Is the Law Done Away With?
I do not believe in works based salvation. My link at the end clarifies on that. And as you can see there have been significant changes to this article. Comments below may not fit these changes, so please do not accuse anyone who commented of not reading it unless it is a recent comment.
Are we still bound by the laws of the Old Testament?
- Matthew 5 17
- Matthew 5 21
- Matthew 11 13
- Matthew 22 40
- How Do We Show the Most High That We Love Him? (Matthew 22 40)
- John 1 17
- John 8 7
- Levitical Priesthood
- The Law Is Impossible to Keep?
- The Doctrine of the Pharisees
- New Commandment
- Did the Disciples Keep the Commandments?
- Acts 13 15-39
- Acts 15-16 3
- Acts 21, 24, and 25.
- Romans 2 12-27
- Romans 3 20-28
- Romans 4 14-15
- Romans 5 20
- Romans 6 14
- Romans 8 2-4
- Romans 10 4
- 1 Corinthians 7 18 and 39
- 1 Corinthians 9 8 and 20
- 1 Corinthians 15 56
- 2 Corinthians 3 7-15
- Galatians 2 13-21
- Galatians 3 10-25.
- Galatians 4 4-7 and 23
- Galatians 5 2
- Galatians 5 14-18
- Ephesians 2 15
- Philippians 3 6-9
- Colossians 2 16
- 1 Timothy 1 7-9
- Titus 3 9
- Hebrews 7 18-19 and 28
- Hebrews 8 7
- Hebrews 8 13
- Hebrews 9 10
- Hebrews 10 1
- Hebrews 13 9
- James 1 25
- James 2 5-12
- James 4 11
- The Law is....
- The Lawless....
Commentary On The Law (2 Corinthians 3 1-18, Hebrews 12 18-29, and Galatians 5 18).
Matthew 5 17
Matthew 5 17 says he fulfilled the law. Fulfill it, or make it known?
"pléroó" is a Greek word being incorrectly translated as fulfilled in Matthew 5 17. The word means to fill make full/complete. That is what the Savior did. He made the law known fully against the Pharisees who enforced their own traditions. We also need to look at the word destroyed. In Greek it is kataluo, to “loose down.” The word is found seventeen times in the New Testament. It is used, for example, of the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans (Mt. 26:61; 27:40; Acts 6:14), and of the dissolving of the human body at death (2 Cor. 5:1). The term can carry the extended meaning of “to overthrow,” i.e., to “render vain, deprive of success.” In classical Greek, it was used in connection with institutions, laws, etc., to convey the idea of “to deprive of force” or to “invalidate.” We see a clear difference between these two words.
Matthew 5 21-48
In these texts, it seems as if he is changing the Torah. We will address each part one by one.
21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
The spiritual meaning of the verse was not given. Yes, the sixth commandment prohibits murder. But what can lead to murder? Unjust anger. He was not changing the commandment itself, rather he was bringing a fuller context and showing the truer meaning to people who did not fully understand it.
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Again, the seventh commandment is not changed. Rather we are shown a condemnation of one of the things that can lead to adultery. A wandering eye can destroy us.
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Notice how it does not prohibit divorce. Rather, he says that it can't just be for any reason. Fornication is one of the main reasons people are divorced. This in no way contradicts Deuteronomy 24 1, which says, "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house."
33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
The next verse says to let our communication be, "Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." meaning that we should just honestly say yes and no and anything more than that would be wrong not because of the promise itself, but:
- "The Greek may (as in the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil”) be either neuter, “from evil in the abstract,” or masculine, “from the evil one.” With some hesitation, and guided chiefly by Matthew 13:19-38, I accept the latter as the more probable. These devices of fantastic oaths come not from Him who is the Truth, but from him who “when he speaketh a lie, speaketh of his own” (John 8:44)." (Elliot's Commentary for English Readers).
But is it inherently wrong to make a promise? Not if the promise itself is righteous and if it is carried out. But there is a difference between a promise and saying you'll try to do something. For example, you tell someone you'll try to be at their house at 5:00. You made no solemn vow to be there, you just said you'd try. Your car could break down, there could be traffic, an accident, bad weather, anything. Whatever happens, you made no such promise to be there on time, only that you would make the attempt. But if you promise to be there at 5 then the obligation is much more binding. You should be an honest and loyal person to where if you say yes or no, people will take your word for it rather than making you make a vow. You should also make sure you keep a vow to God if you have made one. Ecclesiastes 5 4-5 say we should not wait to fulfill our vow to God and we must carry it out, for he does not delight in fools. A promise must be taken with extreme caution. God makes promises in scripture because he does not have to worry about keeping it as we do. He does what he says he will do. Some may use Nineveh as an example to say he does not keep his promises. But remember, Nineveh was wicked and then they repented (Jonah 3 1-10). The terms for the promise was that wicked Nineveh was to be punished. God promised to destroy them because they were wicked, but when they repented they were no longer wicked, so God would actually be breaking his promise if he did destroy them. God blesses those who serve him and curses those who do not. Numbers 14 18.
Christ was not contradicting the law. Let's take a look at the law itself. Deuteronomy 23 21-23.
- 21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
- 22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
- 23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth
Obviously this does not apply to sin itself. Whether or not you promise not to murde,r you are still a murderer if you do. This applies to things you would promise to do in general. But vows can be broken very easily. We can almost certainly fail to take every detail into account. God understood this, which is why in Leviticus 5 4-6 it says if someone makes a rash vow and they cannot fulfill it, they would. Making a vow that you don't take seriously can lead you into trouble. For example, in Judges 11 30-40 Jephtath promised to offer whatever walked into meet him at his house, "it shall be the Lord's", which can mean it was given for a specific purpose or as an offering. Who comes in? His own daughter. She helps him follow through with this promise, only asking that she can weep in the mountains for two months since she can no longer have children. Now Jephtath's vow is certainly worthy of its own article because there are many questions. Did Jephtath offer her as a burnt offering or was she consecrated and a burtn offering was given? Did Jephtath mean for an animal to come in? Did the law of Leviticus 5 4-6 apply here and could Jephtath get out of this vow but chose not too? I will put the link here if I write the article.
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Let's take a look at this law. In Exodus 21 22-24 it says that if a pregnant woman is hit during a fight between two men and she gives birth prematurely as a result, there would be a fine. But any further injury would be given back exactly as it was given. Life for a life, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot. In Leviticus 25 17-23 it is used in regards to how a man hurt his neighbor. In Deuteronomy 19 15-21 it says if a witness to a crime is found out, then the sentence that would be given to the defendant is now given to the accuser. This was a part of the justice system. This was not a law about personal relationships, nor does Jesus's statement prohibit self-defense or saving the life of someone who is about to be hurt by someone else. Turning the other cheek does not mean we are to allow us or others to be hurt. In principle, it means we are not to give a personal retaliation. By this logic one must literally cut out their eye or cut off their hand in Matthew 5:29-30 and 18:8-9, which means to make sacrifices if we want to follow Him (Matthew 16:24).
