Let scripture interpret scripture.
A Biblical definition for the word “fulfill” of Matthew 5:17.
In Matthew 5:17 the Greek word G4137 πληρόω plēroō is in the form: πληρωσαι
This Greek word πληρωσαι appears four times in the New Testament:
Mat_3:15 KJV And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. Mat 3:15 αποκριθεις δε ο ιησους ειπεν προς αυτον αφες αρτι ουτως γαρ πρεπον εστιν ημιν πληρωσαι πασαν δικαιοσυνην τοτε αφιησιν αυτον
Mat_5:17 KJV Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Mat 5:17 μη νομισητε οτι ηλθον καταλυσαι τον νομον η τους προφητας ουκ ηλθον καταλυσαι αλλα πληρωσαι
Rom_15:13 KJV Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Rom 15:13 ο δε θεος της ελπιδος πληρωσαι υμας πασης χαρας και ειρηνης εν τω πιστευειν εις το περισσευειν υμας εν τη ελπιδι εν δυναμει πνευματος αγιου
Col_1:25 KJV Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Col 1:25 ης εγενομην εγω διακονος κατα την οικονομιαν του θεου την δοθεισαν μοι εις υμας πληρωσαι τον λογον του θεου
The Septuagint (LXX)
For those of us not familiar with the Septuagint (LXX), here is a summary:
The Septuagint (pronounced /ˈsɛptʊ.ədʒɪnt/), or simply “LXX”, referred to in critical works by the abbreviation, is the Koine Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE in Alexandria. It was begun by the third century BCE and completed before 132 BCE.
It is the oldest of several ancient translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean Basin from the time of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE).
The Septuagint was held in great respect in ancient times; Philo and Josephus (associated with Hellenistic Judaism) ascribed divine inspiration to its authors. Besides the Old Latin versions, the LXX is also the basis for the Slavonic, the Syriac, Old Armenian, Old Georgian and Coptic versions of the Old Testament. Of significance for all Christians and for Bible scholars, the LXX is quoted by the New Testament and by the Apostolic Fathers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint)
Our access to this translation is of immense value because it gives us tremendous insight to the usage and meanings of New Testament Greek words in their first century context.
Old Testament References from the Greek translation of Hebrew Scriptures:
The Greek word πληρωσαι appears nine times in the Septuagint. For textual comparison I have included the following translations: the Brenton (LXX’s English translation,) the King James Version, the LXX, and the Hebrew Interlinear. πληρωσαι and the words associated with it are highlighted.
You won’t have to be a Biblical scholar to realize that the first century understanding of πληρωσαι is very different than what is commonly taught.
Num_7:88 Brenton All the cattle for a sacrifice of peace-offering, twenty-four heifers, sixty rams, sixty he-goats of a year old, sixty ewe-lambs of a year old without blemish: this is the dedication of the altar, after that Moses consecrated Aaron, and after he anointed him.
Num_7:88 KJV And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.
Num 7:88 LXX πᾶσαι αἱ βόες εἰς θυσίαν σωτηρίου δαμάλεις εἴκοσι τέσσαρες, κριοὶ ἑξήκοντα, τράγοι ἑξήκοντα, ἀμνάδες ἑξήκοντα ἐνιαύσιαι ἄμωμοι. αὕτη ἡ ἐγκαίνωσις τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου μετὰ τὸ πληρῶσαι τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ καὶ μετὰ τὸ χρῖσαι αὐτόν. –
(Num 7:88)וכלH3605 And all בקרH1241 the oxen זבחH2077 for the sacrifice השׁלמיםH8002 of the peace offerings עשׂריםH6242 twenty וארבעהH702 and four פריםH6499 bullocks, אילםH352 the rams שׁשׁיםH8346 sixty, עתדיםH6260 the he goats שׁשׁיםH8346 sixty, כבשׂיםH3532 the lambs בניH1121 of the first שׁנהH8141 year שׁשׁיםH8346 sixty. זאתH2063 This חנכת H2598 the dedication המזבחH4196 of the altar, אחריH310 after that המשׁחH4886 it was anointed. אתו׃H853
The Hebrew word חנכת H2598 is Hanukkah!
