Terry Benton’s First Affirmative
Resolved: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
Affirmed: Terry W. Benton
Denied: Signed–Don K. Preston
I am happy to debate Brother Don K. Preston on the above proposition though sorry that we differ so that it needs to be done. I hope that two honest men are debating with sincere desire to please God, and uncover the truth for the salvation of our souls and the souls of all who may read now or ever into what future may lie ahead. I hope you, the reader, will keep checking to make sure that we are staying on THIS proposition. I plan to stay on course in proving this proposition, and feel no obligation to pursue other unrelated matters. Sometimes it has been a debater’s tactic to take attention away from a point by bringing up unrelated issues to fog the clarity of the discussion. I plan to evaluate only those points that have to do with THIS proposition. If I am convinced that material offered in response to mine is actually off the topic, I plan to either expose it as such or totally ignore it.
It is my obligation to offer proper definition of the terms of the proposition, and to present proof of the proposition by way of specific scriptures that deal with the issue. It is also Don’s obligation to follow the affirmative material and show what is wrong with the arguments offered. We will argue our case with conviction and hopefully hold to the high standard of love for each other’s souls. I hope that Don can go to heaven. I wish him well in the pursuit of God’s glory. I hope that neither of us is here to seek glory for ourselves in this discussion.
The previous discussion revolved around the proposition that Don affirmed, which was: Resolved: Obligation to the Law of Moses continued till the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Affirmed: Signed– Don K. Preston
Denied: Terry W. Benton
Now, the proposition in THIS discussion revolves around the cross as the point in time when obligation to the Law of Moses was cancelled and obligation to the full authority of Jesus Christ began. As you can see, we both agree that in some point in time in the first century obligation to the Law of Moses ceased to be a binding obligation. Jews do not generally agree with us about either time slot or the annulling of the old covenant. One of us is definitely wrong. Either Don is placing too much emphasis upon AD 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem and not enough emphasis upon the significance of the cross of Jesus Christ, or, I am placing too much emphasis upon the cross of Christ and not enough upon the significance of the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. I am in the affirmative on this proposition and now it is Don’s responsibility to answer the evidence I present for this proposition.
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
By “obligation” I mean that God “holds responsible” (or in this case “held responsible”) the keeping of the Law of Moses.
By “Law of Moses” I mean the Law governing man found in the Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). By extension I would add that all of the Old Testament laws that were built around the Law of Moses ceased to be required of those who would serve God.
By “ended” I mean that obligations to keep the Law of Moses came to a close and man was no longer obligated to Moses as his lawgiver.
By “ended at the cross of Christ” I mean in proximity to the time of Jesus’ death on the cross, the old system of obligation to the Law of Moses came to a halt, and a new system of obligation to Jesus Christ began.
Proof of the Proposition
ALL AUTHORITY IN JESUS
After Jesus’ death on the cross, Jesus said that “all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him”.
He instructed the disciples to make disciples and teach them to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. The following are implications of Jesus’ statements:
1. Obligation to the Law of Moses had ceased. It could not have part authority at the same time that Jesus had ALL authority.
2. The Law of Moses did not command people to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This command comes out of the authority of Jesus Christ.
3. Because Jesus had ALL authority, baptized believers were to observe all that Jesus commanded. Jesus could not rightly command new things, such as baptism in His name, while people were still obligated to the Law of Moses.
4. If the disciples are obligated to the Law of Moses at the same time that they are obligated to Christ, then Christ does not have ALL authority. Combining this thought with Romans 7:4 (“you have become dead to the law through the body of Christ”) we find that it would be spiritual adultery to remain bound to Moses’ law and to also be bound to Christ and His law at the same time. We have to become dead to the law in order to be alive to the full authority of Jesus Christ.
