Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with the exquisite Beautitudes – a series of “blessed are” statements that reveal the upside down nature of the Kingdom of God. Then He tells His followers of their high-visibility salt and light calling, and goes on to warn them – telling them NOT to think something: don’t think that the appearance of the Savior on earth, and His dying for the sins of the entire world, would trump all of the laws and testimony of God that were expressed prior to His appearance and crucifixion. He would indeed be fulfilling the requirements of righteousness for us all, and that would be to allow us access into a place of holy intimacy, where we could then begin fulfilling His true desire for relationship with holy man, as we continue to choose holiness.
Matt 5:17-18 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Never changing God has always had standards of holiness. He never changes. In fact, the Ten Commandments was not the beginning of the revelation of the expectations of God for His people. He would not have destroyed the earth in the time of Noah had not the people been guilty of wicked living that was contrary to the revealed plans and laws of God. Further proof of that is in Genesis 26:5 where God tells Isaac he and his descendants were in for a blessing:
5 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (NKJ)
That verse tells us commandments, statutes and laws of God were revealed BEFORE the Mt. Sinai covenant. Makes perfect sense. Good God. Never changes. Knows man needs good laws. Always extends them to man. Always expects man to live properly.
So why does Jesus tell the disciples NOT to think something? Because He knew it would be a deceptive temptation that would be erroneously promulgated upon the earth, after His appearance and death, in an attempt to defy and deny the ongoing relevance of the Old Testament (which, by the way, is never called the “OLD Testament” in the Scriptures. Better might be, the Earlier or First Testament). If anyone had a divine agenda to point his readers into the glory of Christ and out of the law of Moses, it was the writer of the book of Hebrews, who was addressing a particularly touchy situation in having to clarify (to Jewish believers in Jesus) what and what not was still in place as far as ordinances and rituals were concerned. That unnamed writer wonderfully and necessarily makes the best case for the complete fulfillment of the Mosaic covenant requirements in the atoning work of Jesus, but in that fulfillment never once implies that the “old” Testament itself was to be discarded, overlooked, or regarded as irrelevant to the new covenant believer.
To the contrary, the writer of Hebrews continuously validates and affirms the Old Testament, quoting the book of Haggai (Heb 12:24) to remind us of the end times shaking, reminds us that there will be a Day (of judgment) approaching, quotes Psalms (110) to reveal the majesty of the Melchizedek priesthood order of our Lord, and in Hebrews 12:25-29 further informs us that the bar is set higher, not lower, because of Jesus and the infilling ministry of the Holy Spirit. That writer invites us to have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with fear, for our God is a consuming fire. There’s grace for you.
Through Christ we can enter His presence with confidence, actually more fully understanding He is an awesome God. “Awesome” in Hebrew is “yare”, containing components of reverence, honor, respect, fear, and dread. He is an awesome God indeed, and continues to be an awesome God. Does not change, remember?
As if Matt 5 and the book of Hebrews were insufficient validation of the Old Testament for the New Testament believer, Peter reveals something quite outrageous in 1 Peter chapter 1. He tells us that the writings of the Old Testament prophets was not being written for THEM or THEIR age, but for US and OUR age.
1 Pet 1:10-12
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven– things which angels desire to look into. (NKJ)
Wow, the Old Testament was written specifically and intentionally for us, the NT believer. It becomes clearer why our desperate enemy, the deceiver, would want to draw us away from the Scriptures penned before the appearance of Jesus, because in them were revealed (and they remain to to continue to reveal) the yet-to-be-fulfilled plans of God. It is within the embrace of the whole word of God that the saints will find the fullness of their great God, and His plans, and His purposes. Lots has to happen yet. All has to be fulfilled.
I love the fact that Jehovah-Clever purposely seeded so much end-times revelation in the Old Testament. He obviously had, and continues to have, a desire for us to go back into that majestic writing, to learn from the failures and successes of the folks who came before us, and to learn more about Him. Soberly we understand that we are not to be snatching the promises of Psalms and the wisdom of Proverbs from the Old Testament as being pertinent for us, and then tossing all that seems too difficult, mystical, or challenging to understand. Silly us. It is all about the whole enchilada.
Remember what Jesus said in Matt 5: For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
All fulfilled. I’ve begun a little exercise of marking, in the OT, all the scriptures that have not been fulfilled yet. Not FULLY filled yet. Some have been half-filled. Others not at all. My Lord told me clearly (in Matt 5) they would all be fulfilled, and I therefore would do well to understand that revelation, from His lips, trumps any new supposed revelation by anyone else. The Scriptures are the Word of God, and what God has said He would do, and what God has said will happen, will happen.
Whenever mankind has ignored or blown off, or twisted, modified or adjusted the word of God, it has not gone well. That is a well-worn path of failure. We would do well to tremble at His whole word, to eat the whole scroll, if you will.