Did Christ Abolish the Law of Moses?
Texts: Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 16:16-17
Meaning of Words:
Greek – to destroy – to loose down – 17 times in NT
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.”
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.
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.
Destroy = remove its force, render vain, invalidate
Abolish = reduce to inactivity
Neither word means to annihilate, totally destroy, completely erase from existence
The two “tills” in this passage
Till heaven and earth pass away
Till the law's purpose is fulfilled
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:
If not done away – not fulfilled.
If not fulfilled – Law is still in force – animal sacrifices, feast days, atonement, Passover
Most arguments for the Law of Moses are of two:
Moral vs. Ceremonial – Moral = 10 Commandments; Ceremonial = Exodus – Deuteronomy
It is ALL or nothing
Galatians 5:3 – bind one point = bound to keep ALL of the law
Keep whole law, offend 1 point = guilty of all – James 2:10
Carry over – 10 Commandments were “carried over” into the New Testament
Both of these arguments are answered in the next section
Scriptures that show the Law Ended
Amos 8:5, 9-10 – When will the Sabbath be gone?
2 Corinthians 3:7-18 – Law written and graven in stone (10 Commandments)
Romans 7:6-7 – Law includes “You shall not covet” - (10 Commandments)
Jeremiah 31:31-34 – Law written at Mt. Sinai
Were parts of Law of Moses carried over to the New Covenant?
No. All was done away.
All in NT is NEW
Old = physical – murder, adultery, steal
New = mental – hate, lust, covet
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.).
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.