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;Colossians 2:14 (KJV)
Handwriting of ordinances – There are predominantly two interpretations that rise from these words. One supports the doctrine that is enforced all throughout the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation; the curse or debt incurred is nailed to the cross by the grace of God. The other interpretation is that the law itself, the teachings of God, are nailed to the cross. So which is it?
The King James version doesn’t do us much good here. The translation leans heavily toward the “ordinances” taking the focus from the word “handwriting.” When first digging into the word “ordinance” we find the Greek word dogma which simply means “dogma or ordinance.” The Strong’s Concordance pushes one toward the law of God. So the misguided interpretation does feel justified. God nailed His own law to the cross. This is what is professed by so many Christians today. But is there another meaning?
Of course there is! The other interpretation is that God nailed the curse or debt to the cross. He removed what was owed to Him. In this, God’s grace is keenly focused. God practices this same grace all throughout the Bible – His forgiveness.
Looking at the word, handwriting, which in Greek is cheirographon, we see the definition is “something written by hand.” The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament suggests,
God cancels the bond that lies to our charge. […] It is the debt that we have incurred with God. […] the note is cancelled.The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p. 1312
This makes more sense and aligns with the entirety of God’s practice since the Creation. But now I’d like to call your attention to the specific written note being nailed to the cross. I’ve written about the divorce of the house of Israel (10 tribes) here, here and here. All because the house of Israel committed adultery, God divorced them (Jeremiah 3:8). But the practice of identifying an adulterous wife is something dictated in Numbers 5. When one suspects their wife is adulterous, they bring her to the priest, the priest mixes a concoction of “bitter water” and has her drink it. The priest also writes on a piece of paper her curse. There’s the connection. The adulterous wife had her sin written down, making it known to all. This is the handwriting of ordinances that is nailed to the cross.
21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;Numbers 5:21-24
22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.
23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:
24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
The house of Israel, the lost sheep whom Yeshua came for, have been released from their curse through His death. The bitter water that was meant for them (Jeremiah 8:14; 9:15), Yeshua drank in their place (John 19:30).
The written note of adultery has been nailed to the cross. The house of Israel can return to the kingdom once again and rejoin their brethren, the house of Judah. It is a miraculous wonder which Yeshua fulfilled in His death. And the 10 tribes are free to now marry the resurrected Yeshua because in His death, He has removed the curse AND removed the law of divorce from them. The kingdom is reunited.