Wondering about Colossians

I wrote this three years ago, very early on in my discovery of the eternal righteousness of EVERY word of God. I was just looking around my blog, hoping to find a link to this study, when I realized I had never shared it. So here it is, in all it’s underdeveloped beauty. I say beauty because it exhibits more humility than what you will generally find in my posts. Unfortunately, I am usually much more sure of myself. Sorry about that, guys. One thing I AM sure of though is that every Word of God is true forever, so that’s where my confidence comes from and why I seem arrogant sometimes. Anyway, introduction/apology/defense over. Here’s the study:

Colossians 2:16, 17: 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: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

These are the verses that keep surfacing in response to what I have been talking about. I am trying to figure out if they mean what everyone says they mean, or if they mean something else. They obviously mean we shouldn’t judge each other. I am not judging anyone just because I would interpret the laws concerning the feast days differently, but I expect the same in return. If I think I should still be keeping feast days, then I have to do it, even if I’m wrong. It would be a sin to rebel against my own conscience. Also, Paul keeps bringing up the subject of love. Personally, this book convicted me because I have to remember that our journey is not about being right about everything; rather it is about Christ (who is our Head) and His body (who are my brothers and sisters).

Ok, so I just read the book of Colossians, and here’s what I have come up with. I need help with this though, so any input would be appreciated. First of all, I read the whole book without looking to see what anyone else’s opinion may be. However, I have 37 years of bias behind me, and a new direction I am leaning, so I don’t know how much good that actually did me.

Chapter 1

4-6 These are new believers.

9&10 They are still learning.

11 A verse for me. I need to be patient and long-suffering towards those with different beliefs.

26 The mystery. Of prophecies? Of the feast days? Either way, all were and are fulfilled in Christ.

Chapter 2

2 Love each other regardless.

8 Traditions of men – this could NOT be referring to feast days or the Law, which were ordained of God. Also, beware traditions of men.

8-14 There is nothing lacking for our salvation. Jesus Christ has taken care of everything. Don’t believe the traditions which say you must do this or that in order to obtain salvation. Don’t fall into following the ordinances of the Pharisees and Sadducees, because their ordinances were nailed to the cross, and Jesus exposed them for what they really were.

16-17 “Are” not “were.” Are they still a shadow of things to come? What things, specifically? Or is that still a mystery?

16 Not required for salvation. Don’t judge the Gentiles, whether they participate with the Jews in their feast days or not.

19 Keep Christ at the head.

20 Rudiments of the world – again referring to the extra laws of Pharisees and Sadducees? The wording here prevents me from thinking that he is referring to God’s perfect Law. It is not something to be despised, but a blessing. If anyone thinks the law is burdensome, just read Joshua 1:8 or Psalm 119. His Law is life – it is liberty. The ordinances were burdensome and not profitable.

22 Commandments and doctrines of men.

23 They denied themselves pleasures and freedoms because they thought they had to. They worshipped their own will-power over the flesh. “Shew of wisdom” – seeming to be wise. “Neglecting of the body.” “Not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh.” I didn’t understand this part, but I am reading a dual-language Bible, and the Spanish says “Pero no tienen valor alguno contra los apetitos de la carne.” I am taking that to mean that these things (will-power, humility -as referred to here, neglect) do nothing to actually help us overcome the desires of the flesh. In an effort to be concise, I will only post my thoughts, and not copy and paste the actual verses. (Although the verses themselves are far more important than anything I happen to think about them.)

Rant: I figure these new baby Christians, Gentiles, it seems, had probably just heard about the feast days and sabbaths and how they relate to their “new” religion (Christianity). Perhaps they were being told that they had to observe them in order to obtain salvation, or perhaps they were trying to observe them like the Jews and were being ridiculed for it. Maybe the Jews didn’t want to share their heritage with barbarians. Or perhaps the Jews were saying, “You have no inheritance with us unless you do the following things: _____,  ______, ______. Or were these believers perhaps being ostracized by society because they wanted to lay aside their own traditions and follow God’s? I am afraid that will happen to me, but I am speaking up anyway. I didn’t talk about it for the first 6 months or a year because I was afraid, – afraid of being ostracized, but more afraid of leading others astray if I am wrong. However, after having read almost the entire Bible again with this new perspective, I am more persuaded than ever. That doesn’t make me right, and I realize that, but I still feel pretty certain. The whole Bible makes more sense than ever before. Rant over.

