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Galatians 3:13 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it has been written: "Cursed is everyone hanging on a tree"--

Paul charges people to obey the whole law if they were deliberately circumcised as a Jew apostate. Wasn't Christ's death on the cross the end of the old priesthoods (excluding the Melchizedek priesthood)?

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  • You meant Jew convert or prosilyte not apostate. The law has ended and no longer valid covenant, that's exactly why Paul commands against falling to that dead law coz it won't benefit them anyway. The argument is not as if the curse of disobeying Torah has ended. But that they will fall into a strict burdensome law anyway which is not even gonna justify them.
    – Michael16
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 5:38
  • Read my ans here hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/13870/…
    – Michael16
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 5:46
  • You mean why didn't christ take away curse of law
    – Michael16
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 6:06
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    Where are we told that Christ ended the law?
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 8:41
  • See hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/47848/…
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 12:10

4 Answers 4

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There would be no need to take the curse of the law on the cross out if Jesus had already ended the law.

However, there is no evidence that Jesus every changed the law - Matt 5:17-18 - he was a Jew and sent to the Jews and only taught what had come before. See link for more details on Paul contradiction with Jesus and the law (only a snippet of the contradictions between Jesus and Paul). https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/78251/33268

Paul changed the law not Jesus Clear differences between the Apostles & Paul (who was never an apostle)

Galatians 1:6 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.

Gal 2:11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.

Unfortunately, we only have Pauls version of the story - but said little in front of the disciples in Acts 21:21-24 https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/78251/33268

How Could Peter be wrong?

Peter was filled with the HS - Acts 4:31 31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

Matthew 16:18 - 8 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Jews believe Jesus was a false prophet

Deut 21:22-23 - 22 If someone guilty of a capital offense is put to death and their body is exposed on a pole, 23 you must not leave the body hanging on the pole overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Due to the above Paul had to justify that the law no longer applied to Jesus.

Matt 14:50 Then everyone deserted Him and fled.
So not even the disciples know what really happened - was Jesus forsaken. He wasn't buried (put in a tomb is not buried like Jewish customs).

Was Jesus forsaken - https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/62632/33268

Conclusion - As stated at the beginning Jesus never stated that he came to change the law or preached anything different to what had come before. Paul made things up after Jesus that's why there were issues with the disciples.

Matt 7:23 22Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’

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  • Great answer, Jesus said he came to the lost sheep, Paul shifted it to the gentiles. The intention of Jesus was that he came only for the jews.
    – Kapandaria
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 15:41
  • but paul spoke on behalf of Christ. romans 7:4 again Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 1:21
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    @JasonCrockett That's what Paul says - always visions no evidence or third party accounts, like the 'Road to Damascus', even that is contradictive. His preaching his own Gospel Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 6:1) see: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/78251/33268 Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 10:40
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The OP's assumption that Jesus "ended the law" is problematic for a number of reasons. One is that Jewish Christians continued living in accordance with the Law of Moses, and according to Acts 21, Paul himself affirmed the correctness of this attitude:

James and all the elders were present... And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; they are all zealous for the law, and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law... Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them. (Acts 21:18-26)

Critical scholars often discount this report on the grounds that it goes against Paul's own attitude in Galatians. However if we accept Acts we cannot ignore it; and in any case it opens the question as to whether Paul was writing for Gentiles but not necessarily for Jews. Nowhere, even in is own letters does he challenge the custom of Jewish-Christians to adhere to the Law, except for Galatians 2, where the issue was table-fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers. However the attitude in that case was a matter of halakhic interpretation; for nowhere in the Torah is it forbidden for Jews to eat with non-Jews.

Conclusion: Paul did not teach that the Law had ended for Jews; indeed, the NT teaches that Paul affirmed by his own actions that the tradition of the Jerusalem Church, which still practiced the Law, was legitimate.

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  • paul did this in romans - romans 7:4 - you are dead to the law. its probably hidden by now, but it was taught. and Jesus did 'fulfill' it, probably in a different way to what a lot of people expect the meaning to be. after all, why did he say this in God breathed scripture on behalf of christ? Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 1:19
  • How then do you account for Acts 21 where Paul affirms that he does not teach Jews to give up the law of Moses? Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 1:29
  • then when did the law end, jews do not believe in a trinity Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 2:45
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The Law

Has the law ended?

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. (Matthew 5:18, KJV)

And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:17, KJV)

Have both heaven and earth passed? If so, then so has the law; if not, neither has the law.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Matthew 5:17, KJV)

This is important. Paul's writings have been often misunderstood and misinterpreted on this point, even by the most illustrious of theologians. Let's review two of those crucial texts.

The Ordinances

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15, KJV)

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (Colossians 2:14, KJV)

The "ordinances" were abolished--not the law (despite some spurious Bible translations having altered the message of these important verses, removing the key word "ordinances").

