I think my main concern is more of a philosophical tone, but I think I need some hermeneutical advice before.

OK, these are the verses:

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name: those that you gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. - John 17:12

Think you that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? - Mathew 26:53,54

A clean reading of these verses makes it cleat that they are talking about future events around the Crucifixion of Christ.

A crude reading of John 17:12 is routinely used as proof-text of a specific type of fatalism/determinism. The idea is that the betrayal from Judas was not merely known in advance by God, but actively previously determined by a divine plan; the betrayal was planned in order to match the Scripture predictions, and then it was impossible that the betrayal would not occur.

On the other hand, the second verse challenges this understanding. The verse clearly says Jesus could possibly avoid being captured by praying for the Father. But if He did this, then the Scriptures would not be fulfilled.

Hence it implies the Scripture can possibly not be fulfilled.

Both readings are a bit problematic in my opinion.

That being said, I ask:

What is the meaning of "fulfill" in John 17:12 and Matthew 26:54?

  • 4
    I agree that there is a 'philosophical' way of thinking about such texts, this related question is similar in that regard. But I, personally, would be interested to see the matter of πληρόω (Strong 4137) being competently discussed so up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 20:16

7 Answers 7


The intonations are different in those two quotations: John 17:12 says it with an apparent intonation of a remorse and sadness, as if Jesus said: "how bad that the Scripture is to be fulfilled, for of course I'd rather have it unfulfilled, so that my beloved Judas, whom I made so close to Myself as to make him one of the 12 closest disciples, may not have betrayed Me".

On the contrary, the Matthew 26:54 has an intonation of approval and almost a celebration of what is written in the Scripture, as if Jesus says: "I can change it, but I shall not, because it is not My will to do so, rather My will is to fulfil it."

Interestingly, the second quotation shows that Jesus is not subject to any written prophesy, but a master over the prophesies, being Himself more principal than the prophesy as the Inspirer is more principal than the inspired and as the King is more principal than a royal decree issued by Him.

It is, thus, an idolatrous and logically improper thought to put Scripture above Jesus, and in both cases, John 17:12 and Matthew 26:54 He could easily change the Scriptures, and the only reason He did not do so was that He did not want to do so. Indeed, could not He, knowing that Judas is betraying Him, hide Himself from the murderous Jews whom Judas had lead to Him? Or, couldn't He knowing about this treason expel Judas from the 12? He did not, because He did not want to.

Thus, now, having established that fatalism is an idolatrous doctrine and Jesus was not any fatalistically and slavishly committed to Scriptures as something higher to Him (but treated it as His own establishment or a product of His own act of inspiring the prophets who uttered those oracles called "Scriptures" in Biblical jargon), we can proceed with asking a more pertinent question: why did Jesus desire and decided to fulfil the Scripture and not to interfere with it Sovereignly as He could?

Now, to take a "one at a time" approach, let us see both cases, for motives of divine desire of fulfilment in both are seemingly different:

  1. John 17:12: I will hazard this interpretation: as if Jesus says: "I have to suffer the treason, not interfere with it in an outward manner, like expelling Judas, or punishing him, as any human leader would do, but I as God want not to interfere with freedom of anybody, I do not want slaves who are afraid of Me, I do not want to impose Myself on anybody, I want a free response of a free human heart, and if this heart in its stupidity betrays Me, thinking that it can find someone or something better and more desirable than Me, let it search and get freely frustrated, so that it may again come to Me in a free repentance". Exactly this is Jesus' saying to Judas: "go and do your deed quickly" (John 13:27), why "quickly"? - Do it quickly so as to remain in sin and stupidity as shortly as possible and come back to repent as soon as possible, for this is Christ's caring desire for hapless Judas. Thus, "Let the Scripture be fulfilled", i.e. "Let Me not interfere in the freedom of any man, for I need a free followers, friends and co-heirs of My and the Father's Kingdom, not slaves".

