Was The Sabbath Abolished?

It is written:

Colossians 2:16-17 (CEV)-16  Don’t let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don’t let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival. 17  These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real!

Here, Paul makes it clear that the requirement to keep the weekly Sabbath was abolished, along with the rest of the Old Testament (cf. Colossians 2:14).

However, some may object that the “Sabbaths” here are not talking about the weekly Sabbath (I.e., Saturday). In fact, it is a common argument that the “Sabbaths” in this passage are talking about some other kind of Sabbath.

First, it is claimed that the word “Sabbath” here in Colossians 2:16 is plural in number, and that this plural form was never used to refer to the weekly Sabbath. However, this simply isn’t true. Notice:

Exodus 31:13-“Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. (That this is speaking of the weekly Sabbath, simply see verses 14-16).

Leviticus 19:3-Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

Matthew 12:5-Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?

Clearly, the word “Sabbaths” (plural) were often used to designate the weekly Sabbath!

Second, in Colossians 2:16, Paul uses a familiar Jewish pattern in describing the holy days of Judaism. In the Old Testament, holy days were grouped together according to the following pattern:

1 Chronicles 23:-31-and at every presentation of a burnt offering to the LORD on the Sabbaths and on the New Moons and on the set feasts, by number according to the ordinance governing them, regularly before the LORD;

2 Chronicles 2:4-Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel.

2 Chronicles 8:13-according to the daily rate, offering according to the commandment of Moses, for the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the three appointed yearly feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

2 Chronicles 31:3-The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the LORD.

Ezekiel 45:17-Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.”

Notice the pattern in all of these passages: the holy days are grouped according to daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly events. Paul uses this same pattern in Colossians 2:16:

Colossians 2:16-So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival (yearly) or a new moon (monthly) or sabbaths (weekly).

Finally, notice one more passage that speaks powerfully to our study:

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

This last passage is of particular interest because it prophesies a time in which God’s people would no longer practice the Old Testament Law and its feast days (including the Sabbath). Indeed, it is likely that Paul had this passage in mind when he penned Colossians 2:16-17.

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