Monday, 6 January 2014

God's Overall Intentions for the Scriptures

The overall teaching of Jesus shows that He didn't intend for us today to observe Moses' Law. Which is just as well, seeing the hardware required to keep Moses' Law ceased to exist long ago (such as the altar, Temple and Levitical priesthood at Jerusalem, etc).

It's true Jesus upheld Moses' Law:

He was circumcised according to the Law;

He always obeyed and taught the Law in its true meaning;

He commanded a leper to go to the priests and offer for his cleansing the sacrifices which Moses commanded;

He warned against disobedience to the Law;

He warned that anyone who taught against even a small part of the Law risked being least in the kingdom of God.

He forbade the Apostles from preaching in any Gentile city;

He even said that He Himself was sent only to the Jews.

(During His 31/2 year ministry, Jesus functioned as a Prophet specifically to Jews who at that time were still under the Old Covenant.)

But that's not all Jesus came to say and accomplish. He spoke of changes and new things coming, such as:

A new covenant - no longer revolving around the Passover ritual as required by Moses' Law, but in His own blood;

A new manner of worship - no longer in Jerusalem as stipulated by Moses' Law, but in spirit and in truth;

A new scope - no longer strictly for Jews as delineated by Moses' Law, but for all nations.

So we see that Jesus didn't only uphold the Law - He also announced the Gospel, and died on the cross.

Yes He modelled and taught the true heart of the Law - for those who, at that time, were still under it. But in addition to that He also proceeded to die on the cross and to inaugurate a New Covenant which is for all nations. He spoke about all these things.

He predicted the demise of the Temple which had been an absolutely  necessary component in obeying Moses' Law - and the Temple was indeed destroyed soon afterwards. Obviously a different lifestyle than Moses' Law would be required then.

So here's the point: if we seek to obey Jesus' words today, it involves more than just taking isolated statements and incidences - it requires considering everything He had to say and accomplished. Otherwise we might mistake His intentions for us today!

Obeying Moses' Law from the heart was ideal preparation for the Jews of that time, to understand and believe the New Covenant as soon as it would come. Jesus was all for that. He fulfilled the Law and the Prophets on every point.

But neither Jesus, nor the Apostles, nor the Books of the Law, nor the Prophets meant or said that we today should be observing Moses' Law.

Christ accomplished something far greater - both for Jews, and for Gentiles.

This message is what Jesus called, the Gospel - the good news of the grace of God.

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