Written Debates

C01 Debate: Passing of the Law: Terry Benton’s 1st Negative

Terry Benton’s First Negative Terry W. Benton

Benton-V-Preston Formal Written Debate

Terry Benton’s First Negative Response
May 23, 2007

I count it a pleasure to study these important matters of scripture with Don, and to present these matters for careful consideration to the readers of the debate for years to come. I hope to contribute light to this subject, and hope that all will study with carefulness and diligence to know the truth.

A Note About Myself

I have been preaching the gospel since I was 19, so in some regular capacity for the last 33 years. I began in a full-time manner in 1979, so for the last 28 years. I have never orally debated, but have engaged several written debates, some of which are on this Religious Debates site. Sermons and studies are available at the Pine Lane website: www.pinelanechurchofchrist.com . I too welcome your correspondence and questions.

Proposition: Resolved: Obligation to keep the Law ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Don K. Preston so affirms, and I, Terry W. Benton, deny.

This is the proposition that Don resolved to prove. My role in the negative is to examine whether he offered such evidence that positively affirms and proves the above proposition. By this proposition Don says that "I mean by this (To Keep) to obey and perform the commandments, precepts, and statutes". So, this means that Don is affirming that all of the law, including Sabbaths, circumcision, and sacrifices, and the obligations to and by the Levitical priesthood were an obligation upon Paul and all other Jews until AD 70. If there was any part of the Law that ceased to be an obligation, then Don will not be able to sustain the arguments he introduced to us in his first affirmative.

Don’s Questions

1.) Was / is it possible for God to terminate His covenant (the Law) with
Israel, before, and without fulfilling all of the promises of that covenant (the
Law)?

Answer: God could cancel the obligations upon man that were imposed whenever those laws reached the desired end, when Christ satisfied them, nailed them to His cross, to bring us to Christ, and God can fulfill every promise He made at such times as He desires or at such times as He promised He would. To Don I would ask: Was or is it possible to introduce and ratify a new covenant before the old was terminated? When did the New Covenant come into effect?

2.) At what point of time, and with what event were (or will), all of God’s Old
Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel, (be) fulfilled?
Answer: At the cross the covenant obligating MAN was ended, the curses would come whenever God determined, and some promises are not necessarily time or covenant tied. Binding obligations placed upon man do not place time-limits upon when God will carry out every promise. Promises can be conditional or unconditional. If unconditional, they can be tied to the obligations of the other covenant party, or they can be unconditional and have no relation to whether the covenant was broken by man or whether God may have cancelled man’s obligations to it. The covenant can mention future blessings or promises without being terms of agreement or terms of the covenant. Did you give a question number 3?

4.) Please define, as specifically as possible, "the Law" that Paul said was
"the strength of sin" (1 Corinthians 15:54-56).

Answer: I think it is the Law of Moses as an example of every Christ-less law. Sin is given strength against us when mere law is all we have. Thank God that Christ solves this problem for us in His own death on the cross.

5.) When the faithful child of God dies physically today, where do they go:

A.) To the Hadean realm and Abraham’s bosom? Yes or No?

B.) Directly to heaven? Yes or No?

Answer: Yes to A and B. Abraham was looking for a city (Heb.11:10,16) and seems to be among those who have come to the "city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" where spirits of just men have been made perfect (Heb.12:22-24). The city of God is tied to heaven where Christ is. So, in some way, this part of the unseen realm (Hadean realm), where Abraham’s bosom provides comfort, is connected with heaven. Whether it is in its final glorified state or will later be enhanced with greater things than Abraham has yet seen, we cannot tell. What does this question have to do with the proposition?

6.) At what point of time, and in what event, did God cast off Old Testament
Israel as His Covenant people, and why did He cast them off?

Answer: "Because of unbelief they were broken off" (Rom.11:20). Thus, whenever "the faith" in Jesus came, grace and truth came, and their rejection of Christ became the moment of their rejection of grace and truth and of God’s rejection of them. (Jno1:17; 3:36; Gal.3:23-25). Because of unbelief they were broken off and can be grafted in again by faith. But, how is this question tied to the proposition? From here on out, let me encourage Don to stay with the proposition. I have no obligation to follow or answer every unrelated issue, and will not do so.

My Questions To Don

1. Since all Jews remained obligated to keep all sacrifices and the rite of circumcision until AD 70 (according to your theory), what law did they come under after AD 70?
2. Was Paul, and the other apostles, obligated to Jesus as priest AND the Levitical priesthood at the same time before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70?

3. If they were obligated to keep the Law’s required sacrifices, then were they also obligated to reject the offering of Jesus?

4. Are all Jews obligated to Jesus Christ? When did they become obligated, or when did they cease to be obligated to Him?

5. Will all Jews before and after the destruction of Jerusalem be judged by the words of Jesus?

6. If the Jews were obligated to Jesus at all, then were they therefore obligated to Jesus in every way, including submission to His "all authority"?

7. When did Jesus have all authority in heaven and on earth given to Him?

Defining The Law

Don spends a good bit of time demonstrating that sometimes the Law prophesies, and sometimes the Law is used as an encompassing word to include all of the Prophets and not just the Torah. What he hopes to get us to see is that no part of the material associated with the Old Testament can cease to be binding without every promise made in that same collection of books being first fulfilled on God’s part.

He said: So, the term "the Law" when used without a qualifier in the N. T. is a
comprehensive term, inclusive of the Pentateuch, the Psalms and the Prophets.

Here is the sugar-stick of Don’s entire premise. If "the Law" is sometimes used in reference to a limited aspect of the Old Testament scriptures, and not to every word and promise made in that body of 39 Old Testament books, then a major premise of Don’s entire line of argument will invalidate his whole stack of cards. All we need is one passage that shows that "the Law" is not always "a comprehensive term". We have no need to reply to the fact that SOMETIMES it is comprehensive. We freely admit that point.

In order for Don’s proposition to stand, it can NEVER be less than comprehensive of every word and phrase of every scripture located somewhere, regardless of context, in the body of the 39 books of the Old Testament. If it is EVER used in a non-comprehensive way, then it would be his obligation to prove that each scripture he uses to prove his proposition uses it in that comprehensive way every time in those verses. If he merely assumes it, then his whole proposition is built on unsafe and unsure ground.

But, it is not always used in a comprehensive way. Sometimes the term "the Law" refers to a particular aspect of the Old Testament scriptures and does NOT include the Psalms and the Prophets. For example: Look at Luke 24:44-45
Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. NKJV

Here the Law is not qualified, but the context shows that there are separate sections of the scriptures: The Law (as one section), the Psalms (as another section) and the Prophets (as a third and separate section). Our point is only that Don is not correct in stating or implying that "the Law" is always a comprehensive term that includes the Psalms and the Prophets. John 1:45 is another place where it cannot include the Psalms or the Prophets. Acts 24:14 is another instance and Acts 28:23 another.

