The differences between laws is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the Bible and as a result there has become a lot of confusion between the Ten Commandments and the ceremonial law. Rather than give several personal explanations on the main Bible verses in contention, I have decided to list these main scriptures concerned followed by explanations from famous commentaries. If you would like to read a document covering this topic with personal detailed explanations then select the ceremonial law and the Sabbath. See also Colossians 2:16 and the Sabbath for detailed information on this passage as well as Gal 4:9-10 and Rom 14:5-6. Those who believe the feasts still have to be kept can read Colossians 2:16 Jewish festivals and feast Holydays or Colossians 2:16 ordinances, feasts and Holydays.
Colossians 2:14-17 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 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: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
Colossians 2:14 - Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances - By the hand-writing of ordinances the apostle most evidently means the ceremonial law: this was against them, for they were bound to fulfill it; and it was contrary to them, as condemning them for their neglect and transgression of it. This law God himself has blotted out.
Blotting out the hand-writing is probably an allusion to Num_5:23, where the curses written in the book, in the case of the woman suspected of adultery, are directed to be blotted out with the bitter waters. And there can be little doubt of a farther allusion, viz., to the custom of discharging the writing from parchment by the application of such a fluid as the muriatic acid, which immediately dissolves those ferruginous calces which constitute the blackening principle of most inks. But the East India inks, being formed only of simple black, such as burnt ivory, or cork, and gum water, may be wiped clean off from the surface of the paper or parchment by the application of a wet sponge, so as to leave not one legible vestige remaining: this I have often proved.
Nailing it to his cross - When Christ was nailed to the cross, our obligation to fulfill these ordinances was done away. There may be another reference here to some ancient mode of annulling legal obligations, by nailing them to a post; but I do not recollect at present an instance or example. Antiquated laws are said to have been thus abrogated.
Colossians 2:16 - Let no man - judge you in meat, or in drink - The apostle speaks here in reference to some particulars of the hand-writing of ordinances, which had been taken away … and the necessity of observing certain holydays or festivals, such as the new moons and particular sabbaths, or those which should be observed with more than ordinary solemnity; all these had been taken out of the way and nailed to the cross, and were no longer of moral obligation. There is no intimation here that the Sabbath was done away, or that its moral use was superseded, by the introduction of Christianity. I have shown elsewhere that, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, is a command of perpetual obligation, and can never be superseded but by the final termination of time. As it is a type of that rest which remains for the people of God, of an eternity of bliss, it must continue in full force till that eternity arrives; for no type ever ceases till the antitype be come. Besides, it is not clear that the apostle refers at all to the Sabbath in this place, whether Jewish or Christian; his σαββατων, of sabbaths or weeks, most probably refers to their feasts of weeks, of which much has been said in the notes on the Pentateuch.
Colossians 2:14 - Blotting out the handwriting - The word rendered handwriting means something written by the hand, a manuscript; and here, probably, the writings of the Mosaic law, or the law appointing many ordinances or observances in religion. The allusion is probably to a written contract, in which we bind ourselves to do any work, or to make a payment, and which remains in force against us until the bond is cancelled. That might be done, either by blotting out the names, or by drawing lines through it, or, as appears to have been practiced in the East, by driving a nail through it. The Jewish ceremonial law is here represented as such a contract, binding those under it to its observance, until it was nailed to the cross. The meaning here is, that the burdensome requirements of the Mosaic law are abolished, and that its necessity is superseded by the death of Christ. His death had the same effect, in reference to those ordinances, as if they had been blotted from the statute-book. This it did by fulfilling them, by introducing a more perfect system, and by rendering their observance no longer necessary, since all that they were designed to typify had been now accomplished in a better way; compare the notes at Eph_2:15.
Of ordinances - Prescribing the numerous rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion.
