Matthew 5:17-18 Explained; ‘…not to abolish but to fulfill…’ and ‘…not a dot will pass from the Law until all is accomplished…’

Biblical Translation Copyright disclaimers

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

“Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ “

The Orthodox Jewish Bible Copyright Artists for Israel Intl Used by permission © The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Matthew 5:17-18 Explained;

‘…the Law…I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them….’ (v.17 ESV)
&
‘…not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished….’ (v.18 ESV)

Brief Summary

Here we will see that in no place does the well read passage of Matthew 5:17-18 abolish or cancel Torah Law (the law of Moses).

Instead, we will learn that some things that this passage speaks of in context, include;

• Messiah (Christ) did not come to earth to abolish or cancel the Law of Moses – rather, he came to do and satisfy the commandments, and fulfil prophetic verses, without sinning once.

• Everlasting life without end now is obtainable by man, from God, by grace through faith, when a person believes in His risen Son (Ephesians 2:8). Everyone who believes [in Christ] will have their agreement with death that they were born with, cancelled. (Isaiah 28:16-22).

• Levitical sons of Aaron remain priests (Isaiah 66:21).

• An established and recognised priesthood in the order of Mechizadek (Genesis 14:8) is recognised, with Messiah (Christ) being confirmed as high priest in this order (Psalm 45:7, Hebrews 4:15).

The verses with the explanation read as follows;

Matthew 5:17 – With Explanation In Brackets.

“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.
Matthew 5:17‭ ESV

[This means, that Christ had not come to cancel the Law of Moses.
Instead, he came to fulfill (satisfy) the righteous requirement of the Torah (Law of Moses), which means that he literally did ‘…all…’ commandments (ref. Lev 26, Deut 28) – all commandments, ‘always’ [all the day] (Deut 5:29 NIV). By grace, such complete righteousness is accounted to a believer by grace through faith (Isaiah 53:11-12, Rom 8:4).

Now in Matthew 5:17 it also says that Christ came to satisfy the Prophets (writings) as well as the Law.
An example of a key Prophetic verse which Christ satisfies, is the vital statute found in Isaiah 28:16-22, which states;

‘…whoever believes will not make haste.’ (i.e. ‘will not perish’), and then the covenant to death which we are all born here with, will be cancelled (Isaiah 28:18) as a result.

We know this Prophetic passage is speaking of believing in Messiah (Christ), as it refers to him as a ‘precious cornerstone’ – to which Ephesians 2:20 agrees here and confirms it for us;

‘…Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.’
(Ephesians 2:20 NIV)

Isaiah 28:17 goes on to say that ‘…righteousness…’ is made ‘…the plumb line’…. And  this means that if a person is completely sin-free and thus completely righteousness, that such will result in everlasting life without end for a person. Ecclesiastes 7:20 KJV however states that such is impossible for fallen men to accomplosh, no matter how just they are – as we all sadly sin here;

For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 KJV

And this is why Galatians says;

Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Galatians 3:11 NASB)

Later in Isaiah 53:9 it confirms that Messiah (Christ), who was never born of fallen man’s seed, is literally sin free – when it says ‘…he had done no violence…’ (Isaiah 53:9 KJV. See also 2 Cor 5:21),

and in Isaiah 53:11 ESV it then states that Messiah (Christ) makes ‘…many to be accounted righteous…’ (by grace and supplication. ref. Zech 12:10, Acts 15:11).

Isaiah 53:12 ESV then says he does this by making;

‘…intercession for the transgressors…’ (praying for those who believe).

So it is established that no fallen man here is sin free, and with this the statute in Isaiah 28:16 which says everlasting life is by believing is the only achievable way to obtaining this.

With this, why would Christ be making intercession (prayer) to God for people who believe etc.?

The answer, because Christ did all of God’s Law in a body of flesh without sinning, he was inturn confirmed as high priest by God, as Christ loves ‘…righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore…your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you…’ (Psalm 45:7 NIV).

It is this that Psalm 110:4 tells us has happened – when it says he is a;

‘…priest forever, in the order of Melchizadek…’ (Psalm 110:4 ESV),

And this declaration was perhaps made straight after he was raised from the dead by God – as it says; ‘…sit at My right hand…’ (Psalm 110:1)].

Matthew 5:18 – with explanation in brackets.

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Matthew 5:18 ESV

[Here, when it is saying ‘…not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.’, in no place is it stating that the Law of Moses would be cancelled or abolished. Not at all.

In fact, we have already mentioned two items which were mentioned in the Old Testament (Tanakh), though at the time then and even now, these might not have been overly known by all, and so some might mistakenly see the verse as abolishing Torah Law, which it is not.

