17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law and the prophets. The only way Jesus could destroy the prophets would be to prevent the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning himself and the kingdom of God. But to do this would have been to act contrary to his purpose in coming to the earth. Therefore, he did not come to destroy the prophets but to fulfill them, and in fulfilling them, he carried out their predictions concerning himself and the kingdom of God. He fulfilled the law, he fulfilled the types in the law, which had reference to himself and to the church. This was the purpose for coming to the world. Some of the prophecies of the Old Testament concerned Jesus personally. Some of them concerned his work in the church and salvation of souls in the church and in heaven. It was his mission to fulfill personally those prophecies that referred to himself and through the administration of the affairs of the church, to fulfill those prophecies which had reference to the church and its mission in the world.
In the book of Hebrews we are told that Jesus came to establish a new and better Covenant because he found fault with the Old Covenant (Hebrews 8:7,8). The Old Covenant, the law, was perfect for the purpose for which it was given, but it was only a temporal law and consequently was not adequate for a universal and a spiritual law. Jesus is drawing a contrast between the law of Moses and the law of the kingdom (the New Testament or New Covenant), showing the superiority of the law of the kingdom, the New Covenant, over the law of Moses, the Old Covenant.
You will notice that six times (in Matt. 5) Jesus says "You have heard that it was said," meaning by the old law that certain things were true, "but I say to you." He then contrasts his teachings with the teachings of the Old Covenant. Each time he points out the inadequacy of the law and shows the superiority of the New Covenant.
We are to allow the superiority of the New Covenant (the New Testament) to govern our lives today. The Old Covenant (Old Testament) is not binding on man today.
ìFor when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.î
18* For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19* (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
God promised long ago through the prophet Jeremiah 700 years before Christ that a New Covenant was coming. Read Jeremiah 31:31 and following, and then Read Hebrews 8:8-13 where the Hebrew writer quotes from Jeremiah and tells us that the new covenat is the New Testament
15* For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16* For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it.
The apostle Paul also makes this very clear in his writings. consider Colossians 2:14:
14* having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
The term "faith" in verse 23 is a reference to the New Testament (Jude 3). The law of Moses was intended by God to "teach" us (tutor, verse 24) about Christ. It was never intended to be used as a spiritual law by which men were to be governed for all time. Verse 25 clearly says (as does the entire book of Hebrews) that we are no longer under the old law (tutor).
Therefore, we read the Old Testament to learn how God sees sin, and how he deals with it (1 Cor. 10:1-13), but we are not to use it as a law to govern or guide us today. The old law was nailed to the cross and done away with.
This is a very important and significant Bible teaching which many people have missed. Jesus died to establish a new law, the law of the New Testament. We are no longer bound to the laws of the Old Testament.
We are not required to do anything stated in the Old Testament that is not repeated by the New Testament. The Ten Commandments were given only to the Jews. It is interesting, however, that 9 of the 10 commandments are restated in the New Testament. The only one that is left out is the command to remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. Christian's worship on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7) which is the Lord's Day (Rev. 1:7). The many laws and regulations of the Old Testament are of no concern to Christians today except to illustrate the seriousness with which God takes his relationship to His people. We are not to live by these laws.