Wow! There's no end to your condescension. I really don't care what you think of me, but with your heart so hardened, I cannot help but respond. What makes you think I am trying to "hide the truth and seek the false"?
You and I are both busy, I am sure. We have both engaged these types of discussions. If I overlook some point you made, I only do so by accident or to cut through the signal noise. Some things you mention are inconclusive. Other points are "wild goose chases". What does it prove if "Christians" really meant, "good moral people"? Does that make the Old Testament more viable? Not remotely! Let's concentrate on the points that really matter.
1. Your interpretation would be correct, if it was written like so:
"For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law."
But, it does not read like that, does it?
"For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." (Matthew 5:18)
Grammatically, there is no way to isolate the fulfillment clause. Either clause could end the law's authority. For example, if I say:
For assuredly, I say to you, till I die, I will work till I don't need money.
You know what is meant. Either death or the absence of need can end my labor. If I inherit a gazillion dollars, would anyone
think I was a liar, when I handed in my resignation notice?
If "all is fulfilled"
, then heaven and earth don't have to pass away. The law is done! It's mission and purpose are fulfilled!
2. You requested passages that show that the OT is fulfilled and annulled, or that show changes to the "law". I offer these few (there are several more):
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. ... Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the law), then He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away the first that He may establish the second. (Hebrews 10:1-10).
The word for "first" is singular, as is "second". (Therefore, "first" cannot refer to "sacrifices", which is plural.) The first law, the old law, was taken away to establish a new law, the second law. Jesus did so in His very sacrifice, as was foretold. ... If the sacrifices of the Old Law are "taken away" (Gr, anaireo
, do away with, abolish, annul, to invalidate), then the Old Law was taken away, because it was built upon the priesthood and the sacrifices. Dispute? Please continue, but first note the above passage: It is the first - what? law! - that was done away to establish - what? a second law! We are still under law, but a different law!
... Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek." For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (Hebrews 7:11-19)
According to this inspired writer, if the priesthood was changed, which is beyond all dispute, then the law is necessarily changed
! The New Covenant is built on a better hope, a better priesthood, and a better sacrifice. It also offers a better promise!
But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when 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 when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:6-13)
Please tell me, since you know the Torah, what percentage of the law, commandments, and ordinances is related to priesthood, sacrifices, blessings and the covenant? What percentage is left after those are taken away, abolished, annulled, and obsoleted? I think you know my point without having to do the math. The vast majority of the law's commands are based in these things. If they are taken away, then so is the law! ... This means that the commands of the old law contain no more authority as law for us today. However, that does not mean that some of those laws cannot reappear and reauthorized in a new law. For example, please consider the commands of Romans 13:8-10
, which arise from Jesus' command to love each other(John 15:12-14
), not the authority of Old Law itself.
Keep in mind your proof text, Matthew 5:17-19
. If I can prove that just one
command (even one jot or tittle) of the law is done away, what do we know? All is fulfilled! Or, heaven and earth has passed away, which has obviously not occurred. The burden of proof for me is to show only one part of the law that has changed, because it all stands and falls as a unit (Matthew 5:18; James 2:10; Galatians 5:3
Elsewhere you affirm:
email wrote:... the shed blood of Yeshua HaMashiac. But again, it doesn't nullify the purpose of the Torah, that which is to teach, educate and instruct.
Yes, actually Christ's blood does nullify the purpose of the Old Law. Admittedly, the Old Law does teach, educate, and instruct, but its scope was limited and ultimately superseded. Your statement flatly contradicts Scripture:
What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Galatians 3:19-25)
The law did teach, but its teaching is done. Christ has come. All the promises to Abraham, especially including the seed promise, have long been fulfilled (Galatians 3:16-19
). Lessons concerning law in general, justice, punishment, mercy, weakness, and faith can still be learned, but the Old Law, as law, has been replaced by the New Law of Christ:
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (I Corinthians 9:19-22).
Here we see that there are multiple, potential "laws of God". Specifically, there is the Jewish law, the law of Moses, but there is also the law of Christ. Paul exhibited the flexibility to lay down "the law" as an outward custom. However, he still was under a law to God, which was Christ's law. Therefore, it is by this new law, Christ's law that people may learn what is right, wrong, and required of them today. Its commands bind, not those of the Old Law. Consequently, the argument that knowledge of sin is impossible without the Old Law is dispelled. Paul, a Jew, came to know sin through the law of Moses, but that does not mean it was the only way for everyone to know sin:
For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) (Romans 2:12-15)
If "the law" was the only way to know sin, then all Gentiles before Jesus would be justified!
