Messiah

Why Christians Don’t Listen To Moses: 2 – The Torah Is Temporary


Suggested Pre-Reading: Why Christian’s Don’t Listen To Moses 1


The Law of Moses, the Torah, as a single body of law comprising many individual laws, can only be eternal or finite in duration. When a Christian says, “I listen to Jesus, not Moses”, they are saying, “The Torah is temporary, and with the coming of Jesus its time to govern has ended.”

This declaration of a temporary Torah is highly offensive to Orthodox Jews, who believe that the Law of Moses is eternal. But the temporal nature can be easily demonstrated from the Old Testament, and both Christians and Jews agree that the Old Testament is God’s inspired word. The 613 commands identified in the Torah by the rabbis can be categorized into various groups. Three of the groups are sin, death, and disease. Both Orthodox Judaism and Christianity agree that after the resurrection of the dead, sin, death and disease will cease to exist. If those three things cease to exist, by logical necessity, so do the related laws. If the laws cease to exist, then they are finite in duration and cannot be eternal.

Consider these examples:

Type Example
Sin A jealous husband can make his wife take the adultery test per Numbers 5: 11 – 31
Death Ritual uncleanness occurs if entering the tent of a dead man per Numbers 19: 14
Disease Lepers must be easily distinguished in public per Leviticus 13: 45

In the age to come there will be no sin, and therefore no adultery, and therefore no jealous husbands invoking the adultery test. In the age to come there will be no death, and therefore no tents with corpses, and therefore no ritual uncleanness related to a corpse. In the age to come there will be no disease, and therefore no lepers, and therefore no laws instructing lepers how to distinguish themselves in public.

Although we are not yet living in the fully realized kingdom, we can nevertheless demonstrate the temporal nature of the Torah, by going through each and every law dealing with sin, death, and disease, and proving them to be unneeded in the age to come. There can be no doubt about the Torah being a temporary guide, which is just what the New Testament instructs.

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Galatians 3: 24-25)

Why Christians Don’t Listen To Moses: 1 – Introduction


Why don’t Christians listen to Moses?

The simple answer is found in Matthew 17:

Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matthew 17: 1 – 5)

This command to listen to Jesus, instead of Moses and Elijah, came from God and is the fulfillment of words God gave to Moses to give to Israel:

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. (Deuteronomy 18: 15)

Peter quoted this very verse in Acts 3 and applied it to Jesus. There is no doubt that the New Testament teaches Christians are to listen to Jesus. This theme is expanded upon by the book of Hebrews, which opens with this:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Hebrews 1: 1 – 2)

In regards to the differences between what Jesus and Moses taught, we are told this:

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant (Hebrews 8: 6 – 9)

The book of Hebrews teaches that if the first covenant of Moses was sufficient, God would have no need of sending Messiah and promising through the prophets a new and better covenant. But since the first covenant was never obeyed by Israel, because of their perpetual sin, something better was needed. This better thing is Jesus and the New Covenant.

And so to summarize our initial examination of this issue, we as Christians do not listen to Moses because the New Testament tells us to listen to Jesus, and instructs us that the New Covenant has replaced the Old Covenant, due to the Old Covenant’s inability to produce the repentance and faith God desired.

God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 4 – Summarizing the Centrality of Christ


Suggested Pre-Reading: God’s Oracles Center Around Christ 3


It has crossed my mind that perhaps the cart has been put before the horse. We have discussed how Christ is central to the New Testament, the Old Testament, and the five major covenants of God. But we have not talked a lot about “the Christ”. So herein is a brief summary of the Christ, serving as the conclusion to our study of the principle that God’s oracles center around Him.

The foundation for the Christ is laid when the prophet Nathan gives King David these words from God:

Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever. (2 Samuel 7: 16)

God promised David an eternal throne. Over the course of time the prophets made it clear that the eternal throne would be occupied not by an endless succession of kings, but by one ultimate king.

…I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 23: 5)

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom…(Isaiah 9: 7)

But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11: 4)

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. (Ezekiel 37: 24)

One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7: 13 – 14)

Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices. (Zechariah 6: 13)

Because the prophets clearly told of a coming king from the line of David, one might think that the most frequent rabbinic name ascribed to this anticipated man would be “Melek ben David”, meaning King Son of David. But the rabbis did not call Him that; instead, they referred to Him as “Mashiach ben David”, meaning Messiah Son of David. To understand why the rabbis called this man Messiah, one needs to know what Messiah means:

The word Messiah comes from a Hebrew term that means “anointed one.” Its Greek counterpart is Christos, from which the word Christ comes…In Old Testament times, part of the ritual of commissioning a person for a special task was to anoint him with oil. The phrase “anointed” one was applied to a person in such cases.1

In the Old Testament there are many messiahs. Saul was anointed as king of Israel. David was anointed as king of Israel. God anointed the Gentile king Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to Israel. This concept of an anointed one, which had general usage, took on a new specific usage because of the prophecies about the son of David. The son of David was commissioned by God to be a king. He would be a king, not just of Israel, but the entire world. He would bring about a universal utopia, the likes of which this world has never seen. He would teach the world the commands of God. There would be mass conversion to the God of Israel. The accomplishments of this man would be exceeded by no one. Therefore, this person was not “an” anointed one, but “the” anointed one. That is why the rabbis called him Mashiach ben David. That is why we call Him Jesus Christ.

The magnitude of the messianic vision of the prophets makes it easy to conclude that the Christ is at the center of all of God’s oracles. How could a man commissioned to do all of the things the prophets said not be the primary character of God’s story? How could someone who single-handedly ushers in the utopia we all yearn for not be the central figure of the Biblical narrative? We would do well to remember the words of Jesus, Mashiach ben David, spoken to rabbis who, though waiting for Messiah, thought that the laws and commands of God were the central figures of the Biblical narrative:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me…John 5: 39

The Bible is about Jesus of Nazareth, the Anointed One. Of this, we can be certain.


1 Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995)