Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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June 15, 2013
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June 20, 2013
Jesus Came To Fulfill The Law And The Prophets, A Legalist's Rant, Definition Of "Fulfill", Jesus Met All Requirements Of Mosaic Law Through His Death And Ushered In A New Covenant, Jesus Ratified His Marriage To His New Bride The Church, The Mosaic Law Is Replaced By The Law Of Love And Grace, It Is Finished, Whenever Jesus Discusses Mosaic Law In The Gospels He Does So In Reference To The Jews, The Mosaic Law Was Not Given To The Gentiles, Jesus Did Not Send Apostles To The Gentiles In The Gospels, Jesus' Preaching Was All Directed To The Jews Who Were Still Under Laws Of Moses, Deceiving And Being Deceived, Mosaic Law Was Not Destroyed And Still Exists, Christ Is The End Of The Law For Righteousness To Every One That Believeth, Righteousness Only Comes Through Faith In Jesus, Any Jews Who Reject Christ Are Still Under Mosaic Law And Will Be Harshly Judged By The Same, Jesus' Goal Was To Show Jews Futility Of Trying To Save Themselves Through Keeping Mosaic Law, Woman Caught In Act Of Adultery, Until We Recognize Our Hopeless Condition We Cannot See Our Need For A Savior, Jesus Did Not Come To Condemn The World But To Save It, We Condemn Ourselves When We Reject Christ, Sin Is Transgressing God's Law, Keep My Commandments, Which Commandments Was Jesus Referring To?, Jesus Demonstrated And Taught Love Mercy And Forgiveness When The Scribes And The Pharisees Demanded Harshness Of The Mosaic Law, God's Word Interprets Itself, "My Commandments" Refers To Love Mercy And Forgiveness, Love For God And Fellow Man Are Greatest Commandments, John Does Not Directly Discuss Mosaic Law In His Epistles, John Repeatedly Emphasizes Love Not Legalism, John Probably Means The Law Of Love When He Uses The Word "Law", Other Apostles Also Emphasized Preeminence Of Love
Continuing our discussion from part one, in addition to the two verses that are found in the Book of Exodus, this very same Christian Judaizer attempted to use some of Jesus' own teachings in his vain effort to justify his weak, legalistic position. Sadly, he is not the only one who I have seen try to use these verses to supposedly prove that we Gentiles are still under the mandates of the Mosaic Law. These verses are the following:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 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: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great 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."
Matthew 5:17-20, KJV
So many people read the previous verses, and they still don't understand what they mean. In the case of certain Christian Judaizers and legalists, they scream in their self-righteous pride "See! Jesus says right there that He did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets! He came to fulfill the Law! He says that nothing will pass from the Law until everything has been fulfilled! He says that anyone who teaches others to break the Law will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven! He says right there that our righteousness needs to exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees! How dare you say then that we are no longer under the Mosaic Law! You are a liar, a false prophet and a blasphemer!" And on and on they go with their blind, legalistic rant, never really taking the time to understand what they are reading. So exactly what do these verses mean?
First things first. It appears to me that a lot of legalists interpret the word "fulfill" to mean "keep". Thus, they argue that because Jesus kept the Laws of Moses, it also means that we modern Christians are obligated to observe the Mosaic Law as well. However, while Jesus did keep the Mosaic Law in some regards -- but not in every case; consider the Miracles which He performed on the Sabbath, for example -- this is not what the original Greek word that is used in these verses actually means. In fact, it may interest you to know that in Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the word "keep" is not found anywhere in the definitions for the Greek word "pleroo", from which the English word "fulfill" is derived in the previous verses.
As it turns out, "pleroo" means to accomplish, to complete, to consummate, and to carry through to the end. Now, I want you to stop and carefully think about this definition for a moment. Any half-intelligent person realizes that if someone states that they have completed something, it is understood that they mean that they have carried it through to the end, and they are done with it. Do you object to this definition? In similar fashion, in both a Biblical sense and a worldly sense, a marriage between a man and a woman is not actually consummated until they have engaged in sexual intercourse. So just as completing a project means carrying it through to the end so that we are done with it, and just as the marriage process is not completed -- or ratified we might say -- until intercourse occurs, this is exactly what Jesus means in the previous verses.
If you still don't understand what I am saying here, which is actually what Jesus is saying, it is simply this: Through His Death on the Cross, Jesus met all of the requirements of the harsh Mosaic Law; He ratified His Marriage to His beloved new Bride -- that is, the Church -- and He in fact brought an end to the Old Law and the Old Covenant of the Old Testament era; and He ushered in a New Covenant and a new Law of Grace and Love. Jesus fulfilled -- or completed -- everything which had been written regarding Him in the pages of the Old Testament, and thus brought it to an end, and to a close. He told the Apostles the very same thing in the following verse that is found in the Gospel of Luke:
"And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."