1Ch_29:5 Brenton for thee to use the gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for every work by the hand of the artificers. And who is willing to dedicate himself in work this day for the Lord?
1Ch_29:5 KJV The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?
1Ch_29:5 LXX διὰ χειρὸς τεχνιτῶν. καὶ τίς ὁ προθυμούμενος πληρῶσαι τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ σήμερον κυρίῳ;
(1Ch 29:5) לזהבH2091 The gold לזהבH2091 for of gold, ולכסףH3701 and the silver לכסףH3701 for of silver, ולכלH3605 and for all manner מלאכהH4399 of work בידH3027 by the hands חרשׁיםH2796 of artificers. ומיH4310 And who מתנדבH5068 is willing למלאות H4390 to consecrate his service ידוH3027 to consecrate his service היוםH3117 this day ליהוה׃H3068 unto the LORD?
2Ch_13:9 Brenton Did ye not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make to yourselves priests of the people of any other land? whoever came to consecrate himself with a calf of the heard and seven rams, he forthwith became a priest to that which is no god.
2Ch_13:9 KJV Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.
2Ch_13:9 LXX ἦ οὐκ ἐξεβάλετε τοὺς ἱερεῖς κυρίου τοὺς υἱοὺς Ααρων καὶ τοὺς Λευίτας καὶ ἐποιήσατε ἑαυτοῖς ἱερεῖς ἐκ τοῦ λαοῦ τῆς γῆς; πᾶς ὁ προσπορευόμενος πληρῶσαι τὰς χεῖρας ἐν μόσχῳ ἐκ βοῶν καὶ κριοῖς ἑπτὰ καὶ ἐγίνετο εἰς ἱερέα τῷ μὴ ὄντι θεῷ.
(2Ch 13:9) הלאH3808 Have ye not הדחתםH5080 cast out אתH853 כהניH3548 the priests יהוהH3068 of the LORD, אתH853 בניH1121 the sons אהרןH175 of Aaron, והלויםH3881 and the Levites, ותעשׂוH6213 and have made לכם כהניםH3548 you priests כעמיH5971 after the manner of the nations הארצותH776 of lands? כלH3605 so that whosoever הבאH935 cometh למלא H4390 to consecrate ידוH3027 to consecrate בפרH6499 bullock בןH1121 himself with a young בקרH1241 himself with a young ואילםH352 rams, שׁבעהH7651 and seven והיהH1961 may be כהןH3548 a priest ללאH3808 of no אלהים׃H430 gods.
Job_20:23 Brenton If by any means he would fill his belly, let God send upon him the fury of wrath; let him bring a torrent of pains upon him.
Job_20:23 KJV When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.
Job_20:23 LXX εἴ πως πληρώσαι γαστέρα αὐτοῦ, ἐπαποστείλαι ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν θυμὸν ὀργῆς, νίψαι ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν ὀδύνας·
(Job 20:23) יהיH1961 he למלא H4390 is about to fill בטנוH990 his belly, ישׁלחH7971 shall cast בו חרוןH2740 the fury אפוH639 of his wrath וימטרH4305 upon him, and shall rain עלימוH5921 upon בלחומו׃H3894 him while he is eating.
Psa_20:4-5 Brenton (19:4) Grant thee according to thy heart, and fulfill all thy desire. (5) (19:5) We will exult in thy salvation, and in the name of our God shall we be magnified: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.
Psa_20:4-5 KJV Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. (5) We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.
Psa_20:4-5 LXX (19:5) δῴη σοι κατὰ τὴν καρδίαν σου καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν βουλήν σου πληρώσαι. (5) (19:6) ἀγαλλιασόμεθα ἐν τῷ σωτηρίῳ σου καὶ ἐν ὀνόματι θεοῦ ἡμῶν μεγαλυνθησόμεθα. πληρώσαι κύριος πάντα τὰ αἰτήματά σου.
