Monday, February 2, 2009
Jesus Fulfilled/Abolished the Law?
Many (unconscious) modern replacement theologians misinterpret these verses because they believe the law is no longer relevant. However, (Jesus Christ) Yeshua said He came to fulfill it, which does not mean it was lacking something but that the coming of the Messiah completed the picture. The law now “existed as God originally intended” (Bivin & Blizzard 1994:113). But to know what (Jesus Christ) Yeshua really means with “fulfill” and “destroy”, we must go back to the Hebrew culture. “To destroy the law” meant misinterpreting Scripture, while “fulfilling the law” meant correct interpretation – they were technical terms of rabbinic argumentation. What we therefore see in our passage is that (Jesus Christ) Yeshua, having been accused of “destroying”, i.e. misinterpreting, the Tanakh (the Torah and Naviim), gives his counterargument that He is actually “fulfilling”, i.e. correctly interpreting it, and actually establishing the correct interpretation of the Old Testament (Tanakh). Stern goes back to our first interpretation by concluding that these verses “enunciate three ways in which the Torah and the Prophets remain necessary, applicable and in force. The remainder of Chapter 5 gives six specific cases in which Yeshua explains the fuller spiritual meaning of points in the Jewish Law. In fact, this verse states the theme and agenda of the entire Sermon on the Mount, in which (Jesus Christ) Yeshua completes, makes fuller, the understanding of his talmidim concerning the Torah and the Prophets, so that they can more fully express what being God’s people is all about.” (Stern 1999:26)