Do NOT think I have come to destroy the Torah and the prophets.
I did Not come to destroy but to complete.(Mattithyahu 5:17)
Most Christians have been taught that keeping the law is a bad thing. They say it is legalism and bondage to keep Torah (Torah means teaching, instruction-NOT law). Here is the problem-they do not understand what the word fulfill means in the Hebrew mind and as understood by Yeshua. They think that to fulfill means to abolish, do away with, abrogate, or annul. This is not the meaning of the word as used by Yeshua and from the Greek also. If the word meant to annul or abolish then what Yeshua said in verses 18-20 would make no sense whatsoever, because Yeshua says that the Torah would never pass away! So what does the word ‘to fulfill’, mean in the Scriptural use of the word?
To fulfill in the Greek means – to fulfill, complete, enforce, to perfect, BUT NEVER TO ABOLISH, or to do away with! Yeshua brings all the writings of the TaNaK to their fullest expression. He is the living Torah incarnate. He shows us what true Torah observance looks like. He is the goal or end of the Torah-it ALL pointed to Him and was written about Him. It was like a sign pointing to the WAY.
But even this explanation is lacking somewhat without an understanding of the Hebrew idiom in context of the time of Yeshua and the teachings of the sages and rabbis. The Hebrew expression ‘to destroy’ and ‘fulfill’ are rabbinical terms of argumentation in Torah teaching. A Hebrew mind would recognize that fact. It is only some Greek Western mind that would not understand those terms. When a rabbi felt that someone had MISINTERPRETED a verse of Scripture from the Scrolls, he would say,”You are DESTROYING the law!” If he felt like you were CORRECTLY interpreting a Scripture then he would say, “You have fulfilled it!” What we have then in Matt. 5:17-20 is a rabbinical argument from Yeshua. Someone (the Pharisees and Sadduces) had accused Yeshua of incorrectly interpreting Torah and the prophets or “destroying it.”
When wrongfully accused of misinterpreting Torah, Yeshua claims that His methods and words fulfill the true meaning behind the Torah as G-d originally gave it at Sinai. He explains the spirit behind the Torah (read Matt.5: 21-7:29; Rom.2: 13-16,3:3,8:40). Yeshua gets to the heart of the matter and explains it is all a heart condition G-d is searching for in the observance of Torah. It is because of our love for the Father and our fellow-man that we will keep Torah. We are not released from obeying the Torah, but it is not to be a legalistic ritual of the mere letter of the law!