Fulfilled or Abolished

Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has G4137fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the G4137fulfilling of the law.

Here are two ‘doctrines’ that I was taught in the mainstream church:

  1. Jesus ‘fulfilled’ the Law of God given through Moses so now we don’t have to.
  2. The Law that Jesus ‘fulfilled’, the Law of God given through Moses, has been abolished and is no longer needed post-Resurrection.

First DoctrineIt is taught that “Jesus fulfilled the Law so that we don’t have to”. If this is so, then my question is: so that we don’t have to “what?

I submit that it is universally accepted and taught that “we don’t have to ‘keep the Law of God given through Moses’ because Jesus fulfilled it for us”.

The words that I have underlined directly above are not found anywhere in the entire Bible, yet this is a ‘doctrine’ that has been taught throughout Christendom for centuries.

Paul is claiming in the verses at the top of this blog that “our” love fulfills the Law. According to Paul, there is still more Law-fulfilling to do by us mere mortals. Did Jesus not truly fulfill the Law for us so that we don’t have to? Does Paul believe Jesus didn’t do a good enough job at Law-fulfilling and thinks we need to help Jesus out?

Second DoctrineThe mainstream church teaches that we are to love one another and this “fulfills” the Law of God given through Moses. According to the mainstream teachings this means our love completes or fulfills all of the requirements of the Law of Moses. Yet, at the same time they preach that the ‘Law of Moses’ is done away with and abolished. Which is it? Is it still in effect and needing to be fulfilled by us or is it abolished? It cannot be both in effect and abolished at the same time.

The following verse is where this confusion stems from ~

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to G4137fulfill them.

This verse is (mis)interpreted in two different ways:

  1. Fulfill means put an end to, abolish, annul, or render void.
  2. Fulfill means all the Laws are completed so no one else has to do them.

If #1 is correct then the verse reads, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to abolish them.”

Case closed on (mis)interpretation #1. Not only is it utterly illogical, but it is grammatically incorrect to think the word ‘fulfill’ means ‘abolish’, ‘annul’, ‘put an end to’ or ‘render void’. We will explore the established meaning of the word “fulfill” in just a moment.

As far as #2 is concerned, all I have to say is that the words “so no one else has to do them” do not exist except in the minds of wishful thinkers. There is not one manuscript, translation or document anywhere by the Breath of God that has those words in it.

What does the text say?

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to G4137fulfill them.

The word ‘fulfill’ is the Greek word G4137, πληρῶσαι/plērōsai, which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states to mean: to carry into effect, to perform, to accomplish; 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 fulfilment: Matthew 5:17.

This is the actual definition of ‘plērōsai/fulfill’ as it pertains ‘specifically’ to Matthew 5:17 according to the Lexicon.

In that definition do you see the words ‘annulled’ or ‘abolished’ or ‘revoked’ or ‘made-void’ or ‘repealed’ or ‘completed-so-you-don’t-have-to’?

All of the ‘other’ definitions of the word plērōsai in Thayer’s as it pertains to the other verses in scripture are as follows:

  1. properly, to fill up to the top: so that nothing shall be lacking to full measure, fill to the brim
  2. to perfect, consummate; to make complete in every particular; to render perfect; to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out;
  3. to carry into effect, bring to realization, realize; of matters of duty, to perform, to execute;

Let’s take a look at the use of this word, G4137/plērōsai, in the New Testament ~

Matthew 3:15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to G4137fulfill all righteousness.”

  • Did Jesus and John just put an end to “all” righteousness? Is righteousness now void and has ceased to exist after this event? Is that what the word fulfill means???

Next we have Paul himself using this same word in Romans ~

Romans 15:19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have G4137fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;

  • Did Paul do away with the gospel of Christ? Did he fulfill the ministry of the gospel so now we don’t have to? That is completely illogical and un-Scriptural.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon specifically defines ‘fulfilled’ with regards to Romans 15:19 as: to cause to be everywhere known, acknowledged, embraced (A. V. I have fully preached), Romans 15:19.

Here are a few more verses that use the same Greek word G4137/plērōsai. Let’s see if the standard of today’s teaching of this word from Matthew 5:17 holds true ~

John 3:29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now G4137complete.

  • Was the joy of Jesus done away with or abolished?

