Gospel of Matthew: Israel’s Law-based view of the Gospel.

Many Christians read the Gospel of Matthew and get confused. It happened to me for many years until I realized something what I’m about to share.

The Gospel of Matthew among other books, was Israel’s viewpoint of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the lens of the Law.

Israel was under the Law for 1500 years. The Law was the covenant of works where the Jews were expected to obey the 10 commandments and other ordinances to be righteous and stay in the promised land of Israel. But Israel had failed to keep the Law and that’s why they were scattered into the nations in exile.

God later on made a promise that He would make a New Covenant and restore Israel’s 12 tribes back to their land under the Messiah (Son of David), who would be King and Priest.

When Israel returned back to their land, only the 2 tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned. The remaining 10 tribes were scattered in the nations.

Jesus Christ came as the prophesied Messiah.

The Gospel of Matthew shows Jesus as the One who fulfills the Law of Israel.

Matthew 5 “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. 18 For truly I tell you, 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.”

The Jews believed that Jesus came to fulfill the Law and show them how to obey it in the heart. They believed that the Law would remain until the end of the world.

Jesus came to give the “Law of the heart” which was far greater than the Law of Moses.

Jeremiah 31 ““The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel    and with the people of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant    I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand    to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant   though I was a husband to them,”
declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
    after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds    and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,    and they will be my people.”

Jesus said that His Law was greater than Moses.

Matthew 5 “21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment….27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart…..38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. ….43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”

So you can see that the Jews saw Jesus and His teachings as the fulfillment of the Law.

Jesus was teaching the Law to Israel. He said that if they obeyed His teachings by faith and works then they would enter the kingdom of God.

Matthew 7 “21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. …24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Jesus commanded them to sell everything to the poor to enter the kingdom.

Luke 12 “29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Just like Moses commanded the Jews to obey the 10 commandments to enter the promised land, then Jesus commanded the Jews to obey His teachings of the Law of the heart to enter the coming kingdom of God that was coming in their lifetime.

Matthew 3-4 “In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near…. 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

They had to repent from their sins and believe in Jesus, and obey His teachings to enter the kingdom.

But this message was ONLY for Israel and NOT the Gentiles.

Matthew 10 “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’”

Just like the Law of Moses was NOT for Gentiles but ONLY for Israel.

Psalm 147 “He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;    they do not know his laws.”

In the same way, the Sermon on the Mount and the works-based Law teachings of Jesus were ONLY for Israel and not the Gentiles.

It is because the Law was given only to Israel. God’s promise of writing the Law on the hearts was ONLY for Israel and not the Gentiles.

Therefore the fulfillment of the Law was only for Israel.

This is why we see so many commandments of works and judgment of works in the Gospels.

The Jews thought that Jesus would come and judge them in their lifetime based on how they carried the cross and stayed faithful in persecution and death.

Matthew 16 “24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. 28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The Jews saw the destruction of Jerusalem in their lifetime as the final judgment and tribulation.

Matthew 24 “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”…..“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come…..15 “So when you see standing in the holy place (JERUSALEM) ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”…..30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other………34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

They expected Jesus to come during the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and judge the nations based on their works.

All of the parables in the Gospels (talents, virgins, sheep and goats) are judgments based on works. All of that was tied to the destruction of Jerusalem when the Jews expected Jesus to come and judge the nations based on works.

Matthew 25 “31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

This judgment was clearly based on WORKS and NOT Faith in Jesus.

If you read the Gospel of Matthew, you will never find the “simple Gospel” of Jesus Christ by FAITH ALONE.

The Gospel of Matthew was the Jewish version of events, where they clearly state that salvation is based on Faith AND works of the law. They saw the Gospel only preached the the Jews in all the nations.

The “judgment” of nations was the judgment of the 12 tribes in all nations. It does not talk about the judgment of Gentiles because all of the writings in the Gospel of Matthew is ONLY for Israel and not the Gentiles.

