Skia Ton Mellonton in Col 2:17 : an interpretation
Sokupa, Mxolisi Michael
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This study explores the meaning of Skia Ton Mellonton“a shadow of things that were to come” within the calendric text of Col 2:16,17. The grammatical and syntactical difficulties in this passage have generated interest but this phrase in particular is scarcely explored. This study uses the grammatical/syntactical method of exegesis with linguistic analysis to elucidate the meaning of this clause. Since the clause is used with reference to the religious calendric text that enumerates various appointed times (festival, new moon and Sabbath), exploring the use of the biblical religious calendric texts is necessary as a first step in the process. This is explored within the context of the Jewish heritage. Chapters 2 to 5 are dedicated to assessing the background to Col 2:16,17, and evidence points to a Jewish and Old Testament background. This is an important finding since most scholars offer a syncretistic reading and subscribe to the Platonic background of Col 2:16,17. The exegetical/syntactical study and the linguistic/typological analysis offered in this study yielded a reading that relates the sacrifice of Christ as the antitype to the type, the sacrificial system which is “the shadow of coming things” (Col 2:17a). A theological analysis also confirms this reading. This study concludes that the “shadow of coming things” (Col 2:17a) refers to the sacrificial system rather than the appointed times. The “body” of Christ (Col 2:17b) refers to the physical body of Christ offered as a sacrifice. Therefore there is a typology implied in Col 2:17. The typology is used by the author to resolve a theological tension that builds up between the Jewish opponents who are steeped in the Jewish tradition and the Jewish and Gentile Christians who are committed to Jesus Christ.