Does New Covenant Mean A New Law Entirely Replaces Law Given Moses?
Dennis writes on March 20, 2015:
Even in the old testament, in Jeremiah 31:33, it says that God will write a new law. It is the new covenant that was predicted. We can't be both under the old and under the new. Jesus Himself was in the process of bringing in the new covenant. In Hebrews it says there must be a change to the law. If you understand the Bible correctly, it all reconciles just fine.
You folks are so intent on believing that we are still under the old covenant and the old testament, that you will even attack Paul. Now you finally admit that in order to stay under the old covenant, you basically have to throw out half the new testament. But if you throw out the Pauline letters, you will have to throw out Acts as well, since Luke believes that Paul is legit. And that would make the gospel of Luke suspect, since that would make Luke also, apparently unreliable. And since Peter also affirms Paul, we'll toss him out as well. And so eventually, just throw out the entire new testament. Since when did ANY author of the new testament say ANYTHING against Paul after his conversion, or warn us not to listen to Paul?? Paul and Peter BOTH agreed that they didn't need to put the burden of all the law onto the new Christians, so throw out Peter as well. Since you will have no witnesses left of the Messiah, who disagree with Paul, who is the legitimate witnesses of Jesus?
Thank you for being willing to dialogue.
THE LAW AS IT RELATES TO THE NEW COVENANT
You say: "Even in the old testament, in Jeremiah 31:33 it says that God will write a new law...."
However, Jeremiah 31:33 does not say God will write a new law. Rather it says God will put "my TORAH" on their hearts in a covenant God will make "with the people of Israel." The passage says:
"This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people." (NIV) http://biblehub.com/jeremiah/31-33.htm
This "my law" is a reference to God's Law or Torah, not a "new" law. Hence, God in Isaiah was not declaring a "new law" was coming. Ezekiel speaks of this same impact of a covenant God will make with Israel in the future -- the Spirit God would give would lead to zealous following of God's Law, not its abandonment, as Paul is normally understood to teach, and which you apparently accept:
"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." (Ezekiel 36:26–27, ESV)
JESUS' VIEW OF THE LAW
This is why Jesus reaffirmed the Law in both Matthew 5:17-19 and Luke 16, and it would continue "until the heavens and earth pass away" -- which has not passed away yet. This fits the fact Jesus told 2 people -- the young rich man and a scribe -- that the path to eternal life was obeying the Law given Moses (which is quoted in the context from the 10 Commandments). Matt 19:16-26; Luke 10:25-28; 18:18-29. See my article Was Jesus Ever Point Blank Asked How to have Eternal Life? at this link: http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/books/jesuswordssalvation/585-answer-of-jesus-to-direct-question-how-to-have-eternal-life.html
DID GOD INTEND THE LAW BE ABROGATED AND REPLACED PRIOR TO A NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH?
We know that God never intended to abrogate the Law given Moses prior to rolling up the heavens and earth -- a future event. First, God say 12 times that it is "eternal for all generations." Ex. 27:21; 30:21; Lev. 6:18; 7:36; 10:9; 17:7; 23:14, 21, 41; 24:3; Num. 10:8 Generations cease when the New Heavens and Earth replace this one, and thus Jesus is in accord on when it ends.
Second, God also proclaimed the means to distinguish a true prophet from a false prophet is that a true prophet must teach you to obey the Law given Moses, but they are false if they seduce you from following the Law even if they have "signs and wonders that come to pass." Deuteronomy 13:1-5.
This is why Jesus proclaimed anyone who teaches you the Law shall be the greatest in the kingdom, but whoever teaches you not to follow it, and does not follow it will be called by those in the kingdom the least. (Matt 5:17-19.) This is also why Jesus warned of those with "signs and wonders" who might deceive the elect but are workers of ANOMIA - a + nomos = anti-Torah. (Matt 7:15-23.) This word is translated as "lawless," but also means "negator of Torah" in Greek dictionaries. See my article discussion about where Paul boasts several times he is "ANOMOS" http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/books/jesuswordsonly/103-chapter-fourt-jwo.html
JESUS' PROPHECY ABOUT PAUL, THE LEAST
By the way, Saul Paul's name is important. Saul is his Hebrew name. Paulos is the Greek version of Paul's Latin name which Paul had to have to receive his Roman citizenship. Paulus is short for Pauxilus which in Latin means "least." So when Jesus tells us those in the kingdom will call the one who teaches us not to obey the law, and does not obey it, the "least" (a Greek synonymn for the Latin Pauxilus), Jesus is prophetically warning us about Paul. Here is my article explanation: http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/280-jesus-on-paul-the-least.html
LUKE's GOSPEL - I FULLY ENDORSE!
