Bible Class Study Notes: Salt and Light


“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets” Jesus said

Jesus wouldn’t have said something like that out of the blue, he would have said it if he thought something he had just said might have been misinterpreted. So for this Lesson let’s consider that the salt and light discussion to his disciples had something to do with the law and the prophets.

1. (the Law) Salt was considered a seal for a covenant.
Read Leviticus 2:12-14, Numbers 18:18-20, 2 Chronicles 13:5

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia online

Owing to the fact that salt is referred to in the Bible as symbolizing the covenant between God and Israel (see Biblical Data, above), its importance is particularly pointed out by the Rabbis. They interpret the words “a covenant of salt” (Num. xviii. 19) as meaning that salt was used by God on the occasion in question to signify that it should never be lacking from sacrifices.

The scriptural and historical evidence indicates that Jesus was telling his disciples that they were representative of a new covenant and he was afraid they might have misinterpreted the Law and Prophets. Read Hebrews 10:15-24

Other things to consider:
– Contrary to popular opinion there is no evidence in the bible that the symbolism was linked to salt as a preservative – salvation.

-More recently salt symbolized wisdom. Read Colossians 4:5-6,

-According to Wikipedia salt also represented the Torah

Salt was declared to be necessary in every meal-offering, in which it takes the place of the blood in the animal sacrifices (Lev. ii. 13; but comp. Ezek. xliii. 24). In the Talmud salt symbolizes the Torah, for as the world can not exist without salt, so it can not endure without the Torah (Soferim xv. 8).

2 . (the Prophets) Isaiah prophesied and the Jews thought that light symbolizes Israel’s mission to the nations

Read Isaiah 42:6 and cross referenced passages Isaiah 49:6, 51:4, 60:1, 60:3; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47, 26:23

According to the Judaism 101 website

It has been said that the menorah is a symbol of the nation of Israel and our mission to be “a light unto the nations.” (Isaiah 42:6). The sages emphasize that light is not a violent force; Israel is to accomplish its mission by setting an example, not by using force. This idea is highlighted in the vision in Zechariah 4:1-6. Zechariah sees a menorah, and G-d explains: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit.”

Jesus’ message must of burned in the ears of the Jewish leaders and teachers of the Law who heard his sermon. Jesus was telling his misfit bunch of disciples that THEY were a sign of a covenant from God and that THEY had the mission of carrying the gospel to the world.

You can imagine the excitement, confusion, etc. when the disciples heard a message they could hardly believe…was this something beyond what they were raised to believe?

That’s why Jesus quickly said

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

His message was clear…the law and the prophets all pointed to this moment in history when all would be fulfilled in Jesus.

NOTE: Please comment below when you have additional references, thoughts, information to share with the rest of the class.


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Greg Chaney

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