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“You Yourself Also Live in Observance of the Law” ~ James to the apostle Paul | Acts 21:24

Act 21:18-24 18On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him (Paul), “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus, all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself (Paul) also live in observance of the law.

In the verses above, James was concerned because he knew there was ‘hearsay‘ about Paul; ‘rumors‘ that he taught against Moses and circumcision. However, James knew this to be false, as he clearly stated in verse 24, “there is nothing in what they have been told about you (Paul)”. What were they told about Paul? Verse 21 states, some were told that Paul taught ‘to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs’. This was a false accusation brought against Paul according to the Spirit-inspired Luke, who wrote the letter of ‘Acts’ (please click this link and read ‘Paul’s Day in Court‘).

This passage is perhaps the most obvious verse in the Bible that proves the apostle Paul himself, kept the Law of God given through Moses ‘post-resurrection’. James knew that Paul was misunderstood (as Peter warned us, 2 Peter 3:16-17). So, James encouraged Paul to prove that he did not teach against circumcision nor the Law of Moses, in order to establish that there is nothing in what they have been told about him and that he himself lived in observance of the Law, as James said in verse 24.

What does the text say?

Acts 21:24 “Thus, all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself (Paul) also live in observance of the law.

Here in verse 24, the word live in the Greek is Strong’s G4748 στοιχεῖς/stoicheis which is in the Present Tense (years after the cross). This is derived from steicho: to march in (military) rank (keep step), i.e. (figuratively) to conform to virtue and piety — walk (orderly). Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states stoicheis to mean: to walk, to direct one’s life, to live.

Also, in verse 24 and in the Present Tense (years after the cross) is the word “observance“. In the Greek, this is Strong’s G5442 φυλάσσων/phylássōn, and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: to guard, i.e. to care for, to take care not to violate; to observe.

What does the “Word of God” say about the apostle Paul and the Law of Moses?

It says he “marched to”, kept in step with” and “directed his life to guard, observe and not violate” the Law of Moses. This is declared many years after the ascension of Jesus.

Therefore, according to the Spirit-inspired Word of God, those rumors about Paul, that he taught others to forsake the Law of Moses and to not circumcise the male children, were “nothing“; they were false accusations” (Please click this link and read ‘Zealous for the Law‘).

These “false accusations” in Acts 21:21 are either ignored, or they are being taught as ‘true accusations’ by today’s mainstream theologians.

Not only does the ‘Word of God’ state that Paul did not teach against circumcision or the Law of Moses, but the Spirit-inspired Word of God states that Paul himself was living his life observing/guarding the Law of Moses when James spoke these words!

Yet, mainstream theology has claimed for centuries that the apostle Paul condemned the Law as bondage, teaching that it was abolished and done away with.?.?.

Tragically, the current mainstream doctrine teaches the opposite of what the Word of God teaches.

If the mainstream Christian system doesn’t hide this information by ‘sweeping it under the rug’, the most common way to excuse away this scriptural fact about Paul is to haphazardly declare, “Well, Paul was a Jew and not of the nations/gentiles”. The argument that “Paul was a Jew and only Jews can keep the Law” is illogical, hypocritical and unscriptural.

That “excuse” is unsound for three reasons:

  • First, the Law of Moses is either abolished or it’s not. Period. How in the world could it be abolished for the nations/gentiles, who never observed it in the first place, but current and valid for ‘the Jews’? This illogical line of reasoning has led to a similar type of misinterpretation in ‘Galatians’; please click this link and read ‘Galatians Part 1: Freedom or Bondage‘.
  • Secondly, if Paul preached that the Law of Moses was abolished, revoked, canceled and done away with throughout the known world but kept it himself as Acts 21 proves he did, then as a hypocrite, he was teaching unsound doctrine; i.e. ‘it’s abolished for you but not for me’.?.?.?
  • Lastly, there isn’t a single Scripture to back up the idea that the Law of Moses is current and valid today for “believers of Jewish origins” but abolished for the “believers who used to be of the nations/gentiles”.

This ‘excuse‘ is man-made dogma and should be summarily dismissed as blasphemy; it makes God a respecter of persons.

