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Favorite 48 Abolish or Fulfill

November 30, 2017

Matthew 5:17-18 – “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.”

Many have quoted Matthew 5:17-18 to teach that the Torah (Law), and the Older Covenant, have been superceded or replaced by the Newer Covenant – that the law has been abolished, negated, done away with, canceled, or replaced, and that there is nothing left for anyone to accomplish as one is no longer “under the law”.  In doing so, they have grossly misinterpreted the meaning and they ignore both Matthew 5:18 – “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from Torah until everything is accomplished” and Matthew 24:35 – “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Old Vs. New
The scripture that is used to claim that the “new” covenant replaces the “old” covenant is found in Hebrews 8:6-13, which is a quote from Jeremiah 31:31-34! and ONLY refers to a very specific case: The OLD covenant wrote the law on stone tablets. The NEW covenant writes those very same laws on the mind and on the heart! (see especially Hebrews 8:10). The law is not negated, done away with, canceled, or replaced. It is ONLY written in a NEW place!

The NEW covenant Yeshua refers to at the Last Supper with his Disciples also pertains to only a very specific case: the judicial penalty and payment required by the law for committing a sin. That payment has been paid in full by Yeshua’s sacrifice and spilt blood (see especially Hebrews 9:15). Again, a very specific application, not a general negation, removal, cancellation, or replacement of the entire older covenant! This is confirmed by 2 Corinthians 3:6. The law has only been taken out of the physical, letter mode and placed in the Spirit mode – it has not been in any way negated, done away with, canceled, or replaced.

Greek Word Definitions
Many have quoted the Strong’s definitions of Fulfill [πληρόω plēroō G4137] which means: to make complete to accomplish, carry out, or bring to realization; Abolish [καταλύω katalyō G2647] which means: annul, abrogate, or discard; to do away with completely; and Law [νόμος nomos G3551] which means: a custom, a law, a command – and have come up with the notion that Yeshua has done it all and now we don’t have to even try! One can do whatever one wants, and his sacrifice covers it. They have utterly failed to recognize that these statements are Hebrew Idioms!

Hebrew Idioms and Yeshua’s Actions
The key to proper interpretation of this verse is that the phrases “fulfill the law” and “abolish the law” are Hebrew idioms. Fulfill the law is a Hebrew idiom meaning: to properly interpret, to show how to apply the law, to do it rightly.   In other words, to fulfill the law is to properly interpret Torah so that people can obey it as Yahweh intends for it to be obeyed, thus allowing Yahweh’s promises to be fully received. Abolish the law is just the opposite, meaning: to misinterpret, to misapply the law, to do it wrongly, thus bringing down judgment.

Matthew 5:21-48 –“You have heard it said . . . But I say . . .
Yeshua always makes known the true meaning of Yahweh’s commands. Where the Pharisees and Sadducees interpret the law to mean to physically obey, Yeshua interprets it to mean spiritually obey. By diminishing the Torah to mere physical obedience of rules, the Pharisees and Sadducees were the ones who were abolishing the law. Yeshua, on the other hand, was fulfilling the Torah by rightly showing the true intent of the law.

Adding To The Law
Yeshua never added to nor subtracted from, nor altered the Law – he fully and rightly interpreted the law – he fulfilled it to a tee. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and Jews, on the other hand, considered Torah less than explicit and attached dozens, if not hundreds, of oral and written traditions to enhance it and explain it! In doing so, they misinterpreted its real, original intent, and thus abolished the law rather than fulfilled it.

No Law Means No Sin
The scriptures regarding no law, therefore no sin, are found in Romans 4:15 – “Where there is no law, neither is there transgression or sin,” in Romans 5:13 – “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law,” and in Romans 7:8 – “For without the law sin is dead.”   If the law has been abolished, negated, done away with, canceled, or replaced, then there is no more any sin. Bluntly put, NO law, No sin. But this is not at all what the scriptures teach. Scripture clearly teaches that all fall short (Romans 3:23), and that sin is still in the world, and will continue to grow worse and worse (2 Timothy 2:13). Since sin is still present and in fact is growing worse then the law, or Torah, is still in effect. Matthew 5:18 agrees.

Many teach that Torah need no longer be obeyed, believing that Yeshua has fully accomplished everything the law demands and one no longer is bound to obey it – all one’s sins have been forgiven! Fulfilling the law means interpreting, obeying, and teaching others the right way to live life, exactly as Yeshua did.

The contention that the Older Covenant and the Law has been done away with simply does not conform to the teaching of the scriptures. Sin is still here and growing worse. Many things need to still be accomplished. Each mention of a “new” covenant applies only to a specific case or application of the Older Covenant, not a general negation, removal, cancellation, or replacement of the entire older covenant, the Law, or the Torah! There are many things still to be accomplished so the law is not abolished negated, done away with, canceled, or replaced. It is still in full effect, down to the least jot and tittle – Torah will last even beyond the disappearance of heaven and earth!

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