force at least as long as the world lasts (Matt. v. 18). Regarding His own words
He says the same thing: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not
pass away" (Matt. xxiv. 35; Mark xiii. 31; Luke xxi. 33).
It has been argued that Christ is here asserting merely that His words should remain
until after the capture of Jerusalem by Titus (A.D. 70). But the student of the New
Testament will at once perceive that, according to the account given in each of these
three Gospels, He has, just before uttering these words, been referring to His own Return,
and the Resurrection Day and the Day of Judgement (Matt. xxiv. 30, 31; Mark xiii. 26, 27;
Luke xxi. 27, 28). It is in connexion with these terrible things that He asserts that,
even after them, His words shall1 continue. This explanation is confirmed by
what Christ says in St. John's Gospel: "He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My
sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the
last day" (John xii. 48). It is impossible to misunderstand this language. We shall
all be finally judged by His words: hence His teaching in the Injil is not abrogated, and
cannot be abrogated. Nay more, we are told that, should anyone, even an angel from heaven,
endeavour to supersede the Gospel of Christ by another message which professed to come
from God, he should be accursed (Gal. i. 8, 9). This is the reason why true and
enlightened Christians were not led away by Mani when he claimed to be the Paraclete, and
why they have never expected any fresh Revelation from heaven after that contained in the
Let it be noticed that these sayings of Christ about the permanence of His message are
quite distinct from the question of the preservation of every actual oral utterance
of His, or of every such word
(لفظ) written in the Old Testament or in the New. No man of
learning will confound
الفاظ [des mots] with
كلمات [des paroles].
There are various readings in the Old and in the New Testaments, as there are indeed in
the Qur'an and in all ancient books. But all these together do not affect the meaning of a
single doctrine, a single moral precept, of either Testament.
It has been argued that Christ's words would imply that the ceremonial parts of the
Mosaic Law must never be abrogated: but this objection has been answered above. The
ceremonial precepts of the Torah have not been abrogated: they have been fulfilled, as
Christ Himself taught (Matt. v. 17). As an instance of this we may notice what He says
about Fasting, a practice not forbidden by any Prophet, though nowhere expressly
commanded, and much esteemed among the Jews (Matt. vi. 16-18).
The assertion has been made that Christ's own command in Matt. x. 5, and His statement
in Matt. xv. 24, are both abrogated by Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. But temporary commands are
not correctly said to be abrogated when they are fully obeyed: and the statement referred
to is corroborated by the fact that, except on the occasion mentioned in Matt. xv. 24, He
did not (apparently) go beyond the limits of Palestine during His life on earth.
Turning now to the facts mentioned in the Bible, we see that they also are
incapable of being abrogated. For it is evident to all men of understanding that an
asserted fact is either true or false. We may require proof to establish its reality, but
what is real cannot be made unreal, and what has occurred cannot be so erased from the
pages of the world's history as never to have happened. Regarding this point it is
needless to say more.
We conclude therefore that it has been clearly proved that the essential teachings of
the Old Testament and the New are in their very nature incapable of being changed or
annulled, because God's Will and Character are free from all change and alteration. Hence