WHO JESUS WAS

Understanding Who Jesus Is! Identifying the Hidden Diety of Jesus Christ?
(Ver 1.2)  This is Part 3 in a Bible Study series of unlocking the Myths of Jesus taught in the modern Church.  If you have not read all of the series you might like to start with “Part 1“.   My subject today is an introduction to a basic Bible truth of the deity of Christ.  Was Christ a man or was Christ God in the flesh?   I have recently had a few people ask me a question in implied terms that they did not understand who Jesus was.  Some look at Jesus as being only the Son of God and certainly He was this.  Some look at Jesus as being a Prophet of God and certainly He was this.  Still others look at Jesus as being the Son of Man and again He was this also.  However, the basis of salvation is hinged upon a much larger truth that states Jesus Christ was God coming to the earth personally in the flesh and dying for your sins.  That is what is important to know from studying the Bible.  The foundational basis of the entire New Testament is the Old Testament prophecies that state God will come to the earth in the flesh.  Jesus Himself when confronted by the religious leaders of His day spoke some very interesting and important words that affirm man’s ignorance:

Joh 5:39  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

As you can clearly see Jesus Christ was telling the religious leaders that their books of the Law written by Moses contained words that identified Him.  Clearly this revelation took the religious leaders by surprise and they did not believe Jesus.  However, here was God in the flesh speaking to His people and telling them I have come and they wanted to kill Him because He claimed to be the Son of God making Himself equal to God according to John 5:18.   What does it mean to be equal with God?  Who was Jesus claiming to be?  Exactly what verses is Jesus referring to that testifies of God coming in the flesh?  This is the problem that the Jews did not understand that this information was in the Bible.  This information was not clearly presented in natural terms because it was hidden spiritual information and they could not comprehend it with their human minds.  I am going to show you a few of the hidden references to the fact that Jesus is prophesied to come in concealed terms starting with Genesis 1.  I have written on this fact before so I will not cover it in-depth, but I will just give you an overview of the concepts.  2 Peter 3:8 says that a day is as a 1000 years and 1000 years is even as a day to the Lord.   This is a basic clue to the fact that every day mentioned in Genesis 1 is a prophetic day of human history.  Since Adam was created, it has been approximately 6000 years and that would correspond to the 6 days of creation.  On Day 4 God establishes two great lights to rule the day and the night.  These great lights are the sun and the moon and the sun rules the day and the moon rules the night.  Using 2 Peter 3:8 we can multiply 1000 by 4 days and get a period of 4000 years when this was to occur.  What happened 4000 years after Adam?  Guess what, Jesus came into the earth and was born in a manger in Bethlehem.   Jesus is revealed to be the “Sun of Righteousness” in Malachi 4:2.  Jesus Himself claimed to be the “Light of the World” (John 9:5) and this was a clear reference to God who is Light (1 John 1:5) coming into the world on Day 4 of human history.  Therefore, Jesus was encoded within creation in the first chapter of Genesis to have an exact prophesied entrance into the world at the precise time that was written about by Moses many hundreds of years before it happened.  I have written about this in other Bible lessons in more detail so if you did not understand it, you should go and search my blogs and find these lessons and study them.  What I want you to see is a designed plan of God being revealed in hidden terms, but yet when discovered it is very profound and almost impossible to deny the deity of Christ.

Next, I want to give you another hidden prophesied statement found in the Bible that speaks of God coming to the earth in the flesh.  Again it is hidden, but yet you can find it if you dig deep enough for it.  This hidden prophecy comes in Genesis 5 and this chapter is widely ignored in the Bible, but yet it contains some very powerful evidence that you should see.  Genesis 5 contains a genealogy of the first 10 descendants from Adam, stating the generations from Adam to Noah.  Of course this is not all of the children of Adam and it does not include the vast majority of the descendants of Adam and Eve, but these are the selected people that God put in the Book for a reason.  It is important to note that all of these people are real individuals that actually lived on the earth.  God did not make up this information nor did He orchestrate it to force it to happen this way.  Yet when you see what I am about to show you, you will wonder how this is possible.  Let’s look at the list of these people who God gives in this chapter of Genesis and see what they say to us.  Did you know they were speaking to you?   If you understand how God writes the Bible, you already know that you will not find the information on the surface that you are looking for.  If you could do that you would have no further choice, but to believe in the God who wrote the book.  No, you have to dig deep and examine every word if you want to discover the hidden truths.  Jesus gave us a law from God that states “He who seeks finds”.  The opposite of that truth would be “He, who does not seek, does without”.   What I am going to do is give you a chart of each name found in the Genesis 5 genealogy and then list the definition of that Hebrew name from the Strong’s concordance.  Did you know that Hebrew names almost always have a meaning attached to them?  This is one way that God uses to hide information in the Bible for us to find.  Here are the 10 names:

Name

Hebrew Definition and Meaning

AdamMan
SethSubstituted
EnosMortal
CainanDwelling
MahalaeelPraise of God
JaredTo Descend 
EnochTo Initiate
MethuselahMan Sword
Lamech(Unknown)
NoahRest
These are the first 10 names in the Bible from Adam to Noah along with their Strong’s definitions.  All but one name has a known Hebrew meaning.  We know from reading in Luke 3 that these names are repeated as fathers of Jesus, who was the son of Mary.  I want to focus in on just the first 8 names in the genealogy of Adam and what they say to us using the Hebrew definitions of their names.  If you combine them and read the Hebrew definitions all together as a sentence you get a basic decree that says something like this:

Man substituted mortal dwelling, but the Praise of God will come down to initiate a man sword.

This statement is the fall of man and the basic plan of redemption of God in a nutshell.  Man failed, he sinned becoming a mortal resulting in him substituting the eternal for the temporary.   But, God comes down personally as a human man to initiate a dividing force to be the sword of the Almighty that brings to us salvation.  You may not understand what that means, but nonetheless it is very important.  There are some words of Jesus in the book of Matthew where Jesus tells us why He has come down here on the earth and He says this:

Mat 10:34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Why would Jesus claim to bring a sword into the world and not peace?  This is a paradox when analyzed with other statements in the Bible.  Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6) and yet Jesus says this is not why I have come.  What does a sword do?  I will do a teaching on this subject soon, so I will not explain it right now.  However, you can clearly see the reference to the sword that was prophesied in Genesis 5.  In Revelation 19:15, Jesus is described as having a sword that comes out of His mouth and this is not an accident or a coincidence.  This is the location of the sword that Jesus brought into the earth with Him.   You can clearly see by looking at the Genesis 5 name definitions a specific statement that shows us that God comes down and becomes a man with a sword.  This is just another example of a hidden reference to God becoming a man.

