So many of us have heard the famous words of our Messiah Yeshua(Jesus’ true name), in Mat 5:17-19 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 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. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
He said that He did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. But what did He mean when He said that He came to Fulfil? Did He mean that He would complete it, so that we do not need to keep it? Did He mean that the Law will be finished/abolished after Him? What is the true meaning of Fulfil? Let us look at the word in Greek as it is written in the Original Manuscripts, to understand the word which is translated in English as “Fulfil”
Strong’s Greek Concordance
G4137 – πληρόω – plēroō – play-ro’-o – to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: – accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
Since we have looked at the meaning of the Original Greek Word, let’s look at some of the other places where this word has been used. Looking at the usage of this word and how it has been translated elsewhere will give us a clearer meaning into it. (G4137 – play-ro’-o – has been marked in bold)
Mat 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
Mat 23:32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Joh 16:6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
Joh 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
Rom 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.
Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Php 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Col 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
1Jn 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
Rev 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Looking at the above verses, you will get a clearer picture of the meaning behind the word “Fulfil” Yeshua used in Matthew 5. The word Fulfil which is “G4137 – play-ro’-o” in the Greek, in most places is used as “Filled”, “Fill up”, “Full” & even as “perfect” and “fully preach”. If we use these definitions in place of “Fulfil”, the meaning of the verse becomes clearer.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to “fill up” / “perfect” / “fully preach”.
The next verse, confirms this meaning.
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.
Yeshua said that not a “Jot” or “Tittle” (Which are small parts in the Hebrew letters like fullstops and commas) will pass from the “Law”(5 Books of Moses), till all is fulfilled. (The word translated as fulfilled in this verse is not “G4137 – play-ro’-o”. (It is G1096 – γίνομαι
ginomai – ghin’-om-ahee – A prolonged and middle form of a primary verb; to cause to be (“gen” -erate), that is, (reflexively) to become (come into being), used with great latitude (literally, figuratively, intensively, etc.): – arise be assembled, be (come, -fall, -have self), be brought (to pass), (be) come (to pass), continue, be divided, be done, draw, be ended, fall, be finished, follow, be found, be fulfilled, + God forbid, grow, happen, have, be kept, be made, be married, be ordained to be, partake, pass, be performed, be published, require, seem, be showed, X soon as it was, sound, be taken, be turned, use, wax, will, would, be wrought.)
Has Heaven and Earth passed away? Has all which is written in the Old Testament Scriptures been fulfilled? Have all the prophecies come to pass? Till all of the prophecies of the Old Testament come to pass, not one word can be abolished from God’s Words. This is further clarified by Yeshua’s next few words.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
So, according to our savior’s words, not even the smallest Commandment which God uttered can be abolished. He warns people not to break them or teach others to break them. And His words in Mat 5:17 was meant as I am not come to destroy, but to “fill up” / “perfect” / “fully preach”. This is what He achieved in His lifetime on this earth. He Fully preached God’s word, helping people to see the “Spirit” in the “Word”. Not to follow God’s Commandments in a rigid form to the letter, but to do it with one’s heart and spirit with Love.
So let us also follow in His footsteps and play-ro’-o His word. Not to cause it to end or abolish, but to fill up/ fully do / fully preach His Words, which are not His own but belong to God Almighty.