That was against us - That is, against our peace, happiness, comfort; or in other words, which was oppressive and burdensome; compare the notes at Act_15:10. Those ordinances bound and lettered the soul, restrained the expansive spirit of true piety which seeks the salvation of all alike, and thus operated as a hindrance to the enlarged spirit of true religion. Thus, they really operated against the truly pious Jew, whose religion would lead him to seek the salvation of the world; and to the Gentile, since he was not in a situation to avail himself of them, and since they would be burdensome if he could. It is in this sense, probably, that the apostle uses the word “us,” as referring to all, and as cramping and restraining the true nature of religion.
Which was contrary to us - Operated as a hindrance, or obstruction, in the matter of religion. The ordinances of the Mosaic law were necessary, in order to introduce the gospel; but they were always burdensome. They were to be confined to one people; and, if they were continued, they would operate to prevent the spread of the true religion around the world; compare 2Co_3:7, note, 9, note. Hence, the exulting language of the apostle in view of the fact that they were now taken away, and that the benefits of religion might be diffused all over the world. The gospel contains nothing which is “against,” or “contrary to,” the true interest and happiness of any nation or any class of people.
And took it out of the way - Greek, “Out of the midst;” that is, he wholly removed it. He has removed the obstruction, so that it no longer prevents union and harmony between the Jews and the Gentiles.
Nailing it to his cross - As if he had nailed it to his cross, so that it would be entirely removed out of our way. The death of Jesus had the same effect, in regard to the rites and institutions of the Mosaic religion, as if they had been affixed to his cross. It is said that there is an allusion here to the ancient method by which a bond or obligation was cancelled, by driving a nail through it, and affixing it to a post. This was practiced, says Grotius, in Asia. In a somewhat similar manner, in our banks now, a sharp instrument like the blade of a knife is driven through a check, making a hole through it, and furnishing to the teller of the bank a sign or evidence that it has been paid. If this be the meaning, then the expression here denotes that the obligation of the Jewish institutions ceased on the death of Jesus, as if he had taken them and nailed them to his own cross, in the manner in which a bond was cancelled.
Colossians 2:16 - Let no man, therefore, judge you - compare Rom_14:10, note, 13, note. The word judge here is used in the sense of pronouncing a sentence. The meaning is, “since you have thus been delivered by Christ from the evils which surrounded you: since you have been freed from the observances of the law, let no one sit in judgment on you, or claim the right to decide for you in those matters. You are not responsible to man for your conduct, but to Christ; and no man has a right to impose that on you as a burden from which he has made you free.”
Or in respect of a holy day - Margin, part. The meaning is, “in the part, or the particular of a holy day; that is, in respect to it” The word rendered “holy-day” - εορτη heorte - means properly a “feast” or “festival;” and the allusion here is to the festivals of the Jews. The sense is, that no one had a right to impose their observance on Christians, or to condemn them if they did not keep them. They had been delivered from that obligation by the death of Christ; Col_2:14.
Or of the new moon - On the appearance of the new moon, among the Hebrews, in addition to the daily sacrifices, two bullocks, a ram, and seven sheep, with a meat offering, were required to be presented to God; Num_10:10; Num_28:11-14. The new moon in the beginning of the month Tisri (October) was the beginning of their civil year, and was commanded to be observed as a festival; Lev_23:24, Lev_23:25.
Or of the Sabbath days - Greek, “of the Sabbaths.” The word Sabbath in the Old Testament is applied not only to the seventh day, but to all the days of holy rest that were observed by the Hebrews, and particularly to the beginning and close of their great festivals. There is, doubtless, reference to those days in this place, since the word is used in the plural number, and the apostle does not refer particularly to the Sabbath properly so called. There is no evidence from this passage that he would teach that there was no obligation to observe any holy time, for there is not the slightest reason to believe that he meant to teach that one of the ten commandments had ceased to be binding on mankind. If he had used the word in the singular number - “the Sabbath,” it would then, of course, have been clear that he meant to teach that that commandment had ceased to be binding, and that a Sabbath was no longer to be observed. But the use of the term in the plural number, and the connection, show that he had his eye on the great number of days which were observed by the Hebrews as festivals, as a part of their ceremonial and typical law, and not to the moral law, or the Ten Commandments. No part of the moral law - no one of the ten commandments could be spoken of as “a shadow of good things to come.” These commandments are, from the nature of moral law, of perpetual and universal obligation.
