But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Romans 7:6 (KJV)
Oldness of the letter – Chapter 7 of Romans is perhaps one of my favorite chapters of the New Testament. It is the explanation of what Yeshua came to do. He came to die and release the divorced woman (house of Israel) from the law of divorce so that she may now marry the resurrected Messiah, and join the house of Judah once again. His kingdom is restored by His death.
Paul understood this. Most educated Jews understood this. This is why the majority of the Jewish nation accepted and followed Yeshua. They saw the redemptive power in his death. It was only a small faction of Jewish Pharisees and Sadducees that wanted to hold their authority and deny Yeshua’s kingship.
Before I get too off-topic, let’s take a look at the verse. It would appear that Paul suggests we are delivered from the law, the entire 613 commandments, and we were dead when we lived by them. But now we should live with a new spirit and not by the old letters of the 613 commandments. But yet, we know Paul lived by every one of those commandments to his death (Acts 25:8). So he’s either a hypocrite and one of those Pharisees that Yeshua warns us about in Matthew 23, or maybe we got Paul’s statement all wrong.
I believe Paul saw the value of keeping Torah. He was not a hypocrite as Christianity preaches him to be. Christianity claims that Paul taught against the law, but Paul writes that he kept the law – that is hypocritical. If my suggestion is true, then why would Paul state that we no longer serve in the oldness of the letter and that we’re delivered from the law?
Well first we need to understand that Paul didn’t write this letter to 21st century Christians. None of Paul’s letters were written to you… or about you. Paul knew about God’s divorce of the house of Israel written in Jeremiah 3:8. He knew, according to God’s own law, that the house of Israel could never return to the first husband again. In fact, this whole chapter is written “to them that know the law.” (Romans 7:1) The ONLY way they could possibly return is if the first husband died. Yeshua came to die for the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24) — releasing them from the ONE law of divorce, not the entire 613 commandments as we assume Paul is talking about. He says we are delivered from the law — that one law. Divorce no longer holds the house of Israel in death. The house of Israel, can serve again in newness of spirit, not by the oldness of the letter.
The Greek palaiothti grammatos does mean “oldness of the letter” but which letter? Is Paul talking about a letter of the alphabet, or a letter that someone might write? The word grammatos is actually a letter that someone would write. In fact, looking back at Jeremiah 3:8, that’s exactly what God did — He wrote a bill of divorce and gave it to the house of Israel. He wrote a letter.
It’s also important to note how the word palaiothti is used in the LXX. It is used as “old” but not like the Greek word, palaioo, which denotes the uselessness of worn-out things. No, in contrast, palaiothti has no theological meaning at all in the LXX.
This is fascinating! All our lives we thought Paul was suggesting that we, 21st century Christians, are delivered from the 613 commandments, and that we, 21 century Christians, no longer serve the letter of the old law. But now we can see it as Paul intended. The house of Israel is delivered from the law of divorce through the death of Yeshua. They, not us, no longer are bound by that letter of divorce which held them unto death. They, not us, are free from that one specific law to remarry the resurrected Messiah and rejoin the restored kingdom once again… unless of course, you believe we’re from the house of Israel, then certainly you are a part of that future wedding feast as the bride.
We need to change our paradigm. We need to study the words themselves in the context of the culture at that time. Paul’s letters were never written to you or about you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them and improve your own life based on their instructions. But before you do, you need to understand his actual meaning, and that takes effort. Are you willing to put in the necessary effort to further your relationship with YHVH?