What does it mean by “the Messiah fulfilled the law?”
Whenever the word “law” comes up among Christians, there is a response that is almost certain to come: “Christ” fulfilled the law, implying that we no longer have to obey the law.
See What Paul Means by The Messiah is the End of the Law.
Prophecying of a time to come when he would be misunderstood, the Messiah said this:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
He couldn’t get any plainer than that. That is as explicit as one can get. Therefore in fulfilling the law, the law cannot be destroyed, because he did not come to destroy the law.
We don’t even need to be spiritual to understand that. But there are those bent on distorting the word of YHWH, so we have to expound even further.
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Not one yod (jot) nor title shall pass from the law
What does this mean? Yod is the Hebrew equivalent to the Greek iota (from which we get the English “jot”). It is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet and looks like a comma. A tittle is a small mark that is almost unidentifiable.
So not even the smallest letter in the law or the smallest detail in the law will be destroyed.
Why then are we saying “”Christ” ended the law” or “”Christ” fulfilled the law, therefore…” or “the law is done away with through “Christ?””
Related: Law Done Away With or Magnified? What Did Paul Really Teach Concerning the Law?
He Came to Magnify The Law
“One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” literally means he will not subtract anything from the law. In fact it was the opposite, he came to magnify the law. Let us look into that prophesy (he will magnify the law) to see what the Messiah did with the law.
This is all important because there are some who think the commands he gave in the sermon on the mount were to replace the law. According to this line of thinking, if the Messiah did not speak them, they are no longer law for us in the new covenant.
Is that so? Let’s see what he Bible prophecies said.
Isa 42:21 YHWH is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
He came to magnify the law and make it honourable. So what did Yahushua do after saying he did not come to destroy the law and the prophets? He went on to magnify the law, in which he gave before and after scenarios. Verse 21 is Torah (the law) and verse 22 is Torah magnified:
Mat 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Did he take anything from the law? No! He made it even harder for the carnal man. In effect, he magnified it to a spiritual level in which only the spiritual man can walk in obedience to it!
Are we now free to break the law?
Now, by giving this command, does it mean that we can now kill? Yah forbid, rather it means that by doing his commands, we in effect obey the Father’s law! If we are not even angry with our brother without a cause, if we cannot even call him a fool, how can we murder him?
Walking in the Spirit in Obedience to the Law
This is walking in the spirit to obedience of the law. But we can only do so if we are born again and led by the Spirit! This is what Paul means and which many Christians cannot seem to understand. He does not mean we should disobey the law, but that we should obey the law by walking in the Spirit just as the Messiah taught us to do.
Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
What is really meant by: the Messiah fulfilled the law?
So even though the Messiah explicitly stated that his fulfilling the law does not mean he came to destroy the law, the belief still abounds, so let’s go deeper.
Meaning of Fulfill
Let’s look at exactly what is meant by him fulfilling the law and the prophets. Yes both the law and the prophets. To do so, we first have to establish the meaning of fulfill as used.
Definition: From G4134; to make replete that is (literally) to cram (a net) level up (a hollow) or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue diffuse 6
influence) satisfy 6
execute (an office) finish (a period or task) verify (or coincide with a prediction) etc.: – accomplish X after (be) complete end expire fill (up) fulfil (be make) full (come) fully preach perfect supply.
What is the law?
Now what is the law? Instructions in righteousness; commands, statutes and judgments for his people to live by. These laws are eternal (Psalms 119:89-176).
Now if according to the belief of some Christians, He came to end the law, would he not be going against the Father’s eternal law? For sure, he would be a sinner and my Messiah did not sin.
Has all been fulfilled?
Would he not be going against what he said: not one jot nor tittle shall pass from the law till all be fulfilled?
By the way, all is not yet fulfilled. Let us not be tempted to follow the fallacy that all was finished on the stake (cross).
Let us just touch on that.
The reason the Jews do not believe in him is because all the prophecies have not yet been fulfilled. Let me give you one example:
Isa 11:5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
Isa 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
Isa 11:7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
Isa 11:8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
Isa 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of YHWH, as the waters cover the sea.
Has that prophecy yet been fulfilled? Definitely not! So all is not yet fulfilled so he cannot touch the law according to his own words (not one yod nor tittle shall pass from the law till all be fulfilled).
How does the Messiah fulfill the law?
So how does he fulfill the law if he didn’t come to take anything from the law? We find this in the meaning of fulfilled. Take a look at these meanings for fulfill that come from the Greek “pleroo:”
satisfy, accomplish, (be) complete ,fully preach, perfect.
How do we know these meanings are the valid ones and that I am not “cherry-picking to suit my beliefs?” One reason?: The Messiah never sinned!
