Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sunday Sabbath justified? Let's examine Romans 14:5, Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:8-10

Someone recently wrote to our website to ask us to explain Romans 14:5, Colossians 2:16-17 and Galatians 4:8-10, because "Christian churches use these verses to add justification to worshiping on a Sunday."

Romans 14:5:

Romans 14:5. One man discriminates between days; and another judges all days alike. But let every one be sure in regard to his knowledge.  6. He that esteems a day, esteems (it) for his Master: and he that esteems not a day for his Master, he does not esteem (it). And he that eats, eats to his Master and gives thanks to Elohim: and he that eats not to his Master he eats not and gives thanks to Elohim. (AENT)

Does the above suggest that Paul said it is up to each of us to decide what we should eat and what day we should keep?

Absolutely not! The context of this passage was a dispute over whether one can eat food that may or may not have been offered to idols.  In those days food that may or may not have been offered to idols was usually put out for sale to people on a certain day of the week – and some believers refused to purchase or eat food on those days, just to be on the safe side. On the other hand, some did because they figured, since they didn’t know for sure whether or not it had been offered, it wouldn’t be wrong to eat it.

In Romans 14:5-6, Paul was not addressing kosher foods or Sabbath day observance at all; he was referring to the disagreement over whether market place food, because of idolatry, should be bought and eaten on a certain day of the week. 

Please check out David H. Stern’s explanation in the preface of his Complete Jewish Bible, wherein he demonstrates the difference between “kosher” and “ceremonially clean.” Stern says YAHWEH never said pork, shellfish, etc. were food.  People called these animals food in rebellion against God…. 

The passages in Romans are dealing with animals YAHWEH gave us to eat and whether they are ceremonially clean and can be eaten at that time. 

Even in Peter’s vision (Acts 11), Peter would never have eaten the kosher animals that had been in contact with treif (non-kosher) animals. The vision was to show that, as Peter knew which animals were clean and which were not because as God had shown him, Peter was to accept the Gentiles as God had now shown him they were “clean”.  The rest of the passage in Acts 11 shows that this is the correct interpretation and what the vision was all about (see Acts 11:18).

Colossians 2:16-17:

Colossians 2:16. Let no (pagan) therefore judge you about food and drink, or about the distinctions of festivals and new moons and Shabbats  17. which were shadows of the things then future; but the body of Mashiyach.  (AENT)

Most Bible versions translate the above as “let no one therefore judge”; but the AENT puts this back into context to show that the Body of Mashiyach must not be concerned with the judgments of those who are outside the Kingdom of Elohim; that is, those who don’t know Torah or Mashiyach.  It is clear, given the location of this audience and the fact that the Apostle Paul always references Jews directly, that Paul is addressing the local talk of the pagans whose religion dominated this region.

Compare this with Colossians 1:24.  Paul is stating that the “Body of Mashiyach” determines how to observe Torah, including Kashrut (kosher), Shabbats, Moedim (YAHWEH’s Appointed Times/Feasts) and Rosh Chodeshim (Biblical New Years);  therefore, don’t let lawless pagans judge you; they have their own religious customs and way of doing things! For example, many choose to attend “religious” meetings on Sun-Day, and they have sunrise services on Easter Sun-day, then for December 25th they put up a Tammuz (Christmas) tree that commemorates the rebirth of the Babylonian deity Tammuz.  And the gold and silver balls that Christians hang on their Christmas trees originally represented Tammuz’ testicles, as he was renown for “pleasing the ladies.”

Most Christians know full well that Yeshua was not born on December 25th, but the pagan celebrations have become such entrenched traditional rituals that truth has become an embarrassing inconvenience.  In other words, don’t let family, friends, pastors, or co-workers judge you for observing truthful Torah festivals, because their motive is for you to return to the pagan substitutes they themselves prefer. 

The Church today is following in the idolatrous footsteps of ancient and modern Israel according to Ezekiel 8:14 and Jeremiah 10 and 17.  The vast majority of Christians twist these verses to teach that Shabbat and the Feasts of YAHWEH “were fulfilled by Christ and are no longer necessary” which completely contradicts what Paul taught – that YAHWEH’s Feasts are a shadow of things to come; not to mention, they are rehearsals for the Bride of Mashiyach!  What Mashiyach and Paul call “good,” Christianity calls evil; even suggesting their pagan based rituals are sanctified through a “Christian” label (see Isaiah 5:14-23).

Galatians 4:8-10:

Galatians 4:8. Then, for when you did not know Elohim, you served those things who, by their very nature, are not Elohim.   9. Now that you have knowledge of Elohim, and especially have knowledge from Elohim[1], that you have returned to those weak and poor principles, wishing to come under their bondage.  10. You have observed days and months and times and years[2].   11. I am afraid that perhaps my being among you  has been in vain. (AENT)


[1]  Or “elohim” (as in deities).  The point is that each false deity cannot live up to the true Elohim, or that none of them are the “real elohim” but rather statues with no life, since there is only One true Elohim, YHWH.  The verse can easily read either way; however, it is fair to point out that the later vowel pointing systems that developed in both Eastern and Western Aramaic versions of this text have a plural marker over the word in question.  Either way is acceptable, both are possible.  The other issue is the use of the word kyanna, or “nature.”  This phrase proves Rav Shaul was not polytheistic as his critics often allege because, no matter which reading is preferred, he is still defending the very Jewish idea that there is only One divine nature, and that any more than one is idolatry.

[2]  Adding specific detail from verse 8, “those things who, by their very nature, are not Elohim”; therefore, these days, months, times and years refers to any pagan or “alternative religious” celebrations outside of Torah.  However, many Christians use this verse to level their guns at Torah while at the same time celebrating on Sun-day (commemorating the Sun god), Tammuz-day (Christmas), Easter sun-rise service, Valentines Day, etc, all of which are of pagan origin.

For more on how Galatians was very much misunderstood, please check out our article.

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