Till all be Fulfilled
aymon de albatrus
"17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Mat 5:17-18)
"And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one pronunciation mark of the law to fail." (Luk 16:17)
It is believed by many that Christ came to do away with the Law of God. The commandments they say were nailed to the cross. They teach that the commandments are a burden and some even go as far as saying that the law is evil. On the other hand many say that the commandments are still valid and we are to keep them.
Even an initial hurried survey of the 10 Commandments clearly shows that the last six are definitely even upheld by our secular ungodly legal system. Indeed, for example, who can honestly say that the sixth commandment "Thou shalt not murder" is done away with? These six commandments are clearly still with us, thus even a cursory scrutiny of these six commandments proves that the Law (summarised in these 10 C) is still en force, and certainly it will be active till there is someone alive in the flesh.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. Our Saviour was just entering on His work. It was important for Him to state what He came to do. In setting Himself up as a teacher in opposition to the Scribes and Pharisees, He may be charged with intention to destroy the Law, and abolish the customs and traditions of the nation. Therefore He told them that He did not come for that, but really to fulfil or accomplish what was in the Law and the Prophets about Him. The Law are the five books of Moses, and the Prophets are the books, which the prophets wrote. These two divisions here are meant to comprehend the Old Testament and Jesus says that he did not come to do away or destroy its authority, but He referred to It continually to validate His actions, and so did His Apostles after His death, fully into the NT.
I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. He came to complete the design; to fill up what was predicted, to accomplish what God intended. The word, fulfill, also, means sometimes to teach or inculcate, (Col 1:25). The Law contained many sacrifices and rites which were designed to shadow forth the Messiah, (Heb 9:1-28). These were fulfilled when He came and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to God, for all times, in favour of His people for whom he ever lives to intercede now in Heaven. (Heb 7:25)
Till heaven and earth pass. This expression denotes that the law never should be destroyed till it should be all fulfilled. It is the same as saying, everything else may change—the very earth and heaven may pass away—but the law of God shall not be destroyed, till its whole design shall be accomplished. Have earth and Heaven passed away? Methinks, not yet.
one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. The expression, "one jot or tittle," is proverbial, and means that not even the smallest part of the Law can be destroyed. The Jews were exceedingly cautious in writing these letters, and considered the smallest change or omission a reason for destroying the whole manuscript when they were transcribing the Old Testament. Jesus here uses this very well known expression to emphasis the point that the Law is perfect and cannot be destroyed: "The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple." (Psa 19:7)
The law is the certain and unchangeable will of God concerning reasonable creatures, and it shall never be altered in the least tittle, nor ever be abolished. With this our beloved Lord is saying that we can be sure He did not come into the world upon such errand.
The Law in the Pentateuch was commonly divided into moral, ceremonial, and judicial laws:
The moral laws are such as grow out of the nature of things, which cannot, therefore, be changed—such as the duty of loving God and his creatures. These cannot be abolished as it can never be made right to hate God, or to hate our fellow-men. Of this kind are the ten commandments; and these our Saviour has neither abolished nor superseded. This is a moral law, and cannot be changed. Those laws requiring love and obedience to God, and love to men, could not be changed, and Christ Jesus did not do that, but confirmed the moral law as unchanged. (Mat 19:19; 22:37-39 Luk 10:27; Rom 13:9)
The ceremonial laws are such as are appointed to meet certain states of society, or to regulate the religious rites and ceremonies of a people. These can be changed when circumstances are fulfilled. A general may command his soldiers to appear sometimes in a red coat, and sometimes in blue, or in yellow; this would be a ceremonial law. The ceremonial law was fulfilled by the sacrifice of Christ, on the cross: the shadow was absorbed in the substance, and ceased to be binding in that form. The ceremonial laws and animal sacrifices for atoning sins ceased to have any use on earth when Jesus the God/man paid on the cross for an atonement of infinite value for His people and He ever lives to intercede for them: "Why he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come to God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them." (Heb 7:25) Thus, in effect the ceremonial law still exists, but in Heaven performed by Christ Himself.
