Updated: Dec 14, 2019
In Matthew 5:18 Yeshua states, “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.”
What exactly does “till all be fulfilled mean”? Many Christian commentators agree that it means that the Torah has been done away with. A more thorough understanding of the Hebrew language and culture of the first century would in fact give us a clearer understanding of what Yeshua meant by this statement.
Ancient Jewish writings attest to the fact that when the Torah is interpreted in a way that it causes people to disobey the commands of Yahweh, then the person doing the interpretation has caused the Torah to be abolished. However, when someone interprets the Torah correctly they cause their listeners to be able to keep the Torah of Yahweh correctly, then that person is said to have fulfilled Torah.
So, from a Hebraic background, to fulfill Torah meant to “fill it up”, or to teach/interpret it in such a way that listeners would correctly understand how to keep and live out the commandments, statutes and judgments of Yahweh.
Notice that Yeshua stated in verse 17 that He did not come to “abolish” or “destroy” Torah. This means that He did not come to miss-interpret Torah. He was the Word of God made flesh. He kept the Torah of His Father perfectly. In John 15:10 Yeshua states that He has kept His Father's commandments, and states that we are to keep His commands. His commandments and the Fathers' commandments are one and the same.
Yeshua did not have a problem with His Fathers' commandments, statutes or judgments, what He had a problem with were the man-made traditions of man. In Deuteronomy 4:2 we are commanded not to add to or take away from the Words of Yahweh. In the New Testament, we find Yeshua stating that they had taken the traditions of man and made them doctrines of God. (For a start please see Matthew 15:3, 6; Mark 7:5,7,8,9,13) This is what had “abolished” the Torah of Yahweh.
Oftentimes we are very quick to judge first century Jews when they came against Yeshua. However, they were caught up in their traditions just as we have been. Every denomination has their lists of do's and don't s. Our churches are full of traditions. We must be careful to obey what God commands, not what man commands.
Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, by David Bivin and Roy Bliz- zard. Arcadia, CA: Makor Publishing, 1983.
Jesus The Jewish Theologian, by Brad H. Young. Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI:2011