If Don is right, then when Paul wrote that "you have become dead to the law through the body of Christ"(Rom.7:4), this means that you became dead to every promise ever made in the Old Testament, and cannot expect that God will fulfill any more promises. If "the Law" is as comprehensive in every passage as Don says, then it was wrong for anyone who knew the law to become dead to it until the destruction of Jerusalem. Since Don argues that every aspect of the Old Testament system had to remain bound upon every Jew until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, then it was wrong for any Jew to become "dead to the law" or feel free to feel "delivered from the Law"(Rom.7:6), until that future time came. There is something suspicious about what Don is mixing in his pot.

Don says:
1.) The proposition does not demand that I, or my opponent when he is in the
affirmative, identify for whom obligation to keep the Law ended.

So, he is implying that obligation might have ended for some people but not others. Now, if this is even possible, we ask: WHO released SOME from obligation to the ENTIRE Old Testament before and without it ALL being fulfilled? This is Don’s major premise throughout, and now he is beginning to back off a little from his major premise.

Don says:
2.) On that note, let me observe that the Gentiles were never under the Torah
(Romans 2:14), and, when Judaizers attempted to bind Torah observation on
Gentile Christians, they were condemned (Acts 15/ Galatians / Colossians 2).

3.) This means that obligation to keep Torah, until the time of its fulfillment
and abrogation, would only involve non-Christians Jews, and / or, perhaps,
Christian Jews (cf. Acts 21).

But, there can be no "perhaps" about it for any fleshly Jew. No Jew turned Christian could be released from obligation to keep the whole LAW until the destruction of Jerusalem (per Don’s affirmative). Our question is: WHO may have "perhaps" released Christian Jews from obligation to the ENTIRE Old Testament before and without it ALL being fulfilled?

He further waffles on his premise by saying:My affirmative will not discuss whether Christian Jews were under obligation to
keep Torah until its passing. My proposition does not ask nor demand that I do
so. It only sets forth the affirmative that obligation to keep the Law
continued, for someone, until A.D. 70.

But Don, if you say that even one Jew ceased to be under obligation to keep the ENTIRE LAW of the Old Testament, then you have surrendered your premise that says that obligation cannot cease before the entire Law was fulfilled, or before AD 70. You cannot have it both ways.

Don waffles even further by saying:
4.) All that my proposition demands, in the final analysis, is to prove that the
Law itself did not pass until A.D. 70. If the Law remained until A.D. 70, then
"someone" had an obligation to keep that law until then.

Don, you cannot even prove that the Law "passed" in AD 70, nor that it does not "remain" even now as we speak. Further, your premise demands that all Israelites in the flesh have to remain bound and obligated to everything in the Law until such time as it is ALL fulfilled. Thus, Paul was wrong and/or lied when he said "we are no longer under the tutor, the Law" (Gal.3:23-25). If there was a way for the law to cease to be binding on even one Jew before it was "all fulfilled"(per Don’s argument), then there is a way for God to cancel its obligations altogether at the cross. If not, why not?

Matthew 5:17-19

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to
destroy but to fulfill.

18 "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. 19 "Whoever
therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so,
shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches
them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

From this passage Don argued:

Obligation to keep the Law would remain valid as long as the Law stood valid.

But, when has the Law ever NOT stood valid? Did it cease to be valid in AD 70? Doesn’t it still stand valid now? What do you mean by this, Don? The Law still remains valid. What you have to do, Don, is not prove how long the Law stood or stands valid, but how and when did obligation to keep the entire Law of Moses cease to be an obligation?

What Jesus was saying is HE came to fulfill the commandments of the Law, not destroy them. He is referring to the commandments of the Law, which the Pharisees were teaching could be broken. They broke them and taught others to break them. Jesus did not come to do that. He came to fill up the demands of the commandments. When HE fulfilled all that it commanded, HE was qualified to nail it (the handwriting of requirements) to His cross. That does not mean that every promise had to be fulfilled before a man could be released from obligation to the Law. If obligation on man’s part lasts so long as God has some promises left in store, then there was no way to become "dead to the Law" and then married to Christ (Rom.7) before such time as all promises remained unfilled (which Don claims all finally happened in AD 70). We ask: Did some commandments pass from the Law for some Jews (namely some Christian Jews)? Could Jesus be a priest and change the Law (Heb.7:12) before AD 70? If He could, then there was a valid way to cancel the obligation of the Law on man at that same time.

Don assumes that every single prediction of any kind out of the Old Testament has to be fulfilled specifically before any part of the Law could cease to be an obligation upon all Jews. This means, then, that all sacrifices had to be maintained by all Jewish Christians until AD 70 (when Don claims all predictions and prophecies of any sort were all fulfilled). This means that Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself could not be viewed as legal or sufficient for Jewish Christians until AD 70. Believe it if you can!

The consequences of Don’s misuse of Matthew 5:17-19 are as follows:

1) Since not one tittle of the Law could pass (and that is also taken to mean it cannot cease to be obligated and imposed) until AD 70, then there could not be a "change of the Law" regarding priesthood until AD 70 (Heb.7:12-13).

2) After the faith came we (Paul includes himself, a Jew) are STILL under the tutor until AD 70 (Gal.3:23-25 not withstanding).

3) Jews were obligated to two husbands at the same time (Rom.7 not withstanding).

4) No one could be "delivered from the Law" (Rom.7:6) until AD 70.

5) No one could be "dead to the Law" (Rom.7:4) until AD 70.

6) Thus, Jesus could not "abolish in His flesh.the law of commandments contained in ordinances"(Eph.2:15) until AD 70.

There is something wrong with Don’s premise and with how he has built his case on Matthew 5:17-19.

"Passed" Versus "Remains Valid"

The covenant "obligation" to the Law passed from man at the cross, while it (the Law) forever remains "valid" as a Testimony. The types and shadows of the Law faded as the substance, Christ, emerged to fulfill and fill the outline created and anticipated by the forms and shadows (Col.2:14-17). So, what "passed away"? Not the Law as a Testimony to Christ, but the Law as a system of obligation. If the Law, as a system of obligation remained even as Christ emerged to take "all authority"(Matt.28:18f), then Jesus never had "all authority" over Jewish Christians for forty years. What "passed"? The glory of the first covenant faded as "ministers of the new covenant" showed forth the greater glory of Jesus in the gospel (2 Cor.3). Did the Law "pass" even after AD 70? No, we are still using it as a Testimony of God, His righteousness, and of His Son and our Savior, Jesus the Christ. We are still "fulfilling the righteous requirement of the law" (Rom.8:3-4; 13:8-10). We are still using it as a valid means of "instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim.3:15-17). So, Matt.5:17-19 does not teach anything about when "obligation" to keep the Law as a whole would be cancelled. It is only about whether Jesus came to destroy any part of it before He had actually fulfilled the commandments of it. When He filled its demands, then He could cancel the handwriting of requirements that were against us and nail them to His cross (Eph.2:11-14; Col.2:13-17). He did this long before AD 70. Thus, Don is wrong and his proposition is proven wrong.

Don said:
Therefore, obligation to keep the Law would remain valid until every single
aspect of the Law-including the prophets- was fulfilled.

This is not a valid conclusion. Obligation on man’s part to keep the Law does not obligate God as to when certain prophecies must be fulfilled. These are entirely different issues. Here are three different issues:

1) How long is man obligated to keep ALL the Law including its types and shadows?

