Thursday, January 13, 2011

18 New Testament Misconceptions No.1

#1 Fulfilling The Torah

Do not think that I come to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I tell you I have not come to destroy (ashrea) but to fulfill (amala).” (Matthew 5:17)

It is an absolute impossibility for “destroying” and “fulfilling” Torah to be or to mean the same thing! Here the text is putting them in opposition to one another; so if it isn’t A but it is B, then B cannot be the same thing as A. As basic as this is, mainstream Christianity has levied a false assertion that “fulfilling the Torah” means that it is no longer necessary, i.e. destroyed!

The Aramaic word used for “fulfill” is amala, derived from the root mela, which means “to complete”. This completion is not one that results in destruction, but better understanding of the promises made. Let’s examine a few verses:

So that you might know the complete (d’amla) truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his esteem, as of the only begotten from the Father complete (d’amla) in favor and truth” (John 1:4)

The words which You have given me I have given them, and they received them, and understood completely (d’amla) that I came forth from you, and they believed that You did send me” (John 17:8)

This last verse clarifies the point in the strongest possible terms; this is where Y’hoshua clearly teaches that “fulfilling / completing” commands does not cast those commands aside; but rather, shows that they have been interpreted properly, as these citations from the Tanakh (old testament) also prove:

So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to YHWH, in order to fulfill (male) the word of YHWH, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shilo” (1 Kings 2:27)

To fulfill (male) the word of YHWH by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept Sabbath until seventy years were complete” (2 Chronicles 36:21)

May he grant you your hearts desire and fulfill (male) all your councel!” (Psalm 20:4)

Here is the exact word that Y’hoshua used, but for a slight dialectical difference in accent and, as the reader can see, nowhere in any context does the command pass away! Instead, the opposite is shown, since it is the power and validity of the command which forces its hearer to first interpret it properly and then carry it out exactly as intended. There are also half a dozen other words in Hebrew that carry the same meaning, and in all of their cases the “fulfillment” of a command coincides with its proper interpretation (Leviticus 22:21, Numbers 15:8, Ezra 1:1, Nehemiah 5:13, Psalm 76:11, 145:19).

“Fulfill” also means to have proper understanding of a scriptural passage, such as recognizing a precise fulfillment of prophecy. Therefore, when Y’hoshua says, “This word is fulfilled in your hearing,” he means that he is the goal or object of that prophecy and has now arrived on the scene to do his mission as specified according to prophecy. Now, if the “fulfillment” has not happened yet, as is the case when Y’hoshua says, All that is written in the Torah and Prophets must be fulfilled,then it means, quite obviously “kept”, “vouchsafed” or “adhered to” – the exact opposite of passing away! That is also why he says, He who keeps (fulfills) my words shall not taste death!

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