Richard Barcellos on the Sabbath and the Colossians 2:16 triad.

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PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
Here is a portion of an article taken from the Reformed Baptist Theological Review.

http://www.shop.rbap.net/product.sc?categoryId=1&productId=13

I am posting it here for an examination of Colossians 2:16 and the triad phrase that is used in this passage along next to the Old Testament passage in Hosea 2:11.

(Col 2:16) 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:

(Hos 2:11) I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.

A lot of Baptist and non sabbattarians like to quote Colossians 2:16 as a passage that declares we need not keep a weekly Sabbath day to the Lord.


Richard Barcellos is the author. Please forgive my inept mistakes in copying it from a pdf to here.

1. The Old Testament prophesies the abrogation and cessation of the Sabbath under the New Covenant.


The OT clearly prophesies the abrogation and cessation of ancient Israel‘s Sabbaths. It does so in Hos. 2:11, which says, ―I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her New Moons, her Sabbaths--all her appointed feasts." We will make several observations that bear this out. First, Hosea‘s prophecy is dealing with the days of the New Covenant. The phrase ―in that day" (vv. 16, 18, 21) is used prophetically of New Covenant days in Is. 22:20. Revelation 3:7 quotes Is. 22:22 and applies it to Christ. The prophecy in Is. 22:20 mentions the Lord‘s servant, who is Christ. Isaiah 22:20-22 says:

Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.

Revelation 3:7, quoting Is. 22:22, says:

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ―These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.

The phrase, ―in that day,
' refers to the days of Christ–the days of the New Covenant. Paul references Hos. 1:10 and 2:23 in Rom. 9:25, applying them to Christians. ―As He says also in Hosea: ‗I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved‘" (Rom. 9:25). Peter references Hos. 1:9-10 and 2:23 in 1 Pet. 2:10 and applies them to Christians as well. He says, ―who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy" (1 Pet. 2:10). Hosea is clearly speaking of New Covenant days. According to the NT usage of Hosea, he is speaking of the time in redemptive history when God will bring Gentiles into a saving relationship with Jews. Much of the NT deals with this very issue.

Second, Hos. 2:11 clearly prophesies the abrogation of Old Covenant Israel‘s Sabbaths, along with ―all her appointed feasts." Hosea uses a triad of terms (―feast days, New Moons, Sabbaths") that is used many places in the OT (1 Chron. 23:31; 2 Chron. 2:4; 31:3; Neh. 10:33; and Is. 1:13-14). Clearly, he is speaking of the abrogation of Old Covenant ceremonial laws. When the Old Covenant goes, Israel‘s feast days, New Moons, Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts go with it.

Third, the NT confirms this understanding of Hos. 2:11. It uses this triad of terms in Col. 2:16, which says, ―So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths." In the context, Paul is combating those who were attempting to impose Old Covenant ceremonial law on New Covenant Christians. So Col. 2:16 is clear NT language that sees Hosea‘s prophecy as fulfilled. It is of interest to note that Paul uses the plural for Sabbath in Col. 2:16 (σάββατον). It is not too hard to assume that Paul had the OT triad in mind and Hosea‘s prophecy while penning these words. The NT announces the abrogation of the Old Covenant in
many places. For instance, 2 Cor. 3:7-18; Gal. 3-4; Eph. 2:14-16; and Heb. 8-10 (cf. esp. 8:6-7, 13; 9:9-10, 15; 10:1, 15-18) are clear that the Old Covenant has been abrogated.

(Heb. 8:6-7)
But now He [Christ] has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant [the New Covenant], which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant [the Old Covenant] had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.

(Heb. 8:13)
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.

(Heb. 9:9-10)
It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience--concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

(Heb. 9:15)
And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

(Heb. 10:1)
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

(Heb. 10:15-18)
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ―This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them, then He adds, ―Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

The Old Covenant and all its ceremonies are obsolete and have vanished away (Heb. 8:13). Taking these passages and Col. 2:16 together, they clearly teach that when the Old Covenant goes, the triad of Col. 2:16 goes as well.

