About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Did God Ever Tell Israel Not To 
Obey The Law oF Moses?



Did God tell the Jews to stop obeying the Law"?  

I believe He did, but not in the way you phrase the question.  Unlike the Abrahamic Covenant, the Law of Moses was a conditional covenant between God and Israel.  Israel broke the covenant.  Since Israel broke the covenant, God had no other choice than to judge her with the curses stated within the covenant.  That was the deal.  Until all these curses are completely fulfilled, Israel remains outside the boundaries of the covenant.  This is the situation Israel was in when Jesus came to them and was rejected by them.      


Although God did not specifically tell Israel to stop obeying the covenant, He did so through Jesus.  Jesus spoke to the issue in Matthew 5:17 and 18.  The Greek word "pleroo" is translated as "fulfill" in many English versions of the Bible. The text states that Jesus "fulfilled the Law".   How one understands the word "pleroo" will formulate one's thinking on what one thinks Jesus was getting at in Matthew 5:17 and 18.


Part of the Jews struggle with Jesus was that they thought He was not keeping the Law of Moses, and He was teaching others to do the same.  The apostle Paul had the same problem.  The fact of the matter is that Jesus was obeying the Law of Moses.  He just wasn't obeying the Rabbinical traditions that the Jews added to the Law.  In Matthew 5:17 and 18 Jesus confirmed that He was not destroying or abolishing the Law as the Jews claimed.  He was "fulfilling' the Law, which in my thinking means, "He obeyed the Law on our behalf of Jews", and in fact, "He was the replacement for the Law". I say this partly because of the definition of the Greek word "pleroo".  Therefore, in Jesus' words, who was Yahweh's representative to the Jews, the Jews were to now obey Jesus, not the Law of Moses.  By saying this, I don't suggest that we or the Jews lay aside living a righteous life.  We rise to a higher standard, which is Jesus Himself.  I say higher standard because Jesus raised the standards of righteousness higher than the Jews would have understood in the Law.  For example, adultery was now a matter of the heart and mind. 


On the Mount of Transfiguration, in the presence of Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing the prophets)  God told three Jewish disciples who were standing by, "this is my son, hear Him".  In other words, the time had come for the Jews to hear and obey Jesus, who obeyed the Law on their behalf by living it perfectly, which by the way, was part of Peter's argument in Acts 15.  Thus the importance of trusting in Jesus alone.  We now have a righteousness apart from Law, as Paul states in Romans 3:21.   This is why Paul, in Romans 10:4 says that "Christ is the end of the Law for the sake of living righteously".  That's the basis of Paul's teaching in the book of Romans and elsewhere.  Living righteously is no longer a matter of the Law, but a matter of trusting one's life with Jesus and doing as He states.  Thus, our whole relationship with God has been shifted away from Law towards Jesus.   That's true on a personal level and on a corporate level as well.


Paul states that we as individual believers in Jesus are a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  Each and every true believer in Jesus is inherently different than what he once was.  The Law could not make us different, but Jesus could.  If this is the case with individuals in the ecclesia of Christ, I suggest that Jesus' ecclesia must also be a new creation, something altogether different from the ecclesia the Jews once knew. 


Did God tell the Jews to stop obeying the Law?  Not in those exact words, but I believe He did.  He told them to obey Jesus, the only One who lived out the Law so they could be restored to their God. 



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