5. We must also observe that Jesus did not say he WILL HAVE All authority in AD 70, nor can we assume that obligation to the law of Moses and to Jesus Christ remained in tact for 40 years after Jesus’ death on the cross. When Jesus had ALL authority, which was just after the cross, people rightfully became “dead to the law” and all others were also obligated to die to the Law. When we are “dead to the law”, we are not “obligated to the law”. Since all are obligated to the death of Jesus, all are obligated to enter the death of Jesus and die to the Law of Moses and be alive to God through Jesus Christ. Thus, I have proven my proposition: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
Don’s Obligation To Matthew 28:18 And Romans 7:4
In order for Don to refute the validity of the above argument, he will have to teach the following:
a. Jesus had some authority and Moses still had some authority until AD 70.
b. For 40 years Christians were obligated to two laws at the same time or Jews were obligated to two laws at the same time. Since he admitted that Christians rightly “died to the Law of Moses”, then he says that Jews who became Christians escaped the obligation to the Law of Moses. But, all Jews were obligated to Jesus and never escaped that responsibility. Therefore, Don’s position requires that unbelieving Jews were obligated to Jesus and Moses at the same time.
c. Some Jews remained obligated to Moses, but not obligated to believe and obey Jesus.
Don cannot scripturally sustain any of those points. Therefore he will not be able to refute my proposition.
This debate is for your benefit. Debaters do not often change their minds. However, they hope that the reader will see the validity of their point of view. Your obligation is to rightly divide the word of truth and discern from them which of our arguments, if any, squares with the word of God. God’s word is truth (Jno.17:17). To help yourself determine which writer is upholding the truth of God, you must examine which writer is avoiding the arguments. If Don does not answer, or if he answers with invalid arguments, you are obligated to reach the proper conclusion that he did not sustain his own proposition, nor did he successfully refute my proposition. Keep coming back to the proposition, and see if either of us proved our proposition with valid evidence and arguments from valid scriptural evidence.
THE PROPHET THAT ISRAEL MUST HEAR
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because the Prophet like Moses (Jesus) lived to fulfill the Law before taking it out of the way to establish the second (Law or covenant). The law of commandments was abolished at the cross (Eph.2:11-16), and He took away the first covenant that He might establish the second (Heb.10:8-10). When He accomplished the fulfillment of the Mosaic Law requirements and took it out of the way, then His message and voice would be the authoritative voice, and Moses said that all Israel would be obligated to hear and obey that voice and that if they refused, they would be cut off. Thus, all who were required to obey the Law of Moses were required by that Law to get ready to heed Jesus when that Prophet took over the position of lawgiver typified by Moses. Moses said that the children of Israel would be obligated to hear and heed the Prophet. Peter said that the Jews were required to repent and be converted because that Prophet had arrived and Jesus is the one spoken of in all the prophets ( Acts 3:17-26). If the Jews had ever been responsible to Moses, it is now that they must believe him in accepting the obligations that the greater prophet (Jesus) would have divine right to require of them.
Of this greater Prophet Adam Clarke observed:
“1. Christ alone was like unto Moses as a PROPHET; for it is written, There arose not a prophet in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do, Deut 34:10-12. This therefore cannot be understood of the ordinary prophets which were raised up in Israel, but of Christ only, as the apostles expound it Acts 2:22-26.
2. Christ was like unto Moses in respect to his office of mediation between God and his people, Deut 5:6; 1 Tim 2:6; but greater than Moses as being the mediator of a better covenant, (or testament,) which was established upon better promises, Heb 8:6.
3. Christ was like unto Moses in excellency; for as Moses excelled all the prophets in speaking to God mouth to mouth, Num 12:6-8, so Christ excelled him and all men in that being in the bosom of the Father, he hath come down from heaven and declared God unto us, John 1:18; 3:13.
4. Christ was like to Moses in faithfulness, but therein also excelling; for Moses was faithful in God’s house as a servant, but Christ as the son over his own house, Heb 3:2,5-6.
