Matthew 5 DOES Prove We Should Continue Following the Old Testament

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on davidwilber.me. Tabernacle of David considers this ministry trustworthy and Biblically sound.

Author: David Wilber

Recently, a Christian blogger named Jimmy Issa published a blog in which he argues that Matthew 5:17 “does not prove that Jesus said Christians should continue following the whole law.”

I’m not familiar with Issa’s work besides this article. After perusing his blog, it does look like he some really good material in other areas. However, the arguments presented in this particular article are weak.

Issa states that atheists often cite Matthew 5:17 “to claim that Christians have really just gotten it all wrong for the last few thousand years.” I haven’t heard atheists make this criticism. (I don’t doubt that some have.) However, I have heard critics of Christianity claim that Christians are being inconsistent by strongly opposing things like homosexual behavior while at the same time completely ignoring commandments like “don’t eat shellfish.” As a Christian, I do believe they have a bit of a point there. So, this is a critical issue to address.

I am responding to Issa’s article as a Christian, not an atheist. I do believe that there has been some misunderstanding concerning the Law of Moses (Torah) among the majority of Christians in modern days and historically. To be clear, I am not trying to pick on Issa by writing this response to his article, but his article is representative of what many Christians believe regarding this issue. Thus, I hope this response to his article will edify the Christian community as we all try to understand Jesus’ view of the Torah and what it means for us today.

To state my position upfront: I believe the New Testament does not abrogate or nullify any of God’s Law—including commandments like the Sabbath, dietary instructions, etc. I think Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:17-20 makes this clear. Let’s look at the passage in question and then respond to each of Issa’s points:

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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)

After quoting this passage, Issa says that Jesus “is not abolishing but ‘fulfilling’ the law, that is, bringing it to completion. Matthew often describes the law as something that prophesies (Matthew 11:13), and so his description of the Law (which prophesies) as being ‘fulfilled’ makes perfect sense here.”

While Issa is correct that “fulfill” does often relate to bringing something to completion, according to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, it can also mean “to make complete in every particular; to render perfect.”[1] In other words, what Jesus actually says here is that He did not come to “abolish” the Torah—that is, tear down or nullify it.[2] Instead, He came to “perfect” it—to fully embody the Torah in His teachings and actions. Jesus fulfilled the Torah by demonstrating how to properly live it out on the basis of love for God and love for one’s neighbor. This is how one’s righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees (v 20).[3]

It’s clear that this is Matthew’s intended meaning of “fulfill” in light of the rest of the passage. He goes further to say that not one iota or dot—that is, the smallest part of the Torah—will pass away until heaven and earth pass away and all is accomplished. Some have suggested that this occurred at Jesus’ death and resurrection; thus, parts of the Torah can now be discarded. But according to Dr. Craig Keener, such an interpretation “violates the whole thrust of the passage.”[4] Likewise, New Testament Scholar, Dr. J. Andrew Overman, doesn’t mince words in his criticism of such “hermeneutical gymnastics”:

A host of monographs have been devoted to these four verses attempting to show that Jesus did not mean that the law must be fulfilled when he seemed to have said the law must be fulfilled. For example, some interpreters have found an escape clause in 5:18b which concludes with the phrase “until all is accomplished” (an panta genatai). Some have claimed that Jesus “fulfilled all,” and therefore the law and the prophets were in force during Jesus’ lifetime, but not after his death since, at that point, “all was accomplished.” Such hermeneutical gymnastics seem excessive, if not tortured. Such contrived interpretations of 5:17-20 are also a result of isolating these verses from the rest of the Gospel. Indeed, throughout the Gospel Matthew demonstrates a sophisticated knowledge of the law, its interpretation, and the abiding validity of the law as he interprets it […] Although this passage is the subject of lively controversy, it is unambiguous and does indeed command obedience to the whole Torah. [Emphasis added][5]

So what does Jesus mean when he says nothing will pass away until all is accomplished? Many scholars[6] have pointed out that He is making a reference to the eschaton here—that is, the end of the age and consummation of the eternal kingdom when heaven and earth pass away (Revelation 21-22). Clearly, this hasn’t happened yet. Unless you’re a full preterist, you recognize that heaven and earth have not yet passed away and “all” has not yet been accomplished.

