“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Galatians 4:9-11).
There were two very distinct kinds of Sabbaths that were observed by the Jewish people. There was the weekly seventh day Sabbath of the Ten Commandments that existed before sin (Genesis 2:2,3). And then there were the yearly sabbath days that were ceremonial holidays that came after sin (Leviticus 23).
The Sabbath of the Ten Commandments was spoken by God’s voice (Deuteronomy 10:4) the other ceremonial sabbaths were spoken by Moses. The Ten Commandments’ Sabbath was written by God’s finger in stone (Exodus 31:18; 32:16) while the other holidays, also called sabbaths, were written on paper by Moses (2 Chronicles 35:12).
When Jesus came, He fulfilled and nailed to the cross the ceremonial Mosaic laws and the yearly sabbath feasts (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14-17). But He did not wipe away the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:17,18). Are we now free to break the Ten Commandments? The Bible answers, “shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid” (Romans 6:14, 15). When we accept Christ, it doesn’t mean we have a license to lie, to kill and to commit adultery “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).
So, what is Galatians 4 saying? The Jewish converts to Christianity were telling the gentile Galatians and the Romans they now had to keep all the Jewish sabbath feasts of the Mosaic ceremonial law. Paul responded, that these ceremonial sabbath holidays were shadows that pointed to Jesus and ended at the cross. Jesus is the Substance that the ceremonial shadows all pointed to. So, it doesn’t make sense to worship a shadow when the real thing is there.
Some people have tried to make this a generalized statement that said God was abolishing the very Commandment that begins with the word ‘Remember’- “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God” (Exodus 20:8-11).
In His service,
A closing message from BibleAsk:
Thank you for visiting BibleAsk – an online ministry dedicated to providing Bible based answers to your questions. If you enjoyed and agree with this answer, please like and share! If you don’t agree, please leave a comment below, and we’ll be sure to respond! If you have another question you would like to ask, please click here and someone from our team will personally answer it (don’t worry, your email address will never be shared). Check out our Bible Answers page to see just Bible verses answering thousands of questions. If you feel impressed to support this ministry, kindly visit our donate page to send a tax-deductible love gift to BibleAsk. Any donation size helps .