Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Isaiah 59:21

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.

Do these verses prove that Old Testament law is still to be followed since it is to be followed forever?


4 Answers 4


Young's Literal Translation renders both expressions above as 'to the age' indicating that the Hebrew does not express a future eternity but a prolonged situation as long as time lasts.

The New Testament reveals a situation where time (and its concomitant changes) ceases and an eternal state prevails.

And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: [Revelation 10:6 KJV]

The Gospel, particularly as expressed by Paul, delivers, those who are of faith, from law.

I, through the law, am dead to the law that I might live unto God [Galatians 2:19 KJV]

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, [Romans 7:4 KJV]

Thus, those who rise from the dead in a bodily resurrection and populate a new earth under new heavens are not under the jurisdiction of law.

For, indeed, the law is seen as 'nailed to the cross' and not only so but is seen as also being obliterated, in the death of Christ.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [Colossians 2:14 KJV]

Efforts to make the above verse mean the obliteration of trespasses rather than the law itself fail since that is not what the Greek actually means.

Attempts to make the law 'eternal' and attempts to bring believers in Christ back under law after justification simply indicate just how vulnerable humanity is to being persuaded to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, rather than partake, freely, of that which is already in the midst - the tree of Life.


Deut 29 is about the Mosaic Covenant with the Israelites coming out of Egypt just about to enter the promised land. Isaiah 59 is traditionally interpreted as belonging to Isa 56-66 material "that addressed a community in Judah during the Persian period" 1 to exhort them (after returning from exile) to be faithful to the Mosaic covenant with the LORD promising "the community a repeated and ongoing prophetic ministry." 2

From Christian perspective, Jesus follows the line of the OT prophets speaking on behalf of the LORD (Jesus is cornerstone of the foundation of the Church, the foundation being the apostles and prophets, Eph 2:20). But as God incarnate, Jesus

  1. has the authority to "fulfill" the Mosaic covenant (Matt 5:17) in the sense of reframing the OT commandments mentioned in Deut 29:29 with the Sermon on the Mount, the Farewell Discourse (and elsewhere) that is binding on Christians, so when we do what Jesus teaches, we follow the fulfillment of Mosaic laws.

  2. shows how God keeps his promise and faithfulness by also being a spirit-led prophet referred to in Isa 59:21 ("My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you") since Jesus in his human nature possess the full presence (John 1:14) of the same Spirit of God inspiring Isaiah. Also, in preserving the Bible (being inscripturated prophecy) until today, we see how God continues to keep his promise that the words that God put in Isaiah's mouth will always be on the lips of Christians, as we still read Isaiah from the perspective of the more complete prophecy in the NT.

Given the above understanding, the answer to your question "Do these verses prove that Old Testament law is still to be followed, since it is to be followed forever?" YES, but modified (fulfilled) to make sense in the context of Jesus's new covenant with the Church. For example, some

  • ceremonial (cleanliness, dietary),
  • civil (such as punishing by stoning), and
  • temple related (various offerings) laws

have been updated by Jesus (speaking as God Incarnate), his apostles, and church leaders today into church practice in the form of:

  • ceremonies (such as practices that preserve the sanctity of the Eucharist and Holy Days obligations),
  • canon law, excommunication policy, church discipline measures, and
  • ministerial priesthood and liturgies

respectively, while the Ten Commandments and other moral laws require only minor update (such as moving Sabbath to Sunday in commandment #4).

1 Isaiah 56-66: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary (2014) by John Goldingay , first paragraph of Introduction (page 1).

2 ibid conclusion of the comment on v. 21 (page 238).

  • 1
    Where, in scripture do we ever discover 'Jesus making a covenant with the Church' ? ? ? A covenant is an agreement between two parties. Failure of either party causes the covenant, itself, to fail.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 9, 2023 at 10:51
  • @NigelJ Luke 22:20 ("this cup is the new covenant in my blood") to fulfill God's promise in Jer 31:31-33 ("for this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days"), also interpreted by the author of Hebrew in Heb 7:22 ("better covenant"). See GotQuestions article What did Jesus mean when He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood”?. Re: the failure, the new covenant is like Abrahamic unilateral / unconditional covenant. Dec 9, 2023 at 11:00
  • 2
    I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. states a fact. What God will do. There is nothing there for the other party to achieve.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 9, 2023 at 11:24

The plain sense of the text is yes, they are to be followed forever; and this is how observant Jews still understand these verses. However, Christians take a different view, based on the teaching of Paul, the letter of James mentioned in Acts 15:19-21, and especially the letter to the Hebrews, which states:

Hebrews 8:13

When he speaks of a “new” covenant, he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing.

On the other hand, Acts 21 indicates that Jewish Christians continued to observe Jewish laws.

They said to him [Paul], “Brother, you see how many thousands of believers there are from among the Jews, and they are all zealous observers of the law. 21 They have been informed that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to abandon Moses and that you are telling them not to circumcise their children or to observe their customary practices.

Conclusion: the Jewish scriptures mentioned in the OP are understood by Jews to mean what they apparently say, namely that the Law is established eternally. However, Christians generally believe they are excepted from most of requirements of the Jewish ceremonial and dietary laws. On the other hand, Christian usually do uphold the most important OT laws, such as the Ten Commandments and the commands to love God with all one's heart (Deuteronomy 6:5) and to love one's neighbor as oneself (Leviticus 19:18).


Those passages or a particular narrow interpretation of them constitutes what is described as the veil of Moses 2Cor 3:13-14, which can also be applied to 2Pet 3:15-16 to others.

You can explain that the law only applies to man until the resurrection. As the Pharisee Paul explained, the believers are united with the Messiah as one, and has died to sin, resurrected with him. Hence, after the resurrection of the Messiah, which was called the world or age to come. Being spiritually dead to sin, the Torah no longer applies to us.

The sages already explained that when the Messiah comes, the commandments of the Mosaic law will be nullified:

The Jewish Spiritual Heroes, Volume II; The Amoraim of Palestine and the Jerusalem Talmud, Introduction 3
This aim caused some of the scholars to believe that study of the Torah and the fulfillment of its commandments was most important in life even though one did not agree with the commandments....Others said that after the coming of Messiah all commandments would be done with and there would no longer be any need for written laws.1)נדה ס״א ב׳, מדרש תהלים פּרשה נ״ו.

Pri Haaretz, Toldot 5
And this is what they of blessed memory meant that in the days of the Messiah the Commandments will be nullified "for the Land will be filled with Understanding of God", and they will possess a different Torah from the Decrees which will become as Commandments. And when a person goes from strength to strength, higher and higher, until he reaches and stands before the root of the whole Torah and Commandments which is "I am HaShem your God...", simple unity and infinite, he then crimps the wings of all the Commandments and Decrees, and they are all nullified. And this is the nullification of the Evil Inclination and elevation of it [back] to prior to the beginning of creation.

Flames of Faith 13:12 According to the Zohar when the Messiah will come there will be a part of pig that will become kosher.

All this is beautifully explained on this website Chabad. Chapter 11: Mitzvos After the Resurrection, By Nissan Dovid Dubov. (Some excerpts)

The Messianic Era and the Resurrection

There is however an opinion in the Talmud14 that the mitzvos will no longer apply after the Resurrection. According to this opinion, the Messianic era will comprise two distinct periods. In the first period after Mashiach arrives, the whole of Torah law will be in force and the mitzvos will be fully observed. However, from the time of the Resurrection (which is to take place forty years after the advent of Mashiach15 ), the mitzvos will no longer be in force.

But what of the principle that all Torah laws are everlasting?

In response to this apparent contradiction one could suggest that this means that they will last until the time of the Resurrection. In other words, the mitzvos apply only during the period of which it is written,16 היום לעשותם — “[You shall observe the commandments... which I command you] today, to do them.” As the Sages explain,17 the time to do the commandments is today, while in this world, but not “tomorrow, [when] you shall reap the reward,” i.e., in the World to Come.18 In this light, one may perceive the observance of the mitzvos as a means of refining and elevating the world, and once this has been achieved in the period of the Resurrection, they have no further function.19

One Problem Resolved, One Problem Posed

A careful analysis of the context of the Talmudic teaching cited above23 —that “the mitzvos will no longer apply in time to come [i.e., after the Resurrection]” — provides a solution to this apparently glaring contradiction.

The opinion is expressed that “a garment that includes kilayim [i.e., shaatnez, a prohibited mixture of wool and linen]... may be used for shrouds for the dead.” This statement sparks off the following debate:

“Rav Yosef responded: ‘This means that the mitzvos will no longer apply in time to come’ [for otherwise, those resurrected would be wearing forbidden garments].

“Abbaye (some say it was Rav Dimi) objected: ‘But R. Mani said in the name of R. Yannai that this permission applies only for the eulogy but not for the burial!’

“[Rav Yosef] replied: ‘Was it not taught that R. Yochanan said that it applies even for the burial? And in this R. Yochanan is consistent with his own teachings, for R. Yochanan taught: What is meant by the verse,24 “free among the dead”? — Once a man dies, he is free from fulfilling the mitzvos.’“

The commentaries find R. Yochanan’s opinion problematic.

(1) The reason given — that the dead are free of mitzvos — is valid only when the departed are in the grave. Upon Resurrection, however, surely they would immediately transgress the prohibition of kilayim.

(2) Elsewhere25 R. Yochanan says: “How is Resurrection deduced from the Torah?

“It is written,26 ‘Of [these tithes] you shall give G‑d’s heave-offering to Aharon the priest.’ But would Aharon live forever?! After all, he did not enter the Land of Israel and thereby make it possible that terumah be given to him! Rather, this verse teaches that he will ultimately be resurrected, and the Jewish people will give him terumah....”

Now, if R. Yochanan holds that the mitzvos (such as terumah) will be observed after the Resurrection, how could he permit the use of kilayim for burial?27

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