The Pharisees took this law out of context. Jesus was saying that the Pharisees took these verses out of context to be applied to things outside of the justice system given to Israel. It is not right for us to seek personal revenge.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
This is not changing the law itself. This is saying that instead of contending with the man who would do something like this, we should comply, and give more than we should.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Take one thing into account: there is no biblical commandment to hate our enemies. Some may use a verse like Psalm 139 21 and say, "Doesn't he say he hates those who hate God?" This does not mean to hate them as people. But we hate them as haters of God. We would hope that this person would come to repentance and we would deal with them justly, but that does not mean we are to love the person that they have become and be okay with what they do.
The rest of the chapter leaves us with this conclusion:
- 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
- 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
- 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
- 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The Publicans, which meant tax collectors in these times, were condemned throughout the New Testament by the Jews, even if the tax collector was a Jew and they were seen as enemies (Mark 2:15–16). These people loved those who loved them and saluted those who saluted them. Just like our righteousness going above the scribes and Pharisees (verse 20), we should seek to hold to a better standard than these men.
Matthew 11 13
People get hung up on the "until" part and think that the law was to be enforced until John came. All this is saying is that they prophesied of things to come during John's time.
Matthew 22 40
Let me ask you a question. Without reading any verse or looking up the definition, what is the definition of sin according to the Bible? You'll find the answer in the next line, but keep your answer in mind. 1 John 3 4 says, "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
1 Corinthians 6 9-11. Who will not get into the kingdom of the Almighty? The unrighteous. Those who willingly commit sin and don't have any remorse. Christians acknowledge this verse, yet they don't understand it. Where do we find these standards at? Where in the scripture do we find these laws that says these things are wrong? The Old Testament. The Torah lists these laws.
So when we sin, we transgress the law. But how can we sin if there is no law? You're going to find out that you have been lied to if you think the law is done away with. Jeremiah 31 31-34 says a new covenant will be made. "not be like the covenant I made with their fathers" How is it different? 33 "I will put the law within them, and I will write it in their hearts." 34 "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Notice he says, law. He doesn't mention a few specific commandments, but just his law. And what is his law? The Torah. The way it is different is because the laws would be something they would know and keep indefinitely, not that anything has changed. The covenant beforehand had the laws written on stone and parchment. Here, these laws for his children will be remembered by them in the day of their redemption.
Think of it like this. You know how sometimes you might leave a reminder or an alarm on your phone to do something? Well the laws written down are the same way. But instead of needing an alarm or reminder, you just remember on the spot without needing to be reminded.
Here is some more proof. What word is sued for law in Jeremiah 31 31?
- Strong's Concordance 8451. torah: direction, instruction, law
- Original Word: תּוֹרָה
- Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
- Transliteration: torah
- Phonetic Spelling: (to-raw')
- Short Definition: law
Torah. The same word used to refer to the law of the Old Testament.
John 14:15 says that if you love the Messiah, keep the commandments.
You have to treat it like a relationship. Think about someone you care about. Your spouse, your parent, sibling, child, friend, etc. They say that they care about you. But how would you feel if they said they care about you, but they also treat you badly? That isn't showing care. When you care for someone you show it. A husband will provide for his wife and family, for example. If a husband does not do that, how does he love them? This is why I like the references to the Bride of Savior in the scripture. Because that is what it is like, a marriage. And both the husband and wife have a duty to fulfill. Otherwise there is no point in it. John 14:15. "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 15:10. "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." He said even as he kept his commandments. And we can all agree that he kept the law fully. And he wants us to obey his commandments. 1 John 2 6. “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." We know he kept the law perfectly. Are we not to try to follow his example and follow it to the best of our ability?
- 34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
- 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
- 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
- 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
- 38 This is the first and great commandment.
- 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
- 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The Ten Commandments can be divided into two sections, the first half dealing with how we love God, and the second half dealing with how we love others. The same can be said about the other commandments in the Bible as well. They deal with either how we are to treat God, or how we are to treat others/ourselves.
John 1 17
Remember, grace existed in the Old Testament as well. Rather than giving the death sentence to the those who disobeyed Torah, Christ died for those who would confess their sins.
John 8 7
Most interpretations conclude that Christ is breaking the law in this scenario. The law requires an adulterous woman to be stoned (Leviticus 20 10). But we need to look at the proper context. I want to address something; the law was not some vigilante system. Accusations were based on evidence and witnesses (Deuteronomy 19 15). You could not just accuse anyone and the judgment is followed through.
The woman accused here had no real evidence brought against her. This execution is unlawful. How do we know this? Go back to John 8.
- 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
- 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee:
She says no one has accused her. There is no one with any evidence against her. That is why in verse 7 he says, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." He was not talking about sin in general. Notice how in verse 9 they were all convicted to leave, starting with the oldest men, men who would have known the law better than the others, left first. They knew they could not execute her.
Source: b. Law - In the Messianic Writings (2), The ISR Scriptures, page 1224
When we read the New Testament, we tend to think every use of the word "law" must be referring to the entirety of the Torah. But this is not the case. Verses addressing it are either talking about the whole Torah or a part of it. The word nomos is rendered as law, but an example of this referring to only a part of the Torah is Hebrews 7 12, which is referring to a change in the Levitical Priesthood. The "change" here is that the priesthood where a high priest makes a sacrifice for the sinner and then he dies one day is replaced by an eternal one, according to the order of Melchizedek. The word used for change here is metatithemenēs, which actually means to transfer. It is the still the priesthood, but it is under someone else. This is evidence that the law itself is not changed. It only proves that this system was a shadow of things to come. If it were not so, how come this does not nullify commands such as loving thy neighbor? Or the prohibition against stealing? We will go into this momentarily. We will also go over more of the Levitical Priesthood in Hebrews 9 10.
The Law Is Impossible to Keep?
I have heard many people say the law is impossible to keep. But is it? Would God give a law we cannot keep? And if for some reason we cannot keep a law would he punish us even though we are not willingly disobeying?
That is not impossible. What is impossible is to go your entire life without breaking the law. That was the common argument, but that has become an excuse to nullify the Torah. My friend Julian said something very keen; "If the law is impossible to keep, what so hard about it that you keep willfully breaking?" Some may argue that I am being hypocritical because I do not sacrifice or stone others who are to be put to death by the Torah. But in this article, I will prove how these parts are not to be kept. I already referenced the change in the priesthood and how that affects the sacrifices.
The Doctrine of the Pharisees
"For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."— Matthew 23 4
A lot of people think this is referring to the laws of the Almighty. But if this were so, how come this isn't addressed earlier on? By now these laws haves been in effect for over a hundred years. And when we look back into the Torah there is no mention of the Pharisees adding these laws themselves. So why do we see so many times where the Savior scorns the Pharisees? What were they doing wrong? Was it because they taught the law? Or was it for another reason?
