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The Epistles of Paul - Galatians Part 3: The Seed of Seeds
In order to understand what Paul has written in Galatians chapter 3, one must have the same Scriptural world view which Paul of Tarsus had, understanding ancient history and the ethnic constitution of Judaea in the manner which Paul had understood those things. But because they rarely actually study ancient history, that worldview is far out of reach for most denominational Christians. Even their academics prove this every time they speak of how Flavius Josephus wrote of Jesus, but they never speak of how Flavius Josephus described the conversion of all of the Edomites to Judaism. If they would study that, they may realize that the Jews of today are actually Edomites and not Israel at all, something which is absolutely true. Understanding that history would turn their whole world upside-down. But even that is only one crucial aspect required in order to understand this third chapter of this epistle.
In our presentation of Galatians chapter 1, we established the identity of these Galatians as the tribes of the Germanic Galatae who had settled in Anatolia in the 3rd century BC. We asserted that they in turn had descended from Israelites of the Assyrian captivity, and to help prove those assertions there is a much more detailed demonstration in our German Origins series which we have also recently presented here. In discussing that chapter we also showed how Paul often referred to the children of Israel collectively as the anointed, using the same term which he used to describe Christ. Understanding all of these things is also crucial to understanding Paul's words here in Galatians chapter 3.
In our presentation of Galatians chapter 2, we endeavored to demonstrate that wherever Paul of Tarsus had used the phrase which literally translates as “works of the law”, he was referring to the rituals and ceremonial ordinances of the law which were conducted by the Levitical priesthood under the Old Covenant. We substantiated this assertion with examples of the Septuagint Greek as well as the Dead Sea Scroll known as 4QMMT, the designation MMT being an acronym from the Hebrew words which mean “some of the works of the law”, in reference to those same rituals. We also illustrated that many of the prophecies of the Old Testament either allude to or explicitly state that the rituals and ceremonial ordinances of the Old Testament law were to be done away with in Christ under the New Covenant.
Many of the leaders, priests and others in Jerusalem were not actually Israelites. This is evident in Romans chapter 9 where Paul explained that there were Edomites among the Israelites, and in the words of Christ at Luke chapter 11, John chapters 8 and 10 and elsewhere. It is a fact which is well documented in the histories of the Judaean historian, Flavius Josephus, who was also from a family of Levitical priests and a military general. We were informed in the Gospel that those who opposed Christ were not His people, and that is why they opposed Him, as Christ Himself told them in John chapter 10. Those who opposed Christianity insisted that only by keeping the laws of Moses could a man be justified, and using the spread of the Christian creed as a conduit, many of them also sought to constrain Christians to the rituals and ceremonies of the law. Since the first chapter of this epistle, Paul has been writing in opposition to these men, whom we refer to as Judaizers since they sought to keep men bound to the rituals of Judaism. The idea that rituals and ceremonies are aspects of religion required for salvation eventually did prevail, and surfaced again in the sacramental ordinances of the later Roman Catholic Church, so the Judaizers persisted in one form or another, and they still persist today. It is wholly evident here that they had been working amongst the Galatians to convince them that they too must be circumcised, as it had also been recorded in Acts chapter 15 that they had earlier tried to convince the Christians at Antioch “That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
Here in this third chapter of Galatians, we shall see Paul explain to us who the heirs of the covenant are, that men are not heirs because they are keeping the works of the law, but rather the heirs are those from of the faith of Abraham. However in order to understand just who is of the faith of Abraham, we must understand exactly what it was that Abraham had believed. Paul never said that the heirs are those who have faith like Abraham, but that the heirs are those who are of the faith of Abraham. Paul explains that for us both here and in a slightly different way in Romans chapter 4. Paul must have written these two epistles several years apart, this one in Antioch perhaps in 52 or early 53 AD, before his three-year sojourn in Ephesus (Acts 18:22), and Romans when he arrived in the Troad after his long stay in Ephesus and his subsequent travels through Makedonia and Greece, which was evidently in the Spring of 57 AD.
