Go to Study Content

|| Sabbath Studies || Full Sabbath Index || #1. Why Keep Sabbath? || #2. Death, Burial, and Resurrection || #3. Spiritual Fulfilment of Sabbath || #4. Q and A on Sabbath Day || #5. Non Scriptural Q and A || Sabbath Changed to Sunday || #6. Sabbath Summary


This is a bible study refuting the argument that the law and the prophets were only until John the Baptist. It uses a Greek Unicode font and is printable.

Greek Word Study on 4521 σάββατον sabbaton Sabbath.
Hebrew Word Study on 7676 שַׁבָּת shabbat Sabbath.
Full Sabbath Index || Search this website || Bible Studies Index

Greek - Luke 16:16-17 - English
ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται ἕως ἰωάννου ἀπὸ τότε ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ εὐαγγελίζεται καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it.
εὐκοπώτερον δέ ἐστιν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν παρελθεῖν ἢ τοῦ νόμου μίαν κεραίαν πεσεῖ 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass than for one tittle of the law to fail.

Note: Because of this quotation, "The law and the prophets were until John:" (Luke 16:16), it has been preached that the law was no longer binding after John the Baptist died. This is an absurd suggestion in view of the verse which follows it, which completely contradicts that understanding. Therefore, to find out what is meant here we must rightly divide the scriptures on this subject. Just look at what Jesus said elsewhere.

(Matthew 5:18) "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one stroke shall in no way pass from the law, until all is fulfilled."
(Matthew 5:19) "Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:"
(Matthew 19:17) "If you will enter into life, keep the commandments."

In view of these statements of Jesus, who also said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:35), it is foolish to think that the law passed away with John the Baptist. So what did Jesus mean by, "The law and the prophets were until John" (Luke 16:16)? Look at the statement again, and notice that the word "were" is in italics, which means that there is no word for it in the Greek. The translators were faced with the words, ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται ἕως ἰωάννου (Gtr. Ho nomos kai hoi prophetai heos Yoannou), which literally read, "The law and the prophets until John". They knew there was a verb missing (which is quite common in Greek) and so they put in the verb "were". However if they had looked for parallel scriptures to find the missing word, which is what they should have done, they would have found, "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." (Matthew 11:13). Matthew recorded the verb "prophesied" which Luke missed out. All this scripture is telling us is that the law and the prophets prophesied until John, because they all prophesied about Jesus, who began his ministry in the days of John the Baptist. They prophesied where he would be born (Micah 5:2), that he would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), when he would be born (Daniel 9:25), how he would die (Isaiah 53), and many other details of his life, and that is all this scripture (Luke 16:16) is saying. It is nothing at all to do with the law being done away with after John the Baptist, and therefore no proof that we should not now keep the Sabbath day. Here is more scriptural proof.

(Acts 28:23) "So when they had appointed him (Paul) a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets, from morning until evening."

If the law and the prophets were only until John the Baptist, then why was Paul using them over thirty years after the death of Jesus to teach people about him? Jesus said, "Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are those which testify of me." (John 5:39), showing that the the law and the prophets testified about Jesus. Look what Jesus did for the two disciples that he met on the Emmaus road after his resurrection:

(Luke 24:27) "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself."

The law and the prophets cannot be done away with as long as they can be used to testify of Jesus Christ, and so Luke 16:16 should never be used to try to do away with keeping the Sabbath day.

For more examples of mistranslations through words missing in scripture, see Find the missing words.

Sabbath Questions and Answers bible quiz  Green tick

Please tell your friends about this website.
If you have a website of your own, consider linking to Logos Apostolic website.
Please send this link to all your friends who think that the law and the prophets were only until John.

Arrow pointing left  Jesus Lord of sabbath || Full Sabbath Index || Bible Studies Index || Not Under Law  Arrow pointing right