Next, I want to show you another example of God coming to the earth using a story found in Genesis 22 and again we will see a story with hidden meanings.  Here in this chapter of Genesis, Abraham is taking his only begotten son Isaac on a journey to a hill near the future city of Jerusalem.  Abraham is taking everything that he needs to make a sacrifice to be obedient to what God has instructed him to do.  On the way up the hill Abraham’s son Isaac asks his father a very specific and direct question:

Gen 22:7  And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Isaac brilliantly notices there is no animal to sacrifice and says “Father, where is the lamb?”   Obviously Isaac understood what they were doing and they must have done this before and he knew that you needed a lamb for a sacrifice.  UH OH?  That is a problem if you were the child.  It would appear that you were the sacrifice.  Isaac was not stupid.  I can personally hear it in his voice as he asks the question.   I’m sure that the words pierce his father’s heart since this is the promised son that he waited for to come and after many years he was born on the earth.  Does any of this sound familiar to you?  Do you see how Abraham is a type of God?  Do you see how Isaac is a type of Jesus the Son of God?  Here was Abraham’s response to his son’s difficult question:

Gen 22:8  And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Wow, this is a faith statement if I have ever heard one.  Abraham tells his son Isaac that God will provide the sacrifice.  In fact what it says is that God is the sacrifice.  So they continue up the hill getting ready to make the sacrifice for God.  Abraham builds God an altar and is about to slay his son when an angel stops him and this is what happens next:

Gen 22:13  And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

It just so happens that there is a ram that is caught by his horns near where Abraham is, so Abraham goes and gets this animal and sacrifices it to God.   The implications to this story are far reaching.  Jesus is called the Lamb of God in the New Testament in John 1:29 and 36.  Jesus is also referred to as the Lamb in Revelation several times.  So Jesus is clearly the Son of God (1 John 5:20).  Who is always the father of a lamb?  In the natural world a ram is always the father of a lamb.  So symbolically speaking this story in Genesis is about God coming to the earth in the flesh to die for the sins of mankind.  There are many difficult and complex things to try to wrap your minds around in the Bible and this is certainly one of them.

You see the problem comes in when you think only naturally and you ignore spiritual truths.  The Bible tells us that God is one (Deu 6:4)!  Meaning there is only One True God.  But, now we have to make the transition that this one God who is a Spirit, can be the Father and the Son simultaneously.  That is the part of the Bible that starts getting people a little confused.  In the natural this is not possible, but in the spiritual realm, it is entirely possible.  When God becomes a man born in the world, he is equally human and divine at the same time.  This is just another example of how God does things that are purposefully confusing to us to accomplish a greater spiritual goal.  The trinity of God is a difficult subject to fully grasp.  I have tried to do a lesson on this subject so I will not repeat that information here.  If you do not understand the Triune nature of God you should go read “Understanding the Trinity of God”.   What I want to do now is to demonstrate some definite scripture verses that clearly show us that Jesus was God come to the earth in the flesh.

Isa 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Here is a famous Christmas verse that is often read concerning a prophetic statement of the birth of Jesus Christ.  This verse clearly says that a virgin human female will conceive a son.  This right there informs us in implied terms that God is coming personally into the world.  It is impossible in the days of Jesus for a virgin girl to become pregnant.  That is just not how God created it to work, but yet God says this is what will happen.  Finally, this verse ends in the statement you will call his name “Immanuel”.  As I described to you earlier, Hebrew names almost always have a meaning behind them.  In other words people named their children based upon something important that was happening in their lives and this is the name that they were given.  We will see that this name Immanuel is no different, it represents something important that is happening in the life of God and it conveys a hidden message.  The Hebrew word transliterated as “Immanuel” consists of two root words that you can look up the definitions to.  The first word is H5973 and it means “is with us”.  The second Hebrew word is H410 and this is a name for God.  So the meaning of this name “Immanuel” is “God is with us”.   That is pretty self-evident to me that God is saying I will come down and be with you.  So Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but it is very apparent that He was also God in the flesh.

Let’s explore briefly some statements that Jesus made and see if He confirms what I am trying to teach you today.  I want to go to the fourteenth chapter of the book of John and listen to some words that Jesus is speaking to His disciples.  Pay very close attention to the words for they are important:

Joh 14:1  Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

Here is Jesus again making Himself equal to God.  Jesus is using words that are indirect, but yet very revealing when He is telling His disciples if they believe in God they better believe in Him.  This is an indirect way of saying I am God.  Let’s continue reading down in the chapter and see what else Jesus says:

Joh 14:7  If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Again we have some very difficult words to comprehend because of the indirect references being made.  Jesus is telling his disciples “I am the Father God”.  These are difficult words and the disciples could not gather their meanings with their natural minds.  Jesus was a man, like they were but Jesus is inferring He was God.  Look at the question that one of the disciples asks:

Joh 14:8  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

Phillip is basically saying “we will be very happy if you take us and show us the Father”.  Clearly this disciple did not know who He was talking to.  This is a pattern still found in the world today.  There are clearly many Christians in the world who do not really know who Jesus was and here is Jesus answer to this request:

Joh 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

If it is possible for Phillip to walk and talk with Jesus for three years and not recognize who He was, then it is still possible to read about Him and not understand this either.  Jesus told Phillip I have been with you a long time and still you do not see?   Why are you asking me, “Show us the Father”?  

Joh 14:10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

If you do not understand the concepts behind “seeds” then you will probably miss what Jesus is saying in these words.  Jesus tells the disciples that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.  This is one of the basic laws of seeds given to us in Genesis 1.  You should probably go and read my Bible study series on “Understanding Seeds” so that you will better relate to what God is saying here.  The net results of these words spoken by Jesus, is saying to us, that He and the Father are One God and you cannot separate the Father from the Son.  Jesus was clearly saying that when you have seen the Son you have also seen the Father.  Let me end this lesson with one more example of what I have been trying to teach you today.  If you go to the first chapter of the book of John you will see a parallel N.T. scripture verse about the Genesis 1:1 creation.  In John 1:1 it is says this:

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In the beginning was the Word and the “Word” is capitalized as a Name for God.   It continues to say that the Word was with God and then it ends with the confirmation that the Word was God.  So we have a perplexing puzzle of trying to figure out how the Word can be with God and still “be” God simultaneously.  It is just another mystery of God, but one that has been repeated already several times in this lesson.  How can the God of creation become a part of His creation?  How can the Father of Spirits become the Son?  How can a Spirit become human?  These are just a few of the many difficult questions found in the Bible.  But, we understand that the Bible says that which is impossible for man, is still possible for God (Mat 19:26).  This chapter actually gives us a clue to the reality of how this is all possible by another verse found later in the chapter:

Joh 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Here we have God saying to you personally that He came in the flesh.  Remember what the Word was?  According to John 1:1 the Word was God.  So if God = Word and Word = God, by the law of mathematics you can substitute these two words interchangeably and still have the same results and meaning:

Joh 1:14  And God was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

God the Word became flesh and bone and walked among us physically.  This is how a Spirit becomes flesh.  God speaks words and the words come to pass and manifest physically.  You can see this principle demonstrated in Genesis 1 where God creates our world using His words.  Did you know that you cannot separate anyone from their words?  The words that anyone speaks reveals to us their character, their nature, their internal deepest thoughts and these Words of God are what comes down to become flesh that humans can see and feel.  This is why Jesus could stop and look at His disciples and ask them “Have I been this long with you and you do not know who I am?”   Jesus revealed God physically in the earth for the first time.  Before, this appearing the men of Israel only had some words written on scrolls from God that were not understood.  But, when the Word walked and talked among them, they killed Him by hanging God’s Word on a tree.  This was Satan’s greatest mistake that he has ever made and it sealed his fate.  If you have never read my Bible lesson on the “Top Ten Reasons Jesus Came to the Earth” you should do that.  I do not give a lot of details, but I do introduce you to some of the reasons of why God became a man.