5. Christ was like to Moses in signs and wonders, wherein he also excelled Moses, as the history of the Gospel shows; for he was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, Luke 24:19. A man approved of God among them, by miracles, signs, and wonders, which God did by him in the midst of them, Acts 2:22. For he did among them the works which no other man did, John 15:24. Unto him, that is, not unto the diviners, wizards, or any such like, but unto him, and him only, as Him thou shalt serve, Deut 6:13, is expounded, Him only, Matt 4:10. And though this is principally meant of Christ in person, of whom God said, Hear him, Matt 17:5; yet it implies also his ministers, as himself said, He that heareth you heareth me, Luke 10:16.” To these may be added,
6. As Moses was king among his people, in this respect Christ is like to him, but infinitely greater; for he is King of kings and Lord of lords, Rev 19:16; 1 Tim 6:16. And,
7. He was like to Moses as a legislator. Moses gave laws to Israel by the authority and commandment of God, which the Jews have ever acknowledged as coming from the immediate inspiration of the Almighty: these are contained in the Pentateuch. Christ gave a new law, the Gospel contained in the four Evangelists and Acts of the Apostles, on which the Christian church is founded, and by which all genuine Christians are governed both in heart and life. To all which may be added,
8. That God never commissioned any human beings to give laws to mankind but Moses and Christ; and therefore, as a lawgiver, Christ alone resembles Moses; for to the present hour none but themselves have given laws in the name of God, which he has ratified and confirmed by the most indubitable and infallible signs, proofs, and miracles.
Dr. Jortin, in his Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, has drawn a parallel between Moses and Christ in a great number of particulars, which he concludes thus: “Let us search all the records of universal history, and see if we can find a man who was so like to Moses as Christ was, and so like to Christ as Moses was. If we cannot find such a one, then have we found HIM of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write to be Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.” On this sublect see Ainsworth, Calmet, and Dodd, who have all marked this striking correspondence between Moses and Christ .(Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
On the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt.17:1ff) God exalted Jesus above Moses and Elijah and it was told the disciples that after the resurrection it should be told that God said “Hear Him (Jesus)”. The Prophet must be heard, and all Israel was obligated to hear Him. None were allowed to refuse to hear him, and none would be allowed to prefer Moses over Him. Therefore, all Jews are required to repent and be converted to Him, and the cross ended obligation to the Law of Moses and ratified the new covenant and thereby obligated all to the new Lawgiver, Jesus Christ. Thus, Obligation to the Law Ended At The Cross because the Law obligated all to listen to Jesus at the proper time (Deut.18:15f; Acts 3:22f).
THE TRUE TABERNACLE ESTABLISHED
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because Jesus built His House by means of His death. Jesus’ house is greater than Moses’ house. Jesus is greater than Moses and deserves to be heard over Moses. The greater house and TRUE tabernacle has been established (Hebrews 3:1-6; 9:11). No one has obligation to hold to the lesser house and lesser law-giver while rejecting the true and greater house and greater lawgiver. Therefore, as soon as the true house was established, and that was by means of his death, then that is when obligation to the Law of Moses ended and obligation to Jesus’ full authority began.
THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST ESTABLISHED
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because Jesus is a Great High Priest over the Aaronic priesthood. His priesthood was established long before the destruction of Jerusalem and was activated in His death wherein He offered Himself without spot to God. His priesthood was in place long before AD 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem (Heb.8:1). His priestly work was far greater in that He “passed through the heavens” instead of through a mere copy of things like Aaron had done previously. (Heb.4:14; 8:1). Therefore, obligation could not remain upon the Jews to continue under the lesser system while the greater was in place.
THE PRIESTHOOD AND LAW CHANGED
12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. KJV
In regard to this verse, we have several observations that demonstrate the validity of my proposition. First, the priesthood “changed” and when it did, there was, of necessity, a change of the law. The law commanded a Levitical priesthood. If Jesus is priest, and disciples were obligated to His priesthood AND the Levitical priesthood at the same time, then the early disciples were obligated to accept Jesus’ offering and continue the animal sacrifices for 40 years at the same time. The priesthood changed at the cross when Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice. The law had to change then as well. Let me formulate this into a reasonable syllogism:
Major premise: A new priesthood could not be recognized and submitted to while the old law with its priesthood still held people to its obligations.