Luke 24:44, KJV
Do you see it now? If not, Jesus is saying in so many words, "These are the things which had to be completed, and now they have been completed. It is done. It is finished. With my shed Blood on the Cross, the New Covenant between God and man is now in effect, and the Old Covenant which was based on the Mosaic Law no longer is." This is precisely what Jesus also means in this verse:
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
John 19:30, KJV
In the previous verse, the word "finished" is derived from the Greek word "teleo". According to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, this word means the same thing as "pleroo"; that is, to bring to a close, to finish or to end. "Teleo" is in fact derived from the related Greek word "telos" which also means to end, terminate, finish or bring to a close. So what was brought to a close, a finish and an end? I have already told you. It was the Old Testament, the Old Covenant and the requirements of the Mosaic Law.
Now, no doubt, any Judaizers and Old Testament legalists who may be reading this series are going to start screaming again "Wait just one minute! If the Mosaic Law has truly come to an end as you claim, then why did Jesus clearly say that nothing will pass from the Law until everything has been fulfilled? If we are no longer under the Mosaic Law, why did Jesus also state that if anyone teaches people to break the Mosaic Law, they will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven? This is just wrong! You are teaching false doctrine! You are a heretic of the first degree!"
Am I really? Or is it possible that after everything I have written here, you still do not understand what is right in front of your very own eyes? In the verses that are found in Matthew chapter five above, who is Jesus talking about when He uses the words "whosoever", "he" and "you"? If you think that those words refer to everyone in the world -- similar to the legalist who we have been discussing -- you are mistaken, and you do not understand who Jesus' audience is. Allow me to remind you of one of the key points of part one. The Mosaic Law is a covenant which God made with the children of Israel. He did not make it with the Gentile nations. Therefore, we can only conclude that whenever Jesus discusses the Laws of Moses in the Gospels, He is discussing them in reference to the Jews themselves.
If in your legalistic stubbornness and blindness you continue to resist this Biblical truth, then consider the actual time frame of the Gospels themselves. The Gentiles were not even a part of the evangelical picture of the First Century yet. The Apostle Paul had not yet become the Apostle to the Gentiles, and the Apostle Peter had not yet had his vision in chapter ten of the Book of Acts either. Thus, we must conclude that all of Jesus' live preaching that is recorded in the Gospels is directed to Jewish audiences who were still living under the Mosaic Law at that time. That is who His words are being directed to in Matthew chapter five where we see "whosoever", "he" and "you". Now, if you still have any doubts about this, then please seriously ponder the following verses where Jesus tells you Himself:
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Matthew 10:5-6, KJV
"But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Matthew 15:24, KJV
What does Jesus say to the Apostles? "Go not into the way of the Gentiles." Go instead "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Why does Jesus say this? Because "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Does Jesus mean the same children of Israel who were given the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament, and who were still under the same Law in the Gospels? That is absolutely right. There is your answer straight from the Scriptures. Everything that Jesus taught regarding the Mosaic Law was directed to the Jews themselves and not to the Gentiles. If any person attempts to tell you otherwise, not only are they deceived themselves, but they are deceiving others as well, as we see in this verse:
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:13, KJV
These modern Judaizers and legalists are just as misguided as the deceivers of the First Century. They aren't any different than the Jewish legalists who repeatedly argued with Jesus, who persecuted the Apostle Paul, and who attempted to ensnare the new Gentile converts in their legalistic trap.
Now, once we understand that Jesus' actual audience was the Jews themselves, as opposed to the Gentiles who were not even in the picture yet, a lot of things that He said and taught in the Gospels begin to make more sense. As we have now seen, with His Death on the Cross, Jesus brought to completion the Old Covenant and the Old Testament that was based on the Laws of Moses, and He introduced a New Covenant which is sealed with His own Blood. However, while Jesus met the mandates of the Mosaic Law so that His Sacrifice would be an acceptable ransom price to His Father, as He Himself informs us in the previous verses that are found in the Gospel of Matthew, He did not come to destroy the Law. In other words, the Mosaic Law still exists. Furthermore, as Jesus also stated, it will continue to exist until "heaven and earth pass". Not only that, but right after that, Jesus warns the Jews regarding those who break the Law, and who teach others to do the very same thing.
