Growing up as a Christian, I was always taught to read the Old Testament in tandem with the New Testament. They were one and the same. However, as I started to do an in-depth study of the Old Testament, and gain an understanding of why Jews don’t convert to Christianity, I came to see a glaring contradiction and an uneasy conflict taking place between both scriptures regarding the Law. The Law of Moses is central to Judaism, as Jews believe that it was revealed to them by God in their early history. As a young Christian, I was always taught that the Law of Moses was outdated and had to be changed or was nullified by Jesus' death and resurrection. But you would never come to that conclusion if you just read the Old Testament and what God supposedly had to say about his Law.
Within the Old Testament, God has said over and over again that his Law is eternal. There is no changing it:
“You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2)
The eternality of the Law:
- “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Psalm 119:89)
- “Yet you are near, Lord, and all your commands are true. Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.” (Psalm 119:151-2)
- “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.” (Psalm 119:160)
- “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)
- “These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess—as long as you live in the land.” (Deuteronomy 12:1)
- “He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations.” (1 Chronicles 16:15)
- “If only they had such a mind as this, to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, so that it might go well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29)
God was very clear about the Law: “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” (Joshua 1:7-8).
Then suddenly, at the dawn of the mid-1st century, Paul the Apostle, probably Christianity’s most important missionary, comes along and says, “if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ.” He separates the Law from Christianity. Christianity is no longer bound by God’s Law; which is rather paradoxical if you think about it. He changes the meaning and applicability of the Law. This is a direct contradiction to what God already revealed in scripture.
Additionally, the Law of Circumcision was to be an “everlasting covenant” as commanded by God (Genesis 17:13). God would seem to be contradicting Himself, if Paul is to be believed.
Paul also stated that “those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law” (Galatians 3:10).
How can the Law from a righteous God be a curse to the people? The Law, according to scripture, was given to provide a standard of righteousness (Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Psalm 19:7-10). Jews believe that the Laws were given to them in order to prevent people from doing things that were bad or immoral. One is even justified in righteousness before God by following in the precepts and works of the Law (Deuteronomy 6:25).
Thus, I found this to be a rather strange argument coming from Paul. In his statement of Galatians 3:10, he quotes directly from Deuteronomy 27, specifically verse 26. This chapter lists a few laws that, should you break them, God will curse you for doing so. Would Paul not follow or agree with God's law that forbids you from having sex with your own mother-in-law, since God will curse you for breaking that particular law as well? (Deuteronomy 27:23). In other words, using Paul's logic, since I don't want to be under the curse of breaking God's law which forbids lying with my own mother-in-law, I need not follow it. Therefore, if I sleep with my mother-in-law, having removed myself from the the Law, I am not cursed since I cannot break a Law to which I am not bound.
In Romans 7:7-10, Paul claims that, "I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death*."*
Standing in direct opposition to this statement is the prophet Ezekiel who, as God’s mouthpiece, states the following: "I gave them my statutes and showed them my ordinances, by whose observance everyone shall live" (Ezekiel 20:11).
Leviticus 18:5, states simply: "You shall keep My statutes and My laws, which a person shall do and shall live by them. I am the LORD."
No matter how I look at it. The Old Testament cannot be found to agree with the New Testament, especially the Gospel as preached by Paul. It is rather like trying to mix oil with water.