Is the Law of Moses Still in Effect for Israel?

A correspondant wrote:
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. [IF ZECHARIAH 14 HAS NOT BEEN FULFILLED, NOT ONE JOT OR TITTLE HAS PASSED FROM THE LAW AND WE ARE STILL BOUND TO KEEP IT.]

James replies:
You are correct about the Law still being in effect for the Jews since Zech 14 has not been fulfilled. However, you erroneously infer that if the Law is still in effect for Israel that provisions of the Law affect you and me. You should notice that the jurisdiction of the Law is and always has been the Jews only.

Dt 4:6 Keep therefore and do [these statues and judgments]; for this [is] your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation [is] a wise and understanding people.
8 And what nation [is there so] great, that hath statutes and judgments [so] righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
(Dt 4:6, 8)

Dt 5:3 The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, [even] us, who [are] all of us here alive this day.

The Jews are still obligated to keep the Law since all of the prophets have not been fulfilled and the end of the world has not come. Since the Law condemns sinners and all have sinned, Israel needs salvation, but the Law cannot save them, for all it can offer is the blood of bulls and goats (Heb 10:4). Because of sin, it cannot justify but only condemn. Any that would be saved must come to Christ, because their Law has made them sinners (Rom 3:23).

The fact that the Law only applied to Israel does not mean that the rest of men are without law. God has given men three comprehensive codes of law to govern their lives. The original one dates from the time of Adam. It is the law by which all men sinned before the Flood and after the Flood up until the time of the giving of the Law to Israel. At the giving of the Law to Israel, there were two laws from God in effect at the same time. There was a new law just for Israel (Dt 4:6-8, 5:3), but it had no effect on the existing law for the Gentiles. The Gentiles continued to be able to sin by violating the original law, just like they had done from the beginning. This situation of parallel laws continued up until Pentecost. On the day of Pentecost men were able for the first time to enter the kingdom of heaven. When they established their citizenship in heaven by Belief-Repentance-Confession-Baptism (B-R-C-B) they were delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear son (Col 1:13). This new kingdom had a new law, the law of Christ. Under this law the citizens of His kingdom may not discriminate against one another by race, condition of earthly servitude, or gender. It had no effect on the other two laws to which still applied to the people who did not become citizens.

All three laws continue in parallel with each other, but they are in effect for different groups of people. God’s original law for man continues to be in effect for the bulk of humanity. The Law of Moses is in effect for Israel, and the Law of Christ is in effect for the citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven (KOH). For citizens of the KOH (the church) it is unlawful for us to discriminate between Jews and Gentiles, men and women, or slave and free in the church. The Law still requires Israelites to maintain separation from unholy people in the world, but for Jew and Gentile brethren in the church, “What God has cleansed, do not call unholy” (Acts 10:15).

Paul says that God hardened Israel in order that He might have mercy upon all (Rom 11:32), the Jew during the Christian dispensation, and the Gentile during the time that God gave them up before the cross (Rom 1:24, 26). God doesn’t just require Jews to do things that they can’t do, He does the same for us. God requires that we live sinlessly, but we can’t (Rom 3:23, I Ki 8:46), or if we sin then we must pay the wages of sin (death) which we also can’t pay, because our death is already obligated by God’s curse on Adam (Gen 3:19, Rom 5:12-14). As a result, if anybody is saved, God must have grace and mercy upon them (Eph 2:8, Rom 11:32).

“Saved” means to be granted eternal life. It is NOT the same thing as becoming a son of God or sanctification. Eternal life means your body rises from the dead never to die again. Sons of God are both saved (raised from the dead) and sanctified (made holy) thereby gaining access to the most holy God. The saved of the nations will inherit eternal life, but they will NOT have access to God, because they are not holy. They did not gain access to the blood of Christ through obedient faith, and they therefore were not made holy by it (Heb 10:22).

The means of the salvation of the nations is Christ, even if they never heard of Him. The proof of this is Mt 25. There all the nations are gathered before Christ after the resurrection (Mt 25:31-32). The sons of God (I Cor 6:2) make a separation of the sheep and the goats and then array them before Christ. He passes the sentence on the nations not based on H-B-R-C-B or whether they used one cup or had instrumental music, but based on whether they had shown love in their lives to others or not (Mt 25:34-36). These people didn’t even know what He was talking about (Mt 25:37-39). They didn’t know about Jesus and the Bible, because they were not familiar with the prophecy of their own judgment in Mt 25, but they did in fact gain access to life through Jesus Christ, their merciful Judge.

In the ultimate sense, those saved in Mt 25:31ff actually don’t access the Father, but can only walk in the light of His house and throne (Rev 21:24-27, En 50:2-3). Only the sons of God are rendered holy by obedient faith. The holy sons of God are the ones that have access. Not only are these elect saved, but they also are made holy by having Christ’s blood sprinkled on them at baptism (Heb 10:22). This holiness enables them to access the highway of holiness (Isa 35:8) and to enter heaven (New Jerusalem) and to go into the presence of God (Rev 22:1-5, 15).

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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