There are, however, numerous quotes ‘out of Paul’s own mouth’ that state there is no difference between Jew and Greek, there is no distinction between believers of Jewish origins and believers who used to be of the nations/gentiles. In ‘the-body-Christ’, whatever ‘doctrine’ is right for one, is right for all.

What does the text say?

Romans 2:9-11 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.

1 Corinthians 12:13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one bodyJews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Galatians 3:28-29 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Ephesians 3:6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

ALL are the same before the LORD.

According Paul, there is no Jew and there is no Greek before God; “If”… if you are in Christ, “then” you are Abraham’s offspring! Not a Jew and not a gentile, but an Israelite; please read the study, ‘Are You Grafted Into Israel? Part 4: No Longer Gentile‘.

According to Paul, “all in Christ” are the same. The same father Abraham, the same offspring and the same heir. Not one set of rules for the believer of Jewish origins and a different set of rules for the believer of non-Jewish origins. The same offspring, the same body, the same heir.

According to Paul, all are the same. All are equal in the body of Christ before God.

Even with all of the other ‘misunderstood’ verses in Paul’s letters, these verses in the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ listed at the top of this page, conclusively settles the matter. Paul did not teach against the Law of Moses nor circumcision as the mainstream Christian denominations teach, but he did personally observe, guard and keep the Law of God given through Moses decades after ‘the Cross of Christ’; at least according to the Word of God!

The second most common excuse for Paul’s participation in the Nazarite Vow rite is to “arbitrarily claim” that he was just placating the Law-abiding-Jews in Jerusalem, ‘pretending to be a law keeper’ so they would leave him and the Christian Council alone. If ‘Paul’ did that, then he was a liar, a hypocrite and a coward, and so were James and the entire Christian Council!

What ever happened to the Paul that exclaimed “I am not ashamed…”???

Am I to understand that mainstream theology believes the apostle Paul wavered and cowered in his old age…?

The “claim” that James told Paul to lie, and the “claim” that Paul agreed to this deception is atrocious hermeneutics, and pure eisegesis. It’s not only NEVER hinted at, but the Scriptures actually state that Paul took part in ‘the vow‘ in order to let everyone KNOW that there was NOTHING in what they thought about him, and to PROVE that he actually did LIVE his life observing and keeping the Law’! | Acts 21:24

Final thought: In 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul, whom mainstream theology “claims” taught that the Law of Moses was abolished, quoted from the Law of Moses as a current, valid and authoritative Law:

Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake | 1 Corinthians 9:8-10

Since the apostle Paul just taught from the Law of Moses, that shatters all assumptions that he taught the Law of Moses was abolished; that verse, along with the following documentation in Acts 21:24  concludes the matter ~

“Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.” | James speaking to Paul, Acts 21:24

The apostle Paul taught from the Law of Moses and lived his life in observance of the Law decades after the ascension of Jesus. Period.

This study can now be watched on YouTube @ You Yourself Also Live in Observance of the Law.

  • For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, see the ‘Links’ at the top of this page or blog posts at the bottom. Be like the Bereans, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”; look up for yourself more than 60 of the “forever verses” listed directly below. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!

Let No One Pass Judgement On You | Colossians 2:16-17

Colossians 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.

Context is King!

Context is the most vital element to understanding and interpreting the Word of God. In order to fully comprehend the meaning of any verse in the Bible, one must frame that verse with the resources and objects of the surrounding text.

Context is: the series or parts of the composition/discourse that precede and follow the passage of interest, which define and outline the subject matter, clarifying its meaning.

If you ‘cherry-pick’ a single verse, or part of a verse, all by itself out of the Scriptures, without the surrounding verses for context, you can make it say or mean anything that you want it to. When taken out-of-context, the Word of ‘God’ itself states that, ‘there is no God’! | Psalm 10

The vast majority of the time you have to read multiple verses or even chapters before and after the quoted verse, and sometimes the entire letter/book, in order to understand who is doing the talking, who is the writer’s audience, who or what is the topic of discussion, and why is it even being discussed.

What we’ve been taught for centuries by the mainstream Christian denominations regarding the letter to the Colossians is wrong, because the context has been ignored!

The mainstream theological system is currently teaching incorrect interpretations of what the apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:16 and 17. They’re assuming a doctrinal position that is based solely on 2 isolated verses; they have completely ignored the text surrounding those 2 verses.

