moses

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)
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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.

The Third Day Series: Part 10 – Israel

Given the magnitude of Moses’ ministry, it makes sense that he was involved in multiple events spanning a three day interval of time. We have already discussed the exodus from Egypt and the ninth plague. This time we will discuss the Lord appearing before His people at Mount Sinai, after the exodus.

In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they set out from Rephidim, they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain. Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” Exodus 19: 1 – 6

Here God spoke and declared that He would make the twelve tribes of Israel into a nation. This was no small event. God made a covenant with Israel, and on the basis of obedience to that covenant Israel would be a light to the world and ambassadors of God’s goodness and mercy. Moses told the people God’s words, as instructed, and the people responded.

All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. Exodus 19: 8

Upon hearing the response from Moses, God gave further instruction, and met with His people.

The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people, and they washed their garments. He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.” So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that they were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. Exodus 19: 9 – 18

God met with His people on the third day. Just as Jesus met with His disciples on the third day after His death. When God met with Israel there was lighting and thunder and a cloud and the people trembled and a trumpet sounded. Matthew tells us that on the day of Christ’s resurrection there were similar events – an earthquake, lightning, people trembling, trumpeting.

And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said…” Matthew 28: 2 – 6

The parallels between the two accounts are astounding:

Sinai Tomb
There was lightning and thunder The angel’s appearance was like lightning
There was a quaking mountain There was an earthquake
The LORD descended in fire The angel of the Lord descended from heaven
There was a cloud The angel was clothed white as snow
The people trembled The guards trembled
There was a very loud trumpet sound The angel trumpeted the truth of the resurrection

Given all these similarities, we can be confident in thinking that the account of the third day appearance of God on Sinai is a type, a foreshadow, of the third day appearance of Christ.