• johned@aibi.ph
Eternity 92 - The Rudiments Of The World

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Colossians 2:8-12 ASV Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ: (9) for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, (10) and in him ye are made full, who is the head of all principality and power: (11) in whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; (12) having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

As a child did you ever played the Winnie the Pooh game where you must step in the pavement squares and not on the lines, because if you step on the lines a bear will come out and eat you? Did you ever get superstitious about the number 13 or walking under ladders? Then you have felt the power of a "taboo" and the "rudiments of the world", the basic superstitions and legalism that, in more serious forms, governs conduct for much of the world's people.

This phrase "the rudiments of the world" is the Greek word "stoichion" and in its plural form "stoichea". This is literally "the measured out things" the basic building blocks, such as the alphabet and the numerals and very basic measurements. The very basic orderly geometry of things. The "stepping on the squares". It is variously translated elements as in chemical elements, first principles, and basic principles, and is closely related to the idea of walking in an orderly fashion or "taking steps". Thus they are the basic first steps of wisdom and the spiritual life, the very most elementary principles - from which we graduate when we have faith in Christ.

Galatians says: (Galatians 4:3-10 NKJV) Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. ....{9} But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? {10} You observe days and months and seasons and years. And later in Colossians Paul writes: (Colossians 2:15, 20-22NIV) Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. ....Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations; {21} "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," {22} which all concern things which perish with the using; according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

The stoichea are the old religious principles - shrines, feasts, taboos and festivals. They include priests, temples, diets, rituals and the trappings of religiosity from which Christ has freed us. (For more on this see my free ebook Temples and Tithes https://www.aibi.ph/tt/ ) These religious taboos were associated with various principalities and powers. For instance it was forbidden to play the pan-pipes at noon as that was the god Pan's rest time and he could not be disturbed than and would curse anyone who played his pipes at that hour. Animistic religions are still full of these superstitions and taboos that bring down curses from one or more gods for the violation. However because Christ has ascended through the heavenlies and taken captivity captive we are now freed from all such bondage.

Christ has undoubtedly been raised and is far beyond the rule of all principalities and powers and out from under the Law and all religious regulations. But what about us? Lets look at verse 12: "having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead." We are raised with Christ! We are, spiritually speaking, a son of God and "up there with Jesus!". Paul says this very clearly in Ephesians 2:6: "and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus". You and I are seated with Christ in heaven - far above all legalism taboos, Sabbaths and religious requirements.

We have graduated from being slaves to sons, we no longer have the spirit of fear, guarding ourselves carefully lest we break some taboo, but rather we are sons and cry out "Abba Father". We don't have to have a kosher kitchen to keep meat and dairy products separate, we can eat pork, we don't need to be circumcised, and we don't have to observe a long calendar of religious feasts so God will be happy with us. Just believing in Jesus is enough to make God happy with us! We don't have to walk around afraid that, in some spiritual sense, we have "trodden outside the squares" and that the bears will come and eat us! God has not made us to dwell in religious dread - but in peace!


John Edmiston
Asian Internet Bible Institute
email: johned@aibi.ph