  2. In the second instance, actually, the same divine motivation is at stake, as if Jesus said: "If I will show them My divine power, for not only by asking Father I can summon twelve legions of angels, but all angels and demons, the entire creation, is subjected to My authority, and I do not need any angel, in fact, if I wished to punish My murderers, for if I can turn 5 breads into 5 thousand breads, cannot I turn thousands of my persecutors into thousand of breathless corpses? But then people will start fearing Me and becoming My slaves, not My friends; so let the Scriptures be fulfilled! Let Judas betray Me, let the Jews hand Me to Roman authorities, let Pilates pusillanimously crucify Me while well knowing that this is not lawful even according to the Roman law, let terrorist blow up a bus with innocent tourists, let a politician become a president through rigged elections etc. etc. - I will not interfere, because I am God and wish not to have slaves as citizens of My Kingdom, but humans, My image and likenesses must be divinely sovereign, fearless and free, My co-citizens, My brothers and sisters and Fathers's children by adoption, for I am His eternal and unique natural Son, while humans His children through Me, by a graceful adoption."

Thus, in both cases "fulfil" indicates and stands for divine respect of human freedom, His will not to interfere with it, but permit it, even if it is evil, while willing, of course, that neither Judas sallies himself by treason, nor Jews agitated by the elders sally themselves by murder, nor Lance Armstrong sallies himself by winning Tour de France through doping etc.

There is a world of difference between divine will, which is only for good, and divine permission of evil, and this difference has everything to do with the mystery of freedom of both God and humans.


A significant difference is numerical. In Matthew, Jesus speaks of the Scriptures, plural, which must be fulfilled, plural. In John He speaks of Scripture, singular, which must be fulfilled, singular.

52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures (γραφαὶ) be fulfilled (πληρωθῶσιν), that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures (γραφαὶ) of the prophets (προφητῶν) might be fulfilled (πληρωθῶσιν).” Then all the disciples left him and fled. (Matthew 26 ESV)

12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled (πληρωθῇ). 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled (πεπληρωμένην) in themselves. (John 17)

  • πληρωθῶσιν (Matthew 26:54, 56) - aorist subjunctive passive; third person plural
  • πληρωθῇ (John 17:12) - aorist subjunctive passive; third person singular
  • πεπληρωμένην (John 17:13) - perfect participle middle or passive; accusative feminine singular

Therefore one of the many Scriptures spoken of in Matthew includes the single one spoken of John, a perspective emphasized by what immediately follows in both books. In Matthew, the same term, πληρωθῶσιν, is repeated with the addition of the prophets, plural. In John, the singular form is used a second time, but as a perfect participle in reference to Jesus' joy, which is also singular. Yet, this joy which is singular contrasts with the singular Scripture fulfilled since it will be given to all the disciples, not just one.

There is no conflict between the passages. Rather, since the "negative" component of fulfillment is singular and was fulfilled, it has no ability to infringe on any other Scriptures. If there is anything believers may take away from fulfillment as it relates to the son of destruction, it is that all Scripture will be fulfilled: it testifies to God's faithfulness. Moreover, one could argue the fulfillment of the one which pertains to the son of destruction, released the joy of the Lord to all who believe. The joy Jesus speaks of is not "qualified" by either Scripture or fulfillment terminology. One could say this becomes a new Scripture which will eventually be completely fulfilled in its own time.


By fulfill, the passages clearly mean the fulfillment of the prophecies and the Mission of Jesus. The question basically asks about whether Jesus could fail his mission and fall into sin; and the problem of predestination with freewill. Note, that Jesus was not praying that Judas should betray, to fulfill the predictions, or he did not plan his betrayal to fix the prophecies. All events happened by free agents and the foreknowledge or predetermination does not mean causal-determinism.

Molinism gives a perfect harmony without compromising either of the sovereignty of God and man's freedom, unlike the Open Theists and Calvinists who compromise those things respectively. God's foreknowledge doesn't necessitate the action one would perform, because his foreknowledge is based on his innate knowledge of all possibilities, and it works like as a barometer determining the weather. It doesn't causally determine the weather, but acknowledges it. It is inevitable that the foreknown action X will happen, but inevitability or certainty does not mean necessity. The action X is contingent on (a) God's decision to create the world where X would happen with (b) man's free contingent choice. If we are talking about the action X, it is purely contingent and determined by the agent. The Calvinists and Open Theists confuses inevitability with necessity, thus they see divine foreknowledge and freewill of man as contradictory. The foremost Molinist philosopher Dr. Craig clarifies this popular error of those fatalist theologians and atheists.

This argument for theological fatalism is a mistaken argument – it is a fallacious argument. Here’s basically how the argument goes:

  1. Necessarily, if God foreknows X, then X will happen (where X can be any sort of event that you want to imagine in the future).

