There are 613 Laws in the Old Testament. Yikes! That’s a lot to remember and obey. Thankfully, in Jesus, we don’t have to obey “The Law” but only the law of love. If the 613 laws did anything, they demonstrated that no amount of rules will change our behavior. Only a changed heart can do that. The folks at The Bible Project visualize the story of the Law and how it is fulfilled in Jesus.
You’re most likely familiar with the Ten Commandments in the Bible stuff we
generally take as good advice don’t murder, don’t steal, honor your parents the list
goes on and those are just the first 10 they’re actually a total of six hundred
and thirteen commands all given to ancient Israel found in the first five
books of the Bible which in hebrew are called the torah now the word Torah is
usually translated in english as the law because it has all of these laws in it
as you read through them you wonder am I supposed to obey some of these all of these
and what’s the purpose of the law well that translation is kind of confusing
because while the torah has laws in it the book itself is fundamentally a story
about how God is creating new kinds of people who are fully able to love God
and love others and when Jesus taught about the torah he said he was bringing that
story to its fulfillment. So walk me through the story and how it’s fulfilled. So the
story begins with God creating humanity who rebels and God chooses Abraham to bless
all of the nations through his family who end up in slavery down in Egypt and so
Guard rescues them then at Mount Sinai God makes a covenant with Israel like an
and all the laws that Moses gives to Israel are the terms of that agreement
they’re like a constitution. So some of the laws they are about rituals and customs
that set Israel apart from the nation other laws are about social justice or
morality and by following these Israel would show the other nations what God is
like. Okay so the rest of the Torah is just the complete list of laws that Moses
gives Israel? No, the rest of the Torah just continues the story and the six
hundred and thirteen commands are only a selection from that original
Constitution and even these have been broken up and placed at strategic points
within the story now pay attention because you’ll see a really clear
pattern Moses gives the first laws to Israel. Don’t worship other gods and don’t make idols and
then right after that there’s a story of Israel breaking those very laws they
worship the golden calf and so Moses gives some more laws and then you get
more stories of rebellion. Some more laws, rebellion again, more laws more
rebellion and you start to see the point right no matter how many laws they’re
just gonna continue to rebel. So at the conclusion of the torah’s story of
Moses gives this final speech to Israel as they prepared to go into their new
home and he tells them you guys I know that you’re not going to follow all of
God’s laws you’ve proven to me that you’re incapable and Moses says the
problem is that the hearts are hard and that they’re going to need new
transformed hearts if they’re ever going to truly follow God’s law and he was
right to me the story goes on to recount Israel’s total failure. They go into the
land they break all the laws. Right now the next section of books in the Jewish
tradition are the fifteen books of the Prophets and they reflect back on the
story for example Ezekiel he said that if Israel is ever going to obey the law
God’s Spirit would have to transform their hard hearts into soft hearts and
Jeremiah said that’s when obedience to God’s commands
wouldn’t feel like a duty that they would be written deep in their hearts
and Isaiah he promised a future leader Israel’s Messiah who will lead all of
the people in obedience to the law. Now in Jewish tradition all of these books
together are called the prophets even historical books because they’re
continuing the story told from the perspective of the profits ok so we have
the law and the prophets and they’re telling one connected story about God’s desire to
bless the whole world through a people Israel who it turns out needs a new
heart yes and Jesus saw himself as continuing that story so he agreed with
the law and the prophets when he taught that it’s out of the human heart that
come the most ugly parts of human nature is like the default setting of our
hearts is opposed to God’s law but Jesus also said that he came to solve that problem
and in his words to fulfill the law. So what does he mean there to fulfill the law? Well, first he said
that the demand of all of the laws in the Torah could be fulfilled by what he
called the great command, that we are to love God and love others. So that seems pretty easy
I mean we all want to love. Well, we think we want to love, but Jesus showed how love this far more
demanding than we realize.
So he quotes the law do not murder and he says yes not killing someone is very
loving thing to do, but then he also says that when you treat someone with
disrespect or when you nurse resentment against them you’re also violating God’s
moral ideal because you’re not treating that person with love. So Jesus said true love
ought to extend even to our own enemies so even though this command seems very
simple Jesus showed how our hearts are not currently equipped to fulfill even this
basic command of God to love others. And that’s kind of a downer. But where Israel
failed Jesus brought the story to it’s fulfillment as Israel’s Messiah he fully loved
God and others and he showed all of the nation’s what God is truly like. He did
this through his acts of compassion and mercy and ultimately by loving his
enemies even unto death and after his resurrection he told his followers that
he would send God’s Spirit to transform their hearts so that they could follow
him and fulfill the purpose of the law to love God and to love their neighbor. So
this fulfills the story of the law and the prophets. Or, in the words of the
Apostle Paul the one who loves fulfills the law. This video was made possible by
over 1,300 people who chipped in and most of those are monthly givers to the
Bible project thank you guys so much! We make a lot of videos like this one the trace
a biblical theme from the beginning to the end of Scripture we’re also making
videos about every book of the Bible helping you learn about its design and
overall message we’re committed to keeping these videos free and we’re able
to do that because of your support if you want to see more videos and other
resources we have good to www.jointhebibleproject.com
The concept of holiness can seem difficult to grasp. Outside of the Bible, we don’t talk about things being “holy” very often. Let’s take a moment to discover what the Bible really says about holiness. The concept appears from Genesis to Revelation, so it must be important. This illustrated video by The Bible Project explains the theme of holiness in the Bible.
