First of all, does Elohim change? One of His characteristics is immutability, or unchangeability, therefore, no, He does not change.
So, let’s start at the beginning:
Genesis 2:2,3 Sabbath was instituted and set apart by our Father
Genesis 7 and 8 Noah is already aware that there are clean and unclean animals
Genesis 26:2-5 YHVH appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws.”
Exodus 15:25,26 The Israelites are told to keep the commandments and statutes of the mighty Elohim (before they are given at Mt Sinai)
Exodus 22 They are told to remember the Sabbath (indicating they had forgotten it)
Deuteronomy 4:5,6 Behold I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as YHWH my Elohim commanded me, that you should do so in the land where you go to posses it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” For what nation is there so great, who has Elohim so near unto them, as YHWH our Elohim is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Deuteronomy 5:29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever.
Deuteronomy 28:9-11 YHWH will establish you an holy people unto Himself, as He has sworn unto you, IF you will keep the commandments of YHWH and walk in His ways. And all people of the earth will see that you are called by the name of YHWH; and they will be afraid of you. And YHWH will make you plenteous in goods, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your ground, in the land which YHWH swore unto your father to give you. YHWH will open unto you His good treasure…IF that you hearken unto the commandments of YHWH which I command you this day, to observe and to do them:
11 Kings 17:37 And the statutes and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which He wrote for you, you shall observe to do forevermore; …
Psalm 19:7 The law of YHWH is perfect, converting the soul…the commandment of YHWH is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my Elohim: Yea, Your law is within my heart.
Psalm 119 King David says all of the following:
- Blessed are the undefiled who walk in the law of YHWH.
- Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.
- I will keep Your law and observe it with my whole heart.
- I will keep Your law continually forever and ever and I will walk at liberty: for I seek Your precepts. The wicked forsake Your law.
- I have not forgotten Your law.
- I delight in Your law.
- Your law is better than thousands of gold and silver.
- Your law is my delight.
- The proud are not after your law.
- Oh how I love Your law, I meditate on it all day.
- I do not forget your law.
- It is time for you to work, YHWH, because they have made your law void.
- Your law do I love.
- I cry rivers because they do not keep your law.
- Your law is the truth.
- Those who follow after mischief are far from Your law.
- I love your law.
- Those who love your law have great peace and nothing shall offend them.
- Your law is my delight.
Of course these are only a fraction of the verses in this Psalm speaking about how wonderful is His law, commandments, statutes, precepts, testimonies, ways, His Word and judgments.
So what about the Scriptures written by the Apostles?
Matthew 5:17-18 Yeshua said Don’t think that I came to destroy or overthrow the law but to accomplish it… I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, the smallest stroke or iota of the law will not pass away until all happens.
Matthew 5:19 Whoever therefore will break one of the these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven…
Mark 7: 7,8a, 9, 13a Howbeit in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of Elohim you hold the tradition of men… full well you reject the commandment of YHWH, that you may keep your own tradition… making the word of Elohim of none affect through your tradition…
Luke 16:16 it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one little horn of the law to fall
Luke 23:56 they rested on the Sabbath according to the law (remember this is after Yeshua taught them for 3 1/2 years)
Acts 21: 20-26 James (Messiah’s brother) and the elders say to Paul (my summary) You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who believe and are all zealous of the law. They have been told that you are teaching the Jews that are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses and not to circumcise their sons or walk after the customs. What is it therefore? The group needs to come together, for they will hear that you have come. Do this: take this vow with these 4 men, pay for their offerings and then everyone will know that what they heard is not true, but that you walk orderly and keep the law… as for the Gentiles, we gave them 4 laws to keep (so that they will be able to come into the synagogue on the Sabbath and hear the rest.- see Acts 15:21) Paul takes the vow to prove that he keeps the law.
In the next several chapters Paul proceeds to say the following:
- he believes everything according to the law
- he has not committed any offense against the law of the Jews
- he commends Ananias for being a devout Jew by standard of the law
Romans 2:13 not just the hearers of the law are righteous, but the doers (of the law) will be declared righteous
Romans 3:31 our faith does not abolish or overthrow the law, instead our faith makes the law stand
Romans 7:12 The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good
1 Corinthians 2:9 circumcision and uncircumcision are nothing, but keeping the commandments of Elohim
Philippians 3:5,6 Paul states that regarding the law he is a Pharisee and blameless
1 Timothy 1:8,9 the law is good, IF used lawfully
11 Timothy 3:16 all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness (remember, the only Scripture they had when this was written was that from Moses and the prophets)
1 John 2:3,4 And hereby we do know that we know Him, IF we keep His commandments. He that says “I know Him” and keeps NOT His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him
1 John 5:2,3 By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love YHWHand keep His commandments. For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments and His commandments are NOT grievous
11 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after His commandments
Revelation 12:17 …The remnant of Elohim (not the majority) which keep the commandments of YHWH AND have the testimony of Y’shua
Revelation 14:12 Here are they that keep the commandments of YHWH AND the faith of Y’shua
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life and enter in through the gates into the city
There are so many, many more references written after the time that our Savior died that it would take a while to type them all in, but do a search at Bible.cc for the word “law” or “commandments” and see for yourself. =) Look at each one in context to see what it really means. (Don’t take my word for it!)