 

 John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy G4137may-be-full.

  • Did the disciples joy stop or become canceled and revoked after Jesus spoke these things?

 

Act 5:28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have G4137filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

  • Did Peter and the apostles do away with Jerusalem with their teachings?

 

Act 13:52 And the disciples were G4137filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

  • Oh no, the disciples abolished their joy AND the Holy Spirit!?! No more Holy Spirit for us I guess…

 

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope G4137fill you with all joy and peace in believing

  • Did God render void all joy and peace?

 

2 Corinthians 10:6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is G4137complete.

  • Hooray! Our obedience is done away with. I don’t have to obey God anymore.?.?.

 

Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is G4137fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • There it is again, just like in Matthew; the Law is abolished, annulled, and revoked again a second time.?.?

 

Ephesians 1:23 which is his body, the G4137fullness of him who fills all in all.

  • So, the body of Jesus is done away with, as well as, him filling all in all???

 

Philippians 4:19 And my God G4137will-supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  • I can’t even think of how to describe this one sarcastically because it is so blatantly obvious that this word means to “fill up”, to “accomplish” and to “bring to realization”.

 

Colossians 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God G4137fully-known,

  • Is Paul really saying that the word of God is abolished and no longer applicable to me because he had made it “fully-known” to the Colossians???

 

2 Thessalonians 1:11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may G4137fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,

  • I guess “every resolve of good” and “every work of faith” is done away with just like the “Law and the Prophets” of Matthew 5:17.?.?

 

As you can see we were taught a wrong interpretation of Matthew 5:17 with regards to what the word “fulfill”. All you really have to do is just keep reading in Matthew to understand the context of what Jesus was saying ~

Matthew 5:18-19 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth “pass away”, not an iota, not a dot, will “pass” from the Law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Unless Jesus doesn’t know what he’s talking about not one letter of the Law of God given through Moses will “pass” until heaven and earth “pass away”. Take a look outside to verify…

Guess what the Greek word for “pass away” and “pass” is? It is G 3928 παρέλθῃ/ parelthē both times in verse 18 with regards to ‘not one dot of the Law’ and to ‘heaven and earth’. This is the real word for “to render void”, “to pass away”, “to disregard”, “to perish” and “to neglect” according to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon.

The parallel verse in Luke 16 echoes the same ~

Luke 16:17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.

The Greek word for “fail” is G 4098, πεσεῖν/ pesein. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states this to mean: to lose authority, no longer have force, of sayings, precepts, etc., Luke 16:17.

So, according to God the Son, the Law that was in effect at the time of his speaking these words in Matthew and Luke above, will not be rendered void or lose authority until heaven and earth pass away. This heaven and earth that Jesus is speaking about, the one that you see outside your window right now, do not pass away until Revelation chapter 21, and “all is accomplished” does not happen until after that.

Since it is safe to assume that, as God, Jesus does know what he’s talking about and that heaven and earth passing away has not happened yet then his Law still stands; the Law of “his” day, the Law of God given through Moses still stands.

Paul, the bond-servant of Jesus, states the exact same thing ~

Romans 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

 

The Greek word for “uphold” is G 2476  ἱστάνομεν/histanomen, which Strong’s Concordance states to mean: (a) I make to stand, place, set up, establish, appoint; I place myself, stand, (b) I set in balance, weigh; (c) I stand, stand by, stand still; met: I stand ready, stand firm, am steadfast.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states ‘histanomen’ as: shall be made to stand, i.e. shall be kept from falling, to establish a thing, cause it to stand, i.e. to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything.

All of this is stated in the Present Tense in the Greek. Paul is telling us in ‘his’ Present Tense that “The Law” is to stand, it is to be established, it is to be kept from falling, and “its authority and force is sustained. This is how many decades after the cross that Paul wrote this???

The Law of God given through Moses still stands, at least according to the ‘Son of God’ and the ‘Apostle Paul’…

Final thoughts: “Fulfill” means to carry into effect, to perform, to accomplish; and in Matthew 5:17 it means “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 fulfilment”. That is exactly what Jesus did; he performed obedience to the Law as it should be, he carried into effect specific promises of God in order to accomplish his mission as Messiah according to the Law and the Prophets.