In order to correct this error of interpretation, all you have to do is just read the 2nd and 3rd chapters together without allowing any preconceived denominational notions to fog the actual context; also, an investigation into the original Greek parsing is required, because this has been translated incorrectly as well. We’ll being doing both in this study…

The CRITICAL errors in the mainstream teaching of 2nd Colossians are twofold:

  1. The antagonist in the dialogue
  2. The ‘Tense’ of the original Greek

Because of these two errors, false doctrine has emerged regarding the following verses:

Colossians 2:16-17 16Let 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 17which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (KJV)

Colossians 2:16-17 16Let no one, then, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths, 17which are a shadow of the coming things, and the body [is] of the Christ; (YLT)

Colossians 2:16-17 16Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath 17these are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (ESV)

Let’s start with the First Error: the antagonist.

Who was judging the Colossians? What people group was Paul warning them about? The apostle Paul wrote one-third of this letter, not just this one sentence, admonishing and warning the Colossians about the deceitful teachings and philosophies of someone.

For generations we have been taught by the mainstream Christian system that it was ‘Jews’ who were judging these poor Colossians because they were not eating kosher, or celebrating Sabbaths, New Moons and the biblical Holy Days/Feasts… but is that what the verses state? Is that what the text in ‘your’ Bible says?

Who was Paul condemning, and who did he actually say was trying to influence, persuade and judge these poor Colossians? Don’t we want to know what Paul actually said, or are we going to toss aside the letter he wrote without reading it for ourselves???

Let’s look at the surrounding verses for context…

What does the text say?

I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. | Colossians 2:4

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy [Acts 17:18] and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. | Colossians 2:8

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, | Colossians 2:18

20If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch 22referring to things that all perish as they are used— according to human precepts and teachings? 23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. | Colossians 2:20-23

5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming | Colossians 3:5-6

As you can see, this section of the letter to the Colossians is rife with Paul declaring ‘don’t listen to human philosophy, human precepts, human teachings, angel worship, self-made religion and ascetism’. These doctrines that Paul was warning the Colossians about originated solely “from man”. These doctrines most certainly do NOT originate from God and His Laws. The Law of God Almighty, given through Moses, forbids all of those teachings and practices!

Those “human precepts and teachings” are actually philosophical practices that are Pagan in origin, most notably those of ‘Gnosticism’, which was rampant at the time of Paul’s writings. The Colossians were former Pagans, whom Paul had preached to, and taught to believe in and obey the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Colossians were being influenced and judged ‘by Pagans’ who were trying to deceive them with human philosophy in order to turn them away from the their new found beliefs in the one true God.

Today’s mainstream Christian system incorrectly teaches that, ‘the Colossians were being influenced and judged by Jews because they weren’t observing Feasts/Holy Days, New Moons and Sabbaths from the Word of God‘; the verses do not say that! Those words are NOT in the text; it is a fictitious, assumed doctrine by the mainstream theological system.

The Israelites (Jews) of the time who correctly obeyed the Laws of God given through Moses did not adhere to ‘Human Philosophies’, or ‘Angel Worship’, ‘Elemental Spirits of the World’, ‘Self-Made Religion’, or ‘Ascetism’. The Law of Moses forbids all of those practices.

Paul’s congregants in chapter 2 were NOT being judged by Law-abiding Jews; it was Gnostic-Pagans who were judging those Colossians.

So, with that being understood, does it make any sense that non-believing Pagans, who didn’t keep the Biblical Sabbaths, were judging those Colossians for not keeping the Biblical Sabbaths? Of course not; they would have been praising them for it.

If the Colossians that Paul was addressing in chapter 2 weren’t keeping the Sabbath, as mainstream theology claims, why in the world would the gnostic-pagans be judging them for it???… Utter nonsense.

The ONLY logical interpretation is that the ‘non-believing pagans’ were judging the Colossians “for keeping” the Sabbaths!… ‘Don’t let any humanistic-pagan judge you in Sabbath keeping’…

The same logic applies to the food/eating and drinking, Holy Days/Feasts of God, and observing New Moons; all of which are instructions of the Almighty given through Moses. The Colossians were observing the Feasts, New Moons and Sabbaths, and they were getting grief because of it from pagans who didn’t observe them.

