About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Did God Ever Tell Israel Not To
Did God tell the Jews to stop
obeying the Law"?
I believe He did, but not in the way
you phrase the question. Unlike
the Abrahamic Covenant, the Law of Moses was a conditional covenant
between God and Israel. Israel
broke the covenant. Since Israel
broke the covenant, God had no other choice than to judge her with the
curses stated within the covenant. That
was the deal. Until all
these curses are completely fulfilled,
Although God did not specifically
to stop obeying the covenant, He did so through Jesus.
Jesus spoke to the issue in Matthew 5:17 and 18.
The Greek word "pleroo" is translated as
"fulfill" in many English versions of the Bible. The text
states that Jesus "fulfilled the Law".
How one understands the word "pleroo" will
formulate one's thinking on what one thinks Jesus was getting at in
Matthew 5:17 and 18.
Part of the Jews struggle with Jesus
was that they thought He was not keeping the Law of Moses, and He was
teaching others to do the same. The
apostle Paul had the same problem. The
fact of the matter is that Jesus was obeying the Law of Moses.
He just wasn't obeying the Rabbinical traditions that the Jews
added to the Law. In Matthew
5:17 and 18 Jesus confirmed that He was not destroying or abolishing the
Law as the Jews claimed. He
was "fulfilling' the Law, which in my thinking means, "He
obeyed the Law on our behalf of Jews", and in fact, "He was
the replacement for the Law". I say this partly because of the
definition of the Greek word "pleroo".
Therefore, in Jesus' words, who was Yahweh's representative to
the Jews, the Jews were to now obey Jesus, not the Law of Moses.
By saying this, I don't suggest that we or the Jews lay aside
living a righteous life. We
rise to a higher standard, which is Jesus Himself.
I say higher standard because Jesus raised the standards of
righteousness higher than the Jews would have understood in the Law.
For example, adultery was now a matter of the heart and mind.
On the Mount of Transfiguration, in
the presence of Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing
the prophets) God told three
Jewish disciples who were standing by, "this is my son, hear
Him". In other words,
the time had come for the Jews to hear and obey Jesus, who obeyed the
Law on their behalf by living it perfectly, which by the way, was part
of Peter's argument in Acts 15. Thus
the importance of trusting in Jesus alone.
We now have a righteousness apart from Law, as Paul states in
Romans 3:21. This is
why Paul, in Romans 10:4 says that "Christ is the end of the Law
for the sake of living righteously".
That's the basis of Paul's teaching in the book of Romans and
righteously is no longer a matter of the Law, but a matter of trusting
one's life with Jesus and doing as He states.
Thus, our whole relationship with God has been shifted away from
Law towards Jesus. That's
true on a personal level and on a corporate level as well.
Paul states that we as individual
believers in Jesus are a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Each and every true believer in Jesus is inherently different
than what he once was. The
Law could not make us different, but Jesus could.
If this is the case with individuals in the ecclesia of Christ, I
suggest that Jesus' ecclesia must also be a new creation, something
altogether different from the ecclesia the Jews once knew.
Did God tell the Jews to stop
obeying the Law? Not in
those exact words, but I believe He did. He
told them to obey Jesus, the only One who lived out the Law so they
could be restored to their God.