The two epistles, Galatians and Romans, must therefore reflect what Paul had been teaching in Ephesus, the city which would later - but evidently not until after Paul's death - become the home of the apostle John. In the Revelation recorded by John, the Christian assembly at Ephesus was criticized for having left its “first love”, which must have been the teachings of Paul. In both this chapter and in Romans chapter 4 Paul discusses the faith and the promises to Abraham at length, and informs his readers that the promises in Christ are in accordance with that same faith and those same promises. The one chapter helps to clarify and to serve as a second witness to the other, and give us an assurance of the substance of Paul's teachings.
In the opening verses of this chapter, Paul concludes what he had been saying about the rituals of the law, which leads into his discussion concerning the faith of Abraham:
1 Oh, senseless Galataians! Who has bewitched you?
The word for bewitched may have been rendered as charmed. The Codex Ephraemi Syri (C) and the Majority Text have “Who has bewitched you, not to trust in the truth?” The text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Bezae (D).
Before whose eyes Yahshua Christ had been publicly set forth, having been crucified?
The Codex Bezae (D) and the Majority Text interpolates the words “among you”, which of course do not make any historical sense. The text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C).
2 This only I wish to learn from you: from rituals of law have you received the Spirit, or from a report [or literally a hearing] of faith?
While presenting Galatians chapter 2 we explained that by the phrase “works of the law” Paul was referring to the rituals and ceremonial ordinances of the Old Covenant. There we had also discussed the apostle Peter's recollection in Acts chapter 11 of what had happened at the household of Cornelius, where it is recorded that he had realized that Cornelius and those with him had received the Spirit simply from hearing the account of the Gospel. There Peter is recorded as having said “15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning [referring to the first Christian Pentecost]. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” There the apostles realized that the Spirit was received through a report of the faith, which is the hearing of the Gospel.
3 So are you senseless, beginning in Spirit, you are now being perfected in flesh?
Once we receive the report of the Gospel and the Spirit of God, it is no longer fitting that we seek to be made righteous by the rituals of the law, or by the sacraments which actually only stand as replacement versions of some of the Levitical rituals. We instead seek to be perfected in Spirit, knowing that no man can be made righteous by the rituals.
Paul had later written to the Ephesians that there was one baptism (Ephesians 4:5) and he explains the nature of that baptism where he admonishes them: “25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
So the only necessary cleansing is by the Word of God as Christ had also said, in chapter 15 of the Gospel of John: “3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Man cannot be perfected in the flesh, meaning through the rituals or ceremonies of the Old Testament.
4 Have you been affected by so many things without purpose? And if indeed without purpose.
Being coaxed into following the works of the law, we practice them without purpose (or in vain). But Paul says “and if indeed without purpose” as if there were some other reason as to why men may be deceived into being coaxed into following such errors. In 1 Kings chapter 22 the kings of Israel and Judah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat, are looking for a prophet who would prophesy something favorable to their cause, and we see in verse 23 that Yahweh God allows men to believe lies when they have no care for truth, and it says “Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” The false prophets would tell the kings just what they wanted to hear, and it would lead them to destruction. Likewise do we have false prophets now, telling men that they need to be saved through works in rituals and at the hands of men. When men believe them, it is because they had no love for the truth in the first place, and it is a punishment from God because they do such things in vain. Paul had written, in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2: “11 And because of this Yahweh sends to them an operation of error, for them to believe in that which is false, 12 that all those should be judged who believing not in the truth, rather have satisfaction in unrighteousness.” So they are off getting baptized in churches thinking they are being saved, while their daughters are marrying negros and in reality they are being destroyed, because they have no love for the truth.
5 Therefore he supplying to you besides the Spirit is also effecting abilities among you from rituals of law or from a hearing of faith?
The word for abilities may have been translated as “works of power”, or even miracles, although we avoid using that word. The verb for supplying is ἐπιχορηγέω (Strong's # 2023) which is to supply in addition, or here as Liddell & Scott also define it, to supply … besides.
