Festival and new moon and Sabbath day in Colossians 2:16

EXTRACT: The phrase festival … new moon … Sabbath day in Colossians 2:16 is a technical phrase from the Old Testament for “all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel”,.  Nine examples are listed below. Col 2:16, therefore, does not refer to the Sabbath specifically.


The Levites served “whenever burnt offerings were offered to the Lord on Sabbaths, new moons and feast days” (1 Chronicles 23:31).

to offer all burnt offerings to the LORD, on the sabbaths, the new moons and the fixed festivals” (1 Chron 23:31).

I am about to build a house . . . for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him … and for burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of the Lord our God” (2 Chron 2:4).

Then Solomon offered up burnt offerings to the Lord . . . according to the commandment of Moses for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths” (2 Chron 8:12, 13).

the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the appointed feasts” (2 Chron 31:3).

We also take on ourselves the obligation to give … for the showbread, the regular grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts” (Neh 10:32, 33).

It shall be the prince’s duty to furnish the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the new moons, and the Sabbaths, all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 45:17; cf. 46:1-11)

the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies . . . Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates” (Isa 1:13, 14).

I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days — all her appointed feasts” (Hosea 2:11).

Sometimes the order is reversed, but “new moon” is always in the middle.

In 7 of the 9 examples the topic of the verse is the “burnt offerings”.

Similar to Colossians 2:16, in Ezekiel 45:17 and in Hosea 2:11 the pattern is reversed.

We may infer from these listings that the expression festival, new moon and Sabbaths, or in the reverse order, was common ‘shorthand’ to summarize the entire system of special days which God prescribed for Israel, and not to the Sabbath day specifically.

TO: Colossians Table of Contents

Back TO: 2:16 Introduction

TO: General Table of Contents

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