LUKE 16:16-17  


Luke 16:16-17

1. The law and the prophets were proclaimed until John: Basically, the PROMISE of the Messiah’s arrival; His character and His work (both advents), and salvation through faith/trust in the Messianic promise.
The authority, plan and viewpoint of God was proclaimed in the Old Testament THROUGH the law and the prophets which included Psalms and Proverbs.
God's authority, plan and viewpoint resolved around love for God and love for others. This is the core doctrine of God's kingdom. It was never designated as such throughout the OT, but by comparing the Old with the New, it can be established, that what was proclaimed in the Law and the Prophets was the same authority and viewpoint of God that is ascribed to the kingdom of God. And throughout the OT, God's authority and viewpoint held just as much jurisdiction over the human race as it did when Jesus and the apostles proclaimed it, and just as much as it has to this very day.
A. Mat. 22:37-39, "And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets."

B. The ones who truly loved God would put their trust in the Messianic promise; God's provision of a Savior to give forgiveness of sins and a personal relationship with God.
C. This trust in the Messianic promise was indicated by the attitude and expression of "the fear of the Lord." This initial attitude of reverence not only established one's relationship with God, but also became the attitude that showed continued faithfulness to God's authority and viewpoint throughout that believer's life.
Ec. 12:13, "The conclusion when all has been heard: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person."
The continued attitude of reverence (fear of the Lord) would perpetuate the growth process and produce sinless consistency through an ever increasing expression of love for God and love for others. Prov. 1:7; 9:10.
The purpose of evangelism is to produce the fear (reverence) of the Lord, which in turn leads to acceptance of the Messianic promise and acquisition of relationship with God. Ps. 67:1-7.
The everlasting gospel is the invitation to "fear (reverence) God and give Him glory." Rev. 14:7

2. Since then the gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed:
A. The kingdom of God is the authority, plan and viewpoint of God that has jurisdiction over the realm of humanity. In the OT it was proclaimed through the teachings of the Mosaic law, the prophets, Psalms and Proverbs.
B. When John and Jesus began to teach about the kingdom of God, it was something that was understood by the people. Accordingly, I suggest that the "kingdom of God" had been taught throughout the Old Testament period through the ORAL teachings of God's communicators without actually using that terminology.
C. When Jesus came into this world, His very presence represented the authority, plan and viewpoint of God in the person of the promised Messiah/Savior.
Luke 17:21, "the kingdom of God is among you."
Throughout the OT, salvation was through believing God's Messianic promise. That is, that He would send a Savior into the world Who would pay the penalty for man's sin and provide forgiveness through faith in His person (name). Luke 24:45-47; Acts 10:43. (Ps. 2:11-12; Luke 2:30-31; John 4:25, 42; Isaiah 55:1-3; 53:5-12; 1 Peter 1:10-11; Job 19:25-26).

D. Now that the Savior has come, relationship with God is through trust in the actual person of the Messianic promise - the words and works of Jesus.
Relationship with God now is based on acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah/Savior and is designated as ENTRANCE into the kingdom of God. John 3:1-16. (Col. 1:13).

E. The gospel of the kingdom is FAITH in the Messiah.
Matthew 3:2, John’s message: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Acts 19:4, “telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is in Jesus.”
Mark 1:15, the message of Jesus: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

3. And everyone is forcing his way into it: The verb here is, biadzō,
as a present active indicative. The use of FORCE is figurative. What it indicates is the attempt to “force” oneself into the kingdom on terms other than those established by God. It thus seeks to OVERTHROW by “spiritual violence” the authority of God.
A. Everyone, refers to those who want relationship with God on their own terms and specifically has the Pharisees in view. They FORCE their own standards and viewpoint onto "finding" God. Luke 16:15-17,
"And He said to them, You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of people, but God knows your hearts; because that which is highly esteemed among people is detestable in the sight of God."
John 5:39-44, "you search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. . . how can you believe when you receive glory (praise, acceptance) from one another and you do not seek the glory (praise, acceptance) that is from the one and only God?"
Paul stated it at Romans 10:3. "For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God."