Colossians 2:17 - Which are a shadow of things to come - See the notes at Heb_8:5; Heb_10:1, note. They were only a dim outline of future things, not the reality.
But the body is of Christ - The reality, the substance. All that they signified is of or in Christ. Between those things themselves which are in Christ, and those which only represented or prefigured them, there is as much difference as there is between a body and a shadow; a solid substance and a mere outline. Having now, therefore, the thing itself the shadow can be to us of no value; and that having come which was prefigured, that which was designed merely to represent it, is no longer binding.
Ezekiel 45:17 “And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.”
Ezekiel 45:17 - And it shall be the prince's part to give burnt offerings,.... Or, “upon the prince shall be the burnt offerings” (e); it shall lie upon him to provide them; who is not the high priest, as Jarchi; nor the civil magistrate or king, as Menachem; but Christ, who is both Prince and Priest; and whose sacrifice of himself is designed by these, and the other sacrifices after mentioned, of which the sacrifices were all typical; though he is but one, they many, his answers to them all, and is one for all; and though his is but once offered up, they often, because of the fulness of efficacy in the one, and the want of it in the other; and though in itself infinitely superior to these. Of the burnt offerings, and of their being typical of Christ; see Gill on Eze_40:39,
and meat offerings, and drink offerings; the meat offerings, which were rather bread offerings, were made of fine flour, with oil poured, and frankincense put thereon, Lev_2:1 and were typical of Christ, compared to a corn of wheat dying in the earth, and bringing forth fruit, Joh_12:24 and to wheat as bruised and ground into fine flour, kneaded and baked, which may denote his various sufferings, and so made bread of; he being the true and living bread, which gives life to men. The “oil” poured upon this offering may signify the grace of the Spirit without measure on Christ; and the “frankincense” how savoury and acceptable he is to his people. The “drink offering” was of wine, which went along with other sacrifices, and was very acceptable to God; and may denote the blood of Christ, which is drink indeed; and his love expressed in shedding it, which is better than the choicest wine; both these are held forth, Christ's flesh, which is meat, and his blood, which is drink, in the ordinance of the supper, administered by his priests, whom he furnishes with such offerings to set before his saints:
in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, and in all solemnities of the house of Israel; in the feasts of the passover, tabernacle, and pentecost, which were all figures of Christ; of his being the passover sacrificed for us, of his tabernacling in our nature, and of the effusion of his Spirit; and the “new moons”, and “sabbaths”, and “solemn days”, are only Old Testament phrases to express the times of New Testament worship; see Isa_66:23, as monthly days for the administration of the ordinance of the supper, and the Lord's day for the preaching of the word, and other parts of public worship; in all which the sacrifice of Christ, his blood, righteousness, and satisfaction, make a principal part:
he shall prepare the sin offering; which also was a type of Christ; of which See Gill on Eze_40:39, and this, with the
meat offering; and the burnt offering, of which before, were to be prepared by the prince himself, or our Lord Jesus Christ: and also the “peace offerings”, or thank offerings (f); his own thank offerings for himself and his people; see Joh_11:41 and the thank offerings of them, or their sacrifices of praise, which become acceptable through him, Heb_13:15, and even himself, for whom the saints offer thanks to God, 2Co_9:15, and as the end of all the legal sacrifices was
to make reconciliation for the house of Israel; so this is the end and use of the sacrifice of Christ, typified by them, to make peace for the Israel of God; which could not be made by them, by their obedience, repentance, or faith; and yet was necessary to their happiness, to their communion with God, and enjoyment of him; this Christ has made by his obedience, sufferings, and death, whereby he has fulfilled the law, satisfied justice, and made atonement for sin: this is all at his expense, and is meant by his “preparing” these offerings; which denotes his ready and cheerful engagement to become a sacrifice; his voluntary offering up himself unto God, or giving himself an offering and a sacrifice unto him; and also his furnishing his ministers with proper matter for their ministrations in all the solemn times and seasons thereof, which is the doctrine of his sacrifice and satisfaction, or salvation by a crucified Christ; and so as the people are to offer to their maintenance, Christ the Prince takes care to furnish them for their ministry.
