I decided to read through the Epistle to the Galatians today. These are some things that caught my attention:
1.1 Begins w. resurrection like the Epistle to the Romans.
1.4 Christ gave himself for our sins so that we could be rescued from “this present evil age” and this was the will of God the Father.
1.6-7 Paul frames his opponents as teaching a Gospel so foreign to his own that it can hardly be called a “Gospel.”
1.8-9 If someone preaches a false Gospel it is such a serious offense to Paul that his considers them “anathema” (ἀνάθεμα) or “cursed”!
1.12 The Gospel Paul preached was received through an “apocalypse” (ἀποκαλύψεως) or revelation of Jesus.
1.13-14 Paul makes interesting boast about his earlier life in the Jewish religion. This seems almost like he is denying this connection. Often we discuss Paul as one who either received a calling or was converted. I think we find both approaches in Paul’s language, but here he seems to be emphasizing a conversion to something radically new in Christ.
1.23 Paul’s own testimony matches that of the Book of Acts in that he persecuted the church, converted, and began proclaiming the Gospel.
2.2 As quickly as Paul denies that his Gospel came from any person he is establishes that it was accepted by Jerusalem’s authorities like Peter and James.
2.3 The first concern: Titus’ freedom to remain uncircumcised. If he had submitted to circumcision he would not have lived in his freedom in the Gospel. So this is the first sign of contention.
2.7 Paul juxtaposes himself with Peter. Peter is the Apostle to the Jews; Paul to the Gentiles.
2.9 The mention of Peter, James, and John is interesting. Of course, this isn’t the inner circle, but it does include two of them with one James being sustituted for another.
2.11-14 We find the second major contention as related to the Gospel: table fellowship. This is what led Paul to rebuke Peter openly.
2.15-21 Justification before God comes not through “works of the Law” (ἔργων νόμου) but through faith “in” Christ or the faithfulness “of” Christ (πίστεως Χριστοῦ). Is justification an initiation into the covenant or an eschatological expectation? Why does Paul see freedom in the Law as coming through co-crucifixion with Christ? What does this have to do with his statement in 1.4 that Christ gave himself for our sins?
3.1 Jesus’ crucifixion becomes the crux of the matter.
3.2-5 Pentecostals can be giddy about this passage. Paul’s “proof” of the impact of Christ’s crucifixion is the reception of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s presence was so evident that he could point to particular signs and wonders that validated his preaching.
3.6 “Belief” in Christ connects one to Abraham’s belief in God’s promise that Abraham would have an heir in Genesis 15.6.
3.7 As in Romans 4.1ff, belief makes one a child of Abraham, not biology.
3.8 Paul cites Genesis 12.3 as evidence that the Gentiles were children of Abraham by faith and that this was part of the Gospel! So part of Paul’s Gospel includes the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise to bring the nations to the true God.
3.10 Whatever these “works of the Law” include Paul seems to see them as being a bit broader than what Dunn postulates. For Paul the covenant in Deuteronomy 27.26 seems to indicate that any violation results in a curse. Of course, for the Jews, there was the Temple system of atonement. For Paul to ignore this seems to me to possibly indicate he did not see it as a valid option. Now the Law is something that does result in a curse if broken and he offers the crucified Messiah alone as the way to forgiveness.
3.13 Paul finds the “curse” of Deuteronomy 21.23 to be the absorbing of the “curse” of the Law.
3.14 Yet Dunn’s proposal that the “works of the Law” seem to be primarily about those things that prevent Gentile inclusion remains valid as Paul speaks of Christ absorbing the curse so that Jews could “rub up against” the pagans without the fear of Law breaking resulting in God’s punishment.
3.16 Paul argues that לְזַ֨רְעֲךָ֔ means one person, one offspring (or he used the LXX’s σπέρματί). While this could be a uniplural noun Paul seems to think it is a singular person.
