In the last post, I quoted several verses from Matthew in which Jesus explains how he understood his relationship to the Mosaic Law. The translation I used was the King Jamws Version, which is based on a translation of the Latin Vulgate Version of the Bible. The Vulgate originally was compiled by Saint Jerome in the late 4th century. [I suggest you read the Linguistics of Heresy Part One and Part Two before continuing.]
The earliest extant manuscripts of Matthew’s Gospel are in Greek and have gone through various levels of translation, none of which used the oldest greek texts. In 1979 Richmond Lattimore, a noted Greek scholar translated the Gospels using ancient Greek texts. This is my favorite translation of the Gospels, and one that I consider most authoritative. In Lattimore’s translation of Matthew 5:7-19 he does not use the word “fulfill” but rather “complete”. This word gives a better understanding of how Jesus saw himself vis-a-vis The Law.
So, what did Jesus mean when he said he came to “complete the Law”? It is my opinion that he saw himself as the completion of the Law in that he was the first, and therefore the archetype, to live up to what was expected of humans from God in terms of the original Covenant. This also explains why Jesus so often referred to himself as “Son of Man”. The Hebrew word for man is adama, from which we obviously Adam. Adam was the first man and he broke faith with god by eaten the forbidden fruit. For this Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden and humans were condemned to die.
Ancient Judaism does not really have any real concept of an afterlife. People just die and that’s the end. Because Jesus completes the Covenant that removes the taint of original sin and those who follow Jesus’ example are, like Jesus, granted life everlasting. One of the great heresies of Christianity, which we will discuss in detail elsewhere, is that Jesus was born “without sin” (Immaculate Conception). To foreshadow a bit more, I believe Jesus no more divine then any other human. His message was to reawaken our own understanding of humanity’s relationship to the Divine.