Matthew Gospel Commands Keeping the Jewish Law

There are only four gospels giving us the story of Jesus Christ. One of them teaches that we must be Jews if we want to be followers of Christ more so than the other gospels. The gospel is the Gospel of Matthew, supposedly written by Matthew the apostle of Jesus. This gospel is the most Jewish of the New Testament gospels.

James was allegedly the brother of Jesus and was a major figure along with Cephas and John in the early Church.  All sources insist he was perceived by the Jews as a loyal Jew.  This is a strong hint that Jesus was as well.  Jesus only fought against the Jewish leaders for they were NOT respecting the Law of God in the Torah.  The letter of James is even written to Jews and Jewish believers in Jesus in general.  It says nothing to contradict the law and commands that it be followed.


Early in Jesus’ ministry there were some interesting guesses as to which Jewish religious figure he was. Why was Jesus called John or Elijah? John was not an official prophet of Judaism. Elijah was thought to come back before God’s kingdom would come. In that respect thinking Jesus was Elijah made him a significant prophet. They say then one of the prophets. It is telling how they talk as if Moses is not to be included. Moses was the prophet of prophets and would have been named. They did not view Jesus as having anything like his significance. They did not know of Matthew’s Jesus modelled on Moses and who acted as if he were better than Moses. The reason they did not know is that Matthew’s Moses-Jesus is a fabrication. Jesus was not given the importance of any major super-prophet.


"Matthew’s Gospel portrays Jesus primarily as a righteous Jew who was coming to restore Israel, and God as strict and demanding obedience to the letter of the Jewish law". Peter Vardy.

The first five books of the Bible contain the Law of Moses, the Law that God gave to Moses. Matthew’s Gospel seems to make it clear that the Law of Moses is over God’s people no more. But does it really? Read it carefully.

Jesus commanded the ordinary Jewish people to listen to the oral tradition about the law of God from the scribes and Pharisees. This shows extreme confidence in the accuracy of their doctrine.  Ordinary people not theologians so remember that if you don't like what he said and want to twist it. He meant what he said literally.
Unsurprisingly, Jesus told them that he did not come to abolish the Law of Moses and the Prophets but to fulfil them and that heaven and earth would pass away before anything in the law would pass away.

The use of law and prophets refers to writings for the first five books were listed as law or Torah and the rest was listed as the prophets.  It is the law as in writings and in commandments.  The term covers both.

Jesus uses the word katalusai word which means 'make invalid'.  The word also appears where Jesus says the temple will be destroyed or abolished  (Matthew 26:61 and 27:40; Mark 14:58 and 15:29).  The word for fulfil is plarosai and it is is contrasted with katalusai so it is its complete opposite. Plarosai means to fill something that is not full.   It does not allow for alteration but completing.

Jesus far from contradicting God's law in the Sermon on the Mount tries to bring out and convey its real meaning and God's real intent. So that is why the command banning adultery means not to deliberately want to commit adultery either.  The real intent of the laws commanding that adulterous people be stoned to death is that harsh intolerance of adultery is needed.  It would follow that if stoning becomes impossible then find an equivalent.

This is a reinforcement of the law if anything. 


Here are the suggestions about the meaning of the verse.  The verse is plain but people invent interpretations to obscure the plainness. 

"He meant he would get rid of it but then it wasn't the time".
To say that Heaven and earth will pass away before the least bit of the law is emphasising that the law is everlasting. It stops us arguing that fulfil the law could mean anything other than what it obviously means: keep the law.
To get an excuse to disobey the Law, some Christians have maintained that Jesus was not making a law that the regulations of Moses were still in force but merely saying he didn’t get around to abolishing them yet. So they say he is merely reporting that he hasn’t abolished them yet and that is to say he might do so later. Then why all that mouthful? Why not simply say, “I will abolish the law later.” There is nothing in Jesus’ words that indicates an intention to change or abrogate the Law of Moses. Those Christians are making their speculations into the word of God. They are distorting.
Jesus in Matthew 5 denies that he will alter the law but said he will fulfil it. His aim was the fulfilling the law for it came from God and is without error. If Jesus contradicted the law we must put that down to misinterpretation - it does not mean he meant to contradict it or that he thought contradicting it was okay.
Christians who hold that we are bound to keep the Law but don't have to for Jesus obeyed it for us argue that this is what he meant by fulfil
“Jesus said that he came to perfect the Law (Matthew 5:17). It was faulty and needed replacing.”
Perfecting the Law is not replacing it but is bringing it up to date or completing it or simply giving people the power to obey it better for a change by clarifying it and giving grace to keep it.

It is absurd to suggest that the Lord would give a bad Law. The only thing that is wrong with the Law if a good God wrote it is that it is not complete. Jesus expanded and clarified (not contradicted!) many of its rules (Matthew 5) so the Law was imperfect in the sense that it needed to be more comprehensive but not in the sense that it was evil or believed evil.
Page 5 of Not Under Law admits that Jesus affirmed that the Law was relevant and true for his day and future days. It rejects the view that when he said that the Law was to be fulfilled not destroyed and that anybody who breaks the least of these commandments will not be well off in the kingdom of God that he meant the commands he was about to give. He had not hinted that he was going to give any commandments of his own yet so he meant the commandments of the Law. And when it could mean the Law it must mean it for it is what he was talking about. The Law was the last thing with the Prophets that he mentioned.

Jesus in Matthew says the saying love your neighbour and hate your enemy is abolished.  But he gives no hint this came from the Law.  It is a tradition he is challenging.  He quotes the Law against it.  The command he gives regarding the Law allowing oaths is that you should be so truthful that oaths are not needed.  That is not abolition but affirmation of the law.  He said that Moses provided for divorce and yet divorce is a sin.  Yet even then he is referring to a command that was trying to regulate divorce which the people would not stop doing.  Moses does not say divorce is right but that it is a reality.  Jesus blamed the hardness of the people for this.

He told a young man who wanted to go to eternal life to obey the commandments.  Does this fit the doctrine that salvation is a free gift and not based on how good you are?  If it is correct then Jesus meant that the young man had to be saved by grace without good works and that the young man could do good works and obey the Law only if he were really saved. He is good because of salvation and not to earn salvation. In that sense, the man had to keep the Law to enter Heaven.  The principles then are still valid.  The law is not about forcing anybody anymore.  It is about entering your heart so that you love carrying it out. Only in that sense is the law abolished.
The Gospel of Matthew denies that the civil, religious and moral laws of the Old Testament are done away. It says they are in force. Christians then are to gather stones and to get ready to kill the local adulterer and we are to burn down the local Catholic Church for idolatry according to these laws.  Jesus said in Matthew 13 that "Every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”  That is a clear affirmation that any teacher who advocates the terrible laws is bringing out treasures.  If you would open a New Testament you will see that it regards itself as an update of the Old and is very much based on it and continually quotes it as God's message. The Old Testament was Jesus' Bible. Jesus said that anybody who says any Old Testament rule is wrong will be the least in his kingdom. That is they are considered lower than a paedophile.  Strong affirmation!  Even if Jesus changed the law he did not consider it to be wrong - ever!

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