, but in internal ones, in righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; it is not any thing that goes into the man that defiles, nor is anything in its own nature common or unclean, but every creature of God is good, so be it, it be used in moderation and with thankfulness:

or in respect of an holyday; or feast, such as the feast of the passover, the feast of tabernacles, and the feast of Pentecost; which were three grand festivals, at which all the Jewish males were obliged to appear before the Lord; but were never binding upon the Gentiles, and were what the Christians under the Gospel dispensation had nothing to do with, and even believing Jews were freed from them, as having had their accomplishment in Christ; and therefore were not to be imposed upon them, or they condemned for the neglect of them. The phrase , which we render "in respect", has greatly puzzled interpreters; some reading it "in part of a feast"; or holyday; as if the sense was, that no man should judge or condemn them, for not observing some part of a festival, since they were not obliged to observe any at all: others "in the partition", or "division of a feast"; that is, in the several distinct feasts, as they come in their turns: some (c) think the apostle respects the Misna, or oral law of the Jews, in which are several treatises concerning a good day, or an holyday, the beginning of the new year, and the sabbath, which treatises are divided into sections or chapters; and that it is one of these sections or chapters, containing rules about these things, that is here regarded; and then the sense is, let no man judge you or condemn you, for your non-observance of feast days, new moons, and sabbaths, by any part, chapter, or section, of , or by anything out of the treatise "concerning a feast day"; or by any part, chapter, or section, of , the treatise "concerning the beginning of the year"; or by any part, chapter, or section, of the treatise "concerning the sabbath"; and if these treatises are referred to, it proves the antiquity of the Misna. The Syriac version renders it, , "in the divisions of the feast": frequent mention is made of , "the division", or "half of the feast", in the Jewish writings: thus for instance it is said (d),

"three times in a year they clear the chamber (where the half-shekels were put), "in the half", or middle of the passover, in the middle of Pentecost, and in the middle of the feast.

again (e).

"there are three times for tithing of beasts, in the middle of the passover, in the middle of Pentecost, and the middle of the feast;

that is, of tabernacles: and this, the Jewish commentators say (f), was fifteen days before each of these festivals: now whether it was to this, "middle", or "half space", before each and any of these feasts the apostle refers to, may be considered:

or of the new moon; which the Jews were obliged to observe, by attending religious worship, and offering sacrifices; see Numbers 28:11 2 Kings 4:23.

Or of the sabbath days, or "sabbaths"; meaning the jubilee sabbath, which was one year in fifty; and the sabbath of the land, which was one year in seven; and the seventh day sabbath, and some copies read in the singular number, "or of the sabbath"; which were all peculiar to the Jews, were never binding on the Gentiles, and to which believers in Christ, be they who they will, are by no means obliged; nor ought they to observe them, the one any more than the other; and should they be imposed upon them, they ought to reject them; and should they be judged, censured, and condemned, for so doing, they ought not to mind it. It is the sense of the Jews themselves, that the Gentiles are not obliged to keep their sabbath; no, not the proselyte of the gate, or he that dwelt in any of their cities; for they say (g), that "it is lawful for a proselyte of the gate to do work on the sabbath day for himself, as for an Israelite on a common feast day; R. Akiba says, as for all Israelite on a feast day; R. Jose says, it is lawful for a proselyte of the gate to do work on the sabbath day for himself, as for an Israelite on a common or week day:

and this last is the received sense of the nation; nay, they assert that a Gentile that keeps a sabbath is guilty of death (h); see Gill on Mark 2:27. Yea, they say (i), that "if a Gentile sabbatizes, or keeps a sabbath, though on any of the days of the week, if he makes or appoints it as a sabbath for himself, he is guilty of the same.