I hope that you have learned the importance of seeing who Jesus is.  I did not say who Jesus was, because He is still the same God today alive in heaven forever more that He was before.   There is only One True Living God who created everything that we see and this God became flesh and bone so that we could behold His glory personally.  God became a man and even though God is not a man as the Bible states, it does not keep God from becoming what He was not.  Only natural human reasoning limits what God can do and this never stops Him from doing it anyway.  So I pray that you learned who Jesus was and is still today and what the Bible says on this subject.  I know I did not cover every scripture that I could have in this lesson, but I think I gave you enough witnesses to the truth to get you to see them.   May God continue to Bless you as you study His Word!

If you would like to continue readin in the series about unlocking the myths of Christ please continue with “Part 4“.

by Calvin from Jesus Christ followers. thank you.

Advertisements

WHY SUNDAY AND NOT SATURDAY ?

Saturday?
by Matt Slick

In the Old Testament, God stated,

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” (Exodus 20:8-10, NASB).

It was the custom of the Jews to come together on the Sabbath, which is Saturday, cease work, and worship God. Jesus went to the synagogue on Saturday to teach (Matt. 12:9, John 18:20) as did the apostle Paul (Acts 17:2; 18:4). So, if in the Old Testament we are commanded to keep the Sabbath and in the New Testament we see Jews, Jesus, and the apostles doing the same thing, then why do we worship on Sunday?

First of all, of the 10 commandments listed in Exodus 20:1-17, only 9 of them were reinstituted in the New Testament: five in Matt. 19:18, murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, and honor parents; in Rom. 13:9, coveting; worshiping God properly covers the first three commandments. The one that was not reaffirmed was the one about the Sabbath. Instead, Jesus said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8).

Upon the completion of Creation, God rested on the seventh day. However, since God is all-powerful, He doesn’t get tired. He doesn’t need to take a break and rest. So, why did/does it say that He rested? The reason is simple: Mark 2:27 says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” In other words, God established the Sabbath as a rest for His people–not because He needed a break but because we are mortal and need a time of rest–a time to focus on God. In this, our spirits and bodies are both renewed.

The Old Testament system of Law required keeping the Sabbath as part of the overall moral, legal, and sacrificial system by which the Jewish people satisfied God’s requirements for behavior, government, and forgiveness of sins. The Sabbath was part of the Law in that sense. In order to “remain” in favor with God, you had to also keep the Sabbath. If it was not kept, then the person was in sin and would often be punished (Ezekiel 18:4; Rom. 6:23; Deut. 13:1-9; Num. 35:31; Lev. 20:2, etc.).

But with Jesus’ atonement, we are no longer required to keep the Law. We are not under Law but grace (Rom. 6:14-15). The Sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus. He is our rest. We are not under obligation, by Law, to keep it; and this goes for the Sabbath as well. It is not a requirement that we keep the Sabbath. If it were, then we would still be under the Law; but we are not.

Evidence of the Change of Days can be Seen in the NT

The New Testament has ample evidence that the seventh day Sabbath is no longer a requirement.

Rom. 14:5-6, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.”
The entire section of Rom. 14:1-12 is worth careful study. Nevertheless, the instructions here are that individuals must be convinced in their own minds about which day they observe for the Lord. If the seventh day Sabbath were a requirement, then the choice would not be man’s but God’s.

Col. 2:16-17, “Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day–17things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”
Notice here that time sequence mentioned. A festival is yearly. A new moon is monthly. A Sabbath is weekly. No one is to judge regarding this. The Sabbath is defined as a shadow; the reality is Jesus. Jesus is our Sabbath.

Acts 20:7, “And on the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.”
The first day of the week is Sunday, and this is the day the people gathered. This passage can easily be seen as the church meeting on Sunday. It has two important church functions within it: breaking bread (communion) and a message (preaching). Additionally, Luke did not use the Jewish system of counting days: sundown to sundown. He used the Roman system: midnight to midnight. This is a subtle point that shows the Jewish Sabbath system was not the one utilized by Luke.

1 Cor. 16:1-2, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2 On the first day of every week let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.”
Notice here that Paul is directing the churches to meet on the first day of each week and put money aside. It would seem that this is tithing. So, the instructed time for the church to meet is Sunday. Is this an official worship day set up by the church? You decide.

Rev. 1:10-11, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
The New Bible Dictionary says regarding the term, ‘The Lord’s Day’ in Revelation 1:10: “This is the first extant occurrence in Christian literature of τῇ κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ, “ta kuriaka hamera.” The adjectival construction suggests that it was a formal designation of the church’s worship day. As such, it certainly appears early in the 2nd century (Ignatius, Epistle to the Magnesians, 1. 67).

In many churches today, the term “The Lord’s Day” is used to designate Sunday–the same as it was in the second century.

I hope this is evidence enough to show you that the Bible does not require that we worship on Saturday. If anything, we have the freedom (Rom. 14:1-12) to worship on the day that we believe we should. And, no one should judge us regarding the day we keep. We are free in Christ and not under law (Rom. 6:14). Amen.

MATTHEW 5 vs 17 FULFILLED

 

MATTHEW 5:17-18

 

Contrary to the conclusion drawn from the fore­going material—that the legal system of the old order was limited and passed away–Adventists find a “balm in Gilead” in Matt. 5: 17, 18. This passage is the strongest support in the entire Bi­ble for the theory of the perpetuity of the law. This is the first passage on the law question the prospective convert to Adventism learns. If, therefore, after we have considered it, the strength therein contained should prove to be wanting, the strongest prop for the Advent con­ception of the law is gone.

I readily admit that the passage can be easily misunderstood in the light of Adventism. The passage reads: “Think not that I am come to de­stroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be ful­filled.”

