Does Luke 16: 16 Mean God's Law Has Been Done Away?

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Does Luke 16

16 Mean God's Law Has Been Done Away?

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What is the meaning of Luke 16:16?

Some people who believe that we don’t need to keep God’s law, or God's Sabbath or Holy Days today, cite Luke 16:16:  "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it."

Is Jesus saying in this verse that God’s law was required to be kept and the prophets respected until John the Baptist, but now the law has perished or failed, and is no longer necessary to keep?

Is Jesus saying also, that we no longer even need to respect or abide by the teachings of the prophets of God who came before John the Baptist?

The very next verse contains the spoken words of Jesus Christ, which show very clearly that the law of God is not done away with. The law of God is consistent and will always be.

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17).

Have the starry heavens or the planet earth passed away?

Jesus said it would be easier for them to perish or be destroyed than even for one tiny part of God’s law to pass away or to perish.

Just before Luke 16:16, Jesus quotes the Tenth Commandment and corrects the Pharisees for their covetousness.

After Luke 16:16 Jesus quotes the Seventh Commandment and gives detailed instruction about not committing adultery.

Hardly, doing away with God’s law, wouldn’t you say?

On another occasion mentioned in Matthew 19:17 Jesus told a young man, seeking the way to eternal life, “If you will enter into life, keep the commandments.”

How clear it is that God’s holy law is still in existence.

So what can we learn from Luke 16:16? What is the message Christ is delivering? What did Jesus mean by the statement, “The law and the prophets were until John”?

When Jesus spoke of the “law and the prophets”, He was referring to the Old Testament. The first five books of the Bible, written by Moses, are known as the law; the books of Joshua through Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12 minor prophets comprise the “prophets.” The third major section of the Old Testament was known as the “writings” or “psalms.” Notice Luke 24:27-45.

Jesus was simply stating a fact, that the Old Testament scriptures alone were preached until the coming of John the Baptist. They were the only writings and information that they had. The New Testament had not been written yet.

When John came on the scene, he was the forerunner of Jesus Christ, preparing the way before Him, the “voice crying in the wilderness” (Mark 1:2-8).

John had to deal with the Pharisees, just as Christ was dealing with them, here in these verses surrounding Luke 16:16.

John thundered to the Pharisees, the Sadducees and all of the people of his day, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).

John began to proclaim the gospel (good news), preparing the way for Christ Himself. But, what gospel and what good news did Christ preach?

"Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).

So, we see plainly, that Jesus Christ preached the same gospel that John did.

This is why Jesus said in Luke 16:16 that from the time of John the Baptist, the good news of God’s coming Kingdom or Government on this earth, was being proclaimed.

Jesus spoke later in Luke 16 of the importance of following God’s inspired Word and laws in the Bible: “But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead'" (Luke 16:31).

Do we heed these words of Jesus today, or are we dead of hearing like the Pharisees?

Do we heed the words of Moses and the prophets and live God’s Way of life now in this life? Do we seek to develop the character and mind of Jesus (Philippians 2:5)? Do we lovingly keep God’s commandments (1 John 5:3) as we prepare now to be in Christ’s Government of God on this earth?


  • Preston

    The Law was first passed through Moses, then re-inforced through the prophets of Saul, Nathan, Nehemiah, Micah, John....finally instead of speaking through Prophets, God came in the form of the man, Jesus. That statement says the Law and Prophets were until John meaning that the conveyance of the Law through the Prophets is over, the fulfuilment and personification of the Law is finally HERE. Jesus.

    To say the Law is discarded is silly. If it were to be discarded, Jesus would not have come to fulfil it because man had failed to do so and by his failures becoming accursed. The coming of Christ showed the importance of compliance to it. Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life. In Him who fulfilled the law and put it under His foot, there is a greater overarching moral standard in those who abide in Him.

  • richard nellis

    We do not have the advantage of knowing what the original Hebrew New Testament scriptures said, but in the Old Testament most instances the word which is rendered as “law” in English was translated from the word Torah. The first five books of the Bible are the law of God. How could the law be done away with, when Jesus taught it through out the new testament?

    Ex 12:49 One law <08451> shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
    Strong's concordance gives the definition of the word translated as law as #08451:

    “08451 תורה towrah to-raw’ or תרה torah to-raw’
    from 03384; n f; {See TWOT on 910 @@ "910d"}
    AV-law 219; 219
    1) law, direction, instruction
    1a) instruction, direction (human or divine)
    1a1) body of prophetic teaching
    1a2) instruction in Messianic age
    1a3) body of priestly direction or instruction
    1a4) body of legal directives
    1b) law
    1b1) law of the burnt offering
    1b2) of special law, codes of law
    1c) custom, manner
    1d) the Deuteronomic or Mosaic Law”

    If you wish to live outside the law of God, that is your option. However be aware that you and only you are responsible for your salvation. I myself will continue to follow the law of God as much as I am able. God does not lie, man does. Nu 23:19 “God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

    Leviticus 26 shows the results of you choice, the first part shows the rewards for obeying God and the last part shows the punishment for not obeying God. You should at least have a foreknowledge of what you face.

  • Jeff Diaz

    The transgression of the law is Sin. The result of Sin is Death. Now we still see people dyeing every single day. If the law was done away with there would be no sin and no death. Quite simple really.

  • Ken Murray

    Thank you for your fine comments Richard.

    Yes. as you quite rightly pointed out: "Sin is defined as disobeying the laws of God." (1 John 3:4)

    If we can't break God's law, because the churches of this world say we are automatically under grace, then why would the Apostle John even bother to define what sin is, so late in the 1st Century ...if sin the transgression of God's law ...was no longer an issue?

    It just doesn't compute, does it?

    As you say Richard: "If we no longer need to obey the laws of God, why did Jesus die on the cross to forgive our sins?"

    Good point. If there is no death penalty for sin (Romans 6:23), why would Paul point out that there was a death penalty for our sins, that can only be remitted, if we repent of our sins and receive God's grace of forgiveness by the blood of Jesus sacrifice to pay the death penalty, in place of us, personally?

    Yes, as you say: "Only the laws of sacrifice were done away with, because the sacrifice of Jesus fulfilled the sacrifical requirement for all time."

    Jesus became our Passover Lamb and of course upon Jesus death and resurrection, there was a change in the priesthood, from the Levitical priesthood doing sacrifices on our behalf at the Temple, to us having direct prayer access to God through Jesus Christ as Melchizedek and his ordained ministers in his Melchizedec priesthood.

    Yes, as you also point out, Richard, in the New Testament book of Revelation, Jesus Christ reveals and emphasises to us 3 times, that God's christian people keep God's commandments (Revelation 12:17; Revelation 14:12; and Revelation 22:14)

    As you have shown Richard, it is very plain to see for those who have eyes willing to see the will of God for us, is to keep God's commandments. (1 John 4:2-4; and 1 John 5:3)

    Warm regards,
    Ken Murray

  • richard nellis

    Sin is defined as disobeying the laws of God.
    If we no longer need to obey the laws of God, why did Jesus die on the cross to forgive our sins?

    Only the laws of sacrifice were done away with, because the sacrifice of Jesus fulfilled the sacrifical requirement for all time. If you want to get to Paradise you must keep the commandments. As we are told in revelation: Re 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Re 22:14 Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

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