Minor Premise: There has been a change of priesthood at the cross and long before AD 70
Conclusion: The law with its priesthood changed at the time of Jesus’ priestly offering of Himself on the cross.
Each part of the syllogism is true, and therefore, I have further proven the validity of my proposition that Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
In order for Don to disprove the validity of my proposition, he will have to prove that there was no change of priesthood before AD 70. The reader must watch carefully to see how and if he adequately handles this dilemma. The argument of the Hebrews writer is that you cannot have a change of the priesthood without the change of the law. The priesthood was changed and put in place in the death of Jesus on the cross, and therefore, the change of the Law was in place for that to take place. The priesthood was changed in Jesus’ offering of Himself in His death (Heb.7:27). Therefore, obligation changed from obligation to the Levitical priesthood to obligation to the greater priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Better Mediator and Covenant Established
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. NKJV
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because a better covenant has been established by a better Mediator. Obligation could not continue to the lesser Mediator and lesser, inferior covenant when the better covenant was established. This better covenant was established by Jesus’ death.
15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. NKJV
The better Mediator and better covenant could not be rightly turned down under pretense of being loyal to God. God held all accountable to hear and obey His Son. None could remain under obligation to Moses instead. All are obligated to come “to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel”. (Heb.12:24).
THE OLD COVENANT ANNULLED
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. KJV
[For there is verily a disannuling] There is a total abrogation, proagousees entolees, of the former law, relative to the Levitical priesthood.
(from Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
A setting aside. The Law which existed before in regard to the priesthood becomes now abrogated in consequence of the change which has been made in the priesthood; see the note at Heb 7:12.
(from Barnes’ Notes)
Disannulling – a repealing.
Of the commandment – ordaining the Levitical priesthood. And, as the Levitical priesthood and the law are inseparable, a repealing of the law also (note, Heb 7:11).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
When did this annulling of the old commandment take place? It took place when Jesus became a priest after the order of Melchizedek and offered Himself as a sacrifice. As soon as the new priesthood took over, the law of Moses was changed and annulled. This did not wait till AD 70. It happened at the cross of Jesus Christ. Therefore, once again I have proven the validity of my proposition. And, without controversy, while proving my own proposition to be true, we have also further demonstrated that Don’s proposition cannot be true.
But, there are many other critical passages that also add to the validity of my proposition.
THE BETTER TESTAMENT ESTABLISHED
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. KJV
This testament came into effect when Jesus died (Hebrews 9:15-17). So, when the better testament came into effect, obligation to the older, weaker, and annulled testament with its Levitical priesthood, ceased to hold people under obligation to it. When the better testament came into effect at Jesus’ death, obligation to the new testament began, and obligation to the old testament ceased. Thus, we have further demonstrated the validity of the proposition. In order for Don to answer this, he will have to show that the better testament was not in effect until AD 70.
THE UNCHANGEABLE PRIESTHOOD ESTABLISHED
24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. KJV
If the priesthood of Jesus began at any time before AD 70, and the above statement shows that He “HAS” an unchangeable priesthood, then the law and its obligations ceased at whatever time the new priesthood of Christ became effectively honored by God and man as a valid priesthood.
THE GREATER MINISTER OF THE GREATER SANCTUARY ESTABLISHED
8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. KJV
This verse shows that the new High Priest, Jesus, is now operating in the true tabernacle. When He set Himself on the right hand of the throne, He was King and Priest. Obligation to the law of Moses ceased, and obligation to the new King and Priest, Jesus Christ began. This began long before AD 70. Therefore, the evidence shows that my proposition is correct and Don’s proposition is incorrect or false.