This passage, to an Adventist, teaches that so long as heaven and earth shall stand, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law. Such a reading is deceptive. The passage does not assert that the law would not pass away. What it does say is that every jot and every tittle of the law would hold good “till” all the law had been fulfilled.

And this certainly leaves the inference that, after the law had been fulfilled, every jot and tit­tle of the law would pass away. We shall con­sider what immediately follows with this thought in mind:

Our Lord walked to Emmaus with two men—after his resurrection, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27.) In the preceding chapter we learned that “Moses and the prophets,” “the law of Moses and the prophets,” and “the law and the prophets,” all meant one and the same thing–the writings of Moses and the writings of the proph­ets. Speaking to these same two men, our Lord continued: “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” (Verse 44.) in this statement he referred straight as a bee line back to Matt. 5: 17, 18, where he had made such an announcement. The identical words are used.

Matt. 5: 17,18: “The law, . . . the proph­ets, . . . all. . . fulfilled.”

Luke 24: 44: “All things. . . fulfilled, . . . the law, . . . the prophets.”

Some important words of explanation are added in the interview found in Luke 24:44 —  “concerning me,” “law of Moses.” Thus Luke 24:44 is seen to be supplemental to Matt, 5: 17, 18. Matt, 5: 17, 18, therefore, in the light of Luke 24:44, would read as follows: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law of Moses or the prophets or the psalms: I am not come to destroy the law of Moses or the prophets or the psalms, but to fulfill the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law of Moses or the prophets or the psalms till all things written me in the law of Moses and the prophets and psalms shall be fulfilled.”

Thus was the law to stand, as surely as heaven and earth stood, until all the things that had been written in them concerning Christ should be fulfilled; and since he fulfilled all the things that had been written in these documents con­cerning himself, as surely as heaven and earth are standing; the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms passed away.

Paul’s Testimony. — In later years, Paul, writ­ing to the Ephesians; testified to this very fact: “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordi­nances.” (Eph. 2:15.)

While the law was standing, it was easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one jot or one tittle of it to fail (Luke 16:16); but since the law was fulfilled, it would be easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one jot or one tittle of the law to become authoritative again.

Adventists rise up and say: “Then if there is no law, we may kill, steal, commit adultery, etc.” In this they miss the point. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Heb. 8:13.) It is another case of the old “Articles of Confederation” of the orig­inal thirteen States being superseded by the Con­stitution of the United States; it is a case of Zion formulating ideals rather than Sinai issuing cold precepts; it is a case of the “law of Christ” tak­ing the place of the “law of Moses.”

 

“FULFILL.”

 

Commentary on Matt. 5: 17. — The thirteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles is a commentary on the word “fulfill” as used in Matt. 5:17:

Verse 15: “The law and the prophets.”

Verse 20: “Until Samuel the prophet.”

Verse 25: “John fulfilled his course.”

Verse 33: The promise had been “fulfilled.”

Verse 39: “The law of Moses.”

Fulfill. — To “fulfill” means to reach the end of the prediction. The following passages show clearly how the word is used in the Scriptures:

“Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24.)

“And as John fulfilled his course.” (Acts 13:25)

“What shall be the sigh when all these things shall be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:4.)

“The voices of the prophets, . . . they have fulfilled.” (Acts 13:27.)

“And when they had fulfilled all that was writ­ten of him.” (Acts 13:29.)

“The promise which was made unto the fa­thers, God hath fulfilled.” (Acts 13: 32, 33.)

After this manner, then, Jesus came to “ful­fill” all that had been written concerning himself. “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” (Luke 24:44.)

And he fulfilled them. He did not come as a destroyer; came as a fulfiller. He was not a revolutionist; he was a reformer. Thus the law stood, as surely as heaven and earth stands, until the things predicted of him in it were accom­plished. After that, just so surely the law and the prophets and the psalms passed out of use—gave way to a greater law, the law of Christ.

                                           

Posted by calvin mazvazva from Jesus christ followers.

CHRISTIANS ARE NOT BOUND BY OLD TESTAMENT LAWS

Are Old Testament Laws Still Binding on Christians?
Christians often wonder, Are Old Testament laws still in force?

The New Testament gives two basic answers to this question: Yes, and no. Some verses indicate continuity, and others indicate change. Some verses maintain the validity of the law; others describe it as having been superseded by Christ.

If we look at one group of verses, we might conclude that we have to keep all Old Testament laws. If we look at another group of verses, we might conclude that they are all done away. Both answers have scriptural support and validity, so we need to look at both sides of the question.

Let’s start with an emphasis on continuity. A passage like Matthew 5:17-19 can be used to argue that all Old Testament laws are still in force. Jesus didn’t do away with any of God’s laws. Rather, he emphasized that we ought to obey God not only in our actions, but also in our hearts. We have to keep every Old Testament law in the spirit, in its attitude and purpose. God’s laws are written in our hearts and minds (Hebrews 8:10). They are internalized, so we should want to keep them. Hebrews 8:10 is a quote of Jeremiah 31:31-33, one could argue, and the laws that Jeremiah had in mind were the laws that were valid in his day: the old covenant laws. They were all given by God.

If this line of reasoning is correct, our love for God will motivate us to be circumcised, to keep the Jubilee year and sabbatical years. We will be diligent to avoid all forms of uncleanness, and we will wear phylacteries and only pure fabrics. We will offer sacrifices, not only for sin but also for fellowship offerings and thank offerings. When Jeremiah described the kingdom of God, old covenant customs were included.

Spiritual application
These laws are still valid – but, as we know, they are applied in a spiritual way. The application of the law has been transformed by the coming of Jesus Christ. If our hearts are circumcised, it does not matter whether we have been circumcised in the flesh. If we are offering spiritual sacrifices, we do not need to offer animals.

If we are always forgiving debts and liberating people from bondage, we do not have to do anything different on sabbatical years. If we are treating our livestock and farmland properly, we do not have to do anything different on sabbatical years. If we live by the spirit, the letter of these laws is not required.

If we examine our hearts for corruption and are being cleansed by Jesus Christ, then we do not have destroy houses that have mildew. If our thoughts are pure, we don’t have to worry about our fabrics. If we are always thinking of God and his laws, we don’t have to wear phylacteries. The laws are valid, but the way in which we obey them has been transformed by the coming of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual dimension
Some Old Testament laws are, in Christian application, spiritualized. They are removed from the dimensions of space and time and transferred into the spiritual dimension of attitude and interpersonal relationships.

Some people fight against spiritualizations. I’ve heard of one person who says Christians should offer animal sacrifices if the temple were still standing! And yet, as far as I know, he does not wear phylacteries or blue threads in tassels on his garments, nor does he advocate the destruction of a home when mildew is discovered. Moreover, I don’t know why the absence of a temple should stop an obligation (if it really is an obligation) to sacrifice animals. Sacrifices were part of correct worship long before Moses, so the end of the old covenant simply means that sacrificing is no longer the exclusive duty of Levites. We ought to worship God like Abel, Noah and Abraham did – and they sacrificed animals.

