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Rom 10:4 Messiah is The End of the Law for Righteousness

By: Chuck Henry
 
 
Rom 10:4 states: “For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

 

Many people teach that the law has been abolished and quote Rom 10:4 as a proof text. Does Rom 10:4 really say that Yahshua abolished, or ended, His Father’s law?

 

Which Law?

 

To understand “the end of the law for righteousness,” it is helpful to know which law is being referred to. In verses 5-8 of Rom 10, Paul refers to and quotes from Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Note that Leviticus and Deuteronomy are two of the books that make up the Torah, otherwise known as “The Law.” Let’s take a look at the references in Rom 10 and compare them to what is written in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

 

Rom 10:5

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

 

Now, please compare Lev 18:1-5 (esp v 5)…

1 And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am Yahweh your Mighty One.

3 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.

4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am Yahweh your Mighty One.

5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am Yahweh.

 

Notice that Yahweh contrasts His judgements, ordinances, and statutes against the evil ordinances of the lands of Egypt and Canaan. Nothing is mentioned of sacrifices.

 

Lev 18:5 is also recited in Neh 9, and is three times recited in Eze 20:10-26. In all of these places, it has reference to Israel breaking Yahweh’s commandments.

 

Rom 10:6-8

6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Messiah down from above:)

7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Messiah again from the dead.)

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.

 

Compare Deu 30:11-14...

11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.

12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?

13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?

14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

 

Notice in the context, vv 15-20 of Deu 30, that Yahweh contrasts “life and good, death and evil, … blessing and cursing.” He commands Israel to “keep His commandments” rather than “turn away” and serve other mighty ones, which would be in direct violation of one of the Ten Commandments. Again, nothing mentioned of sacrifices.

 

So, to which law is Paul referring in Rom 10:4? Some would probably argue that he is referring strictly to the laws having to do with sacrifices. However, the sources from whence Paul is quoting show that he is referring to Yahweh’s righteous standards between right and wrong and animal sacrifices are not mentioned.

 

As Samuel put it –

 

1 Sam 15:22-23

22 Then Samuel said: Has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of Yahweh, He also has rejected you from being king.

 

Yahweh’s desire is that we keep His commandments, rather than break them and then offer sacrifices for disobedience.

 

So then, it is established that the Law of which Rom 10:4 speaks is Yahweh’s commandments – His righteous standards between right and wrong.

 

However, once again, since Paul teaches that the Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness, does this mean that Yahweh’s righteous commandments have ended?

 

Meaning of “end”

 

In Rom 10:4, the word “end” is Strong’s #5056 telos, “from a primary tello (to set out for a definite point or goal); prop. the point aimed at as a limit, i.e. (by impl.) the conclusion of an act or state (termination [lit., fig., or indef.], result [immediate, ultimate or prophetic], purpose); spec. an impost or levy (as paid).”

 

Spiros Zodiates, Th.D., in “Lexical Aids to the New Testament,” The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1984, p. 1734, says of this Greek word telos:

 

“It never denotes merely an end as to time, a termination in and for itself, for which another word, teleute (5054), death, is always used.”

 

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on the Whole Bible, p 1168, defines end as “the object or aim.”

 

So we see that the Greek word telos, which has been translated as “end,” does not mean that the Law has ended, or been abolished.

 

Other Scriptures in Which the Word “Telos” is Used

 

In order to more vividly bring out the true meaning of telos (“end”) as used in Rom 10:4, let us consult other scriptures in which telos is used:

 

Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to Yahweh, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end [telos] everlasting life.

 

First of all, notice that this verse is in the same letter of Paul to the Romans. Is this scripture saying that being freed from sin, becoming a servant to Yahweh, and having fruit unto holiness have all been abolished? Certainly not; however, the end result, goal, or aim of these things is everlasting life.

 

1 Tim 1:5 Now the end [telos] of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.

 

Is this scripture saying that the commandment has ended, i.e., been abolished? Certainly not; however, the end result, goal, or aim of the commandment is, as the scripture says, “Charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.”

 

Jam 5:11 Behold, we count them blessed which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end [telos] of Yahweh; that Yahweh is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

 

Does this scripture teach that Yahweh has ceased to exist? Yahweh forbid! Obviously not. Yahweh, the Eternal One, has not ceased to exist; however, we “have seen the end [telos] of Yahweh; that Yahweh is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”

 

1 Pet 1:9 Receiving the end [telos] of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

 

Is this scripture saying that faith has ended, i.e., has ceased to exist or has been abolished? Certainly not, we must have faith in Yahweh to this day; however, the end result, goal, or aim of true faith brings us “the salvation of our souls.”