THE BETTER COVENANT ESTABLISHED
6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. KJV
This passage shows that the new and better covenant WAS established, and that before AD 70. The old and inferior covenant, the Law of Moses, was changed, annulled, and replaced with the better covenant. This new covenant was in effect after Jesus died on the cross (9:15-17). Obligation to the old covenant ceased at the cross, and obligation to the new law and new lawgiver began at the cross. Thus, we have added further evidence that my proposition is true, and the proposition of my retractor is incorrect or false.
THE TIME OF REFORMATION ESTABLISHED
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. KJV
The imposition of the law that obligated people to certain meats and drinks, and divers washings and carnal ordinances was changed at the time of reformation. At the time of reformation people would no longer be imposed upon by those obligations. But, the time of reformation was when we got a new King and Priest in Jesus Christ. But, Jesus became a King and Priest in His death, resurrection and ascension to the throne. This was long before AD 70. Therefore, the law and all its’ impositions ended when Jesus brought in the time of reformation, and that was when He became King and Priest, 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Thus, once again, we have demonstrated the biblical soundness of the proposition, and we have proven that Don Preston signed a proposition that is not sustainable.
THE NEW TESTAMENT ESTABLISHED
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. KJV
The writer of Hebrews pinpoints the time of the New Testament. It was in effect after Jesus died. It was in effect forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Thus, my proposition is in agreement with this passage too. How can any man say that God was holding people obligated to the old covenant and not the new covenant for the 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem? Yet, Don K. Preston is affirming that God was obligating people to obey Moses even though the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah was established in Jesus’ death. He is also denying my proposition that says that obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross. Thus, he is taking the position that God was obligating some Jews to both Jesus and Moses at the same time. Remember that he tells the millenialists that this cannot happen, yet he says it did happen for 40 years.
THE BETTER SACRIFICE ESTABLISHED
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. NKJV
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because better sacrifice made in Jesus requires obligation and indebtedness to Jesus. The copies that Moses, the old covenant, and the old priesthood and sacrifices employed, cannot be “obligations” when the TRUE and BETTER has come to replace the copies with SUBSTANCE. To say that the copies remained as “obligations” even while the TRUE and SUBSTANCE was in place is to say that which no verse says or implies, and AGAINST all evidence. It calls upon us to believe that either: 1) obligation was to Moses instead of Jesus, or 2) obligation was to both Jesus and Moses at the same time, or 3) obligation was to Jesus the Greater and possessor of “all authority”. The copies of the heavenly things were annulled when Jesus changed the law and priesthood and went into HEAVEN ITSELF. The copies were replaced by the real thing by Christ.
THE BETTER MEANS OF SANCTIFICATION ESTABLISHED
Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. KJV
Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross when Jesus came to do God’s will and thereby take away the first will or covenant that he may establish the second. We make note here that taking away the first was essential to establishing the second. The offering of the body of Jesus took place forty years before AD 70. That offering of the body presented the New Testament period of reformation and ended that first covenant, the Law of Moses. It was taken away, and in the words of Paul to the Romans, “we have become dead to the Law”. We are (presently and before AD 70) sanctified, the writer says. The offering of Jesus’ body provided a new and living way. When this means of sanctification became available, then the old means of sanctification according to the Law of Moses ceased to hold us to any obligation of said law. When sanctification through Jesus’ offering became available, then we became obligated to Jesus, and no longer obligated to Moses. The passage before us affirms that the sacrifices and offerings were not adequate and that God had planned to take those away that He may establish the body by which the adequate offering could be performed. The first system was “taken away” so that the second system of sanctification through the offering of the body of Jesus could be established. That second way was established by Jesus’ offering, and that was long before the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem. Thus, we have proven by the scriptures that my proposition is true and Don’s previous proposition is further proven to be false.