If you are feeling a little confused right now, please don't be, because there is an explanation for all of this. If Jesus fulfilled or completed the Mosaic Law, then why is there any need for it to continue to exist? The answer is found again in remembering who the Laws of Moses were given to, and why it was given to them in the first place. As we have seen, the Mosaic Law was God's Covenant with the children of Israel. It was given to them in order to teach them righteous living. In other words, under the Covenant of the Old Testament, the way in which the Israelites obtained forgiveness for their sins, and thus were made righteous in God's sight, was by conducting the necessary animal sacrifices, and also by striving to live by the mandates of the Laws of Moses.
However, as I will be discussing in more detail later on in this series, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth". In other words, righteousness can now only be achieved through faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and no other way. There is an important catch to all of this though; and it is found in the words "to every one that believeth". In other words, the obligations of the Laws of Moses have only ended for those Jews who have placed their faith in the Sacrifice of Christ. Being as the Mosaic Law was only given to the children of Israel, this seems to indicate to me that any Jew who has not accepted Jesus Christ is still bound by the same Law. In other words, they will be judged by the full weight of the Law, if they insist on being under the Law, and continue to reject Jesus Christ.
That is why, in my view and understanding, the Mosaic Law was not destroyed -- as Jesus indicated -- and continues to exist. It is not for us Gentiles -- as it never has been -- it exists only for the stubborn Jews themselves, and will serve as the harsh standard by which all unbelieving Jews are going to be judged, because that is what they want. To reiterate, it is only for those Jews who have accepted Christ that the Mosaic Law has ended, and who are now under God's Grace.
As I point out in such articles as "Striving for Perfection: Are You a Sinless Saint?", it is my belief that when the Lord issued the warning to His Jewish listeners regarding breaking the least of the commandments, and teaching men to do so, and then likewise informed them that "except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven", what He was really endeavoring to do was to clearly demonstrate to them the futility of their situation. Jesus wanted to impress upon His audience that they were utterly without hope if they tried to depend on their own righteousness.
You see, Jesus knew full well that not one single one of His listeners had kept every single mandate of the Mosaic Law. He also realized that the Scribes and the Pharisees were viewed as being the holiest people in Israel, even though they were really no such thing. As a result, because the common people viewed the religious elders of Israel in that fashion, Jesus knew beforehand that when He made that statement, the crowd of listeners would immediately think to themselves "Well, if the Scribes and the Pharisees are not even righteous enough, then what hope can there possibly be for me?"
I am convinced that this is exactly what Jesus wanted them to think. He wanted those people to realize that outside of believing in Him, and accepting Him as God's Son and their only true Savior, there was no hope for them. I believe that the Lord used the very same teaching tool with the incident regarding the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. As you may recall, when her self-righteous accusers brought the woman before Jesus and asked Him what He thought they should do, Jesus reacted in the following manner:
"And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."
John 8:3-9, KJV
You see, in both cases, Jesus' intent was not to condemn His audience. Rather, it was to point out their hopeless, sinful condition; and in the case of the Scribes and the Pharisees, their outrageous degree of self-righteousness. As I explain in other articles, until we are able to recognize our sinful and hopeless condition, neither can we acknowledge our need for a Savior. The real tragedy is when proud people refuse to acknowledge their sins, reject the Light of Jesus Christ, and choose to walk in spiritual darkness instead. As we are told in the following verses, it is not Christ who condemns them, but rather they who condemn themselves:
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
John 3:17-19, KJV
Another way in which some Christian Judaizers and legalists endeavor to entrap Believers in their snare is by pointing out the Biblical definition of sin, and then linking it to the Mosaic Law. As I explain in a number of other articles, the Apostle John clearly informs us what sin is in his first Epistle with following verse:
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
1 John 3:4, KJV
As you can see, the word "sin" means to transgress or violate God's Law. The question is, what Law is John referring to? Is it the Laws of Moses as some legalists and Judaizers like to claim? To add to their web of deception, these same legalists then point to verses such as the following, and then promote the belief that these commandments are likewise referring to the Laws of Moses:
"If ye love me, keep my commandments . . . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
John 14:15, 21, KJV
"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."
John 15:10, KJV
Thus, according to the misguided and twisted interpretation of the Judaizers and the legalists, Jesus is saying that if we Gentiles truly love Him, we will keep the Mosaic Law. If you have been paying close attention, then you will already realize that there is something wrong with the way that the legalists interpret these verses. Why? Well, for two simple reasons. First, the Mosaic Law was given to the children of Israel, and not to the Gentiles. Second, Jesus was speaking to His Jewish followers, and not to Gentiles. So even if Jesus was referring to the Laws of Moses when He used the phrase "my commandments", He was certainly not applying it to the Gentiles; He was applying it to His own Jewish race.