Again, contrary to what we’ve been taught, the Scriptures state that Paul was telling those Colossians to not let the “gnostic-pagans” judge them because now they were “keeping” the Biblical Holy Days and Sabbaths and New Moons, when before they weren’t. Their humanistic, paganistic and gnostic acquaintances were condemning them and judging them because they were “now” ‘feasting-it-up’ according to the Almighty’s Feast Day instructions, instead of following the ascetic rites of self-neglect and self-denial, i.e., ascetism.

Paul’s congregants in Colossi were observing and keeping the Sabbaths, New Moons and Feasts of the Almighty, and people that they knew were judging them for obeying God, rather than obeying human teachings and ascetic precepts. THAT is what the text says when you read ALL of the context of chapter 2 and 3 together.

Gnostic paganism and ascetism was one of the greatest cultural influences of the first century. Paul warned Timothy about it as well…

Just like 1 Timothy 4:3 ~

1 Timothy 4:3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

The Law of the Almighty does not forbid marriage, so He can not be referring to the Law of Moses.

Paul also warned those in Galatia about returning to the ways of the world before they knew the one true God.

What does the text say?

Galatians 4:8-9 8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9But 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?

Paul was warning those in Colossi about being judged and ridiculed by Pagans, because those Pagans didn’t approve of them keeping and guarding the Biblical Sabbaths and Feasts. Paul told the Colossians to ignore them because the Sabbath day, the New Moon Observance and the Feasts commanded by the Almighty have great and wonderful prophetic meanings.

Paul went on to explain about this in the next verse…and his statement in verse 17 is further PROOF that the Colossians were keeping the Sabbath, New Moon Observance and the Feasts of the Almighty. In verse 16 Paul was reassuring them that there is a very good reason to guard and observe them, and verse 17 is that good reason….

What does the text say?

Colossians 2:17 these are a shadow of the things to come, and the substance belongs to Christ.

Which leads us now to the second critical error of interpretation of Colossians 2 by mainstream theology.

The Second Error: The original Greek ‘Tense’ of Colossians 2:17

This error in the interpretation Colossians 2:17 is not only critical, it is extremely deceptive and heretical on the part of some of the modern “translators”.

Colossians 2:17 is in the “Present TenseNOT past tense, which is how a number of Bible versions deceptively present it. The Greek is blatantly obvious, therefore, those companies that printed it in the past tense are knowingly misleading their readers.

The critical deception by Bible printing companies doesn’t stop there, as many versions add the word ‘only’ or ‘mere’ into the verse.

There is absolutely no excuse for purposefully changing the Word of God!

The Bibles that incorrectly have the verse in the past tense are the following versions:

  • ABPE, CSB, HCSB, NIV, WNT

The Bibles which have added English words to the Word of God, which are not found in the original manuscripts, are the following versions:

  • NASB, NET, NLT, RSV

In Colossians 2:17 Paul wrote:

ἅ          ἐστιν σκιὰ        τῶν     μελλόντων τὸ     δὲ     σῶμα  τοῦ   Χριστοῦ

Ha         estin   skia        tōn     mellontōn    tōn     de        sōma    tōn    Christou

3739     1510   4639       3588   3195             3588   1161   4983     3588  5547

Which “ARE”  shadow  the    COMING”     the     and      body     the     Christ

            V-PIA    ←               V-PPA ⇐ ←

As you can see, the parsing reveals that this verse is in the Present tense NOT the past tense. The English word ‘are’ is Present Indicative Active and the word ‘coming’ is Present Participle Active.

‘Present Participle’ – Continuous or Habitual Action: it refers to an action that is currently taking place or which takes place repeatedly.

‘Present Active Indicative’ shows that the action happens in the present time, that the subject carries out the action, and that it is a true statement.

The apostle Paul wrote that the Sabbaths, the Feasts and the New Moon observances are ‘shadows/outlines’, NOT ‘were’!

If your Bible has the word “were” in this verse, then you are being purposefully deceived!

Next, these ‘outlines/shadows’ are coming, and ‘coming’ is Present Participle Active. This means that the Sabbaths, Feasts and New Moons are an outline of things still to come. They represent a sketch or symbolic representation of something that has not happened yet. It’s still in our future!

