Matthew 5:17 explanation?

“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."

Following this verse, shouldn’t we follow all the Old Testament laws? What did Jesus mean with “fulfill the Law”?

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And who was HE talking to? Was it you or me?
No HE was speaking to the JEWS.


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Jesus completely fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. He both perfects and transforms it. The sacrificial laws expired but the moral laws were retained and refined.


No. Read on.

For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
Matthew 5:18 NRSV-CI

The Cross and the Tomb where when all was accomplished. Now we are under grace.

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He means that the law must be fulfilled by us, and that our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, and that we must be perfect just as He says in those passages. We do this now by the Spirit, no longer under the law but under grace. We do this as God builds and expresses love in and through us.

Because “love fulfills the law” (Rom 13:10). And because communion with God and the love that it accomplishes in us already places us ahead of the Pharisees in terms of righteousness. And because our perfection is attained to the extent that we love God and neighbor.

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why does heaven need to pass away?

But before Jesus’s death he already saved an adulterous woman from the death penalty, even though the Law allowed this; he completely condemned divorce, even though the Law allowed it; he said “If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also”, even though the Law said “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth”…

That case was bogus. There was no man brought to be stoned.

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Hang on a second – it’s not just “cross and tomb”; Jesus says “until heaven and earth pass away.”

So, it’s not over till it’s over – the kingdom of heaven is “already and not yet” present. The Law is still present (for those to whom it was given) and Grace is also present (for those who follow Christ).

The case was unresolvable under Mosaic law, but we don’t know that it was ‘bogus’, as such. Jesus resolved it under the principle of mercy.

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We are not under Law though. We are under grace.

On the Cross Jesus said, “It is done.” Since then, the Law is no longer in force.

For Gentiles.


God finds fault with them when he says: “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I had no concern for them, says the Lord. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach one another or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” In speaking of “a new covenant,” he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old will soon disappear.
Hebrews 8:8‭-‬13 NRSV-CI

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Please don’t confuse the law and the covenant. God’s command are eternal because it is the word of God and is God Himself; the covenant is just a vehicle through which the law is conveyed, it could mean era or time. So yes the time (old covenant) is made obsolete by the new era (new covenant).

I’ll give you a simple example to show how you keep the law even today.
Are you married and are faithful to your wife or husband? Then you are the #1 law keeper.

@Julius_Caesar: please note what you have quoted. “Obsolete”? Sure. “Disappeared”? Nope… “what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away”, according to the RSV-CE, and “what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing”, according to the NAB.

Notice what both are saying – it hasn’t disappeared yet. And, given Jesus’ assertion – “until heaven and earth pass away” – we’re not expecting it will do so till the eschaton.

I’d also like to point out that the part that seems to be causing you some confusion – namely, the meaning of “until all is accomplished”, which you interpret as meaning “the death and resurrection of Jesus” – isn’t how that passage is translated in the NAB: “until all things have taken place”.

So, I think that the more accurate way to approach that verse is to realize that the context is “the end of time” and not just “the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry”.

I don’t keep it cause of Moses. I keep it cause of Christ.

Newsflash, the Temple has been destroyed. So it’s disappeared since.

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Including the Law of Moses.

Nope, you keep it cause of Moses:

Rom 7: 1 Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.

And if you read the whole chapter, you’ll realize that the law is actually good and Holy.

No, becuase of Christ.

You need to read the next chapter.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 8:2‭-‬4 NRSV-CI

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Newsflash: this passage is talking about covenants, not temples!

NB: the first temple was destroyed in the 6th century B.C. (give or take). The lack of a temple doesn’t imply that the covenant itself was likewise destroyed!

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