“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 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. 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.” Matthew 5:17-19 NKJV
Occasionally, while giving Bible studies, I will hear someone say, “Once Jesus fulfilled the commandments He did away with them. He fulfilled them so we don’t have to.” Well, let’s take a look at that. Does fulfill mean to do away with? My Websters Dictionary tells me that fulfill means to carry out. I don’t think carrying something out and abolishing it can be the same definition. My Roget’s Thesaurus tells me fulfill is the same as pleasing or sufficing. I don’t think you please of suffice something by abolishing it either.
Now that we have looked at Roget and Webster’s definition of the word “fulfill,” more importantly let’s see how the Scriptures use that word. Even more important and accurately, how Matthew himself uses that word.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. Matthew 3:13-14 NKJV
So Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism. Did He abolish it after He fulfilled it? No, of course not. We know that the command to be baptized is all over the New Testament. Matthew, the same writer who tells us Jesus fulfilled the rite of baptism also records Jesus’ command,
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… Matthew 28:19 NKJV
So Jesus did not abolish baptism when He fulfilled that rite, but rather set an example for us to follow. Likewise, Jesus did not abolish the law by fulfilling it, but rather gave us an example to follow.
Study more on the Sabbath School lesson at the Sabbath School Network.
Like He said, Heaven and earth may pass , but the law lives on. He is still fulfilling it. Bob Vance
This is a very interesting and important subject; thanks for bringing it to our attention, First, accurate interpretations of our Lord’s statements only emerge from clear understandings of, “Jesus of Nazareth” (1st century Jewish Galilee and Judea). That’s His historical and cultural context. Also, the New Testament’s language was primarily Koine Greek, but it’s ideas were all Jewish. And we know that Jews had no concept of the 10 commandments being separate from the law [of Moses] or the Old Covenant. At Sinai, Israel vowed to keep the whole law – 10 commandments and all.(Exodus. 24:3). The claim that Jesus requires Christians to keep the Decalogue, but the other terms of that covenant were nailed to the cross, is not Jewish, biblical or Christian – it’s false and pagan. Jesus repeated this Jewish life-principle: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Second, Jesus fulfilled the whole law, to the Father’s satisfaction, on behalf of believers or all who’re in Christ – those who’re born again/saved (Romans 8:4). This means that, spiritually or in Christ, believers have already kept the whole law, perfectly. So, today, we stand before God, justified or without condemnation to eternal death (Romans 8:1). Simultaneously, as believers journey through life, we’re enabled, by the Holy Spirit, within, to walk in newness of life or obedience to His will.
thank you brother William!