THE HANDWRITING OF REQUIREMENTS TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY
14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or
The handwriting of requirements is a reference to that Law of Moses that imposed food and drink laws, festivals, new moons and Sabbaths. That law could not be used as a basis for judging others at the time Paul wrote Colossians. This was several years before AD 70. Paul said that law was “nailed to the cross”. Now we know beyond all shadow of doubt that “obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross”. Thus, I have proven the validity of my proposition, and have shown that Don’s proposition cannot be right.
Of Col 2:14 Barnes Comments
The meaning here is, that the burdensome requirements of the Mosaic law are abolished, and that its necessity is superseded by the death of Christ. His death had the same effect, in reference to those ordinances, as if they had been blotted from the statute-book. This it did by fulfilling them, by introducing a more perfect system, and by rendering their observance no longer necessary, since all that they were designed to typify had been now accomplished in a better way; compare the notes at Eph 2:15.
(from Barnes’ Notes)
Another Commentator Observes:
The handwriting of ordinances. Alford [dogmasin: dative after the verb contained in cheirografon: written] ‘IN ordinances’ (note, Eph 2:15). Ellicott, ‘the hand-writing (in force) against us BY its positive decrees’ (Rom 7:7-8): its hostility to us was evinced in these. “The hand-writing” (the Decalogue, written by the hand of God) represents the whole law, the obligatory bond, under which all lay: the Jews primarily; secondarily, the world, of which the Jews were the representative people; in their inability to keep the law was involved the inability of the Gentiles also, in whose hearts “the work of the law was written” (Rom 2:15; 3:19); as they did not keep this, they were condemned by it.
That was against us, which was contrary to us, [hupenantion] – ‘adversary to us:’ so in Heb 10:27. ‘Not only was the law against us by its demands, but also an adversary to us by its accusations’ (Bengel). Tittmann explains, ‘having a latent contrariety to us:’ not open, designed hostility, but virtual unintentional opposition through our frailty; not through opposition in the law itself to our good (Rom 7:7-12,14; 1 Cor 15:56; Gal 3:21; Heb 10:3). The “WRITING” “contrary to us” answers to “the letter killeth” (note, 2 Cor 3:6).
And took it, [eerken] – ‘hath taken it out of the way’ (to be no longer a hindrance to us). Christ, by bearing the curse of the broken law, redeemed us from its curse (Gal 3:13). Having been punished Himself, He did away with both the sin and the punishment (Chrysostom). He included all the law in Himself, so that we being united to Him are united to the law as the law of love written in our hearts. In His person ‘nailed to the cross,’ the law itself (also the old serpent; John 3:14; 12:31-32) was nailed to it (Rom 3:21; 7:2,4,6). One mode of cancelling bonds was by striking a nail through the writing: this existed in Asia (Grotius). The bond cancelled was the obligation lying against the Jews as representatives of the world, attested by their Amen, to keep the whole law under penalty of the curse (Deut 27:26; Neh 10:29).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
Paul is saying that God not only forgave man’s debts, but also did away completely with the legislation that made him a debtor. The “legislation” is the Mosaic Law, and some translations make this explicit: “the decrees of the law” (NEB Brc), “the law’s demands” (TNT). With its binding rules may sometimes be translated as “with rules governing what we must do” or “with laws saying, You must not do that.”
(from the UBS Handbook Series)
Thus, whatever law that some were using against them to judge them about food, drink, new moons, Sabbaths, and festivals, has been nailed to the cross, and has been rendered ineffective. The Law of Moses was one such law. It was nailed to the cross along with it’s pronouncements of curses for people’s failures. Jesus took it out of the way and nailed it to the cross. Thus, my proposition is true. It has been very adequately proven true by all the references put on the table. If Don answers only one or two, he has not disproved the validity of the other arguments. He must answer each and every piece of evidence. The reader should come back to this and recheck Don’s negative material to see if he answered all the arguments.
THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS ABOLISHED
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
The law of commandments was abolished in His flesh. The Law of Moses was no longer an obligation when Jesus abolished it in His flesh. All one has to do to determine when the law of commandments was abolished is to determine when Jesus was “in His flesh” and on “the cross”. When did Jesus put to death the source of enmity between Jew and Gentile? He did this when He abolished it in His flesh. When did He make possible the unification of Jew and Gentile in one body? He did this “through the cross”. The cross became the means of abolishing the law contained in ordinances. Therefore, we have shown conclusively again, that my proposition is true: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
But, there is so much more.
THE LAW SERVED ITS PURPOSE IN BRINGING US TO CHRIST
24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. NKJV
Paul said that “we are no longer under a tutor” which he has identified as “the law”. He wrote Galatians early in his ministry, long before AD 70. My proposition says that “obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross”. Don’s proposition says that obligation to the Law of Moses continued until AD 70. Who do we believe? The inspired message from Paul is that long before AD 70, he could safely say, “we are no longer under the law”. When did faith come? It came long before AD 70. Well, whenever faith came, we were no longer under obligation to the Law of Moses. The first system was taken away so that He could establish the second. In Galatians 4 Paul says that the second covenant was in place. The first was taken away and the second was established. ALL were obligated to the second, and only condemned unbelievers kept themselves attached to the tutor and failed to believe the tutor who was trying to get them ready to graduate to faith in Jesus Christ.
THE ALL OR NONE PRINCIPLE
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
In this passage, Paul tells us clearly that the law that bound circumcision is not a law to which we are obligated. But, he argues that if one were inclined to bind one aspect of the law, namely circumcision, then the logic of such a move would be to feel indebted to keep the WHOLE law. It is all or none. You either take all of the Law of Moses, or you take Christ at His word that He has ALL AUTHORITY. If Jesus has ALL authority, then Moses and the law has no longer ANY authority. Paul does not give us room to think that people were obligated to the Law of Moses and to Christ for even those first forty years. For the time between Jesus death on the cross in AD 30 and all the way past AD 70 to the present, we have obligation to the full authority of Jesus Christ alone.
THE SPIRIT LEADS ALL OUT FROM UNDER THE LAW
Furthermore, we could add that obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross because the Spirit leads all to Christ and no longer leads ANY to stay under the bondage of the Law. (Gal.5:18). Therefore, whoever was led by the Spirit was not under the Law, and whoever chose to remain under the Law was not led by the Spirit. The Spirit obligated no one to continue under the Law, and obligated ALL to come into Christ. Therefore, the Spirit could not be obeyed while rejecting Jesus and continuing as if obligated to the Law of Moses. Thus, again, my proposition is proven to be true.
We set out to look at the evidence that pertains to the proposition: Obligation to the Law of Moses ended at the cross of Christ.
Were Jewish Unbelievers “Obligated to the Law of Moses After The Cross”?
1. They were obligated to BELIEVE Moses and the Prophets
2. They were therefore obligated to hear and obey Jesus the Messiah about Whom they had spoken.
3. They were obligated to OBEY Jesus.
4. They were obligated to cease pretending to obey Moses.
5. They were obligated to cease pretending to believe Moses while not believing He of whom Moses spoke.
6. They were obligated to come out from under the curse of the Law by believing in Jesus.
Therefore, obligation was to hear and obey Jesus or they were meeting none of their obligations before God.
All the parts of evidence proved the proposition to be true. Each part would individually be enough to prove the proposition. We presented more than we actually needed to so that the reader can see that Don will have to answer many independent pieces of evidence. The reader needs to keep checking back throughout these three exchanges to see if Don answered ALL the arguments set forth. We sincerely hope that the light of truth has shone through in this presentation. In this way, God will be glorified and honored, and souls can be brought to knowledge of the truth that will bring God’s salvation to them. This is our desire and prayer for Israel and all mankind.
Terry W. Benton