2) What kind of promises can God make, and do they all have to be fulfilled within the same time-frame as man’s obligation to the Law of Moses?

3) Are all of God’s promises and predictions, though recorded in the Old Testament records, automatically tied to the Law of Moses so that God could not release man from his obligations before God has fulfilled every promise and prediction on every subject?

If Don does not use his next affirmative to settle these three issues and show how everything harmonizes with his proposition, then the rest of what he writes will simply be more smoke with no real substance.

Don repeats the verse as if it proves his proposition. He quotes:
Not one jot or tittle would pass from the Law until it was all fulfilled.

It is not a question of anything "passing" from The Law itself. It is a question of whether Jesus fulfilled the commandments of the law so as to qualify Him to release man so that obligation can pass from Moses to Jesus before every prediction (not obligation upon man) can come to pass?

Daniel 9:24-27

Of this verse Don said:
Daniel 9:24-27 posited the fulfillment of the entire body of prophecy, i.e. the Law, within the confines of the 70 weeks. (Seventy Weeks are determined to seal vision and prophecy).
Since not one jot or tittle of the Law could pass until it was ALL fulfilled, it
is therefore impossible for "the Law" to have passed at the Cross, while
constituent elements of "the Law" remained valid and unfulfilled.

But, Daniel 9 just says these weeks were determined "to seal up vision and prophecy". It does not say or imply that every kind of prediction or "the entire body of prophecy" was under consideration. It does not say that sealing up vision and prophecy is the same thing as the Law of Moses and the obligations that Law placed upon all Jews. The Law Jesus was speaking of was law obligation upon man (Matt.5:19-20). Did Jesus come and destroy the Law? Or, did He fulfill all the obligations of the law? By the time of the cross Jesus had filled the commandments of the Law with His perfect life. If He failed, then he was not a fit sacrifice for us. Don asserts Matt.5:17-19 includes every kind of predictive prophecy found in the entire Old Testament, and then asserts that obligation to any point in the Law can never cease until every predictive element is also finished. Then, with those assumptions, he moves to assert that Daniel 9 combines sealing vision and prophecy with when the Law could pass, and when obligation to that Law could be cancelled.

Don’s Premise

We can formulate Don’s premise in summary in the following syllogism:

Major premise: Obligation to the Law of Moses, all that it demanded of man, including foods and days and sacrifices and priesthood, continued to be obligated, bound, and imposed until AD 70.

Minor premise: No obligation to any point of the Law of Moses could cease on man’s part until every kind of promise God ever made, and is recorded in the Old Testament, was fulfilled.

Conclusion: Therefore, the entire system of Moses was obligatory on all Jews in all respects until AD 70.

But, his major premise is false because the priesthood changed to Christ (Heb.7:11f) long before AD 70. Thus, his conclusion is wrong. His minor premise is also wrong. God can cancel man’s obligations at any time He determines, and He determined to do that at the cross (Col.2:13-17; Eph.2:11-15) and God can have a different schedule for when certain promises come to pass. These issues are not tied together as Don asserts, and therefore his conclusion is wrong again.

If we allow Don’s premises without challenge, then this means that Paul was "under the tutor, the Law" even when he said he wasn’t (Gal.3:23-25). He was still obligated to the priesthood of the Law, even when Jesus was also a priest of a different order (Heb.7:11-13). But, the Hebrew letter said that the only way Jesus could be a priest would be to "change" the Law. Don’s whole premise argues then that Jesus could not be a priest until after AD 70. This is simply too much manipulation and twisting of texts in a vain effort to keep a hobby alive.

Don argues:
Remember, none could pass until all was fulfilled.
But, this means none of the "commandments" could pass without being fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled them and thereby became a perfect sacrifice. If He failed to keep them, then He died a sinner. We are all still in our sins no matter what happened by AD 70. If He did not die a sinner, then He was raised to a position in which He could cancel the debt against us and abolish the law of commandments contained in ordinances (Eph.2:11-14) before all the promises of non-covenant related matters were carried out on God’s part. Let the reader judge if Paul was right in Eph.2:11-14 or if Don is right in his manipulation of Matt.5:17-19.

Don adds:
Jesus did not say some will pass when some is fulfilled!

All the commandments were fulfilled in Jesus. Otherwise He died a sinner. Once He accomplished this, we could become dead to the law and be married to another (Rom.7). Don’s use of this means that even Paul could not be released from the Law of Moses and married to Christ until after AD 70. So, Paul never made it. He died before AD 70, and before any of the law could cease to be an obligation.

Don adds:
He did not say all would pass when some was fulfilled.

Remember, the text of Matt.5:17-20 is referring to the commandments, not every promise of God. What man was obligated to keep ceased to be an obligation when Jesus nailed these to the cross and abolished them in his flesh (Col.2:13-17; Eph.2:11-14). So, if Don is correct, then Paul was mistaken. Who do you think might be mistaken here?

Don adds:

He said none would pass until all was fulfilled.

None what? None of the sacrifices? None of the shadows? None of the priestly obligations? None of the priesthood laws could change until every promise God ever made was filled? When this verse speaks of the "passing" of the Law, is it even talking about the same thing as "changing" in Heb.7:12? Can it be "changed" without "passing"? The Hebrew writer by inspiration thought there was no conflict in the two ideas. Thus, the law "changed" without "passing". Can we be sure that we are talking about the same thing? In talking about the "passing" of the law in Matthew 5:17-19, is it even talking about the same thing as to whether it’s handwriting of ordinances and commandments were "abolished" (Eph.2:11-14; Col. 2:13-17)? Can it be cancelled or abolished without "passing"? Apparently the inspired apostle thought there was no conflict in the two ideas. Were the commandments or "handwriting of requirements" (obligations on man’s part) not fulfilled in Jesus? Could He not then "take them out of the way" and "nail them to His cross" without the Law "passing"? In what way could Paul "no longer be under the law" without the law "passing"? If the law did not pass, yet a Jew could no longer be under it, then there was a way for obligation to the Law to cease even before all of God’s own obligations to His predictions would cease. If not, why not?

What Don is asserting is that none of man’s obligations under the law would be cancelled until every promise God ever made was realized. God had to do all the things He said would be accomplished by Him before any man could be released from any obligations imposed upon him by the Law. This is Don’s premise, but it does not hold up to the facts.

Regarding Matthew 5:17-19, Don is shifting the verse into a different mode of thought. He is saying none of the commandments upon man can be cancelled until every promise of God is completed. The verse is staying with the same theme: None of the commandments will pass until all the commandments are fulfilled. They were all fulfilled in Jesus. He nailed the handwriting of requirements to the cross and took them out of the way so that no one can judge us in regard to new moons, Sabbaths, and other law-shadows that have been abolished in Jesus’ flesh.

The Handwriting of Requirements

From Eph.2 and Col.2 we learn that "the handwriting of requirements" were against us. They were not against Jesus because He fulfilled them. So, he nailed them to the cross and took them out of the way. Obligation to the law passed at the cross, but the Law itself does not pass away. It remains in a different role as a Testimony and witness to Jesus Christ. Promises God made about other things are not "the handwriting of requirements" that are obligations upon man, and therefore have no bearing on Don’s proposition.