|meat, or in drink, [offering]||meat offerings, and drink offerings,|
|KJV of an holyday, NKJV regarding a festival
(Strong’s Dictionary; a festival: - feast, holyday.)
|in the feasts,|
|or of the new moon||and in the new moons,|
|or of the Sabbath days:||and in the sabbaths,|
Note the perfect parallel between Colossians 2:16 and Ezekiel 45:17. You can see from the verse and commentary above that this was a sin offering, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel for breaking God's Ten Commandments as prescribed by the ceremonial law until such time that Jesus nailed this law to the cross. This clearly demonstrates the issue and should leave no doubt as to what Paul was explaining to the Colossians.
Most modern Bible translations translate meat and drink to what you eat or drink, as in unclean foods and drinks. This is incorrect as unclean foods are not related to the sanctuary ordinances and unclean drinks do not exist in the Bible. Parentheses are added.
Romans 14:5-6 “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”
Romans 14:5 - One man esteemeth one day above another - Perhaps the word ημεραν, day, is here taken for time, festival, and such like, in which sense it is frequently used. Reference is made here to the Jewish institutions, and especially their festivals; such as the passover, pentecost, feast of tabernacles, new moons, jubilee, etc. The converted Jew still thought these of moral obligation; the Gentile Christian not having been bred up in this way had no such prejudices. And as those who were the instruments of bringing him to the knowledge of God gave him no such injunctions, consequently he paid to these no religious regard.
Another - The converted Gentile esteemeth every day - considers that all time is the Lord’s, and that each day should be devoted to the glory of God; and that those festivals are not binding on him.
We add here alike, and make the text say what I am sure was never intended, viz. that there is no distinction of days, not even of the Sabbath: and that every Christian is at liberty to consider even this day to be holy or not holy, as he happens to be persuaded in his own mind.
That the Sabbath is of lasting obligation may be reasonably concluded from its institution (see the note on Gen_2:3) and from its typical reference. All allow that the Sabbath is a type of that rest in glory which remains for the people of God. Now, all types are intended to continue in full force till the antitype, or thing signified, take place; consequently, the Sabbath will continue in force till the consummation of all things. The word alike should not be added; nor is it acknowledged by any MS. or ancient version.
Let every man be fully persuaded - With respect to the propriety or non-propriety of keeping the above festivals, let every man act from the plenary conviction of his own mind; there is a sufficient latitude allowed: all may be fully satisfied.
Commentary from the Peoples New Testament. One man esteemeth one day above another. A second difference of opinion is now cited. Some, Jewish converts or Gentiles who did not understand that the old covenant was ended, believed that the Jewish Sabbaths and new moons should be kept sacred. Compare
Romans 14:6 - He that regardeth the day - A beautiful apology for mistaken sincerity and injudicious reformation. Do not condemn the man for what is indifferent in itself: if he keep these festivals, his purpose is to honor God by the religious observance of them. On the other hand, he who finds that he cannot observe them in honor of God, not believing that God has enjoined them, he does not observe them at all. In like manner, he that eateth any creature of God, which is wholesome and proper food, gives thanks to God as the author of all good. And he who cannot eat of all indiscriminately, but is regulated by the precepts in the Mosaic law relative to clean and unclean meats, also gives God thanks. Both are sincere; both upright; both act according to their light; God accepts both; and they should bear with each other.
Romans 14:6 - One man esteemeth one day above another. A second difference of opinion is now cited. Some, Jewish converts or Gentiles who did not understand that the old covenant was ended, believed that the Jewish Sabbaths and new moons should be kept sacred. Compare Col_2:16, and Gal_4:10.
Galatians 4:9-10 “But now, after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days, and months, and times, and years.”
