Moses, the Law and the Prophets Serve Christ


So when they had appointed Paul a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.  (Acts 28:23-24) 

5692052863_15cd6c4339_wSt Paul used Moses, the Prophets and all the Scripture (i.e., the Old Testament) to prove that Jesus was Lord, Savior and Messiah.  Moses and the Law were not greater than Jesus but rather witnesses to Christ and thus subservient to Christ.  Moses and the prophets are very important, but only because they bear witness to Christ.  Christ fulfills all that the Scripture and the Temple prophecies, prefigures and promises.  Christians in reading the Old Testament are not to make the Law their Lord or the Lord of other Christians or people.  As Jesus said, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).   This is what the Apostles themselves concluded in their first council when Peter, the leader of the Apostles, said to the other apostles and elders of the Church regarding the Gentiles and the Law:  “Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke [namely, the Law] upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will”  (Acts 15:10-11).  James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, concurred with Peter when he spoke at the same council: “Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood” (Acts 15:19-20).  Neither Peter nor James were antinomian or can be accused of advocating libertine ideas but they did understand that in Christ the Law is to love one another.

“No one – not even Moses – has ever seen God, but the only Son has declared him to men, and we have seen his glory, a glory which makes known the character of God himself [John 1:18; 1 John 4:12]. The theme set out here is one which underlies the whole of John’s gospel: Moses was the mediator of the law, the one through whom God made his glory known, but the son has not only seen God’s glory, he is himself the source of divine glory. Christ is a much greater figure than Moses – the real contrast is therefore between Christians and Moses since both are the recipients of revelation. The glory of Christ is greater than that of Moses, but it is nevertheless continuous with it, and Moses therefore bears witness to Christ, the lesser to the greater.


… both of them [Apostles John and Paul] are using the ideas of wisdom, which has come to be associated in Jewish thought with the law. The divine plan was with God from the beginning, and was revealed to Israel on Sinai, just as the divine glory was reflected by Adam in the Garden, and then glimpsed again when the Law was given. Later rabbinic writings described the Torah as having been hidden with God since before creation. It is clear that for Paul the secret wisdom of God, hidden from creation and now revealed, is not the law but Christ; he is the divine plan for mankind, the image to which we are being conformed, and the glory of God – and John expresses the same belief in his own terms. Over against the Jewish claim that God’s eternal purpose was finally revealed at Sinai, we have the Christian claim that the Torah only pointed forward to the revelation made in Christ. As the result of a gigantic takeover bid, we find all the functions of the law attributed to Christ (cf Rom 8:3ff; 10:5ff).”   (Morna Hooker, FROM ADAM TO CHRIST, p 148)