4. Matthew 11:12, “And from the days of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
They claim to carry heaven's authority and use it as a bludgeon on the people to steal from them; they PLUNDER (steal from) the kingdom of heaven (in the name of God).
   A. Suffers violence: This is biadz
ō as a present PASSIVE indicative.
       The kingdom is being “violently” assaulted.
   B. and violent men: The noun is biastās. These are the religious
       people who seek to force their own terms for entrance into God’s
   C. Taking it by force: This is the verb, harpadz
ō. It means to steal
       something or to PLUNDER a place for its possessions. They want to
       possess the benefits of God’s kingdom on their own terms;
      WITHOUT -
       1. Creature humility: Recognition of God as the Creator and
           sustainer of all life.
       2. Or sin humility: Recognition that I am a sinner and fall short of
          God’s righteousness.
       3. Or salvation humility: Recognition that God has provided the
          ONLY way to find forgiveness of sins and eternal life, and that is
          through faith alone in Christ alone.
   D. Matthew 23:25
       “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the
        outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of
        plunder and self-indulgence.”
        The word, plunder, is harpagā (the noun from the verb harpadz
        It indicates that they are OUTWARDLY following the law (cleaning
        the cup), but inside they are trying to possess the benefits of the
        kingdom of God on their own terms.
        At Luke 11:39, the word ponāria is used, which refers to an intense
        infectious evil, that affects and destroys others.

       The religious people of Israel (rich, Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes) claimed to have relationship with God; claimed to have access to the kingdom of God. But they did not have it nor could they provide it for their followers.
In fact, Jesus gave the most extreme condemnation of their religious endeavors at Matthew 23:13, "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter it yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."

   E. Their inward character and EVIL motivations are indicated at Matthew 23:28.
“outwardly you appear righteous, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (The word, anomia, indicates that they are in rebellion against the true laws of God)

Matthew 11:12, "from the days of John the baptizer, the kingdom of heaven is being attacked and attackers are plundering it."

Luke 20:47, "devour widow's houses."
Mat. 23:25, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery (plunder) and self-indulgence."
(Religious leaders today are guilty of the same thing when they force tithing onto their members).

And everything they do is in violation of the Law and the Prophets; the issue of love for God and for others. And if they do not listen to what was previously taught through them, there can be no relationship with God.
So Jesus takes this opportunity to restate and reinforce the principle that the standards of God's word; His authority and viewpoint; the value system of the kingdom of God - will remain in force and have jurisdiction over all of humanity FOREVER.
This principle was proclaimed by Jesus on AT LEAST 2 occasions, and probably more.
Luke 16:17, "But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail."  Mat. 5:18; 24:35 (Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).

Verse 17
“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away
than for one stroke of a letter of the law to fail.”

According to verse 16, the religious people are trying to possess the benefits of the kingdom of heaven on their own terms contrary to the established policy of God.
The policy of God that revolved around the Messianic promise of salvation provided through the person and work of God’s Messiah.
That policy is what has been taught in “the law and the prophets.” Luke 24:44; Acts 3:18.
John 3:10, “Jesus answered and said to him,
‘Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things?’”

Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”
Acts 10:23, “of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

The attempt of the religious people to FORCE their way into God’s kingdom on their own terms is totally contrary to the LAW OF GOD. Jesus REMINDS and REBUKES when He says that there is not ONE little stroke of any letter of the Hebrew alphabet that will or CAN be removed or overthrown.

However, there will come a time when the law of Moses will no longer be needed; when it will have become completely fulfilled. That will be in the eternal kingdom of resurrected humanity and the elect angels. Jesus indicated the permanence of the Mosaic law from this perspective at Matthew 5:18.
"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished."