Now, if He couldn’t have made it any clearer, in Matthew 5:19, Jesus goes one step further: He directly admonishes His followers to be great in the kingdom of heaven by doing and teaching the commandments of the Torah! You can’t get much clearer than that. Indeed, Dr. Overman is right that this passage “is unambiguous and does indeed command obedience to the whole Torah.”

Issa goes on to state that Jesus in Matthew 5:21-48, “explains how the law that He’s bringing about is different from the Law of the Old Testament in several ways.”

First, this is disproven by the fact that Jesus, as I pointed out earlier, directly admonishes His followers to do and teach the least of the commandments from the Torah (verse 19). Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teaches us how to walk out the Torah, not some new and different Law. It doesn’t make sense for Jesus to affirm the ongoing validity and authority of the Torah and then immediately go on to contradict it.

Issa quotes Jesus’ teaching regarding vows in Matthew 5:33-37 as proof that Jesus did away with the Torah and brought a different Law: “So the Old Testament says you can swear oaths, but Jesus says you can’t swear oaths anymore in Matthew 5.”

However, it’s clear that Jesus does not prohibit vows or oaths by the fact that He says, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Matthew 5:37). Saying “yes” or “no” was literally considered an oath![7] Furthermore, if Issa’s interpretation is correct, then Paul broke Jesus’ commandment when he took a Nazirite vow (Acts 18:18) and paid for other men to complete their vows (Acts 21:23). What Jesus teaches here is that one’s oaths/vows should not be done as some elaborate show for the sake of men but in humble obedience to please God.

Issa goes on to say that Matthew 24:20 entails that “the Sabbath does not need to be observed” because Jesus’ instructions allow for traveling on the Sabbath.

First, traveling on the Sabbath was permitted in the first century within a certain limit.[8] I assume Issa is making the point that traveling beyond the first-century halachic limit on the Sabbath constitutes a transgression of the Sabbath. However, even if that is true, the Torah allowed for a suspending of the Sabbath to preserve life (Matthew 12:11). This was the generally held view among the Jewish people at the time.[9]

According to theologian Tim Hegg, the most likely reason for Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 24:20 is that “the Sabbath was still observed by members of Matthew’s community,” and thus, “they would be both hesitant and unprepared for flight on the day of rest.”[10] Ironically, then, Matthew 24:20 does not indicate that the Sabbath is no longer to be observed. Instead, it suggests that it was still observed when Jesus gave these instructions!

Issa goes on to argue, based on Mark 7:17-19 and Matthew 15:10-12, that “the dietary laws are no longer applicable.”

However, the debate in those passages was not regarding God’s dietary instructions but issue of eating food with unwashed hands:

Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” (Mark 7:1-5, emphasis added)

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” (Matthew 15:19-20, emphasis added)

Nowhere in these passages is there any mention of unclean animals. The disciples were not eating pork chops. The Pharisees complained that Jesus’ disciples did not follow their “tradition of the elders” to do a ritual hand washing before eating. Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their hypocrisy in judging His disciples over their man-made rules while the Pharisees are breaking clear commandments (Mark 7:8-13).

Jesus’ message in these passages is that sin is what defiles us. The Pharisees were acting like religious hypocrites by saying that not following their traditions defiles people when they were breaking God’s actual commandments and becoming defiled. So, when Jesus declares “all food clean,” in context, he is saying that all “food” (as defined by the Bible, which excludes unclean animals per Leviticus 11:) is clean, regardless of whether or not you ritually wash your hands before eating it.[11]

Issa says that “the only reason why [Jesus’ teaching in Mark 7] could offend the Pharisees is if it was incompatible with the dietary laws.” But this is pure eisegesis. We don’t have to wonder why the Pharisees were offended because the text explicitly tells us: the disciples did not follow the “tradition of the elders” to observe ritual hand washing before eating. Nothing from these passages indicates that Jesus’ teaching was incompatible with the Torah.

