Today's poetic sermon is extremely important. In Matthew Chapter 5, verses 17 to 20, Jesus explains why He came to earth from Heaven. This is a really important concept for followers of Christ to understand - if we are to walk in step with His Holy Spirit.
In Matthew Chapter 5:17-20, Jesus says, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until it’s purpose is achieved."
You see, the "law” that Jesus spoke of is not what many of us think. He is not speaking about the system of rules that human governments create to regulate the actions of their people. No, the Law that Jesus speaks of is the Law of Moses - the commandments that God gave to Moses - to teach the Israelites how to live according to God's culture and customs.
Let me tell you a story. After Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers who were full of jealousy; and after God took the life of Er and his father Judah had sex with his Er's wife, Tamar - the Lord made a way for his people, saving a remnant through the Land of Egypt, and their Pharaoh. And after several generations, the 12 tribes of Israel multiplied and filled the land with their people. Eventually, there was a new Egyptian king who grew jealous. He said to his people, "Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than us. We must make a plan to keep them from growing." Exodus 1:9
"So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves, and wore them down through crushing labor. But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became. So the Egyptians worked the people of Israel without mercy. They were ruthless in their demands." Exodus 1:11-14 And this is when a king like Herod said, "Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live."
Well, God always has a plan, even when we do not understand. "A man and a woman from the tribe of Levi got married and had a son, and they hid him for three months. But when she could no longer hid him, she made a basket and put him on the bank of the Nile River. Soon Pharaoh's daughter came down to bathe and saw the basket along the riverbank. And the baby's sister came and asked if she should find a Hebrew woman to nurse him. Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh's daughter and she named him Moses." Exodus 2
And it's through the Mosaic Covenant that God established the Law with his people. After stirring unrest in Moses, and causing him to give up his wealthy position, God spoke to Moses at the burning bush and directed him to lead his people.
Then the Lord told Moses, "I am Yahweh - the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai - God Almighty - but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under it's terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. you can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them." Exodus 6:2-5
And after Moses's brother, Aaron, had his staff turned into a serpent; and after the plagues that were foretold to Pharaoh; and after the First Passover, and the blood of the lamb on the doorposts - Israel received the release of Pharaoh and began their Exodus from Egypt. From here we see the dedication of the First Born, the wilderness detour and the deliverance song. We see the splitting of the Red Sea, bitter water made good to drink and manna from Heaven. We see water from a rock, Israel defeating the Amalekites, and Jethro's wise advice - the very first court system (Exodus 18:13-27).
And then, in the 19th Chapter of Exodus, we see God revealing himself on Mount Sinai. The Lord said to Moses, "I will come to you in a thick cloud so the people themselves can hear me when I speak with you.' "Go down and prepare the people for my arrival. Consecrate them today and tomorrow, and have them wash their clothing. Be sure they are ready on the third day, for on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai as all the people watch."
When the Lord gave ten commandments for the covenant community, the people were afraid. But Moses encouraged them and said, "Do not be afraid, for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning." Exodus 20:20 After the ten commandments came many more laws such as proper use of altars, cases of personal injury, protection of property, social responsibility and the fair treatment of slaves.
The Lord went on to say that if the Israelites served Him only, then he would bless them abundantly. But if they made treaties with other countries or their gods, then they would be trapped in idolatry. Moses warned the Israelites that if they did not honor God with wholehearted commitment, then they would not receive the blessings, and instead experience curses plagued with confusion, madness, blindness and panic. Deuteronomy 28
Well, you probably know what I'm going to say. No man has been able to achieve this perfection. No man or woman, Jew or Gentile, slave or free - has been able to offer God their whole hearts through full obedience - and that is why Jesus came.
The only person who has lived on their earth as fully submitted to God is Jesus. The Lamb of God is the only one worthy to open the scroll.
You see, the Old Testament is a reminder of why we need Him. The Old Testament stories foretell the coming of Jesus. And the Law of Moses shows humans how holy God is, and how impure we are. It shows our need for a savior.
The New Testament book represents the eyewitness accounts of those who walked with Jesus, and received His Holy Spirit. They understand that the Law of Moses was God giving us a mirror to show that every human is far from perfect for we all sin, and fall short of the glory of God. They understand the blood of the Lamb, and his unfailing love and faithfulness. They realize that while God guaranteed to the Hebrews the land of Canaan, the gospel message guarantees eternal life and salvation. They know that the Law of Moses forbids false witness, while the gospel of Christ requires that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Jesus said, "Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until it’s purpose is achieved."
When you dive into scripture, fully digesting it - Holy Spirit helps you to see how the Word of God is woven through it.
Jesus has always been the plan. The unfailing love of God to save his creation. The Lord always keeps a remnant, for one drop of His blood covers a multitude of sin.
And now that I understand the Law that Jesus speaks of, I am able to understand the man of sin described in the second chapter of 2nd Thessalonians.
Paul says, "Dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the second coming of Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. Don’t be easily shaken or alarmed by those who say the day the Lord has begun. That day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness (the man of sin) is revealed, the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call God and every objective worship. He will even sit in the Temple of God, claiming that be God himself."
Paul goes on to warn the church of Thessalonia that this lawlessness is already secretly at work and it will remain secret until the one holding him back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed. But the Lord Jesus will slay him with his breath.
We know that the man of sin will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power signs and miracles. And he will use every kind of deception to fool those on their way to destruction for they refuse to love and except the truth.
My God! We are so confused! We see US as the center of the universe! We believe that the laws we have made are just! But the truth is - how can humans create any law that is righteousness when they are operating outside Jesus, or revelation from the Holy Spirit? All we have to do is look at the laws that we decide are wrong and right. We have decided that killing preborn children is just, because it's a woman's right to end human creation. We have decided that the government can take taxes and use the money in a way they see fit. We have taken God out of schools, and determined that we should teach all kinds of religions. And more recently, we have taken God out of our courtrooms. Jesus said, "I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the words of the prophets but to fulfill them."
"Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
"Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words:
“You are worthy to take the scroll, and break its seals and open it.
For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God.
And they will reign on the earth.”
Revelation Chapter 5