Friday, February 12, 2010

Looking at Matthew 5:17-20 and redemptive historical hermeneutic

In the previous post we took a look at the prevailing hermeneutic of Christendom and discovered that it was driven by the hermeneutic of the rabbis. Often you hear the invoking of Matthew 5:17-20 to demonstrate that Jesus was totally on board with the rabbinical hermeneutic and, I do not think that this is the case.

Mat 5:17-20 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (18) For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (19) Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (20) For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

First of all, there is a legitimate question about what he meant saying…until all is accomplished. Until what is accomplished? Is it really until the end? And further, what about the question of heaven and earth passing...what it really means? Does it mean the literal passing of the physical heaven and earth or, is it the passing of the one covenant for another?

First off, Acts fifteen, at least for Gentile believers, shows that the jots and tittles have been removed. While it is debatable whether or not they were removed for Jewish believers it is not debatable for the Gentiles so it cannot possibly be used in the way it is used by evangelical theologians today.

This legitimately draws to light the question about what the phrase all is fulfilled means. Then we move on to the book of Hebrews and what it says about the New Covenant. Look at this passage; Heb 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. We see obviously another example of imminent expectation with the Greek word eggus which is translated as ready to vanish away. This word means nigh, at hand soon. We get an additional clue just a few verses down the letter; Heb 9:8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. All being fulfilled with respect to the Old Covenant is linked here to the destruction of the temple.

What this suggests is that the Old Covenant has vanished with the passing of the temple. The sacrifices could no longer be offered and while Judaism adjusted to accommodate this, they really have no way to practice the Law because they can no longer sacrifice and they have not been able to for almost two thousand years.

You can find posts that explain various positions of this blog in the following areas: Introduction, The Word of God, Realized Eschatology,Jew – Gentile Distinction. These are just a few of the blog posts but, I encourage you to look through them or, you can get a free PDF of the blog through the latest Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. God saw what I wish a lot of us would see, and that is we need to do things a new way (New Covenant). The old way was no longer working, so He did a new thing; He sent the ultimate sacrifice. We really should follow suit and stop doing things the same old way and getting the same old results.

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