Had a different idea of what I would post for my Friday post. I always pray, asking Abba to give me an opportunity to glorify Him.
Friday was Charles Krauthammer’s day to contribute his weekly articles, may his memory be a blessing. I really liked that Jewish brother, and felt ‘kin’ to him in other ways.
Before I started writing what I had in mind during breaks, I got a message from a non-Messianic [as yet, 😉 ] believing friend, asking me to help clarify Galatians 4:10, out from under traditional, Christian interpretations. Et voila.
First, CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT.
“But then, when you DID NOT KNOW ELOHIM, you served those things which from their nature were not gods. But now, after you have known Elohim, and, above all, are known of Elohim, you TURN AGAIN to those weak and poor principles, and you wish again to come under their bondage. You still observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid that perhaps I have labored among you in vain.” 4:8-11
Let’s remember who the ‘Galatim’ are: former gentile PAGANS.
What could they possibly ‘return to’ that they were doing when they did NOT KNOW GOD?
OTHER ‘days, months, times, and years.’
People FORGET that pagans have THEIR days too! And, believers have LONG since returned to those days AGAIN : mithras/Christmas Ishtar/easter, Halloween, etc….
The main error in Galatia was not ‘days, weeks, months, and years,’ but something else.
The error in Galatia was manifold. They were STILL doing PAGAN things [as they were in Colosse], and yet ‘trying’ to live a life of righteousness, claiming faith in Messiah. And so, when the FALSE brothers came into their synagogues [they were Gentiles worshipping in the synagogues. Sha’ul had ministered there in Acts 13-14, and then in 15 James and Peter dealt with the issue Paul then addresses in this book; the timing of when he wrote this, before or after Acts 15, is not firmly known, but most believe it was after], they began to follow FALSE teaching that their salvation was not secure unless they were circumcised. Also, what most do not know, is that the ‘circumcision faction’ in Judaism started BEFORE Messiah Yeshua, with a rival Rabbi to Hillel I, a Rabbi named “Shammai.” These Jews who were telling Gentiles they must be circumcised TO BE SAVED were of the house of Shammai. They believed they [gentiles] must become Jewish, according to THEIR standard. That is HIS [Shammai’s] teaching, and the house of Hillel called THEM the “Synagogue of Satan.” The REST of the Pharisees, who followed Hillel, knew that being a “TRUE JEW” was circumcision of the heart. These [House of Hillel Jews] are the ‘many thousands’ of Jews who DID come to Messiah [Acts 21:20] including Sha’ul, who was taught by Gamli’el, Hillel’s grandson. The house of Shammai called themselves ‘Yhudim’, the ‘true Jews’, and their mandate was ‘perfection’. Many times in the gospels, we see “The Jews”, in Hebrew, ‘Y’hudim’, and it is ONLY talking about the House of Shammai, which was the RULING HOUSE in the Sanhedrin, and in the Temple. And they did NOT want Gentiles in the Synagogues. The Messianic GENTILES of Galatia were falling prey to this error of the FLESH, which puts trust in ‘becoming Jewish’ in order to be saved. The Shammai conversion process [which is what today’s Jews still do] was to study Torah AS THEY TAUGHT IT [modifying, adding to, taking away], obey their laws perfectly, and for gentiles, show yourself committed to THEM, as a “Jew”, with the final sign of circumcision.
When Ya’akov [James, Yeshua’s brother] settled the issue BY THE POWER OF THE RU’AKH, He said,
“Men and brethren, hear me: Shimon Kefa has told you how Elohim, from the beginning, chose a people from the Goyim for His Name. And with this the words of the Nevi’im agree, as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will set up again the Sukka of David which has fallen down; and I will repair what has fallen from it, and I will set it up, so that the men who remain may seek after יהוה , and also all the Goyim upon whom My Name is called; so said יהוה , who does all these things.’ The works of Elohim are known from the very beginning. Because of this, I say do not trouble those who turn to Elohim from among the Goyim. But let us send word to them that they abstain from defilement by sacrifices to idols, and from fornication, and from creatures strangled, and from blood. For Moshe, since early generations, has those who declare him in the Beit K’nessets in every city who read him on every Yom Shabbat.”
It is VERY important to note the historical and BIBLICAL context here.
Most people REFUSE to do that, to cling to perverted doctrine.
Again, this was AFTER Sha’ul preached in Galatia in chapters 13-14. He went into the SYNAGOGUES and ministered to JEWS AND GENTILES. The Gentiles who began to believe in Messiah ALREADY believed in יהוה , and were called ‘righteous gentiles.’ THEY WERE SABBATH KEEPERS!
