Can a way Christ's mission to "fulfill" the law (Mat 5:17-18) be understood as finishing ("It is finished" John 19:30 b) the marriage between God and Israel through his death? Thus a purpose of Christ’s life and death, as it relates to fulfilling the law, was freeing both parties, God and Israel, to enter into a new covenant.

Obviously, the beauty and purpose of the Passion is a many sided gem. I am specifically asking if this is a way of understanding Matthew 5:17. I'm basing the logic of both God and man having to die on Romans 7:1-4. Christ's death fulfilled both the death of the husband (God) and the death of the wife (man, or Christ as the second Adam) so that both parties can be remarried. We then join Christ, through baptism, into this new marriage with God.

"Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another-to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God." -Romans 7:1-4

Greek for "fulfill" and "finished" in Matthew 5:17 and John 19:30 respectively:

πληρόω, (a) I fill, I fill up, e.g. Lk. 2:40, 3:5, John 12:3; (b) much oftener, I fill up to the full, I fulfil, I give fullness (completion) to, I accomplish, carry out, of prophecies or other statements which are absolutely and completely confirmed by reality (actual occurrence), or of duties

Souter, A. (1917). A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (p. 205). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

(τελέω, (a) I end, complete, accomplish, finish: also I fulfil; in Gal. 5:16, possibly I perform; (b) of taxes, dues, I pay, Mt. 17:24, Rom. 13:6)

Souter, A. (1917). A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (p. 259). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Welcome to BH. Although you are quoting Matt 5:17 you are raising a number of areas of study, other topics of consideration and covering a large area in your question. In effect this question is building the case for what I would term a 'systematic theology' : which is not the purpose of SE-BH. However others may view this question differently and may disagree with my viewpoint and my own vote to close. I would suggest taking one step at a time and simply examining Matt 5:17 in isolation, first. Please see the Tour and the Help (below) as to the purpose and the functioning of the site.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 8, 2020 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


Can a way Christ's mission to “fulfill” the law be understood as finishing the marriage between God and Israel through his death?

My answer is a clear no.

From the Jews point of view, this is just the opposite of reality. Judaism has continued since then until today. They still follow the Torah.

fulfilling the law, was freeing both parties, God and Israel, to enter into a new covenant.

This makes no sense to the Jews. Judaism has not entered into a new covenant. They are still waiting for the yet-to-be-fulfilled Messiah.

Now, what about from the Christian's point of view? Does it make sense to the Christians.

Again, the answer is no.

Romans 11:17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.

Paul pointed out that Gentile Christians were grafted into the original Jew-only olive tree. Christians are not independent of Jews from God's point of view in the symbol of the olive tree. This olive tree symbol became the bride symbol in the NT.

Continuing the marriage allegory, there is only one transcendental wedding in the Bible. Jesus is the bridegroom.

Mark 2:19 And Jesus said to them, “While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.

There is only one bride.

Revelation 19:7
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

God's holy people, the bride, includes Jews and Gentiles.

When Jesus died on the Cross, it did not finish the marriage between Jews and God. Instead, it initiated the grafting in of the Gentiles into the Jewish olive tree to become a new bride for Christ in a future wedding in heaven.


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