Jon: You’ve probably heard the word “holy” before
or at least sang it in a church song once or twice.
And for most people, this idea is really just connected to being a morally good person…
So… God is ‘holy’ because he’s morally perfect.
Tim: Yeah, that is part of it…
but in the Bible the idea of ‘holiness’ is even bigger and more rich.
What it’s really describing is how God is the creative force behind the whole universe.
He’s the one and only being with the power to make a world full of such beauty and life.
And so all these abilities they may God utterly unique, which is the meaning of the word ‘holy’.
A helpful way to think about God’s holiness is by using the sun as a metaphor.
The sun is unique, at least within our solar system,
And its really powerful. Its the source of all this beautiful life on our planet.
And so you could say that the sun is ‘holy’.
And you can actually take this metaphor even further
in that the whole area around the sun is also ‘holy’.
Jon: Yeah because the closer you get to the sun the more intense it gets.
Tim: yeah, exactly. So that very power and goodness that generates all this life is also dangerous.
I mean the sun, if you get too close, will annihilate you.
And in the same way there’s this paradox at the heart of God’s own holiness
because if you’re impure his presence is dangerous to you
and not because it’s bad, but because its so good.
And so the first time we see this paradox of God’s holiness, it’s in the story of Moses and the burning bush.
Jon: So God tells Moses to take off his sandals because he’s standing on holy ground.
And Moses covers his face in fear and God says
“hey don’t come any closer”. Its intense. likely that intensity of God’s holiness
Tim: It’s actually that intensity of God’s holiness that’s explored even more in the stories of Israel’s temple
which was the main place where God’s holy presence was located
and at the center the temple was this room called the Most Holy Place
it’s the hotspot of God’s presence.
and whether you’re an Israelite living in the land around the temple
or a priest working right in the temple, you are in proximity to God’s holy presence.
which is dangerous.
Jon: Yeah, this is a problem. So how is it supposed to work?
Tim: Well in the Bible the solution is that you need to become “pure”.
Jon: So like being Morally Pure?
Tim: Yeah, and that’s easy enough to understand…
…but the Bible spends a lot of time talking about another kind of purity
being Ritually Pure
which is a state where you separate yourself from anything related to death
like touching things like diseased skin, or dead bodies, or even certain bodily fluids.
all these make you impure.
And becoming ritually impure isn’t necessarily sinful.
What’s wrong is waltzing into God’s presence when you’re in an impure state.
And so that’s why God gave the Israelites very clear instructions for knowing when they were impure…
steps to become pure, so that they could go into the temple again.
Jon: So that’s what the book of Leviticus is about.
Tim: Right. But it doesn’t stop there. This idea keeps developing
So later in the scriptures we find this really interesting story by a prophet named Isaiah.
And he has this crazy vision where he’s in the temple
and he’s right in God’s presence. He’s totally terrified.
Jon: Yeah. He knows the rules. He shouldn’t even be in there.
And he’s worried about being destroyed.
Tim: And then this crazy creature called a Seraphim.
Jon: Yeah, that is a crazy creature.
Tim: Totally. So it flies over with a hot coal.
And then it sears Isaiah’s lips with the coal and says something really weird…
“Your guilt is taken away and your sin is atoned for.”
Jon: So this burning coal somehow makes Isaiah pure.
Tim: Yeah, its remarkable
because normally if you touch something impure it transfers its impurity to you.
But now here’s this new idea where you have this coal,
this very holy and pure object, and it touches Isaiah
and it transfers its purity to him.
Isaiah is not destroyed by God’s holiness, he’s transformed by it.
I mean the implications of this are just huge.
But there’s one more development, this time from another prophet, Ezekiel.
And he has this vision where he’s standing at the temple
and he sees water trickling out from it.
And then that water turns into a stream
and then a grows into a deep river that starts flowing through the desert
leaving this trail of green trees behind it.
And then it flows into the Dead Sea making everything fresh and alive.
Jon: So, instead of becoming pure first and then going into the temple…
…here God’s holiness comes out from the temple making things pure bringing them to life.
What does it all mean?
Tim: So, we don’t know. Until we meet this man Jesus.
And he claims that he’s fulfilling all of these ancient visions but in surprising new ways.
So Jesus, he went around touching people who are impure…
… people with skin diseases, a woman with chronic bleeding, or dead people…
and when he touches them, their impurity should transfer over to Jesus …
… but instead, Jesus’ purity transfers to them and actually heals their bodies.
Jon: Jesus is like that holy coal in Isaiah’s vision.
Tim: Right. And Jesus claimed that he was the human embodiment of God’s own holiness.
and that he and his followers were now God’s temple
so that through them God’s holy presence would go out into the world
and bring life and healing and hope.
And so this is why Jesus described his followers as having streams of living water flowing out of them.
Jon: So this is our part of the story where we find ourselves now, but where is it all heading?
Tim: so the last pages of the Bible end with a final vision about God’s holiness…
This time it’s by a guy named John.
And in his vision we see the whole world made completely new.
The entire earth has become God’s temple.
And Ezekiel’s river is there flowing out of God’s presence,
immersing all of creation,
removing all impurity and bringing everything back to life.