Issa offers Matthew 8:1-4 as further evidence that the law is done away with. However, as Issa himself acknowledges, Jesus in that very passage instructs the cleansed leper to “show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded.” This seems to be a case of Jesus upholding the Torah, but Issa disagrees because “Jesus has already cleansed the leper, and so the sacrifice he makes with the priest isn’t meant to do any sort of ritual cleansing itself.”

However, the Torah nowhere prescribes instructions to cure leprosy. Ritual cleansing is not the same as physical cleansing, which is what Jesus did in Matthew 8:1-4. The laws regarding leprosy outlined in Leviticus 13-14 indicate that a leper would merely hope and pray that God would heal them of their skin disease. If and when that happened, they would come before the priest to be ritually cleansed so they could re-enter the community. Thus, Jesus is actually upholding the Torah here. In fact, when Jesus tells the man to show himself to the priest and offer the gift per Moses’ command “for a proof to them,” it’s entirely possible that Jesus meant to demonstrate to the priests His compliance with the laws of Leviticus to refute any rumors that He came to “abolish” the Torah.[12]

Issa argues that “the dietary law is no longer applicable in Acts 10:9-15 and Romans 14:14.”

Regarding Peter’s vision in Acts 10, it’s worth pointing out that Peter refused when God told him in the vision to “kill and eat” unclean animals. Why? Because Peter was a Jewish follower of Yeshua the Messiah. As a faithful Jew, Peter kept the dietary instructions. So it didn’t make sense to him that God would all of a sudden tell Peter to disregard His commandments, which is why the passage says that Peter did not understand the meaning of the vision (Acts 10:17).

God wasn’t telling Peter that it’s now okay to eat pigs, rats, and vultures in Acts 10. He was trying to teach Peter something more profound, and that’s what Peter was confused about. As Dr. Robert W. Wall writes, “Peter’s failure to ‘get’ his vision is not the result of hardened resistance or spiritual obduracy…but reflects the sheer difficulty of deciphering the symbols of God’s message.”[13] In other words, God was using symbolism to make a point. The overall message did not apply to the symbols but to what the symbols represented. In this case, the unclean/common animals in the vision symbolized Gentiles. The point of the vision is that God wanted Peter to take the Cornelius and his family:

And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” (Acts 10:28)

So, Peter remembered God’s vision and said that God showed him that he is not to consider Gentiles unclean because God calls them clean. Before his vision, Peter thought the Gospel was only for Jews. He was influenced by a strong anti-Gentile attitude that existed among many Jews in the first century (Acts 11:3). Of course, this attitude was unbiblical and against the heart of the Gospel, which always was intended to bless the nations (Galatians 3:8). God has always desired a relationship with Gentiles. God never called Gentiles who longed to draw near “unclean” or “common,” men did. That’s why God told Peter, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

Thus, there is no need to come up with our own interpretation of Peter’s vision—Peter already gave us the correct interpretation in Acts 10:28. It had nothing to do with God changing His mind about unclean animals.

What about Romans 14:14? We have to consider the context of the chapter, which is regarding “opinions” or “disputable matters” (verse 1) dividing the church in Rome. What were these believers arguing about? It wasn’t over whether unclean animals, as defined by Torah, should be considered clean. In Scripture, God’s commandments about diet are never regarded as merely a matter of opinion! Instead, according to verse 2, the division was between strict vegetarians and those who ate meat.

Why was there a dispute over whether it was okay to eat meat? Some believers in Rome believed that meat purchased from certain Roman sources was considered “unclean,” even if the meat came from a clean animal permitted by the Torah. But again, this belief was based on nothing more than man’s opinions. According to Paul, man has no authority to declare clean meat unclean: “So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil” (Romans 14:16). But if a believer is personally convicted about eating meat, then to that person, it is unclean, but only to them.

Paul’s point is not to let your personal convictions and standards that are not explicitly outlined in the Torah become matters of division. To add to that point, the word Paul uses in Romans 14:14, translated as “unclean,” is koinos, but this is not the Greek word used when speaking of unclean animals (akathartos). Rather, koinos is used to denote “common” things.  For example, in Acts 10:14, Peter says, “I have never eaten anything that is common [koinos] or unclean [akathartos].” In this verse, Peter uses two independent Greek adjectives when speaking to God, and it’s clear that he made a distinction between the two words—one is merely common, and one is unclean. Paul was likely referring to meat from biblically clean animals that may have come from a Roman meat source, rendering the meat koinos (common), according to the “weak” believers (verse 2), and thus not suitable for consumption in their opinion.[14] Paul, in Romans 14:14, allows these “weak” believers to hold to their personal convictions in this regard: “it is unclean [koinos] for anyone who thinks it unclean [koinos].” Again, Paul was saying not to allow matters not related to God’s Law to be points of division within the congregation. He gives no permission to eat meat that is akathartos (unclean).

Issa continues: “We’re told that circumcision is no longer required in Galatians 5:2-3.”

This is a misunderstanding of the issues Paul is addressing in Galatians in addition to the nuances of what “circumcision” entailed in Galatians and elsewhere in the New Testament. Paul did not oppose circumcision as a commandment (Acts 16:3); he opposed the abuse of circumcision as a prerequisite to being included among God’s people. The false teachers in Galatians believed that the only way Gentiles could be “saved” was to “become Jewish” through ritual conversion, a process that involved circumcision, among other things (Acts 15:1). Often when Paul speaks against “circumcision,” he is referring to the man-made conversion formula that false teachers were trying to impose upon the Gentiles.[15] In Galatians 5:2-3, Paul is referring to ritual conversion, saying that if you rely on the false teachers’ method of justification, instead of trusting in Messiah’s work, you are obligated to keep the whole law for your justification:

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” (Galatians 5:4, emphasis added)

Issa continues: “Colossians 2:16 says that the Sabbath need no longer be observed.”

When we consider the context of this verse, we cannot say that Paul is doing away with the Sabbath. For instance, in Colossians 2:8, Paul warns the Colossian believers about those who are trying to lead them astray through deception and “human tradition.” But the Sabbath is not a “human tradition.” Moreover, these false teachings are said to be in opposition to the teachings of Messiah, but the Messiah affirms and teaches Torah (Matthew 5:17-20).

The only way to interpret Colossians 2:16 as saying that “the Sabbath need no longer be observed” is to approach the text already assuming that the Colossian believers weren’t observing it. But there is no reason to assume that. A reasonable alternative interpretation of Colossians 2:16 is that Paul is telling the Colossian believers not to let these false teachers judge based on their human traditions concerning the Sabbath. In other words, the false teachers judged the Colossian believers regarding how to keep commands like the Sabbath, not judging them for disregarding the Sabbath. To assume that the Colossian believers had entirely neglected the Torah is to go beyond what the text tells us.

Issa continues: “And in many parts of the New Testament, from the Gospel of Luke to Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and the letter to the Hebrews, we’re told we’re told that the life of Jesus has brought about a “new covenant” which necessarily requires the old covenant itself is no longer in effect (Luke 22:20, 1 Cor. 11:25, 2 Cor. 3:6, Hebrews 8:6ff, Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 12:24).”

While a full examination of the Old/New Covenant is beyond the scope of this article,[16] it’s worth mentioning that the inauguration of the New Covenant in Messiah does not mean that the Torah is now rendered inapplicable. As Issa himself points out, Jeremiah 31 prophesies regarding the New Covenant—and the New Covenant includes the Torah being written on the hearts of the people of God (Jeremiah 31:33). This indicates the Torah’s ongoing relevance, not its being nullified. Paul speaks of how the Holy Spirit empowers us to keep the Torah in light of the OT prophecies regarding the New Covenant (Romans 8:1-17; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:26-27).

What does this mean for us today?

Obviously, the position I’m putting forward has some significant implications that need to be worked through! For instance, many of the laws of the Torah cannot be kept today because they depend on living in the physical land of Israel, a working Levitical priesthood and Tabernacle/Temple, a theocratic government, etc. This doesn’t take away from the validity of these parts of the Torah; it’s merely an acknowledgment of the reality that some commandments are impossible to keep right now in our current context.

To use an analogy, the driving laws in America apply only to drivers. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you cannot “keep” the laws concerning speed limits, stop signs, etc. In fact, if you attempt to drive illegally—that is, without a license—you would be a lawbreaker, even if you drove below the speed limit and stopped at stop signs. It’s the same way with many of the commandments in the Torah. The entire framework for keeping certain laws (e.g. laws pertaining to the priesthood) doesn’t exist right now. Forget the fact that we aren’t “licensed.” We don’t even have a car. There isn’t even a road to drive on right now.

As Christians, we must do our best to keep the parts of the Torah we’re able to keep while anticipating the day when we can observe the Torah more fully. This is really no different than when Israel was in exile in Babylon.

So, practically speaking, Christians generally are in agreement when it comes to the laws that can be kept today. We all agree that we should take care of the poor, love our neighbor, abstain from stealing, etc. The disagreement boils down to the applicability of only a few commandments (the Sabbath, dietary instructions, etc.).

Nevertheless, Issa did raise an important point in his article that is worthy of comment: “For example, the Old Testament says we should make animal and crop sacrifices to cover for sins, but with the New Testament, Jesus Himself died for our sins and so Christians obviously no longer make animal or crop sacrifices.”

I unpack this more fully in this article and this video, but in short, there are a couple of things worth mentioning. First, even if it’s true that Jesus’ death brought about the end of the Levitical system, that would not mean that commandments like the Sabbath, feasts, and dietary instructions have been done away with. Scholar and theologian, Walter C. Kaiser, agrees:

It would be wrong to think that just because the sacrificial system had been replaced therefore the whole law, including the moral law of the Decalogue (Ex 20; Dt. 5) and the Holiness Code (Lev 18-20), had likewise been superseded and replaced.[17]

Having said that, however, there is no reason to think that the Levitical system has been abolished. For instance, the apostles continued to participate in the Levitical system long after Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 2:46; 3:1; 21:26). The author of Hebrews himself recognized the ongoing service of the Levitical Priesthood in Jerusalem (Hebrews 8:4-5). Furthermore, both Ezekiel and Zechariah acknowledge the reality of a future earthly priesthood, temple, Levites, and animal sacrifices during the millennial reign of Messiah (Ezekiel 40-48; Zechariah 14:20-21).

Jesus is the High Priest of a greater priesthood, no doubt. He is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. The Levitical priesthood could not attain perfection because it was made up of fallen men. Animal sacrifices could not truly provide atonement because they could not provide the infinite payment for sin that only Messiah’s sacrifice could fulfill. But it doesn’t follow from any of these facts that the Levitical priesthood has been abolished. The Levitical Priesthood has always functioned as the earthly shadow that points to the heavenly reality that the Messiah fulfilled—it will function in that role again during the millennial reign.

I hope this article served to bless and edify you! Thank you for reading.

[1] Joseph Hebrew Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pp. 517-518

[2] Kataluō means to destroy or tear down (Matthew 24:2). It also carries the connotation of nullifying—that is, rendering something useless, especially regarding laws or decrees (2 Maccabees 2:22; 4:11).

