Matthew 517 “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.
What is the Bible “for”? What is it “about”? The key word in the Greek text of Matthew’s Gospel is πληρῶσαι to complete, to perfect, to fulfill
All of God’s requirements in the Law and His Promises through the Prophecies are completed and fulfilled in the Person, the Example, and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God is Love, and Jesus demonstrated God’s Love for us (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:8-10
Moses prophesied soon after the introduction of God’s Law that Israel would not keep it (ref). The reason God gives for the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:33 is that the original Covenant was broken. Jeremiah (ref) prophesied the terms of this completed Law, and Isaiah (ref) prophesied what would be required of the Messiah Who came to establish it.
There is foreshadowing of these requirements already in the Exodus, as Israel impatiently makes themselves a god of their own devising when Moses fails to show up on schedule:
Exodus 32 31 So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” 33 The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book….” [my emphases]
Moses clearly isn’t the man for this particular job—taking the sins of the people of Israel, let alone the whole world, upon himself so that they could go on to fulfill God’s Promise in His Name. But through the Holy Spirit, Moses has begun to understand the awesome sacrifice which would be required in God’s Plan for our Salvation.
The Completion of all these things in Jesus Christ didn’t change the rules, but it left a lot of people behind—still chained to their obsolete—or completely failed—understanding and interpretation of the picture God has been drawing for us:
Matthew 12 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” 3He answered, “Haven’t you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5Or haven’t you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? 6I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. [my emphases]
Many of the prophecies, such as those of Ezekiel and Daniel, fall into their complete context in Revelation(Ezekiel 1/ Revelation 4:7, Daniel 7/ Revelation 13). We have this striking image from the prophesy of Zechariah:
11 Then I asked the angel, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?”
12 Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?”
13 He replied, “Do you not know what these are?” “No, my lord,” I said.
14 So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth.”
This prophesy is placed into its completed context in the prophesy of John:
3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.
The Law requires that testimony be established through at least two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). Are these literally two individuals, is this a symbol of the testimony of the Church to the world, or something else? They are killed for their testimony, and raised again to life, just as their Lord was. Pray for understanding, if you need to know more (James 1:5).
But look at what they are doing! As Moses and Aaron confronted the most powerful nation on Earth at that time with God’s Power as He led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, so these witnesses confront all the nations of the world with God’s Power as He leads all of His children in the final Exodus out of slavery to sin and death (Revelation 21:1-4)!
In this way, God brings all of these unbroken strands of history, Law, and Prophesy together into one cord, under One Name:
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.