3.17 Paul uses a chronological argument: Abraham’s covenant came before the Law, through faith, as a promise to be fulfilled in Messiah. Therefore, the Law coming later couldn’t invalidate the previous covenant. It had to have another purpose.
3.18 This sounds quite “old perspective” in that the inheritance isn’t earned through Law observance, but “graced” as a gift.
3.19 The Law was ordained through angels? The Book of Hebrews makes this claim as well. It is a weird one.
3.20 It seems like the angels were mediators between God and Israel. Since it was a mediated covenant God was not involved directly. Is this juxtaposed with his promise to Abraham?
3.21-22 The Law has a holy purpose: to reveal sinfulness. Again, this is something of interest to me. Contra Dunn, et al, Paul does seem willing to go against his fellow Jews here. He sees the Law differently than they do. He does not see it as a mere identity marker, but that which draws human sin to one place, to Israel.
3.24 The Law was the guardian (παιδαγωγὸς) of Israel, as if Israel was an immature child. It kept Israel safe until the time of maturation.
3.26 As in Romans 8 (and Hebrews 2?) through Christ we all become children of God.
3.28-29 Pauls seems to jump ahead. He seems to state here that the Law’s role is complete because of what Christ did on the cross. I don’t see Jews as being under the Law anymore either in this statement.
4.1-3 In Christ both Jews and Gentiles mature beyond the Law. To be slaves to the “elemental spirits” seems to to equate both Law keeping Jews and pagan Gentiles. Both are subject to spirits inferior to God. The Epistle to the Ephesians seems to expound on this idea, but here it is interesting that even the angels over Israel are seen as inferior spirits.
4.4 What is the “fullness of time” and does it have anything to do with the Book of Daniel?
4.5 To be “redeemed” from under the Law is a strong statement.
4.6-7 Like Romans 8 redemption comes when God’s own Spirit enters our hearts. This leads to adoption. Is this so that Christians can rise above the rule of the “angels”?
4.8-11 This is a further exposition on Paul’s ideas regarding being subject to spirits. It is amazing that he equates Law observance with such a status, though to honor Dunn again these are particular acts of the Law.
4.21-31 Another strong statement from Paul. He uses the story of Hagar and Sarah as an allegory. Oddly, Law observance makes one like Hagar, who bore Ishmael, whom the Jews saw as the forefather of the Arab people. This is as radical as the Qumran sect. Jews are denounced as true Jews by a fellow Jew. This time for not coming to Messiah.
5.2 This either-or statement is quite harsh. Christ or circumcision.
5.6 One major problem with the “old perspective” is that it seems to allow for antinomian behavior. Everything is grace! Yet Paul calls believers to work their faith through love. It is different. It isn’t moralistic. It is a command none-the-less.
5.13 Paul warns against antinomianism again.
5.14 Paul follows Jesus into boiling the Law down to the Great Commandment–love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus emphasized the “love God” part first though. Contextually one can see why Paul is emphasizing part two. The “ethic” of Christ is love toward neighbor, not “works of the Law” as Paul’s opponents taught.
5.16-21 Again, Paul is not antinomian. There are behaviors that are a sign that someone is not a child of God therefore not apt to inherit the Kingdom.
5.22-25 Then there are the “signs” that one is in Christ: the fruits of the Spirit. If we use the language of the NPP, this is the new “badge” of covenant membership.
6.1-5 Paul builds on 5.14.
6.14 Paul ends where he began: the cross of Christ. For Paul this is the center.
6.15 “New Creation” is a radical phrase. It supersedes Gentile-Jew identity.
6.16 The “Israel of God”? Is this a precursor to Romans 9-11?
Paul radically reinterpreted the biblical story of Abraham. No plain reading of that story would lead anybody to conclude anything but that god was telling Abraham that he would bless his physical descendants. Yet Paul said that God was referring to Jesus, which would have been news to Abraham. This unorthodox reading is a key component of the break from the Jewish faith.
Another point of note is when you say that angels supplied the law. Curious, because that’s not what it says in the pentateuch. But over time, jews went from seeing god as an anthromorphic being to an invisible one. They came to believe that nobody could see god, which means that god himself did not give the law to Moses, but angels on his behalf.
I’m not making an argument as to which is right, but it is a good illustration about how interpretations and beliefs change and how that works its way into our institutions.
Indeed, Paul reinterprets Scripture quite often in new and radical ways. The angels concept has been intriguing to me and I intend to read on it more.
Commenting upon what I notice:
Galatians, from ‘galah’ ( גלה H1540) meaning exiled, as in [Isa 5.13],[Isa 49.21],[Jer 22.12],[Eze 12] (but especially [Eze 12.11]),[Eze 39.25-29], and[Amos 7.11]; first historically documented in [1 Chron 5.6,22-26]; also same as [1 Peter 1.1] & [James 1.1] described as [Isa 38.28] but most clearly in [Amos 9.9].
1.1-2 καὶ οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ πάντες ἀδελφοί ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τῆς Γαλατίας means Paul’s brethren (i.e. kinsmen) who are of the ‘called out assemblies’ ἐκκλησία (G1577) (of the exile). Notice, to be called was a hallmark of God’s covenant [Isa 43.7][Isa 45.4][Jer 7.14,30][Amos 9.12]
2.8 (From the Greek) Paul to the nations (ἔθνος G1484 means ‘nations’) i.e. Peter to the (circumcised Judeans and Paul to the (uncircumcised) nations ….
3.7 … again showing Paul’s audience to be ‘these sons are of Abraham’ evidenced by their faith. What was the promise of the covenant?
[Jer 7.23] “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people”.
Notice from the Greek, neither the ὁ (G3588) nor the οὗτος G3778 are figurative (spiritual) but concrete in the language. It is only in English we are able to ignore that ‘faith’ is evidence of Abraham’s inheritance to his descendants. The expression these ones of faith, ‘οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν Ἀβραάμ’ is better translated ‘these sons are of Abraham’. Of course, this is related to speaking such as [1 Peter 3.6] ‘whose daughters you are’, but this is often missed.
3.23-25 The ‘we’ and the ‘us’ from verses 23-25 are the same people he addresses as ‘you’ in verse 26-27. His audience was formerly ‘held captive’ under the law! Likewise, therefore, they were kinsmen as he says, since non-kinsmen never possessed the law.
3.27-28 (The same people addressed in 3.23-25). The ‘Greeks’ were those ‘elect exiles’ dispersed throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia [1 Peter 1.1]. (Recall that the dispersed from Assyria [Dan 7.21][Dan 8.20] were to be conquered by the Greek [Dan 8.21], (then later by the Romans [Dan 8.23-24]. This is the ‘sifting’ from [Amos 9.9].)
4.1-5 “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem THOSE who were UNDER THE LAW, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” In other words, those under the law were to become ‘sons’, whereas before they were servants [Isa 41.8].
In other words, [Gal 4.5] is Paul’s argument about the adoption from [Romans 9:4] restated all over again “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.” “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” [Gal 3.29]. [Psalm 147.19-20] shows the unique nature of this promise “He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules. Praise the LORD!”
Following [Gal 3.29] is the clear explanation [Gal 4.1-5]! How wonderfully consistent Paul is!
6.16 Paul’s conclusion speaks to his ‘true’ audience he first addressed as ‘galah’ ( גלה H1540), as opposed to those mentioned in [Rev 2.9][Rev 3.9].
Why do you think the Galatians have to do with the word גלה rather than the Roman province of Galatia?
I’ll turn this around; why do you think the Roman province of Galatia wasn’t Galah גלה?
