“Do not think that I came to annul the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to annul, but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17
To Fulfill – In 144 AD the Church branded Marcion a heretic and rejected his truncated Bible. Marcion taught that Christians had no further use of the Hebrew Scriptures except as a matter of historical interest. He also rejected a great deal of the New Testament books as too “Jewish.” He accepted the gospel of Luke and ten Pauline letters as the only true canon for Christians. The Church rejected this heresy, but it didn’t quite demolish the theological position behind Marcion’s claim. Marcion’s heresy was based on his belief that the Law and, consequently all things Jewish, was done away with in the death and resurrection of the Christ. In other words, Marcion read this verse as follows: “Don’t think I came to erase the Law and the Prophets; I did not come to erase but to finish.” Marcion believed that Jesus completed the Law making it no longer necessary or essential for Christians. The Church threw out Marcion, but it kept his theology.
A few weeks ago, someone wrote to me with the following statements:
“The only parts of the scriptures that are for the Gentiles are Paul’s letters. All of the rest is directed to Israel. Yes, every word that Jesus said while he was the dusty Nazarene here on planet Earth was for Israel, not for us. . . . Skip, grace is the only thing that’s supposed to squeeze through! This is the administration of grace! The administration of law is over! Christ is the end of the law, Rom 10:4. . . The law of Moses is a “dispensation of condemnation” designed to drive one to helplessness in Christ. We are not to go back and follow the law, Gal 4:9 – 11.”
Marcion is back from the grave. Abraham Heschel writes, “Marcion remains a formidable menace, a satanic challenge. In the modern Christian community the power of Marcionism is much more alive and widespread than is generally realized . . .”
Perhaps we could put a stop to this heresy once-and-for-all if we just realized what Yeshua said in Hebrew. Our confusion comes from the Greek word pleroo. The Greek verb means “to make full, to fill up” and specifically with prophecy “to fulfill, accomplish or bring to an end.” There’s the confusion. This Greek verb can be read to mean “to end,” but Yeshua wasn’t speaking Greek. Matthew is a translation from Hebrew and in Hebrew the meaning comes from the root kiyem which means “to cause to stand or uphold.” So, the Hebrew sense of this statement is about interpreting the Scripture correctly. To annul the Law is to misinterpret the Law. To fulfill the Law is to correctly interpret the Law. In either case, the Law remains.
You will notice that Yeshua’s ministry is concerned with correcting the interpretation of the Torah and when the Torah is correctly interpreted, it demands action. To fulfill the Law is to do what is dictated by the Law. That is an on-going consideration obviously not set aside by Yeshua’s death and resurrection. When the Church removed itself from its Jewish roots, it adopted the spirit of Marcion even as it rejected Marcion himself. In spite of branding Marcion a heretic, the Church has adopted his point of view. The idea that the Law has been set aside is a complete bastardization of Yeshua’s statement. From a Hebrew perspective, such thinking is simply impossible. God authored the Law and nothing will annul it, not even the passing away of heaven and earth.
Does Marcion live in your religious assembly? Is he hiding between the pages of your hymnal or peaking over the edge of the pulpit? Is he authoring your Sunday school material or your devotionals? Until you put him in the grave for good, you will be playing silent host to Satan who would like nothing better than your rejection of God’s Torah.
Topical Index: Law, annul, fulfill, Matthew 5:17, pleroo, kiyem, Marcion
 Abraham Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom, cited in Brad Young, Paul the Jewish Theologian, p. 61.