Incidentally, we see from the previous verse (I Corinthians 9:19-22
) that "the law" is no longer the "law of God", because without it, Paul did not qualify as being under "law unto God" without being "under law toward Christ"! Furthermore, consider Paul's statement about circumcision:
But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. (I Corinthians 7:17-19)
Circumcision was part of the Old Law and part of the commandments of God. If circumcision is nothing, then the only logical conclusion is that the Old Law is no longer commanded by God! Otherwise, heaven and earth have passed away, and we overlooked it.
As you noted, the law could not be simply "set aside" as a mere whim (Galatians 3:15-17
). It had to be fulfilled! It it was indeed set aside, then logically, we know it was fulfilled:
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Colossians 2:13-17)
3. Yes, I agree there are multiple laws under discussion in the New Testament. Please see above for examples. However, please tell me which "law" was done away in this passage?
Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another -- to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet." (Romans 7:1-7)
Which law are we dead to here? Which law said, "Thou shall not covet?" The perverted law of the Pharisees? The "fence"? No, Jews died to the law that contained the 10 commandments! If not, please tell me which "law" is the subject of this verse, which taught, "You shall not covet."
Likewise, revisiting the above verses, which "law" established the priesthood, ordained the sacrifices, offered promises? Was this the fence?
... Furthermore, you seem to wish to have your cake and eat it too, when you say this:
Paul constantly battles his flesh in this context to show that by living in the Spirit one is free from the "letter" of the torah (which first and foremost identified Paul's sins) and that man can now live "apart from the law" by living a life that is not condemned by the "law". The battle that rages on in Paul is that of his flesh vs. his spirit. "I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin." (Romans 7:25)
Now please do continue on into the next chapter: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do no walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2)
God condemns sin in the flesh, but sending his son (8:3), that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (8:4).
The law of Moses justified only those who kept it perfectly:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them." (Galatians 3:10-12)
Obviously I accept that the "just lived by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4
). Even in the Old Law, they were not redeemed by their faith according
to the Old Law. Only Jesus' sacrifice atoned for their sins by their faith, not by their observance of the Old Law (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:15
). If you accept that, then you accept a change
in the Old Law, a new form of justification, which must be according to a new covenant and a new law, which means the Old Law must have been fulfilled; otherwise, you are cherry picking.
I hope you see now why I pick certain points to which I respond. It is not to avoid or change the issue, but rather, I am seeking to crystallize and precipitate the central, fundamental, and key issue. Jesus had a divine knack for driving to the heart of all issues in an incredibly concise and perceptive way. I suggest we try
to do the same - not bludgeon each other to death with mountains of email. Can we identify and focus on the key issue? To me, the key issue is, "Is the OT abolished?" If so, in what way does it persist? What is the New Law? etc.
I did not even realize these points were under discussion. Maybe I overlooked them?
Now, as for my actual topic of discussion in the email which you failed to address:
1. Please verify your understanding of the words used to represent the "circumcised" within the scriptures (in both texts) and I will elaborate further on this point of the discussion later.
2. You have nonetheless strayed from the major focus of the discussion, which was the origins of "Christianity". Have you no comment whatsoever on my attachments as presented? Or is this topical shift a "red herring" to avoid the topic completely?
Regardless, unless these points somehow undermine the passages above, about the law of Moses, I do not see how they are relevant. If you want to pursue them, you will have to make it more germane.
3. What "law" is it exactly that you claim to follow that makes you feel that you are not lawless? For it is said...and I READ:
1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
In I John 2
, who is the "him", who is "known" and "commands" in the context?
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (I John 2:1-5)
Please note that Jesus is our propitiation and the substantive for most of the masculine third person pronouns in this text. Jesus, He is the propitiation for our sins. Jesus was the One who spoke to us. He is the one who demonstrated the "walk". He is the one, whose commands. i.e., law, we are to obey. This harmonizes with the teaching of a second law, Christ's law, as explained above.
Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Jesus was a Jew, as was this man (he knew the commandments). They both lived before the cross; therefore, they were obligated to keep the commands as Jews. This has no bearing on people who lived after the cross (Romans 7:1-7
I look forward to hearing from you, as you have time.
May God help us to have a sincere love of truth - my prayer and my aim,