Two things which Matthew 5:18 is speaking of, that were enacted as per Holy Scripture were,

1) Everlasting life is now available by believing in Messiah (Christ) the ‘precious cornerstone’ (Isaiah 28:16-22, Ephesians 2:20).


‘Everlasting life’ literally means, life without end upon being resurrected, and not a potential ‘long’ life after this life in the new heavens and new earth.

Without believing in Messiah (Christ), all commandments are not fulfilled by a person. The law of Moses states that if all commandments are not fulfilled (perfectly), that this results in certain curses (i.e. death; wasting disease [ref. Deut 28:22 NIV]), and not ‘all’ blessings (i.e. life; ref. Deu 28:13 ESV).

And chapters like Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 are summed up to an extent in this verse and other like it;

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
James 2:10 NIV

Believing in Messiah (Christ) is the vital key to being given everlasting life without end from G-d, and verses such as Isaiah 28:16-22 confirm this.

The other matter we spoke on that has been enacted since all has been ‘accomplished’ (i.e. at the death and resurrection of Christ) is that,

2) There is a high priest who is not a Levitical son of Aaron.
Psalm 110:4 states that God declared Christ as high (Heb 4:15) priest in the order of Melchizadek (ref. Psalm 110:4).

Such a priestly position is lawful and accepted by the Holy God who is Most High, as per Genesis 14:8. Genesis tells of when Melchizadek was priest to the Most High God, during faithful Abraham’s time on the earth.

With this a quick note; the sons of Aaron still serve as priests in the new heavens and earth, as per Isaiah 66:21 ESV ‘…priests and… levites…’. Messiah (Christ) however is the high priest, as per Psalm 45:7 ESV ‘…above thy fellows…’, and Hebrews 4:15 ESV ‘…a high priest…’ – thus;

‘…“God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”…’ (1 Corinthians 15:27 ESV).

These Two Statutes are Found In The Law of Moses

The two above items/statutes, are actually found in Torah Law, in the book of Deuteronomy – where a commandment reads as follows;

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
Deuteronomy 18:18-19 ESV

Transparently, the above commandment speaks of all of God’s prophets, however, we arrive at the two statutes (everlasting life by believing in Christ, and Christ being high priest) – as being included in this commandment found in Deuteronomy, by following the Holy Scriptures which come after Deuteronomy;

Isaiah is God’s holy prophet. ->
Isaiah says that all who believe in this ‘precious cornerstone’ will not make haste (they will live forever without end upon resurrection) (Isaiah 28:16-22). ->
Isaiah confirms that the precious cornerstone is Christ whom is spoken of in chapter 53, by speaking of him earlier in chapter 49:3, and 49:5 (‘Jacob’ is mentioned twice there; the first instance (Messiah) in 49:3, brings back the second instance found in 49:5 (the fallen nation [Jacob and Israel] to God). Ephesians 2:20 confirms it also, that Christ is referred to as the ‘precious cornerstone’ here. ->

Messiah (Christ) also being known as a prophet then goes on to say;

‘…Believe in God; believe also in me.’
(John 14:1 ESV)

As,

‘…whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life….’
(John 3:16 KJV);

‘…He who believes in it will not be disturbed. Your covenant with death will be canceled, And your pact with Sheol will not stand; … And now do not carry on as scoffers, Or your fetters will be made stronger; For I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts Of decisive destruction on all the earth.’
(Isaiah 28:16‭, ‬28:18‭, ‬28:22 NASB1995)

Summary,

Here we have seen that in no place does the well read passage of Matthew 5:17-18 abolish or cancel Torah Law.

Briefly we have seen that it speaks of;

• Messiah (Christ) did not come to earth to abolish or cancel the Law of Moses – rather, he came to do and satisfy the commandments, and fulfil prophetic verses, without sinning once.

• Everlasting life without end now is obtainable by man, from God, by grace through faith, when a person believes in His risen Son (Ephesians 2:8). Everyone who believes [in Christ] will have their agreement with death that they were born with, cancelled. (Isaiah 28:16-22).

• Levitical sons of Aaron remain priests (Isaiah 66:21).

• An established and recognised priesthood in the order of Mechizadek (Genesis 14:8) is recognised, with Messiah (Christ) being confirmed as high priest in this order (Psalm 45:7, Hebrews 4:15).

May the Holy G-d bless you beyond maximum,  believing in His risen Son the Lord Jesus (Yehoshua) Christ (the Messiah). Amen.

Copyright disclaimers:

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

“Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. http://www.Lockman.org

“Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. http://www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ “

The Orthodox Jewish Bible Copyright Artists for Israel Intl Used by permission © The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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