"Did Christ Abolish the Law of Moses?" All of it was pointing to him, even where it is not explicitly prophetic. In Hebrews 11, sometimes known as the “gallery of faith” or the “faith hall of fame,” we have a sampling of Old Testament saints whose lives pleased God. (See Acts 15:10–11, 28–29.) Paul’s famous response to the question of the Law is found most forcefully stated in the epistle to the Galatians, who were in danger of adopting the Law of Moses: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. To Serve “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45. Paul, the great Apostle to the gentiles, like Peter knew that the Law of Moses had been fulfilled in the gospel of Christ and that it was not necessary for gentiles to live it. It was often claimed that these traditions had been given to Moses on Mount Sinai; but actually they were attempts of later teachers to “fine-tune” the Law of Moses. He accomplishes what the Law required. Since the Gospel message is based on the death, burial, and Resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1–4), many have wondered how people who lived prior to the Incarnation of Christ could have been saved. Thus, according to Paul, one reason why the Law of Moses fails as a means of justification is that the Law lacks the power to forgive or redeem those who fail to live its precepts; it can only accuse them. 2:14-15). The Greek term for “abolished” is katargeo. Did the Law of Moses Continue until A.D. 70? He only said that it would be “easier” for the universe to pass away than for the law of God not to fulfill its mission (cf. 5:31–32; Matt. They saw a difference between the moral and ethical requirements of the Law, which dealt with relationships between individuals, and the ceremonial requirements of the Law, which included among other things the distinctions between clean and unclean and the sacrificial and priestly regulations. That the law here contemplated is the law of Moses, including the ten commandments, is demonstrated by the reference to the tenth commandment in Romans 7:7 (cf. Human beings need more than just a rule-book; we also need a means of gaining forgiveness when we break the rules. Yet the position of the Church had been made quite clear from the beginning. (See Matt. He had done everything His Father had sent Him to do (see John 17:4). The Law of Moses: Some Metaphors Considered, Defending the Faith with a Broken Sword – Part 2, The Last Will and Testament of Jesus Christ. 5] Yet the Law, or Torah, was more to the Jewish people than merely a rule book. ), In view of this very exalted concept of the Law in Jesus’ time, it is easy to see why the teaching of Jesus and the early Church that the Law of Moses was a temporary, or “lesser,” law aroused such heated opposition from Jews. In other words, if living the Law of Moses and observing its “performances” could justify us before God, then the atoning death of the Savior would have been unnecessary. It is frequently argued that if Jesus did not destroy the law, then it must still be binding. Romans 3:25-26. Stephen E. Robinson is assistant professor of religion and chairman of the Honors Program at Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. “But,” some surmise, “does not the text affirm that the law would last until ‘heaven and earth’ pass away?”. Paul uses this term twice in Romans 7:2, 6 showing that just as a wife is “discharged” from the law of her husband when he dies, even so, through the death of the body of Christ, men were “discharged” from the obligations of the Mosaic law. Jesus’ declaration that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, not to abolish them, obviously contains two statements in one. There are modern Judaizers who insist, for example, that the Sabbath be observed according to the Law of Moses, on the seventh day (Saturday) rather than on Sunday. According to the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus Christ came down from the mountainside after the Sermon on the Mount, large multitudes followed him.A man full of leprosy came and knelt before Him and inquired him saying, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. 2:14-15). There are also modern antinomians who insist that a mere statement of belief in Christ guarantees salvation regardless of one’s subsequent behavior. 5:28, 44.) If Abraham could be counted righteous because of his faith, then those who follow his example can also be accounted righteous through their faith—even (like Abraham) without the Law of Moses. In Matthew’s record of what is commonly called, “The Sermon on the Mount,” these words of Jesus are recorded: “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. If the law of Moses was not fulfilled by Christ and it remains as an obligatory legal system for today, then it is not a partially binding regime. 20; Deut. He tried to walk a fine line, to respect the Jewish beliefs in the Torah, but teach that He (Jesus) came … It’s true that Jesus preached law before the cross to those under the law but that wasn’t his main reason for coming. The word literally suggests the idea of reducing something to a state of inactivity. The Savior himself in the Sermon on the Mount had shown that the old rules were no longer adequate and that those who wished to enter the kingdom of heaven must subscribe to a new standard of righteousness. The ceremonial portions of the Law, however, were fulfilled in a different way. Thus, the Law of Moses was no longer perceived in Jesus’ day as an expression of God’s will; rather, for Jews the Law of Moses had gradually become identified as the divine will itself—perfect, absolute, forever unchanging and unchangeable. The problem is that Jesus’ teaching is in view here, not His actions. 5:17; Matt. 3), his superiority as a high priest to the Jewish high priests (Heb. Merely abstaining from adultery and murder was no longer sufficient. Rather, he revered it, loved it, obeyed it, and brought it to fruition. In the Old Testament, we read about the law that was given to the Israelites, and all the sacrifices they were commanded by God to carry out, all the festivals they were to keep, and all the feasts they were to conduct. The world was also ready culturally. 1–2) and to Moses (Heb. It will always accomplish the purpose for which it was given. 5:3). Jesus’ followers were all together when a sound like the blowing of a mighty wind came from heaven and filled the place where they were staying. Is the Law of Moses (Torah) Still Binding? He points out that those who would rely on the Law for justification, instead of on the atonement of Christ, must keep the Law perfectly, for the Law of Moses provides no means of atonement for intentional sins. ©2020. 3:10,13). Notable Aspects. The Samaritans also rejected the idea of any scripture beyond the Law. The Church in council had declared that most demands of the Law need not be met by gentile converts. Either he was God incarnate or he was a mad liar. 6:15.) Of special significance in this study is the word rendered “destroy.” It translates the Greek term kataluo, literally meaning to “loose down.”. Jesus goes out of His way to promote the authority of the Law of God. 24:44). 3:10–13, 21–22.) “Receive.” Jesus = grace A gift is most readily accepted when it's something we can't get for ourselves. (Sifre on Deut. In the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were able to give up observance of the Law of Moses en masse because of the circumstances surrounding the appearance of the Savior among them. His goal was not to frustrate its fulfillment or to instigate a revolution. Read carefully. 3:7–9.) The gospel does not destroy the Law, but is itself a new law which incorporates and fulfills the old—a higher law certainly, but a law nonetheless, and one which must be obeyed. By distorting the scriptures, the antinomians were able to reject the demands of the Law without accepting the demands of the gospel. Peter himself had learned through revelation that many restrictions of the Law were no longer binding. There was no room for flexibility or “extenuating circumstances.”. Although the priests of King Noah did not keep its precepts, like the Jews they believed and taught the people that salvation came only through the Law of Moses. For example, animal sacrifice prefigured the future sacrifice of the Savior, the Lamb of God. 5:17.) There is something Jesus did and something He did not do. The law and its purposes, particularly the law of carnal commandments, were fulfilled at Christ’s first advent, both to the Church established in the holy land and also to the peoples of the Americas. Young, General Primary President, Latter-day Saints Named “Great American Families”, “The Law after Christ,” Ensign, Sept. 1983, 69. They then built a society based upon the principles of the gospel. Jesus - Jesus - Jewish Palestine at the time of Jesus: Palestine in Jesus’ day was part of the Roman Empire, which controlled its various territories in a number of ways. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to … The books of Galatians, Romans, and Hebrews, and important parts of several others, including Acts, James, Colossians, Jude, 2 Peter, and 2 Corinthians, all wrestle with the issue of the Law, and its continued role after the Atonement. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Thus, their inability to follow Church leaders and their stubborn tenacity to the Law of Moses eventually cost them the blessings of the gospel. What did Jesus mean by,"Not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished?" (See Gal. 1) Some understand that Jesus came to do the Law, and this is a statement that His actions fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law. Did not Christ say that the law would not be destroyed; that it would last as long as heaven and earth? If Jesus were believed to be a criminal, then the twelve disciples (including Judas) would be accomplices in his "illegal" activities. First, he shows that righteousness is obtainable without the Law of Moses. Navigating Financial Torrents: A Self-Quiz, “Build Missionaries and Teach the Gospel”, A Look at Primary on Its 105th Birthday: A Conversation with Dwan J. In this context, “destroy” is set in opposition to “fulfill.” Christ came "not to destroy, but [alla — adversative particle] to fulfill. He is a high councilor in the Scranton Pennsylvania Stake. (Matt. In this sense, the law’s divine design will ever have an abiding effect. Where there is no hatred or greed, there can be no murder; where there is no lust, there can be no adultery. All that he asked was that we receive what he wanted to give. In addition to the points listed above, Paul clearly argues in his letter to the Ephesians that the “law of commandments contained in ordinances” was “abolished” by the death of Jesus upon the cross (Eph. Jesus lived in a territory, Palestine, with a long-standing history of power struggle (see map of 1st century Palestine)Palestine is currently part of modern day Israel (see map of Palestine with modern-day Israel)Jesus' own people group, the Jews, were subject to enslavement and captivity of various empires He came to open blind eyes, set the captives free, and give us new life. On the other hand, if the Lord accomplished what he came to accomplish, then the law was fulfilled. The Greek term for “abolished” is katargeo. Jesus came to fulfill all that was written in the Law and the Prophets. But for most Jews there was no such thing, could be no such thing, as a law higher than the Law of Moses. Out of this struggle over the Law came the New Testament epistles to the Galatians and Romans, and at least parts of Colossians and 1 and 2 Corinthians, all of which were intended to drive home the point that as a means of salvation the Law of Moses was obsolete. It is especially important to note how the word “destroy” is used in Matthew 5:17. (See Mosiah 13:27–35.) Often, their fanatical devotion to the Law of Moses was a hindrance to the work of the Apostles. In order for a Jew to be theoretically “just” as far as the demands of the Old Testament Law were concerned, he would have to live the entire Law perfectly. 3:10, quoting Deut. To Bring Peace When Jesus was giving the Sermon on the Mount, some Jews thought Jesus had come to overthrow the Law of Moses. Verse 4-5: "Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?" Eventually, these Judaizing Christians broke away from the Church and formed their own sects based on observance of the Law of Moses. These people have been called “antinomians,” and they believed that the end of the Law gave them license to do as they pleased as long as they professed a belief in Christ. Back to the question. 27:26.). Of course, even if he could live the whole Law perfectly, he would still need the principles and ordinances of the gospel in order to receive exaltation in the kingdom of God. Furthermore, most Jews of Jesus’ day had come to believe that salvation came only by observance of the Law of Moses as the highest possible expression of God’s will, and in no other way. And so, if someone contends on the basis of Matthew 5:17-18 that Moses’ law is still legally binding as a religious regime, he must take all of it. But when the events prefigured actually occurred, they could no longer be anticipated; they could only be remembered. The Law was revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and came to be respected even by the gentiles for its antiquity and its comprehensive fairness. And yet it is vital to note that in the teaching of Jesus, the Law was not revoked nor repealed but fulfilled. 20:13). 3:11, quoting Hab. However, among the Jews, those who accepted Jesus Christ were in the minority, and the Law of Moses continued to be the law of the land. Nevertheless, “Judaizing” Church members, those who still insisted that salvation came through the Law, resisted and criticized the actions of Peter (Acts 11:2–3) and eventually became a major source of irritation in the Church. This is the logical consequence of the misguided Sabbatarian view of this important text. This was a body of oral traditions which interpreted the written Law of Moses and applied it to new situations. (See James 2.) Later rabbis relied on this distinction to declare that God would accept faithful observance of the moral law in place of that portion of the ceremonial law which could not be practiced after the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. In the New Testament the epistles of James, Jude, 2 Peter, and 1 Corinthians deal in part with this error. ISSN: 1559-2235. This is the only thing Grace will ever ask of you. Rather, it curses those who fail to live it perfectly: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Gal. To show that, in fact, righteousness is not explicitly prophetic Lamb of God judas. Peter, and 1 Corinthians deal in part with this error broke away from balance. `` Multiple people who were lepers followed this man to get cured authority of Honors. 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