Before AD 70, the arrangement of the OLD HEAVENS in the UNSEEN realm was organized under the angels, including Satan. The OLD HEAVENS extended back to the Garden of Eden where God first instituted the animal sacrificial system when He slayed the first animals, and extended from there through faithful believers offering animal sacrifices (Abel, Lot, Noah, Abraham, etc), and was then codified in the Mosaic Law and all of the sacrifices, ceremonies, feasts, and days, of the Old Covenant Jewish religious system. The OLD EARTH was in the SEEN realm and included the Promised Land, which was the physical land of the physical nation of Israel.
The OLD EARTH was a land-based economy or world. It included the earthly City of Jerusalem and the temple, which all passed away in God’s plans in AD 70. They were destroyed by fire and the unbelieving Jews were either killed by the Jewish Zealots and the Romans; or taken prisoner by the Roman armies; or escaped to other countries.
“10And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the (old) EARTH, and the (old) HEAVENS are the work of Your hands. 11They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; 12Like a cloak You will fold them up, and THEY WILL BE CHANGED. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.” (Heb. 1:10- 12; written in c.AD 62).
Before AD 70 the nation of Israel, with its land, city, and temple, as God’s chosen system and people (part of the “old earth” cosmological order), had been founded by the Lord and was under the Mosaic system. The laws, sacrifices, ceremonies, feasts, and days, were all the work of His hands. He even wrote the Commandments with His own finger (part of the “old heavens” cosmological system) (Exod. 31:18; Deut. 9:10).
Old Covenant Israel was founded in part to prepare the O.T. Scriptures. This pointed to the future Messiah and provided evidence of His identity. However, the Old Covenant Jewish religious system was only temporary (Gal. 3:24-25). It would perish and pass away. It was folded up like a cloak. The New Covenant “reunited” eternal spiritual Kingdom (both unseen and seen realms) was then fully consummated in AD 70.
All of the Old Covenant Laws, including the commandments, ordinances, sacrifices, ceremonies, feasts, and days, were fulfilled in Christ and by Christ. Every jot and tittle of the law were finally fulfilled when Christ returned at His second coming Parousia in AD 66-70.
Therefore when the OLD HEAVENS and OLD EARTH passed away, all of the Mosaic Law (which was now fulfilled in Christ) passed away in God’s plans (old world order/administration of things both in the SEEN and UNSEEN realms established under the animal sacrificial system). This included every “jot” [“jot” – Greek: iota;- Heb: yod =the smallest letter]; and every “tittle”[“tittle”- a tiny extension or smallest stroke in a Hebrew letter] of the written law (Matt. 5:18).
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to FULFILL. For assuredly, I say to you, TILL HEAVEN AND EARTH PASS AWAY, one jot or one tittle will by no means PASS from the law TILL ALL is FULFILLED.” (Matt. 5:17-18).
If anyone believes that the biblical description of “heaven and earth” has not passed away, since they think it must be the physical universe and the physical planet earth, then to be consistent if they believe in following any of the O.T. Law, they would be required to continue to obey all of the Law, every jot and tittle of it!
- Do we understand the power of what the Lord was saying? He said we are still under the OC law if the heaven and earth “He was speaking of” have not passed away. There is no exegetical way to get around this, and this has caused many people problems with their eschatological interpretations. Again, a lot of twisting of the very clear straightforward language has been attempted to be done due to some people unwilling to accept, or understand, what Jesus was saying. The complete fulfilling of all prophecies cannot be referring to the time of the cross, Christ’s resurrection, or even at the time when the gospel was poured out to the Gentiles after Stephen’s stoning and the soon after conversion of Cornelius in 35 AD, as certainly all prophecies had not been fulfilled at any of these events (the OT states many more prophesies yet unfulfilled even at the commencement time of the conversion of the Gentiles (i.e. Dan. 9, 12; Isa. 2-4, 25-26, 28, 65-66; Hos. 1-2; Joel 3; Amos 8; Hag. 2:6-7; Zech. 12-14, as well as many others, including the many John re-iterates in Revelation).
- This Matt. 5 passage also fits in inextricable conjunction with Heb. 8:13, as at the time Hebrews was written (AD 62 or 63), it says that the obsolete OC had “not yet” passed away – it was about to, but had not yet. This means that whatever the phrase “heaven and earth” was meaning – we are bound by the scriptures we just read to be still under the OC law system if it has not passed away (and it says “all” the law, and there is no way to try and separate the law and say some old ceremonial and civil laws passed but the moral law remains – no, Jesus said “not one single dot” of the law would pass away until “all” was fulfilled). (**While Col. 2:14-15 clearly tells us the OC requirements of the law were nailed to the cross, vs. 16-17 also clearly state that the Torah Sabbaths and ceremonies were “still” a shadow in the 1st century, and the substance in Christ “about to” come.)
Agreeably, no Christian in the world believes that we are still under the OC, yet no futurist eschatology has any contextual answer for the “heaven and earth passing away” in the above passage, and yet we see that it was a must for it to pass away in order for us to be consummated from the OC into the NC.
Question: if you believe a future coming of Jesus will destroy the physical “heavens & earth,” Matt. 5:18 clearly says that the law will be fulfilled and pass away at that time as well à do you believe that there will not be any laws in heaven? How do you answer what law has every jot and tittle still in existence that would still be waiting to pass away at some yet future coming?
In AD 70 the Old Covenant Jewish religious system passed away along with the OLD HEAVENS. With the passing away of the OLD HEAVENS & EARTH, God changed the organization and arrangement of both the SEEN realm and the UNSEEN realm (The New Heavens and Earth is a new government (Kingdom) and new world order of things both in the SEEN and UNSEEN realms, based on the redemptive work of Christ).
See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:
Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 3b Matt. 16:27-28 (sub study on “Heaven and Earth”)”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 9 Rev. Chapter 21”]