Dancing with the Scriptures, Part 2: The “But” Boogie

by Clint Branham – AwakenedChurch.com
email: clint@AwakenedChurch.com

Here is a quick English Grammar Lesson: The word “but” is a type of coordinating conjunction, also called a coordinator. It is a conjunction that joins two or more items of equal syntactic importance, such as words, main clauses, or sentences.  Specifically, “but” presents a contrast or exception (“They gamble, but they don’t smoke.”)
Not Left, but … Right.  Not Up, but … Down.  Not Today, but … Tomorrow.
The English lesson is now over…
Let us look at two passages that use the word “but” and the interpretations associated with them.
The first is Matthew 5:17.
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.

The modern Church’s interpretation of this verse goes something like this: “Christ didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it so we don’t have to keep it…

Isn’t “not keeping” the law the same as destroying it?
Pro_28:4  They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Pro_28:7  Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
Pro_28:9  He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

So in essence the Church is teaching that Christ didn’t come to destroy the Law, but to destroy it.

That leads me to believe that what the Church’s interpretation of the word “fulfil” must be flawed.

This particular word in Mat_5:17 the Greek word G4137 πληρόω plēroō in the form of: πληρωσαι
πληρωσαι appears four times in the New Testament: Mat_3:15, Mat_5:17, Rom_15:13 and Col_1:25
Interestingly πληρωσαι appears nine times in the Septuagint.  The Septuagint or LXX 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.  The use of πληρωσαι in the New Testament would certainly have had a meaning that aligned with the LXX.  πληρωσαι  appears nine times in the Old Testament: Num_7:88, 1Ch_29:5, 2Ch_13:9, Job_20:23, Psa_20:4-5 (2), Isa_8:8, Isa_13:3 and Jer_33:5.
The first three passages are of extreme interest to us, the words in bold are the English translations of πληρωσαι:

Num_7:88  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.

1Ch_29:5  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?

2Ch_13:9  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.

What do Dedication and Consecrate mean?

Dedication
DEDICATION, n.

1. The act of consecrating to a divine Being, or to a sacred use, often with religious solemnities; solemn appropriation; as the dedication of Solomons temple.

2. The act of devoting or giving to.

3. An address to a patron, prefixed to a book, testifying respect and recommending the work to his protection and favor.

Consecrate
CONSECRATE, v.t. [L., to consecrate, sacred. See Sacred.]

1. To make or declare to be sacred, by certain ceremonies or rites; to appropriate to sacred uses; to set apart, dedicate, or devote, to the service and worship of God; as, to consecrate a church.

Thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons. Exo 29.

All the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated to the Lord. Josh 6.

2. To canonize; to exalt to the rank of a saint; to enroll among the gods, as a Roman emperor.

3. To set apart and bless the elements in the eucharist.

4. To render venerable; to make respected; as, rules or principles consecrated by time.

Mat_5:17 was not an indictment against keeping the law.  On the contrary it was an indictment of the Pharisees’ abuse and there additions to the law – the Doctrines of men.
Using the definitions about let’s look at a 1st century understanding of what this passage was telling those who heard it.
Mat_5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to make it respected.

Mat_5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to restore its sacred use!

Mat_5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to give it protection and favor.

Mat_5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to be devoted to it!

Mat_5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to set it apart and bless it!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Second Passage is John 1:17.
Joh_1:17 KJV For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Wait a minute; this one uses the coordinating conjunction correctly!  That is what we have been taught isn’t it.
Grace is in opposition to the Law,
Grace supersedes the Law.
Grace makes the Law useless.
Well there is one HUGE problem: the word “but” was added by the King James translators “for clarity.”  Actually the “but” isn’t in the Greek texts at all!
This is an abuse of the little word “but.”  Without the “but” the meaning of the verse is completely opposite.
Joh_1:17 For the law was given by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Taking out the “but” makes Grace a compliment to the Law – not superseding it or replacing it!

Conclusion:
Words mean things.  Without the proper definitions of words and concepts, men will come up with any number of crazy ideas.  No wonder there are over 33,000 different Christian denominations.
Scripture needs to determine our doctrine, not let our doctrine determine the meaning of scripture…
Apply these three guiding principles to every doctrine;
God’s Word is True! -
Joh_17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Psa_33:4  For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.
Psa_119:142  Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
Psa_119:151  Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.
Psa_119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
If a doctrine or interpretation makes other passages null then I am missing the correct context; either religious, linguistic, cultural, or idiomatic.

God Never Changes! -
Mal_3:6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Jas_1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Heb_1:12  And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
If a doctrine or interpretation intimates a change in God then I am missing the correct context; either religious, linguistic, cultural or idiomatic.

God’s Word Cannot Contradict itself!
1Co_14:33  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Tit_1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Isa_28:9-13  Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.  (10)  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
If there is an appearant contradiction then I am missing the correct context; either religious, linguistic, cultural, or idiomatic.
I challenge you to ask yourself this question about your beliefs: Does this Doctrine…
1.    Contradict other Scriptures?
2.    Require God to Change?
3.    Make prior passages become a lie or of non-effect?
4.    Elevate certain prophets’ or disciples teachings about God’s or the Messiah’s?
5.    Require certain rules of interpretation that aren’t applied to all scripture?


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