Jesus came to ? the law! - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-27-2004, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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O.k. all you biblical scholars, I need help. I was researching some NT verses for a poem that I am writing when I came across this verse:

Do not suppose that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to complete. Truly I tell you: so long as heaven and earth endure, not a letter, not a dot, will disappear from the law until all that must happen has happened. Anyone therefore who sets aside even the least of the law's demands, and teaches others to do the same, will ahve the lowest place in the kingdom of heaven, whereas anyone who keeps the law, and teaches others to do so, will rank high in the kingdom of Heaven....

Matthew 5:17-19

Ummm WHOA! This was a shocker for me because all I ever heard, and here other Christians say is that Jesus came to change the law, or that Christians are no longer obligated to obey the laws. When I say laws, btw, I mean the laws of the Torah. So what is going on here?
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Old 04-27-2004, 04:16 PM
 
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Christians are not obligated to keep the law. Jesus mentiones that we will still go to heaven and spend eternity with him even if we don't keep any of the law. He himself gave examples of breaking the law for higher good. From the beginning the law wasn't a certain set of rules but a way to set apart his people, and a gift for us that we might be able to draw closer to Him, be blessed on earth and be taken care of kept safe. So we won't go to hell for breaking the law, but by keeping it we will be set apart, blessed and cared for (as well as have the ability to care for others). Jesus was the fulfillment of the laws and I think it is safe to say he fulfilled certain laws about priests as go betweens (the curtain tearing and the Holy Spirit leaving the holy of holies) and sacrifice (he was the ultimate atoning sacrifice therefore we no longer need to continue making sacrifices).

Another thing to consider is when he said this:

"not a dot, will disappear from the law until all that must happen has happened. "

he may have been refering to his death and resurection and the resulting salvation as "all that must happen". After all until his resurection we were still held to the law. If that is the entirety of what he meant I still feel the law is usful, as it gives us insight into the character of God and what he wanted for his people. I make rule for my children because i love them and want what is best for them. SOme are to keep them safe, some of them are to grow moral character and some are to help them develope to thier fullest potential. A look at our family rules will give you some insight into our families character. When my children willing obey these rules, I feel loved. Even when they gridgingly follow them I know they at least trust me to know what is best for them. when we are working and living harmoniously with the laws we grow closer as a fmaily because there is little conflict (and yeah I have way over simplified this :LOL) Same with Gods law. He gave it for a purpose and following the law, while not our ticket to salvation, has many many benifits including being drawn into a closer realtionship with God (so long as we don't become enslaved to it. legalistic or hypocritical )

I hope my pratteling made sense. let me know if I need to clarify anything.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 04-27-2004, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks lilyka, but I was looking for more of a "scholarly" explanation. I mean more along the lines of some bible verses that refute it or why that one is or is not as reliable as others that contradict it, or why it is to be interpreted differently than how I am reading it based on history or.... I'm sorry if I'm not making myself clear here.

I am also very interested in understanding what "until what must happen has happened" means. I immediately thought of the day of judgement, or the rapture that some people believe in, is it pretty universal that this refers to the crucifixion?

Thanks.
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Old 04-27-2004, 05:10 PM
 
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The law was, in my understanding, a way for god to impose strict limts on life that showed each individual how short they came of god's standards, how incomplete they were as God originally created them. This in addition to seperating them from surrounding nations.
Jesus coming "fulfilled" the law, rather than abolished it. In fulfilling the law he (instead of the law) became the symbol of how short humans come to the original creation. Once it is fulfilled it is no longer a dire part of ones life, though that doesn't mean there can't be benefit to understanding it.
The best example I can come up with is a dream or wish... once that wish is fulfilled it is no longer a wish. It may be an important part of who you are- it may have been a life changing experience. But it is no longer a dream or wish, it is fact- life. Just as acting out a dream is fulfilling it, so was Jesus in the biblical perspective of his coming.

Also one might refer to the times Jesus said that the law could be summed up in the thought "love your neighbor as yourself" A law that required strict following can not be summed up so simply.
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Old 04-27-2004, 05:15 PM
 
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Romans 10:4 For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
There is another in Ephesians... I'll see what others I can find. The NT does say that one is no longer bound to the law.
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Old 04-27-2004, 08:11 PM
 
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Ephesians 2:11-20 is what I was thinking... that they even had to discuss circumcision shows they didn't consider themselves as christians bound by the mosaic law.
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mahdokht
O.k. all you biblical scholars, I need help. I was researching some NT verses for a poem that I am writing when I came across this verse:

Do not suppose that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to complete. Truly I tell you: so long as heaven and earth endure, not a letter, not a dot, will disappear from the law until all that must happen has happened. Anyone therefore who sets aside even the least of the law's demands, and teaches others to do the same, will ahve the lowest place in the kingdom of heaven, whereas anyone who keeps the law, and teaches others to do so, will rank high in the kingdom of Heaven....

Matthew 5:17-19

Ummm WHOA! This was a shocker for me because all I ever heard, and here other Christians say is that Jesus came to change the law, or that Christians are no longer obligated to obey the laws. When I say laws, btw, I mean the laws of the Torah. So what is going on here?
Jesus came first for the Jew then for the Gentile (Romans 1:16-17 (Habbakuk 2:4) 9:4-5). As Gentiles we have been adopted/grafted into the children of Abraham to whom the promise was made (Romans 11:11-32 (Isaiah 59:20,21; 27:9; Jeremiah 31:33,34)). As one of my favorite radio pastors says: Jesus loved the Pharisees that's why He was so hard on them. He could see that they were so close to getting it right.

Salvation is being in right relationship with God and it is possible with a Torah observant life. Look at Abraham. His believing God and having it counted unto Him as righteousness (Romans 4:3, 20-21) is the best example, but there is also David and the Prophets and Job. We respond to God in the way we understand Him--the more we learn the more is required (Romans 2:6-11). If we completely reject the idea of God and choose to make ourselves (or anything else) god in our lives then we are not in right relationship with God. Being "born again" is what comes from understanding and accepting what Jesus did on the cross (Romans 10:4).

This is why I believe that the proverbial tribesperson living in a forest someplace who has never heard of Jesus but has responded to God by not worshipping the tree but seeking to know the Creator of the tree will be "saved" (Romans 1:20; 2:13-16) even if no nice friendly missionary drops by for a visit. But if that tribesperson does hear the message of Jesus, s/he will respond positively to it because it's what they've been doing all along.
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:54 AM
 
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OK, you've hard what some believers believe and what a radio preacher preaches.

I speak as a non-believing but seeking biblical junior scholar.

The canon in the modern Xtian bible is incomplete. The Catholic founders threw out dozens of other Xtian gospels, acts and apocalypses.

The canon we do have, including all the letters of Paul (originally gnostic/docetic), have been heavily edited, and redacted (changed or "corrected") by later Catholic bishops/scribes. They are confusing b/c they come from differing viewpoints. In the 1st and 2nd cent CE, there were many different kinds of Xtianities. The bishops in the 2nd-4th cent tried in some ways to consolidate it all, to form a united front against persection by the Emperors of Rome.

Then, Emperor Constantine (4th cent) finally decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and put his spin of what was "real" about Xtianity, what would be allowed, what would be burnt, who would be persecuted as heretics.

The Bible is confusing b/c there are still so many different voices. Paul, who said there is no Jew or Greek, no man or woman, in Christ, seems to contradict himself when he says a woman must submit to the man. He also says a woman must cover her head when she prays or prophesies in church, but in another place says she must keep silent in church. That is b/c several different people/commitees made these statements and it is all erroneously counted as one voice.

Your Matthew 5:17 is just one example out of hundreds.
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Old 04-28-2004, 04:46 PM
 
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DaryLLL, what is a 'biblical junior scholar'?
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Old 04-28-2004, 04:47 PM
 
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oops, double post.

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Old 04-28-2004, 11:07 PM
 
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In my case, you know, no history or theology degrees, just 3-4 yrs of home study.

Following a near lifetime of interest in general comparative religion/mythology.

And art history.

And psychology.
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Old 04-30-2004, 12:03 AM
 
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OK. I usually don't reply in these forums for fear of the flame, but here goes...

