Dr. Ronald du Preez Tries To Fix Dr. Bacchiocchi
We have touched on the fact within his 1977 book,
From Sabbath to Sunday
taught that the last of the three sabbaths mentioned in Colossians 2:14-17 was a reference to the weekly Sabbath of the Decalogue, and that it could not possibly be a reference to anything else. We noted that by 1995, with the publication of his book
The Sabbath in the New Testament
, he appeared to open up to the possibility that it was a reference to a ceremonial sabbath-- perhaps an annual sabbath (
See Tom Warner's essay, “Confessions of A Former Sabbath Keeper” at his website, Joyfully Growing In Grac
e.) We also observed that with the publication of his 1998 book,
Sabbath under Crossfire
, it could be a reference to some kind of weekly ceremonial event. To Dr. Bacchiocchi, the question of this reference was virtually irrelevant to the Sabbath-Sunday issue because he believed that the
“shadows” that Paul said Christians should not judge o
thers by were not the observance of the ordinances as listed by Paul, but rather the man-made sets of rules and regulations invented by the Judaizers to regulate these ordinances. However, even many Seventh-day Adventist biblical scholars and theologians found it difficult to accept
Dr. Bacchiocchi's “shadow” theory because of the impossible theological baggage that comes with it.
Stepping up to attempt to bridge Dr. Bacchiocchi's original position on the Sabbath reference in Colossians 2:14-17 with that of traditional SDA thinking is Dr. Ronald du Preez, an SDA theologian, who would like very much to demonstrate that the third Sabbath in this passage is merely a reference to annual sabbath feast day. The stakes are high for Dr. du Preez. If he fails to demonstrate that this sabbath of the three is merely an annual feast day, he is forced into a dilemma. Either Paul meant that Christians were not to force other Christians to keep the Jewish
Sabbath “shadow,” or Christians must keep the Jewish dietary l
aws, annual sabbath feast days, monthly feast days, as well as the weekly Sabbath. If du Preez succeeds in demonstrating that the Sabbath in the third position is merely an annual feast day, he creates the following difficulties for himself:
Paul is made to appear to teach that Christians should not judge each other on the basis of whether or not they sacrifice animals to the Lord when this is a practice that Paul would condemn in no uncertain terms. He would remind his readers that the sacrifice on the Cross did away with the need for any animal sacrifices. To suggest that St. Paul would have passed over the issue of Christians offering animal sacrifices in the way Dr. du Preez implies does a great injustice to Paul.
Dr. Du Perez is almost certainly in error because the Jewish system did not provide for animal sacrificing to be done anywhere but in the temple at Jerusalem.
DR. DU PREEZ IN A NUTSHELL
We have already touched on the concept that in Hebrew thought and writing, Bible writers used a particular structure when discussing the festivals required by the Torah
annual, monthly, and weekly. This phrase had special meaning
to the Jews, its mention creating a picture in the reader’s mind of one integrated set of sacred days throughout the
year. Later we will explore why du Preez thinks Colossians 2:14-17 should be an exception to this rule. For the moment, du Preez asks us to believe, in this case, that another Jewish linguistic convention, called CHIASM, should take precedence here to allow the third entry in the set of obsolete shadows to mirror the first one in the list for a structure like this: