Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

School

Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, MA

First Advisor

Laurenţiu F. Moţ

Second Advisor

Zoltán Szallós-Farkas

Abstract

Problem

A central issue in the covenant theology is the change in the law between the OT and the NT. Interpretations vary between the widely spread belief that the entire law has been abolished, up to the belief that the Jewish festivals should still be an obligation for each follower of Christ. The result of investigations regarding the changes in the law depends mainly on underlying presuppositions and different hermeneutical approaches.

Method

This study is based on three basic principles: (a) the acceptance of Christ as the Lawgiver and central Teacher of the law in the OT and the NT; (b) the belief in the inner harmony of the Bible; and (c) the Bible explains itself, moving from simple to complex. These principles are systematically applied on the Biblical books in regard to their approximate time in history. In doing so, the main chapter is divided into three sections. The first section investigates the fulfillment of the law: beginning with Christ’s utterances, followed by His disciples’ approach and finally, by James’s interpretation. The principles drawn from this section form the foundation for the following sections. The second section carefully examines Paul’s understanding of the fulfillment of the law. The third section deals with the fulfillment in Hebrews, which includes a brief connection between the principles of fulfillment and the covenant theology. The most noteworthy scholarly approaches will partially be discussed in the footnotes when fundamental issues in critical passages are addressed.

Results

Since the ascension of Christ, the fulfillment of law has been discussed. While the apostles’ counsel gained unity in their understanding, the latter church failed to do so. The variety of approaches increased with a growing number of presuppositions and hermeneutical approaches. This study indicates that a major reason for many contradictions is the neglect of the Sola Scriptura principles of inner harmony and interpretation while the consequent application of such reveals a harmonious NT teaching of the law’s fulfillment.

Conclusions

This study excavated the three basic principles of the law’s fulfillment in the NT: First, the Bible differentiates the eternal law of God from the temporal, Mosaic law. Second, fulfillment is not equal to removal, but an increase of the prior standards. Third, fulfillment encloses a shift from earthly to heavenly, from literal to spiritual.

Subject Area

Jewish law; Law and gospel; Law (Theology)

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