It is the general sense of that people, that the sabbath was peculiarly given to the children of Israel; and that the Gentiles, strangers, or others, were not punishable for the neglect and breach of it (k); that it is a special and an additional precept, which, with some others, were given them at Marah, over and above the seven commands, which the sons of Noah were only obliged to regard (l); and that the blessing and sanctifying of it were by the manna provided for that day; and that the passage in Genesis 2:3; refers not to the then present time, but , "to time to come", to the time of the manna (m),

(c) Vid. Casaubon. Epist. Ephesians 24. (d) Misn. Shekalim, c. 3. sect. 1.((e) Misn. Becorot, c. 9. sect. 5. (f) Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (g) T. Bab. Ceritot, fol. 9. 1. Piske Tosaphot Yebamot. art. 84. Maimon. Hilch. Sabbat, c. 20. sect. 14. (h) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 58. 2.((i) Maimon. Hilch. Melachim, c. 10. sect. 9. (k) T. Bab. Betza, fol. 16. 1. Seder Tephillot, fol. 76. 1. Ed. Amtst. (l) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 56. 2. Seder Olam Rabba, p. 17. & Zuta, p. 101. Ed. Meyer. (m) Jarchi & Baal Hatturim in Gen. ii. 3. Pirke Eliezer, c. 18.

{15} 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:

(15) The conclusion: in which also he means certain types, as the difference of days, and meats, and proves by a new argument, that we are not bound to them: that is, because those things were shadows of Christ to come, but now we possess him who was exhibited to us.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 2:16. Οὖν] since ye, according to Colossians 2:11-15, are raised to a far higher platform than that of such a legal system.

κρινέτω ἐν βρώσει] No one is to form a judgment (whether ye are acting allowably or unallowably, rightly or wrongly) concerning you in the point of eating (ἐν, comp. Romans 2:1; Romans 14:22; 1 Peter 2:12). There is hereby asserted at the same time their independence of such judgments, to which they have not to yield (comp. Ephesians 5:6). With Paul, βρῶσις is always actio edendi, and is thus distinct from βρῶμα, cibus (Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:10; also Hebrews 12:16), although it is also current in the sense of βρῶμα with John (John 4:32, John 6:27; John 6:55), and with profane authors (Hom. Il. xix. 210, Od. i. 191, x. 176, et al.; Plat. Legg. vi. p. 783 C; Hesiod, Scut. 396). This we remark in opposition to Fritzsche, ad Rom. III. p. 200. The case is the same with πόσις (Romans 14:17) and πόμα (1 Corinthians 10:4; Hebrews 9:10).

ἐν πόσει] Since the Mosaic law contained prohibitions of meats (Leviticus 7:10 ff.), but not also general prohibitions of drinks, it is to be assumed that the false teachers in their ascetic strictness (Colossians 2:23) had extended the prohibition of the use of wine as given for the Nazarites (Numbers 6:3), and for the period of priestly service (Leviticus 10:9), to the Christians as such (as ἁγίους). Comp. also Romans 14:17; Romans 14:21. De Wette arbitrarily asserts that it was added doubtless in consideration of this, as well as of the Pharisaic rules as to drinks, Matthew 23:24, and of the prohibition of wine offered to idols (οὖν does not point to such things), but still mainly on account of the similarity of sound (Romans 14:17; Hebrews 9:10, and Bleek in loc.).

ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς κ.τ.λ.] ἐν μέρει, with the genitive, designates the category, as very frequently also in classical authors (Plat. Theaet. p. 155 E, Rep. p. 424 D; Dem. 638. 5, 668. 24); comp. on 2 Corinthians 3:10, and see Wyttenbach, ad Plut. I. p. 65. The three elements: festival, new moon, and Sabbath, are placed side by side as a further classis rerum; in the point (ἐν) of this category also no judgment is to be passed upon the readers (if, namely, they do not join in observing such days). The elements are arranged, according as the days occur, either at longer unequal intervals in the year (ἑορτῆς), or monthly (νουμην.), or weekly (σαββάτ.). But they are three, co-ordinated; there would be only one thing with three connected elements, if καί were used instead of in the two latter places where it occurs. The three are given in inverted order in 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 2 Chronicles 31:3. On the subject-matter, comp. Galatians 4:10. Respecting the Jewish celebration of the new moon, see Keil, Archäol. I, § 78; Ewald, Alterth. p. 470 f.; and on σάββατα as equivalent to σάββατον, comp. Matthew 12:1; Matthew 28:1; Luke 4:16, et al. ἐν μέρει has been erroneously understood by others in the sense of a partial celebration (Chrysostom: ἐξευτελίζει λέγεν· ἢ ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς· οὐ γὰρ δὴ πάντα κατεῖχον τὰ πρότερα, Theodoret: they could not have kept all the feasts, on account of the long journey to Jerusalem; comp. Dalmer), or: vicibus festorum (Melanchthon, Zanchius), or, that the participation in the festival, the taking part in it is expressed (Otto, dekalog. Unters. p. 9 ff.), or that it denotes the segregatio, “nam qui dierum faciunt discrimen, quasi unum ab alio dividunt” (Calvin). Many, moreover inaccurately, hold that ἐν μέρει means merely: in respect to (Beza, Wolf, and most expositors, including Bähr, Huther, and de Wette); in 2 Corinthians 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:3, it also denotes the category. Comp. Aelian. V. H. viii. Colossians 3 : κρίνοντες ἕκαστον ἐν τῷ μέρει φόνου.Colossians 2:16-23. SINCE THE LAW HAS BEEN CANCELLED AND THE ANGELS DESPOILED, RITUAL OR ASCETIC ORDINANCES HAVE NO LONGER ANY MEANING FOR THOSE WHO IN CHRIST POSSESS THE SUBSTANCE, OF WHICH THESE ARE BUT THE SHADOW. THEY MUST NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY ANGEL WORSHIPPERS, WHO ARE PUFFED UP BY FLESHLY CONCEIT, AND ONLY LOOSELY HOLD THE HEAD, FROM WHOM THE BODY DRAWS ALL ITS SUPPLY. SINCE THEY HAVE DIED TO THE ELEMENTAL SPIRITS, THEY MUST NOT SUBMIT TO THE PRECEPTS OF ASCETICISM, WHATEVER REPUTATION FOR WISDOM THEY MAY CONFER.16–23. Christian Liberty and Theories hostile to it

16. therefore] Such is the Christian’s position in this sacrificed and triumphant Saviour. He stands possessed of the full inheritance of which the Mosaic ritual institutions were at once the shadow and the veil. Now therefore, so far as those institutions are presented to him by any school of teaching as an obligation and bond on Christian practice, he must decline to receive them.

judge you] Take you to task (Lightfoot). Cp. Romans 14:3-4, for a close parallel, full of the principles of both liberty and duty in Christ. See also 1 Corinthians 10:29.

in meat, or in drink] Rather better, in eating and in drinking. For the Mosaic laws about food cp. Leviticus 11, 17; Deuteronomy 14, &c. Of allowed or forbidden drinks little is said in the Old Law; Lightfoot notices Leviticus 10:9 (the prohibition of wine to the priests at special times); Leviticus 11:34 (the prohibition to drink liquid from an “unclean” vessel); and the law of the Nazirite, Numbers 6:3. Cp. with the text, Hebrews 9:10.—Possibly the Colossian misleaders forbade wine in toto; not at all on modern philanthropic principles, but as a token of abjuration of social life.

in respect of] Lit., “in the portion of;” i.e. “in, or under, the class of;” and so, idiomatically, with regard to. The Latin Versions render literally, in parte diei festi; and so Wyclif, “in part of feest dai;” Tyndale, Cranmer, Geneva, “for a pece (peece) of an holy daye.”

holy day] feast day, R.V.—The Greek word denotes the yearly Jewish festivals; Passover, Pentecost, Atonement, Tabernacles, &c. It is used by the LXX. to translate the Hebrew mô’êd, rendered in A.V. (e.g. 1 Chronicles 23:31) “set feast;” see Chronicles just quoted for an example of such a threefold enumeration as this of holy times.—Lightfoot refers to Galatians 4:10 (“days, and months, and seasons, and years”) as a true parallel here; it only adds a fourth observance, the (sabbatic) year.

new moon] See Numbers 10:10; Numbers 28:11; Numbers 28:14; Numbers 28:16; and cp. 1 Samuel 20:5; 2 Kings 4:23; Psalm 81:3; Isaiah 1:13-14.

sabbath days] Better, sabbath. The original (sabbata) is a Greek plural in form and declination, but only as it were by accident. It is a transliteration of the Aramaic singular shabbâthâ (Hebrew, shabbâth).

