Did Jesus Christ come to institute or to fulfill the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the Prophets (Joshua – Malachi)?
Let us look at Matt 5:17-18 a little bit closer: “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. 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 the Law until everything is accomplished.”
First of all, Jesus is talking about “the Law” and “the Prophets”. This was the way people of His day refers to the Bible, which we now refer to as the “Old Testament”! The “law” contains all of God’s commandments. Jesus clearly says that He did not come to abolish the Old Testament nor its laws, but to fulfill them. What does “fulfill” mean? Let us look to the Bible for clarification.
Matt 1:22-23 “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”-which means, “God with us.””
Matt 2:14-15 “So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 1where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.””
Matt 8:17 “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.””
John 19:28-29 “Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.””
“Fulfilled” clearly means completed. The shadow has met its reality. It has been accomplished.
In this context we can better understand Matt 5:18-19: “Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” God’s law was not abolished. It was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The shadow found its reality!
In this context, we can also understand Matt 5:19 “Anyone who breaks 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 practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
This text is followed by verse 20: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, no one can enter the kingdom of heaven, for: Rom 3:23 “. . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” All have transgressed God’s laws! We are all sinners! None of us is righteous! Is there any hope for us?
Yes in the fulfillment of Jesus on the cross, Rom 3:24-25 “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Come to Jesus and accept Him into your life right now. Come experience a fulfilling life with God as your partner. Why don’t you invite Him right now by answering the Altar’s call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html and invite Him into your life. He will help you through your mess and will help you be victorious!
Matthew 5:17-18 pretty much spells it out. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
The Bible is very clear, as the above answers show, that Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets and not to take away the law.
I just finished working with a group of guys whose church teaches that Jesus took away the law. I think some call it dispensationalism. These co-workers claimed that since Jesus came we are no longer under the law. While it is true that the sacrifice of Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of the sacrificial law, this does not mean that it is now ok to drink animals blood, for example. (This was our actual argument! Satan is still teaching this because he knows it is against God.) We are to still follow the 10 commandments. Now that the law is written on the hearts of those with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love will naturally follow the 10 commandments, but that darn flesh is still wrapped around us, so we still need those rules! Rules lead us to Christ and they helps us discern truth.
Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law does not give us license to sin or reason to ignore the Old Testament. He fulfilled the law by being the ultimate sacrifice and now, the ultimate high priest so that our bodies can be temples and we can be priests!
Also, as far as the prophecies are concerned, not all of the prophesies were fulfilled in the first coming. This is why Jews today do not believe that the Messiah has come yet. They expect Him to fulfill all of the prophecies in one coming. SO, this is another reason to keep the Old Testament. There are still predictions of many prophets to take place.
Bottom line. Fulfillment does not mean elimination of!