Addressing Paul’s Difficult Words in Colossians 2

Colossians 2:14, Having wiped out. Here Paul mentions that Yeshua blotted out the handwritings of legal decrees that were against us when he died on the cross (Col 2:12–15). What was against us? It was the Torah law that specified that the sin of adultery carried the death penalty (Lev 20:10). For those who are washed in Yeshua’s redeeming blood and have been buried with him by water immersion or baptism (Col 2:12 cp. Rom 6:3–11), the devil, who is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10), no longer has any legal basis against which to lay the charges of the sin of unfaithfulness against us before the Almighty (Col 2:15). Likely, there is a heavenly record of each man’s sins written in one of the books (which are in addition to the book of life) mentioned in Revelation 20:12. These books be opened at the last judgement and will be used to determine one’s eternal rewards based on one’s works of righteousness (v. 12). Some will be granted eternal life, while others will be destroyed in the lake of fire (v. 15). As mentioned, those who are under the blood of Yeshua and whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, there is no condemnation.

In this passage, Paul may be alluding to the law of the jealous regarding an unfaithful woman (Num 5:11–31). In this case, the Torah instructs a man to bring his wife whom he suspects of adultery before the priests along with an offering of barley meal. What follows is one of the Torah’s more curious rituals. The priests, in front of the woman, sprinkle some dirt from the door of the tabernacle into an earthen vessel filled with holy water. Her head is uncovered, and she is then made to hold the barley meal, while she is put under oath and questioned about her alleged extramarital sexual activities. A curse is put on her if she has been unfaithful, and the curses are written in a book. The words are then scraped from the book and put into the water. The woman is then made to drink the bitter waters. If she is guilty, the curse takes effect causing her belly to swell and her thigh to rot.

The sad thing is that not only was ancient Israel guilty before Elohim of spiritual adultery (see Ezek 16:1ff), but all humans, like an adulterous woman, have followed in Adam and Eve’s unfaithfulness and sinned (tantamount to spiritual adultery) by being unfaithful to the Creator by going his Torah-laws. The good news is that Yeshua took the curse of the adulterous woman upon himself when he died on the cross. He was given cup of bitter gall to drink, which he refused, but he drank symbolically from the bitter cup of death and even his side was split open by the Roman soldier’s spear. (For additional commentary on the ritual of the adulterous woman, see my notes at Num 5:11–31.)

Colossians 2: 16, So let no one judge you in food or in drink. Because no one is to judge us in meat or in drink does this mean that believers are free to eat anything they want, regardless of the biblical kosher laws? This is how many interpret this passage.

As in the other passages we are examining, the key to understand the single verse is to understand it in its context. As Botkin points out, verses 13-14 state that we have been forgiven because “the certificate of debt” that was against us has been taken out of the way. Is this referring to the Torah-law of Elohim that somehow in the “New Testament” has been annulled by Yeshua’s work on the cross?

To the contrary, Botkin points out that the Greek word for certificate of debt is a unique technical term used in extra-biblical Greek writings and it means “certificate of indebtedness” (see A Greek Lexicon of the NT, by Arndt and Gingrich). This, according to Botkin, is referring to the record of man’s sins that have been thrown out of Elohim’s heavenly courtroom. Because the Messiah died for our sins, this record of our transgressions is inadmissible evidence in the Courtroom of Heaven. Because of the work of our Advocate, Yeshua, we have triumphed over our accuser (verse 15). It is for this reason that we are to let no man judge us (verse 16) since we have been forgiven of our sins (verse 13), which is the violation of YHVH’s Torah-law (1 John 3:4). Since the record of our sins has been removed from Elohim’s heavenly courtroom through the work of Yeshua our advocate (lawyer), and since Yeshua triumphed over the devil (verse 15) who had claim on our lives because of our sin, the penalty of which is death (Ezek 18:4 and Rom 6:23) and through Yeshua we passed from condemnation (eternal death) to (eternal) life (John 3:18; 5:24; Rom 7:24 and 8:1-2) no one has the right to judge or condemn us.

For that reason, says Botkin, Paul goes on to say, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink” or in any other of YHVH’s Torah commands such as the appointed times or festivals or the Sabbath. In other words, through Messiah (through his grace and divine empowerment of the indwelling presence of his Spirit in you) you have the power to obey the commandments of Elohim regarding food, drink, feast days, new moons and Sabbaths (God’s Dietary Laws, by Daniel Botkin, Gates of Eden magazine, Nov./Dec. 1997 issue).

So once again this passage in no way abrogates YHVH’s dietary laws, but validates them.


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