Jesus Fulfilling the Law Meaning
The Greek word “fulfil” (pleroo) used in Matthew 5:17 means to obey the law to the full and to give the law its full meaning. See the NIRV, CEV and Luke's account for the true meaning of fulfil. The Contemporary English Version Bible says it best with, “I did not come to do away with them, but to give them their full meaning.”
There is a Greek word “fulfilled” (sunteleo) that is used in Mark 13:4 which does mean to “end completely,” “to destroy” etc, but note this is not the Greek word (pleroo) used in Matthew 5:17. And if it were, we would have many contradictions throughout the New Testament and here are just a few. (Romans 2:13; Romans 13:9; Romans 3:31; Romans 7:7; Romans 7:12; 1 John 2:4; 1 John 5:2-3; Revelation 12:17; Revelation 14:12; Revelation 22:14)
We would also have several major contradictions in Matthew chapter 5 that are very obvious and really should require no explanations. Consider the following examples and decide if they make any sense as this is what Jesus would effectively be saying if fulfilling the law ended the law.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to DESTROY THE LAW but I have come to DESTROY THE LAW. (How can the law be abolished when Jesus said He is not going to abolish it?)
And now that I have fulfilled and abolished the law I said I am not destroying, I am telling you that till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall, that is, not even the crossing of a “t” or the dotting of an “i” is going to pass from the law that I am abolishing. (And how can the Commandments be abolished when Jesus said that not even the equivalent to a period or a comma is going to change from the law as long as heaven and earth are still here?)
And since I, Jesus fulfilled the Ten Commandments and ended them, I am telling you that whosoever therefore shall BREAK ONE of these least Commandments shall be referred to as least by those in the kingdom, and since I am abolishing the law, I am telling you that you are now to TEACH THE LAW also that I am abolishing. (And how can you break any one of the commandments if they are gone and how can you teach them if they are abolished?)
You have heard before that “THOU SHALL NOT KILL” but now that I am fulfilling and hence ending the law, now I say that whosoever is ANGRY with his brother WITHOUT A CAUSE shall be in danger of the judgment and whosoever shall say you fool shall be in danger of HELL FIRE. And you have heard that it was said by them of old time, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY” but now I say unto you, that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has COMMITTED ADULTERY with her already in his heart.” (How could the Ten Commandments be abolished when we find that Jesus raised the standard for obeying them?)
I do not see how anyone could come to the conclusion that fulfilling the law ends the law after careful exegesis of Matthew chapter five unless they are trying to avoid loving obedience to their Lord and Saviour. It is my heartfelt prayer that no one would ever desire to do that as Matthew 7:21-23 explains what Jesus will say to people who do so.
There are also several other scriptures that use the same Greek word “fulfil” that is used in Matthew 5:17 and if it meant to bring to an end, then our “Joy,” our “Righteousness,” the “Word of God,” our “Obedience” and other things would also be ended. This particular Greek word “fulfil” does not and cannot mean to bring to an end or destroy.
So the true meaning of Jesus fulfilling the law is to obey it to the full and to give them their full meaning just as we saw Him do in the remainder of Matthew chapter 5. Read the meaning of Jesus fulfilling the law for a lot more information and the associated topic were the Ten Commandments abolished and were the Ten Commandments nailed to the cross.