Christ did not come to abolish the law?

Matt. 5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Adventists and others confidently boasts: This law is the Decalogue (Ten Commandments). Jesus says that every jot and tittle of it will stand till heaven and earth pass away. This shows that this law is unchangeable and still binding. The Sabbath is a part of it and therefore the seventh day must still be kept.

Seventh-Day Adventists, and others consider this the strongest text in the New Testament for the law. They are constantly quoting it. If this fails, they have no stronger fort. It teaches no such thing as they claim. 


The Law (Torah) and prophets in Matt 5:17-19 is not the ten commandments but the entire Law (in the books of Moses) and prophets (prophetic books like Isaiah, Jeremiah etc).

The Law on books of Moses has 613 laws including the ten commandments  if one were to count. So, if what SDA’s are saying is right, we have to keep all the 613 laws (that included circumcision, feast days, cleansing laws, sacrifices) because Jesus apparently is saying all the law (Torah) is binding, and have authority over us

Seventh-Day Adventists themselves admit that Jesus fulfilled and ended what they called the ceremonial law. He abolished it at the cross. Well, did he come to destroy that law? Certainly not, and yet he did it away. So, then, it is one thing to destroy a law, and quite another to bring it to a close by fulfilling it. Jesus says he came to fulfill the law and the prophets. 

The text does not say that every jot and tittle of the law will stand till heaven and earth pass away (if that is so, then SDA’s are wrong to teach the ceremonial law passed away); but it does say that it will not pass away until it is all fulfilled. This teaches that it would all be fulfilled and pass away sometime. The idea is that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than one letter of the law would fail of being fulfilled. Luke’s words make this matter very clear.

“It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail,” Luke 16:17

Here we cannot mistake the meaning; the idea is not the length of time the law is to last, but the certainty that it will not fail to be fulfilled. 

For ‘fulfilled’, the Greek word is PLAROSAI and is defined by Greenfield, among other things, “To fulfill, to complete; to bring to a close, end, finish, complete.”

So Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to finish it: “Heaven and earth shall sooner perish than one iota or one tittle of the law shall perish without attaining its end.” That is the idea exactly. 

After his resurrection Jesus said:

“These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the LAW OF MOSES, and in the PROPHETS, and the psalms, concerning me. Luke 24:44.

Did you notice? The Law and the Prophets that Matt. 5:17-19 and Jesus said He came not to abolish is the Law of Moses.  So are Adventist telling us that we must keep the law of Moses when they themselves teach that it is abolished? 

And then Paul says: “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree.” Acts 13:29.

So it was all fulfilled at the cross. NOW IT CAN PASS AWAY! Hence Paul says “Christ is the end of the law.” Rom. 10:4.

“TILL ALL BE FULFILLED,” ended when Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED!” (John 19:30). Until that time, if someone broke what they considered to be the least important requirement in all the law of Moses and the Prophets and taught others to break them they would be WRONG for doing so. Up until Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets at the cross, it was RIGHT to obey all 613 commands in the Law and the Prophets.

When Jesus said, “I have not come to abolish the Law (first five books of Moses) or the Prophets (writings of Isaiah, Daniel etc),” he did not mean that each specific law IN THE OLD TESTAMENT would stay exactly the same. Matthew 5:17 is not a “proof” of any particular law is valid, because the verse does not tell us which specific laws are still valid or which have been changed or set aside.
So Mathew 5:17-17 does say that the LAW will not pass away until it is all fulfilled. Hence, it teaches that it would all be fulfilled and pass away sometime. 

Did the law of Moses pass away?
Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even THE LAW of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace
Ordinances or statutes in the law of Moses included both moral commands that forbidded worshiping idols, and ceremonial Sabbath command in the old testament:
Ezekiel 20:18-19 Then I said to their children in the wilderness: Don’t follow the statutes of your fathers, defile yourselves with their idols, or keep their ordinances. 19 I am Yahweh your God. Follow My statutes, keep My ordinances, and practice them. 20 Keep My Sabbaths holy, and they will be a sign between Me and you, so you may know that I am Yahweh your God.
Christians now don’t go to this abolished law of Moses or to Ten Commandments to know if it is wrong to worship idols and whether one should observe the Sabbath, instead they go to the law of Christ, and the teachings of the apostles, as Jesus has ushered in a new covenant, which restates the moral obligation of not worshipping idols (1 Cor. 10:7), but abolishes the requirement to observe the ritual Sabbath day (Col. 2: 16, 17), among many other rituals.

Christians are not under authority of the law of Moses, but they are also not without the law of God. Instead, they are now under the law and teachings of Christ and the apostles, where God commands and restates 1000’s of morals laws and a few rituals (like Baptism, Lord’s supper), but never the Sabbath, and other ritual laws (like circumcision, dietary laws, sacrifices etc. They all ceased!)

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law [of Moses], as under the Law [of Moses] though not being myself under the Law [of Moses], so that I might win those who are under the Law [of Moses]; to those who are without law [of Moses – that would be Gentiles], as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law [of Moses – that is the Gentiles].
 Adapted: From an article by Dudley Marvin (Retrieved from: Forty-Seven Prominent Texts used by Sabbatarians Examined)

5 thoughts on “Christ did not come to abolish the law?