I don't believe Luke's Gospel is suspect at all, as you assume. I endorse Luke's gospel as a non-Pauline Gospel. See my article Luke is a Non-Pauline Gospel at this link: http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/465-luke-is-a-legitimate-gospel-history.html Here is a short synopsis why:
Luke reflects that Jesus taught "justification" was by repentance from sin, not faith, when Jesus says the repenting Publican goes home "justified" (Luke 18:9-14); that one becomes "alive again" (born-again) by repenting from sin and turning around home to return to one's father (Luke 15:11-32), and not by faith alone; Jesus endorses the Law's continuity in Luke 16:16-17; Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Luke is more focused upon an exposition on the 10 commandments than even Matthew's version was --(Search online for article "Luke 6:20-40, Sermon on the Plain" that proves this); in Luke, Jesus explains obedience to the Law is the means to eternal life twice -- one to the young scribe and again to the young rich man (Luke 10:25-28; 18:18-29); Luke also quotes Jesus saying "work hard to enter by the narrow door" to gain eternal life (Luke 13:23-24) and few find it; Luke quotes Jesus in the Sower Parable as teaching us one of the lost seeds represents one "who believes for a while" but in time of "temptation falls away" and is lost in the end (Luke 8:13 viz.); Luke in 6:46 has Jesus say salvation depends on not simply calling him "Lord, Lord," but also we must "do what I say," and finally Luke quotes Jesus saying that the Pharisees' fault was failure to perform the Law, and they emphasized tithing to the neglect of general obedience to the Law (Luke 11:42-44), in almost exact parallel to what Matthew's account says in Matt 23:23.
The latter anti-Pharisee passages in Luke and Matthew are another subtle prophecy of our Lord about Paul the Pharisee who was very good about trying to use the Law to encourage payment to himself (in 1 Cor. 9:7, quoting the Ox passage to his benefit from the Law), but otherwise taught the Law was done away with, and no longer to be followed.
I HOLD ONTO ACTS
You assume I would throw out Acts because I reject Paul's epistles as inspired. Rather, it is the other way around: because I believe the historical facts Luke relates in Acts, we must reject Paul's epistles.
First, (a) Luke depicts Matthias as the 12th and final apostle in Acts 1 at odds with Paul's claim in his epistles to being an apostle of Jesus "not a wit" behind the apostles; (b) in 3 accounts of Paul's vision with someone saying "I am Jesus" in the wilderness outside Damascus (Acts 9, 22, & 26), this Jesus never once calls Paul an Apostle, but rather predicts Paul will be a "martus" -- meaning witness; (c) Luke preserves in the 3 vision accounts the key facts to apply Jesus's prophecy about someone who would say "I am Jesus" in the wilderness after his Ascension, but Jesus warns that He would only appear again on earth if every eye sees him, and hence a private encounter with someone saying they are Jesus would necessarily be an imposter, and Jesus says "do not listen to him." (Matt 24:4-5, 24-27; see my article http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/292-jesus-prophecy-about-who-identified-himself-as-jesus-to-paul.html and (d) in Acts 16:16, a very popular & influential Python soothsayer at Philipi for many days endorses Paul's "way of salvation" (not Jesus or His plan of salvation) before Paul casts a demon out of her. This Python-event corroborates that Paul's encounter in the wilderness was not with the true Jesus. For the endorsement of Paul's salvation doctrine by a popular soothsayer would be a kingdom divided against itself if Paul taught the true Jesus's doctrines, and Jesus says such things cannot be. See my article http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/373-spirit-of-python-promoted-paul-in-acts-16.html Thus, Paul must be teaching the doctrines of an imposter Jesus, not the true Jesus. Paul was thus a sincere dupe in my view.
I would appreciate if you would read my writings, and correct me if I am wrong. I love the Lord Jesus, and I wish to serve Him with all my heart.
Blessings of Jesus,
PS In the Law given Moses, the Gentiles (sojourners / foreigners) who lived in Israel were only subject to certain parts of the Law. Certain commands specifically only applied to "Sons of Israel," like circumcision. See Lev. 12:1-3. I have an article on what laws in the Law apply to Gentiles. http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/topicindex/98-law-applicable-today.html
PPS Peter does not endorse Paul in 2d Peter, contrary to popular misconceptions. See our article link.