In COLOSSIANS 2:16-17 we read:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Messiah.
This is sometimes translated or taught as meaning the Colossians were being criticized for eating certain foods (even unclean animal flesh) and for not celebrating or keeping the Jewish holidays and Feasts. As Paul was a Sabbath and Feast-keeper, why would he advocate otherwise to his converts? He is simply saying: Let none condemn you if the Spirit has led you to obey YHWH’s Laws therefore keeping His Holy Days and eating clean meats, because these things point to Messiah and future events. Let only Messiah, that is, the Law, be the judge (of what you do), not men or man-made laws.
The passage is translated more clearly in the NASB as edited by Greek scholar, Spiros Zodhiates, in his Key Study Bible:
Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a Sabbath day–things which are a mere shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.
‘Body’–soma in Greek– here means ‘substance’ or ‘reality, as opposed to ‘shadows’ or ‘types’. There is a caution here: the Feasts are to be kept only insofar as they are a shadow or reminder of Yahshua and what is to come in the future, just as sacrifice of animals was a shadow of Yahshua’s death. They were not to be kept as a means of salvation in themselves.
Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were fulfilled by Yahshua on the cross. Pentecost or Firstfruits was fulfilled by the falling of the Holy Spirit on the disciples fifty days later. But another worldwide Pentecost is coming that will ‘out-Pentecost’ the original Pentecost! The Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles are yet to be fulfilled at the time of the Great Tribulation or that ‘great and terrible day of YHWH’ and the quick-to-follow SEVEN YEARS OF TRIBULATION. Sabbath or seventh day of rest is a symbol of rest and release from bondage to sin, but it will also be fulfilled in the thousand year reign of Messiah when the whole world will rest in the seventh Millennium. The new moons were kept to mark each month, as in a calendar, with the Feast Days and Sabbaths set from them accordingly. (See EXODUS 12:2 and 13:4.)
Paul goes on in COLOSSIANS 2:18, 20-23 to admonish and caution his converts against the Colossian heresy of that time: a combination of Gnostic asceticism, paganism and Jewish tradition. He speaks against the ‘worship of angels’ because they gave inordinate attention to the powers of the spirit world rather than Messiah. Undue attention was also given to Feasts, fasts, Sabbaths and circumcision, all of which were erroneously presented as the way to discipline and subjugate the flesh.
The Gnostics considered matter, including humanity, to be evil, and thought or knowledge as necessary for salvation. They believed the mystery of YHWH was in the mind, thereby denying sexual and bodily appetites; that Yahshua Messiah was human, had an earthly ministry, died and was resurrected.
Paul countered that spirituality is not achieved by self-abasement, self-made religion, severe treatment of the body that forbids certain foods and adherence to man-made rules. Instead he advocated the putting on of Messiah and obeying His will as revealed by the Spirit.