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In this, the third and final part to the series, _Promise to Fulfillment_, we are going to examine Matthew 5:17-20 very carefully. _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.”_ These very profound words of Jesus should put to rest all of the different theories about what Jesus’ connection is to the Law. He was not against the law. As a devout Jew He honored it, but he also realized that he must make the transition from the old Mosaic Covenant to the new Covenant—from the law of Moses to the law of Christ. This was His mission. To better understand this, let’s examine the following three clauses and words in verse 17: _I have come: _These make the entire four verses (17-20) Christ-centered. Actually, this fits rather nicely into the four Gospels. He is the one who fulfills the Old Testament by His sinless life. He is the one to fulfill its prophecies about His first coming. He fulfills it by His death and resurrection. He is the one to fulfill it by the creation of His worldwide church and He will fulfill it again at His Second Coming. _Abolish: _The Greek word for this is _kataluo, _whose primary meaning is “destroy,” “Demolish,” or “dismantle” as in a house or temple, or “detach a stone from a building.” It is found in the context of destroying the temple in Jerusalem (Matt: 24:2, 26:61). But outside of the New Testament in a literary context it can mean to rescind not a law here or a law there, but the whole law at once, thus destroying the People of God (2 Maccabees 2:22; 4-11, 4 Macabees 5:33). These are the Old Testament citations/connections to Matt 5:17. Jesus does not destroy the law as a whole, but He does fulfill passages. _Fulfill: _This word means to complete a promise or a prophecy or a prediction. The Old Testament is to the New Testament what promise is to fulfillment. The Old Testament contained types and shadows, which find their full meaning and substance in Christ Jesus. He is the fulfillment in His very being and in His coming to earth. As a conclusion to this study, let us examine five major themes of the Old Testament that Christ fulfills in the New Testament: (1)    First, Jesus fulfills the moral law. As we all know, this is the foundation of the Old Testament. It demanded that the people of God keep of the commandments, but could they? Even the most devout Jew may have been good, but because of man’s original sin and his subsequent sinful nature, they were never quite good enough. Christ however, in His sinless life fulfills all of the commandments because He walked in perfect love. One day, an expert in the law sought to trap Jesus asking what the greatest commandment was. This is how Jesus replied: _“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”_ Jesus fulfills both of these commandments perfectly. Now we ask for His Holy Spirit so we can do the same, always depending on His love and mercy when we fail. (2)    Second, Jesus fulfills the judicial aspect of the Old Testament. His death on the cross takes away the severe penalty of death for sins like murder and cursing parents. His death takes their place because divine wrath for human sins was poured onto Him on the cross. Criminals like thieves and murderers should be punished, because of the principles of justice behind the particular rules governing society. But even they can have their sins forgiven while they suffer the justice behind the particular rules. Jesus and the New Testament authors never rescinded justice. (3)    Third, Jesus fulfills the ceremonial or ritual aspect of the Torah (or Old Testament). Aaron was the foremost High Priest of the Old Testament, but even he cannot compare with the great High Priest Jesus Christ of the New Covenant. Aaron entered the earthly tabernacle, but Christ entered the heavenly. Aaron entered once a year, but Christ for all time. Aaron offered many sacrifices, Jesus only one—Himself. Aaron sacrificed for his own sins, Christ only for the sins of all of us. _(4)    _Fourth, Christ fulfills Old Testament prophecies that foretold of His first coming. This theme relates to a major part of the Old Testament in Matt. 5:17, the “Prophets.” They promised a new era of salvation and Jesus fulfills that promise. The primary example among many is found in Isaiah 53, which graphically describes the suffering Servant-Messiah. Verse 5 says _“But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” _This is a perfect description of Jesus’ death on the cross, since He was wounded and pierced. His death brings us peace from God because it atones or pays for our sins. He fulfills every prophecy that predicted His first coming,__ _(5)    _Besides Christ’s first coming, some prophecies have been partially fulfilled while still being in the process of being completely fulfilled. They will be completely fulfilled in the future at Christ’s second coming. Joel 3:1-2 is a good example. God promises His people restoration after divine judgment. He promises them that He will pour out His Spirit on them to restore and bless them. _“Then afterward I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Even upon the servants and the handmaids, in those days I will pour out my spirit.”_  In the New Testament the Apostle Peter applies this prophecy to the church that Jesus established. It is the Day of Pentecost, a celebratory feast (see Exodus 23:16) God sends His Holy Spirit like a mighty wind and fills everyone who was praying in an upper room. You can read about this wondrous and blessed event in Acts 2:14. This is a holy moment. Joel had promised that God would send His Spirit to His people and Jesus promised that He would also do this (John 16:5-16). That promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost and it is still being fulfilled today. God continues to send His Holy Spirit into people who ask Him to do so.__ And yet, there is another aspect of Joel’s prophecy that awaits fulfillment. God through Joel describes what will happen in the last days. God will show wonders in the heavens and on earth—blood and fire and billows of smoke. Then the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood (Joel 3: 3-4). But the good news follows immediately in verse five, _“Then everyone shall be rescued who calls on the name of the Lord, for on Mount Zion, there shall be a remnant, as the Lord has said, and in Jerusalem survivors whom the Lord shall call.” _Jesus repeats this prophecy as valid and still waiting fulfillment. It will happen just before He returns in His Second Coming. To sum up, Jesus has fulfilled, is fulfilling and shall completely fulfill the entire Old Testament. The Old Testament is to the New Testament what promise is to fulfillment. He has ushered in the new era of salvation in the flow of God’s plan of salvation that began in the Old Testament. All the promises of God are absorbed in Christ’s life and being. He becomes the fulfillment and the embodiment of the Old Testament without destroying it. Originally posted at: https://emaeus.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/promise-to- fulfillment-part-three/

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1 Sarah R = "See Parts 1 and 2 here:https://www.deily.org/text/promise-to-fulfillment-part-ihttps://www.deily.org/text/promise-to-fulfillment-part-ii"
2 Sarah R = "Jesus followed the law of Moses. The conflicts He had while on Earth with the Pharisees were not about the law that God handed down to Moses, but about the oral traditions of the Jewish leaders."
3 Sarah R = "The Catholic Church recognizes a few books as canon that the Protestant Church does not. Part of the reason why the Protestant Church does not accept the Maccabees as canon is because the Jews never included it in their Hebrew Scriptures as authoritative. However, even without this reference, the point stands."