Fulfillment Theology - In Jesus

OVERVIEW - The types and “shadows” of the Hebrew Bible find their fulfillment and substance in the Son, Christ Jesus.

Bible Closed - Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash
In the New Testament, the fulfillment of the promises from the Hebrew Bible are found in Jesus Christ - “
In him” all the promises of God find their “yea” and “amen.” Likewise, the things “hidden” in the past, the “mysteries” of God, are now revealed fully in the life, words, death, resurrection, and exaltation of His Son. This is not the abandonment of the covenant Yahweh made with Abraham; in Jesus, the shadows and promises are brought to fruition - [Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash].

In the messianic age, the nation of Israel is not “replaced” by the New Covenant people of God. Instead, the original promise to Abraham to bless “all the nations” is fulfilled as Jews and Gentiles are united in Jesus into one new people - (Romans 16:25, Galatians 2:28, 2 Corinthians 1:19-2:0).

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is the promised Messiah who came to fulfill “all the Law and the Prophets.” In fact, fulfillment in him is a key theme threaded throughout Matthew - (Matthew 1:22, 2:15, 2:17, 2:23, 4:17, 5:17-20, 8:17, etc.).

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is the true Tabernacle in which the unveiled glory of God now resides. In him, “grace instead of grace” has arrived. The Law came through Moses, but “grace and truth came to be in Jesus.” He is the true Temple, the place where the presence of Yahweh is found, and no longer in any building in the city of old Jerusalem - (John 1:14-18, 2:19-21).

The time has now come for the true worshipers of God to worship him “in the Spirit and truth.” The old limitations of holy space and holy time no longer apply. Debates about where to locate the Temple are now pointless - (John 4:23-24).

Likewise, the ancient feasts of Israel find their fulfillment and significance in the Son of God. He is the true “living bread from heaven” that imparts life; not the manna given by Moses in the Wilderness - (John 6:50-51, 7:37-39).

According to the Book of Acts, when the day of Pentecost was fully filled up,” the Spirit was poured out on all the saints who were gathered “with one accord” in Jerusalem. Peter proclaimed this occurred in fulfillment of the promised Spirit predicted by the prophets. It was the “promise of the Spirit” given to Jesus upon his exaltation, and now he was pouring it out on his disciples - (Acts 2:16-21, Joel 2:28-30).

In his Letter to the Galatians, Paul explained how Jesus came to “redeem us from the curse of the Law; having become a curse in our behalf.” This was so “the blessing of Abraham should come to the Gentiles.” The promise was to Abraham and to his “seed,” which is Jesus. The original covenant always envisioned the inclusion of the Gentiles, which has now been achieved in the Death and Resurrection of the “promised seed,” Jesus - (Galatians 3:13).

The Law was given as a “custodian” until the time of fulfillment, when the “seed” arrived. Since Jesus came, the time of the “custodian” has come to an end, for he is the “end of the Law for righteousness to all who believe” - (Galatians 3:19-25, Romans 10:4).

Thus, the Law was an INTERIM STAGE BETWEEN PROMISE AND FULFILLMENT. The Son came in “the fullness of time” to redeem those who were under the Law; consequently, for those who are “in Christ,” no longer can there be “Jew or Greek, bond or free, male and female.”
The social and ethnic distinctions inherent in the Mosaic Law have no place in the New Covenant. All who have “put on Christ” are one in him - “Abraham’s children, and according to promise, heirs” - (Galatians 3:26-29, 4:4-7, Colossians 3:11).

To return to the observation of “days, months, seasons and years” required by the Torah amounts to submission once more to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits” that previously tyrannized us. That is regression; exchanging the Spirit and liberty for the death-dealing letter of the Law with its ever-present curse - (2 Corinthians 3:6-7, Galatians 3:10, 4:8-10, 5:1-3).

