The majority of Bible interpretation errors stem from the following principle taught at most Christian seminaries.
“The Old Testament should be interpreted in light of the New Testament, NEVER the reverse!”
Not only do I believe this statement is false but I feel the opposite is true.
First of all, the term “Old Testament” is purely man-made and is a relatively modern title ascribed to that portion of the Bible. As far as the Bible is concerned, you should know there is no SUCH THING as an Old Testament. Interpreting the Bible starting from the New Testament is as I’ve said before is like trying to make sense of a movie by watching it from its halfway point. It is the stubborn adherence to such a hermeneutic (method of Bible interpretation) that has led to the literally thousands of Christian denominations in existence today.
Okay, let’s begin our first Scripture teardown of New Testament verses that the modern church uses to show that we are no longer required to keep the Sabbath. Let’s read Colossians 2:16-23
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not[a] seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore,[b] 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? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
Regarding eating and drinking, Sabbaths, New Moons, etc, the common misinterpretation is that Paul was teaching that since Christ has done away with the Law, don’t fall prey to the retarded legalists (like me) who insist that Sabbath-keeping and the Biblical festivals etcetera are still valid.
Okay, I’m about to destroy and I mean literally destroy this argument by asking one simple question.
Who’s rules about eating and drinking, Sabbaths, New Moons, etc, was Paul referring to?
Is Paul telling us to ignore God’s rules or man’s rules?
Let’s take a good look at the context.
VERSE 16: So don’t anyone pass judgement on you.
VERSE 18: Let no one cheat you of your reward…such a person is always…
VERSE 19: They have lost connection with the head…
VERSE 22: which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men
Do you think that Paul is now stating that Torah teachings were NOT given to Moses by God, but instead are human commands? I don’t think so. Here Paul is saying that it is fine to ignore HUMAN TEACHINGS, but, most certainly NOT God’s teachings. The truth is that men added hundreds of rules about the Sabbath, Biblical feasts, new moons etcetera that were even mixed in with pagan rituals. In many cases, these traditions and observances flat out replaced Holy Scripture. It were these manmade commands that Paul was condemning.
Keep in mind that the Sabbath established at the creation of the universe is NOT a manmade command. God instituted it.
Okay, let’s move to a teardown of the following verse:
which are a shadow of things to come,
but the substance is of Christ.
So the traditional (incorrect) interpretation of these verse goes something like this: The Sabbath and the Biblical festivals etcetera are just a shadow pointing to Christ. So now that Christ has come we don’t have to worry about them anymore.
Now here is the correct interpretation:
Since they are a shadow of things to come IN THE FUTURE, the Sabbath and the Biblical festivals are to be followed as reminders of that which is still yet to happen.
Think of it like this. The Spring feasts of Passover, First Fruits, Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost were Holy Days that happened in the past. But they prophetically pointed to Christ. In other words, their “substance was of Christ”.
Following this same line of reasoning, this verse points to the future fall feasts of The Day of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles which are Holy Days. However, their substance is of Christ.
To translate the verse in plain English: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t keep the Sabbath or the Biblical festivals. They are Holy Days and should be followed. But know that their substance is of Christ.”