Is the law a burden? Many people will quote Matthew 23 4 and say it is. "See? Jesus is saying that the law is a burden because the Pharisees taught the law." They tend to erroneously associate the word "Pharisee" with the law in most cases in regards to arguments against those who choose to keep the law. Before we address this verse in context, we need to go to the Old Testament to see if the law is indeed a burden. Deuteronomy 30 10-16 says this is not too hard for them. Verse 11 says this is not hidden. But what is the proper understanding of this verse? We read in the other translations that it means these commandments are not too hard. "This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach." It doesn't mean it is not hidden as in hiding somewhere. That is obvious as it is being presented to them at that moment. It further explains it when we read the next few verses regarding it to be far. If this was about actual hiding, then how do they know it is in heaven or beyond the sea? These verses are saying the commandments are not too hard. So when someone says they are a burden they are going against the scripture. These words are also from the Creator himself, so by default this would be calling him a liar. If someone says these commandments are a burden, show them these verses where it says otherwise. We see this being referenced in Romans 10 by Paul.
ROMANS 10 5-8
- ⦁ 5 "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them."
- ⦁ 6 "But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring the Messiah down from above:)"
- ⦁7 "Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up the Messiah again from the dead.)"
- ⦁ 8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;"
Why are these things regarding the Savior put in parentheses? John 1 1. The Savior is the Word. Deuteronomy 30 was talking about the Word, the Law. But Paul is talking about the Savior. And he also quotes the exact words in Deuteronomy 30. Are they contradictory? Or is he preaching the same message? It is wise to go with the latter. As verse 8 will show, the faith that the Apostles preached lined up with the same righteousness of faith referred to in the Old Testament. So if these laws were not a burden, what was it the Pharisees were doing? Keep this in mind; many times throughout scripture the Pharisees were called hypocrites. They were ready to point at someone's iniquities, but never their own as well.
1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
2 Saying, 'The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.— Matthew 23 1-3
The seat of Moses is a place of position where the teachers preach the law of Moses. The Savior just told them to obey what the Pharisees say. What do the Pharisees preach? The law. Whatever command they give that perfectly lines up with the scripture was to be followed. Only if it contradicted the scripture was it not to be followed. But it also says do not do their works, for they say and do not. The Pharisees preach the right thing, but they do not follow the right thing. They are being hypocrites. Example; you're crossing the street, and everything seems clear. But a man stops you. He says, "Don't go yet. There is a car coming." All of a sudden you see a car coming and you do as he says and does not cross yet. But what does he do? Cross the street as the car is coming. That is not only idiotic, but also hypocritical. But you were wise enough to do as he says, but not as he did. He warned you of the car, and you took that warning. But he did not. He went ahead and did it, and what happened? He got hit. He did not follow his own words. Even if a hypocrite is preaching the truth, you are still to listen. While they are being hypocritical and that is a sin, that is no excuse for you to turn away when real truth is being brought out. That would not count as obeying them. That is obeying the scriptures.
Read the rest of Matthew 23 to see proof that the Savior is not condemning them for preaching the law. They themselves put on these heavy burdens, not the Torah. And when you read this chapter, you'll find a lot of things that they're being condemned for doing by the Savior, but not once are they condemned for following and teaching the law. Being prideful, obsessing over wealth (gold and gifts to the Temple), and ignoring the bigger aspects of the law known as justice, mercy, and faith. These are the things they're being condemned for, and more once you read more into the New Testament and see why the Messiah was so condemning of the Pharisees.
Here is some more proof. John 7 14-19. Here he scorned the Pharisees because they did not keep the law, not because they kept it.
We read in Matthew 12 1-8 how the Savior and his disciples were picking food on the Sabbath day because they were hungry. It seems that this would not count as a work by the Torah's standards, but the Pharisee's traditions. In the Mishnah, Shabbath, 7 2, we see many added traditions. The Torah prohibited work on the Sabbath, which would also reaping crops. But this is not the same as picking one off and eating it. Compare it to this; there is a difference between gathering a bundle of grapes and simply picking grapes off to eat. This coincides with the law in Deuteronomy 23 25, which says that if you go to your neighbor's field you may take some of what he has grown, but you must not use a sickle to do so. This is implying a difference between the two. A handful of food is no big deal, but a sickle is used to take much more.
The Pharisees saw this and tried to call them out on it. They were quick to point this out because they were trying to catch them at anything they could. How does he respond? He referenced 1 Samuel 21, which says that when David was hungry, he went into the Temple for food. He asks for five loaves of bread or whatever else there is, but all that was available was the "hallowed bread", or shewbread. It was only for Aaron and his descendants. It was unlawful for anyone else to eat (Leviticus 24 9). This was consecrated bread meant for the sons of Aaron, but out of generosity to David he allowed him to eat it. David was starving at this time because this was when he fled from Saul due to Saul trying to kill him out of paranoia. So common sense and loving thy neighbor as thyself trumps that, so it was good for him to give him the bread. And especially if there is no other food around, you have the right to eat. Sometimes human life and loving thy neighbor as thyself must come first. While this was unlawful, it does not nullify the Sabbath because love is a weightier command. And the fact that he references an Old Testament example of love being a weightier command, but not nullifying the lower command, is proof.
Now we go to verse 5 and it says that though the priests profane the Sabbath in the temple, they are blameless. It says you shall not do any work on the Sabbath day, but the job of the priests is to work on the Sabbath day. They had to do burnt offerings, sacrifices, and sin offerings. This is an exception. Sometimes you have to work on the Sabbath day depending on the circumstances. The law said no work on the seventh day and this is the law for everyone, but we see that there are exceptions to that. This is further expounded upon in verses 6-7, which explains how in these circumstances the Most High will have mercy depending on the circumstance.
Now go to verse 8-12. He sees a man with a withered hand and the Pharisees ask him if it is lawful to heal on the Sabbath days since it would count as a work. Again, they are trying to trip him up and find some way to condemn him. But he turns it on them and asks them if there is one man among them that would not go and try to rescue one of their sheep if it fell into a hole and could not get out just because it is the Sabbath day? None of the Pharisees are going to do that. They would do what they had to do in order to get it. He then says that since a person is worth more then a sheep, If a man is suffering and in pain, there is no problem with him healing him. To not help someone, in this case, would be unlawful. That is breaking Leviticus 19 18/John 13 34, "Love thy neighbor." Verse 12 he says that it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath, so it further reinstates it.
Another thing they did was add to the commandments (Deuteronomy 4 2 prohibits this). They taught their own traditions over scriptural law. Turn to Matthew 15. People like to say this verse is saying that whatever food you eat, it does not defile you. But this verse is not even talking about food. Turn to verse 1 and we will read to verse 20. Notice how the Pharisees are asking the Messiah why the disciples are transgressing the tradition of the ELDERS by not washing their hands before they eat. This was not a law. How does he answer? He asks them why they transgress the commandment of the Almighty by enforcing their own tradition and not enforcing a scriptural law such as honoring your mother and father? That's part of the law.
