As an older person I have had the privilege of seeing many changes in people and places in which we have lived. The farm land I grew up on is nothing but houses. The City of Cape Town and its suburbs have changed significantly, as has the town of Saldanha on the West Coast. We have been in Pretoria for 32 years. New suburbs and malls have sprung up all over. I recall saying that one day Johannesburg and Pretoria will become one. It’s not there but the outskirts of Johannesburg and the outskirts of Pretoria used to have kilometers upon kilometers of open land. Today it is mostly covered by businesses, warehouses, malls and suburbs. People change … children grow up, get married, have their own children, own houses, etc. Nothing remains the same … or do some things remain the same? If you were quick thinking you would say … sin remains the same. The same thing that angers our Holy God. But then you stop and think some more and realize that the Bible remains the same … and more … God’s Moral Code, shaped in the Ten Commandments remains the same. We have dealt with verse 17 of Matthew 5 … and now we proceed
Mt 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
If verse 18 is dealing with salvation, everything in the Law had been fulfilled. But what does Jesus actually mean:
Mt 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
(1) Jesus’ authoritative Word … I tell you the truth. Jesus is Truth and when He speaks He speaks Truth. What follows then is the Word of God been stamped on the Law … as in the Ten Commandments and all the supporting Commands in Moses writings!
(2) The Moral Code is permanent … until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law. This is so exciting! When will heaven and earth disappear? When Jesus returns for the second time (Second Coming), Judges and executes the results of the judgement by sending the wicked (spiritual dead) to damnation and the righteous (those saved by grace through faith in Jesus’ blood sacrifice) being escorted to heaven … then … as Peter puts it
2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
Jesus is saying in Matthew that … until heaven and earth disappear … will be at the end of time and the beginning of our eternity.
(3) The Moral Code is permanent … so … not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Until everything is accomplished refers to Jesus’ return and the things that follow. This means that for the duration of the life of earth the Moral Code is permanent! Not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law.
(4) This means no person, Christian or not, has the right to personally manipulate, change, add to or reduce the Moral Code! We live during a time when wickedness remains wickedness but people have found more innovative methods of conducting their vices. The Lord’s Day is the Christian way of saying the Sabbath Day. Because Jesus rose on the first day of the week, this is the Christian day of rest from work and all other activities. We have made certain we work 5 days and use the sixth day for everything else so that on the Lord’s Day we need to do shopping, washing, mowing, cleaning and sleeping. Does that break the Sabbath Day Command? What about, you shall not steal? Apart from State Capture, look at the volume of people committing fraud. What about, you shall not commit adultery? Sexual sin abounds across the nations … and even in the Church. I can go on but you get the point. Jesus says the Moral Code will remain until the end of time.
(5) Does this mean we don’t need the Moral Code in heaven? Well, let’s rather ask why we have the Moral Code. It’s because of sin! The Moral Code’s intention apart from brining God glory is intended to be a watch dog and a yardstick … a method of stabbing one’s conscience when we transgress the Laws of God. If sin is the reason for the Moral Code and if as the New Testament say, heaven will be free from sin because it is the abode of God and if there will not be any effects of sin in heaven … then heaven will be for all who love God, obey God, Serve God and Worship God. Yes, God’s Word is Eternal … and His Word contains the Moral Code, but I believe heaven sets us free to live in total holiness, righteousness and love that there will be no need for the Moral Code there. Consider the following about heaven:
Rev 22:3 No longer will there be any curse 5 There will be no more night. No more curse … the effects of sin. No more night … no more darkness because only the light of righteousness will exist.
Rev 22:14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
Only holiness will exist in heaven … outside of heaven will be those who remain in their sin. God is the center of Glory … all the saints and all the angels will surround the throne offering true worship, adoration and eternal praise.
Our Father in Heaven, how we look forward to Heaven, not just to be in such spender and beauty of that place but because You are there. Amen.