  2. God foreknows X (God foreknows everything that is going to happen, so he foreknows X will happen).

  3. Therefore, necessarily, X will happen.

But if X happens necessarily, then that means that everything is fated to occur and therefore there is no freedom.

This argument for theological fatalism is fallacious. Before I explain why, I would like to make a general observation. This argument has got to be fallacious because fatalism posits a constraint upon human freedom which is completely unintelligible. God’s knowledge is not thought to be the cause of what will happen in the future. The claim is not that God’s knowing about something causes that something to happen. The event itself may be entirely uncaused – it could be a free event or it could be some quantum event that is completely causally indeterminate. The fatalist is not saying that God’s foreknowledge of some event is the cause of the event. But in that case, if the event is causally indeterminate, then how can God’s knowing about it in advance constrain it in any way? From reasonablefaith, Defenders Podcast: Series 2 > Doctrine of God (part 14)

So, God's predestining and foreknowledge of events doesn't make them necessary events. The events are contingent and caused by the agents themselves. Now to the second question: Could Jesus Sin?

It was definitely possible that Jesus could sin and betray his mission, but in his victory the real glory and power of God is demonstrated that the sovereign God came in the form of a mortal man to prove his love. He came in the realm of sin to destroy the power of sin.

Romans 8:3 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 for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

[Hebrews 2:14-18 ESV] 14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

[Hebrews 4:14-15 ESV] 14Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus came in the form of sinful flesh, not in the guise of a sinful flesh. He was truly a human, as much as every son of Adam is, in order to be a proper atonement for mankind. Any doctrine such as the original sin by Augustine, a former Gnostic Manichaean priest, reduces the humanity of Christ by excluding him from the natural mankind or lineage of Adam; and making sin a substance matter rather than moral transgression. These innovative heresies undermine and reject his sacrificial atonement, it is the same as the early Gnostic's denial of the suffering and death of Christ by making his humanity a divine illusion.

John 6:44 "No man can come unto Me, except the Father which has sent Me draw Him."

The Manichæans spring upon these words, saying, "that nothing lies in our own power"; yet the expression shows that we are masters of our will. "For if a man comes to Him," says some one, "what need is there of drawing?" But the words do not take away our free will, but show that we greatly need assistance. And He implies not an unwilling comer, but one enjoying much succor. Then He shows also the manner in which He draws; for that men may not, again, form any material idea of God. (Homily 46 on the Gospel of John, Chrysostom)

This is where I disagree with Dr. Craig that Jesus couldn't sin and give in to the temptation because it was out of possibility for him; like a scenario where you resist the temptation to eat a cake in the fridge only to discover later there was no cake in the fridge. The temptation was real, but there was no possibility to fall into it. I think these are special hypothetical scenarios and shows only specific examples. The example doesn't prove that it is always impossible for you to eat a cake when you can buy it later. Temptation entails the possibility of giving into the temptation. There was no reason for God to allow Jesus to discipline himself spiritually like the 40 days of fasting, and suffer the anguish in Gethsemane when he wasn't actually capable of sinning. Praise is only deserving when the victory is genuine. If Jesus was incapable of sinning, then he is not deserving of the praise for overcoming the temptations of sin, and defeating the devil. If we believe that he was merely sent in a self-delusion of being a genuine man, then it takes away his humanity, undermining his atonement, and also makes God himself ingenuine and pretentious. Jesus could fail to fulfill his mission by paving in to the sinful temptation, but he genuinely proved to be victorious over the devil. His suffering and temptations were genuine, only then he can be sympathized and can help his brothers to overcome temptation. Nothing he faced and experienced was an illusion and trickery.


What is the meaning of "fulfill" in John 17:12 and Matthew 26:54 ?

Firstly, the Q. here, should really have been with regard to "might be fulfilled/should be fulfilled" respectively, rather than just "fulfill". The mere word "fulfill" is not part of either of these bible verses in question and therefore is not seen to be in declination, nor therefore can it be meaningful. Whereas, the single Greek word "plerothe" (in the first instance involving John) and "plerothosin" (in the second instance for Matthew) are both aorist, subjunctive, passive and not only that but 3rd person singular and 3rd person plural, again respectively. The 'aorist' tense being used to cleverly emphasize correctness and precision of statement. Plerothe/plerothosin, according to 'Strong's 4137', is from pleres; to make replete, i.e. verify/satisfy. Such is the majesty of the Greek language.