Don says:

Vision and prophecy is "the Law."

Not necessarily! Visions are not "handwritings of requirements" or "obligations" upon man. Prophecy, in this context, can mean those predicted things that God promised that do not have to even be connected to whether man keeps his obligations or to whether God releases man from covenant obligation so he can be married to Christ.

Don’s use of Daniel 9 would mean that when Paul said "you have become dead to the Law"(Rom.7:4), this means you became dead to any vision or prophecy about the Messiah, what He would accomplish, and anything that would later happen to Judaism. So, did Paul become dead to those promises and die without ever realizing and enjoying those promises? Don cannot escape the consequences of the very arguments he has used.

Don says:
But, per Terry, "the Law" passed away at the Cross.

I had not said anything yet except in my email, and then all I said was that OBLIGATION to the Law’s demands ceased at the cross. I had said nothing about the Law "passing away". At the cross, Jesus nailed the "handwriting of requirements", and now these cannot be used to judge us. See again Col.2:14-16. Don implies that those requirements were still obligating Jewish Christians and that they had to be judged by those shadows all the way up to the time of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Don says:If therefore, the Law passed at the Cross, then the seventy weeks passed at the
Cross. Yet Terry’s own statement informs us that he believes that Daniel’s
prophecy extended to A.D. 70!

The seventy weeks of Daniel 9 reached their fulfillment in AD 70. But, obligation to the Law was cancelled at the cross. The Law as a Testimony to Jesus will never pass away. Promises God made about other things are not the "handwriting of requirements" that are obligations upon man, and therefore have no bearing on the matter of Don’s proposition.

Don says:

Terry, tell us plainly, was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ’s
passion necessary for the passing of the Law? Yes or No?

Instead of saying "passing of the Law", let me re-phrase Don’s question a bit. Was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ’s passion necessary for the "deliverance from the Law" (per Rom.7:6)? Yes! In being "delivered from the Law" are we also "delivered from every promise and prophecy of the Old Testament"? No! Being delivered from the Law is not synonymous with being unable to enjoy any predictive promise of that covenant. It was necessary for Christ to become a curse for us in order to end the handwriting of requirements and their hold and obligations upon us. Again, the proposition is about "obligation" not about "the passing of the Law". The Law never "passed" as a Testimony, either at the cross or at the time of AD 70. But, OBLIGATION to its requirements passed from MAN as he died to it and became married to another, that is, Christ. A covenant of obligation to a Law can pass away or be cancelled without the Law itself passing away.

Don’s Argument Again

Here is the argument:

All things written in the Law had to be fulfilled before the Law could pass (Mt.
5:17f).

But, the prophets had to be fulfilled to fulfill all things (Luke 18:31).

Therefore, the prophets were part of the Law that had to be completely
fulfilled- all of it, not just part- for the Law to pass.

Matthew 5:17f is about "commandments" and obligations having to be fulfilled. Luke 18:31 is about a class of prophecies "concerning the Son of Man". This is not about "commandments" (as in Matt.5:17). This is about prophecies concerning the Son of Man. These had to be fulfilled in Jerusalem in His death and resurrection. Matthew 5 is about whether any part of the Law’s commandments could pass before the demands of Law were met. Neither text addresses when man’s "obligation" to the requirements of the Law would be cancelled. Other passages show that man’s obligations were cancelled at the cross. When Jesus became a curse for us, the OBLIGATION moved from us and Moses to us and Jesus. His resurrection validated His death as a sacrifice and proved Him to be so much greater than Moses. The requirements that stood against us were "nailed to the cross". We became free from that law and became obligated to recognize Jesus as having "all authority" (Matt.28:18f).

Don’s Final argument:

Jesus said that not one jot or one tittle of the Law would pass until it was all
fulfilled.

But, Jesus said that in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 "all things that
are written must be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22).

Therefore, the Law- and thus obligation to keep the Law– would not pass until
the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

There are three different issues at play here:

1) Passing of the Law without Jesus first keeping the commandments. Jesus is saying in Matt.5:17f that this can’t happen without satisfying what the commandments required. By the time of His death, Jesus DID satisfy what the commandments required.

2) When obligation to the Law of commandments ceases to be required on man’s part by God. Obligation to man’s requirements in the law could pass or be cancelled without the Law and all prophecies being cancelled and without the Law itself ever "passing away". We cannot contend that Jews were bound to Moses AND to Jesus at the same time (per Rom.7). So, either Jews could not be bound to Jesus until AD 70, or Jews could be delivered from obligation to the Law of Moses 30-40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem.

3) Must every predictive prophecy be fulfilled on God’s part before man can be released from obligation to the requirements of the Law? Don has insisted that one thing cannot happen without the other. The Bible does not teach this.

Luke 21:20-22

Of this verse Don said:

Jesus himself said that the time of the fulfillment of all things that are written", would occur at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70

But all Don has proven is that:

1) Some things pertained to the Law of commandments contained in ordinances. The obligations on man were fulfilled in Jesus and nailed to the cross.

2) Some things pertained to promises of God that He could fulfill at any time and would fulfill, some during and after the cross, some in the church, and some in the New Covenant, and some in the fall of Jerusalem. Some of these promises (not obligations upon man) pertained to the destruction of Jerusalem. These have no bearing on when the handwriting of ordinances can be cancelled, when Jesus could change the Law (Heb.7:11f) and become a priest after a different order, etc. Some of the promises pertained to a new covenant and a law to all nations that would go forth from Jerusalem. These did not have to wait until the destruction of Jerusalem to be fulfilled.

So, all Don has done is masterfully string some scriptures together, assumed some points he did not prove and cannot prove, and then hope that I and the readers fail to detect the assumptions he used in stringing those verses together.

Summary

We have shown that all of Don’s arguments are well arranged assumptions. We did not grant him every assumption, and therein is where his theory fell apart. Whatever one says about "the passing of the Law", that concept is not necessarily identical with the issue of "obligation to the Law". By fault of assuming too much, we have called upon Don to:

1) Prove that the Law ever "passed away" even in AD 70

2) Prove that obligation to "the handwriting of ordinances" could not be cancelled at the cross AND that they were cancelled in AD 70.

3) Prove that man’s obligations cannot be cancelled until every sort of promise God ever made, as recorded in the entire Old Testament records, is fulfilled.

Don did not prove his proposition because:

1) There was a change of the Law and priesthood BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem. Heb.7:11f

2) Jews were "no longer under the Law"(Gal.3:23-25) BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem.

3) No one can judge us by issues of the law (Col.2:13-17) because these were "nailed to the cross" and this BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem.

4) Jews could be "complete in Christ" BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem (Col.2:10) and that without keeping the shadows of the Law.

5) The Handwriting of requirements was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem (Col.2:14)

6) The Law of Commandments were "abolished in His flesh" (Eph.2:15) BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

7) People could legitimately become "dead to the Law" through the body of Christ (Rom.7:4) long BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem.

8) People could be free from Moses and married to Christ long before the destruction of Jerusalem.

So, in closing, I caution Don to look again. Did you really "prove your proposition"? I caution the reader to keep coming back to these issues and seeing if Don truly addresses all of these matters. It will be impossible for him to prove his proposition when ignoring so many verses that fly in the face of his arguments.

