The Sabbath a Shadow?

“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” - Colossians 2:16, 17. NKJV

Walter Martin, a popular evangelical Christian author and speaker who passed away in 1989 once stated, “...In light of this Scripture alone, I contend that the argument for Sabbath observance collapses.” He was not alone in this opinion. In fact, this passage and the arguments that are used with it are to be expected whenever the subject of the seventh-day Sabbath is discussed with those who don’t keep it. 

Please understand that to many scholars and sincere Christians, our interpretation of the word “sabbath” in Colossians 2:16 seems very weak for a number of reasons. To them, one of the most obvious seems to be our insistence that of the 60 times the Greek word for “sabbath” appears in the New Testament and it is referring to the seventh day, Colossians 2:16 is the only exception where Paul is referring not to the weekly Sabbath but rather to ceremonial Sabbaths. I hope that such arguments have not weakened your confidence in the unchanging nature of the Sabbath commandment. There are good answers to the objections. 

While it is true that argument and reason alone will never change someone’s mind to appreciate and embrace the true Sabbath--the Spirit of God must be at work-- it is also true that any teaching we hold must be able to stand on a clearly Scriptural foundation and appeal to reason. Our faith in Jesus as the Christ is not simply founded on a tradition or an emotional experience is it? We believe the support from Scripture that Jesus is the Christ overwhelmingly appeals to sound reason. So it is with the Sabbath. I have only scratched the surface of this fascinating and somewhat controversial text. If you want to be well informed and able to reason effectively with those who reject the Sabbath on the basis of Colossians 2 I urge you to spend a little time carefully studying Adventist Dr. Ron Du Preez' article published in the July 2021 issue of Signs magazine. It is even available free online at this link:

Pastor Mike

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