According to this logic, ministers ought to make animal sacrifices, preaching all the while that these animals remind us of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We ought to kill Passover lambs in addition to partaking of bread and wine, because Jesus only added to the law; he did not take anything away. The sacrifices may be shadows, but even when the reality has come, the shadow still exists! Animal sacrifices are very educational, full of spiritual meaning, and it would be wrong to ignore any of God’s commands.

I have been arguing facetiously, but elements of the above argument have been used to promote various old covenant customs. My main point is that some Old Testament laws are spiritualized. Almost everyone can agree on that.

However, there are all sorts of opinions concerning which laws may be spiritualized and are not. Some fringe groups want physical circumcision. Some want land sabbaths. Some may even want tree-branch booths. Some want first tithe but not second and third. Some want weekly Sabbaths but not annual. Some want new moons. Many different doctrinal packages exist; each person thinks his own is the biblical one and that the others are inconsistent.

Some people are willing to say that the old covenant is obsolete; others are not comfortable with this statement. Some are willing to say that Gentiles do not need to keep the law of Moses; some are not willing to say that. Some are willing to say that the “law” of Galatians 3:19 is the old covenant; some are not.

With so many opinions floating around, it’s difficult to know where to start in a rational discussion. What biblical criteria can we use when discussing which laws are spiritualized and which must be kept in the letter as well as the spirit?

Critical questions
We need to start by defining the issues – can the person agree that the new covenant has been established (Hebrews 8:6)? Can the person agree that Christians should live by the terms of the new covenant? Can the person agree that some Old Testament laws, such as tassels and phylacteries, are obsolete even if the New Testament says nothing about such laws? Can the person give a rational reason why some old laws are valid in the letter and others are not, or is the position irrational?

The Old Testament clearly commanded the Israelites to wear blue threads in tassels on their garments (Numbers 15:38-39). Was this law inspired by God, or not? Answer: It was. Is this law obsolete? Answer: It is. Who has the authority to declare a God-given law obsolete? Answer: Only God.

Does the New Testament specifically rescind this law? Answer: No. It says nothing about this specific law. Then how can we prove, with divine authority, that it is obsolete? Answer: Because the New Testament declares the entire old covenant obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). As a law code, as a source of laws, it is not valid.

That brings us to our second approach to Old Testament law: None of it is valid. Christians do not have to keep the law of Moses because those laws were a temporary package, designed to be in force only until the Messiah came. Now that he has come and given us a better covenant, the first is obsolete.

The old covenant was something like a contract. In business, people make contracts. A farmer agrees to deliver tomatoes to the store every Tuesday, and the store agrees to pay a certain price per pound. If he comes on Monday, the store is not necessarily obligated to buy. If he brings broccoli, the store is not obligated to buy. Now, what happens if the farmer is simply unable to bring tomatoes on Tuesday because his entire crop is rotten? Perhaps there will be penalties; it depends on how the contract is written.

Suppose now that the store makes a new contract with the farmer: Bring every vegetable that you have, as often as you pick it. This new contract even specifies that the old contract is null and void. The old restrictions (only tomatoes, only on Tuesday) are irrelevant, because the new contract supersedes the old.

A farmer and a store can have several contracts simultaneously, concerning different vegetables, different prices and terms and expiration dates, but God has only one covenant with his people. We do not add the new on top of the old and try to keep both the letter and the spirit of every law. We do not have to wear tassels on the outside and keep the law in our hearts as well. The new has replaced the old (Hebrews 10:9), and we focus on the spirit rather than the letter. In some cases the proper spirit will cause us to keep the letter, but in other cases it will not.

Consider the spirit of adultery, for example. If we avoid lust, then we will also (without any need for a written law) avoid physical acts of adultery. The letter of this law is still valid. If we do not covet, then we will (without any need for a written law) not steal. This law is also valid in the letter. If we are not angry at our brother, we will (without any need for a written law) not murder. Again, the letter is valid. Keeping the spirit of the law has thwarted these sins at their very source.

However, consider how different the Feast of Unleavened Bread is. The spirit of the law is (in moral terms) that we repent of sin and (in Christological terms) that we partake of the sinless Bread of life.

If we are abiding by the spirit of the law, do we automatically (without any need for a written law) look to a calendar based on the agricultural seasons of Judea, and observe a specific seven days of the year, specifically by avoiding bread made with yeast and avoiding work on the first and seventh days? This is not automatic at all. Rather, it is based exclusively on the written old covenant. In this case, there is a dramatic difference between the spirit and the letter of the law.

Or consider whether we must live in booths during the Feast of Tabernacles. Arguing about the details would be missing the point, for the simple reason that the new covenant says that the old contract is obsolete. The new contract does not require booths, nor does it forbid them. It says nothing about tomatoes, Tuesdays, or palm-branch sukkahs.

Instead, the new covenant requires us to remember always that we are strangers and pilgrims on this earth, journeying on our way to God’s promised new earth (1 Peter 2:11; Philippians 3:20). Just as with phylacteries and tassels, if we keep this law in our hearts, we do not need to worry about the letter. The purpose has been fulfilled.

Fulfillment in Jesus Christ
We know that sin offerings were shadows of the real sacrifice for sin, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:1-3). Now that the real sacrifice for sin has been made, the physical symbolism does not need to be reenacted. But what about peace offerings and fellowship sacrifices? The New Testament doesn’t specifically say that they are done away, but Jesus Christ fulfilled them, too. We keep these laws in the spirit, not in the letter.

Jesus has made atonement for us once for all, making us at one with the Father. We do not need to commemorate Christ’s atonement with the goat rituals of Leviticus 16. Their purpose has been fulfilled, and the purpose for fasting on the 10th of Tishri (Leviticus 16:29-31) has also been fulfilled. Fasting can be a beneficial spiritual discipline—but it is neither commanded for nor restricted to the Day of Atonement.

Christ, by bringing a new covenant, has transformed the law. The same underlying law still exists—the law of love. Jesus did not change that law at all. Rather, he fulfilled it. The old covenant, including the sacrifices, tassels and Jubilee years, had specific, physical applications of the underlying law of love. But those specifics are, in many cases, now obsolete. The spirit of the law remains, but the letter does not. The old covenant way is not the way to apply the purpose of the law. There are other ways to express our devotion to God and our love for our neighbors.

The Sabbath commandment, as our last example, had several purposes. It was a reminder of creation; it was a reminder of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt; it was a reminder of their special relationship with the Creator. It provided physical rest for animals, servants and families.

Morally, the Sabbath symbolized our duty to cease from evil works. Christologically, it symbolized our need to find spiritual rest in Christ, to trust in him rather than our own works for salvation. It symbolized the completion of our creation at the end of the age.