(Psa 20:4-5) יתןH5414 Grant לך כלבבךH3824 thee according to thine own heart, וכלH3605 all עצתךH6098 thy counsel. ימלא׃ and fulfill H4390 (5) נרננהH7442 We will rejoice בישׁועתךH3444 in thy salvation, ובשׁםH8034 and in the name אלהינוH430 of our God נדגלH1713 we will set up banners: ימלאH4390 fulfill יהוהH3068 the LORD כלH3605 all משׁאלותיך׃H4862 thy petitions.
Isa_8:8 Brenton and he shall take away from Juda every man who shall be able to lift up his head, and every one able to accomplish anything; and his camp shall fill the breadth of thy land, O God with us.
Isa_8:8 KJV And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.
Isa_8:8 LXX καὶ ἀφελεῖ ἀπὸ τῆς Ιουδαίας ἄνθρωπον ὃς δυνήσεται κεφαλὴν ἆραι ἢ δυνατὸν συντελέσασθαί τι, καὶ ἔσται ἡ παρεμβολὴ αὐτοῦ ὥστε πληρῶσαι τὸ πλάτος τῆς χώρας σου· μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν ὁ θεός.
(Isa 8:8) וחלףH2498 And he shall pass ביהודהH3063 through Judah; שׁטףH7857 he shall overflow ועברH5674 and go over, עדH5704 to צוארH6677 the neck; יגיעH5060 he shall reach והיהH1961 מטותH4298 and the stretching out כנפיוH3671 of his wings מלא H4393 shall fill רחבH7341 the breadth ארצךH776 of thy land, עמנו אל׃H6005 O Immanuel.
Isa_13:3 Brenton I give command, and I bring them: giants are coming to fulfil my wrath, rejoicing at the same time and insulting.
Isa_13:3 KJV I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.
Isa_13:3 LXX ἐγὼ συντάσσω, καὶ ἐγὼ ἄγω αὐτούς· ἡγιασμένοι εἰσίν, καὶ ἐγὼ ἄγω αὐτούς· γίγαντες ἔρχονται πληρῶσαι τὸν θυμόν μου χαίροντες ἅμα καὶ ὑβρίζοντες.
(Isa 13:3) אניH589 I צויתיH6680 have commanded למקדשׁיH6942 my sanctified ones, גםH1571 I have also קראתיH7121 called גבוריH1368 my mighty ones לאפיH639 for mine anger, עליזיH5947 them that rejoice גאותי׃H1346 in my highness.
Jer_33:5 Brenton (40:5) to fight against the Chaldeans, and to fill it with the corpses of men, whom I smote in mine anger and my wrath, and turned away my face from them, for all their wickedness:
Jer_33:5 KJV They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.
Jer_33:5 LXX (40:5) τοῦ μάχεσθαι πρὸς τοὺς Χαλδαίους καὶ πληρῶσαι αὐτὴν τῶν νεκρῶν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, οὓς ἐπάταξα ἐν ὀργῇ μου καὶ ἐν θυμῷ μου, καὶ ἀπέστρεψα τὸ πρόσωπόν μου ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν περὶ πασῶν τῶν πονηριῶν αὐτῶν
(Jer 33:5) באיםH935 They come להלחםH3898 to fight אתH854 with הכשׂדיםH3778 the Chaldeans, ולמלאם H4390 but to fill אתH854 them with פגריH6297 the dead bodies האדםH120 of men, אשׁרH834 whom הכיתיH5221 I have slain באפיH639 in mine anger ובחמתיH2534 and in my fury, ואשׁרH834 whose הסתרתיH5641 I have hid פניH6440 my face מהעירH5892 city. הזאתH2063 from this עלH5921 and for כלH3605 all רעתם׃H7451 wickedness
The context of the instances πληρωσαι in the LXX and its associated Hebrew words don’t hint to these definitions; end, complete or finish.
The dedication of the altar was not “the end of it.” it was its beginning!
The consecration of a priest into service was not “the end” of his service or life, it was the beginning of service!
Given that this word πληρωσαι is not only used as fill and fulfil but also as dedicate, dedication and consecrate, it is safe to say that the first century usage of this particular form of πληρωσαι should not be interpreted as: end, complete or finish. To do so would be to ignore the Biblical definition for the sake of doctrine.
When we let scripture interpret scripture – Matthew 5:17 takes on a very different meaning than what is commonly taught.