In the past few blogs we have learned what the words that have been translated jot, tittle and verily meant to Yeshua. Go back and read those blogs if you haven’t do so yet. In the last blog, we also learned how to recognize the three-fold teaching pattern Yeshua used to make his points. We are examining Matthew 5:17-18.
1. Significant statement -- 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.
3. Added statement strengthening the Amen -- I tell you till heaven and earth pass, not one yod or one qotz shall pass from the Law till all be fulfilled.
Now let’s discover what “the Law or the Prophets” meant to Yeshua. The transliterations of the Hebrew words he used were – TORAH or NEVI’IM. Today, the TORAH (Law) and NEVI’IM (Prophets) are two sections of the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible. It also has a third section called KETUVIM (Writings). Click here to view a Tanakh online -- http://www.ishwar.com/judaism/
Matthew 5:18 has been used by many to mistakenly support their theological claims of “replacement theology,” which basically states that “Jesus fulfilled the Law, so Christianity has replaced Judaism as God’s chosen people.” That wasn’t what Yeshua had in mind.
The first place to look when you want to find out what something means, if you can’t directly communicate with the speaker or author, is turn to his or her culture. There are a number of examples of what “abolish or fulfill the Law” means in the Jewish culture. The account below provides a good example of what they meant to Yeshua:
"[116a] Imma Shalom, R. Eliezer's wife, was R. Gamaliel's sister. Now, a certain philosopher lived in his vicinity, [116b] and he bore a reputation that he did not accept bribes. They wished to expose him, so she brought him a golden lamp, went before him, [and] said to him, `I desire that a share be given men in my [deceased] father's estate.' `Divide,' ordered he. Said he [R. Gamaliel] to him, `It is decreed for us, Where there is a son, a daughter does not inherit.' [He replied], `Since the day that you were exiled from your land the Law of Moses has been superseded and another book given, wherein it is written, `A son and a daughter inherit equally.' The next day, he [R. Gamaliel] brought him a Libyan ass. Said he to them, `Look at the end of the book, wherein it is written, I came not to destroy the Law of Moses nor to add to the Law of Moses, and it is written therein, A daughter does not inherit where there is a son.' . . ."[i]
The point Rabbi Gamaliel made was that his interpretation did not “take way from” or “add to” the words of the Torah. An interpretation that “took away from” or “added to” the words of the Torah and incorrectly explained the words of the Torah, destroyed, or in other words, abolished the Law. On the other hand, an interpretation that correctly explained the words of the Torah fulfilled the Law.
Now, using the three-fold teaching pattern model, let’s take another look at what Yeshua said through his Jewish eye:
1. Significant statement -- Do not think that I have come to misinterpret the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to misinterpret them, but to interpret them correctly.
3. Added statement strengthening the Amen -- I tell you till heaven and earth pass, not one yod or one qotz shall pass from the Torah till all be interpreted correctly.
Now that we know that what Yeshua meant here, we can understand why and what he taught next. Apparently, some had been misinterpreting what was written in the Torah and the Prophets about the following, so Yeshua decided to correctly interpret them for his followers:
● Murder (5:21-26)
● Adultery (5:27-30)
● Divorce (5:21-32)
● Oaths (5:33-37)
● Eye for Eye (5:38-42)
● Love your Neighbor (5:43-48)
● Giving to the Needy (6:1-4)
● Prayer (6:5-15)
● Fasting (6:16-18)
● TZEDAQAH (Righteousness) (6:19-7:13)
● True and False Prophets (7:15-29)
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