[3] See J. Andrew Overmann, Matthew’s Gospel and Formative Judaism: The Social World of the Matthean Community (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1990): “Matthew’s community understands, teaches, and does the law. This is the fulfillment of the law and the righteousness which surpasses that of the Matthean antagonists. If you not only teach the law but do it, applying the dominant principles of love and compassion, you have fulfilled the law and properly enacted the will of God in heaven (7:12; 12:50; 21:31). Love and mutuality, as seen in the antitheses, guide the interpretation of the valid and enduring law.” (p. 89)

[4] Craig Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), p. 178

[5] J. Andrew Overman, Church and Community in Crisis: The Gospel According to Matthew (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International), p. 77-78

[6] See Dr. David L. Turner, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Robert W. Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein, Ed. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2005): “The phrases ‘until heaven and earth disappear’ and ‘until its purpose is achieved’ refer to the end of the present world and the beginning of the eschaton. Until that time the law is valid. Matthew 5:19 goes on to infer from 5:18’s statement of the perpetual authority of the law that it had better be obeyed and taught by disciples of the Kingdom […] It would be hard to make a stronger statement of the ongoing authority of the Torah than is made in 5:18. (p. 163); See also Craig Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999): “Matthew declares that nothing will pass from the law ‘until all is accomplished,’ meaning until the consummation of the kingdom, when heaven and earth pass away.” (p. 178)

[7] “Rabbi Elazar says: No, or any negative expression, can be an oath, and yes, or any positive expression, can be an oath” (b.Shevuot 36a)

[8] “Rabbi Elazar says: No, or any negative expression, can be an oath, and yes, or any positive expression, can be an oath” (b.Shevuot 36a)

[9] 1 Maccabees 2:39-41; Josephus, War 4.97ff; b.Shabbat 19a

[10] Tim Hegg, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Tacoma WA: TorahResource, 2013), p. 1110

[11] Here is a great scholarly paper on this passage from Tim Hegg if you want a more thorough defense of this perspective: https://torahresource.com/did-god-change-his-mind-about-food/

[12] See Tim Hegg, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Tacoma WA: TorahResource, 2013): “[t]he testimony could be understood in the sense of Yeshua’s own compliance with and upholding of the Torah. Since he had instructed the man to obey the regulations of the Torah in this instance, the rumors that had been spread about His desire to “abolish” the Torah would be seen for what they truly were: falsehoods of gossip.” (p. 286)

[13] Robert W. Wall, “The Acts of the Apostles,” in Leander E. Keck, ed. New Interpreter’s Bible (Nashville: Abingdon, 2002), 10:164

[14] For more on this, see J.K. McKee, The New Testament Validates Torah (Richardson, TX: Messianic Apologetics, 2012), pp. 249-254

[15] See Tim Hegg, Why We Keep Torah: Ten Persistent Questions (Tacoma, WA: TorahResource, 2009): “[T]he term ‘circumcision’ is used as a shorthand way of describing proselytism—that rabbinic ceremony by which a Gentile person would be given the status of being a Jew and therefore qualify to have a place in the world to come. Given this understanding, one is in a far better position to understand why Paul speaks so strongly against circumcision (Gal 5:2-3). He is not arguing against the biblical commandments, as is seen by the fact that he has Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:1f). In Galatians, Paul is using ‘circumcision’ to mean ‘to become a proselyte,’ that is, to accept the idea that ‘becoming a Jew’ would secure a place in the world to come. (p. 129)

[16] See Tim Hegg’s, New Covenant: God’s Promise Fulfilled: https://torahresource.com/product/new-covenant-gods-promise-fulfilled/

[17] Walter C. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), p. 367

[1] Joseph Hebrew Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pp. 517-518

[2] Kataluō, means to destroy or tear down (Matthew 24:2). It also carries the connotation of nullifying—that is, rendering something useless, especially regarding laws or decrees (2 Maccabees 2:22; 4:11).