Now, if we have the spirit of the law written in our hearts, will we automatically, without need for written instructions, refuse to work on a particular day of the week? Will we, from our hearts, know that holy time extends from evening to evening? Will we automatically perceive that this specific time is so important that we should be willing to lose our jobs because of it? The answer is obvious: No. These things are dependent on the written old covenant. They are not automatic even if our hearts are right with God. The spirit of the Sabbath law does not automatically produce the letter – but Christians are to focus on the spirit.

Perpetual remembrance
The real purpose is that we enter the rest of God through faith in Christ. Our salvation is in him, not in a specific day of the week. If we are in Christ and he is in us, we will always remember our special relationship with him. We will be in perpetual remembrance of the new creation being done in us. We will cease from evil work every day of the week. We will do good works on every day of the week. We will worship on every day of the week. We will also recognize that new covenant love should motivate us to meet with one another regularly to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Resting on the Sabbath may picture a changed life, but many Sabbath-keepers do not have changed lives. Sabbath-keeping cannot change our hearts. Spiritual Sabbath-keeping, however, does change our hearts – because spiritual Sabbath-keeping means the life of faith in Christ, which changes us from the inside out. Jesus Christ has magnified the Sabbath law far beyond the temporal restrictions of the letter. If we are keeping the spirit of this law, the physical restrictions are not required. It is not wrong to rest on the Sabbath day. The physical benefits are still there. But it is wrong to see the physical as required for all Christians.

But, some say, we should keep both the letter and the spirit of this law. It is easy to make that claim, but there is no proof for it – and there is certainly no reason to condemn people on the basis of a different interpretation of how we should obey God. It is just as easy to make the claim that people truly abiding by the spirit of the tassels will also be wearing tassels. The flaw of such logic is exposed by the realization that the new covenant declares the old contract obsolete. We must focus on the spirit and purpose of the laws.

A Sabbatarian approach to the Sabbath emphasizes Matthew 5:17-19, and that usually leads to a distorted meaning for such verses as Colossians 2:16 and Romans 14:5.

However, after we recognize that the letter of some Old Testament laws is obsolete, then we realize that Matthew 5:17-19 has to be qualified or restricted in some way. So do Romans 3:20, 31; 7:12, 14 and other verses of continuity. These verses do not tell us which specific laws are still in force, and they do not prove the continued validity of any specific law. They are general, not specific.

Once we recognize that some Old Testament laws, although still valid in purpose, are obsolete in the letter, then we are free to accept the implications of what Paul wrote in Colossians 2:16. We should not let anyone judge us regarding Sabbath days, just as we shouldn’t let them judge us regarding new moons. Everyone should be convinced in their own mind, and they should not judge other Christians regarding such matters.

Posted by calvin mazvazva from Jesus christ followers.

MATTHEW 5 vs 17 EXPLAINED.

Be patient when reading. Matthew 5:17-19 and the “Law”
Do Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17-19 tell Christians they must keep the seventh-day Sabbath? Some people believe these verses make Sabbath-keeping binding on Christians. Others conclude the Sabbath is not in view in this passage. To discover the answer, let us begin by quoting the verses in question:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

We see right away that Jesus did not mention the Sabbath or the Ten Commandments in these verses. To read Jesus’ statement as having these laws specifically in mind is to bring in ideas that were not stated by Jesus.

Nonetheless, there are certain phrases in this text that need further study: Jesus’ assertion that he did not come to abolish the Law; that he came to fulfill it; that not the smallest part of the Law would disappear till everything was accomplished; that whoever broke the commandments he was speaking about or taught others to break them would be of little reputation in the kingdom. What do all these things mean in terms of the Sabbath? By looking closely at the key phrases in this Scripture, we will learn some surprising things.

“Abolish Law and Prophets”
First, we see that Jesus spoke of “the Law and the Prophets” as not being abolished. What did he mean by this phrase? The “Law and the Prophets” was a regular expression Jews of Jesus’ day used to refer to the entire Old Testament. (See Matthew 7:12; 22:40; Acts 24:14; 28:23; Romans 3:21.) The Old Testament comprises the Holy Scriptures or the sacred writings of the Jewish faith. It was through these writings that Jews thought they could understand the will of God and have eternal life (John 5:39, 45).

What Jesus said, then, was the Old Testament as a body of “God-breathed” literature would not be set aside or abolished. His concern was not specifically the Sabbath or the Ten Commandments. It was the entire Old Testament.

“To fulfill them”
Jesus also said he came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, that is, the Holy Scriptures, but to “fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). We should notice that Jesus did not tell Christians to “fulfill” these Scriptures down to the smallest letter and least stroke of a pen. He said he came to fulfill the Holy Scriptures.

What did he mean by this? The Greek word for “fulfill” isplerosai. According to Greek scholars, the nuance and meaning of this word is difficult to express in English, and several possibilities have been offered. These are summarized by four options:

(1) Jesus came to accomplish or obey the Holy Scriptures,
(2) to bring out the full meaning of the Holy Scriptures,
(3)to bring those Scriptures to their intended completion,
(4)to emphasize that the Scriptures point to him as Messiah and are fulfilled in his salvation work.
After reviewing several ways of looking at the word “fulfill,” the Expositor’s Commentary on Matthew concluded by saying: “The best interpretation of these difficult verses says that Jesus fulfills the Law and the Prophets in that they point to him, and he is their fulfillment. The antithesis is not between ‘abolish’ and ‘keep’ but between ‘abolish’ and ‘fulfill’” (page 143).

Let’s see how this possibility works out. It is certainly a proper understanding of Jesus’ intent to say that he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets in himself—in his life and salvation work, and that the Scriptures pointed to him.

The book of Matthew was written to prove from the Jewish Scriptures that Jesus fulfilled the requirements of messiahship. Matthew often said Jesus acted “to fulfill” what was said through one prophet or another (Matthew 1:22; 2:5, 15, 17, 23; 4:14; 8:17, etc.). One can read through the book of Matthew and note all the times that a reference is made to the Old Testament as being fulfilled in Jesus. It is surprising, indeed.

Jesus said in Matthew 3:15 that “all righteousness” should be fulfilled in his actions. Luke 24:25-27, 44-45 and John 5:39-47 are also instructive on this point. These verses show that Jesus was interested in showing how the Hebrew Scriptures had himself as their object. He was the Messiah of whom all the Jewish holy writings had spoken of.

The Tyndale New Testament Commentary on Matthew offers another view of “fulfill.” It emphasizes that Jesus was bringing the meaning of the Scriptures to their intended completion. It says: “Jesus is bringing that to which the Old Testament looked forward; his teaching will transcend the Old Testament revelation, but, far from abolishing it, is itself its intended culmination” (page 114).