So we can see that from the time of creation our Creator has established His laws for our good. Laws which He says are not grievous. Laws which we are to delight in, value, love, observe and obey. Moses wrote this. David says this. Paul and John say this, our Father Himself says this, and many other inspired writers of the Scripture say this.
So if Y’shua said the law is NOT destroyed and will NOT pass away until heaven and earth pass away and Paul said that the law is NOT abolished and our faith makes the law stand, and he also boldly claims that he keeps the law better than most – even to go out of his way to prove it! – then how could Peter and Paul possibly say that the law is done away, enmity, slavery, nailed to the cross or that it is a yoke of bondage or grievous? If all of these instances are talking about the same law of Elohim in the same way, then there are some serious contradictions. But we all know that can’t be the case. So then what is the answer?
This is the fun part. =)
Look at the context of each instance. In most cases where the words “under the law” are said, the rest of the passage is saying things like the law does not bring justification or it talks about being under grace or having faith.
Therefore, being “under the law” must be the opposite of being justified by faith. And being “under the law” must be the opposite of being under grace.
So then, the next question is, how can being “under the law” be the opposite of those things?
Is obeying the law the opposite of being justified by faith?
Is obeying the law the opposite of being under grace?
Let’s say you are 10 years old and you steal a candy bar. When you get home, your mom finds out and makes you go back to the store and pay for it and tell them what you did. The store owner understands it is your first offense and forgives you. He gives you grace. Does that mean you no longer have to obey the law regarding stealing? No, it means you are not under the penalty of the law. Chances are, you will be even more careful about keeping that law. You still have to obey the law even though you have been given grace.
So, being under the penalty of the law would be the opposite of being under grace. In fact, Romans 8:1,2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation (enmity, against us, contrary to us) to them which are in Y’shua the Messiah (justified by faith, under grace, walking in the Spirit, in the law of liberty), who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Y’shua the Messiah (grace) has made us free from the law of sin and death.”
Thinking you have to keep the law in order to be saved (legalism) would also be the opposite of grace and the opposite of being justified by faith. Galatians 2:16 “We Jews… know that a man is not justified by works of the law (legalism) but by faith in Y’shua.
If we apply this to a few verses, there is no longer a contradiction between when Paul says the law is good, holy and just and Paul saying we are not “under the law”.
Romans 7:4 “We are dead to the penalty of the law by the Messiah, to bring us forth fit to YHWH”
Ephesians 2:15 “Having in His flesh rendered the enmity, the penalty of the law of commandments in ordinances, inoperative; for to make peace in Himself one new man of two. And that He might reconcile both unto Elohim in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off (Gentiles), and to them that were nigh (Jews). For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore you (Gentiles) are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of YHWH: and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets…”
Galatians 3:23-25 But before faith came, we were kept under the penalty of the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster unto the Messiah, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under the penalty of the law which leads us to the Messiah.
Colossians 2:14 Erasing the public decree (the penalty of the law) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of remembrance, nailing it (the public decree for our penalty of sins) to His cross: And having put off principalities and powers, He exposed them openly, triumphing over them in it. THEREFORE (since you are no longer under the penalty of the law and since He has triumphed over the principalities and powers), let no man judge you in meat, or in drink or in taking part of a Holy Day or of the New Moon or of the Sabbaths: which are a (beautiful) shadow of things to come (Heaven); but the body of the Messiah.
ALSO, since the definition of sin is breaking the law (1 John 3:4) then IF the law were to be done away, then there would be no transgression (Romans 4:15 and 7:7,8) and nothing to be saved from. So then, why did Yeshua die?
The bottom line is that there is no possible way to be justified by faith AND be under the penalty of the law.
There is also no way that we can be justified by the law (keep the law legalistically) AND be under grace.
But it IS possible to obey the law AND be justified by faith AND be under grace!
So, Paul does NOT contradict himself at all, he is simply misunderstood. =) Scripture will never contradict itself and our Creator does not change. Isn’t that good news?!
“The primary problem of why many (believers) do not want to adopt a Torah obedient lifestyle (obey the laws of our Father) is something that many people are not willing to see… (and it certainly gives me no pleasure to mention it either.) This reason is humanity’s inbred desire to disobey (YHWH)…” JK McKee