The judicial laws, or those regulating courts of justice, contained in the Old Testament. The judicial law regulated the courts of justice of the Jews and adapted to their own civil society. These were the application of the moral laws, e.g. summarised in the 10 commandments, as they should be in our society. The judicial law are the practical implementation of the moral laws and therefore not done away with, for the peaceful order of society. For example, if God commands the death penalty for murder, in His moral laws, that should be still applied. If the magistrates do not do that, they are negligent and rebellious setting themselves up over and against God, the Almighty Sovereign.
Surely we all agree that Heaven and earth are still here, obviously, so we can be pretty sure that the Law is intact, if we are to believe the words of our Master Jesus Christ: "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one pronunciation mark of the law to fail." (Luk 16:17)
If He had came to do away with His Father’s commandments why did He gave this answer to one who asked Him directly what one had to do to gain eternal life: "….. keep the commandments" (Mat 19:17,18) Surely if He had come to destroy the Law there was the perfect opportunity to say: "all you have to do is believe in Me without considering the Commandments".
Jesus did not say anything about doing away with the commandments in fact He confirmed them and expanded them: "Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Mat 5:19-21)
Christ knew very well of this type of twisting the Law and warned those who were doing away with the Law of God were in fact worshipping Him in vain: "However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mar 7:7-9)
Taking the words of Jesus in (Mat 5:18), can anyone honestly say that the Law has been taken away? Surely, NO way? The Law is certainly still valid and applicable to all, from the beginning till the end of time, without a tittle changing. The difference in the NT is that the sacrifice of Christ, has been inserted by God between the believers (His elect) and the Law and Himself. This way His Law remains intact, perfectly satisfied by Grace through the Holy Blood of Christ Jesus, shed for His own, who are singing a new song, saying, "And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;" (Rev 5:9)
The Law is applicable to ALL, but for the believers His Grace is interposed between their sins and God, thus they are justified in front of God for He "sees" the justified sinner through the blood of Jesus, that is Grace for them. Moreover, Jesus continually intercedes for their sins through His Holy Blood shed once for all (Heb 7:25). The Law is now written in the hearts of the believers (Eze 36:25,26,27) and they now have a new nature, which enables them to satisfy Jesus' command: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (Joh 14:15)
Moreover: "knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers," (1 Timothy 1:9) demonstrated clearly that the Law is in full activity, especially for the non believers, for they are not covered by the precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The non-believers, the pagan, the heathen do not seek God, at all, and the Law is applied directly to them and It is satisfied in their condemnation to Hell. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36 )
Here is then the scriptural difference between the Law and Grace:
The Law tries to restrain the passions of the flesh,
Grace puts to death on the cross what is carnal and says: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20)
The Law is absolutely necessary for the Justice of God and for His Grace. To fulfil His Justice; otherwise on what basis God would be able to condemn evil, Him being Righteous. And on what basis can He grant Grace since without Law there is no sin (Rom 5:13), in that case Grace would be meaningless. Praise God in the highest for His mercy, for we believers are not under the direct curse of the Law (still active) but we are shielded and fully Justified by Jesus Christ who is our Grace and our Peace with God: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ". (Rom 5:1) A huge Amen to that, AMEN.
In answer to the first phrase of this article, the Law is NOT evil, but good: "Why the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (Rom 7:12), for it is our schoolmaster to take us to salvation in Jesus Christ: "Why the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal 3:24)
Yes we are to keep the Law, but NOT in the sense that by keeping It we are saved, for no one is good enough to keep It and if we fail in one commandment we have failed in all. "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (Jam 2:10) We are to keep It (assisted by the Holy Ghost) in the sense of doing good works that our Lord has prepared for us before the beginning of time: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph 2:10)
We conclude then that the Law has not passed away, for it is part and parcel of the eternal working of God and that Jesus came to fulfil the requirements of the Law for the benefit of His Own and by which we are: Called, Justified and Sanctified and Saved: "29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 Moreover whom he did predestined, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:29-31)
The Lord of Grace is glorified in our hearts, forever and ever, and ever, ….. whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Rom 8:15)