In verses 7-9 he says Isaiah, in Isaiah 29 13, was right to prophesy about these people, that they honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. They vainly worshiped him and had their own rules. Keep in mind that Isaiah was not prophesying about those specific men, but he was prophesying about Israel in his days, and it is right to compare that old prophecy and what these men here are doing now; acting as if they are righteously following God's law but in reality they are wickedly following their own.
So what does make a man unclean? Verses 16 to 19 tells us. Evil thoughts of murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. Sin makes you unclean. But what does verse 20 say? Eating with unwashed hands does NOT defile a man. This is not about food at all. This deals with what makes a person common, a distinction that finds its origins in man-made tradition, and is not based on the Law. But knowingly indulging in foods that are not good for you? That is wrong.
He wasn't against the Pharisees for preaching the law of eating clean meats. He was against them because they ignored the weightier matters, and they were being hypocrites who enforced their own traditions but always liked to point their finger at others. These were the same guys that Isaiah was talking about in Isaiah 29 13, talking about their love for the Most High with their mouths but their heart is not with him. They are hypocrites. That is why the Messiah came. He came to preach the truth of the Torah to his lost people as they were being led astray by these prophets.
For more info on unclean food, see here: Should We Keep the Dietary Laws?
Is John 13 34 really a new commandment? Is it really new to love one another as yourself?
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
In this verse we see him preaching a message of loving ones neighbor.
Is this something new? No. He is quoting scripture. In fact this is a law from the Old Testament. Leviticus 19:18. "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."
So this is not new as in a brand new commandment never being taught before. It is new to them because obviously these Pharisees were not teaching this. They were not teaching the weightier matters of Torah.
- "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me."
- "But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
"Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning."
— 1 John 2 7
Did the Disciples Keep the Commandments?
Let's find out. Here are a few instances of them keeping the commandments.
Sabbath (Acts 17 1-3, Luke 4 16, and Luke 23:56) . In one of those verses we even see the ?Savior keeping the Sabbath. Notice what that last verse says, "And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the COMMANDMENT."
That last part was after he died. So why are they keeping this commandment? I want you to do some heavy research in the New Testament. You will see many times that they kept the Sabbath.
Dietary (Acts 10 14) Notice how Peter did not eat any of the unclean animals. That is because this vision was symbolic, not meaning he could eat unclean food, which you can read more about in my article on the subject. Now Peter was there when Christ apparently said unclean food does not defile you. So why is he not eating this food in the vision? Go to that article and see why. So we see that they still kept the commandments.
Matthew 5: 19-20
- "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:"
- "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
So by breaking the commandments of the law, you sin. And if you love him, keep his commandments. And where do we find his commandments? The LAW. All of the other commandments are still to be followed. Dietary, ceremonial, and especially moral. Yes, that includes the Sabbath, dietary laws, etc. If he did away with the whole law then we are allowed to sin all we want. Is that true?
Romans 3 31
- "Do we then make void the law through faith? Elohim forbid: yea, we establish the law."
- "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"
- "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
- "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,"
Since we know 1 John 3 4 tells us sin is the transgression of the law, we can conclude that this is indeed referring to the law of the Old Testament as no new basis for law is given in the New Testament.
Acts 13 15-39
Here, we see that after the priest was done reading the law he asks if anyone in the audience has something to add for encouragement.
And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
Paul stands and adds in his two cents. What does he say? Read the rest of the chapter. Paul gives them a recap of how Israel came to be a nation. He talks about how Israel dwelt in Egypt and was saved by God. He led them through forty years in the wilderness and destroyed the occupants of Canaan for Israel's sake. Afterward, they asked for a king and they got one; Saul. When Saul rebelled against God David took his place. David's seed is the chosen seed for the king to reign from. Jesus is of that seed.
He then goes on to talk about John and how he preached about Christ. He then begs whosoever among them that love God to believe in Jesus. The man they had killed had come back from the dead. We arrive at verse 39:
- And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
How were they not justified? Jesus’ forgiveness is better and more all-encompassing than forgiveness in the law. The sacrificial system for atonement only dealt with the side of the ledger of what to do when a law is disobeyed. We will also talk about how faith and law correlate later on throughout this article.
Acts 15-16 3
Now we will debunk the idea that this chapter nullifies the dietary part of the law. Here is what is commanded of them in this chapter.
- Abstain from food sacrificed to idols
- Abstain from sexual immorality.
- Abstain from strangled animals (as all their blood is still in them) and from blood.
Since there is no mention of eating unclean meats here, one might assume this had nothing to do with Torah. But take notice. 1 is based on the first and second commandments, and 2 is based on the 7th commandment. These things are based in the 10 commandments, part of the Torah. Where do we find that third order? Genesis 9 2-4, which says we must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. This is also a law in the Torah. Leviticus 7 26.
Now we will get the proper context. There were Jews that were teaching these people that they would have no salvation unless they were first circumcised. When they brought this doctrine to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, Peter called it "a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear". Some Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
Peter states that all are "saved" through the grace the Savior. As evidenced by this statement, the question they were discussing is whether or not these people were saved through the grace of Christ, or by circumcision and keeping commandments. This was also the original question in Acts 15:1.
His point was that everyone is saved by grace, not by keeping the law or by circumcision. Even Jews who had been circumcised and kept the law didn't have salvation until they believed in the Savior. He also said that to make circumcision or Torah/law observance the requirement for salvation would be to test God. But how would it test God?
So Peter, after detailing the proof that the Almighty had accepted these men in their uncircumcised state, affirmed that they are saved through the grace of the Savior rather than circumcision or any other act of Torah/law observance. The ultimate decision in Acts 15 by James was not to require circumcision for salvation. Circumcision of the flesh is nothing compared to that of the heart. Deuteronomy 10 16 and Romans 2 25-29.
DEUTERONOMY 10 16
- "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked."
ROMANS 2 25-29
- "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision."
- "Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?"
- "And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?"
- "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:"
Circumcision is only an outward sign of being set apart to the Almighty. However, if the heart is sinful, then physical circumcision is of no avail. A circumcised body and a sinful heart are at odds with each other. Rather than focus on external rites, Paul focuses on the condition of the heart. Both outward and inward appearance matter when it comes to morals.
Galatians 6:12-13. These "false brethren" were actually Torah breakers themselves but they were most interested in circumcising these men so that they could boast about it. The focus on the praise of men was amongst the notable characteristics of some Pharisees of that time.
We see that Paul circumcised Timotheus in Acts 16 3. Keep in mind that this was after Acts 15. So why is he saying they become estranged from Christ if circumcision is now a bad thing? Paul was condemning the idea that the good news was found in the circumcision.
Acts 21, 24 and 25
Start at verse 18 and go to verse 21. Paul is getting together with James and the elders on how his ministry is going. It says there are thousands of Jews who believe, and they are zealous of the law. It says that some Jews heard that Paul said they should forsake Moses and not keep the commandments. How does Paul respond?
22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.
23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
To answer these accusations, Paul is going to help these Nazarites with their ceremony. He does not rebuke this suggestion, nor do any of them suggest that these rumors are true. We know in Acts 18 18 that Paul also took this vow.