In this verse, the word, heōs, occurs two times. The first time it refers to the law in GENERAL, and the second time, to SPECIFIC factors within the law.
1. Until: heōs an (plus the subjunctive mood of the following verb), introduces an unknown time factor, although the event that is in view is specific and certain.
2. heaven and earth: the PRESENT physical universe.
3. Pass away: the verb is parerchomai as an aorist active subjunctive to indicate a future reality but with an unknown time for its occurrence.
4. the smallest letter or stroke of the law:
   a. The negative (not) is with the verb.
   b. This is hyperbole to indicate that the law as an entire entity or whole unit, will be pertinent until the renovation of the universe. (smallest letter = yodh; stroke = any mark made by a stylus, or other writing implement)

5. Shall not pass away: the negative is doubled (ou me) to indicate certainty (shall not ever), and the verb is parerchomai again, in the same form.

6. Until: heōs an + pas (all) to refer to the specific details of God's plan for the human race as taught in the Mosaic law. There is still the same UNKNOWN time factor indicated by the subjunctive mood of the verb.

7. Be fulfilled: The verb is ginomai which means to become something that it was not before, thus the idea of COME TO PASS. The physical universe will remain in place until God's entire plan for the human race is brought to completion. That means it occurs AFTER the millennial kingdom of Christ.
However, various details of the law will be ACCOMPLISHED before the entire WHOLE is accomplished. For example, based on the book of Hebrews and Paul's writings, the worship system of the law was fulfilled by Christ and is not in operation during the time period known as the church age.
Luke 16:17
"But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away
than for one stroke or letter of the law to fail."
It is EASIER only because in fact, God's plan has the renovation of the universe as the FINAL item of the law to be fulfilled.
Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33
Illustration of priority in permanence and pertinence.
"Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not ever pass away."
The verb is parerchomai again, first as a future middle indicative, and then as an aorist active subjunctive plus the DOUBLE negative (ou me = not ever). But Mark and Luke both have the future middle with the double negative instead of the aorist.
"My words" refers to the divine viewpoint that Christ taught, which revolved around relationship with God, first, and then the principle of beneficent love as the core factor for how creatures are to relate to one another.

See Topic: The Renovation of the Universe

Luke 16:17
"It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the law to fail."
These standards of the Law and the Prophets will never cease to have jurisdiction over the human race. Jesus is not talking about the ritual system of the law. He is talking about "the weightier provisions of the law; justice, mercy, faithfulness and the love of God." Mat. 23:23; Luke 11:42; Micah 6:8.

Micah 6:8. "He has told you O man, what is good; and what does Yahweh require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God."
Hosea 6:6, "For I delight in grace-kindness rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
Paul also stated the true focus of the kingdom of God. Romans 14:17-18, "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For the one who serves Christ in this way is acceptable to God and approved by other people." (Rom. 12:9-21).

And later, Jesus will focus on the fact that the real issue in the Law is the fact that it pointed to HIM. In other words the issue of the love of God is recognition and acceptance of His Messianic promise. And Jesus clarified that the Messianic promise finds its fulfillment in HIM; in His person and in His work.

Jesus taught at John 5:39-40. "You examine the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is those very Scriptures that testify about Me; and you are (simply) not WILLING to come to me that you may have life.
And verses 46-47, "For if you believed Moses you would believe me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"
Later in the story of Lazarus, Abraham says, "They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them . . . If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead." (Luke 16:29-31).
The information about the Messiah and the Savior is scattered throughout the Old Testament as Jesus Himself clarified at Luke 24:44-47.
" Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all the things that are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “So it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem."
Peter was able to state the same thing as he proclaimed the gospel to the Gentiles at Acts 10:43.
"All the prophets testify of Him, that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."
Such passages as Psalm 34:22; Isaiah 28:16 and 53:1-12 speak of this salvation provision.

This statement about the authority, jurisdiction and endurance of God's word was taught by Jesus at Matthew 5:18 and 24:35. At Matthew 5:18, Jesus stated, "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter shall pass from the Law, until all is accomplished!"
Then, in order to validate the "spirit" of the law, in contrast to the many distortions from the religious leaders, Jesus follows that statement with "I say to you" 7 times.



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