Lastly, the English word ‘shadow’ is Strong’s G4639, and Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: a shadow, i. e. an image cast by an object and representing the form of that object: opposed to σῶμα, the thing itself, Colossians 2:17; hence, equivalent to a sketch, outline, adumbration, Hebrews 8:5; opposed to εἰκών, the ‘express’ likeness, the very image.

The apostle Paul wrote that the ‘present tense Sabbaths and Feasts’ are a likeness of the future coming Messiah and all that it entails. They represent an outline of things to come; i.e., the future fulfilling of the Fall Feasts by Jesus. Just as He fulfilled the spring Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Shavuot (Pentecost), He will fulfill the Fall Feasts.

Every Bible scholar, professor and pastor that has studied the Scriptures knows (or at least they should) that Jesus fulfilled the first four Feasts of God, but has yet to fulfill the last three. Please click this link and read the study, ‘The LORD’s Feasts’.

The Colossians observed and kept the Holy Days, New Moons and Sabbaths “because” they “ARE an outline/shadow of Messiah and His still-to-come prophetic fulfillments! The Fall Feasts are a foreshadow of the things-to-come, i.e. the Seconding coming of Messiah, just as the Spring Feasts were a foreshadow of the first coming of Messiah. The Sabbath Day is a foreshadow of the coming Millennium… future tense, NOT past tense!!!

In His first coming, Jesus fulfilled the outline/shadow prophesies of the following Sabbaths &/or Feasts:

  • Passover/Unleavened Bread
  • First Fruits
  • Feast of Weeks

However, He has not fulfilled these fall Sabbaths &/or Feasts yet:

  • Day of Trumpets
  • Day of Atonements
  • Feast of Booths

Notably, the ‘Day of Trumpets’ is the only Feast Day/Festival of the LORD to fall on a New Moon; that’s one of the reasons why I believe Paul mentioned ‘New Moon’ observances in verse 16.

Festivals are a big problem for the Ascetic-Gnostics, who ‘deny the flesh (feasting)’ and ‘worship angels’. So, it makes perfect sense that they would have a serious problem with those in Colossi eating and drinking and feasting-it-up! That’s why the Colossians were being judged for celebrating the Festivals and New Moon.

Colossians 2:16-1716Let 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 17which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (KJV)

Colossians 2:16-1716Let no one, then, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths, 17which are a shadow of the coming things, and the body [is] of the Christ; (YLT)

Colossians 2:16-1716Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath 17these are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (ESV)

The apostle Paul told the Colossians that the New Moon, the Sabbaths and the Holy Days/Feasts are a shadow/outline of the coming King Himself, so don’t let anyone judge you with respect to celebrating and observing them. The Messiah is returning again, and these ‘shadows’ are an outline of Him, of the things to come regarding Him. We are to honor and celebrate everything about Him, and since He isn’t here yet, we are to continue to honor Him by observing His very ‘shadow’.

Final Thought: We are being lied to, and whether or not it’s intentional is beside the point, it is still deception!

Mainstream Christendom has been teaching the wrong interpretation of these verses for centuries, which has led to false doctrines and beliefs about the Word of God.

The apostle Paul told the Colossians to not let anyone judge them in keeping Sabbaths and New Moons because he himself kept, guarded and observed all of the Laws of God given through Moses, so they obviously have not been abolished; please read the Scriptural study that proves this, ‘You Yourself Also Live in Observance of the Law | Acts 21:24’. Paul observed and kept the LORD’s Feast as commanded by God given in the Law of Moses, so again, they obviously were not abolished; again, please read the study, ‘The LORD’s Feasts’.

Acts 18:21 But bade them, I [Paul] must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. (KJV)s

Acts 21:24 “Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law.” | James speaking to Paul

The apostle Paul kept the Feasts/Holy Days from the Law of Moses and lived his life in observance of the Law decades after the ascension of Jesus. Period. The Law of Moses, including the Feasts/Holy Days of God, were not abolished, at least according to the apostle Paul.

  • For further study of Paul’s teachings, as well as the original Greek, see the ‘Links’ at the top of this page or the blog posts at the bottom. Be like the Bereans, and test Paul’s doctrines to the “Scriptures”; look up for yourself more than 60 of the “forever verses” listed directly below. Please ‘share’ this study. Thank you for your time!