The proposition Don affirms is: Obligation to keep the Law ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Not one verse that he offered says or implies anything about obligation to the Law ending in AD 70. Hopefully we can see some proof brought to the table in his next affirmative.

Terry W. Benton

I count it a pleasure to study these important matters of scripture with Don, and to present these matters for careful consideration to the readers of the debate for years to come. I hope to contribute light to this subject, and hope that all will study with carefulness and diligence to know the truth.A Note About MyselfI have been preaching the gospel since I was 19, so in some regular capacity for the last 33 years. I began in a full-time manner in 1979, so for the last 28 years. I have never orally debated, but have engaged several written debates, some of which are on this Religious Debates site. Sermons and studies are available at the Pine Lane website: www.pinelanechurchofchrist.com . I too welcome your correspondence and questions.Don K. Preston so affirms, and I, Terry W. Benton, deny.This is the proposition that Don resolved to prove. My role in the negative is to examine whether he offered such evidence that positively affirms and proves the above proposition. By this proposition Don says that "I mean by this (To Keep) to obey and perform the commandments, precepts, and statutes". So, this means that Don is affirming that all of the law, including Sabbaths, circumcision, and sacrifices, and the obligations to and by the Levitical priesthood were an obligation upon Paul and all other Jews until AD 70. If there was any part of the Law that ceased to be an obligation, then Don will not be able to sustain the arguments he introduced to us in his first affirmative.Don’s Questions1.) Was / is it possible for God to terminate His covenant (the Law) withIsrael, before, and without fulfilling all of the promises of that covenant (theLaw)?Answer: God could cancel the obligations upon man that were imposed whenever those laws reached the desired end, when Christ satisfied them, nailed them to His cross, to bring us to Christ, and God can fulfill every promise He made at such times as He desires or at such times as He promised He would. To Don I would ask: Was or is it possible to introduce and ratify a new covenant before the old was terminated? When did the New Covenant come into effect?2.) At what point of time, and with what event were (or will), all of God’s OldCovenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel, (be) fulfilled?Answer: At the cross the covenant obligating MAN was ended, the curses would come whenever God determined, and some promises are not necessarily time or covenant tied. Binding obligations placed upon man do not place time-limits upon when God will carry out every promise. Promises can be conditional or unconditional. If unconditional, they can be tied to the obligations of the other covenant party, or they can be unconditional and have no relation to whether the covenant was broken by man or whether God may have cancelled man’s obligations to it. The covenant can mention future blessings or promises without being terms of agreement or terms of the covenant. Did you give a question number 3?4.) Please define, as specifically as possible, "the Law" that Paul said was"the strength of sin" (1 Corinthians 15:54-56).Answer: I think it is the Law of Moses as an example of every Christ-less law. Sin is given strength against us when mere law is all we have. Thank God that Christ solves this problem for us in His own death on the cross.5.) When the faithful child of God dies physically today, where do they go:A.) To the Hadean realm and Abraham’s bosom? Yes or No?B.) Directly to heaven? Yes or No?Answer: Yes to A and B. Abraham was looking for a city (Heb.11:10,16) and seems to be among those who have come to the "city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" where spirits of just men have been made perfect (Heb.12:22-24). The city of God is tied to heaven where Christ is. So, in some way, this part of the unseen realm (Hadean realm), where Abraham’s bosom provides comfort, is connected with heaven. Whether it is in its final glorified state or will later be enhanced with greater things than Abraham has yet seen, we cannot tell. What does this question have to do with the proposition?6.) At what point of time, and in what event, did God cast off Old TestamentIsrael as His Covenant people, and why did He cast them off?Answer: "Because of unbelief they were broken off" (Rom.11:20). Thus, whenever "the faith" in Jesus came, grace and truth came, and their rejection of Christ became the moment of their rejection of grace and truth and of God’s rejection of them. (Jno1:17; 3:36; Gal.3:23-25). Because of unbelief they were broken off and can be grafted in again by faith. But, how is this question tied to the proposition? From here on out, let me encourage Don to stay with the proposition. I have no obligation to follow or answer every unrelated issue, and will not do so.My Questions To Don1. Since all Jews remained obligated to keep all sacrifices and the rite of circumcision until AD 70 (according to your theory), what law did they come under after AD 70?2. Was Paul, and the other apostles, obligated to Jesus as priest AND the Levitical priesthood at the same time before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70?3. If they were obligated to keep the Law’s required sacrifices, then were they also obligated to reject the offering of Jesus?4. Are all Jews obligated to Jesus Christ? When did they become obligated, or when did they cease to be obligated to Him?5. Will all Jews before and after the destruction of Jerusalem be judged by the words of Jesus?6. If the Jews were obligated to Jesus at all, then were they therefore obligated to Jesus in every way, including submission to His "all authority"?7. When did Jesus have all authority in heaven and on earth given to Him?Defining The LawDon spends a good bit of time demonstrating that sometimes the Law prophesies, and sometimes the Law is used as an encompassing word to include all of the Prophets and not just the Torah. What he hopes to get us to see is that no part of the material associated with the Old Testament can cease to be binding without every promise made in that same collection of books being first fulfilled on God’s part.He said: So, the term "the Law" when used without a qualifier in the N. T. is acomprehensive term, inclusive of the Pentateuch, the Psalms and the Prophets.Here is the sugar-stick of Don’s entire premise. If "the Law" is sometimes used in reference to a limited aspect of the Old Testament scriptures, and not to every word and promise made in that body of 39 Old Testament books, then a major premise of Don’s entire line of argument will invalidate his whole stack of cards. All we need is one passage that shows that "the Law" is not always "a comprehensive term". We have no need to reply to the fact that SOMETIMES it is comprehensive. We freely admit that point.In order for Don’s proposition to stand, it can NEVER be less than comprehensive of every word and phrase of every scripture located somewhere, regardless of context, in the body of the 39 books of the Old Testament. If it is EVER used in a non-comprehensive way, then it would be his obligation to prove that each scripture he uses to prove his proposition uses it in that comprehensive way every time in those verses. If he merely assumes it, then his whole proposition is built on unsafe and unsure ground.But, it is not always used in a comprehensive way. Sometimes the term "the Law" refers to a particular aspect of the Old Testament scriptures and does NOT include the Psalms and the Prophets. For example: Look at Luke 24:44-45Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. NKJV Here the Law is not qualified, but the context shows that there are separate sections of the scriptures: The Law (as one section), the Psalms (as another section) and the Prophets (as a third and separate section). Our point is only that Don is not correct in stating or implying that "the Law" is always a comprehensive term that includes the Psalms and the Prophets. John 1:45 is another place where it cannot include the Psalms or the Prophets. Acts 24:14 is another instance and Acts 28:23 another.If Don is right, then when Paul wrote that "you have become dead to the law through the body of Christ"(Rom.7:4), this means that you became dead to every promise ever made in the Old Testament, and cannot expect that God will fulfill any more promises. If "the Law" is as comprehensive in every passage as Don says, then it was wrong for anyone who knew the law to become dead to it until the