In both the excerpts of John and Matthew, Jesus is doing the talking, praying even in the first instance, about how things are, or have to be, in order for the scripture/scriptures to be fulfilled, as pertains to his betrayal, pre and during. The prayer, in of itself, is essentially an intercession for those who will form the church (vv. 6-26).

Pre Betrayal

In John 17:12, Jesus is actually praying to his Father in heaven, right before being betrayed by Judas to essentially the Romans, in the garden of Gethsemane. This great, so called "high priestly", prayer to his Father has several aspects, including a request for the continued protection of his disciples, presumably from the time of the coming arrest, until at least the "GREAT COMMISSION" by way of his disciples, has proved its usefulness, prior to the first "Roman Jewish War" (66 AD thru 73 AD). For, all but John were to have suffered martyrdom by that time, excepting Judas, the Son of Perdition who, after having played his part in Jesus' betrayal, of his own freewill, then took his own life, ...in order that the scripture 'might be fulfilled', as **foretold. For comparison, see Psalm 41:9, where David's betrayal pictures Judas' betrayal.

**...does not mean that Judas was compelled to this course, in order that scripture might be fulfilled, but that this was foretold - (Barnes).


One should note that here, also in verse 12, that the 'name' of Jesus means 'Jehovah's Salvation' and that in order to fulfill that salvation aspect, Jesus' own foretold path should not be altered. A look at John 17:3, tells us more about that...

John 17:3(NASB)..."And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent."

Ryrie's note to the above verse enlightens us more: ... This is Christ's definition of salvation, especially if we add what is clearly understood: sent to be the Savior of the world (3:16; 4:42; 6:33; 1 John 4:14; 5:20).

John 17:12(NASB)..."While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name 'which'(emphasis mine) Thou has given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled"...

...As to the emphasis on 'which' this is because some translations incorrectly translate the first 'ho', in the interlinear, as 'those whom', which is out of agreement with previous verse.

At Betrayal

In Matt 26:52,53 and 54, again Jesus is doing the talking, but not in prayer, and starts off by rebuking Simon Peter for his rash defense of him, when the disciple used his sword, resulting in a high priest's servants ear being chopped off..."Put your sword back into it's place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword", says Jesus in v.52. He then points out to Simon Peter, the all to salient point that, although the power is within him to call on legions of angels to come to his defense, he would not take that course, reasoning thus...

Matt 26:54 (NASB)..."How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that it should happen this way?" ** see further note from Barnes.

... and goes on to extrapolate on scripture fulfillment in v.56. At which point all his disciples fled, for fear of being identified with him in his betrayal, this in of itself, another fulfillment of scripture. For it was written...


**...that is, the scriptures which foretold of his dying for the world - (Barnes).

Moment of weakness

Matt 26:39,42...to let this cup pass from Jesus, would not also be in fulfillment of scripture, so Jesus, in a special moral duty and obligation to fulfill all scripture(s), submits.

Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

26:47-56 No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary weakness; he submitted to death. If he had not been willing to suffer, they could not conquer him. It was a great sin for those who had left all to follow Jesus; now to leave for they knew not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from him, whom they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!

  • 2
    This is very well said, +1. I particularly like the Barnes quote on Judas and your comment on the majesty of the Greek language! Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 1:44
  • 1
    PS you mention that all the apostles but John died by the time of the Roman Jewish war. I have heard this but have never been able to track down solid sources for several of them. Are there any early histories on the fates of the apostles that you have found particularly reliable/helpful? Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 1:47
  • 1
    @Hold To The Rod- Thank you. This was a difficult one to keep focused on. Had to do it over two days, mainly due to prior commitments. As to the fates of the apostles: I have nothing in particular to pass on. Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 6:45
  • 1
    @OldeEnglish As to the fates of the apostles: I have nothing in particular to pass on. So why did you affirm without hesitation, “all [the Twelve?] but John were to have suffered martyrdom by that time [66 AD thru 73 AD]”? Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 8:22
  • @MigueldeServet- because over 30+ years of study, I have come across various accounts of the fates of the 1st Cent. apostles but with no true consensus of opinion. Dates and modes of death varying also. But nowhere have I seen reports of life after, at the very latest, 73 AD, apart from John. Commented Jun 17, 2021 at 13:06

Definition: Fulfil - Strong's Gr 4137 "pleroo" means to make full, to complete.

