Did Jesus Ever Break The Law of Moses?
Kenneth E. Thomas

October 23, 2001

   I have known of brethren who have answered in the affirmative to the question above. I answer in the negative. He was the only one ever to live up to the letter of the Mosaical law which was why He was the only perfect "man" ever to have lived (Philippians 2:5-11; John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Peter 2:22).

   The gospel accounts of the life, death, burial, resurrection and exaltation of Christ were a prelude to the "then coming kingdom" among men and all took place under the Law of Moses or the Old Testament dispensation under which Jesus lived and died.

Jesus Came To Fulfill Not To Destroy The Law

   Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. 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. Whosoever (prior to the giving of Christ's new law ket) therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, he will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven"(Matthew 5:17-20). Note that this is written prior to the coming of the kingdom of Christ. Prior to His exaltation to the Father's right hand as both Lord and Christ. The "gospel of the kingdom" that Christ and his chosen apostles preached was a preparatory gospel as was the baptism they practiced, anticipating the actual coming of the kingdom (Mark 1:14; Luke 4:43; Luke 8:1; Luke 9:2). If "one jot or tittle" has passed from the law then all of the law has passed away and has given way to the "last will and testament of our Lord and Savior, Jeus Christ." Those who would bind portions of the law of Moses today, become "debtors to keep the whole law" and unless they can do so perfectly they cannot expect to be blessed of God almighty (Galatians 5:3-4).

Go Show Yourself To The Priests

   When Jesus used His powers to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers etc., he was careful to instruct those people to follow the procedures laid down under the Law of Moses (Luke 17:11-16). Jesus was doing as John his forerunner had done, preparing the Jews for the coming kingdom (Matthew 3:1-3; Matthew 4:12-17). Each time Jesus said, "You have heard it said by those of olden times...but I say unto you..."(Matthew 5:21). He was anticipating the coming of His kingdom and the new law as was prophesied that would guide kingdom citizens (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:1-13).

   We have long recognized that "a testament is of force after men are dead" in the case of the penitent thief whom Jesus saved while hanging on the cross, knowing that He being "God with us" (Matthew 1:23), had the "power of earth to forgive sins" (Matthew 9:6; Hebrews 9:15-17). Why do you suppose it is that many have such a difficult time understanding this when it comes to the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage? Jesus' teachings anticipated the time when His new law would be in force and He was merely returning the laws on MDR to what God had always intended from the very beginning but due to man's hardness of heart and since the perfect law of liberty was then not as yet given, He suffered long with both man's hardness of heart and insufficient knowledge in the Gentile's case (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:1-9; Acts 17:30).

Interestingly Jesus Taught Nicodemus About The
"New Birth" of The Water and of The Spirit (John 3:3-5).

   Was Jesus admonishing Nicodemus to be baptized into His kingdom before His kingdom came into existence? Certainly not-but He did teach how men would "see and enter" said kingdom after it had been established. He said these things in anticipation of the coming kingdom obviously. When Peter preached on Pentecost he gave the meaning to what Jesus had said to this "ruler of the Jews" as to how to be "born again into the kingdom" when he told believers to "repent and be baptized...for the remission of your sins..."(Acts 2:22-38, 40-41, 47). These matters seem to me to be quite clear unless one is prejudiced by an agenda of some kind thereby blinding one to the simple truths of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; John 8:31-32; John 12:48; Matthew 5:6; John 7:17).

We Have Been Given A Brand New Law

   A "new" not a warmed over or brought over law was prophesied. This new law was not to be like the one given to Israel as we have noted already from (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:1-13). There is much in the "new law" that was also in the Old one. That should not be surprising since we learn that Jesus is the same "yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Due to God's nature being unchangeable, and because man's nature hasn't changed, certain moral principles will not change regardless of the law under which a people may be living. Nine of the ten commandments that are found in the decalogue may be found in the New Testament with even a greater emphasis than was true under the old Testament where they were originally spoken and later written down on tables of stone by the finger of God (Exodus 20:1-17; Exodus 31:18; Romans 13:8-10). Absent from the decalogue is the fourth commandment regarding the Sabbath observance since Christ's New Law places the emphasis on the first day of the week, the day He was resurrected rather than the seventh day which was bound first on Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). The Sabbath was a sign between God and Israel in memory of their deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Deuteronomy 5:1-6).

A New High Priest And A New Priesthood

   The Hebrew writer spoke of the High priesthood of Jesus Christ with no one before him or after him as was true of Melchizedek. Jesus being from the tribe of Judah according to the flesh (Hebrews 7:14); Would not have qualified to be a priest under the Old Testament Law of Moses. In Hebrews 7:12 he wrote, "For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law." He did not say a partial change. He said a "change of the law." The Old Law was said to have been "nailed to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). It ended provisionally when Jesus died on Calvary. It ended in reality when the Son of God was exalted to the Father's right hand on David's throne in heaven and when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles in Jerusalem, Palestine on Pentecost fifty days after Jesus was crucified (Daniel 7:13-14; Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; Acts 2:22-37).

   There is no such thing as a partial removal of the Law of Moses. No such idea as a separation between the "Moral" and the "Ceremonial" parts of the law with one being nailed to the cross and the other remaining. While there are indeed portions of the law that speak to moral matters and others to ceremonial, nothing is said about one being nailed to the cross while the other remains. The whole of the Law of Moses was abrogated when "all was fulfilled" (Luke 24:44; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18). For one to attempt justification today by "law keeping" is to fall from grace (Galatians 5:1-4). No one is justified by "law" strictly speaking. All law does is show one how badly one needs a Savior for the forgiveness of one's sins.

   Since none seem able to keep law perfectly for justification (Acts 15:10), we must look to grace and forgiveness through the means made possible by the only perfect one, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who was "the end of the law.." or that to which the law pointed (Romans 10:4) for our justification. Today we are made righteous through forgiveness in the blood of the sinless Son of God via the gospel not through perfect law keeping (Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 16:15-16). When man by faith meets the terms Christ set forth in the Great Commission and yields his life to King Jesus in gospel obedience, one is made righteous through forgiveness in His blood (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:22-38,40-41, 47). There is no room for boasting since we have simply accepted God's free gift on the terms of the gospel. He takes away our sins and considers us righteous through forgiveness (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:3-5; Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:26-29). Have you accepted God's gift on His terms found in the New and Perfect Law of liberty (James 1:25)?

Ken Thomas

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