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Deuteronomy 13:1-4 states:

  1. All this word which I command you, that shall ye observe to do; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

  2. If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams--and he give thee a sign or a wonder,

  3. and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto thee--saying: 'Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them';

  4. thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God putteth you to proof, to know whether ye do love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

The above passage seems to state that one may not subtract commandments from the Law of Moses which the Jewish people were commanded to obey, and seems to imply that a true prophet will not do so. Do Christians believe that Jews must still obey the Mosaic Law, and if not, how is that consistent with the above passage?

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Note: This question is inspired by, but not identical, to the following question: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/23594/… –  Malper Dec 9 '13 at 2:53
Can I suggest that you change this to "Messianic Jews" to bring it more on-topic? And maybe not "Do Christians believe", but "Do Messianic Jews believe"? –  David Stratton Dec 9 '13 at 2:55
I'm not interested in the opinion of the group who refer to themselves as "Messianic Jews" -- I'd like to know what the opinions of mainstream Christian denominations are on this issue. I could narrow it down to some denominations if that would improve the question... –  Malper Dec 9 '13 at 2:57
Do you mean that Jewish people who believe Jesus is God must follow the Mosaic Law, or that Jewish people who reject Jesus must follow the Mosaic Law? I think that clarification would help. –  curiousdannii Dec 9 '13 at 3:13
I'd like to know, for example, whether the Catholic church believes that Jews must follow the Mosaic Law. It didn't occur to me that it would be different depending on whether said Jews believe in Jesus, but let me know if I'm wrong. –  Malper Dec 9 '13 at 3:15

5 Answers 5

It's a fundamental belief of Christianity that the coming of Jesus fulfils the Old Testament law. In other words that the Law was only ever intended to be until the coming of Messiah. Jesus did not therefore abolish or diminish the law. His coming simply marked the end of its original intended purpose. Jesus says as much in Matthew chapter 5 verse 17.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Because of this Christians believe that nobody should be following the Law, Jews or non-Jews. A better way is available to them, namely following Jesus.

There are a relatively small number of Christians who believe that a way of salvation is open to the Jews who continue to follow the law, instead of Jesus, but it is a minority.

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I do not think the quoted verse is enough to be able to say with absolute conviction that The Law came to an end with Christ. It depends far too much on the meaning of the word 'fulfill'. –  gideon marx Dec 9 '13 at 9:36
There is much more in the scriptures than the one verse. I just quoted it as an illustration. I recommend reading the whole of the book of Romans. There are also numerous studies: I offer this s an example without vouching for its quality. –  DJClayworth Dec 9 '13 at 13:59
I recommend reading the rest of Matthew 5 where 'fulfilled' is explained. Fully. –  gideon marx Dec 9 '13 at 18:32
@gideonmarx what do you think fulfilled means there? –  Gregory Magarshak Jun 8 '14 at 8:10

The Law of Moses was part of the Mosaic Covenant. This covenant was between God and Israel, but we should not assume that it would never end. In fact, God spoke to the Jewish people of a new covenant that He would establish.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.

33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31 NASB

So, the Mosaic Covenant was established and was in effect for a certain amount of time. However, God asserts that the covenant was actually broken by the Jewish people. Nonetheless, God determined to establish a new covenant, and that covenant is now in effect.

God did make an eternal covenant with David, but that is different from the one with Moses.

Therefore, many, perhaps even most, Christians believe that Jewish people are no longer bound to the old covenant, as it is no longer in effect.

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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, NIV)

Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16, NIV)

If we believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and that the Mosaic Law cannot take us to Heaven, there is really no other way around. Your good works cannot save you, your obedience to any religious laws cannot save you, your piety cannot save you. Without Jesus, nothing you do can really save you.

Now, if the Law of Moses cannot take us to heaven, then it is really irrelevant whether Jews are following the Mosaic Law or not, because if they reject Jesus, it won't do any good for salvation anyway. The same condition applies to anyone who follow any other laws from other religions. Only Jesus can take us to Heaven.

Jewish perspective: It is important that everyone should follow the Law of Moses or at least the Seven Laws of Noah, because, according to Judaism, any non-Jew who adheres to these seven laws is regarded as a righteous gentile, and is assured of a place in the World to Come, the final reward of the righteous.

Christian1 perspective: Everyone must believe in Jesus Christ because He is the only way to Heaven and their is no other way. Judaism cannot save you, Islam cannot save you, following the laws written in the Bible cannot save you. Our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus alone can save us.

(1) Any Christian group who strictly believes that Jesus is the only way to Heaven

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Messianic Jews do. These are Jews who are Christians. A Jew does not stop being a Jew, even if he becomes a Christian. The Messianic Jews follow Jewish laws in addition to receiving the Christian Gospel and accepting Christ as their Messiah/Saviour.

Christians are called to use good judgement, but not to be judgmental. We also believe we have been grafted in to the Jewish vine, but as Gentile Christians we only need to follow the Noahic law. This is what the first counsel in Jerusalem was basically about. It said a Gentile did not have to become a Jew to be a Christian, I do not think it was stated the other way around, but that is not for me to say.

Let me point something else out. Jesus lives and Jesus IS a Jew, not was but is.

The grafting of the Gentiles into the Jewish vine did not kill that vine, but it fulfilled it. The Jews have always been charged with the salvation of the world and "the nations" meaning the non-Jews. Jesus fulfilled this, but not by losing His "Jewishness" Jesus is a Jew. He said "Salvation is of the Jews"

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I think you will find that not all Messianic Jews follow the Mosaic Law, and of those that do, many follow it out of respect for their fellow Jews, not because they believe it is necessary. It's a matter of debate among Messianic Jews. –  DJClayworth Jun 9 '14 at 14:36

Paul the Apostle was a Jew who converted to the Christian faith, and he taught strongly in his epistles that following the law will get the Jew nowhere. He worked tirelessly to convert the Jew to Christ and deliver them from the law, going from synagogue to synagogue in Acts. He wanted them to forsake Moses (Acts 21:21). He himself as a Jews put aside the law to live by faith; law and faith are mutually exclusive. I believe mainstream Christianity is in agreement with this point of view.

Romans 3:20

Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin

Galatians 2:16

knowing that a man is not justified by that works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Galatians 2:19

For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

Galatians 5:2

Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

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