2. The Old Testament prophesies the perpetuity and continuation of the Sabbath under the New Covenant.

Just as there is evidence from the OT that the Sabbath will be abolished under the New Covenant, so there is evidence that it will continue. At first glance this appears contradictory. But on further investigation, it is not contradictory and, in fact, fits the evidence provided thus far for the creation basis of the Sabbath and its unique place in the Decalogue in its function as moral law. Two passages deserve our attention at this point, Is. 56:1-8 and Jer. 31:33. Isaiah‘s prophecy of the Sabbath under the New Covenant is explicit and Jeremiah‘s is implicit.


Isaiah 56:1-8


(Isaiah 56:1-8)
Thus says the LORD: ―Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD speak, saying, "The LORD has utterly separated me from His people; nor let the eunuch say, "Here I am, a dry tree. For thus says the LORD: "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants--everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant--even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, ―Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.

Several observations will assist us in understanding how this passage prophesies explicitly the perpetuity and continuation of the Sabbath under the New Covenant. First, the section of the book of Isaiah starting at chapter 40 and ending with chapter 66 points forward to the days of Messiah and in some places to the eternal state. This section includes language pointing forward to the time primarily between the two comings of Christ, the interadvental days of the New Covenant. It is understood this way by the New Testament in several places (see Matt. 3:3; 8:16, 17; 12:15-21; and Acts 13:34).

Second, Is. 56:1-8 speaks prophetically of a day in redemptive history in which God will save Gentiles (cf., esp. vv. 7 and 8). The language of "all nations" in v. 7 reminds us of the promise given to Abraham concerning blessing all nations through his seed (see Gen. 12:3 and Gal. 3:8, 16). This Abrahamic promise is pursued by the great commission of Matt. 28:18-20. Isaiah is speaking about New Covenant days.

Third, in several New Testament texts, using the motif of fulfillment, the language of Is. 56:1-8 (and the broader context) is applied to the days between Christ‘s first and second comings (Matt. 21:12-13; Acts 8:26-40; Eph. 2:19; and 1 Tim. 3:15). Compare Matt. 21:13, “My house shall be called a house of prayer," with Is. 56:7, “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations." This anticipates the inclusion of Gentiles in the house of God, a common NT phenomenon. Compare Acts 8:26-40 (notice a eunuch was reading from Isaiah) with Is. 56:3-5, which says:

(Is. 56:3-5)
Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD Speak, saying, ―The LORD has utterly separated me from His people; nor let the eunuch say, ―Here I am, a dry tree. For thus says the LORD: ―To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.

The Old Covenant placed restrictions on eunuchs. Deuteronomy 23:1 says, ―He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the LORD. Isaiah is prophesying about a day in redemptive history when those restrictions will no longer apply.

In Eph. 2:19 the church is called the "household of God" and in 1 Tim. 3:15 it is called "the house of God."The context of 1 Tim. 3:15 includes 1 Tim. 2:1-7, where Paul outlines regulations for church prayer. Now consider Is. 56:7, which says:

(Is. 56:7)
Even them [i.e., the foreigners (Gentiles) of v. 6a] I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.

The NT sees Isaiah‘s prophecy as fulfilled under the New Covenant. However, the privileges, responsibilities, and the people of God foretold there (Is. 56) are transformed to fit the conditions brought in by the New Covenant. The people of God are transformed due to the New Covenant; the house of God is transformed due to the New Covenant; the burnt offerings, sacrifices, and altar are transformed due to the New Covenant; and the Sabbath is transformed due to the New Covenant (i.e., from the seventh to the first day). Isaiah, as with other OT prophets, accommodates his prophecy to the language of the Old Covenant people, but its NT fulfillment specifies exactly what his prophesy looks like when being fulfilled. Jeremiah does this with thepromise of the New Covenant. What was promised to "the house of Israel" and "the house of Judah" (Jer. 31:31), is fulfilled in the Jew-Gentile church, the New Covenant people of God, the transformed Israel of OT prophecy.