[3] See J. Andrew Overmann, Matthew’s Gospel and Formative Judaism: The Social World of the Matthean Community (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1990): “Matthew’s community understands, teaches, and does the law. This is the fulfillment of the law and the righteousness which surpasses that of the Matthean antagonists. If you not only teach the law but do it, applying the dominant principles of love and compassion, you have fulfilled the law and properly enacted the will of God in heaven (7:12; 12:50; 21:31). Love and mutuality, as seen in the antitheses, guide the interpretation of the valid and enduring law.” (p. 89)

[4] Craig Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), p. 178

[5] J. Andrew Overman, Church and Community in Crisis: The Gospel According to Matthew (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International), p. 77-78

[6] See Dr. David L. Turner, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Robert W. Yarbrough & Robert H. Stein, Ed. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2005): “The phrases ‘until heaven and earth disappear’ and ‘until its purpose is achieved’ refer to the end of the present world and the beginning of the eschaton. Until that time the law is valid. Matthew 5:19 goes on to infer from 5:18’s statement of the perpetual authority of the law that it had better be obeyed and taught by disciples of the Kingdom […] It would be hard to make a stronger statement of the ongoing authority of the Torah than is made in 5:18. (p. 163); See also Craig Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999): “Matthew declares that nothing will pass from the law ‘until all is accomplished,’ meaning until the consummation of the kingdom, when heaven and earth pass away.” (p. 178)

[7] “Rabbi Elazar says: No, or any negative expression, can be an oath, and yes, or any positive expression, can be an oath” (b.Shevuot 36a)

[8] “A thousand amahs form the outskirts, while two thousand amahs form the Sabbath limit.’ R. Eliezer the son of R. Yose the Galilean says, ‘A thousand amahs form the outskirts, and two thousand amahs cover the surrounding fields and vineyards’” (m.Sotah 5:3).

[9] 1 Maccabees 2:39-41; Josephus, War 4.97ff; b.Shabbat 19a

[10] Tim Hegg, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Tacoma WA: TorahResource, 2013), p. 1110

[11] Here is a great scholarly paper on this passage from Tim Hegg is you want a more thorough defense of this perspective: https://torahresource.com/did-god-change-his-mind-about-food/

 

[12] See Tim Hegg, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Tacoma WA: TorahResource, 2013): “[t]he testimony could be understood in the sense of Yeshua’s own compliance with and upholding of the Torah. Since he had instructed the man to obey the regulations of the Torah in this instance, the rumors that had been spread about His desire to “abolish” the Torah would be seen for what they truly were: falsehoods of gossip.” (p. 286)

[13] Robert W. Wall, “The Acts of the Apostles,” in Leander E. Keck, ed. New Interpreter’s Bible (Nashville: Abingdon, 2002), 10:164

[14] For more on this, see J.K. McKee, The New Testament Validates Torah (Richardson, TX: Messianic Apologetics, 2012), pp. 249-254

[15] See Tim Hegg, Why We Keep Torah: Ten Persistent Questions (Tacoma, WA: TorahResource, 2009): “[T]he term ‘circumcision’ is used as a shorthand way of describing proselytism—that rabbinic ceremony by which a Gentile person would be given the status of being a Jew and therefore qualify to have a place in the world to come. Given this understanding, one is in a far better position to understand why Paul speaks so strongly against circumcision (Gal 5:2-3). He is not arguing against the biblical commandments, as is seen by the fact that he has Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:1f). In Galatians, Paul is using ‘circumcision’ to mean ‘to become a proselyte,’ that is, to accept the idea that ‘becoming a Jew’ would secure a place in the world to come. (p. 129)

[16] See Tim Hegg’s, New Covenant: God’s Promise Fulfilled: https://torahresource.com/product/new-covenant-gods-promise-fulfilled/

[17] Walter C. Kaiser, The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), p. 367

Share This Article!


About David Wilber

david-wilber-profile.jpg

David is first and foremost a passionate follower of Yeshua the Messiah. He is also a writer, speaker, and teacher.

David’s heart is to minister to God’s people by helping them rediscover the validity and blessing of God’s Torah and help prepare them to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope within them (1 Peter 3:15)…

Full Bio

Read more…