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17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18For 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.
19Whosoever 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 whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
-- Matthew 5:17-19 (KJV)

Jesus said He did not come to abolish the Law, and until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law until all is accomplished. Given that all of the prophesies about Jesus have not yet been fulfilled, on what Biblical basis can the Church teach that the Law was nailed to the cross?

Verse 19 is a clear warning against breaking the commandments and teaching others to so do. What, then, is the scholarly justification for the Church's annulment of many/most of the commandments?

There is a conflict between what Jesus taught, and what the Church teaches concerning the Law.

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  • Possible duplicate of What does it mean for Jesus to fulfill the law? Dec 30 '18 at 22:21
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    The 'biblical basis' of teaching that the Law was nailed to the cross is that it is in the bible - Colossians 2:14. I am uncertain as to what you are asking.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 30 '18 at 23:08
  • I'll assume that by "Church" you mean the Roman Catholic Church. The statement "There is a conflict between what Jesus taught, and what the Church teaches" is generally true, not only for this one specific case. The Church unapologetically allows its sacred tradition and divine revelation through the Pope to override sacred scripture. "Without the Catholic Church’s teaching authority, we would not know with certainty which purported books of Scripture are authentic. If the Church revealed to us the canon of Scripture, it can also reveal to us the “canon of Tradition” ..." Mar 4 '19 at 2:10
  • I guess @RayButterworth raises a valid point. What, exactly, do you mean by "the Church"? Roman Catholics would have one view, Eastern Orthodox another, non-Chalcedonian Orthodox yet another, and Protestants still others.
    – user33515
    Apr 17 '19 at 17:15
  • @RayButterworth That's simply not true. There is no doctrine or belief in the Catholic faith about the pope being able to override ANYTHING from divine revelation. Just because you interpret something in unwritten tradition as contrary to written tradition, doesn't mean it actually is. I can show you thousands of supposed contradictions between the NT and the NT, or the OT and the NT. You'll deny they're real for the same reason we will deny the contradictions you put forth are real. Jun 17 at 16:28
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Matthew 5:17-19; Given that all of the prophecies about Jesus have not yet been fulfilled, on what Biblical basis can the Church teach that the Law was nailed to the cross?

Paul's words in Romans 10:4 help us to see the matter clearly:

For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness. (bold mine)

In Hebrews chapter 8, Paul explains that the Law had to end in order for the new covenant as prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-14):

In his saying “a new covenant,” he has made the former one obsolete. Now what is obsolete and growing old is near to vanishing away.-Hebrews 8:13 (bold mine)

Prior to Jesus, no human could fulfill the Law. (Romans 3:23) It wasn't until Jesus died could the Law be fulfilled:

That is why he is a mediator of a new covenant, in order that because a death has occurred for their release by ransom from the transgressions under the former covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance.-Hebrews 9:15 (bold mine)

[All scripture quotations from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)]

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I’ll address your question “Given that all of the prophesies about Jesus have not yet been fulfilled, on what Biblical basis can the Church teach that the Law was nailed to the cross?” from the perspective of your quoted text in Matthew 5. All quoted verses KJV.

Nigel is correct, your question references Colossians chapter 2 verse 14:

14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us. He took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;

The context of Colossians 2, most notably verses 16, 20-22, tells you unequivocally that the “handwriting of ordinances” is the Law of Moses.

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 20 Therefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to its ordinances 21 (“Touch not, taste not, handle not,” 22 which all are to perish with the using), according to the commandments and doctrines of men?

So the text is clear that Jesus took the requirements of the Law of Moses (including the commandments) and nailed them to His cross and took them out of the way for all of us who believe by faith.

However, I understand by your post that you believe there is a conflict between the apparent teachings of Jesus and the clear teaching of the NT scripture and the Apostle Paul when he clearly teaches that the law has been taken out of the way. I believe the “conflict” may be in the way you look at the words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 5.

From your post, it is clear that you believe that since Jesus said that He did not come to destroy the law and not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law until all has been fulfilled, that means that the law is still a requirement for the believer today. I believe you misunderstand Jesus’ purpose for and method of teaching the law.