- that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
The purpose of this was to get rid of the idea that he was teaching against the law. James and the elders knew he was not teaching against the law, so they give him this suggestion. Verse 20 says he also kept the feast day at that time. Read it to verse 30. He tries to complete the vow, but he is taken and accused by the multitude. They bring up these accusations.
Now we will go into Acts 24. Read it up until verse 10. Paul is going to answer for himself. He is going to show what he thinks despite the accusations. In verses 11-13 he says he was in Jerusalem worshiping. He did not cause any strife with anyone, and every claim they brought against him was without evidence. Paul believes everything in the law and the prophets.
11 Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
13 Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.
14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
In Acts 25 7 he has been tried again, and it says that the Jews could not bring any evidence for the accusations they have against him.
8 While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.
Paul has done nothing against the law at all. He upheld the law. In verses 10-11 he says they know he did nothing against the Jews. He says, "For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar." He says if he is really doing these things, he wants to die. But he does not die because he did not do these things. He does not just say, "Kill me." He says, "I refuse not to die."
Many Christians love to reference Paul's writings because they don't know the first thing about them. They take all of his words out of context and put their own interpretation, going against Isaiah 28 10 and 2 Peter 1 20. Let's go into the writings of Paul and see what he says.
2 Peter 3 15-16 shows us that writings that are misinterpreted would lead to destruction, which is exactly what a lot of people are doing. They promote lawlessness instead of the law. Modern day Pharisees, putting their own tradition instead of the Torah (Matthew 15 1-9). So now we are going to uncover the truth behind the teachings of Paul.
Romans 2 12-27
Whether you have the law or not, you perish because of sin. And 1 John 3 4 says that sin is transgressing the law. Having or not having the law does not give you an excuse to break it. The Jews depended on the fact that they had the law and they thought that was it, but it is not. But that does not secure you. Verses 13 to 15 say that it is not those who hear the law that are just before God, but the ones that do the law. When people do by nature what is in the law despite having never heard it, they are a law unto themselves. They show that show that they know his law when they obey it, even without having grown up in it because God's law was written in their hearts.
Verses 17-20 say that these people boasted because they had the law and they boasted about their special relationship with him. They think they know what he wants and that they can lead others. But verses 21 to 24 says that although they teach the law, they do not keep it.
21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
They are so proud of knowing the law, but they dishonor that same law by breaking it. Verses 25-27 say that circumcision does profit you if you keep the law. Circumcision, while it was a commandment, is not the sole thing that saves you nor is it the biggest commandment. Let's say that for some reason you, as an old covenant Israelite, could only obey one of these laws; do not murder, or be circumcised. Which one would God, the same one that says he loves obeying the commandments over sacrifice in 1 Samuel 15 22 and desires mercy over sacrifice in Hosea 6 6, want you to obey first? Would he have you be uncircumcised and not murder anyone or be circumcised and murder others? They are all commandments in the Bible, but some are more important than the others. If these Gentiles keep the law, they are counted as God's people. Even uncircumcised Gentiles will condemn the circumcised Jews because although they have the law, they do not keep it.
Romans 3 20-28
It is true; the law, while perfect, only does what the law is meant to do; expose sin. Here is an example; you have rules in your household. But you as a parent can choose to forgive your child for breaking a rule or punish them. That is where grace comes in to play, and it does not contradict this verse because if you read the Old Testament you see this being played out all over the place. Verse 28 says man is made right by faith and not the works of the law. But as we will see when we go further on faith is the backbone for adherence to the law and this is addressing works without faith,
Romans 4 14-15
Notice how it says they depend on the law and not faith. They are choosing one over the other. We know that the Israelites when they were not worshiping idols, did have faith. In Habbakuk 2 4 it says that the righteous did live by faith, but we know they kept the law. How does that work? Throughout this article, you'll see how faith and law go hand in hand, and that there were those who tried to lean on one of those without using the other.
The next verse says the law brings wrath. But we must keep in mind that the law itself is not grace, and grace is not the law. They work together.
Romans 5 20
Did the law only increase sin? This is misunderstood by the reader.
- "That sin ... - The word "that" ἵνα hina in this place does not mean that it was the design of giving the Law that sin might abound or be increased, but that such was in fact the effect. It had this tendency, not to restrain or subdue sin, but to excite and increase it. That the word has this sense may be seen in the lexicons. The way in which the Law produces this effect is stated more fully by the apostle in Romans 7:7-11. The Law expresses the duty of man; it is spiritual and holy; it is opposed to the guilty passions and pleasures of the world; and it thus excites opposition, provokes to anger, and is the occasion by which sin is called into exercise, and shows itself in the heart. All law, where there is a disposition to do wrong, has this tendency. A command given to a child that is disposed to indulge his passions, only tends to excite anger and opposition. If the heart was holy, and there was a disposition to do right, law would have no such tendency. See this subject further illustrated in the notes at Romans 7:7-11." (Barnes' Notes on the Bible).
The law itself was not made to give sin, but when we are commanded to do something that is usually when we want it even more. We read the same thing in Romans 7 1-8. Paul learned from the law that coveting was wrong, but when he learned this the carnal desire to do this grew even more because we want what we want. Our egotistical flesh wants whatever it desires, and being told that we cannot have it tends to make us lust after it even more. Like God told Cain, we must be masters over our sins, not it masters over us. Genesis 4 7.
Romans 6 14
So we are under grace and don't have to follow the law and sin all we want? No. Read 1-17.
Source: Romans 6 14 by Messianic Apologetics
- "On the basis of passages such as Romans 6:14, many Christian theologians and Bible teachers, in claiming that Believers are not to be “under the Law,” have commonly interpreted it as meaning that obedience to the commandments of the Torah or Law of Moses is not necessary for Messiah followers. While it is very true that Believers are not hupo nomon or “under law,” does this phrase really mean being obedient to God’s Torah? Given the emphasis within Romans ch. 6 on Believers being dead to sin (Romans 6:1-2, 7-13), immersed into Yeshua to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-5), and being crucified with Him (Romans 6:6)—how could an honest reader of this section of Paul’s letter think that he would somehow allow for disobedience to God’s commandments? Paul actually makes the effort of describing redeemed persons like slaves of righteousness, who have the steadfast need to be obedient to the Lord (Romans 6:16-19)."
- "What are we to make of Romans 6:14, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (RSV)? The Greek verb kurieuō means “to be lord or master of people or of a country” and “to have legal power to do” (LS). Sin not being the master or lord of a Believer is directly connected to: “you are not under law.” It would be a mistake of anyone to somehow equate the sin-master and the Torah as somehow being the same; Romans 7:7 makes it clear, “Is the Law sin? May it never be!” The Torah is something given by God (Romans 7:22, 25; 8:7); the Torah is not the agent of sin. The sin-master is, however, quite capable of using the Torah for the purpose of causing disobedience in weak and fleshly people (Romans 7:6, 8), which in turn will merit God’s condemnation upon such sinners."