God, “in many parts and many ways, long ago, spoke to the fathers in the prophets; upon these last of days he spoke to us in a Son.” Before his arrival, Yahweh spoke partially - Here a little, there a little. But now, He speaks with great finality in His Son. His “word” spoken previously was true, but promissory, preparatory, and partial – (Hebrews 1:1).

The priesthood of the Son surpasses and supersedes the Aaronic priesthood. His death achieved what no animal sacrifice could ever do. In Jesus, the vastly superior New Covenant arrived, rendering the old one obsolete, including its priesthood and sacrifices - (Hebrews 8:4-10:18).

He is the “guarantee of a better covenant, one legislated on better promises.” If the first covenant had been “faultless,” there would be no need for another. The old system constituted “glimpses and shadows of the heavenly realities,” mere patterns of the real and permanent originals - (Hebrews 8:1-7, 9:9-10, 9:23-24):
  • Let no one; therefore, be disqualifying you in eating and in drinking; or in respect of feast or new moon or Sabbath; which are a shadow of the things to come; whereas the substance is of the Christ.” - (Colossians 2:9-17).
All of us were once “dead because of our trespasses and sins… but God, being rich in mercy… gave us life together in Christ by grace,” to both Jewish and Gentile believers. Previously, the Gentiles were--:
  • Separated from Christ; alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise; having no hope and godless in the world; yet now, in Christ Jesus, we who at one time were afar off have been made nigh by the blood of the Christ” - (Ephesians 2:1-13).
Jesus is the promised seed of Abraham. In him, both Jews and Gentiles receive their “introduction in one Spirit to the Father,” therefore, no longer are they “strangers and sojourners, but fellow-citizens of the saints and members of the household of God”:
  • He dismantled the middle wall of partition and in his flesh brought to nothing the law of commandments in decrees; that the two he might create in himself into one man of new mold… The Church is built on the “foundation of the apostles and prophets; there being for chief cornerstone Jesus Christ himself; in whom an entire building is being fitly joined together growing into a holy Temple in the Lord…a habitation of God” - (Ephesians 2:14-22).
The body of Christ is composed of believers in Jesus, both Jewish and Gentile, who are now “resident aliens” and “sojourners” in this world, a people without a national homeland that, nonetheless, possess the incorruptible inheritance of salvation to be “revealed in the last ripe time.”

In the following passage, Peter strings together appellations originally applied to Ancient Israel, but now have been inherited by the church of Jesus Christ:
  • But now, in Christ Jesus, you are the living stones being built up into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood; to offer spiritual sacrifices well-pleasing to God, through Jesus Christ… This honor is to “those who believe,” regardless of ethnicity or gender. In Christ, we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for a peculiar treasure,” a people that “at one time were a no-people but now are the people of God” - (1 Peter 2:4-10, Exodus 19:5-6).
Jesus established his church as “a kingdom of priests for his God and Father.” Creation itself will declare the “slain Lamb worthy” of all power and sovereignty, because, by pouring out his life, he “redeemed unto God men out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation; and made them a kingdom and priests unto our God,” a company that, even now, is in the process of becoming a “great innumerable multitude from every nation” that will stand before the “Lamb” in the coming New Creation - (Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 20:6, 7:9-17).

Thus, the theme of fulfillment IN JESUS is found throughout the New Testament; in Christ, “all the promises of God are, 'Yea!'; and, in him, 'Amen!'” God defeated Sin, Satan, and Death on Calvary, not on the altar of the Temple in Old Jerusalem. The “mystery of God” that was hidden in past ages has been revealed in His Son, especially, in the proclamation of “Christ crucified” - (Romans 16:25, 1 Corinthians 2:1-9, 2 Corinthians 1:19-20).

Therefore, since the substance of God’s promises, and the disclosure of His eternal “mysteries,” are available NOW in Jesus, and freely so, it would be foolhardy in the extreme to return to the types and shadows of the old and incomplete revelation.



Language of the New Testament

Armageddon - Final Battle