Chapter 3

5-9 Mortify evil desires, etc. The law also tells us this. How could it be passed away? Paul is saying, don’t mortify your flesh (as in physically harming yourself), but evil. Not your body, but sin. He calls sin out, so we cannot say that it is impossible to sin, only that our sins are covered. The law still points out sin in our lives. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4.

3:11 Christianity is not a separate religion from that of the believing Jews. He is the fulfillment of their religion. We are saved under the same Christ. He is the head of us all.

3:14 Love each other above all.

Chapter 4

I feel like this whole chapter is speaking expressly to me.

From Rose Publications Bible Overview:

“Jesus Christ is sufficient in all things. No power, philosophy, or practice is effective in forgiving us and redeeming us other than Jesus…It is important to be on guard and aware of false teachings, heresies, and idle promises from other religions and philosophies that claim salvation can be found in something or someone else besides Jesus. Unlike Gnosticism that claims to have ‘hidden knowledge,’ God has revealed in the Scriptures everything we need to know…”

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Continually for Ever and Ever

13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

 

I remember thinking that King David was crazy! That’s before I “discovered” Torah, lol.

No Prerequisites for Salvation

Read Acts 15:5-21 for context. I have attached it to the end of this article in case you don’t have your Bible handy.

What must I do to be saved?

I want to stress that works do not save us. We cannot tell people that they are only saved if they ____. We cannot tell people that they are only saved if they don’t ____.

Remember that God delivered Israel from Egypt before His instructions were ever written down. He didn’t save them because they kept the commandments; they never kept the commandments perfectly anyway. The congregation in the wilderness was saved by the grace of God, just like everyone else.

In like manner, today’s redeemed turn their hearts toward God first, and then they begin to learn about the Father’s instructions over the course of their walk with Him. Following Christ as our example, let us therefore turn toward His righteousness with a full heart, taking heed to the instructions that He would have us read from every sabbath.

“Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation…” Leviticus 23:3

I only know a little Hebrew, but the bit that I do know leads me to believe that the root word that gets translated as “convocation” implies reading aloud. It is my belief that the Levites were commanded to read aloud to the people every sabbath because the Levites were the only ones with access to the written Word of God at that time.

When the council convened in Jerusalem, Peter basically suggested that they all “chill out, and allow people to learn at their own pace.”

Acts 15:

But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

My Best Bible Study Idea Ever!

I just had a Bible study idea, and I’m kind of excited about it, so I thought I would share it with you.

I thought it would be helpful to have a Bible on file that I could directly type my questions, research, and thoughts into. Right now, I’m writing in the margins sometimes, but there just isn’t enough room, and I don’t always keep a pen handy, lol.

I think it would be neat to keep it digitally instead of in a hard copy so that I can update it year after year, as I learn new things or find better research.

I looked for DOC files of the Bible for download and only found the NIV. I prefer more literal translations, so I’m just going to go to Bible Gateway every time I start a new chapter and copy and paste it into a new file.

I’m going to bold print all of the scripture, and then when I make notes in it (right in between the verses), I’m going to normalize the text that I type.

I figured it would also be interesting to copy/paste other translations sometimes, or the original Hebrew or Greek, or Strong’s Concordance notes, etc. Pictures would even be helpful sometimes! There are just so many cool things a person could do!

If several of us decide to do this, maybe we can compare notes someday. 

8 False Assumptions about Torah-Observant Believers

torah-89074_1280Some of these were my own knee-jerk assumptions when I found out that my dad had become Torah-observant. Others are remarks that I have received from others who thought they knew what I believed before they looked into it for themselves. ALL of my friends who have since looked into it have realized that I am not a heretic. Some of them have come to the understanding that living by God’s instructions cannot possibly be bad for us. Others still believe that I am holding myself to an unnecessary, burdensome standard. I urge you to look into these matters and decide for yourself.

False Assumption #1. You are relying on works for salvation.

No. No I’m not. My salvation is 100% dependent on the fact that Christ lived a perfect life and died for my sins. In fact, I have never met a single Torah-observant believer who thinks that salvation can be earned.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

#2. You place more value in the Old Testament than in the New.

