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Did Christ Abolish the Law of Moses?

Texts: Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 16:16-17

Meaning of Words:

  1. Greek – to destroy – to loose down – 17 times in NT

  2. The term can carry the extended meaning of “to overthrow,” i.e., to “render vain, deprive of success.” In classical Greek, it was used in connection with institutions, laws, etc., to convey the idea of “to deprive of force” or to “invalidate.”

  3. Greek – to abolish - In addition to the points listed above, Paul clearly argues, in his letter to the Ephesians, that the “law of commandments contained in ordinances” was “abolished” by the death of Jesus upon the cross (Ephesians 2:14-15). The Greek term for “abolished” is katargeo, literally suggesting the idea of reducing something to a state of inactivity. Unplug a TV from the power outlet – it is abolished, reduced to inactivity, lost it ability to function.

  4. Greek – Jot / Tittle – Jesus plainly said that not one “jot or tittle” (representative of the smallest markings of the Hebrew script) would pass away until all was fulfilled. Consequently, nothing of the law was to fail until it had completely accomplished its purpose.

  5. Destroy = remove its force, render vain, invalidate

  6. Abolish = reduce to inactivity

  7. Neither word means to annihilate, totally destroy, completely erase from existence

  8. The two “tills” in this passage

    1. Till heaven and earth pass away

    2. Till the law's purpose is fulfilled

    3. NOTE: If it is NOT fulfilled – it is still in effect. If it is fulfilled – then it will be destroyed, rendered vain, removed from force or power

IF the Law of Moses has not been fulfilled:

  1. If not done away – not fulfilled.

  2. If not fulfilled – Law is still in force – animal sacrifices, feast days, atonement, Passover

  3. Most arguments for the Law of Moses are of two:

    1. Moral vs. Ceremonial – Moral = 10 Commandments; Ceremonial = Exodus – Deuteronomy

      1. It is ALL or nothing

      2. Galatians 5:3 – bind one point = bound to keep ALL of the law

      3. Keep whole law, offend 1 point = guilty of all – James 2:10

    2. Carry over – 10 Commandments were “carried over” into the New Testament

    3. Both of these arguments are answered in the next section

Scriptures that show the Law Ended

  1. Amos 8:5, 9-10 – When will the Sabbath be gone?

  2. 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 – Law written and graven in stone (10 Commandments)

  3. Ephesians 2:14-17

  4. Colossians 2:14-17

  5. Romans 7:6-7 – Law includes “You shall not covet” - (10 Commandments)

  6. Jeremiah 31:31-34 – Law written at Mt. Sinai

Were parts of Law of Moses carried over to the New Covenant?

  1. No. All was done away.

  2. All in NT is NEW

  3. Old = physical – murder, adultery, steal

  4. New = mental – hate, lust, covet


  1. The harmony between Matthew 5:17-18, and Ephesians 2:15, is this: The purpose of the law of Moses was never to come to naught; its original design would be perpetual. On the other hand, as a legal code, it would be abolished, being canceled by the Savior’s sacrificial death (cf. Colossians 2:14ff.).

  2. And so, a consideration of all the facts leads only to the conclusion that Matthew 5:17 does not afford any support to those who maintain that the observance of the sabbath day is a divinely-required obligation for this age.


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