 

Another Look at Romans 10:4

 

With the meaning of “end” [telos] freshly in our minds, let us take another look at Rom 10:4, quoted again here for convenience:

 

Rom 10:4

For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

 

It would now be appropriate to bring forth the same question about Rom 10:4 as was brought out above in connection with the other scriptures:

 

Once again, is Rom 10:4 saying that Yahweh’s Law has been abolished? In light of all the evidence we have examined, the answer to this question is: No, not at all! Instead, Yahshua, and the type of life He lived, is the end result, goal, or aim of everything of which the law instructs of how to live.

 

Following are renderings of Rom 10:4 from other translations. It is interesting to note that these translations don’t do away with the law, but rather confirm these findings:

 

Rom 10:4 (Berkeley Version)

Need quote

 

Rom 10:4 (New Testament in Modern Speech)

Need quote

 

Further Study on the Usage of the Word “End”

 

In the following verse, Deu 17:20, the English word end is used in the same sense as Rom 10:4. Of course, in this passage from the earlier writings, it is not the Greek word, telos, that is used, but a Hebrew word maan (mah’-an) [Strong’s #4616]:

 

Deu 17:20

That his [i.e., the King’s] heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end [Strong’s #4616 maan (mah’-an)] that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

 

The end result, goal, or aim is that the king would “prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children…”

 

Meaning for Us

 

Now that we know that Rom 10:4 says that Yahshua is the end result, goal, or aim “of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” what does this mean for us today? A little further study of the context of Rom 10:4 will help us understand the answer.

 

In the verses leading up to Rom 10:4, we are told that Israel was trying to attain righteousness strictly by their own works, apart from the Messiah (see Rom 9:30 – 10:3). The problem with this approach is the plight of the human race. They had already broken the law, and so were, in effect, stopped before they ever got started. They were in need of their Savior and Messiah, but, sadly, they rejected Him.

 

In the same way, if we try to come to Yahweh strictly on the basis of our own merit, to be justified by our own works, without the Messiah, we are stopped before we get started because we have all broken His law. Previously, in this same letter to the Romans, Paul stated, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of Yahweh” (Rom 3:23). Also, John states, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 Joh 1:10). Also see Psa 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecc 7:20.

 

Notwithstanding, Lev 18:5 (the man which doeth those things shall live by them) is still true today! If we, like Yahshua, never, ever, broke a commandment throughout our life history, then we would have life. We would be able to approach Yahweh strictly on the basis of our own merit and stand justified. However, Yahshua the Messiah is the only man who fits the requirements of Lev 18:4-5 because He never sinned (1 Pet 2:22 – “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth”). Yahshua could come before Yahweh on the basis of His own merit and be judged righteous.

 

So, we have a perfect Savior and Messiah. We should not reject Him. We must repent (Mat 4:17; Luk 13:3; Acts 2:37-40; 17:30), and have faith in the value of that perfect life He lived and in the value of His perfect blood which was spilled. Let us realize that He did not end the law, but lived it so perfectly that He could be called the end result, goal, or aim of the law. We are to be followers of Him.

 

Historical Context of Paul’s Writings

 

Many people misconstrue Paul’s message and think that he does away with our Creator’s laws. One thing to consider when reading Paul’s letters is the historical context in which they were written. In Paul’s day, the law was accepted as being valid and not done away with, but he had to contend with people rejecting the Messiah. In other words, it was Pro-Law, but Anti-Messiah. Therefore, Paul emphasized the Messiah. He also spoke highly of the law (e.g., Rom 7:12). In our day here in America, however, the situation is 180 degrees opposite! Most religious people accept the Messiah but reject the law as being abolished. In other words, the situation is Pro-Messiah, but Anti-Law. Reading Paul’s letters with a contextual mindset of Pro-Messiah, but Anti-Law, which is 180 degrees opposite of the prevailing point of view with which he dealt, skews the meaning of Paul’s writings. On the other hand, reading Paul’s letters with the proper historical mindset fosters an understanding of what he is saying (and what he is not saying).

 

Conclusion

 

Rom 10:4 has been misused in attempt to say that Yahweh’s Law has ended, has been abolished, and has been blotted out. In addition to the evidence that has already been put forth showing that Rom 10:4 does not teach that Yahweh’s Law has ended, we find the following declarations:

 

1 Joh 5:2-3

2 By this we know that we love the children of Yahweh, when we love Yahweh, and keep his commandments.

3 For this is the love of Yahweh, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

 

Yahshua himself went on record in Mat 4:4, saying:

 

…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Yahweh [a quote from Deu 8:3].

 

Yahshua also stated in Mat 5:17:

 

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Note: Fulfil doesn’t mean destroy. If it did, the text would read, “I am not come to destroy, but to destroy.”)

 

In Closing, Heb 12:1-2

1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2 Looking unto Yahshua the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of Yahweh.

 

Let us look unto the author and finisher of our faith. Let us look unto our example (1 Pet 2:21-22), the one who lived His life in a manner so in line with His Father’s will that it could be said that He is the end result, goal, or aim of the law.

 

And let us receive the end [telos] of our faith, even the salvation of our souls (1 Pet 1:9).

 

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