- "Sin is never the master over a person who has been spiritually regenerated. Sin is not the master of a born again Believer, because Messiah followers have made that key declaration of “Yeshua is Lord!” (Romans 10:9) and have recognized His supremacy within their lives. By so doing, those who trust in Yeshua are able to receive permanent forgiveness for their sins."
Romans 8 2-3
Notice that it says it was the law of sin and death, not the law itself. We read in the next verse that the law was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies sinners have, yet he was without sin. It is not condemning the law. It is not condemning the law. Rather, it is explaining what it can and cannot do.
Romans 10 4
The word "end" can be found in the Strong's Concordance as 5056: telos. "an end, a toll". Also meaning definite point or goal. The Savior kept the law perfectly, and is our example. It is our duty to walk as he did (1 John 2 6).
1 Corinthians 7:18 and 39
It says here they are not to be circumcised. But we see that Paul circumcised Timotheus in Acts 16. Keep in mind that this was after Acts 15. So why is he saying they become estranged from Christ if circumcision is now a bad thing? Paul was condemning the idea that the good news was found in the circumcision. Many Jews were carnally minded an focused on the outward appearance rather than the inward.
The issue here was where righteousness came from. Those who believed the 'good news of the circumcision' believed that person had to learn and obey the Torah and be circumcised before they could be considered righteous, and thus be saved. But the truly good news is that one need only repent and believe in Christ to be considered righteous, and thus be saved. The former was an attempt to be justified by the law. Circumcised or not, you are not saved without faith.
The real focus for one being called was the need to keep God's commandments. That is what this is saying. We should be faithful and strive to obey the commandments first. Circumcision is not as important as the other commandments.
Verse 39 says that the wife is not bound to the law if her husband is dead, but this was not about the Torah itself. This was a part of the Torah. "Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Exodus 20 14). Go back to Corinthians and start at verse 25. It was instructions on marriage. Unless divorced, she was bound to her husband until his death or her death.
1 Corinthians 9 8 and 20
Notice how it says these things are in the law. What is the context? Start at verse 1 and end at verse 7. He asks a few questions to those who question his authenticity.
Doesn't he have the right to live in their homes and share meals? Don't they have the right to bring a believing wife with them as the other apostles do? Or is it only Barnabas and Paul who have to work? What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep but is not allowed to drink some milk from it? He brings forth the law that says, "thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn." (Deuteronomy 25 4). Here, he does not condemn the law but he uses it as an example. Though this animal is serving us, we are still to treat it justly. It has done no wrong and it was allowed to eat as it went.
Verse 20 says that Paul identified as a Jew for the Jews and was under the law for those who were under the law. This is taken as saying that he simply used the law as a means to preach to others and nothing more. But we must take this within context. In 1 Corinthians 1 10, we see that the church was divided. Some followed Paul, some Apollos, and some Cephas (1 12 and 3 22), yet they did not realize that they were to be unified together. 5 6 says a little leaven leavens the whole lump, meaning that those who were not in the truth could pollute everything.
The KJV says he "became a Jew", which is strange because he was already a Jew (Acts 22 3), more specifically of the tribe of Benjamin as they were a part of the Southern Kingdom of Judea (Philippians 3 5). Here, he is referring to those "under the law" as those who do not believe in Jesus Christ. He was not "under the law" as in he no depended solely on the fact that he had the law like the Jews did, but obeying the law was not the context.
1 Corinthians 15 56
How is it the law the strength of sin? It is against the perfect law of God. It brings wrath upon those who break it, and only grace can save us.
2 Corinthians 3 7-15
Here is the answer to what is being written. It is a command that came forth from the mouth of the Creator through Moses chiseled on stone and written on paper, and it was glorious. So as glorious as that was, it is more glorious when these laws are being written on the hearts of men who will obey. Many quote Philippians 4 13 and say they can do all things through the Savior, but the law is unable to be followed by them. Where is their faith if you don't think the law can be followed without difficulty through the Savior, but yet they say they can do all things through him? And like earlier, no verse has said the law is done away with.
Verses 9-11. An example of verse 11 is that things get old and rot away. But the spiritual things live forever. So the words of the law should be written on the heart. Not only is this written in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament. And Paul has in no way disagreed with this. The law is only a ministry of condemnation for those who condemn it and break it.
As for verses 14-15, keep in mind that it is talking about the Old Testament Israelites, and how verse 13 says Moses had to put a veil on for the others because his face shined. They were closed to the gospel. Only by God can they see that Jesus is the Messiah. There were still Jews who did not believe. This was not about the Torah.
Galatians 2 13-19
It seems here that Paul is condemning circumcision. Go back to the council in Acts 15. In verse 15, Paul contrasts the Jews with Gentiles and identifies the Gentiles as being sinners. Peter was fearing man over the Almighty. Peter "living after the manner of Gentiles" was not good. In verse 15 Paul says we are not "sinners of the Gentiles." Paul was asking him how he was going to bring the Gentiles into living righteous life when he was not being righteous. This was a very convicting statement to Peter that exposed his hypocrisy.
It says Paul became dead to the law. But let's keep reading.
- "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." — Galatians 2 20
Is Paul saying he literally died and now Christ is the one we are speaking too? In the previous verse, Paul had said that he was dead. "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live to God." Dead to the law. The law demands that we die because at some point in our life we have broken that law. When we receive Christ, we become "dead to the law" because we are "crucified/impaled with Messiah."
He didn't die for us so that our sins could be blotted out and we could return to our old ways. In him we can find redemption and salvation from the penalty. And Christ himself says we must be born again.
- 1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
- 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
- 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. — John 3 1-3
What is being said here is that those who are faithful died with him, for they are born again. Not an actual death, but the one we used to be has died. Romans 6 6.
Verse 21 says he does not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness came from the law then Jesus died for nothing. It does not negate the Torah. If our righteousness came from our own works, we could have been declared righteous without Messiah and his death would mean nothing. The "good news of the circumcision" taught that believers in Messiah are not saved until they learn and obey the Torah, then get circumcised. But the truly good news is that we are all saved the moment we choose to repent and have faith in him.
Galatians 3 10-25
DEUTERONOMY 30 15
- "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil."
So the choice is life and good or death and evil. Reminder; this is the law that is being written on the hearts of the faithful and the obedient men who chose to believe in the Messiah and be reconciled to the Creator. So what is it from the law that brings death as Paul says? Simple. According to these verses obeying the law brings life. But disobeying it brings death. Disobeying the law is a long-term phrase for sin. We read that in 1 John 3 4. Sinning brings death. Transgressing his law brings death. Paul reminds us of this in Galatians 3 10. We will see this being repeated in James 2 10.
This verse is a cross-reference to Deuteronomy 27 26. This does not say, "Cursed is everyone who tries to do the things written in the law". Trying to obey it is not a curse. It says those who do not obey it are cursed. This in no way means the law is done away with. There is no proof so far. That would be contradictory as earlier Paul said the law is written on the believer's heart. And since this is a reference to Jeremiah 31 31-33, an Old Testament verse where the law was still being followed. So the only conclusion based on scripture alone is that this is the law being written on their hearts. Saying it is anything else is just adding or not using proper context.