IMNSHO, the problem is that most Christians haven't read the whole of their Bibles or really paid much attention... catholic Christianity (that's a small c...not Roman Catholic specifically) does believe that Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it. That verse in Matthew is not "not as reliable as others" it's actually pretty central to the Christian faith. Jesus is seen as the one who did what no other human was able to do--to live the law as it was meant to be lived (yes the Torah). The last part of the verse is ambiguous (as much of Scripture is) and scholars will always debate what it means. Most reputable ones (imo) think that it does indeed refer to his crucifixion and resurrection. As to whether Christians are still bound to the law...I need some more time to think about it and form a thoughtful response, but I'll try later.

Peace.

btw, I spent 4 years of formal study in this area, if you are curious where my opinion comes from...
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Old 04-30-2004, 12:51 AM
 
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http://biblicalholidays.com/forum/

Here is a link to another discussion board where people are into this question, if you want to check it out. There is a lot of info out there on this, mostly on Messianic sites.

DH and I have been looking into this subject for a year, and it is confusing! We are currently attending a Messianic church on the Sabbath, as well as an Open Bible one on Sundays. The Messianic one believes we are under the law, and they are very knowledgable and informed about it. At Open Bible, most people have no clue, but it is assumed that we are not under the law.

My close friends believe we are not under the law, but can still benefit by following it, and that is where DH and I are right now. I'm not even sure there is a right answer... both sides can be so convincing on this topic!
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Old 05-16-2004, 05:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainbow
The law was, in my understanding, a way for god to impose strict limts on life that showed each individual how short they came of god's standards, how incomplete they were as God originally created them.

Also one might refer to the times Jesus said that the law could be summed up in the thought "love your neighbor as yourself" A law that required strict following can not be summed up so simply.

Ok, I disagree Easily said...now to explain.

God did not create man "incomplete". I'm not sure why you say that. God created man with free will. That is where the trouble comes in. We have a free will to decide what to believe. No one is forced to be believe one way or the other. And no one is forced to believe the same. In the Garden of Eden there was one rule...stay away from the tree. Adam and Eve didn't. That is where the problem lies. We were not created incomplete we were created with minds that allow us to choose. The law was a way for ppl to "draw near" if they did they did. If not, they didn't.

In the garden God walked and talked with Adam and Eve like we talk to our own family. It was once they chose sin that we became empty and incomplete. We weren't made that way to begin with.

As for "are we under the law"? Yes and No

Are we under the Old Testament Law, the law as it was before Christ? No. Christ came as the perfect sacrifice. He came as an intercesor to God. After his death a "new" law was given. It was given in the way of the great commision. "Go ye therefore..." (I know I'm leaving things out but I'm in a hurry...I'll have to clarify if need be...)

"love your neighbor as yourself"

Why is it more difficult than that? Yeah, I understand there is a lot more to "stuff". But why can't it be a simple thing? Who says that the Christian faith has to be difficult? It doesn't...we make it difficult. There is so much to interpretation that we make it difficult. Why can't the easiest explination be right?

I don't think that Christ came to question the law. I think he came to challenge us. Yes, I'm a monotheist and I belive there is one way to salvation. But I in no way have everything worked out. Part of the deal "in the day" was that the ppl got their "religion" from the Phairsees and the Scribes. The Scribes were very well versed in the law. They knew scripture and were focused on the "official translation" of the scriptures. They kept what they could keep secret secret from the every day person. I believe that part of what Christ was doing was trying to make the ppl think. Why do they belive one way or another. Why do they find it so important to ram the "law" down everyone's throat. I'm learning new things everyday. I'm questioning truth everyday. I think there are issues that are not important that some churches would split over.

The real issue is...what was the point of the law and what did Christ fulfill or not fulfill. What is still hanging out there.... kwim?

Single Mom to 2 amazing little men. T(7) and B(5)
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Old 05-17-2004, 05:16 PM
 
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Darylll, this may have been mentioned before, as I am fairly new to posting here and could have missed it, but as a Christian I find it offensive to see the shortened version "xtian" when I'm reading your posts. Same as "xmas" -taking Christ out of the word. I'm sure you aren't doing it to be; but just thought I'd point out that this bothers me, of course maybe I'm the only one it bothers.
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Old 05-17-2004, 07:29 PM
 
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I always thought the 'X' stood for the Greek word for Christ. "Xristos"?
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Old 05-17-2004, 08:36 PM
 
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Do not mean to offend. I post here so much and type it so often, the shorthand does save me time.