The NASB translation uses it for "accomplish (1), accomplished (1), amply supplied (1), approaching (1), complete (1), completed (3), completing (1), elapsed (1), fill (3), filled (16), fills (1), finished (1), fulfill (20), fulfilled (20), fully carry (1), fully come (1), fully preached (1), increasing (1), made complete (2), made full (5), make...full (1), make...complete (1), passed (2), supply (1)." (Source: Biblehub)

Both usages in John 17:12 and Matt. 26:54 fall under Thayer's Greek Lexicon definition at 2c.

"c. to carry into effect, bring to realization, realize... β. of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish; ... universally and absolutely, to fulfil, i. e. "to cause God's will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God's promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment" (Ibid)

Having the definition, we then look at context of the scriptures to determine the full meaning, and not just from the single verse.

Matt. 26:51-56,

"51 And lo, one of those with Jesus, having stretched forth the hand, drew his sword, and having struck the servant of the chief priest, he took off his ear.

52 Then saith Jesus to him, `Turn back thy sword to its place; for all who did take the sword, by the sword shall perish;

53 dost thou think that I am not able now to call upon my Father, and He will place beside me more than twelve legions of messengers?

54 how then may the Writings be fulfilled, that thus it behoveth to happen?'

55 In that hour said Jesus to the multitudes, `As against a robber ye did come forth, with swords and sticks, to take me! daily with you I was sitting teaching in the temple, and ye did not lay hold on me;

56 but all this hath come to pass, that the Writings of the prophets may be fulfilled;' then all the disciples, having left him, fled." (YLT)

Jesus was clearly stating that what was happening was not by the will of man, but the predetermined will of God for His plan of salvation to be accomplished (Acts 2:23). He stated that He could have called the heavenly messengers to defend Him. He obviously did not need the defense of the disciple's sword.

The context then is that even though He had the power to change it, He was not going to. He did not want to prevent it as He went to the cross willingly for our sakes (John 10:17-18; Eph. 5:2; 2 Cor 8:9)).

Reading the scriptures from the human emotional perspective is sometimes a disadvantage. Our feelings become caught up in our fears of the physical death Jesus was going to endure, our empathy for the horror of having nails driven through His feet and hands, of a slow suffocating death while hanging on that cross.

Jesus' prayer in Matt. 26:39 for the cup to pass from Him was not caused by the fear of physical death, but the shame of having all of the sins of all of mankind laid upon Him. He despised that shame because for a few moments it was going to separate Him from the Father (Matt. 27:46).

"looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, ..." (Heb. 12:2, RSV)

The context of Jesus' prayer for His disciples in John 17, beginning with vs. 9:

"9 `I ask in regard to them; not in regard to the world do I ask, but in regard to those whom Thou hast given to me, because Thine they are,

10 and all mine are Thine, and Thine [are] mine, and I have been glorified in them;

11 and no more am I in the world, and these are in the world, and I come unto Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, whom Thou hast given to me, that they may be one as we;

12 when I was with them in the world, I was keeping them in Thy name; those whom Thou hast given to me I did guard, and none of them was destroyed, except the son of the destruction, that the Writing may be fulfilled.

13 `And now unto Thee I come, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves;" (YLT)

And further, in vs. 18, "as Thou did send me to the world..."

The mention of Judas in vs. 12 is a parenthetical qualifier. Ellicott's commentary here is helpful:

"The term, “son of perdition,” is a well-known Hebrew idiom, by which the lack of qualitative adjectives is supplied by the use of the abstract substantives, which express that quality. A disobedient child is, e.g., “a son of disobedience;” other common instances are “children of light,” “children of darkness.” A “son of perdition” is one in whose nature there is the quality expressed by “perdition.” The phrase is used in Isaiah 57:4 to express the apostacy of the Israelites (in English version, “children of transgression”). It occurs once again in 2Thessalonians 2:3, of the “man of sin.” (Comp. Notes there.) It is used, in the Gospel of Nicodemus, of the devil. In the present passage it is difficult to express the meaning in English, because we have no verb of the same root as the abstract substantive “perdition,” and no abstract substantive of the same root as the verb “perish.” No exact translation can therefore give in English the point of our Lord’s words, “And none of them perished except him whose nature it was to perish.” " (Source: Biblehub)

The verse is not about Judas specifically, but about the keeping of those who believed. Keeping them, preserving and guarding over them. (Strong's Gr. 5083, tereo)

Jesus came to do the Father's will (John 6:38). He always sought the Father's will (John 4:34; 8:30). He was fulfilling, accomplishing, completing - keeping - the prophecies that were told in times past by the messengers God sent, including those of His own - the Messenger (Angel) of the Lord, the Word that was with God (John 1:1).