Now we will go to verses 24-25. Question; how does the law leading us to Christ mean that the law itself is done away with? Some may say that it is because the law was a temporary teacher until Jesus came. But the scripture says the law is good. Deuteronomy 30 15. " See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;" So if the law, the teacher, was a good teacher, why should we not keep what we were taught? And why would anything our new teacher, who is also good, contradict the old teacher if they are both talking about the same exact thing? Before we were believers, the law showed us that we needed salvation and redemption. It confined us all under sin, kept until the promise by faith in Christ would be revealed to us. Its purpose is to bring us to him so that we can be declared righteous by faith.
Galatians 4 4-23
Christ was under the law and kept it perfectly. Verse 3 says that they were in bondage to the elements of the world, not the law itself. In verse 6, God redeemed them and made them his children. In Christ's death and resurrection, our old self died with him if we put out faith in him. In verse 8, the "days, and months, and times, and years" are thought to be talking about the Sabbaths and holy days and they are nullified by most interpretations, but this is not the case. This contradicts the times when Paul and the disciples were shown to have kept the law after Christ's death and resurrection, which by their logic nullifies the Sabbath days and holy days. Verses 8-9 talk about how they used to not worship God, and in verse 12 Paul is saying to follow his example rather than what they used to do. Paul kept the law.
What is the context of verse 23? Let's read Galatians 4:24. Why are Jerusalem and her children compared to Hagar and her children? Jerusalem as a whole was (like Abraham) attempting to receive the promise through human effort, coming up with their own idea of how God would fulfill his promises rather than letting God fulfill it Himself. The inhabitants of Jerusalem were trying to bring about the promises of eternal life through their own works rather than through God's work. One of the most important things to remember when reading the book of Galatians is that he is speaking to a certain group of people. In this case, he is speaking to the Galatians who were about to fall prey to a false 'good news'. As is evidenced by Paul's statements in Galatians 5 4-6 that the subject matter at hand is whether or not circumcision is a part of the true good news that brings salvation. The bondwoman was not allowed to be an heir with the freewoman. For this reason, it is important to submit to the true good news of salvation rather than the false 'good news of the circumcision' which states that we do not receive salvation until we keep the law and get circumcised. Obedience comes as a result of faith.
Here is an example; does buying your wife a bunch of nice clothes mean you love her? There have been many examples of abusive husbands who look like they treat their wives well. These works, without love for her, mean nothing. Perhaps this man is just trying to control her, or maybe he married her for a different reason like opportunity or looking good. He buys her things, yet he abuses her on the side. He should not do this. He should love his wife, and as a result of this he would treat her well, and buying her nice clothes might be a result of that. That is how we should be. We should love God and put our faith in him first and foremost, and the truth will come to us.
Galatians 5 2
First, we should take into account that he only addresses circumcision, not the entire law. But let's read it in context.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Again, It sounds like he is against circumcision. Remember the earlier example in Acts 16. We see that Paul circumcised Timotheus. Keep in mind that this was after Acts 15. So why is he saying they become estranged from Christ if circumcision is now a bad thing? Paul was condemning the idea that the good news was found in the circumcision. Many Jews were carnally minded an focused on the outward appearance rather than the inward.
The issue here was where righteousness came from. Those who believed the 'good news of the circumcision' believed that person had to learn and obey the Torah and be circumcised before they could be considered righteous, and thus be saved. But the truly good news is that one need only repent and believe in Christ to be considered righteous, and thus be saved. The former was an attempt to be justified by the law. Circumcised or not, you are not saved without faith.
Verse 11 says that he preached circumcision. There were people who did not believe in Jesus and tried to keep the law to be saved, but they don't understand that you cannot do one without the other. Christ himself says something similar to this in John 5.
37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.
39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
The scriptures speak of him. The Torah leads us to him. You cannot have one without the other.
Galatians 5 14-18
If we look at our last example, it says otherwise. Read the verse above again, but from verse 14-21. It means that the summary of the law is to love our neighbor. That is what all of the Torah points to. Paul is telling us what the works of the flesh are. So if you commit one or more of these things, you are being led by an evil spirit, not the spirit of righteousness. And if you read back into the Old Testament, all of these things are outlawed there just as they are now.
If you are being led by the spirit then you are keeping the law. Remember how Christ said man was not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for man? That's how it is. If you have an earnest desire for righteousness and have received the spirit of The Anointed One, you will keep the laws and commandments. Yes, that includes the Sabbath, dietary laws, etc. The Savior died to be a ransom for sin. If He fulfilled the whole law then we are allowed to sin all we want.
More info on this verse can be found in Part 2 in the link at the end of the article.
Ephesians 2 15
Is this talking about the Torah? Read verse 14.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Read verses 11-13. Prior to their faith in Jesus, they were excluded from Israel and from hope. They were a far off, but now they are brought forth in Christ. There is no law that specifically demanded they be separate. The law sanctified them from nonbelievers for the sake of righteousness, not just to divide them. By the Messiah's death and resurrection, the enmity between the two was abolished because they were brought into the faith.
Philippians 3 6-9
Here, Paul says that he was so zealous that he persecuted the church and that he obeyed the law. He seems to be saying that the law is worth nothing because of his faith in Christ. But what he is really saying is, "I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law. I know that I become righteous by faith, and that will produce the works of the law the same way a good tree produces good fruit. God makes us right with him by faith."
Colossians 2 16
What does this verse really mean? Paul is talking to believers that are keeping the Sabbath day and the new moons. He is saying to not let anyone judge us for keeping those days. Read it from verse 8 to 17 to get a clearer understanding and see how this is actually condoning the celebration of these days as a mandate. The believers in the Colossian community were being judged for enjoying the festival, as well as eating and drinking in it. Colossians 2 21 says they were told to not handle, taste, or touch. Colossians 2 18 gives an example of asceticism where they participated in self-abasement. They wanted to rob true believers of celebration by claiming that to be holy, you have to deny yourself during the high holy days and Sabbaths.
Paul is referenced a lot when it comes to saying the law and the Sabbath is done away with. But did you know Paul kept the Sabbath? Acts 17 1-2. Did you know he also never said the commandments were done away with? See that here.
Paul was condemning the avoidance of anything enjoyable-which was intended to make its followers more spiritual. He says to the Colossians in verses 20-23:
- 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
- 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
- 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
- 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
They had a false humility (verse 23) and were destined to fail because they were based on the "commandments and doctrines of men". Paul encourages the Church to hold fast to its teachings and proper understanding; it is not a treatise on which foods to eat or on which days to worship the Almighty. We must be careful not to read preconceived notions into these or any other scriptures.
This doctrine may have come from the Essenes, an ascetic sect of Second Temple Judaism that we will go into later (Essene, Ancient Jewish Sect by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). They forbade pleasure and they enforced celibacy.