X is chi in Greek, P is ro, the first 2 letters of Christos. The Xtian Scriptures were written in Greek, so this is a common way to abbreviate Christ or Christian. It does not mean we are x-ing out Christ. At all.
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Old 05-17-2004, 11:51 PM
 
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I wondered if it was something like that, it was just hard for me to see! Thanks for the explanation. It will take me awhile to get over not seeing Christ though!

Jenny
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Old 05-18-2004, 12:00 AM
 
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thats why some of us are Messianic

Because Yshua did not come to change or abolish the law. He came to fulfill it. To complete it. Because nothing can negate G-ds law and His covenant. Nor would Yshua/Jesus ever desire to negate G-ds law.

I heartily recommend reading the biblical holidays board Faith posted above for those who are really interested in this. I'm learning so much from them. i also debate/discuss with my Christian sisters on gentle mothering on occasion, mostly in pm's about what Torah observancy or lack thereof means to Christ followers whether they are jewish/messianic or grafted into the vine
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Old 05-19-2004, 05:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by its_our_family
Ok, I disagree Easily said...now to explain.

God did not create man "incomplete". I'm not sure why you say that. God created man with free will. That is where the trouble comes in. We have a free will to decide what to believe. No one is forced to be believe one way or the other. And no one is forced to believe the same. In the Garden of Eden there was one rule...stay away from the tree. Adam and Eve didn't. That is where the problem lies. We were not created incomplete we were created with minds that allow us to choose. The law was a way for ppl to "draw near" if they did they did. If not, they didn't.

In the garden God walked and talked with Adam and Eve like we talk to our own family. It was once they chose sin that we became empty and incomplete. We weren't made that way to begin with.

As for "are we under the law"? Yes and No

Are we under the Old Testament Law, the law as it was before Christ? No. Christ came as the perfect sacrifice. He came as an intercesor to God. After his death a "new" law was given. It was given in the way of the great commision. "Go ye therefore..." (I know I'm leaving things out but I'm in a hurry...I'll have to clarify if need be...)

"love your neighbor as yourself"

Why is it more difficult than that? Yeah, I understand there is a lot more to "stuff". But why can't it be a simple thing? Who says that the Christian faith has to be difficult? It doesn't...we make it difficult. There is so much to interpretation that we make it difficult. Why can't the easiest explination be right?

I don't think that Christ came to question the law. I think he came to challenge us. Yes, I'm a monotheist and I belive there is one way to salvation. But I in no way have everything worked out. Part of the deal "in the day" was that the ppl got their "religion" from the Phairsees and the Scribes. The Scribes were very well versed in the law. They knew scripture and were focused on the "official translation" of the scriptures. They kept what they could keep secret secret from the every day person. I believe that part of what Christ was doing was trying to make the ppl think. Why do they belive one way or another. Why do they find it so important to ram the "law" down everyone's throat. I'm learning new things everyday. I'm questioning truth everyday. I think there are issues that are not important that some churches would split over.

The real issue is...what was the point of the law and what did Christ fulfill or not fulfill. What is still hanging out there.... kwim?

No, according to the bible God did not create man incomplete. But the first human pair had the ability of perfection, which is something we lost when they of their own free will violated God's laws. You and I, according to the bible, no longer have the ability of perfection. Which is what I meant when I said "how incomplete they were as God originally created them. " I should have said "compared to how God originally created them". Does that clear up what I was saying?

As for the law, and being summed up- I really don't think the mosaic law could be summed up and followed in as simple a term as saying "love your neighbor" because the ritualistic aspects of the mosaic law really aren't included in the "love your neighbor" summary. Many of them are mroe private commands that are between you and God. If you said "love your neighbor as yourself" You wouldn't get the idea that you had to keep kosher, kwim? The Jewish law can't be summed up in that one sentence, which is why I used it as an example that Jesus no longer expected people to be under that law.

Mind you this is coming from an ex-christian agnostic- so it is likely people may not agree with me
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