Matthew 19 “28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

This is why we see this “judgment of works” in all the writings for the Jews.

The leader of the Jerusalem Church, James also wrote the same ideas in his epistle to the Jews.

James told them to be saved by FAITH AND the LAW just like in the Gospel of Matthew.

James 1 “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:….19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

James 2 “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism…..But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.”

James 5 “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!”

You see that the Gospel of Matthew, James and even Revelation was mainly talking about the Jews in the 1st Century and how they would be judged by the works of the Law – they were commanded by Jesus to follow Him in fulfilling the law in their hearts.

Revelation 1 “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. …. “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
    and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”;
    and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.””

Revelation 7 “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel……And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation”

These 144000 were the ones who came out of the great tribulation during the 1st century when Jerusalem, the temple was destroyed.

Revelation 14 “Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth……12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”

They were the 144000 from the 12 tribes of Israel who OBEYED the Law. These were only Jews in all the nations…who KEPT the LAW in their hearts.

This is why the writer of Revelation said that they were judged based on WORKS.

Revelation 20 “The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.”

Revelation 22 “12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

This “work” was to follow Jesus, fulfill the law, carry the cross, sell everything to the poor, endure the great tribulation and be faithful till the end.

The writer of Revelation and the 1st Century Jews expected Jesus to come and judge the 12 tribes of Israel and setup a New Jerusalem on earth with the 144000 reigning on the earth over the Gentile world, and teaching the Law.


Why is that ?

It is because God never wanted the Gentiles to keep the Law.

God never wanted the Law to be permanently in the world.

The Law was only from Israel till the Cross. The Law was never meant to teach the nations.

The Law was only given to Israel SO THAT they would crucify Jesus and bring GRACE to the gentiles!

The CROSS of Jesus Christ ENDED the Law, it abolished all the commandments!

This is why the Gentiles have been saved by GRACE through FAITH WITHOUT works of the Law!

Colossians 2 “13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. “

Ephesians 2 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ….11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

The salvation of the Gentiles was a MYSTERY that was hidden from the Jews for 1500 years until Jesus died on the cross and sent the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles.

Ephesians 3 “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 1 “25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

How can Gentiles be saved ?

The only way Gentiles can be saved is IF THE LAW is ABOLISHED !!

This was a MYSTERY hidden from Israel.

God commanded the Law to them because the salvation of Gentiles was HIDDEN until AFTER the Cross !!

This is why most of the Bible talks about the Law WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING the TRUTH that the Law is IRRELEVANT for the Gentiles today!

This is why the Gospel of Matthew, Revelation, James, etc, talks about the judgment of Israel based on WORKS and the 2nd coming of Christ in the 1st Century.

But the truth is that Jesus did not come back in the 1st century.

Why is that ?

It’s because the purpose of AD70 was to REMOVE the Law and judge Israel.

Hebrews 8:13 “13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.”

The Law does NOT exist today. Only Grace remains today!

There is no future judgment of works.

Israel was judged by works in AD70.

The Sermon on the Mount is obsolete.

The Lord’s prayer is obsolete.

The Ten commandments is obsolete.

All of that was for Israel only until the 1st Century and not the Gentiles today.

The Gentiles are judged based on FAITH ALONE in Jesus.

Today we receive eternal life by Faith in Jesus.

The Gospel of John does not contain any judgment of works. It does not talk about Jerusalem’s destruction. It does not have the Sermon on the Mount. It does not have the great tribulation. It tells us the simple message of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and that salvation is by faith alone.

John 3 “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. “

John 4 “21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

John 5 “24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. “

John 6 “28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.””

John 20 “30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Jesus Christ will come back after all the Gentiles are saved and He will establish a new world without death or pain or sin – only for believers.

Acts 13 “Acts 13 “38 “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.””

Everyone who believes in Jesus is forgiven all sins and made righteous without works!

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