CHRISTIANITY CONFESSES THAT TORAH - THE JEWISH LAW - IS STILL IN FORCE

Aware of the vicious rules from God in the Bible many try to solve it by pretending all the nasty rules are in the Old Testament which is not true.  They claim the rules preceded Jesus and because of him we are are different times now.

The Church commits to the apostles teaching as the teaching of God when it says in the creed, "I believe in one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church".  Their doctrine is historically that the law of Moses is sacred and is not to be watered down and is still valid even if it is suspended.

Jesus said that he came not to abolish the law or the prophets but to fulfil them. He said not a line would pass away from them. They are scriptures invested with divine authority. Even those who contradict the verse and say Jesus did change the law, must agree that even if he did he was saying that the law is to be honoured by being fulfilled and to be accepted as correct. He was still praising it despite all the murders it commanded and that were committed in its name.

Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said that such and such was said to the people and that he had such and such to say. Jesus was talking about the Jewish Law in the Bible. The person having done the saying was God. Jesus is clearly saying that those sayings are sacred and divine.

The Bible teaches (Romans 13 - Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law) that Jesus and what he did for us changed how we worship but not how we live so the moral law of the Old Testament is still in force.

The apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 1 wrote that to trust him is to trust Jesus and the law of Moses is still in force with its commands about murderers, homosexuals and perjurers and so on. The mention of homosexuals affirms that Leviticus is valid for condemning gay sex.  Notice how it keeps it simple - the text just condemned sex between man and man period.  It was not about any alleged circumstances or forms of gay sex.  Let us read:

7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.

9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,

10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  

So he is clear that the Law of God given in the Bible is good but only if not abused. He advocates its correct use. He said it was only bad for the people who were unrighteous and needed punishment. It is Christian doctrine that the Law is absolutely correct. Paul was implying that if God speaks and commands you to murder sinners then you must obey. When he said believers are not subject to it he must have meant not that they have the right to disobey it but they are saved from the penalty for breaking it. Jesus takes the rap as the one who was punished by God for our violations of the law.

"Paul is able to say that the law is done away with, and yet not done away with, but established by justifying faith (2 Cor. 3:7-17; Rom. 3:31)." See page 124, Christ Our Righteousness, (Mark A Seifrid, IVP, 2000). Thus Christian faith is not faith unless it approves of divine law.
In Romans 3:27, Paul says that the law is not about works but about faith that saves.

Some use the New Testament teaching that we must obey the spirit of the law not the letter of the law as saying we can interpret the nasty laws figuratively not literally. Such an interpretation is an exaggeration of the command and makes the law useless. It is really just an excuse for saying you are a believer in the Bible's divine authority when you are not. The spirit of the law refers to understanding it correctly and not exaggerating any of its laws. A judge who sentences a shop lifter to jail for three years may see that penalty laid down in the books of the law. But he will be ignoring laws about extenuating circumstances. Thus he is putting the letter above the meaning of the law.

In Acts 15, the apostles grappled with the problem of non-Jewish Christians and their relationship to the Jewish Law. As they didn’t want to burden the converts, they decreed that they must abstain from blood, eating meat sacrificed to demons, fornication and the meat of animals that were strangled. The Church concludes from this that she has the power to restore as much of the Jewish Law as she wants. In principle, the Church can require that adulterers be stoned to death. Acts 15 however only describes an emergency situation. Plainly, it cannot be concluded from it that the Church should restore parts of the Law if it wants. It sounds more like a situation where the whole Law was required but it was not possible for it to be entirely kept.

The decision was not made to please anybody. If the apostles had wanted to please people they would have given in to the Jewish Christians who considered it necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and put down circumcision as a requirement. After all, that is what the meetings and deliberations outlined in Acts 15 were about.

The decision implies the whole Law ideally and if possible should be advocated for observance. The Church says that the ban on fornication is a moral law. Yet in Acts 15 it is listed as banned. Murder was also forbidden by the Law of the Jews given by God as well as fornication was. Does the apostles banning fornication and not murder mean that the Gentiles were allowed to commit murder? Of course not. Clearly the apostles were saying that the ban on eating blood, meat sacrificed to pagan gods or the meat of strangled animals were moral laws as much as fornication was. Thus they cannot be done away. What is wrong is wrong and that cannot be changed.

JOHN 8

Jesus in John 8 has to deal with the woman caught in adultery.  The law of Moses says she is to be stoned and her accusers test him to see if he breaks the law or says it is wrong even if he does not counsel breaking it.  Jesus of course will not do that. Hank Hani writes, "In context, Jesus hardly abrogates the law of Moses. Instead, he says, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to cast a stone at her' "(John 8:7). He says he does not condemn her. He means hate and punish. He tells her to leave her live of sin so he does condemn her sin. He condemns her as a sinner but not as somebody who is to be condemned to death.  Why did Jesus not stone her?  Well the mob had left and the command is that a group must do it not an individual or perhaps Jesus was telling the mob that he too was a sinner.

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. This approach is quite a reinforcement.

If Jesus really saved this woman from death the episode says nothing about when the accusers are sincere.  Condemning adultery as sin especially in a patriarchal woman hating society that too easily wanted to kill married women thought to have taken lovers was frankly cruel and dangerous.  The real topic should have been how they were treated if they were accused or caught.

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