Matt 5 – will the law never pass away?

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Matt 5:18, Luke 16:16-17

(Matt 5:17) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
(Matt 5:18) 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.
(Matt 5:19) 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.
(Matt 5:20) 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.

(Luke 16:16) The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
(Luke 16:17) And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Matt 5:17-19 is actually a key verse for refuting the Adventist position. Jesus says that not one jot or tittle will pass from the law UNTIL all is fulfilled. This implies that a point WILL come when ALL IS fulfilled. Let’s look at texts like Heb 7:12, 2 Cor 3:6-14; Heb 7:12; John 19:28-3, and Acts 15 (where a law given directly by God to Abraham, and called a perpetual law for ALL Abraham’s generations, is abolished by a council of the Church.) Here we get told directly that the law HAS changed (those are the words straight from Hebrews,) so we HAVE to wonder what Jesus meant. He said the heavens and the earth would be replaced with a NEW heaven and a NEW earth in that text, and only THEN could the law change, and here we see the law has changed ALREADY … so what he said MUST have come to pass … so, did we just miss the end of the world, or not?

Well, we need to understand what this expression MEANT – not what we assume it means when we, in the 21st century, read it with no background in the linguistic expressions of the first century. So, we turn to John 19:28-30, where Jesus actually states that ALL IS FULFILLED. So, if all was fulfilled THEN, we can expect to see the law changing, falling away – and that is exactly what happens. If we turn to Heb 9:26, we see that Jesus came at the END of an age … so, if this was the end of an age, surely we can interpret the new heavens and new earth to mean exactly what the people of that time understood by it – that a new age began, starting from the Cross. A new creation began then, as we are told in 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15, 1 Cor 15:22+45, and Eph 2:10.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” Galatians 6:15 “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45 “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (45) Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” (RSV)

So, if we ask the crucial question, have the heavens and the earth really passed away, the answer is – YES IT HAS!! Those who want to promote the Sabbath conveniently ignore the real meaning of this phrase, and try to mislead us by making us read the English literally, while knowing that the original was not written in English, and the people of the time did not have the same idiomatic expressions.

For those who disagree, either Heb 7:12 is wrong and Matt 5:17-19 is wrong … OR Jesus is right in John 19 when he says that his saving work IS indeed completed. See also Luke 16:16, which says that the law and the prophets lasted until John the Baptist.

Just a note on Acts 15 – God also refers to circumcision as a perpetual covenant in Genesis 17:11-13, to incense as one in Exod 30:8, to the Levitical priesthood as one in Exod 29:9. All these so-called perpetual covenants have been done away with at the cross. Just because they are called perpetual covenants does not mean that their purpose will never come to an end. Circumcision was for ALL Abraham’s generations, yet although we are part of that people, circumcision if not necessary for Christians. The same goes for the Sabbath.

So we can take all the criteria for the passing of the law, and prove from the New Testament that these criteria ARE fulfilled, and that the law HAS passed away. It’s right there in the Bible, if you look around a bit, and place things in the broader context of the entire Bible.

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