What is the meaning of Romans 10:4?

Romans 10:4 For the Messiah is the end of the law
for righteousness to every one that believes.

 

The word "end", in Romans 10:4, is a translation of the Greek word "telos" (Strong's Greek #5056). It is found in the Greek new testament a total of 42 times. The vast majority of the time, it does mean "end".

By and large, Christianity has accepted Romans 10:4 to mean that the law has come to an end (meaning that they are no longer required to keep the law).

There are some who believe that the word "telos", in Romans 10:4, was inaccurately translated. They believe that it would more accurately be translated as: goal, purpose, outcome, or result. 

There are still others who believe that the word "telos", in Romans 10:4, if translated any other way than "end", would be incorrect. They contend that the law is no longer for the purpose of righteousness, but rather, the Messiah is now our means of righteousness. While it is true that YHWH, our Heavenly Father, is the one who makes it possible for us to be righteous, through His Son Yahushua the Messiah, the law is still the standard by which we measure our progress (as it has always been).

Consider the facts

Of the 42 times that the Greek word "telos" is found in the Greek new testament, there are at least 3 other examples (besides Romans 10:4) where it would seem to be more accurately translated as "goal" "purpose" "outcome" or "result", instead of "end". Let's take a look at these 3 verses. I will first quote each verse from the King James Version, and then I will quote it from "The Scriptures", published by the Institute for Scriptural Research (ISR)...

1Timothy 1:5 KJV - Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned

1Timothy 1:5 ISR - Now the goal of this command is love from a clean heart, from a good conscience and a sincere belief

Next is James 5:11:

James 5:11KJV Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of [YHWH]; that [YHWH] is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

James 5:11 ISR - See, we call those blessed who endure. You have heard of the endurance of Iyob and saw the purpose of YHWH, that He is very sympathetic and compassionate.

The third verse is 1Kepha 1:9

1Peter 1:9 KJV - Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

1Kepha 1:9 ISR - Obtaining the goal of your belief: a deliverance of lives.

Now, let's return to Romans 10:4

Romans 10:4 KJV - For the Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

The English word "end" can mean "goal", but it is also confusing, because the word "end" usually means "termination". 

There is another idea, that the law has not been done away, but it is no longer for the purpose of righteousness. If that were the case, however, then it would seem that the next question would be, "If the law is not for righteousness, then what is its purpose"? Would it not seem that the next logical step would be, that if the law is not for righteousness, then it is now "ok to sin"? 

Let's put Romans 10:4 in context:

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to YHWH for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of YHWH, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of YHWH's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of YHWH. 4 For the Messiah is the goal of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

What Paul seems to be saying is that "the law without Yahushua will not save us."

Let's also look at another witness from Paul's writings...

Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto the Messiah, that we might be justified by faith.

Let's now see how the Institute for Scriptural Research translates Romans 10:4 in "The Scriptures"...

Romans 10:4 ISR - For Messiah is the goal of the 'Torah unto righteousness' to everyone who believes.

Personally, I prefer the way the King James Version translates it, the only difference being the modifying of the word "end" with the word "purpose"...

Romans 10:4 For the Messiah is the end purpose of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

I believe that the actual meaning of Romans 10:4 is as follows...

"The purpose of the law is righteousness for all who have faith in Yahushua the Messiah."

So, to sum it all up, the law shows us that we need help in order to be righteous. That help comes in the form of "Yahushua the Messiah".

Some say, "The law condemns us, it doesn't give us righteousness." and, "Thus, the Messiah is the end of the law "FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS". The law never made anyone righteous, it only shows us what righteousness is."

They admit that the law "never made anyone righteous". So, by implication, the law was not for righteousness; its purpose was to bring us to Yahushua the Messiah.

There is no "end of the law for righteousness"!

(1 John 2:3-4)
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Actually, we must have a "correct starting point" for our faith. Otherwise, we will end up coming to an incorrect conclusion (as has taken place with Romans 10:4). So, "What is the correct starting point?" Does Paul have any advise about this question? He said: 

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other evangel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

It should be clear to see, that by Paul's own words, that he admits that his teachings are not the place to start! That is the problem with many people who teach doctrine today. They use Paul as the originator of the faith. This is a big mistake, as will be seen.

Yahushua said to the woman caught in the act of adultery, "Go and sin no more." This shows that we are still required to keep the law (John 8:11). 

YHWH speaks through the prophet Ezekiel concerning sin and forgiveness...

Ezekiel 18:20-32
20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
21 "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22 "All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
23 "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" saith the Master YHWH. "And not that he should return from his ways, and live?
24 "But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
25 Yet ye say, 'The way of YHWH is not equal.' Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
26 "When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
27 "Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
28 "Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
29 "Yet saith the house of Israel, 'The way of YHWH is not equal.' O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Master YHWH. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
31 "Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth," saith the Master YHWH. "Wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."

So, according to the Word of YHWH, if the wicked turn from their sins, they will be forgiven. That seems to go hand in hand with what Yahushua had to say...

Matthew 4:17 From that time Yahushua began to preach, and to say, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 

Yahushua was saying that we need to quit sinning (repent). 

After Yahushua had silenced the accusers of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, Yahushua said to her...

John 8:10 "Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?" 
11 She said, "No man, Sir." And Yahushua said unto her, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

It appears obvious that in order to please our Father, we need to "quit sinning." If we do sin, we have an advocate with the Father (Yahushua), but that does not mean that we have the right to sin! Continuing on with examples of our duty concerning the Law of YHWH, Yahushua said...

Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Yahushua was telling us that our righteousness needs to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. This is right after he tells us that he did not come to destroy the law at all! So, in order for our righteousness to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is apparently something that we are required to do. What is that something? It seems logical that it is to keep the law.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yahushua the Messiah the righteous. 2 And he is the atonement for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, "I know him," and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of YHWH perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

Yahushua said...

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the narrow gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

What is it, exactly, that we need to strive for? It would seem that the answer is that we need to strive to be overcomers. Overcomers of what? Sin! Life is a series of choices or decisions. Each time we make a decision, we need to ask the question, "Will this choice bring us closer to YHWH? Will it cause us to be one step closer to being an overcomer?" Yahushua said...

John 12:24 "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me."

Anyone who wants to reach a goal, must first realize what the goal is. Then it is necessary to figure out how to reach that goal. If these steps are not taken, the goal will not be reached. In this study, the subject of repenting (to stop sinning) is the goal.

The purpose of the law has never been to make us righteous! The purpose of the law is so that we can know the definition of sin, and avoid it. The law does not tell us how to avoid sin, but it does tell us not to sin...

In conclusion...

John 8:34 Yahushua replied, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

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