It is plain from the argument that the Sabbath is here regarded not as it was primevally (Genesis 2:3) “made for man” (Mark 2:27), God’s benignant gift, fenced with precept and prohibition only for His creature’s bodily and spiritual benefit; but as it was adopted to be a symbolic institution of the Mosaic covenant, and expressly adapted to relation between God and Israel (Exodus 31:12-17); an aspect of the Sabbath which governs much of the language of the O.T. about it. In that respect the Sabbath was abrogated, as the sacrifices were abrogated, and the New Israelite enters upon the spiritual realities foreshadowed by it as by them. The Colossian Christian who declined the ceremonial observance of the Sabbath in this respect was right. An altogether different question arises when the Christian is asked to “secularize” the weekly Rest which descends to us from the days of Paradise, and which is as vitally necessary as ever for man’s physical and spiritual well-being.Colossians 2:16. οὖν, therefore) The therefore is deduced from Colossians 2:8-15. See Colossians 2:16 (comp. note on Colossians 2:20), ch. Colossians 3:1; Colossians 3:5; Colossians 3:12.—κρινέτω, let no man judge) A Metonymy of the antecedent for the consequent, i.e. attend to no one who attempts to judge you; so Colossians 2:18.—ἐν βρώσει, in meat) He says less than he wishes to be understood (Tapeinosis).[13]—ἘΝ ΜΈΡΕΙ ἙΟΡΤῆς, [in part or partly] in respect of a holiday) The expression, [in part or partly] in respect, here seems to have the power of separating. One might disturb believers on the subject of meat and drink (Colossians 2:21), another again about holidays. The holiday is yearly; the new moon, monthly; the sabbaths, weekly. Comp. Galatians 4:10, note.—ἢ σαββάτων, or of sabbaths) The plural for the singular, Matthew 12:1 : but it is used here significantly [with express design]; for the several days of the week are called Sabbaths, Matthew 28:1 [ὀψὲ δὲ σαββάτων. See Gnom. there]; therefore Paul intimates here that all distinction of days is taken away; for he never wrote more openly concerning the Sabbath. Christ, after that He Himself, the Lord of the Sabbath, had come, or else before His suffering, in no obscure language taught the liberty of the Sabbath; but He asserted it more openly by Paul after His resurrection. Nor has it yet been expressly defined what degree of obligation is to be assigned to the Sabbath, what to the Lord’s day; but this has been left to the measure of every one’s faith. The Sabbath is not cited as authoritative [laudatur], is not commanded; the Lord’s day is mentioned, not enjoined. An appointed [a definite and fixed] day is useful and necessary to those who are rather deeply immersed and engrossed in the concerns of the world. They who always sabbatize [they who keep a continual Sabbath], enjoy greater liberty. The Sabbath is a type even of eternal things, Hebrews 4:3-4; but yet its obligation does not on that account continue in the New Testament, otherwise the new moons should be retained, Isaiah 66:23.[14]

[13] See App.

