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Law - Mat 5:17 I Did Not Come to Destroy but to Fulfill

By Chuck Henry
chuck.henry@sbcglobal.net
http://www.halleluyahfellowship.com
rev. 6/29/2012

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Fulfill

If the Law has been Abolished, the Prophets Have Too!

If the Law has been Abolished, Righteousness Has Too!

Commandments Kept and Taught by those who will be called “Great” in the Kingdom

Just What Did Yahshua Come to Take Away and Destroy?

An Example from the Sabbath Commandment

One Jot or One Tittle Not to Pass from the Law

The Law of Yahweh is Perfect

 

 

 

Mat 5:17

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill [G4137 pleroo].

 

According to Strong’s Dictionary, fulfill [G4137 pleroo] means—

 

to make replete, i.e. (lit.) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (fig.) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.

 

To make replete means to fill up.

 

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this about the word pleroo as used in Mat 5:17—

 

 “Universally and absolutely, to fulfil, i. e. to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfillment: Matt 5:17.”

 

--Electronic Database. (c) 2000 by Biblesoft (PC Study Bible software).

 

From this, we can see that fulfill does not mean to destroy. Rather, it means to fill up and thus to fully observe.

 

 

 

Not only is the Law included in the statement made in Mat 5:17, but also the Prophets. Pay strict attention to all of the words in the verse—

 

Mat 5:17

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

 

Using the reasoning that the Law has been abolished, the same would have to be said of the Prophets according to this verse. That is, if the Law has been abolished, so have the Prophets! However, the prophets prophesied about many things that have yet come to pass. Has Yahweh abolished the Prophets and changed His mind about future events which He previously gave to the prophets to prophesy about?

 

Furthermore, the New Covenant itself is prophesied of in Jeremiah 31:31-40. But again, if the Law has been abolished, so have the Prophets; therefore, this prophecy of the New Covenant has also been abolished.

 

Is it the case that the Law and the Prophets have been abolished? Of course not.

 

 

 

If “fulfill” means to abolish, then righteousness has also been abolished in Mat 3:13-15:

 

Mat 3:13-15

13 Then Yahshua came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.

14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”

15 But Yahshua answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill [4137 pleroo] all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

 

Notice that the same term for fulfill, pleroo, is used here as in Mat 5:17. If “fulfill” means to abolish in Mat 5:17, then “fulfill” also means to abolish in Mat 3:15, where it is speaking of fulfilling all righteousness. Thus, if “fulfill” means that the law has been abolished in 5:17, then it also means that righteousness has been abolished in Mat 3:15.

 

Far from being abolished, however, the righteousness of the law continues, and it is still to be fulfilled in us — witness Romans 8:4, below, where we find pleroo (“fulfilled”) used yet again —

 

Rom 8:4 (KJV)

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled [G4137 pleroo] in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 

 

 

Mat 5:19

Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

The Messiah stated that those who do and teach the commandments “shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” We see in this statement a future reference to the Kingdom. So, when it comes to the part about doing and teaching the commandments, how odd would it be if Yahshua was really only referring to the time before His death, before He supposedly abolished the commandments? If this were the case, Yahshua’s statement here in Mat 5:19 would have to go something like this:

 

“… Whoever does and teaches them up until the point of my death, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. After my death, doing and teaching them won’t matter anymore because I am going to abolish them.”

 

 

 

Yahshua did not come to take away, destroy or abolish the commandments; yet, the Bible says that He did come to take away, destroy, and abolish some things. So, the question is, if He didn’t take away, destroy, or abolish the law, just what did He come to take away, destroy, and abolish?

 

1 Joh 3:5, 8

5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.

8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of Yahweh was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

 

2 Tim 1:10

But has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Yahshua Messiah, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the evangel.

 

He came “to take away our sins” (1 Joh 3:5), to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 Joh 3:8), and “abolished death” (2 Tim 1:10).

 

We can therefore say with certainty that He came to do these things, but He did not come to destroy the law. He told us to not even think that!

 

 

 

In Mat 24:20, Yahshua told His followers to pray that their flight be not on the Sabbath day.  Why suggest such a prayer if the Sabbath was about to be abolished?

 

Mat 24:20

And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

 

As Larry and June Acheson point out in their study, “Thinking About Keeping the Sabbath?” (http://ponderscripture.org/Sabbath.html, accessed as of 10/14/2010):

 

Do these sound like the words of a Man who knew the law was about to be abolished?

 

The Achesons also succinctly point out in their work, if He was going to abolish the law, He could have easily said “Do not think I have come to destroy the law YET, but in a couple of years, I will abolish it.”

 

 

 

In the very next verse after Matthew 5:17, Yahshua further assures us—

 

Mat 5:18

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

 

Luke’s record of this may be worded even stronger—

 

Luke 16:17

And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.

 

 

 

Psa 19:7

The law of Yahweh is perfect [H8549 tamiym], converting the soul; the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple.

 

Strong’s Dictionary:

perfect [H8549 tamiym]: “entire (lit., fig. or mor.); also (as noun) integrity, truth.”

 

As well as “perfect,” some of the other ways this word has been translated in the KJV are:--without blemish, complete, full, sound, without spot, undefiled, whole.

 

Another Scripture that uses the same word, tamiym, is Deu 32:4—

 

Deu 32:4

He is the Rock, His work is perfect [tamiym H8549]; for all His ways are justice, A Mighty One of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

 

So again, we find the Hebrew word tamiym used, and again we find that it is translated as “perfect.” In this instance, tamiym refers to Yahweh our Rock. This further demonstrates the usage of the word tamiym or “perfect.” If we are willing to say that Yahweh’s law is imperfect or incomplete, we should also be prepared to say the same thing of the Almighty Yahweh Himself.

 

After looking at the fact that Scripture states that “The law of Yahweh is perfect,” and after looking at the meaning behind the word “perfect,” we must ask ourselves, “Was the law imperfect?” No, it was not imperfect. The law itself does not need any help to be perfect or complete or entire; rather, it is man who needs help.

 

Yahweh and His law did not have a shortfall. It was man who had the shortfall (Rom 3:23). Yahshua filled up the law by overcoming that shortfall and keeping it, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15).

 

We are to repent from breaking that law (1 Joh 3:4) and follow our Savior, Who is our example, by walking in His footsteps (1 Pet 2:21-22; Col 2:6; 1 Joh 2:6).

 

It does not make sense to think that Yahshua the Messiah lived His life before His disciples, only to teach them not to do has He had done, but to do differently.

 

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