Does the bible say that we shouldn’t judge others for NOT keeping the feasts or does it say we shouldn’t let others judge US for keeping them?
Commonly used translation:
“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 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the substance is of Messiah.”
It is very well documented that the people of Colossae were Ascetics. They believed you could not be spiritual unless you were in a state of denial of bodily pleasure and imposing harsh treatment of the body. Such as fasting or self-inflicting of pain.
By contrast, the festival days of YHWH are often times of feasting and making merry with celebration and wonderful fellowship.
Asceticism is the belief that salvation and/or sanctification comes through this severe treatment of the body.
This is an erroneous idea of sanctification, or the method to becoming more spiritual. The biblical answer is to discipline oneself, but not according to asceticism. We do not alone keep our body under control by our own will power.
This letter is actually about warning new believers against “doctrines of men according to the rudiments of the world” (Col 2:8). The context is also firmly established as it is repeated in verse 20:
“For if you are dead with the Messiah from the rudiments of the world, why are you judged as if you were living in the world?”
The real purpose is to ask this question:
Why do you let worldly people judge you if you are dead to the world through Messiah?
This letter to the Colossians is about human commands and teachings, and not letting non-believers judge you for doing things God’s way.
“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22.These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
If we keep reading in Colossians 1:18 and 24 we see that the Body of Messiah is the Assembly, which in Greek is “soma”.
Let’s look at that verse again and digest it a little…looking at the Greek in detail.
You might be seeing that your bible says:
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: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17, KJV)
Notice the word IS in verse 17 is in italics. This means that this word did NOT appear in the original text, but was ADDED BY THE TRANLATORS.
Some translations even change the word “body” in that verse to read “substance” or “reality,” and the NIV even outright adds the words “belongs to.”
HOWEVER, clearly, earlier passages in this SAME LETTER provide the context and wording. This was about the ASSEMBLY which, according to this letter, is the BODY OF MESSIAH.
When we take out the ADDED word it reads like so:
“Let no pagan therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, in part of an holy day, or the new moon, or the Sabbath days which are a shadow of things to come but the body is of Messiah. “
In short it is saying this:
“Let no one judge you but the Assembly”
This isn’t instructing on not allowing judgement on these matters…actually it is instructing on who is qualified to judge in regards to feasts and holy times.
Pagans are not qualified to judge you in respect to meat, drink, holy days, new moons, or Sabbaths. The only ones who can judge you is the collective Assembly of Believers.
See how this passage says something completely different when you read it in context without the additions and translation bias??
In fact, Paul isn’t even talking about clean or unclean meats here. The words for “food” and “drink” are “Brosei” (eating) and “Posei” (drinking).
This is about fasting! Not clean or unclean.
So putting this passage together correctly it reads as so:
“Let no pagan therefore judge you in eating, or in drinking, in respect to an holy day, or the new moon, or the Sabbath days but the body of Messiah”
- Paul encourages the believers by saying, “Hey — don’t you DARE let those pagans judge you — you just keep feasting it up and enjoy obeying the Torah. Keep on observing the New Moon, keeping Hebrew Feast Days, don’t let those mocking pagans tear you down, push their ascetic practices on you, judge you whether or not to eat or drink (fasting) , or instruct even on any of it it. The ONLY people qualified to speak of such matters will be in the assembly…those IN MESSIAH .”
The IRONY of these verses being used to suggest that the dietary laws, the Sabbath, the feasts, and the New Moons are to be LEFT BEHIND, is that this verse, when taken in proper context with the rest of the letter it is in, is an ADMONITION of NOT LETTING THE WORLD TALK YOU OUT OF OBSERVING THEM or influence how you observe them because these are ACTUALLY a shadow of WHAT IS TO COME!
Let’s look at Galatians 4:10-11, which is also commonly a victim of verse plucking.
“You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.”
Most people who want to teach against Sabbath and the Feasts only quote verse 10 and 11 and neglect to mention the previous two verses which actually give the context. Let’s add them in:
“8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.”
Now we can easily see that the context is the “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world”…NOT to Yahweh’s Appointed Times!
Let’s look at one more passage that is commonly used to teach that God’s commandments are done away with and no longer need to be obeyed:
“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
We just established that the Assembly of Believers (aka the Body of Christ) is to be responsible for judging believers on matters related to Yahweh’s commands…NOT the world. This passage appears to be saying that we AREN’T supposed to judge each other, but let’s look closer.
Verse 13 gives the context of “hindrances” and “stumbling blocks”
…not SIN or breaking Yahweh’s commandments.
Verse 14 clarifies it even more…the problem is it is MIS-TRANSLATED intentionally! By using the word “unclean” it makes it appear that we are not to judge each other on eating unclean foods…which IS A COMMAND. Confusing?!
Well actually it’s not confusing at all if you translate the Greek words correctly and have a very basic understanding of Tamudic law…which most “Christian” professors and theologians do not have…unfortunately.
First let’s talk about the difference between Torah and Talmud (Jewish man-made laws) in regard to food:
The Torah has two categories for animals:
Clean and Unclean
The TALMUD has 3 categories for animals:
Clean, Unclean, and Common
In the Greek:
Unclean is “Akatharton”
-Defined as unclean because Yahweh declares it so. This is taught in the Torah.
-Every time the word “akatharton” is used, it is referring to unclean animals.
Common is “Koinon”
-Defined as not (or no longer) sacred as it is without class distinction; profane, being defiled by touching the unclean, therefore, becoming ritually unclean by association. Man declares it so.
-Everytime “koinon” is used it is referring to a Talmudic classification known as “common”.
Here is an example of a food that would have normally been considered clean, however, because it was dedicated to the worship of a false deity it would have been made “COMMON“, and therefore unsuitable to eat:
Now let’s look at this verse in the ACTUAL GREEK!
We see that the word for “unclean” in this passage is actually KOINON!!!
This means that the CORRECT translation is “COMMON”!!
When we see that the verse is referring to man-made laws about things being “common”, then we see that the context is NOT about negating Yahweh’s commandment to abstain from eating unclean meats!
Here’s how the passage SHOULD read.
“I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is common in itself, but it is common for anyone who thinks it common.”
Paul is making the point, like he does in many of his other letters, that a categorically clean food is acceptable to eat and is clean in and of itself because God says so. A food may become “unclean” or “common” because of an OUTSIDE force not of itself (such as being dedicated to a false deity).
Practically speaking we don’t always know if a food has been offered to a false deity, therefore, to us it is clean. If we come to the knowledge that it has been offered to a false deity then to us it becomes common (which essentially makes it practically unclean).
Many new believers had just come out of a life of idol worship and asceticism. To begin eating meats without question may be a stumbling block because, to them, meats were virtually ALWAYS dedicated to their pagan deity. It would be important to them to verify that the meat had not been offered to an idol before eating or to abstain from eating it altogether.
For a person of stronger faith there would be no problem eating the meat that is set before them without question of their conscience. However, if it was made known that it had been offered to an idol then it would be wrong to eat it because he would then be taking part in the idolatry (see entire chapter of Romans 14).
Here is a modern-day example of COMMON meats. We are NOT to eat these knowingly:
Although the meet is beef and chicken (categorically clean), it has been made common (practically unclean) because it has been dedicated to a false deity.
I hope this article gives you more confidence that the commands of God stand forever.
That the dietary laws and feast days are for us today.
That we can trust that our Father has our best interests in mind and wants to show us amazing things foreshadowing what is to come.
That you may be blessed with the knowledge of God’s word and Shalom from His Spirit.
For further study on this please see: