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Jesus said;- I do not abolish the law and the prophets

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posted on Jun, 11 2021 @ 05:01 PM
“Think not that I come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them (Matthew ch5 v17).
“This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it… On these commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matthew ch22 vv38-40).

Jesus is telling us that the law will continue indefinitely, up to that moment when “heaven and earth pass away”. So we need to ask ourselves- “Which law?”

The common assumption is that the word “law” always means the law of Moses, what Paul calls “the written code”. But Jesus himself, in some of the gospel stories, criticises details of the written code, so that assumption is at odds with the rest of his life.

Why did he feel the need to make that first declaration? It rather comes out of the blue, as part of the Sermon on the Mount.

An important clue is in the opening words, “Think not”. This must have been a response to people who DID think that he had come to abolish the law and the prophets. He needs to defend himself against that charge.

Their suspicions would have been aroused by the various episodes in which he challenged the authority of the legal code. For example, the stoning of adulterers comes under a clear and unambiguous command, but Jesus notoriously did not like it. This is important, because it answers the common argument that Jesus only criticised the way the law had been elaborated by tradition, not the law itself. The principle that “giving to God” takes precedence over other acts of giving is deeply embedded in the laws, thanks to the priests who helped to write them. Yet Jesus criticised it as “your tradition”. The practice of giving certificates of divorce is tolerated in Deuteronomy (“permitted” is too strong), yet Jesus said it was against God’s declared will. When he defended minimal sabbath “work” by citing the example of David’s use of the shewbread, the effect was to downgrade the authority of ritual taboos in general.

So the strict Pharisees would question whether Jesus was really “sound” on the point of being faithful to the legal code, and they would be sharing those doubts with the people at large, undermining his influence. It would be difficult for Jesus to explain the difference between his intentions and their hostile interpretation of his intentions. He would be obliged to deny the charge outright, for the same reason that any modern British Conservative government is obliged to promise that “the NHS is safe in our hands”.

General de Gaulle once found a way to reassure a suspicious crowd. He was on a public balcony in Algiers, in 1959, in the early stages of the political crisis which brought him to power in France.. Most of the crowd were French colonists, and he was aware that they wanted Algeria to remain French territory. That was why there was a crisis. He wanted their support, but he had his own doubts about the current system. What was he to do?

History records that he began his address by proclaiming “I understand you!” (“Je vous ai compris”). The colonists were elated. They heard his words as “I understand and agree with what you want”, which was the promise and encouragement they were looking for. But they had allowed themselves to be misled by an ambiguity. He meant “understand”, it seems, in a sense which did not include “and agree”, because he did in the end give Algeria back to the Algerians.

There is also room for ambiguity in the promise quoted at the top of the page. The very word “law” is ambiguous in the New Testament. When Paul says “the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good” (Romans ch7 v12), he is not necessarily talking about the detailed written code which has been “our custodian until Christ came” (Galatians ch3 v24), the slave-master holding us in captivity. Elsewhere he distinguishes between “the law of works” (i.e the legal code of Moses) and “the law of faith” (Romans ch3 v27).

Jesus has promised the preservation of “the law and the prophets”. But in Matthew ch22, as also quoted above, he declares that the law and the prophets are summed up and fulfilled in the two greatest commandments “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself”.

Let us take this definition of “the law and the prophets” and read it back into the Sermon on the Mount.

We then get the promise “I have not come to abolish the commands ‘Love the Lord your God and your neighbour as yourself’. Heaven and earth will pass away before that commandment passes away.”
It is important not to relax the commandments which really do apply those principles. But we ought not to assume that the same protection is being offered to every detail in the written code given in the name of Moses, which has incorporated so much “human tradition”.

The strict conservatives among the crowd on that day will have been reassured (begrudgingly, perhaps) by what they would have heard as a promise that the authority of the legal code was not being challenged. However, I believe they were allowing themselves to be misled by the ambiguities of the promise. The self-commitment of Jesus was always to God’s law, which is not quite the same thing as the law of Moses.

Christians ought not to be making the same mistake. Let us not be tempted back into legalism.

posted on Jun, 11 2021 @ 05:56 PM
Jesus preached the Sermon on the mountain, clearly indicating that the”law” condemns, nobody would be able to meet the standard set by God

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[c] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’[d] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Adultery 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

The law is a Mosaic covenant, Christians are not part of the Mosaic covenant, we have the new covenant in Jesus
The Christian covenant is based on loving others in Jesus name, no Mosaic law for Christians, no rules but self sacrificing love for others, we become or are at least suppose to become Jesus on earth till he returns

From using the holy water purification jugs to make wine, healing on the sabbath, mixing spit and sand to make a mortar to cure blindness, Jesus was besieging religion and mocking the attitude of the religious to the power of the law.
It was the law that was used to murder Jesus
Jesus ended the Mosaic covenant for anyone who accepts the Jesus covenant.

edit on 11-6-2021 by Raggedyman because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 11 2021 @ 06:00 PM
a reply to: Raggedyman
Yes, there is more than one reason why we are not expected to obey the laws of Moses. This is another angle.
The advantage of the OP is that it offers a way of reconciling the verse being quoted.

edit on 11-6-2021 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 11 2021 @ 06:18 PM
a reply to: Raggedyman

Nobody except Christ Himself ever met that standard. Christ, as the spotless lamb, could and did as it was necessary to fulfill the Law and make sacrifice for our sins.

Because of that, we are forgiven when we cannot meet the standards of the Law, and thus, we need not do so, only strive to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus.
edit on 11-6-2021 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 11 2021 @ 06:36 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

And Jesus teaching was love, absolutely agree
Sadly the church, like Israel have been an abysmal failure
I think Constantine set the standard so low, christianity never recovered

posted on Jun, 11 2021 @ 08:02 PM
a reply to: Raggedyman

A lot of people today are confused as to what exactly love is though. Too many confuse it with sex while others think it's pure permissiveness, etc.

posted on Jun, 11 2021 @ 08:48 PM
Shabbat Shalom Israel.

posted on Jun, 11 2021 @ 09:22 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

Well if we look at it through the way Jesus lived, served and lead, not sure we can, well, guess that’s why christianity is a community
Help on another

posted on Jun, 12 2021 @ 12:10 PM
Legalism is what plagues many "churches". Many fail to preach about Grace rather than law.

posted on Jun, 12 2021 @ 12:54 PM
a reply to: Lebanon808
Also obsessive literalism is an aspect of legalism.
And the American mind-set is very strongly legalistic anyway.

posted on Jun, 13 2021 @ 03:26 PM
Agree here. Thanks a reply to: DISRAELI

posted on Aug, 31 2021 @ 06:18 PM
Thank you, this helped more than you know.

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