Fulfillment vs. Abolishment of the Law?


#1

I’m in a discussion on the Eucharist right now, and started talking about the Eucharist as the fulfillment of the Passover.

Several verses were brought up to say that Jewish law had been abolished by Jesus, namely Ephesians 2:14-15 (14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.) and Colossians 2:14 (He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. ) . I mentioned Matthew 5:17-18 ( 17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.) in response.

I wonder how to reconcile the verses, and was curious to know if any of you had ideas. Thanks in advance!


#2

[quote=Sandtigress]I’m in a discussion on the Eucharist right now, and started talking about the Eucharist as the fulfillment of the Passover.

Several verses were brought up to say that Jewish law had been abolished by Jesus, namely Ephesians 2:14-15 (14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.) and Colossians 2:14 (He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. ) . I mentioned Matthew 5:17-18 ( 17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.) in response.

I wonder how to reconcile the verses, and was curious to know if any of you had ideas. Thanks in advance!
[/quote]

The verse in Colossians refers to the fact that the Levitical code and Deuteronomic Covenant were designed literally against the people. They were put into effect for the purpose of making things harder on the people (so they would cry out to God for help). That’s why it “stood opposed” to them.

As far as the first verse and the second verse in general, remember that while the Passover was codified by the Mosaic Law, it, like the 10 commandments, came before that Law. They were part of a different Covenant. It worked like this: Moses came, God commanded the Passover, the people kept it, the people left Egypt, God gave the Ten Commandments, THEN the people worshipped the golden calf THEN God instituted the Levitic code as a corrective punishment THEN the Deuteronomic Covenant was instituted because the people didn’t repent.


#3

Oh, that’s good! Thank you very much!


#4

This is a bit anecdotal, but I heard it from a “reliable” source, but then again I forget details. Make what you want, but I heard that the Law was more or less intended to impose behavior controls that hope to reach perfection, but never could in written form.

The law in the O.T. then, was their version of Christ, which was imperfect and incapable because the Law actually came to maturity with Christ in the flesh, who then embodied the whole Law.

I don’t know about the strokes of the pen thing, but I think Christ was not here, for example, to let everybody just do what they want, but to teach them how to live the law in a way that transcended the narrow, absolutist ( :smiley: ) ways it was being applied. Since people apparently didn’t understand true love until God showed it to them (“no greater love than this”) then it never occurred to them to interpret the law in any other way than literal, and to observe it in any other way than holding others strictly to it. It must have been miserable, because what did they have to save themselves from the law of sin and death since none were able to live up to it?

I see a modern parallel when I claim a Church teaching seems to be non-loving, and then experts help me realize that although it is often interpreted in a nonloving way, there are technical aspects that go beyond what is commonly thought that actually do reconcile the issue. For example; many Catholics are incorrectly taught that any person non-Catholic will go to hell. This is not Church teaching, but there are Church teachings that could lead some to believe this if they don’t know the whole truth. They zealously defend the so-called “church” teachings, but are really not operating in the light. I think the idea is that Jesus ties is all together to show that although it is inherently legalistic and problematic when left to human interpretation, that in the reality of the Divine, the law itself is not flawed but can be made perfect through His love.

Not claiming this is right, but the chance of being wrong doesn’t scare me from giving my :twocents: .

:whistle:

Alan


#5

These verses are talking about somewhat different things

Ephesians 2:14-15 (14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.), in context Paul is talking about the fact that Christ’s scarifice has made it possible for both Jew and Gentile be one one people, whereas before, they were separated by the requirements of the Law. It may, in fact, be an allusion to the Temple, where a literal wall seperated the areas where only Jews could go, and beyond which Gentiles were not allowed.

In Colossians 2:14 (He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. ), he is telling his readers that, because of Christ’s sacrifice, they no longer have to depend upon meeting the strict requirements of the Law, which were impossible to keep anyway.

Finally, in Matthew 5:17-18 (**17"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.), ** Jesus is laying down the truth upon which Paul’s previous quote is based: that even though we don’t have to meet the literal requirements of the Jewish liturgical and purity laws (though we do have to meet the moral requirements, since they are based on natural law), we are required to meet the *spirit * of those laws which were based on loving each other and striving for personal sanctity.


#6

It’s interesting to note a personal experience I had at a Passover Seder. I was reading the English companion book my friends so courteously provided for their “shabbat goy”, and it brought up that at least some Jewish sages believe that Passover will be the one Jewish celebration preserved in the post-Messianic time.

I’m not sure how this relates, or if it’s even a popular thought, but my Jewish friends seemed to concur that that was their understanding as well. They seemed to indicate that even Jews view Passover in a distinctly different light than their other services.

Just thought it might be interesting, whatever it’s worth :slight_smile:


#7

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