But is the keeping of the “holy time” requirement of the Sabbath something Jesus meant to bring forward for Christians to follow? Since the context does not mention the Sabbath in Matthew 5:17-19, we would have no basis to insist that he did.

“Not the smallest letter”
Jesus also said that “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen” from the entire body of the Jewish Holy Scriptures would disappear until “everything is accomplished.” Some believe that by saying this, Jesus was saying that Christians should keep the seventh-day Sabbath.

Related articles:
How did Jesus fulfill the law?
Jesus and old covenant laws
Matthew 5: sermon on the mount
The eternal validity of God’s law

Let’s ask again what the context tells us, and where such a conclusion would lead us. As we saw, Jesus did not mention the Sabbath or the Ten Commandments in Matthew 5:17-19. In order to say that Jesus had the Sabbath in mind, we would be forced to say that he was commanding Christians to follow all the laws of the Law and Prophets, or the Old Testament. At the least, we would have to conclude he was making the entire Law of Moses binding on Christians.

Based on the argument above, we would have to take Jesus’ words as enjoining every single commandment and regulation in the Law of Moses on Christians! The reason is because Jesus said that “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen” from the entire body of the Jewish Holy Scriptures would disappear until “everything is accomplished.”

To ask again: Did Jesus mean Christians had to keep all the regulations of the Law of Moses, including the “holy time” regulations of the Sabbath, or strict tithing, or the food laws? Consider what that line of reasoning would demand.

Christians would be obligated to keep all the sacrificial, ceremonial and civil laws described in the Law of Moses. They would have to keep every single law mentioned in Genesis through Deuteronomy — and the rest of the Old Testament. The Jews calculated that there were 613 laws in their Holy Scriptures. Christians, then, based on the idea that Jesus was telling his disciples to keep the regulations of the Law and the Prophets, would have to keep all 613 laws. No wonder the apostle Paul said that thinking in these terms was wrongheaded (Galatians 3:10).

To pick a few examples of this line of reasoning, Christian men would have to be physically circumcised. All Christians would have to offer sacrifices. Men, at least, would have to travel to Jerusalem to keep the annual festivals. Christians would have to keep the various purification rituals. One of these rituals specified that individuals who came in contact with dead bodies would be “unclean” for seven days. They would have to ceremonially wash themselves on the third and seventh day (Numbers 19:11-13). If any person failed to do this, he or she would be “cut off from Israel” (verse 13). There are many dozens of such laws in the Law of Moses that would have to be followed.

Obviously, when we see the implications, we have to conclude that Jesus could not having been telling Christians to keep all the old covenant Law. But if he was not saying this, then we have no justification for saying his words demand we keep the Sabbath as “holy time,” because he did not specifically mention this command — or the Ten Commandments.

“Everything is accomplished”
Jesus said that until heaven and earth ceased to exist, nothing would disappear from the law “until everything is accomplished” (5:18). But heaven and earth will pass away, and by contrast, Jesus’ own words will remain forever (Matthew 24:35). They have a greater validity than the Law because Jesus is greater than Moses.

The meaning of “until everything is accomplished” has several possibilities. It is suggested by the Tyndale New Testament Commentary that the translation: “Until what it [the Law] looks forward to arrives” gives the best sense of this phrase. This links the thought with the idea of “fulfillment” in verse 17. This also seems to be the thrust of Paul’s comments regarding the relationship of the Law and Jesus’ earthly ministry (Galatians 3:19, 23-25).

The Tyndale New Testament Commentary expresses the interpretation of “accomplished” in these words:

“The law remains valid until it reaches its intended culmination; this it is now doing in the ministry and teaching of Jesus. This verse does not state, therefore, as it is sometimes interpreted, that every regulation in the Old Testament law remains binding after the coming of Jesus. The law is unalterable, but that does not justify its application beyond the purpose for which it was intended” (page 115).

The Tyndale commentary also makes the same point in these words:

“This passage does not therefore state that every Old Testament regulation is eternally valid. This view is not found anywhere in the New Testament, which consistently sees Jesus as introducing a new situation, for which the law prepared (Galatians 3:24), but which now transcends it. The focus is now on Jesus and his teaching, and in this light the validity of Old Testament rules must now be examined. Some will be found to have fulfilled their role, and be no longer applicable…others will be reinterpreted” (page 117).

This explanation must be the correct one, or else the early Christian church and the apostles violated Matthew 5:17-19 by telling gentile Christians that circumcision and keeping the Law of Moses was not necessary. The book of Galatians would also have been in error on this point. And the book of Hebrews would have been in extraordinary violation of Jesus’ words, too, since it states that the entire sacrificial system, the temple worship and Levitical priesthood had been annulled.

However, these books are in agreement with the principle mentioned above. They explain that some old covenant religious regulations have fulfilled their role and others need reinterpretation. This is the situation that holds with the ceremonial weekly Sabbath “holy time” regulation. It fulfilled its role in old covenant times and can be interpreted spiritually for Christians as the spiritual Sabbath rest we now have in Christ.

“Least of these commandments”
In Matthew 5:19 Jesus also said that if anyone broke “one of the least of these commandments” and taught others to do so, that person would be called “least” in the kingdom. Those who practiced and taught these commands of which he spoke would be called “great” in that kingdom. How do these words fit into the discussion?

One explanation of this phrase is that “these commandments” refer to the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5-7, and not to the Old Testament or its law. His reinterpretation of old covenant law was certainly the subject of much of the Sermon on the Mount.

After discussing the Law and the Prophets, Jesus went on to give six units of teaching, each introduced by the phrase, “You have heard that it was said… But I say to you” (Matthew 5:21-48). In those six units, Jesus gave varied examples of how the principles he was discussing should work out in practice among his disciples. He began each section with how Jews might have taught and applied a literal understanding of Old Testament law. Then Jesus gave his more discerning view — the real intent or aim of the law in general, and the six examples he chose in particular.

To summarize, he mentioned the following subjects: murder and anger, based on the sixth commandment (5:21-26); adultery, the seventh commandment (5:27-30); divorce, from Deuteronomy 24:1 (5:31-32); swearing and oaths, summarizing teaching from such scriptures as Leviticus 19:12 and Numbers 30:2 (5:33-37); legal rights, quoted from Exodus 21:24-25, Leviticus 24:20, and Deuteronomy 19:21 (5:38-42); and the principle of loving one’s neighbor, from Leviticus 19:18 (5:43-47).

What we notice is that the examples Jesus chose come from all five books of Moses. These six principles are then summarized as the greater righteousness of Jesus’ disciples (5:48). The disciples of Jesus, in contrast to the scribes and Pharisees, must be “perfect,” that is, have a life totally motivated by the will of God. Jesus contrasted this new and radical righteousness (5:20) with the scrupulous religious observance of old covenant demands practiced by Pharisees and other Jewish religious teachers (6:1-8. 16-18).

