Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus) taught that He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the Law.1 The definition of the word fulfill in the dictionary reads:
1. to carry out, or bring to realization, as a prophecy or promise.
2. to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands.
3. to satisfy (requirements, obligations, etc.):
4. to bring to an end; finish or complete,
5. to develop the full potential of
Popular Church doctrine teaches the correct definition of the word fulfill is to bring the Law to an end, so that it did not have to be obeyed any more. This is why Mosaic Law has been deemed old. The only way this doctrine can be justified is to ignore the fact that Yeshua plainly states that He did not come to abolish the Law or diminish it in any form. Fortunately, the doctrine taught by Yeshua gives us several clear examples of what He meant by the word fulfill in the very next verses of Scripture. These examples include fulfilling the Law concerning murder2, adultery3, oaths4, restitution5, and others. They all give clear and consistent examples of what Yeshua means to fulfill the Law so I will walk through only one of them to set the context. In the teaching by Yeshua to fulfill the Law concerning adultery, Yeshua states the following:
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.Mt 5:27-28
In this teaching, notice that Yeshua is not stating or implying in any fashion that this Law given through the prophet Moses concerning adultery has been abolished or made old. Neither does the Law concerning lust replace the law concerning adultery. Instead, Yeshua fulfills the Law concerning adultery by increasing our understanding that it includes lust as well. The more we understand the Law, the better we can obey it which then brings greater blessings6.
In addition, Yeshua points out that while the act of adultery is a sin of the flesh, the act of lust is a sin of the heart. There is a sin of the flesh and a sin of the heart. This can be said of every commandment contained in Mosaic Law.
The Law is given through Moses while the fulfillment of the Law (grace and truth) is given through Yeshua. The Law given through Moses is written in stone while the fulfillment of the Law given through Yeshua is written in the heart of man. The Law and the fulfillment of the Law are not two separate Laws with one Law being old and the other one new. They are both the same Law. There is only one law7 and it is not fulfilled until it resides in our heart8. While it is written in stone, it is knowledge. When it is written in our heart it becomes understanding and life through faith. Obeying the Law given through Moses brings life9. Obeying the fulfillment of the Law given through Yeshua brings life in abundance10.
Just a Thought… Praise Yah!
1 Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:17-19)
2 You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; (Mt 5:21-22)
3 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Mt 5:27-28)
4 Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all (Mt 5:33-34)
5 You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person (Mt 5:38-39)
6 Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God.… (Deut 28:1-2)
7 As for the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the Lord. There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you. (Num 15:15-16)
8 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. (Deut 6:6)
9 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; (Deut 30:19-20)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)