destruction of Jerusalem. Since Don argues that every aspect of the Old Testament system had to remain bound upon every Jew until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, then it was wrong for any Jew to become "dead to the law" or feel free to feel "delivered from the Law"(Rom.7:6), until that future time came. There is something suspicious about what Don is mixing in his pot.Don says:1.) The proposition does not demand that I, or my opponent when he is in theaffirmative, identify for whom obligation to keep the Law ended.So, he is implying that obligation might have ended for some people but not others. Now, if this is even possible, we ask: WHO released SOME from obligation to the ENTIRE Old Testament before and without it ALL being fulfilled? This is Don’s major premise throughout, and now he is beginning to back off a little from his major premise.Don says:2.) On that note, let me observe that the Gentiles were never under the Torah(Romans 2:14), and, when Judaizers attempted to bind Torah observation onGentile Christians, they were condemned (Acts 15/ Galatians / Colossians 2).3.) This means that obligation to keep Torah, until the time of its fulfillmentand abrogation, would only involve non-Christians Jews, and / or, perhaps,Christian Jews (cf. Acts 21).But, there can be no "perhaps" about it for any fleshly Jew. No Jew turned Christian could be released from obligation to keep the whole LAW until the destruction of Jerusalem (per Don’s affirmative). Our question is: WHO may have "perhaps" released Christian Jews from obligation to the ENTIRE Old Testament before and without it ALL being fulfilled?He further waffles on his premise by saying:My affirmative will not discuss whether Christian Jews were under obligation tokeep Torah until its passing. My proposition does not ask nor demand that I doso. It only sets forth the affirmative that obligation to keep the Lawcontinued, for someone, until A.D. 70.But Don, if you say that even one Jew ceased to be under obligation to keep the ENTIRE LAW of the Old Testament, then you have surrendered your premise that says that obligation cannot cease before the entire Law was fulfilled, or before AD 70. You cannot have it both ways.Don waffles even further by saying:4.) All that my proposition demands, in the final analysis, is to prove that theLaw itself did not pass until A.D. 70. If the Law remained until A.D. 70, then"someone" had an obligation to keep that law until then.Don, you cannot even prove that the Law "passed" in AD 70, nor that it does not "remain" even now as we speak. Further, your premise demands that all Israelites in the flesh have to remain bound and obligated to everything in the Law until such time as it is ALL fulfilled. Thus, Paul was wrong and/or lied when he said "we are no longer under the tutor, the Law" (Gal.3:23-25). If there was a way for the law to cease to be binding on even one Jew before it was "all fulfilled"(per Don’s argument), then there is a way for God to cancel its obligations altogether at the cross. If not, why not?Matthew 5:17-19"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come todestroy but to fulfill.18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or onetittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 "Whoevertherefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so,shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teachesthem, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."From this passage Don argued:Obligation to keep the Law would remain valid as long as the Law stood valid.But, when has the Law ever NOT stood valid? Did it cease to be valid in AD 70? Doesn’t it still stand valid now? What do you mean by this, Don? The Law still remains valid. What you have to do, Don, is not prove how long the Law stood or stands valid, but how and when did obligation to keep the entire Law of Moses cease to be an obligation?What Jesus was saying is HE came to fulfill the commandments of the Law, not destroy them. He is referring to the commandments of the Law, which the Pharisees were teaching could be broken. They broke them and taught others to break them. Jesus did not come to do that. He came to fill up the demands of the commandments. When HE fulfilled all that it commanded, HE was qualified to nail it (the handwriting of requirements) to His cross. That does not mean that every promise had to be fulfilled before a man could be released from obligation to the Law. If obligation on man’s part lasts so long as God has some promises left in store, then there was no way to become "dead to the Law" and then married to Christ (Rom.7) before such time as all promises remained unfilled (which Don claims all finally happened in AD 70). We ask: Did some commandments pass from the Law for some Jews (namely some Christian Jews)? Could Jesus be a priest and change the Law (Heb.7:12) before AD 70? If He could, then there was a valid way to cancel the obligation of the Law on man at that same time.Don assumes that every single prediction of any kind out of the Old Testament has to be fulfilled specifically before any part of the Law could cease to be an obligation upon all Jews. This means, then, that all sacrifices had to be maintained by all Jewish Christians until AD 70 (when Don claims all predictions and prophecies of any sort were all fulfilled). This means that Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself could not be viewed as legal or sufficient for Jewish Christians until AD 70. Believe it if you can!The consequences of Don’s misuse of Matthew 5:17-19 are as follows:1) Since not one tittle of the Law could pass (and that is also taken to mean it cannot cease to be obligated and imposed) until AD 70, then there could not be a "change of the Law" regarding priesthood until AD 70 (Heb.7:12-13).2) After the faith came we (Paul includes himself, a Jew) are STILL under the tutor until AD 70 (Gal.3:23-25 not withstanding).3) Jews were obligated to two husbands at the same time (Rom.7 not withstanding).4) No one could be "delivered from the Law" (Rom.7:6) until AD 70.5) No one could be "dead to the Law" (Rom.7:4) until AD 70.6) Thus, Jesus could not "abolish in His flesh.the law of commandments contained in ordinances"(Eph.2:15) until AD 70.There is something wrong with Don’s premise and with how he has built his case on Matthew 5:17-19. "Passed" Versus "Remains Valid"The covenant "obligation" to the Law passed from man at the cross, while it (the Law) forever remains "valid" as a Testimony. The types and shadows of the Law faded as the substance, Christ, emerged to fulfill and fill the outline created and anticipated by the forms and shadows (Col.2:14-17). So, what "passed away"? Not the Law as a Testimony to Christ, but the Law as a system of obligation. If the Law, as a system of obligation remained even as Christ emerged to take "all authority"(Matt.28:18f), then Jesus never had "all authority" over Jewish Christians for forty years. What "passed"? The glory of the first covenant faded as "ministers of the new covenant" showed forth the greater glory of Jesus in the gospel (2 Cor.3). Did the Law "pass" even after AD 70? No, we are still using it as a Testimony of God, His righteousness, and of His Son and our Savior, Jesus the Christ. We are still "fulfilling the righteous requirement of the law" (Rom.8:3-4; 13:8-10). We are still using it as a valid means of "instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim.3:15-17). So, Matt.5:17-19 does not teach anything about when "obligation" to keep the Law as a whole would be cancelled. It is only about whether Jesus came to destroy any part of it before He had actually fulfilled the commandments of it. When He filled its demands, then He could cancel the handwriting of requirements that were against us and nail them to His cross (Eph.2:11-14; Col.2:13-17). He did this long before AD 70. Thus, Don is wrong and his proposition is proven wrong.Don said:Therefore, obligation to keep the Law would remain valid until every singleaspect of the Law-including the prophets- was fulfilled.This is not a valid conclusion. Obligation on man’s part to keep the Law does not obligate God as to when certain prophecies must be fulfilled. These are entirely different issues. Here are three different issues:1) How long is man obligated to keep ALL the Law including its types and shadows?2) What kind of promises can God make, and do they all have to be fulfilled within the same time-frame as man’s obligation to the Law of Moses?3) Are all of God’s promises and predictions, though recorded in the Old Testament records, automatically tied to the Law of Moses so that God could not release man from his obligations before God has fulfilled every promise and prediction on every subject?If