Galatians 4:10-11 - Ye observe days. These are specifications of how they were “turning back” to the Jewish law. Compare Col_2:16. The days are the Jewish Sabbaths. The months are the new moons; the times are the Jewish festivals; the years are the Sabbatical years. In observing these there was legal bondage to an obsolete system. In vain. See notes on Gal_2:2.
Galatians 4:10 - Ye observe - The object of this verse is to specify some of the things to which they had become enslaved.
Days - The days here referred to are doubtless the days of the Jewish festivals. They had numerous days of such observances, and in addition to those specified in the Old Testament, the Jews had added many others as days commemorative of the destruction and rebuilding of the temple, and of other important events in their history. It is not a fair interpretation of this to suppose that the apostle refers to the Sabbath, properly so called, for this was a part of the Decalogue; and was observed by the Saviour himself, and by the apostles also. It is a fair interpretation to apply it to all those days which are not commanded to be kept holy in the Scriptures; and hence, the passage is as applicable to the observance of saints’ days, and days in honor of particular events in sacred history, as to the days observed by the Galatians. There is as real servitude in the observance of the numerous festivals, and fasts in the papal communion and in some Protestant churches, as there was in the observance of the days in the Jewish ecclesiastical calendar, and for anything that I can see, such observances are as inconsistent now with the freedom of the gospel as they were in the time of Paul. We should observe as seasons of holy time what it can be proved God has commanded us, and no more.
And months - The festivals of the new moon, kept by the Jews. Num_10:10; Num_28:11-14. On this festival, in addition to the daily sacrifice, two bullocks, a ram, and seven sheep of a year old were offered in sacrifice. The appearance of the new-moon was announced by the sound of trumpets. See Jahn, Archae. 352.
And times - Stated times; festivals returning periodically, as the Passover, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. See Jahn, Archae. chap. 3. 346-360.
And years - The sabbatical year, or the year of jubilee. See Jahn as above.
Galatians 4:9 - how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? meaning the ordinances of the ceremonial law, he before calls “the elements of the world”, and here “weak”, because they could not give life, righteousness, peace, joy, comfort, and salvation; and, since the coming of Christ, were become impotent to all the uses they before served; and beggarly, because they lay in the observation of mean things, as meats, drinks, &c. and which were only shadows of those good things, the riches of grace and glory, which come by Christ. The Galatians are said to turn again to these; not that they were before in the observation of them, except the Jews, but because there was some likeness between these, and the ceremonies with which they carried on the service of their idols; and by showing an inclination to them, they discovered a good will to come into a like state of bondage they were in before; than which nothing could be more stupid and ungrateful in a people that had been blessed with so much grace, and with such clear Gospel light and knowledge.
James 1:25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
James 2:10-12 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak you, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”
James 1:25 - The perfect law of liberty - Referring to the law of God or his will, however made known, as the correct standard of conduct. It is called the perfect law, as being wholly free from all defects; being just such as a law ought to be. Compare Psa_19:7. It is called the law of liberty, or freedom because it is a law producing freedom from the servitude of sinful passions and lusts. Compare Psa_119:45; Notes, Rom_6:16-18.
James 2:11 - For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill - That is, these are parts of the same law of God, and one is as obligatory as the other. If, therefore, you violate either of these precepts, you transgress the law of God as such, and must be held to be guilty of violating it as a whole. The penalty of the law will be incurred, whatever precept you violate.
Leviticus “23:1-3 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. 3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”
The Lords Sabbath was not part of Ceremonial Law. Leviticus 23:3 - At the head of these moadim stood the Sabbath, as the day which God had already sanctified as a day of rest for His people, by His own rest on the seventh creation-day (Gen_2:3, cf. Exo_20:8-11). As a weekly returning day of rest, the observance of which had its foundation in the creative work of God, the Sabbath was distinguished from the yearly feasts, in which Israel commemorated the facts connected with its elevation into a people of God, and which were generally called “feasts of Jehovah” in the stricter sense, and as such were distinguished from the Sabbath (Lev_23:37, Lev_23:38; Isa_1:13-14; 1Ch_23:31; 2Ch_31:3; Neh_10:34). This distinction is pointed out in the heading, “these are the feasts of Jehovah” (Lev_23:4). In Num_28:11 the feast of new moon follows the Sabbath; but this is passed over here, because the new moon was not to be observed either with sabbatical rest or a holy meeting.