  1. Can you explain the Ten Commandments? Are they done away with: are we allowed to kill, steal, commit adultery, and so forth? If not, what are you saying here? If you say, “We still have to observe the nine Commandments” how do you take away the fourth Commandment


    • Hi Lionel,

      Thank you for stopping by. I understand your questions for I once was a Sabbatarian, and had the same questions. But here’s is what the Bible teaches.

      Can you explain the Ten Commandments?

      The Ten Commandments are part of the Covenant God made with Israel.

      1) ‘The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb..I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery..You shall have no other gods before me…” (Deut. 5:2-22).

      a) The stones on which the decalogue was written are called “the tables of the covenant,” (Deut. 9:9)
      b) The book in which it was written was called “the book of the covenant,” (Ex. 24:7)
      c) The ark in which it was deposited was called “the ark of the covenant,” (Deut. 31:26)

      2) The LAW of this covenant was called the Law of Moses. ‘Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel’ (Mal. 4:4); it had 613 laws in total that Israel had to obey and not just ten.

      a) For MOSES said, ‘Honor your father and your mother” (Mark 7:10)
      b) ”And madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of MOSES thy servant (Nehmiah 9:14).

      3) The first covenant [law of Moses or ten commandments] has no more authority over a Christian as it has been FULFILLED AND declared obsolete when God made a new covenant.

      A) Hebrews 8:13 By calling this COVENANT “new,” he has made the first one OBSOLETE; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. 9:1-4 Now the first COVENANT HAD regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary…the gold-covered ark of the covenant. …the stone tablets of the covenant.

      B) Ephesians 2:15 Having ABOLISHED in his flesh the enmity, even THE LAW of commandments contained in ordinances

      C) “But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on STONES (ten commandments), WAS GLORIOUS, ….how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if what is PASSING AWAY [Ten Commandments] WAS GLORIOUS, what remains is much more glorious” (2 Corinthians 3:7-11, NKJV).

      4) Christians are not under the LAW Of MOSES OR THE OLD COVENANT, but UNDER THE LAW OF CHRIST, and Commandments Jesus gave His apostles after the establishment of the NEW COVENANT.

      a) 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law [of Moses], as under the Law [of Moses] though not being myself under the Law [of Moses], so that I might win those who are under the Law [of Moses]; to those who are without law [of Moses – that would be Gentiles], as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ,

      b) “After that he through the Holy Ghost had given COMMANDMENTS unto the APOSTLESs whom he had chosen.” Acts 1:2.

      c) “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, You must be circumcised, and keep THE LAW [of Moses]: to whom we gave NO SUCH COMMANDMENT” (15:24).

      d) Acts 21:21 And they are informed about you [Paul] that you teach all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to FORSAKE MOSES saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the CUSTOMS.

      5) The spirit of the Mosaic law, every moral principle in it, is reiterated over and over in the gospel, with all the authority of the Son of God. Not a Christian duty can be named which is not taught in the New Testament. Not a single thing is forbidden by the Old Testament which it would be wrong for a Christian to do, which is not also forbidden in the New, in some form.

      6) The NEW Covenant after the resurrection of Christ COMMANDS and RESTATE MANY moral laws under LAW AND TEACHINGS OF JESUS AND APOTLES, which we are obligated to obey. Here are a few: Have no other gods (Romans 1:25), don’t make an image or bow down to it (1 Corinthians 10:14), Don’t take God’s name in vain (1 Timothy 6:1), Don’t judge people on the Sabbath (Col 2:16,17) Honour your father and your mother (Ephesians 6:2), You shall not kill (Romans 13:9), You shall not commit adultery (1 Corinthians 6:18), You shall not steal (Romans 13:9), You shall not bear false witness (Romans 13:9), You shall not covet (Romans 7:7), Accept one another (Rom 15:7), Bear with one another (Col 3:13), Serve one another (Gal 5:13), Value one another (Philp 2:3), Encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11), Pray for one another (James 5:16), Help the poor and needy (Matthew 25:41-45), Don’t discriminate (James 2:9). Don’t neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:25).

      7) These laws have not been restated in the new covenant. Instead they have been abolished among many other rituals laws: FEAST DAYS, DIETARY LAWS (Col 2:16,17), CIRCUMCISION, SACRIFICES, AND SABBATH DAYS INCLUDING SEVENTH DAY SABBATH:

      A) Col. 2:16, 17 ”Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day”

      B) Rom. 14:5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems ALL DAYS ALIKE. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

      C) You are observing special DAYS and months and seasons and years! I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was IN VAIN. (Gal. 4:11)

      8) Then is the Old Testament to be thrown away? God forbid. It should be received as the inspired word of God, a mine of precious truth; but it must be studied in the light of the New Testament, and modified by it. Nothing should be required of Christians simply because it is found in the law of the Old Testament. To bind our consciences, it must be required by the New Testament. Here the seventh day fails entirely, for there is no requirement or command in all the New Testament to keep it; but its abrogation is plainly taught.

      See: Only 9 commandments?

      Ten Commandments Examined

      In Christ!


      • For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord , so shall your seed and your name remain. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord , so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord .
        Isaiah 66:22‭-‬23 KJV


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