Jots and Tittles
Can some Christian who is into Biblical literalism explain this bit to me?
In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus says: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
This law, the law of Moses, is defined clearly in the Old Testament. According to it, you may not:
- Charge high interest rates when lending money (Leviticus 25: 35-36)
- Eat fat (Leviticus 3:17)
- Eat shellfish (Leviticus 11:12)
- Trim a beard (Leviticus 19:27-28)
And you must:
- Cease agricultural activity every seven years (Leviticus 25:3-4)
- Sacrifice a goat or a cow to atone for sin (Leviticus 1:2, Leviticus 4:27-29)
And that’s just Leviticus, mind you. Exodus says all kinds of stuff, like how you can’t make pictures of anything that’s in water (Exodus 20:4). He may be the LORD thy God, but he sure as heck is a weird one.
Now, I don’t see any Christians gnashing their teeth over the widespread consumption of pork rinds and shellfish. I see a lot of clean-shaven Christians. And I don’t see too many sacrifices of goats and cows out in front of the local Church. Why is that, if Christians are really serious about following Jesus? At least for the Biblical literalists out there, you can’t deny what Jesus said: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.” Not one jot! Not one tittle!
Christians tell me that they don’t have to pay attention to the Law of Moses any more, because according to Paul Jesus came to sweep away the old requirements of the law and supercede it with just one requirement: that you worship Jesus (see Galatians, for instance). But the thing is, Jesus didn’t say that. Jesus said exactly the opposite, in very clear language. Paul was the only guy in the Bible to say that Mosaic law was now defunct.
So what’s up with “Christians” ignoring the words of Jesus Christ himself and listening instead to a latter-day religious salesman? Can you explain this, please?
Can you also explain why it is that some of the same Christians who are going around in their clean-shaven, fish-drawing-and-sketching, lobster-and-lard-eating, goat-and-cow-sparing ways are so vehement in their insistence that government pass laws mandating the posting of big graven monuments to the so-called “Ten Commandments” (there are more than ten, I count at least thirteen in Exodus 20 alone, and loads more in the rest of Exodus and Leviticus too, I’m talking scores of direct quotes from the LORD thy God, man!)?
I just don’t get it! Jots and tittles, indeed.