To see the implication of that for our understanding, we need to look at a definition of sin:
1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
The Messiah did not sin, therefore he did not break (transgress) the law. He must have satisfied, accomplished, (was) complete, fully preached, perfected the law. Otherwise he would have been a transgressor. If he was a transgressor, then our faith would be in vain as we would be believing in a lamb that was NOT worthy!
So fulfilling the law does not mean he did away with the law, it means he fully lived it and did not break it! This is the grave misunderstanding that plagues parts of Christendom.
Fulfilling the Prophets
Now, he didn’t come to fulfill the law alone, he also came to fulfill the prophets as well.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
The Prophesied TRUE Messiah
The prophecy of the old testament was for a Messiah to come to gather the lost tribes of Israel and Yahudah (Judah) into one land. These will be gathered in righteousness under one king. Gentiles will also be gathered along with them.
Isaiah 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations (gentiles), and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
If that is not your Messiah, then you need to revisit Mattityahu 24:24. See these 10 Characteritics of the True Messiah.
Prophecies fulfilled in the Messiah
According to New Testament Christians website, 351 prophecies were fulfilled in the Messiah. Fulfilled here means revealed through his coming, the life he lived and his death and resurrection. Fulfilled doesn’t mean he did away with anything!
Over and over again we see in the New Testament, references to prophecies fulfilled by our Messiah. I will just show 4 instances below from the book of Mattityahu:
Mat 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Mat_2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
Mat_2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
Mat 21:4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Mat 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
That is what it means when we say Messiah fulfilled the law and the prophets. It does NOT mean he removed the law (it is only now obeyed in the spirit in our new covenant). He fulfilled what the prophets wrote of him by living what was prophesied of him.
For had ye believed Mosheh, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
Now what did Mosheh write of him?
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
What does the Messiah fulfilling the law mean for us?
Now, does it mean that he fulfilled the law so we do not have to obey the law, as some claim? What exactly does it mean for TRUE BELIEVERS? How does the Messiah fulfilling the law affect us? Let us see.
Abide in Me
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
We cannot bear any fruits unless we abide in him. What’s more, we cannot do anything at all that is of the Father, unless we abide in Yahushua, the son! So what does abide mean?
A primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): – abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), X thine own.
By the way, we must abide in the true Messiah, not a false Messiah (there are many). See 10 Characteristics of the True Messiah to see if you are following the true Messiah and not a false Messiah that was prophesied in Matthew 24:24.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
WE MUST ABIDE IN HIM! Now what if we do not abide in him?
John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If we do not abide in him, we are good for nothing! Rejected, only fit to be burned (lake of fire).
Now what does it mean to abide in him?
Joh_15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Abiding in him means keeping his commandments as well as his Father’s commandments (the Law), just as he did? Why?
1John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
So just as the Messiah walked, we should also walk. He walked in obedience to the law, so also we should walk! Confirmation?
1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
What does it mean by the Messiah (Christ) fulfilled the law?
So we see, the fact that the Messiah fulfilled the law (Torah) and the prophets does NOT mean that the law is done away with! Instead, it means he fully kept the law, magnified it and fulfilled what the prophets spoke of him.
Most importantly for us at this time, through the gift of the Holy Spirit and being born again, we too can walk in newness of life. We too can walk as he walked. We too MUST walk as he walked, because the unrighteous, the sinner, the lawless, cannot enter the kingdom of YHWH. Proof?
- Matthew 7:21-23
- Matthew 15:9
- John 3:3-8
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
- 1 Corinthians 9:27
- Galations 5:21
- Matthew 18:3
- Hebrews 4:11
- Hebrews 10:26-31
- Revelation chapters 2 and 3
- Revelation 21:8
- Revelation 21:27
Time for repentance?
If you are one of those who thought it meant you are free to live a life that is lawless (without the law), then you need to repent. You think you were saved, but you were living as a sinner. He that endures to the end (in righteousness and holiness – Heb 12:14) shall be saved, not he that thinks he is saved and goes back into sin.
Gal 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor (sinner).
Repent and abide in the Messiah. Walk as he walked, in the spirit of the law.
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I have a question that needs clarification. Did Jesus break the law when he added the bread and wine symbols in Matthew 26 based on Deut. 4:2
Thanks for your help
First of all Dennis, I believe you are referring to Yahusha HaMashiach. Remember, Jesus was not the name of the Messiah, considering there was no one named Jesus at the time in which you are referring. That made clear, let me say that if he broke the law he would have sinned, because sin is transgression (breaking) the law (1 John 3:4). So straightaway that should answer your question because:
2 Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, WHO KNEW NO SIN; that we might be made the righteousness of Aluah in him.
Secondly, he did not add to the word. What he did was to magnify the law, and that was what he was prophesied to do:
Isa 42:21 YAHUAH is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.