I believe that the Old Testament contains godly instructions for living that are applicable to all men. The gospels show us how Christ was the only man to ever obey the Father perfectly. Most of the rest of the New Testament teaches us how to apply those instructions to our own lives once we have been adopted into the covenant that God made with Israel.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

#3. You think you have secret knowledge.

The Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) contains the standards of righteousness given by God to His covenant people. These instructions make up the oldest religion in the world – the Father’s religion. These instructions have been available and accessible to everyone who grew up with a Bible in their home. Anyone who has ever read the Torah has read that it is a blessing because the Father says so Himself:

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16

#4. You are disrespecting Christ’s sacrifice.

By refraining from what He came to save us from (sin) and by following His righteous example?

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:1, 2

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” I John 2:6

#5. You think you are Jewish.

Not a member of the tribe of Judah specifically (a Jew), but part of Israel in general. All who enter into the marriage covenant (the members of the bride of Christ) are born again to become part of spiritual Israel. It doesn’t matter whether we were originally part of the lost 10 tribes that He came to restore, or whether we were strangers who have been adopted into the commonwealth of Israel. We are born again; we are grafted in (to Israel).

“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29

Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord God, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” Isaiah 56:6-8

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” Ephesians 2:12

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.” Romans 11:17, 18

#6. You think you are better than other Christians.

My obedience has nothing to do with other Christians and everything to do with pleasing God. Do you refrain from committing adultery because you are trying to earn your salvation or because you are trying to boast in righteousness? No. For the same reason that you choose to remain faithful to your spouse, I choose to remain faithful to my God. Love.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15

#7. Your obedience to Torah makes you judgmental.

I insist that I am less judgmental than I have ever been. I realize that all Christians who are still eating bacon are doing so because they have no idea that the Father gave them good instructions and desires for them to choose physical life over death in the here and now (and not just eternal, spiritual life). I know they aren’t rebelling against God’s instructions on purpose because I used to be in the same boat. Using the same exact reasoning, I understand that homosexuals, fornicators, thieves, drunkards, false witnesses, and even those who are worshiping other gods have no idea that our Father loves them and has given them instructions for their own good.

“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4

I think that most people have this idea that the Christian God makes up silly rules for no other reason than to control and restrict them. (This is the same image that mainstream Christians have of parts of the Torah that don’t make sense to them.)

Part of the reason that folks have this idea is because of the Pharisees, the Catholics, and other denominations over the years that have gone to great lengths to control and oppress the people through their mad-made restrictions, pronouncing eternal consequences upon the heads of the “heretics.” What they don’t understand is that God’s instructions have never been burdensome – only beneficial. The reason it’s so hard to correct this perception is because folks don’t read their Bibles with open eyes (if they even read them at all), and because they don’t trust the Old Testament enough to give His instructions a sporting chance (to discover that they are a blessing and easy to follow).

“And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” I John 5:3

#8. You are behaving like the Pharisees.

Nope. Uh-uh. The Pharisees added and removed from the Torah, and this is the very reason that Jesus came down so hard on them. The Pharisees invented man-made restrictions in addition to God’s perfect instructions and created loopholes in some of God’s instructions that they didn’t want to keep. Jesus kept His FATHER’S instructions perfectly and openly rebelled against man-made traditions. This is precisely what I seek to do in my own life (although I am not brave enough to be so open in my rebellion against the man, lol).

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” Mark 7:13

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” Matthew 23:23

 

God Loves to Redeem

This is my God. He is all about redemption. If you are in any kind of bondage, it would be His great pleasure to rescue you.

“I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn,” Isaiah 57:18 NLT

“I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.” Isaiah 57:18 KJV

Can you see with your eyes and hear with your ears?

I know we have been trained to disassociate ourselves from Israel, but many of us, possibly even most of us (all of us?) belong to one of the lost 10 tribes that never returned from Assyrian captivity. We have been scattered among the nations, but now we are waking up. The Father is drawing us back to Him and His life-giving ways. We are the prodigal son, stirring ourselves, coming to our senses after a deep sleep.

So it’s kind of jarring when we realize that the following passage is being directed at us, you and me, and that it applies to us right now, in 2018, and not only to some long, lost nation that existed thousands of years ago that we don’t even associate ourselves with:

“Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:”

Jeremiah 5:21