In Exodus 20, God gives Moses the ten commandments that he is to give to Israel. Then, In Exodus 21-23, God gives Moses more detailed laws for Israel to follow.
In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus says, “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. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Jesus came to fulfill every bit of the laws we read of in Exodus 20-23. He came to fulfill every other law and prophecy in the Old Testament too. This is why Jesus showed the two disciples on the road to Emmaus where he was in all the law and the prophets. Jesus showed them how he fulfilled, or completed, the law and the prophets.
Not one bit of this law, the law we read about in the Old Testament, will pass away until “all is accomplished”, that is until heaven and earth pass away. The Greek word accomplish, ginomai, means to become or to take place. It also means to come into a new state of being. In John 19:30, when Jesus was on the cross, he said, “It is finished.” In other words, Jesus accomplished all that was in the law and the prophets. Jesus had brought creation to a new state of being.
It also meant that heaven and earth had passed away. How so? Well, in order for there to be a heaven and an earth, there had to be a distinction or a separation between them. God did this when he created the firmament on the second day of Genesis. This firmament was equivalent to the veil in the tabernacle and the temple, which separated the most holy place from the holy place, or heaven from earth. But, Jesus’ death on the cross tore the veil and removed the firmament that separated heaven from the earth. Now, heaven and the earth were connected. They were one. There was no more distinction. Therefore, the two had passed away.
The passing away of heaven and earth is now but not yet. It has begun but is not complete. What do I mean? Well, for all those that believe in Jesus, the reality is that heaven and earth have passed away. The kingdom is here. This is why Paul says in Romans 6:14, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” And, this is why John writes in his gospel in John 1:17, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” However, for all those who have not received Jesus Christ, they are still under the law. The veil of Moses has not been taken away. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:14-16, “For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” For those that have not had the veil removed, heaven and earth are still separated, still alive as it were. They have not passed away. And, for them it is as though the law has not been accomplished, that is finished or brought to an end. Therefore, they are still under the law. The law is still their tutor to bring them to Christ. This is what Paul is writing about in Galatians 3 and 4.
So, for those who believe Jesus, they are no longer under all the laws we read about in Exodus 20-23. Jesus has fulfilled those laws for us. Instead, we obey Jesus. He said to practice perfect love – love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and the love your neighbor as Jesus has loved you (yes, Jesus ramped up the requirement to “as he loved us” from “as yourself” right before he died).
Therefore, I want to look at just one of the laws in Exodus 21 to see how Jesus fulfilled it. Exodus 21:2-6 says, “When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.”
Have you considered that Jesus fulfilled this law?
Philippians 2:5-7 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” The Greek word for servant is doulos. It literally means a born bondman, a slave, or one made a slave. Jesus became a Hebrew slave just like it says in Exodus 21:2.
If the slave served six years, then he was to go out free in the seventh year. Jesus did not serve six years. His ministry, his work, his time as a slave was only three and a half years. Therefore, he was not entitled to go out free.
Jesus came into his service, his slavery, single. He was not married. If he had come into his service, his slavery, married, then he could have gone out free with his wife after six years. Therefore, if Jesus ended his six years of slavery and went out free, then he would have had to go out single, without any wife or children that his master might have given him.
But, if the master gave the slave a wife and children while during his time of slavery, then the wife and children would be the master’s and not the slave’s. The slave would have to go out alone. We know that the church, all believers, is the bride of Christ, the wife of Jesus. Did you know that Jesus received his wife, all believers, from God, his master, during his slavery?
This fact is repeated several times in the gospel of John. John 6:39 says, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” John 17:12 says, “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” John 18:9 says, “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” Jesus was given those that would believe in him, his wife, during his ministry, during his slavery. And, he didn’t lose one of them.
But, there was an exception to the slave going out alone and leaving his wife and children behind that his master gave him. The exception was if the slave clearly said, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free.” Jesus loved his master, the Father. John 14:31 says, “But I do as the Father commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” And, Jesus loved his wife, the believers. John 13:1 says, “When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Jesus clearly said that he loved his Father and his wife and children through every thing he did and everything he spoke.
Since Jesus clearly stated this love, he said “I will not go out free.” Therefore, like the Hebrew slave, Jesus was to be brought to God and to the door or the doorpost. “And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.” The door or the doorpost is a symbol of the cross. We learned this earlier in Exodus in the account of the Passover. Jesus was brought to the cross. An awl is a boring instrument or a needle. Jesus was nailed to the cross and pierced with a spear while he hung on it. Jesus said he would be God’s slave forever in order to keep his wife and children that he received during his slavery. Jesus will serve the Father forever as the High Priest as it is says in Hebrews.
Jesus did not go out free. He paid with his life to receive his bride. Both 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23 say “you were bought with a price.” A price had to be paid in order for Jesus, the Hebrew slave, to bring the wife and children he received from his master out of slavery with him. Galatians 3:13 says that “Christ redeemed us.” He bought us to keep us since he received us during his slavery. What was the price Jesus paid? Ephesians 1:7 says that “in him we have redemption through his blood.” Jesus bought us with his blood, with his life. Indeed, this is how we know that Jesus, the Hebrew slave, clearly said that he loved us during his time of slavery. For 1 John 3:16 says, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.” Jesus didn’t pay this price as some sort of punishment. No, Jesus paid this price to show his Father how much he loved his wife that his Father gave him during his time of slavery.
Jesus fulfilled the law of the Hebrew slave to bring the wife that he received from God out of slavery with him. He was willing to not go out free but pay the price for us. He loves us that much.