A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God
Special Study: THE PRESERVATION OF THE SCRIPTURE
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” What is referred to as “the law or the prophets” in verse 17 is called “the law” in verse 18. When “the law” is used in this way, it is referring to the entire Old Testament. Compare Matthew 23:23 with Proverbs 21:2,3; Hosea 6:6; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Isaiah 43:10-12; John 10:34,35 with Psalm 82:6; John 12:34 with Psalms 89:36; 110:4; John 15:25 with Psalm 35:19; 1 Corinthians 7:39 with Malachi 2:14-16; 1 Corinthians 14:21 with Isaiah 28:11,12. These passages of Scripture reveal that the entire Old Testament is referred to as “the law.” Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law” - the inspired Scripture, the Old Testament.
“The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:2). They misinterpreted God’s Word and still projected themselves as the true teachers and interpreters of God’s Word. Our Lord opposed them and criticised their erroneous teaching. They then accused Him of coming to destroy the law - “the law and the prophets” because He would not support their false religious system. Jesus came to destroy all the false interpretations of the Old Testament but He did not come to destroy the Old Testament; He came to fulfill it.
CHRIST’S AUTHORITY AND THE SCRIPTURES
Matthew 5:18; 7:28,29; Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:5-11; Acts 3:22,23; Deuteronomy 18:18,19; John 5:21-27; Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10,11; 1 Peter 3:21,22.
Christ taught and preached with absolute and final authority. This authority had been conferred on Him by God, the Father. He taught with the authority of a Judge, with the authority of a King. As a “Teacher come from God” His authority is far above that of any teacher, prophet or apostle. Christ’s authority far exceeds the authority of all the true prophets of God, past, present and future. He is God’s final voice (Hebrews 1:1-4). Christ is greater than (1) the angels-Hebrews 1:4; (2) Moses-Hebrews 3:3-6; (3) the temple and the priests-Matthew 12:5-8; (4) Solomon-Matthew 12:42; (5) Jonah-Luke 11:32; (6) John the Baptist-Luke 3:16; (7) Abraham and the prophets-John 8:53-56. His authority is greater than that of angels and all men that ever lived. Yet, in His authority, He confirmed the infallibility and permanence of the Scripture. He saw nothing to correct, change, modify or amend. “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
CHRIST’S AFFIRMATION OF THE SCRIPTURES
Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17; 21:33; John 10:34,35; Luke 18:31-34; 21:22; 10:25-28; 22:37; Matthew 4:1-11.
It is clear to every sincere reader of the gospels that Christ affirmed the Old Testament as inspired by God-infallible, incorruptible, indispensable, imperishable, instructive, irreproachable and irrevocable. To Christ and to all true believers in Christ, the Scripture is the Word of God (Luke 4:4; Mark 7:6-13; Romans 9:6; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Isaiah 40:8). There is no doubt that Jesus believed every jot and every tittle of the Word of God.
When Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you ...” He was impressing on His hearers the absolute trustworthiness of Scripture in every minute detail. In these two verses (Matthew 5:17,18) our Lord, Jesus Christ, affirms and confirms the Old Testament. He puts His seal of authority, His stamp of approval upon the whole of the Old Testament canon. Jesus believed it all, not only certain parts of it. He declared it as the Word of God having a unique authority which nothing else has ever possessed nor can ever possess. Those who think they believe in Christ and yet reject the Old Testament are deceived. If we truly believe in Christ as Saviour and Lord, we cannot pretend to be wiser than Him. We ought to have the same attitude as He had to the entire Word of God.
CHRIST’S AUTHENTICATION OF THE SCRIPTURES
Matthew 5:18; Psalm 119:89,152,160; Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:24,25; Psalm 102:25-27; Isaiah 34:16; Daniel 10:21; Romans 15:4; Acts 17:11,12.
According to Christ, everything in the Old Testament is the Word of God. Not only that, it is all going to stand until it has all been fulfilled. Every jot and every title, everything has meaning. And the Lord gave the same authority to the New Testament. “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away” (Luke 21:33). “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall TEACH YOU ALL THINGS and BRING ALL THINGS to your remembrance, WHATSOEVER I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU ” (John 14:26). “ Howbeit when He, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, is come, He will GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH ... and He will SHEW YOU THINGS TO COME ” (John 16:13).
The Old Testament and the New Testament, the entire Word of God has final authority. The moment you begin to question the authority of the Old Testament or the New Testament, you are of necessity questioning the authority of Christ, our Saviour and Lord. To Him “the Scripture cannot be broken.” It is God’s own Word that is going to be fulfilled to the minutest detail and which will last while heaven and earth are in existence.
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