Not fatalism, but promise. He was keeping the promises of God; the promises to Abraham that through His seed (Isaac) all nations should be blessed (Gen. 12:2-3; John 8:56); the promises for His children for both obedience and disobedience (Deu. 30:15-20); His promise of salvation for all who will believe (Rom. 1:16-17).

And He did so by His actions to accomplish, complete and fulfill those promises. The best sense of the use of the word in these passages is accomplishing and keeping the promises of God that had been written before.

  • 1
    This is not by most means a bad A. However, if one were to go to the 'Interlinear', for John 17:12, the first ' ho' is (best) translated 'which' and not 'those whom' otherwise the point is missed as to the meaning of Jesus' name [Jehovah's Salvation], having been given to him by the Father. 'Ho' here is a Personal Relative Pronoun, Dative Neuter Singular ... there is nothing 'plural' about it. If one uses 'those whom' it actually changes the whole structure of the sentence and puts the emphasis on the disciples and away from Jesus. See v.11 for further clarity and Ellicott's preferred trans'. Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 17:02

At first look many will read "so and so happened that the scripture might be fulfilled", as meaning a specific act was performed to match a prophecy. You write down yesterday that the person who answers your question will be named Steve, so I change my screen name to Steve to *Fulfill what you wrote.

As with many sayings, idioms, etc., from antiquity, or from different languages and cultures, we have to transpose and adjust with care. I know *you know that - I'm speaking about those who carelessly draw immediate conclusions without proper deliberation & knowledge.

Think about this John 8:48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

No one talks like this. And..... We have one Father—even God,.... or truly truly I say to you.

When we read that the scripture might be fulfilled, as in the quote about Judas, and in many cases we are hearing,...

This was not a surprise. Nothing went wrong. There is no contingency plan in the works to adapt to this unseen turn of events. That's what- so the scripture would be fulfilled means in so many cases and is a kind of *Short form way of saying it.

See here Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death,.... 25 For David says concerning him,......

And again in Acts 4 “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’[e]—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Christ' death was so the scripture could be fulfilled. Meaning... Romans 9: 6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

Messiah dying was not what the Jews thought. Nothing went wrong. His apostles were not left picking up the pieces of a failed mission. God's Word has not failed. The Scriptures were Fulfilled and that's why they included this saying many times in the New Testament.

Jesus was not only explaining to Pilate, but Matthew was explaining to the Jews & to us, the readers, that Christ was the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. Jesus was saying "if I stop you now with my power, I'm fighting against Myself ! This is My Plan."

Judas and his actions, like all of our actions are known by Almighty God before any of them come to be. (Psalm 139). Like Herod & Pilate, God weaves together our free actions, who we are, and what our free choices make us, to accomplish his purpose. It is not so the scriptures can be fulfilled in some kind of put up job, it just means God's Plan has been announced beforehand and He's not just winging it.

  • Welcome to BHSE! Please make sure you take our tour. Thanks Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 18:09
  • @JohnJohnson Christ was the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. I suppose that you are quoting from Rev 13:8. The phrase "from the foundation of the world" is not in apposition to the "Lamb slain", but to "whose name has not been written". Confirmation of this can be found in Rev 17:8, where the phrase “written in the book of life since the foundation of the world” occurs with no ambiguity. Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 14:36

I could discuss the Greek word for fulfill, but there isn't much to discuss.

God is not bound by scripture. Scripture is bound by God's will.

         so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; 
  it shall not return to me empty, 
              but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, 
  and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isa. 55:11, ESV)

 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (Mt 12:8, ESV)

God's word and the scriptures fulfilled is for our sake to hear and believe in God and what is true.

 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:14–17, ESV)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Heb. 4:12–13, ESV)

I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’  I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he [ἐγώ εἰμι]. (John 13:18–19, ESV)

This voice has come for your sake, not mine. (John 12:30)

And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. (John 14:29, ESV)

“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you. (John 16:1–4)

Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:30–33, ESV)

When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. (John 2:22, ESV)

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matt 24:23–27, ESV)

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