Throughout the Bible, the "ordinances" refer to ritual or ceremonial laws which had been instituted to build faith in God's people in the coming atonement that would be made for their sins. As they did not, prior to his advent, have the benefit of seeing Jesus' sacrifice for them, the sacrifices of animals, the sanctuary ceremonies, the feasts such as Passover--all these ceremonies, called "ordinances," pointed the faith of God's people toward their coming Messiah.

But when the Messiah had fulfilled his atoning role in our behalf, being sacrificed on the cross, these ordinances no longer were necessary for our faith. We knew, by sight, that the great atonement for us had been accomplished.

The following verse shows the distinction between and importance of both ordinances (also sometimes called "statutes") and laws.

And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. (Exodus 18:20, KJV)

And God says further...

Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses. (2 Chronicles 33:8, KJV)

Notice the "ordinances by the hand of Moses." This is the "handwriting" to which Paul refers. This is separate from the law written by God's finger on the stone tablets. The Ten Commandment law was not written by Moses.

The "Curse"

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (Galatians 3:13, KJV)

Paul, in Galatians 3:13, is quoting from the Torah.

His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:23, KJV)

Conclusion

While the curse of the law ended on the cross, the law itself did not and has not ended. The "handwriting of ordinances" was abolished, which included the Levitical priesthood, the sacrifices, the sanctuary services, and the feasts. Yet the Ten Commandment law--written in stone by God Himself--still stands.

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  • even honor the sabbath? Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 20:16
  • romans 7:4 - you are dead to the law. I Agree with below that Gods law are written on the hearts of christians, possibly others, since others have a sense of inate morality. These are Gods laws. this is called the law of the spirit which does not make you slaves, but sets you free since the rightouse shall live by faith. If rightouseness could be gained from the law, christ died for nothing! The holy spirit wills you to do stuff - philipians 2:13 explains this - this is the law of the spirit. Everythhing thhat does not come from faith is sin. do anything that you honestly believe isnt sin. Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 20:44
  • i got that wrong due to the wordcount limit. switch databases stack exchange! Gods laws are written on all our hearts - even all gentiles. Romans 2:14-15. Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 21:05
  • @JasonCrockett "But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Jer. 31:33). Notice that once those laws are written there, "they shall be my people." Not everyone, therefore, has these laws written in their hearts. "Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes." (Deut. 11:18) Why this command?
    – Biblasia
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 21:47
  • The weekly Sabbath is not a mere ordinance. It is the fourth of the Ten Commandments, and the Ten Commandments have not changed. There were some additional sabbaths that were added to the year that were part of the feasts and ceremonial system. Those sabbaths were laid to rest at the cross along with all the other types and rituals that had pointed forward to Christ.
    – Biblasia
    Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 21:51
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There are different kinds of law to consider here:

  • "God's law", which is universal and applies to all mankind.
  • "Levitical law", which defines how the Israelite priesthood operates.
  • "Civil law", which defines how the Israelite society operates.

The last two categories exist as part of God's covenant with Israel, which was chosen to be an example nation to the world, both for good and for bad. This is why, as you say, "Paul charges people to obey the whole law if they were deliberately circumcised as a Jew". Circumcised Jews are still part of God's covenant with Israel, even if they are also Christians.

But Gentiles don't first have to convert to Judaism in order to become Christians (decided at "The Jerusalem Conference"). They are not part of God's covenant with physical Israel and are not bound by laws that were part of that covenant. But God's laws that were not specific to that covenant do apply to them.

God's universal laws apply to everyone. They are often defined by saying they "are God's" or "are forever", or that violating them is "an abomination".

God's universal laws don't change. As Jesus said:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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.
— Matthew 5:17,18

All of God's laws (as opposed to laws written specifically for the nation of Israel) are still in effect.

Breaking God's law is the very definition of sin:

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
— 1 John 3:4

And the result of sin is death:

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. …
— Ezekiel 18:29

Every sinner has an outstanding IOU and owes a debt that must be paid. That debt is what Paul calls "the curse of the Law".

But (and this is the central doctrine of Christianity) Jesus chose to redeem (buy back) that debt, and then to forgive it.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 6:23

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
— Colossians 2:13,14

The "handwriting of requirements" is a translation of the Greek word "cheirographon", which is defined as "a note of hand or writing in which one acknowledges that money has either been deposited with him or lent to him by another, to be returned at the appointed time", i.e. an IOU.

Jesus took that IOU and "nailed it to the cross", i.e. it died along with him.

But he most definitely didn't "end the law".

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  • romans 7:4 - you are dead to the law. Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 20:51
  • also there are more than 10 sins. Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 20:52
  • @JasonCrockett says "you are dead to the law" — you need to explain better than that. Are you saying that it is okay if Christians murder or steal or profane the sabbath? Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 22:36
  • @JasonCrockett says "also there are more than 10 sins" — who said there weren't? Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 22:37

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