The wonderful gifts of the apostolic age came through the hearing of faith, and not through the rituals of the law. For instance, from Acts chapter 6: “7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” Once again, from Acts chapter 8: “6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.” And finally, when Paul was in Ephesus, from Acts chapter 19: “11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” CONTENTION
That Abraham also believed what he heard from God is Paul's next assertion:
6 Just as “Abraham had trusted Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness”
We have this marked as a quote, although reading the King James Version Paul only seems to be paraphrasing Genesis 15:6. However looking at the Septuagint Greek, Paul is actually quoting the verse as it appears in that version.
Paul is not merely contrasting two different and obscure philosophical belief systems, one belief in works which are supposed to have some mysterious efficacy as opposed to some belief of faith which is just as mysterious and which is therefore poorly defined. The mystery religions belong to the pagans, and Christians only maintain mysteries in ignorance. Paul had said “I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery”. He spoke of ignorance and revelation in relation to mysteries, that all Christians should understand them so that they are no longer mysteries. Only to the professional priesthood do any of them remain mysteries, but they should not be mysteries to us.
The promises made to Abraham, the faith which Abraham had in the fulfillment of those promises, and the imposition of the Levitical law are all connected aspects of the same belief system. The children of Israel had been given those rituals and ordinances of the Levitical law in order to regulate themselves within a Kingdom, as a guide for how they were to treat one another and as a system of punishment and propitiation for their sins, which are violations of the laws of God in the commandments. When the children of Israel failed to keep the law of their God, they were put off in punishment, as it is recorded in the Old Testament histories and prophets. Therefore Paul tells these same Galatians later in this same epistle that Christ came to “redeem them that were under the law” and that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith”. Paul could only have said these things in reference to Israelites who had been put off in punishment, as only they were under the law and only they had a hope of redemption. Then, as it is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Christ came “72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.”
Luke was recording the inspired words of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. Zacharias telling us that Christ came to “perform the mercy promised to our fathers”, He came to forgive the “lost sheep” of the house of Israel, those people whom Christ Himself also attested having come for as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 15. Zacharias also told us here that Christ came “to remember his holy covenant”, and it is evident that Yahweh God had only made covenants with Israel, both Old and New, in reference to that “oath which he sware to our father Abraham”. The promise of the New Covenant is one in which the laws of God would be written on the hearts of those same children of Israel, as it says in Jeremiah chapter 31: “31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
The law itself foretells that Yahweh would circumcise the hearts of the children of Israel, in Deuteronomy chapter 10: “6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” How Yahweh kept this is therefore explained in Jeremiah chapter 31 with the promise of the New Covenant. Therefore Paul said later in his epistle to the Romans that “circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter”. It is the house of Israel and the house of Judah who are promised redemption and a new covenant, and here Paul says:
7 then you know that they from faith, they are sons of Abraham.
The faith of Abraham is not something ethereal, invisible and mysterious. The faith of Abraham is the belief that the promises which Yahweh God had made to him would be fulfilled. God made specific promises to Abraham, and Abraham believed that the things which God had said to him would actually come to pass in the manner in which God had said them. To be of the faith of Abraham, one therefore has to be a part of what it was in which Abraham had believed. You cannot believe something different than Abraham did, and then imagine yourself to be of be of the faith of Abraham. So here we must consider what it was for which Abraham had trusted God, which is indeed what it was that Abraham had believed.
For this purpose, we will repeat four records of the promises to Abraham which are found in the Book of Genesis:
Genesis chapter 12: “1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Genesis chapter 15: “1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”
Genesis chapter 17: “1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
Genesis chapter 22: “15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”
The promises to Abraham made in Genesis chapters 12 and 15 were repeated in part in chapter 22, and where the Scripture says “and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies”, we must compare Luke chapter 1 where it says in part that Christ came “that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear”. With this we can be assured, that Abraham as well as the children of Israel have enemies which can never be Christians, for it is they from whom there is need to be delivered. This is why Paul also prayed in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, that he should be “protected from those disgusting and wicked men, since the faith is not for all.” Paul was speaking of the people whom we now call Jews.
