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. [Matthew 5:18 ESV]
Jesus uses the word “amen” in this verse. “For truly(amen)I say to you.” God uses the word to affirm the absolute fulfillment of His promises. Revelation 3:14 uses the word as a name of Christ. “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation’” [Revelation 3:14 ES]. Jesus is throwing the full weight of God’s eternal being behind the words He has and will state.
God gave His Word, deciding before creation what would occur, knowing, before creation what He would do. Heaven and earth began. His Word was present. Heaven and earth will end. His Word is eternal. Like Himself His Word is not constrained by time or place.
Perhaps we need to realign our thinking with the truth of His eternal Word. When He says “I have come to fulfill them (the Law and the Prophets) [Matthew 5:17 ESV] we think automatically He is referring to the Hebrew Scripture. By doing so we place upon His Word our created and temporary thinking. This is not wrong thinking but is incomplete thinking.
Long into the history of the nation of Israel God gave the Law to Moses for the people of Israel to follow. Hundreds of years before Abraham had been separated out from all people and blessed. Soon after he was given the command to circumcision. Isaac was chosen, not Ishmael. Jacob was chosen not Esau. Jacob had twelve sons by four women and his tribe went to Egypt and lived there for 400 years. After Moses was born it was another 80 years before God brought the people out of Egypt. Then, 400 years into Israel’s history, God gave the people the Law, beginning with the Ten Statements, commonly known as the Ten Commandments.
To limit the Law and the Prophets to the written law of Moses is to ignore the history of Israel and the real people who lived that history. It also completely ignores, or makes of little consequence, the relationship God has with His creation before and after the giving of the Law of Moses.
A great portion of the Law of Moses prescribed the duties of the priests in offering sacrifices. Certain animals were forbidden as sacrifices. God identified what kind of animal could be sacrificed and how the animal was killed. Hebrew Law determined who received portions of the sacrifice for food and what parts were given wholly to God.
There is no longer a need for animal sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled the laws of the sacrifice. Does this mean the laws dealing with sacrifice are null and void? Absolutely not. We learn, if we are willing, about the extent of the sacrifice of Christ for us through the sacrificial law. Israel’s history tells us about God who redeemed those enslaved by sin.
He is the eternal Word, the author of the Word of God and nothing about Him will cease to exist when heaven and earth disappear. We place ourselves in a box when we refuse to view God’s Word as eternal demanding our interpretation of His Word be limited by a specific time and place.
Jesus confronted the teachers of the law over and over about their misinterpretation of God’s Word. They had the Word of God, the Law and the Prophets and used the traditional interpretations of the words to justify themselves. God gave His law so men would see their sin and turn to Him not so they would have a means to justify themselves before Him.
Why could not the teachers of the law understand Jesus’ words as He spoke and taught, or His actions as He healed? They had been taught and embraced a training which closed their minds to the truth. They had been taught by their “father, the devil” [John 8:44 ESV] turning truth and its head, claiming truth was not true and the lie was true and trustworthy. “Because I tell the truth, you do not believe me” [John 8:45 ESV]. Remove and compromise the truth and you will keep self from being good, because good has been redefined, excused, tortured into a lie. Take away the goodness of God and there can be no justice or righteousness, only fairness applied arbitrarily. Rob the world of justice and righteousness and holiness expunges the world from its presence, for only that which is true and good and right and just can be holy. Jesus was all of these things. Like a foreign object being rejected by the body so the corrupted body of men rejected Jesus.
We learn about Jesus by examining His life and His words. Since He wrote the Hebrew Scripture about Himself we would do well to examine it and know what it says. God’s Spirit in us will teach us if we are willing and open to learning.