Leviticus 23:4-14 “These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days you must eat unleavened bread. 7 In the first day you shall have an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. 8 But you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. 9 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. 13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14 And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that you have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.”
Leviticus 23:4-14 - The feast of the Passover was to continue seven days; not idle days, spent in sport, as many that are called Christians spend their holy-days. Offerings were made to the Lord at his altar; and the people were taught to employ their time in prayer, and praise, and godly meditation. The sheaf of first-fruits was typical of the Lord Jesus, who is risen from the dead as the First-fruits of them that slept. Our Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the very day that the first-fruits were offered. We are taught by this law to honour the Lord with our substance, and with the first-fruits of all our increase, Pro_3:9. They were not to eat of their new corn, till God's part was offered to him out of it; and we must always begin with God: begin every day with him, begin every meal with him, begin every affair and business with him; seek first the kingdom of God.
Leviticus 23:15-22 “And you shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall you number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. 17 You shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. 18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD. 19 Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before the LORD, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 And you shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: you shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not make clean riddance of the corners of your field when you reapest, neither shall you gather any gleaning of your harvest: you shall leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.”
Leviticus 23:15-22 - The feast of Weeks was held in remembrance of the giving of the law, fifty days after the departure from Egypt; and looked forward to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, fifty days after Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. On that day the apostles presented the first-fruits of the Christian church to God. To the institution of the feast of Pentecost, is added a repetition of that law, by which they were required to leave the gleanings of their fields. Those who are truly sensible of the mercy they received from God, will show mercy to the poor without grudging.
Leviticus 23:23-32 “And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall you have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 You shall do no servile work therein: but you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 26 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.”
Leviticus 23:23-32 - the blowing of trumpets represented the preaching of the gospel, by which men are called to repent of sin, and to accept the salvation of Christ, which was signified by the day of atonement. Also it invited to rejoice in God, and become strangers and pilgrims on earth, which was denoted by the feast of Tabernacles, observed in the same month. At the beginning of the year, they were called by this sound of trumpet to shake off spiritual drowsiness, to search and try their ways, and to amend them. The day of atonement was the ninth day after this; thus they were awakened to prepare for that day, by sincere and serious repentance, that it might indeed be to them a day of atonement. The humbling of our souls for sin, and the making our peace with God, is work that requires the whole man, and the closest application of mind. On that day God spake peace to his people, and to his saints; therefore they must lay aside all their wordly business, that they might the more clearly hear that voice of joy and gladness.
Leviticus 23:33-44 “And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein. 36 Seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and you shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and you shall do no servile work therein. 37 These are the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: 38 Beside the sabbaths of the LORD, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which you give unto the LORD. 39 Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. 40 And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. 41 And you shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. 44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.”
Leviticus 23:33-44 - In the feast of Tabernacles there was a remembrance of their dwelling in tents, or booths, in the wilderness, as well as their fathers dwelling in tents in Canaan; to remind them of their origin and their deliverance. Christ's tabernacling on earth in human nature, might also be prefigured. And it represents the believer's life on earth: a stranger and pilgrim here below, his home and heart are above with his Saviour. They would the more value the comforts and conveniences of their own houses, when they had been seven days dwelling in the booths. It is good for those who have ease and plenty, sometimes to learn what it is to endure hardness. The joy of harvest ought to be improved for the furtherance of our joy in God. The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; therefore whatever we have the comfort of, he must have the glory of, especially when any mercy is perfected. God appointed these feasts, “Beside the sabbaths and your free-will offerings.” Calls to extraordinary services will not excuse from constant and stated ones.
Galatians 4:9-10 “But now, after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days, and months, and times, and years.”