Don does not use his next affirmative to settle these three issues and show how everything harmonizes with his proposition, then the rest of what he writes will simply be more smoke with no real substance.Don repeats the verse as if it proves his proposition. He quotes:Not one jot or tittle would pass from the Law until it was all fulfilled.It is not a question of anything "passing" from The Law itself. It is a question of whether Jesus fulfilled the commandments of the law so as to qualify Him to release man so that obligation can pass from Moses to Jesus before every prediction (not obligation upon man) can come to pass?Daniel 9:24-27Of this verse Don said:Daniel 9:24-27 posited the fulfillment of the entire body of prophecy, i.e. the Law, within the confines of the 70 weeks. (Seventy Weeks are determined to seal vision and prophecy).Since not one jot or tittle of the Law could pass until it was ALL fulfilled, itis therefore impossible for "the Law" to have passed at the Cross, whileconstituent elements of "the Law" remained valid and unfulfilled.But, Daniel 9 just says these weeks were determined "to seal up vision and prophecy". It does not say or imply that every kind of prediction or "the entire body of prophecy" was under consideration. It does not say that sealing up vision and prophecy is the same thing as the Law of Moses and the obligations that Law placed upon all Jews. The Law Jesus was speaking of was law obligation upon man (Matt.5:19-20). Did Jesus come and destroy the Law? Or, did He fulfill all the obligations of the law? By the time of the cross Jesus had filled the commandments of the Law with His perfect life. If He failed, then he was not a fit sacrifice for us. Don asserts Matt.5:17-19 includes every kind of predictive prophecy found in the entire Old Testament, and then asserts that obligation to any point in the Law can never cease until every predictive element is also finished. Then, with those assumptions, he moves to assert that Daniel 9 combines sealing vision and prophecy with when the Law could pass, and when obligation to that Law could be cancelled.Don’s PremiseWe can formulate Don’s premise in summary in the following syllogism:Major premise: Obligation to the Law of Moses, all that it demanded of man, including foods and days and sacrifices and priesthood, continued to be obligated, bound, and imposed until AD 70.Minor premise: No obligation to any point of the Law of Moses could cease on man’s part until every kind of promise God ever made, and is recorded in the Old Testament, was fulfilled.Conclusion: Therefore, the entire system of Moses was obligatory on all Jews in all respects until AD 70.But, his major premise is false because the priesthood changed to Christ (Heb.7:11f) long before AD 70. Thus, his conclusion is wrong. His minor premise is also wrong. God can cancel man’s obligations at any time He determines, and He determined to do that at the cross (Col.2:13-17; Eph.2:11-15) and God can have a different schedule for when certain promises come to pass. These issues are not tied together as Don asserts, and therefore his conclusion is wrong again.If we allow Don’s premises without challenge, then this means that Paul was "under the tutor, the Law" even when he said he wasn’t (Gal.3:23-25). He was still obligated to the priesthood of the Law, even when Jesus was also a priest of a different order (Heb.7:11-13). But, the Hebrew letter said that the only way Jesus could be a priest would be to "change" the Law. Don’s whole premise argues then that Jesus could not be a priest until after AD 70. This is simply too much manipulation and twisting of texts in a vain effort to keep a hobby alive.Don argues:Remember, none could pass until all was fulfilled. But, this means none of the "commandments" could pass without being fulfilled. Jesus fulfilled them and thereby became a perfect sacrifice. If He failed to keep them, then He died a sinner. We are all still in our sins no matter what happened by AD 70. If He did not die a sinner, then He was raised to a position in which He could cancel the debt against us and abolish the law of commandments contained in ordinances (Eph.2:11-14) before all the promises of non-covenant related matters were carried out on God’s part. Let the reader judge if Paul was right in Eph.2:11-14 or if Don is right in his manipulation of Matt.5:17-19.Don adds:Jesus did not say some will pass when some is fulfilled!All the commandments were fulfilled in Jesus. Otherwise He died a sinner. Once He accomplished this, we could become dead to the law and be married to another (Rom.7). Don’s use of this means that even Paul could not be released from the Law of Moses and married to Christ until after AD 70. So, Paul never made it. He died before AD 70, and before any of the law could cease to be an obligation.Don adds:He did not say all would pass when some was fulfilled.Remember, the text of Matt.5:17-20 is referring to the commandments, not every promise of God. What man was obligated to keep ceased to be an obligation when Jesus nailed these to the cross and abolished them in his flesh (Col.2:13-17; Eph.2:11-14). So, if Don is correct, then Paul was mistaken. Who do you think might be mistaken here?Don adds:He said none would pass until all was fulfilled.None what? None of the sacrifices? None of the shadows? None of the priestly obligations? None of the priesthood laws could change until every promise God ever made was filled? When this verse speaks of the "passing" of the Law, is it even talking about the same thing as "changing" in Heb.7:12? Can it be "changed" without "passing"? The Hebrew writer by inspiration thought there was no conflict in the two ideas. Thus, the law "changed" without "passing". Can we be sure that we are talking about the same thing? In talking about the "passing" of the law in Matthew 5:17-19, is it even talking about the same thing as to whether it’s handwriting of ordinances and commandments were "abolished" (Eph.2:11-14; Col. 2:13-17)? Can it be cancelled or abolished without "passing"? Apparently the inspired apostle thought there was no conflict in the two ideas. Were the commandments or "handwriting of requirements" (obligations on man’s part) not fulfilled in Jesus? Could He not then "take them out of the way" and "nail them to His cross" without the Law "passing"? In what way could Paul "no longer be under the law" without the law "passing"? If the law did not pass, yet a Jew could no longer be under it, then there was a way for obligation to the Law to cease even before all of God’s own obligations to His predictions would cease. If not, why not?What Don is asserting is that none of man’s obligations under the law would be cancelled until every promise God ever made was realized. God had to do all the things He said would be accomplished by Him before any man could be released from any obligations imposed upon him by the Law. This is Don’s premise, but it does not hold up to the facts. Regarding Matthew 5:17-19, Don is shifting the verse into a different mode of thought. He is saying none of the commandments upon man can be cancelled until every promise of God is completed. The verse is staying with the same theme: None of the commandments will pass until all the commandments are fulfilled. They were all fulfilled in Jesus. He nailed the handwriting of requirements to the cross and took them out of the way so that no one can judge us in regard to new moons, Sabbaths, and other law-shadows that have been abolished in Jesus’ flesh.The Handwriting of RequirementsFrom Eph.2 and Col.2 we learn that "the handwriting of requirements" were against us. They were not against Jesus because He fulfilled them. So, he nailed them to the cross and took them out of the way. Obligation to the law passed at the cross, but the Law itself does not pass away. It remains in a different role as a Testimony and witness to Jesus Christ. Promises God made about other things are not "the handwriting of requirements" that are obligations upon man, and therefore have no bearing on Don’s proposition.Don says:Vision and prophecy is "the Law."Not necessarily! Visions are not "handwritings of requirements" or "obligations" upon man. Prophecy, in this context, can mean those predicted things that God promised that do not have to even be connected to whether man keeps his obligations or to whether God releases man from covenant obligation so he can be married to Christ.Don’s use of Daniel 9 would mean that when Paul said "you have become dead to the Law"(Rom.7:4), this means you became dead to any vision or prophecy about the Messiah, what He would accomplish, and anything that would later happen to Judaism. So, did Paul become dead to those promises and die without ever realizing and