Daily Bible Nugget #533, Matthew 5:17-18

The Nugget:

Matthew 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Mat 5:18  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.

The Muslim Challenge:

Abu Husna challenged…

“How Antichrist Paul says, “Jesus abolished the Law? Didn’t Christ say that the “Law would not be destroyed; that it would last as long as heavens and earth?
Who gave this authority to Paul to change the fundamental teachings of Christ?
Christ says, ” Think not that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the Law, till all things be accomplished” (Mt 5:17-18).
Where are those wise men in Christianity as desired by Jesus in above verse?”///

My Answer:

First, I must thank my friend Levi Akamigbo for posting the above challenge on Facebook. Levi posted his answer, but a kind Muslim correctly responded that while Levi posted many Bible verses, he did not directly address the problem Abu Husna posted. I will attempt to address the challenge directly:

(1). “How Antichrist Paul says, “Jesus abolished the Law”?

Notice the Muslim is using an “ad hominem” argument by “attacking the man,” not by providing any evidence that justifies labeling Paul “an Antichrist” or “the Antichrist.”

I have found that many who are followers of false religions and false theologies are prone to attack the Apostle Paul in this manner. Such attacks are unjustified, not true to the Bible’s account of how Paul was converted to Christ and appointed by Jesus Christ Himself to be His Apostle to the Gentiles. See the account in Acts 9:15, 16,

Act 9:15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Act 9:16  For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

It is our Lord Jesus Christ who is spoken of as “Lord” in Acts 9:15. Notice that Jesus Himself appointed Paul to become “a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles.”

It is therefore a grave error to identify Paul as one who is in opposition to Jesus Christ, as Abu Husna has done. It would be profitable for Muslims and everyone else to carefully read Acts chapter 9 in full.

(2) Did Paul say that Jesus abolished the Law?

Unfortunately, Abu Husna did not furnish the documentation from the New Testament which would support this important claim about Paul.

The New Testament record does show that the enemies of Paul made such claims about him:

Acts 21:21
21  And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest 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.
King James Version

Those same enemies accused Stephen similarly:

Acts 6:11
11  Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
King James Version

Before Paul was converted to Jesus Christ, Paul was among those who debated Stephen. We know Paul was among those who debated Stephen because Paul was from Tarsus, and the text (Acts 6:9) mentions the synagogue of Cilicia, a province of Asia Minor, of which Tarsus was the capital. Those who disputed with Stephen were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke. Since they could not defeat Stephen in debate, they attacked him physically, and ultimately brought Stephen to the Council, setting up false witnesses:

Acts 6:13  And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
Acts 6:14  For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

The Jews and their leaders, like Muslims today, were not well-informed in the Scriptures, and so made false accusations against Stephen and later against Paul, saying these men spoke blasphemous things against Moses and against God. Remember that Jesus said of the Jews and especially the Jewish leadership, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (John 5:46).

The answer to the question, “Did Paul say that Jesus abolished the Law?” is clearly “No.” But those who are sufficiently taught in the Scriptures know that Jesus did not abolish the Law: Jesus did what He said He would do–He fulfilled the Law.

Now, if Jesus fulfilled the Law, then those who have placed their faith in Him for salvation are no longer under the Law:

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Rom 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Rom 6:15  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
1Co 9:20  And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
1Co 9:21  To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
Gal 3:23  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:21  Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
Gal 5:18  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Paul is not the only one that speaks of us as not being under the Law, but under Grace:

John 1:17  For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Therefore, it is most evident, that the Apostle John taught the same thing as Paul did.

(3) Didn’t Christ say that the “Law would not be destroyed; that it would last as long as heavens and earth?”

The Law has not been destroyed. It has been fulfilled. It has been fulfilled by our Lord Jesus Christ. Since the Law has been fulfilled, the Law is no longer in force in terms of what God requires us to believe in order to be saved, in order to have eternal life.

If we could perfectly obey the Law, we could before the time of Christ be saved by doing so (Leviticus 18:5). But since no one has ever perfectly kept the Law except the Lord Jesus Christ, no one can be saved by keeping the Law. We are now saved when we place our faith and belief in the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us (Acts 16:30).

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