[14] For there we find in a future state an antitype to the new moons as well as to the Sabbath, which would prove too much.—ED.Verses 16-23. - SECTION VI. THE CLAIMS OF THE FALSE TEACHER. Verse 16. - Do not let any one, therefore, be judging you in eating or in drinking (vers. 21-23; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; Romans 14:17; Hebrews 9:10; Hebrews 13:9; Mark 7:14-19). The new teachers dictated to the Colossians in these matters from the philosophical, ascetic point of view (see notes on "philosophy," "circumcision," vers. 8, 11), condemning their previous liberty. (For the adverse sense of "judge," comp. Romans 14:4, 10, 13.) The scruples of the "weak brethren" at Rome (Romans 14) were partly of an ascetic character, but are not ascribed to any philosophic views. In 1 Corinthians 8:8 and 10 the question stands on a different footing, being connected with that of the recognition of idolatry (comp. Acts 15:29). In Hebrews 9:10 it is purely a point of Jewish law. In one form or other it was sure to be raised wherever Jewish and Gentile Christians were in social intercourse. Ver. 17 shows that such restrictions are "not according to Christ" (ver. 8), belonging to the system which he has superseded. "Therefore" bases this warning upon the reasoning of the previous context. Tertullian ('Against Marcion,' 5:19) supplies the link connecting this verse with vers. 10, 15, 18, when he says, "The apostle blames those who alleged visions of angels as their authority for saying that men must abstain from meats." The abolishing of angel mediation (ver. 15) robs these restrictions of their supposed authority. The Essenes found in the Nazarite life and the rules for the ministering Jewish priest (Numbers 6:3; Leviticus 10:8-11; Ezekiel 44:21) their ideal of holiness. Philo also attached a high moral value to abstinence from flesh and wine, and regarded the Levitical distinctions of meats as profoundly symbolic. Or in respect of feast, or new moon, or sabbath (Romans 14:5, 6; Galatians 4:9, 10). The yearly feast, the monthly new moon, and the weekly sabbath (1 Chronicles 23:31; Isaiah 1:13, 14) cover the whole round of Jewish sacred seasons. These the Colossian Gentile Christians, disciples of St. Paul through Epaphras, had not hitherto observed (Galatians 4:9, 10). Philosophic Judaists insisted on these institutions, giving them a symbolical and ethical interpretation (see Philo, 'On the Number Seven;' also, 'On the Migration of Abraham,' § 16, where he warns his readers lest, "because the feast is a symbol of the joy of the soul and of thanksgiving towards God," they should imagine they could dispense with it, or "break through any established customs which divine men have instituted"). Therefore

Conclusion from the canceling of the bond. The allusions which follow (Colossians 2:16-19) are to the practical and theoretical forms of the Colossian error, as in Colossians 2:9-15; excessive ritualism, asceticism, and angelic mediation.

Judge (κρινέτω)

Sit in judgment.

Meat - drink (βρώσει - πόσει)

Properly, eating, drinking, as 1 Corinthians 8:4; but the nouns are also used for that which is eaten or drunk, as John 4:32 (see note); John 6:27, John 6:55; Romans 14:17. For the subject-matter compare Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 8:8; Hebrews 9:10, and note on Mark 7:19. The Mosaic law contained very few provisions concerning drinks. See Leviticus 10:9; Leviticus 11:34, Leviticus 11:36; Numbers 6:3. Hence it is probable that the false teachers had extended the prohibitions as to the use of wine to all Christians. The Essenes abjured both wine and animal food.

In respect (ἐν μέρει)

See on 2 Corinthians 3:10. Lit., in the division or category.

Holyday (ἑορτῆς)

Festival or feast-day. The annual festivals. The word holyday is used in its earlier sense of a sacred day.

New moon (νουμηνίας)

Only here in the New Testament. The monthly festivals. The festival of the new moon is placed beside the Sabbath, Isaiah 1:13; Ezekiel 46:1. The day was celebrated by blowing of trumpets, special sacrifices, feasting, and religious instruction. Labor was suspended, and no national or private fasts were permitted to take place. The authorities were at great pains to fix accurately the commencement of the month denoted by the appearance of the new moon. Messengers were placed on commanding heights to watch the sky, and as soon as the new moon appeared, they hastened to communicate it to the synod, being allowed even to travel on the Sabbath for this purpose. The witnesses were assembled and examined, and when the judges were satisfied the president pronounced the words it is sanctified, and the day was declared new moon.

Sabbath days (σαββάτων)

The weekly festivals. Rev., correctly, day, the plural being used for the singular. See on Luke 4:31; see on Acts 20:7. The plural is only once used in the New Testament of more than a single day (Acts 17:2). The same enumeration of sacred seasons occurs 1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 2 Chronicles 31:3; Ezekiel 45:17; Hosea 2:11.

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