- Pathfinder

Reply To: Did any of the similarities or differences between Christian and Jewish theology surprise you? If so, which/why?

Joshua Johnson

I want to respond to all of these wonderful comments! Like Clay, I have also not believed that Jesus abrogated Torah. Part of my religious instruction was in Messianic Judaism at a young age, so that may have influenced my view; but in the churches I have since been in, the view was taught that Jesus abolished the Old Testament, however I just quietly held my own views. I have not heard violent anti-semitism from the pulpit; it’s just the “little” things like that (“soft supercessionism,” I think Dr. McDermott calls it). Although one pastor did say something to the effect that G-d abolished his covenant with the Jewish people in A.D. 70 at the destruction of the Second Temple. I did end up leaving that congregation.

I find it very amusing and interesting how we have been conditioned to read Matthew 5:17 (“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil,” KJV.)

We often read fulfill as if has the same or similar meaning to abolish/destroy, but the simple rules of Logic suggest that they are the *opposite*.

Jesus did not come to destroy the Torah and Neviim.
He came to fulfill Torah.

If Torah is not abolished, then what is?
I think the problem comes from the English word “fulfill.” We often read it as if it means “to complete, to bring to completion, to end,” which is what you might come away with from reading the dictionary. But, clearly, abolish and fulfill have to be opposites due to the grammatical disjunction in the sentence. So fulfill can’t mean “bring to end,” which has the same meaning as “abolish” and “destroy.”

The Greek word is pléroö, or pléröma (“fullness”), it literally means to fill something, as in to fill a ship with cargo, to satisfy, to fulfill a duty. The way I see it is Yeshua filled-full the meaning of Torah: he showed us what a life of Torah-discipleship looks like and lived out its prophecies in his life, he brought out its true meaning.

A lot of this stuff requires deep contemplation and thought. But it is worth it (like the pearl of great price: the man gave everyone he had to acquire it = G-d’s kingdom and the word/wisdom of G-d).