I’ll answer your question: in Greek, what is the difference between Γαλατικός (G1054 Galatikos) and Γαλα? (hint: Etymologically, I assume you recognize “-τικός” as a common Greek suffix (from such words as antibiotics)? If not, Google “Xenobiotic” or “etymology τικός” and discover that the suffix “-τικός” means (in Greek) “characterized by”)
The Galatians, of course, were not originally Greek. (If you’re going to ask me about this, Google “Leuco-Syrians” to find that they, along with the Cappadocians, were considered by the Greeks to be “Persians”, from the third satrapy. I assume you see this significance, so I’m not going to insult your intelligence by further drawing a connection between the Greeks, “‘Persians’ from the third satrapy”, and [Dan 8.20]))
Therefore, if you remove the extraneous Greek suffix meaning “characterized by” from Γαλατικός (G1054 Galatikos) you uncover (pardon the pun) the Aramaic root ‘galah’, or גלה, the language Paul spoke. The third satrapy, was Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, which is where “the elect exiles” גלה where from [1 Peter 1:1].
(This mistake is two-fold: thinking Γαλατικός (G1054) is a root word, and missing the Assyrian origin of the third satrapy. Perhaps it is three-fold: missing the relationship between the Assyrian Empire, and the Greek Empire, with respect to the ‘elect exiles’.)
Is there anyone else who has defended this theory? It seems that most people find a connection between Celts/Gauls as immigrating to the area providing it with its name.
@Brian: I believe this because it is true, whether or not others believe it also. Obviously at least one (me) defends it. It stands or falls on the premises which support the logic, not the number of people who also holds it. Personally, I don’t know if anyone else holds or defends the theory, but if I am the only one defending it, I’m OK with that.
(I’ve said before – the number of people who believe something to be true, has no bearing on the truth of the belief. If my premises are true, my reasoning sound, the conclusion that follows must also be true. If I am the only one defending this theory then, it could because I’m the only one who holds the premises. This is not a sign that the theory is false, but only that I’ve seen at least one premise no one else has. If you are to gauge whether or not it is true, you’ll have to first gauge the integrity of the reason, and the truth of the premises.)
If Wikipedia, more or less, represents the most popular belief on something, have a read over the article on Cappadocia. As far as you can tell, have I said anything that contradicts that? WRT to the immigrants of Galatia, as I first suggested above – they were well known to the Greeks as Leuco-Syrians”, which you should be able to verify.
The Leuco-Syrians invaded the area as mercenaries under Xerxes I (the battle of Thermopylae). The third Satrapy of this Medo-Persian region became Greek under Alexander the Great (Herodotus). These Leuco-Syrians were known as such to the Greeks, but they had another name to the Medo-Persians “Saka”. We now recognize from Sir Henry Layard’s discoveries in Assyria (See also Daniel David Lukenbill).
The Leuco-Syrians (“Sacae”) where the same folks the Assyrian used to first defeated Rusa I in the Uratu-Assyrian war in a region known as Uishdish. Assyria also used them as mercenaries to defeat the Mitanni neighbours to Rusa I. You’ll notice that this was the Assyrian region known as Halah, on the Habor (Khuber), near the river of Gozan. They later became mercenaries under the Medo-Persian empire under Xerxes. We can see some of their history recorded by the Assyrians on the Behistun inscription says Sir Henry Rawlinson.
Assertions such as these may be checked for correctness against the historical record for veracity. See the problem is this, your Biblical knowledge, like many others, is stove-piped to the Greek and Roman Empire, as though nothing existed before. Indeed, up until Sir Henry Rawlinson (and Layard, and Lukenbill), nothing did exist before. However, now that we can read Assyrian text, the veil which hid which came before Greece and Rome has now fallen and we can see history where previously we could not.
If you want to read Paul’s epistles and understand them, but read them in the context that they were written to Greek peoples, however, if in fact, they were actually a people who had hailed from Medo-Persia, merely speaking Greek – then you’ve got a problem. Your presupposition, and not mine, could be incorrect. If you share such a presupposition with many others, it is possible they conclude what you conclude, but if that shared presupposition happens to be incorrect then those conclusions would all be wrong (even if you’re in very respectable company in holding beliefs).
Just a thought to ponder.
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