He lays on THOSE Gentiles, who were STILL worshipping in the synagogues, SEVERAL CHAPTERS of the TORAH [MOSHE]. Telling them THEY MUST KEEP THOSE CHAPTERS as a minimum, to REMAIN in the syngogues! [Lev 17 blood, Gen 9, Lev 18-20 in regard to sexual sin, etc] THIS was ALSO the ruling of HILLEL from about 100 years before! It was an ongoing ‘fight’ in ALL of Judaism! These were NOT “Messianic Jews” bringing in this BAD doctrine! Sha’ul tells us they were ‘posers’, FALSE BRETHREN! [calling themselves ‘true Jews,’ yet putting trust in their flesh. See Rom 2:29 and Deu 10, circumcision of the heart is obeying HIS TORAH]. He described this same group, calling them “Y’hudim” [remember, Shammai; Sha’ul was a Jew too, why would he ‘separate’ himself from them?] that tried to pressure him to circumcise Titus, EVEN AFTER HE CIRCUMCISED TIMOTHY, a Jew. [Gal 2] These were “Y’hudim”, the house of Shammai, the synagogue of Satan. Keep in mind, also, that he circumcised TIMOTHY AFTER the Acts 15 episode! RIGHT after, in 16, I think.
Ya’akov concluded his speech with some very important words:
“Moshe, [TORAH!] since early generations, has those who declare him in the Beit K’nessets in every city who READ him on every Yom Shabbat.”
People refuse to admit that these Gentiles were still going to SYNAGOGUE on SHABBAT and would continue to HEAR THE TORAH!
Ya’akov had a letter written and sent to the Gentiles in Galatia.
“We have heard that certain men have gone out and disturbed you with words, thus upsetting your souls, saying you must be circumcised and keep the whole Torah [TO BE SAVED; SEE 15:1-2]; concerning these things we have never commanded them. Therefore, we have considered the matter while we are assembled, and we have chosen and sent men to you with our beloved Pavlos and Bar-Naba, men who have dedicated their lives for the name of Adoneinu Yeshua HaMashi’akh. And we have sent with them Yehudah and Shilah, so that they may tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it is the will of The Ru’akh HaKodesh and of us to lay upon you no additional burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from sacrifices offered to idols, [TORAH] and from blood [TORAH], and from creatures strangled [TORAH], and from fornication [TORAH]; when you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Stand steadfast in Adoneinu.”
The Jewish believers were trusting the RUAKH to GUIDE THE GENTILES INTO TRUTH [“YOUR TORAH IS TRUTH”, Psalm 119, Yeshua in Yokhanan 17].
So, in 4:8, Sha’ul seems to show that they were returning to their pagan practices, after, perhaps, having become circumcised FOR SALVATION, putting a false hope in THEIR FLESH. Or, perhaps Sha’ul was alluding to the practices of Shammai in calling them “weak and poor principles”…. I ask, are the principles set down by Ya’akov and the other Messianic Jews in Acts 15, which are quoted from TORAH, ‘weak and poor’ principles? Is reading the Torah on Shabbat a ‘weak and poor principle’ of this world? NO! Yet that is how even Christian ‘scholars’ and ‘theologians’ read it. Hogwash.
Sha’ul was, in NO WAY, telling the Galatians to turn from Shabbat, but FROM THE TEACHINGS OF FALSE BROTHERS who put their hope in THEIR FLESH and in DOCTRINES OF MEN.
His Torah-keeping was IN TACT WAY after this, [Acts 21:24] , since he defended His Torah walk before KINGS AND JUDGES.
“And when he was come, the Y’hudim who had come from Yerushalayim surrounded him and brought against him many serious charges which they could not prove. Then Pavlos answered, “I have committed no offense against the Torah of the Y’hudim, or against the Heikhal [Temple Sanctuary], or against Caesar.” [Acts 25]
“Men and my brethren, though I have done nothing against the people and the Torah of my fathers…” [Acts 28]
Either he perjured himself two times in court, and lied, OR, it was a LIE that he was a Torah breaker and taught others to do so.
It WAS and it STILL IS a LIE that Sha’ul, or that ANYONE of scripture, taught the Gentiles to turn from Torah.
“Our brother, see how many thousands there are in Y’huda who are believers, and they are all zealous for the Torah: but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Y’hudim who are among the Goyim to forsake the Torah of Moshe, stating that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to follow after the customs of the Torah. Now, therefore, they have heard that you have come here. Do, therefore, what we tell you. We have four men who have vowed to purify themselves [Numbers 6]; Take them and go purify yourself with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads; then everyone will know that what has been said against you IS A LIE, and that you [Paul] yourself UPHOLD THE TORAH AND OBEY IT.” [Acts 21:20-24]
Why is it SO many otherwise intelligent people STILL believe that LIE? This was AFTER Sha’ul became a believer in Yeshua. LONG after!
Sha’ul was/is indeed GREAT in the Kingdom.
This is how YESHUA describes that:
”Whoever therefore tries to loosen even one of these smallest mitzvot, [Torah ‘commandments’, see vs. 17-18] and teaches men so, he shall be regarded as small in Malkhut HaShamayim [The Kingdom of Heaven]; but anyone who observes and teaches them [Torah commandments], he shall be regarded as great in Malkhut HaShamayim.” Matti 5:19
What ‘scriptures’ do you think Sha’ul taught in Galatia, and in Efesim for TWO YEARS, daily, and elsewhere? The Qoran?