Jesus taught the law better than any human scholar. The question is for what purpose did He teach it? Jesus taught the law to convict everyone of sin especially those who denied their own sin. His audience always included the religious leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, etc) of His day. Those religious leaders all believed that as long as they kept the Law of Moses they would avoid sin and thereby be acceptable to God. Jesus sought to convict these religious self righteous people by teaching the gravity of keeping the Law of Moses. Jesus elevated the keeping of the law to become unattainable for any human being. Jesus taught the law to convict everyone who heard it of their sin for no one can keep the Law of Moses.

If you look at the Sermon on the Mount again, you will see a pattern, You will see Jesus starts out with what everyone understood about the law (do not murder, do not commit adultery, etc) but then he raises the bar to become unattainable for any human. He states it’s not just the murder, it’s about hating or being angry with your brother; it’s just not the actual adultery but it's also lusting. He brings the actual commandment from being just an external action to an internal motivation and emotion. No one can pass this test.

Jesus’ intention was to teach the law in such a way as to make it impossible for anyone to think they are without sin. That’s why He stated in Matthew 5:20, “that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven”. Anyone who heard that understood that He meant that no one can enter Heaven on their own. This is why Jesus also taught, “come to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

A perfect example of Jesus using the Sermon on the Mount to convince the Pharisees that the Law of Moses could not save them was the example of divorce in Matthew 5: 31 and 32. In these verses, Jesus appears to contradict the Law of Moses which clearly allows divorce. Here in Matthew 5, Jesus states that divorce is sinful. This teaching then spurred the Pharisees to confront Jesus about His teaching.

The Pharisees came to Jesus on two separate occasions (Matthew 19 and Mark 10) asking Him if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason. On both occasions, Jesus did not answer their question. Instead, He gave them evidence on how divorce was sinful. He stated that divorce was allowable by Moses (at God’s direction) because of the hardness of the hearts of men. (God allowed divorce so the woman could be cared for). However, Jesus also instructed them, that “from the beginning” this was not the case; God’s “original intention” was for one man – one woman for the duration of their lives. Any other situation would have been sinful.

So, we see that the reason that Jesus did not answer the Pharisees' question about the legality of divorce was that it was not a worthy question to answer. Of course, divorce was lawful as provided by the Law of Moses but that was not the point. The Pharisees were seeking to justify their divorces because they believed that as long as they acted in accordance with the law, that their behavior was not sinful. Jesus sought to convince them that their behavior, although in line with the Law of Moses, was still sinful. This is a perfect example of Jesus using the Law to convict the Pharisees of their sin which they always denied.

I’ll conclude with one other point regarding Matthew 5:18:

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.

Please remember that Jesus fulfilled every aspect of the Law of Moses so that’s why Paul could say in Romans 10:4:

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

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  • (1) Jesus taught the law to convict everyone who heard it of their sin for no one can keep the Law of Moses. (2) If you look at the Sermon on the Mount again, you will see a pattern, You will see Jesus starts out with what everyone understood about the law (do not murder, do not commit adultery, etc) but then he raises the bar to become unattainable for any human. Conclusion (1a) No human can keep the Law of Moses. (2a) No human can keep the Law of Jesus either, in fact it is even harder to keep than the Law of Moses. Question: are you sure? Jun 19 at 14:53
  • @MigueldeServet Not sure what question you're asking. If you're asking if I'm sure that no one can keep the Law of Moses, yes, I'm very sure for that's exactly what the Apostle Paul means when he says that "there is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10) and "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 and the Apostle James reminds us that "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10
    – alb
    Jun 19 at 15:20
  • Obviously I am askin whether I have understood your (2) correctly, because it seems to me that "he raises the bar to become unattainable for any human" entails my (2a) "No human can keep the Law of Jesus either, in fact it is even harder to keep than the Law of Moses". Once again, are you sure? Jun 19 at 15:30
  • @MigueldeServet What is the law of Jesus? I'm not familiar with that term.
    – alb
    Jun 19 at 15:31
  • @MigueldeServet Ok, I think I understand now. You see Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 as a new kind of law above and beyond the Law of Moses. That is not the case. Jesus’ words are a further explanation of the existing Law of Moses. Jesus just took the definition of the commandments and expanded them to incorporate what’s in your heart. No man can keep any law in order to become righteous before God. Jesus' mission was to dispense grace and mercy and do away with requirement to keep “any” law in order to be acceptable to God.
    – alb
    Jun 19 at 15:54

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