enjoying those promises? Don cannot escape the consequences of the very arguments he has used.Don says:But, per Terry, "the Law" passed away at the Cross.I had not said anything yet except in my email, and then all I said was that OBLIGATION to the Law’s demands ceased at the cross. I had said nothing about the Law "passing away". At the cross, Jesus nailed the "handwriting of requirements", and now these cannot be used to judge us. See again Col.2:14-16. Don implies that those requirements were still obligating Jewish Christians and that they had to be judged by those shadows all the way up to the time of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.Don says:If therefore, the Law passed at the Cross, then the seventy weeks passed at theCross. Yet Terry’s own statement informs us that he believes that Daniel’sprophecy extended to A.D. 70!The seventy weeks of Daniel 9 reached their fulfillment in AD 70. But, obligation to the Law was cancelled at the cross. The Law as a Testimony to Jesus will never pass away. Promises God made about other things are not the "handwriting of requirements" that are obligations upon man, and therefore have no bearing on the matter of Don’s proposition.Don says:Terry, tell us plainly, was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ’spassion necessary for the passing of the Law? Yes or No?Instead of saying "passing of the Law", let me re-phrase Don’s question a bit. Was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ’s passion necessary for the "deliverance from the Law" (per Rom.7:6)? Yes! In being "delivered from the Law" are we also "delivered from every promise and prophecy of the Old Testament"? No! Being delivered from the Law is not synonymous with being unable to enjoy any predictive promise of that covenant. It was necessary for Christ to become a curse for us in order to end the handwriting of requirements and their hold and obligations upon us. Again, the proposition is about "obligation" not about "the passing of the Law". The Law never "passed" as a Testimony, either at the cross or at the time of AD 70. But, OBLIGATION to its requirements passed from MAN as he died to it and became married to another, that is, Christ. A covenant of obligation to a Law can pass away or be cancelled without the Law itself passing away. Don’s Argument AgainHere is the argument:All things written in the Law had to be fulfilled before the Law could pass (Mt.5:17f).But, the prophets had to be fulfilled to fulfill all things (Luke 18:31).Therefore, the prophets were part of the Law that had to be completelyfulfilled- all of it, not just part- for the Law to pass.Matthew 5:17f is about "commandments" and obligations having to be fulfilled. Luke 18:31 is about a class of prophecies "concerning the Son of Man". This is not about "commandments" (as in Matt.5:17). This is about prophecies concerning the Son of Man. These had to be fulfilled in Jerusalem in His death and resurrection. Matthew 5 is about whether any part of the Law’s commandments could pass before the demands of Law were met. Neither text addresses when man’s "obligation" to the requirements of the Law would be cancelled. Other passages show that man’s obligations were cancelled at the cross. When Jesus became a curse for us, the OBLIGATION moved from us and Moses to us and Jesus. His resurrection validated His death as a sacrifice and proved Him to be so much greater than Moses. The requirements that stood against us were "nailed to the cross". We became free from that law and became obligated to recognize Jesus as having "all authority" (Matt.28:18f).Don’s Final argument:Jesus said that not one jot or one tittle of the Law would pass until it was allfulfilled.But, Jesus said that in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 "all things thatare written must be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22).Therefore, the Law- and thus obligation to keep the Law– would not pass untilthe destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.There are three different issues at play here:1) Passing of the Law without Jesus first keeping the commandments. Jesus is saying in Matt.5:17f that this can’t happen without satisfying what the commandments required. By the time of His death, Jesus DID satisfy what the commandments required.2) When obligation to the Law of commandments ceases to be required on man’s part by God. Obligation to man’s requirements in the law could pass or be cancelled without the Law and all prophecies being cancelled and without the Law itself ever "passing away". We cannot contend that Jews were bound to Moses AND to Jesus at the same time (per Rom.7). So, either Jews could not be bound to Jesus until AD 70, or Jews could be delivered from obligation to the Law of Moses 30-40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem.3) Must every predictive prophecy be fulfilled on God’s part before man can be released from obligation to the requirements of the Law? Don has insisted that one thing cannot happen without the other. The Bible does not teach this.Luke 21:20-22Of this verse Don said:Jesus himself said that the time of the fulfillment of all things that are written", would occur at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70But all Don has proven is that:1) Some things pertained to the Law of commandments contained in ordinances. The obligations on man were fulfilled in Jesus and nailed to the cross.2) Some things pertained to promises of God that He could fulfill at any time and would fulfill, some during and after the cross, some in the church, and some in the New Covenant, and some in the fall of Jerusalem. Some of these promises (not obligations upon man) pertained to the destruction of Jerusalem. These have no bearing on when the handwriting of ordinances can be cancelled, when Jesus could change the Law (Heb.7:11f) and become a priest after a different order, etc. Some of the promises pertained to a new covenant and a law to all nations that would go forth from Jerusalem. These did not have to wait until the destruction of Jerusalem to be fulfilled.So, all Don has done is masterfully string some scriptures together, assumed some points he did not prove and cannot prove, and then hope that I and the readers fail to detect the assumptions he used in stringing those verses together.SummaryWe have shown that all of Don’s arguments are well arranged assumptions. We did not grant him every assumption, and therein is where his theory fell apart. Whatever one says about "the passing of the Law", that concept is not necessarily identical with the issue of "obligation to the Law". By fault of assuming too much, we have called upon Don to:1) Prove that the Law ever "passed away" even in AD 702) Prove that obligation to "the handwriting of ordinances" could not be cancelled at the cross AND that they were cancelled in AD 70.3) Prove that man’s obligations cannot be cancelled until every sort of promise God ever made, as recorded in the entire Old Testament records, is fulfilled.Don did not prove his proposition because:1) There was a change of the Law and priesthood BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem. Heb.7:11f2) Jews were "no longer under the Law"(Gal.3:23-25) BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem.3) No one can judge us by issues of the law (Col.2:13-17) because these were "nailed to the cross" and this BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem.4) Jews could be "complete in Christ" BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem (Col.2:10) and that without keeping the shadows of the Law.5) The Handwriting of requirements was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem (Col.2:14)6) The Law of Commandments were "abolished in His flesh" (Eph.2:15) BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.7) People could legitimately become "dead to the Law" through the body of Christ (Rom.7:4) long BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem.8) People could be free from Moses and married to Christ long before the destruction of Jerusalem.So, in closing, I caution Don to look again. Did you really "prove your proposition"? I caution the reader to keep coming back to these issues and seeing if Don truly addresses all of these matters. It will be impossible for him to prove his proposition when ignoring so many verses that fly in the face of his arguments. The proposition Don affirms is: Obligation to keep the Law ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.Not one verse that he offered says or implies anything about obligation to the Law ending in AD 70. Hopefully we can see some proof brought to the table in his next affirmative.Terry W. Benton

 

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