However, being as the Lord was speaking to the founders of what was to become His new Church, and not to the legalistic religious leaders of Jerusalem, I am convinced -- and can in fact also prove -- that He was not referring to the mandates of the Mosaic Law whatsoever. I believe that He was talking about certain teachings which He had personally imparted to His own followers many times through personal example. They were teachings which He wanted to form the very foundation of His new Church. Do you know what teachings I am referring to? It is not the cold, hard, merciless legalism of the Laws of Moses that the Scribes and the Pharisees were noted for, my dear friends. It is love, mercy and forgiveness.
In the Gospels, time and time again when the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees demanded that the harsh justice of the Law be executed upon a particular person who had committed some sin, Jesus turned around and did the exact opposite by demonstrating love, mercy and forgiveness. As I said, Jesus taught by example, and these are the real teachings which He imparted to His followers. These were His commandments.
As we saw in part one, by intentionally ignoring one single verse in the Book of Exodus, that legalist purposely twisted the meaning of God's Word so that it appeared as if both Jews and Gentiles are all bound by the Mosaic Law. Sadly, in this case, he does the very same thing again. As I have so often shared with my readers, in many cases, God's Word interprets itself. All we have to do is keep reading, and God -- by His Holy Spirit -- will eventually connect the dots for us. In John 15:10 above, Jesus says "If ye keep my commandments". We can be like that legalist and look high and low in order to try to find a way to prove that the Lord is talking about the Laws of Moses. However, guess what? We don't even have to do that; because only two verses later, Jesus clearly tells us exactly what He means with this verse:
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
John 15:12, KJV
That is Jesus' primary commandment right there. It is not the legalism of the Mosaic Law; it is simply love. Furthermore, it is because of this love, that we are motivated to exercise both mercy and forgiveness. If you still remain unconvinced that this is what the Lord actually means when He uses the phrase "my commandments", then consider these verses as well:
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
John 13:35, KJV
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 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. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:36-40, KJV
Can it be any clearer than that? Those are the two greatest commandments of all; and thus, in my view, "my commandments". The Lord even states that "all the law and the prophets" are encapsulated in those two commandments. As we saw earlier, Jesus was fully aware of the fact that it is impossible for anyone to keep the hundreds of statutes which constitute the Mosaic Law. Thus, as we will be discussing a bit later, not only would He not place that heavy legalistic burden on the people, but because the Old Covenant -- which was based on the Mosaic Law -- was not faultless, He knew that it had to be replaced with a New Covenant which is based on the Grace and the Love of God, which would come into effect through His own dying on the Cross for the sins of the world.
Let us return to the Apostle John's first Epistle. As we saw earlier, the legalists claim that when John writes that sin is the transgression of the Law, he is referring to the Laws of Moses. While this is a possibility, I am not convinced of it, and I will tell you why. First of all, if we examine all three of John's Epistles, we discover that in not one single place does he make a direct reference to the Laws of Moses. One would think that if this is what he really means when he uses the word "law", then surely John would more amply, and openly, discuss the Mosaic Law somewhere in his Epistles. It is nowhere to be found.
However, there is even more convincing evidence which points to what appears to be John's intended meaning for the word "law". For example, who wrote the love Gospel? John did. In addition to the verses which I have already shared with you from that Gospel, consider the following famous verse which is also contained in that same Gospel:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16, KJV
If it still isn't apparent to you yet that the Law which John is more than likely talking about is Love, and not the Laws of Moses, then perhaps the following excerpts from his three Epistles will convince you that the Apostle who Jesus loved, wrote most of all about love -- not legalism -- and viewed it as the greatest commandment of all:
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not . . . For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another . . . We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death . . . Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth . . . And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."
1 John 3:1, 11, 14, 16-18, 23, KJV
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us . . . And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
1 John 4:7-12, 16-21, KJV
"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."
1 John 5:2-3, KJV
"And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it."
2 John 1:5-6, KJV
Over and over again, John repeatedly emphasizes love in his Epistles, and not adherence to the Mosaic Law. Please notice that in the fourth chapter of his first Epistle John writes "that we may have boldness in the day of judgment." Why is John saying this? Is it because we observe the mandates of the Mosaic Law? No. It is because we have walked according to the Law of Love. In light of the preponderance of evidence which we find in his Epistles, I don't see how we can arrive at any other conclusion than this. This emphasis on the Law of Love -- as opposed to the Laws of Moses -- is promoted by the Apostles Peter, James and Paul as well, as is evidenced by the following verses:
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
Romans 13:10, KJV
"Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth."
1 Corinthians 8:1, KJV
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing . . . And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
1 Corinthians 13:2, 13, KJV
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
Galatians 5:14, KJV
"If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:"
James 2:8, KJV
"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8, KJV
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .