Matthew 5:18 Defining the Law

In many dialogues about the Law, one issue that creates confusion is the definition of the Law. For those who seek to impose the Law of Moses as yet binding, they argue that all Christ did when he came was change the law regarding the sacrifices. In other words, everything else in the law must be kept with the exception of the animal sacrifices. Is this factual?

Is it possible to change the sacrifices without changing essential elements of the Law? First, there is the object of the sacrifice, i.e. the animal itself which is offered as a sacrifice. There were also laws regarding the offering of that animal. There were also laws prescribing who could offer the sacrifice, and under what conditions. Next, there were laws governing the purpose of the sacrifice. For example, see Leviticus chapter 1 for the requirements of the burnt offering. So, along with the sacrifice itself, must also go the priests who offered it, the manner in which it is offer, the time and purpose.

Requirements For The Burnt Offering:

  • A male without blemish
  • Offered of freewill
  • Must be brought to the door of the tabernacle of meeting
  • Hands had to be laid on the head of the animal
  • It would be accepted for atonement on his behalf
  • He had to kill the sacrifice before the Lord, i.e. in his presence at the tabernacle
  • The priests would sprinkle the blood all around on the altar by the door of the tabernacle
  • Skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces
  • The priests would put fire on the altar and lay the wood in order
  • Next the priests would lay the parts, the head and the fat in order on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar
  • The legs and entrals would be washed with water.
  • The priests would burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice.

These requirements differed for the type of animal slain, as in a sheep or goat, birds or turtle doves or young pigeons.

Requirements for Other Offerings

The grain offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, the trespass offering, and offerings with restitution were all different and with different requirements for each. Again, it was not simply the sacrifices that ended, but the laws, services, personnel and purposes for those sacrifices which ended. The “Laws” for each respective offering are found in Lev. chapters 6-7.

The Law of Female Purification

Consider the ritual after childbirth. The ritual of childbirth involved uncleanness for seven days if a male. The ritual for a female child involved 33 days of purification. This ritual also involved the offering of a sacrifice, and the priests to make atonement for her. “This text clearly says this was a law. “This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female.” See Lev. 12:7

Without priests, how will such atonement be made for women. How can they be pronounced clean from their impurities? Is this part of Torah yet being practiced?

The Laws Regarding Priests

Here we have another huge chunk of the Law gutted out by the Judaizers. Laws regarding the priestly ministry, consecration and conduct must all be dispensed with. There are no Levitical priests today. See Leviticus chapters 8-10.

Laws Regarding Leprosy

What happens when an outbreak of leprosy occurs today? Who declares the person unclean or clean? Other laws regarding leprous garments, leprosy in houses and bodily discharges found in Leviticus chapters 13-15 must equally be set aside. How can one claim to be a follower of Torah and set aside all these laws?

The irony of it all is that of all the Laws in Leviticus, the only Law they choose to keep is the dietary Law in chapter 11. That is quite an exercise of picking and choosing.

All Or None Matthew 5:18

Yet, according to Matthew 5:18, not one jot or tittle of the Law could in anywise pass till all were fulfilled. We have huge chunks of the Law removed in Leviticus. There is an entire priesthood removed and all the duties associated with it. In Hebrews 7:11-12, the Scripture says for the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the Law. As we’ve seen, it was simply the end of the sacrifice, of the offering of the sacrifice and all the requirements pertaining to it and the duties of the priests. There is a problem with the Torah-keepers who do not continue in all things written in the book of the Law to do them.