Does “It is Finished” Mean “Paid in Full”?

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Does “It is Finished” Really Mean “Paid in Full”?
By Jesse Morrell

http://www.OpenAirOutreach.com

Someone recently said:

“The Greek word for “It is finished” is tetelestai, which means “Paid in Full”. It was written on paid bills of sale back in that day.”

I responded: “τελέω” can mean finish (8x), fulfil (7x), accomplish (4x), pay (2x), perform (1x), expire (1x).

“Paid in Full” is a stretch.

It can mean “pay” as in these passages:

Mat 17:24 – And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master PAY tribute?

Rom 13:6 – For for this cause PAY YE tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

But Jesus did not “pay our debt,” as the Bible says that our debt is forgiven. It does say that Jesus paid our “ransom,” which is very different. If we accept paid on the usage in John 19:30 would not prove penal substitution, but rather just further affirm that Jesus paid our ransom – which is a substitute for penalty.

However, other meanings are more likely.

The word also means accomplished:

Luk 12:50 – But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be ACCOMPLISHED!

Luk 18:31 – Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be ACCOMPLISHED.

Luk 22:37 – For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be ACCOMPLISHED in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an

Jhn 19:28 – After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now ACCOMPLISHED, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

Inserting the phrase “Paid in Full” into these passages would make no sense at all.

Notice that this is how the word is used in John 19:28, so it would not be a far stretch to say that it retains the same meaning in John 19:30.

It also means Finished:

Mat 13:53 – And it came to pass, that when Jesus had FINISHED these parables, he departed thence.

And it came to pass, that when Jesus had FINISHED these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;

Mat 26:1 – And it came to pass, when Jesus had FINISHED all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,

Jhn 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is FINISHED: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

2Ti 4:7 – I have fought a good fight, I have FINISHED my course, I have kept the faith:

Rev 10:7 – But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be FINISHED as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

Rev 11:7 – And when they shall have FINISHED their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Rev 20:5 – But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were FINISHED. This is the first resurrection.

Inserting the phrase “Paid in Full” into these passages would make no sense at all.

It also means fulfilled:

Jhn 19:28 – After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be FULFILLED, saith, I thirst.

Act 13:29 – And when they had FULFILLED all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

Rom 2:27 – And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it FULFILL the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

Gal 5:16 – This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not FULFILL the lust of the flesh.

Jas 2:8 – If ye FULFILL the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

Rev 15:8 – And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were FULFILLED.

Rev 17:17 – For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be FULFILLED.

Rev 20:3 – And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should beFULFILLED: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Inserting the phrase “Paid in Full” into these passages would make no sense at all.

Notice that we see John 19:28 again. The word is used twice, first to say finished and then to say fulfilled. So it would not be a far stretch to say that it retains the same meaning in John 19:30.

It also could mean “performed:”

Luk 2:39 – And when they had PERFORMED all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

Inserting the phrase “Paid in Full” into this passage would make no sense at all.

It also could mean”expire:”

Rev 20:7 – And when the thousand years are EXPIRED, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison

Inserting the phrase “Paid in Full” into this passage would make no sense at all.

It is important to not read into scripture something that really isn’t there.

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