With these considerations before us, it seems not only plausible but compelling to conclude that between the two advents of Christ, when the Old Covenant law restricting eunuchs no longer restricts them, and when the nations (i.e., the Gentiles) are becoming the Lord‘s and frequenting his house, which is his Church, a Sabbath (see Is. 56:2, 4, 6) yet remains. Isaiah is speaking prophetically of Sabbath-keeping in New Covenant days. The English Puritan John Bunyan, commenting on Isaiah 56, said, "Also it follows from hence, that the sabbath that has a promise annexed to the keeping of it, is rather that which the Lord Jesus shall give to the churches of the Gentiles."7

Again, the essence of the Sabbath transcends covenantal bounds. Its roots are in creation, not in the Old Covenant alone. It transcends covenants and cultures because the ethics of creation are trans-covenantal and trans-cultural. The Sabbath is part of God‘s moral law.
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
Sooo...What should the Sabbath mean to me? I am seriously confused about the Sabbath. Is it Saturday? Is it Sunday? Is the "Old Testament Sabbath" on Saturday and the "New Testament Sabbath" (aka Lord's Day) on Sunday? Does it matter what day of the week we hold our "New Testament Sabbath?" Like I said earlier today on a different thread, I have SDA family, family that holds to Sunday being the Sabbath, family and spiritual leaders who don't believe any particular day is commanded, etc. :scratch:
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Topics added in italics

Numbers 28
Daily Offerings

1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, and my bread for my sacrifices made by fire, for a sweet savour unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season.

3And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.

4The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even;

5And a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil.

6It is a continual burnt offering, which was ordained in mount Sinai for a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.

7And the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the LORD for a drink offering.

Sabbath offerings

8And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

9And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof:

Monthly offerings

10This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

11And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;

12And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram;

13And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD.

14And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year.

15And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

The Passover

16And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the LORD.

17And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.

18In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein:

19But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year: they shall be unto you without blemish:

20And their meat offering shall be of flour mingled with oil: three tenth deals shall ye offer for a bullock, and two tenth deals for a ram;

21A several tenth deal shalt thou offer for every lamb, throughout the seven lambs:

22And one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you.

23Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering.

24After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.

25And on the seventh day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work.

Feast of Weeks

26Also in the day of the firstfruits, when ye bring a new meat offering unto the LORD, after your weeks be out, ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work:

27But ye shall offer the burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the LORD; two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs of the first year;

28And their meat offering of flour mingled with oil, three tenth deals unto one bullock, two tenth deals unto one ram,

29A several tenth deal unto one lamb, throughout the seven lambs;

30And one kid of the goats, to make an atonement for you.

31Ye shall offer them beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, (they shall be unto you without blemish) and their drink offerings.

Feast of Trumpets, et. seq.

In context, the Colossians passage is referring to the various ceremonies to be performed on various Sabbath days or in connection with the Sabbath day. It does not at all eliminate the substance of the fourth commandment, but it did address the ceremonies pointing toward Christ (e.g. sacrificing two lambs a year on a particular Sabbath day).

Christians, many coming from a Jewish observant background were at that time coming out of these ceremonies as Christ had now fulfilled them. The new moon festivals and ceremonies that went with some Sabbath days under the ceremonial law in Numbers, were being set aside as fulfilled in Christ. This is what Paul is addressing here- these ceremonies no longer need to be kept as we could now look back to the risen Savior Jesus Christ, and His righteousness alone, having accomplished what the ceremonies point to.

The Sabbath Day, the fourth commandment (called the Lord's Day in the New Testament) was never a ceremony. It's a basic part of God's behavior, not a ceremonial rite. It was part of God's fundamental law, even before the ten commandments.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
In the article Rich wrote or in his book on the decalogue he mentions the same thing. This passage of Scripture is showing us in context that we are complete in Christ and we need not turn back to the rituals since He is the anti-type.

At the same time I would also mention that Rich points out that the weekly Sabbath as moral law is not abrogated. It is on a different day in the New Covenant but it is not abrogated. He makes mention concerning the Lord's comments on it that the sabbath was made for man and man not for the sabbath. It is for our benefit as all other moral law is.
 
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