Who Has Authority to Change God’s Law?

Christ gave God’s law to man, and He has the authority to change it. A passage in Hebrews helps confirm this. Part 2 of the “Has God’s Law Been ‘Done Away’?” series.

In the last installment we asked, “Who has the authority to make changes in God’s law?”

Mysterious Melchizedek

To answer that question, we can look back to the time of Abraham. In his day there was a priest-king to whom Abraham paid tithes (Genesis 14:18-20). His name was Melchizedek, the King of Salem. Salem means “Peace,” so He was the King or Prince of Peace.

Jesus Christ also bears that title. Notice this prophecy: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

To make Melchizedek’s identity more certain, consider this scripture: “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated ‘king of righteousness,’ and then also king of Salem, meaning ‘king of peace,’ without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:1-3).

In other words, Melchizedek was eternal, with neither a beginning nor an ending of His life. That is, He was self-existing—eternal—and so could remain “a priest continually.” And He was “made like the Son of God.” He was Christ.

Another attribute Melchizedek had was that He was “king of righteousness” (Hebrews 7:2). Righteousness is obedience to God’s law, for God’s Word says, “All Your commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172). And, of course, the only human being to live a perfect life, “without sin,” according to all of God’s law—who lived a life of righteousness—was Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15). He is, as was Melchizedek, our great High Priest (same verse).

God had put the administration of His law in Melchizedek’s (Christ’s) hands. But when He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, He transferred some of that authority, such as tithing, to the Levitical priesthood: “Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham” (Hebrews 7:4-5).

So the priestly responsibilities, such as the teaching of the law, were transferred from Melchizedek (Christ) to the tribe of Levi. But now, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the priestly responsibilities have been transferred, once again, back to Christ, the “High Priest of our confession” (Hebrews 3:1).

Christ’s authority

Today, Christ is “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6). So the priesthood has been restored to Jesus Christ as the Head of the Melchizedek priesthood.

As our High Priest and as our King of righteousness—Jesus Christ is the Lawgiver. Genesis 49:10 prophesied that the Messiah would be a king and a “lawgiver” from the tribe of Judah. He is also called the “one Lawgiver” in James 4:12.

As the divine Lawgiver—Christ has the authority to make certain that, as He said, “one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). He, and He alone, has the authority to make changes in God’s law. And He reveals those changes in the Scriptures.

It is a sad testimony that modern religious teachers have taught that Jesus was a “lawabolisher” instead of accepting His role as lawgiver.

Now, what He did not do was to replace God’s law with grace, as we will see in the next installment.

This is the second in a seven part series on God's Law. To read part 1, see “Has God's Law Been Done Away?” To continue the series, see part 3 “Grace and God's Law.”

About the Author

James F. Guy Sr.

James Guy is a deacon serving the Youngstown, Ohio, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, with his wife, Carla.