TFR note: From the interest earlier in the Old Testament, this seemed to be a good addition to the conversation.
The Bible is God’s instruction manual for mankind. Most people tend to be intimidated by the Bible. Others say it is too difficult to understand. Some just do not believe in God and the Bible. Some things in the Bible are very simple. In Romans 8:13 we read, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13) This is simple, each of us has the choice of which mind to cultivate, which life to live, which way we walk, and in the walking we realize that we choose where we shall spend eternity. Either we have our “citizenship in heaven” or we do not. “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:17-20) It is simple; you are allowed to choose how you will live and where you will spend your eternity. Not everything in the Bible is that simple. For example, what was Jesus’ relationship to the Law of Moses? He said, “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.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
Denominations want to keep portions of the Old Testament Law. Through hundreds of home Bible Studies over a period of more than 45 years I have observed that almost every denomination looks to some part of the Old Testament for authority for some of their religious practices. In some so-called translations they have Jesus saying, “Don’t suppose that I came to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning.” Is that what Jesus really said? What did He mean when he said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil?” (Matthew 5:17)
Jesus had to explain Himself. When Jesus began His personal ministry He had to continually explain Himself and His relationship to the Law of Moses. Even though He fulfilled what was written in the prophets about the Messiah there were still many questions about His relationship to the Law.Jesus had a great miracle working ministry and yet the people were not totally convinced that He was the Messiah. He rejected human traditions and placed a strong emphasis upon not neglecting any of God’s teachings. Still they wanted to know what He thought about the Law of Moses. Jesus said, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” (Matthew 11:13) All the predictions, the types and ceremonies of the Law were finally and fully accomplished in Christ.
What is the difference in destroying and fulfilling the Law or the Prophets? Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil?” (Matthew 5:17) Christ did not come to abrogate or to abolish the Law or the prophets by official means before they had accomplished their purpose. Christ fulfilled every prophecy and promise concerning the Messiah. With that accomplished the Law and the Prophets had fulfilled their purpose. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:24) Once the schoolmaster delivers the student to the teacher his purpose has been completed. The Law was that schoolmaster that had been given for a certain time period. “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” (Galatians 3:19) The Law has been taken away. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:9-10)
The Old Law has been taken away. If it was till binding we would be obligated to keep it in its entirety today. “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.” (Matthew 5:18) We believe the Old Law and we learn from it. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) The Old Testament is not Law to govern this present generation. To become a New Testament Christian Jesus said you must hear the word (John 6:44-45), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 10:32-33) and be baptized to be saved. (Mark 16:16) Come to Jesus today and His blood can cleanse you from your sins. “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 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.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA