Matthew 5:17-18 – Jesus Did Not Destroy The Law

Seventh Day Adventists like to use Matthew 5:17 to try to prove we are still under the Sabbath law today. Here is how the verse reads, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, … I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

First notice that if this passage teaches the old law is still binding today, it would include much more than just the 10 commandments; it would include every “jot or tittle” (verse 18) of the old law, even animal sacrifices for sin, and even the “least” old testament commandments (like circumcision, no cooking on the Sabbath, new moon observances, the Sabbath year, the year of jubilee, the Levitical priesthood, etc., etc.).

But that is not what the passage is saying either. Notice the next verse: “… Till heaven and earth pass (that is, ‘it is easier for heaven and earth to pass’ – Luke 16:17), one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

So verse 18 says the law would not pass until it was fulfilled, and verse 17 says Jesus came to fulfill it. That would mean (assuming that Jesus accomplished what he came to do) the old law did pass when Jesus fulfilled it.

And Jesus did fulfill the law when he completed his earthly mission. In John 19:30 Jesus said (just before he died) “it is finished.” And Luke 24:44 teaches that Jesus fulfilled the law, the prophets, and the psalms.

Compare to a union boss saying: “till heaven and earth pass, we will not go back to work till all our demands are met,” That implies they will go back to work when their demands are met, right? See the parallel to Matthew 5:17-18? So verse 18 teaches all of the law (every jot and tittle) did pass, when Jesus fulfilled it.

Should I have an appointment with the dentist, and announce to the receptionist, “I have come, not to destroy my appointment, but to fulfill it,” I would complete all the appointment called for. I would have fulfilled the appointment and not destroyed it. Would the appointment still be in force? No, it was fulfilled. So it was with Christ. When He fulfilled the law, the law passed. Matthew 5:17-18 says so!

We are no longer under the Old Testament as our law anymore. Instead today we are amenable to Jesus’ New Testament law.

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