Saturday, 30 September 2017

Jesus on the Fulfilment of the Law

When Jesus said He didn't come to destroy the law but to fulfil it, and that not one jot nor tittle of the law would pass away 'til all be fulfilled, He likely had the whole Tenakh in mind (the whole Old Testament), or at least the whole Pentateuch (the books of Moses, the first five books of the Old Testament) - not just the 613 Mitzvot (commandments, statutes, regulations).

There's an example where Jesus spoke of "your law", and then proceeded to quote from the Psalms. So 'law' wasn't restricted to the Mitzvot.

The introduction to Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton's English translation of the Septuagint remarks that "the Jews often applied the name of Law to the whole of their sacred writings", as attested to by "Aristobulus, a Jew who lived at the commencement of the second century B.C.", when "he says [speaking of the Septuagint] that the version of the Law into Greek was completed under the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and that Demetrius Phalereus had been employed about it". So 'law' likely wasn't restricted to the Pentateuch.

There was a "strict meaning of the terms used", which used the term Law to refer merely to the Pentateuch, and there was "the mode in which the Jews often applied the name of Law to the whole of their sacred writings".

So even if Jesus meant the Pentateuch, and not the Tenakh, still it has a broader meaning than just to the Mitzvot.

And the Pentateuch included prophecies, not only Mitzvot (commandments).

So in that case what Jesus was saying was that He came to fulfil the predictions of the whole Old Testament, including the predictions written in the first five books, the Pentateuch.

One such prediction was of the promised seed in whom all families of the earth would be blessed.

Jesus said that the law and prophets prophesied until John. Meaning, the Pentateuch, and not only the writings of the Prophets, included prophecies. In the process of fulfilling those prophecies, not one of the prophecies in all of the Jews' sacred writings would fail, 'til all was fulfilled. Jesus Himself came to fulfil it.

Jesus didn't mean that all 613 Mitzvot should continue to apply unchanged as long as the sun and moon endure. In fact, He elsewhere said the opposite. Like when He said that Jerusalem was no longer the required place of worship.  

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