Jesus did not come to annul the Holy Scriptures as a body of holy writings since they were “God breathed” words of the Creator. But they were not an end in themselves, as many Jews thought. Jesus had come to bring the truth to which those Scriptures pointed (John 1:17).

The law of Christ
If we look carefully at the context of the verse in which Jesus spoke of fulfilling the Law, particularly at what follows Matthew 5:17-19, we will note that Jesus was redefining the teaching from the Law and the Prophets. He was pointing out which principles from the Holy Scriptures had an eternal validity and their intended purpose, and how both were to be understood.

In short, Jesus was creating a spiritual law, which we may call the “law of Christ” (John 13:33-35) — and this becomes the norm for Christian living, not the old covenant law. This is demonstrated by the fact that one cannot find in the teaching in Matthew 5-6 any discussion of ceremonial laws such as the Sabbath and annual festival “holy time” regulations — a hallmark of Jewish religious observance based on old covenant commands.

While Jews concerned themselves with what Moses and their traditions said, Jesus superseded that approach to God with his own instruction. He became the standard of truth (John 1:17). In referring to both the Law of Moses and the tradition of the elders, Jesus boldly proclaimed, “But I say to you” (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44). At the end of the Sermon, Jesus told his hearers that the wise person is one “who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice” (Matthew 7:24).

The orientation of the new covenant is to Christ and the cross, not to Moses and the tables of stone. The great sermon of the new covenant is not the one given on Mt. Sinai, but by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). He explained the spiritual-moral principles of the new covenant that apply to Christians. These are amply discussed in several places in the New Testament (in Galatians 5:22-25, for example). We should note that these places do not contain any mention of such ceremonial regulations as keeping a specific day of the week.

Matthew concluded his gospel with the following words of Jesus: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The disciples are to teach and do the commands Jesus gave, not legalistically follow the Law of Moses (John 15:12-13). Since Jesus did not command Sabbath-keeping in Matthew 5:17-19, we cannot use this Scripture to justify teaching it.

In the interest of fairness, we should point out that some scholars object to the view that Jesus was referring to his own commandments in Matthew 5:19. The word for “commandment,” entole, elsewhere in Matthew always refers to the Old Testament law. These scholars insist the expression “least of these commandments” would be better understood in the context as referring to the law as expounded in the Old Testament. If so, how are we to understand Jesus’ command to his disciples — to respect and teach the “least of these commandments”?

We have already seen that Jesus cannot be telling his disciples to keep each of the 613 regulations of the Law. That would lead to a logical absurdity, violate his own teaching in Matthew 5, and stand in conflict with other New Testament teachings and writings. (Since Jesus didn’t mention the Sabbath in Matthew 5, we cannot use this Scripture to insist that one of “these commandments” was the Sabbath “holy time” regulation.)

It cannot be a literal observance of the Law of Moses that interests Jesus — this is seen by what he says in Matthew 5:21-48, where he radically reinterprets the commands of the Law. If it were a literal observance that Jesus wanted, the Gospel of Mark was in specific violation of Jesus’ command, because it interpreted Jesus’ view of the laws of “uncleanness” and said he had abrogated these Old Testament food regulations. See Mark 7:19 in any modern translation.)

Perhaps you know of someone who’d like to hear about this article. If so, go to the bottom of the page and click on “Email this page.” Fill out the form, and share the good news! There’s also a way to share the page on Facebook, Twitter, and other websites.

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com

          Other popular articles

This article was written by Paul Kroll. Copyright Grace Communion International. All rights reserved.
What such Scriptures show is that Jesus left the question of interpretation and application of the Law of Moses open to changing circumstances. We can see this in his teaching in Matthew 5:21-48 and elsewhere. Of course, the Old Testament must be respected, and it has value as the word of God, but it is also time-bound to a certain extent. This practical view of the Law is demonstrated in the rest of the New Testament. It allows, for example, the apostles to understand that the ceremonial and sacrificial laws are no longer binding.

Nonetheless, Christians are to respect the Old Testament as the Holy Scriptures of God. They are profitable, when used wisely, for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” and can make one “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15-16). But no one should place faith in the Law itself, for while the Law came through Moses, grace and truth have come through Jesus. Under grace, Christians are not required to keep a specific “holy time,” go to a “holy place” such as the temple, or be under the authority of the holy levitical priesthood (John 4:21-24). These were ceremonial regulations, and Christians do not need to keep them. Amen.

Posted by calvin mazvazva from Jesus christ followers.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER DEATH

I think it is better for you not to worry about what will happen after death. Everyone knows that there is a place called Heaven and another place called Hell. Evil people are going to Hell after death , Hell is a place where people will be tortured by unquenchable fire for ever. Righteous people are going to Heaven after death, Heaven is a place where people will be happy for ever with God and Jesus Christ. I hope everyone wants to be in Heaven after death. This is what people believe. Ok that’s good. But Jesus Christ said (JOHN 8 vs 31) Jesus told the people who had faith in him, “If you keep on obeying what I have said, you truly are my disciples.” He also said (JOHN 8 vs 51) “I tell you for certain that if you obey my words, you will never die.” This shows that you must obey what Jesus Christ have said and you will not die. (1Corinthians 15 vs 51) apostle Paul said “I will explain a mystery to you. Not every one of us will die, but we will all be changed.”. I understand that will be changed from this physical bodies into spiritual bodies. Time for this process is known by God the creator. I am advising everyone to have faith in Jesus christ and obey his commands. Time for trouble is coming for everyone who rebels against him. ( Matthew 24 vs 46 Servants are fortunate if their master comes and finds them doing their job.) This shows if you fail to obey his commands you will be unfortunate, that is to fail to go heaven. Hell is for unfaithful servants of Jesus Christ together with evil people (Mathew 24 vs 48 But suppose one of the servants thinks the master won’t return until late. 49 Suppose this evil servant starts beating the other servants and eats and drinks with people who are drunk. 50 If that happens, the master will surely come on a day and at a time when the servant least expects him. 51 This servant will then be punished and thrown out with the ones who only pretended to serve their master. There they will cry and grit their teeth in pain. ) . Some people need to search and search about what will happen to us after death but the answer is Heaven is for faithful servants of Jesus Christ while Hell is for unfaithful servants of Jesus Christ together with evil people, which means you will be in one of these places. (Revelation 22 vs 12 Then I was told:
I am coming soon! And when I come, I will reward everyone for what they have done.) Don’t worst your time trying to search what time will this happen , you will never know ( Matthew 24 vs 36 No one knows the day or hour. The angels in heaven don’t know, and the Son himself doesn’t know. Only the Father knows.) Heaven or Hell is yours and the time is set for you by God. Thank you.

Posted by calvin mazvazva from Jesus christ followers.