1 Timothy 1 7-9
Read from verse 1 to 6. Paul tells Timothy to stay in Ephesus to help put an end to false doctrines. The goal of this was love, but these people taught false doctrines. They gave fables and endless genealogies rather than edifying them. Verse 7 says they desired to be teachers of the law but they were not, "understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." Verse 8 says the law is good if it is used lawfully. As we discussed earlier in Romans 7 11, sin can use the law to make us sin if we let it.
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
The law was not made for people who are righteous. A person who is instinctively righteous does not need to be told what to do. It was written to expose sin (Romans 7 7). We are sinners, and we need to know what is right.
Titus 3 9
What this is saying is that we should avoid trying to cause division and we should be unified. Like today, there were many doctrines going around as evidenced when we talked about the made up traditions of the Pharisees, the division in Corinth, and the philosophers in Colossians.
Hebrews 7 18-19 and 28
We have former commandments being annulled because of their weakness and unprofitableness. But remember when we referenced this chapter near the beginning of the article? Let's recap. When we read the New Testament, we tend to think every use of the word "law" must be referring to the entirety of the Torah. But this is not the case. Verses addressing it are either talking about the whole Torah or a part of it. The word nomos is rendered as law, but an example of this referring to only a part of the Torah is Hebrews 7 12, which is referring to a change in the Levitical Priesthood. The "change" here is that the priesthood where a high priest makes a sacrifice for the sinner and then he dies one day is replaced by an eternal one, according to the order of Melchizedek. The word used for change here is metatithemenēs, which actually means to transfer. It is the still the priesthood, but it is under someone else. This is evidence that the law itself is not changed. It only proves that this system was a shadow of things to come.
Verse 28 says the law made men high priests but they had infirmity, which means physically or mentally weak. They were not totally perfect. But Christ is.
Hebrews 8 7
This is used to condemn the old covenant. But if you look in the original text, the word covenant is not there. That is why it is in italics. God would not give them a law that is false. Psalm 19 7-10 say the law is perfect, right, pure, clean, righteous altogether, and better than gold. Romans 7 12 and 1 Timothy 7 8 say the law is good. So what or who is at fault here?
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
It is referencing Jeremiah 31 31-34. The fault is on Israel. We know that during Jeremiah's time Israel had fallen away.
16 Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah.
17 As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the Lord.
Hebrews 8 13
First, notice how this passage references Jeremiah 31 31-34, which is talking about putting the law in their hearts. The change in law spoken of in 7:12 refers only to priestly law due to a change in priesthood, from the order of Aaron to that of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 9 10
Source: Hebrews 9 8-10
The author of Hebrews discusses the limitations of the Levitical priesthood and sacrifices (9:1-7), necessarily surpassed in effectiveness by the Messiah’s priesthood and final sacrifice and cleansing for all (9:11-28). Understanding and appreciating the Levitical service is necessary, in order to more fully understand and grasp the vital importance of what the Messiah accomplished.
Source: b. Law - In the Messianic Writings (2), The ISR Scriptures, page 1224. When we read the New Testament, we tend to think every use of the word "law" must be referring to the entirety of the Torah. But this is not the case. Verses addressing it are either talking about the whole Torah or a part of it. The word nomos is rendered as law, but an example of this referring to only a part of the Torah is Hebrews 7 12, which is referring to a change in the Levitical Priesthood. The "change" here is that the priesthood where a high priest makes a sacrifice for the sinner and then he dies one day is replaced by an eternal one, according to the order of Melchizedek. This is evidence that the law itself is not changed. It only proves that this system was a shadow of things to come.
The limitation of the Levitical priesthood and sacrifices, as it was unable to offer purification to a person’s conscience, is related only to food and drink and various washings—temporary regulations. It makes more sense to apply this to the Levites being able to partake of the animal sacrifices. Leviticus 7:1-6 notably states how the Levitical priests were allowed to eat the meat of the guilt offerings. Notice how Hebrews mentions drinks. There were no drinks prohibited in the Torah given that unlike nowadays we do not have a reason to think that there may be unclean things in our drinks. Drink offerings were also given. Numbers 28:7.
Hebrews 10 1
Just because it is a shadow of things to come does not nullify it unless explicitly told so. The next verse says the sacrifices do not perfect anyone. That is true. Repentance does. They cannot take anyone's sin away. They cannot eliminate sin. They never did. They were a shadow of things to come.
Hebrews 13 9
As for Hebrews 13 9, some have associated this with food offered to idols or Jewish cultic meals. Hebrews 13:9-10 – Strange Teachings Associated With Foods
James 1 25
The law of liberty does not contradict the law. This is the law. The law itself sets people free from sin.
James 2 5-12
Now we will address James.
- "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
They leave out the rest of the chapter and mistakenly took it out of context. To them, this is condemning those who obey the Torah as they see us all as hypocrites. Read it in context. James 2:5-11. What is this saying? Verse 8 says to fulfill the royal law according to the scriptures, which is to love one another (Leviticus 19 18). Verse 9 says if you have respect of persons, you have become a transgressor. It is speaking out against those who are in the faith but are not following all righteousness. It is saying, "So you aren't an adulterer? Great. But you just murdered someone. You are still sinning even though you aren't committing that other sin", not saying that the law itself is a curse. And again, the law is called liberty.
James 4 11
It says if anyone speaks evil against and judges his brother or the law, you are not following the law, but you are a judge, meaning we should obey it and not judge it.
The Law Is...
Perfect (Psalm 19 7)
The way of righteousness (Proverbs 12 28)
Still going to be followed in the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31 33)
Do not have their prayers answered (John 9 31).
Are hated by the Most High (Psalm 5 5)
Will be punished (Revelation 20 15)
Now that we have concluded this, you may say, "Okay, but that was all about the 12 Tribes. I'm a Gentile. Why should I follow it?" I will answer this below.
Noah: If you saw my article on unclean food, you see how Noah and his sons were able to differentiate between clean and unclean meats. He was expected to know for himself what is clean and unclean (Genesis 7 2). This implies that they believed in the same law as Moses did. There is no scripture that indicates that this animal was considered unclean for a different reason, given that both clearly state unclean animals such as swine are unfit to eat, and both were also not sacrificed (Isaiah 66 3 gives an example of swine offering being considered a bad thing). So the common argument that they were called unclean only due for sacrificial reasons is faulty.
Abraham: We see that Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed for its sins. But where do we get the basis for sin? Where do we get our commandments for right and wrong? The Torah itself. It lists all types of immoralities; pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. We must also consider the following passage.
GENESIS 26 4-5
- "And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;"
- "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."
So Abraham kept the Almighty's charge, commandments, statutes, and laws. So what Adam, Noah, Abraham, and all followers of the Almighty followed was divine law and standard for all of humanity.
Peace and blessings and all praises to the Most High.
Commentary On The Law (2 Corinthians 3 1-18, Hebrews 12 18-29, and Galatians 5 18).
- Is the Law Done Away With? Part 2
Part two of my previous article where I go over more scriptures used to say the law is done away with, as well as other scriptures that say otherwise.