Abraham had been told that Yahweh would make a great nation of him. However as it is described in Genesis chapter 15, Abraham was concerned that he had no heir, and he therefore tried to substitute Eliezer, a man whom he must have trusted, as his heir. But Yahweh would not let Abraham substitute an heir for his own seed, and Yahweh said “this shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir”. Therefore we see that God would not allow any substitutes for Abraham's seed, even if they were chosen by Abraham himself. Abraham was then assured that his own seed would become as numerous as the stars of heaven. With that, because Abraham believed Yahweh, “he counted it to him for righteousness.”
If Abraham could not substitute for his seed, then neither can the Roman popes or the denominational churches. Abraham was ultimately accredited because he believed that his seed would become many nations. Abraham did not ever believe that many nations would become his seed, as the Roman popes and the denominational churches teach, so wrongly and even criminally. Abraham never believed that negroes, asians and other sub-human beasts would somehow become his seed. Abraham believed in nations coming from his own loins, and not nations made from monsters.
Later, in Genesis chapter 17, Abraham was told “5 ... thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee 6 ... and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
Where Paul of Tarsus says here “that they from faith, they are sons of Abraham”, he is telling us that those who have issued forth from the promises to Abraham are the sons of Abraham. The statement “thy seed after thee in their generations” shows us that the seed describes the collective descendants of Abraham, and not a single individual, who would be the heirs to “an everlasting covenant”.
Abraham believed that his seed, his own offspring from his own bowels, would become many nations, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. If one is of one of those nations descended from Abraham, only then is one a son of Abraham and an heir to the covenant, because that is what Abraham had faith in. It is not what we believe that matters, rather, it is what Abraham believed which matters, because only what Abraham believed can be considered faith of Abraham. As Christ had later said to His disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you”, Yahweh also said to the children of Israel in Isaiah chapter 49: “7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.”
So where Paul says in verse 7 here “then you know that they from faith, they are sons of Abraham”, he means they from the faith of Abraham, which are the descendants in which Abraham himself had believed, which would come from his own bowels.
Paul himself clarifies what he says here in Galatians in Romans chapter 4, where he said: “1 Now what may we say that our forefather Abraham has found concerning the flesh? [A study of history can also show that the Romans were descendants of Abraham, not from the Assyrian captivity but from much earlier migrations out of Egypt.] 2 For if Abraham from the rituals has been deemed worthy, he has reason to boast, but not towards Yahweh. 3 Indeed, what do the writings say? 'That Abraham trusted Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'” Here Paul is explaining that one cannot be assured in the promises of God by performing any ritual. Then he continues later in that same chapter and says: “13 Indeed, not through the law is the promise to Abraham or to his offspring, that he is to be the heir of the Society, but through righteousness of faith. 14 For if they from of the law are heirs, the faith has been voided, and the promise annulled.” And by this Paul means that if one only has to keep the word of God in order to be saved, then the promise is annulled because the promise is not to those who keep the word of God. Rather, the promise is to Abraham and to Abraham's seed, without condition.
So again Paul says in that chapter: “16 Therefore from of the faith, that in accordance with favor, then the promise is to be certain to all of the offspring, not to that of the law only, but also to that of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all; 17 (just as it is written, 'That a father of many nations I have made you,') before Yahweh whom he trusted, who raises the dead to life, and calls things not existing as existing; 18 who contrary to expectation, in expectation believed, for which he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, 'Thus your offspring will be.'”
Where Paul wrote that God “calls things not existing as existing”, it is because God promised Abraham that many nations would come from his loins, long before Abraham had any children. So we see that the nations of the promise did not exist at the time of Abraham, but that God said that they would exist. When the promise to Abraham was made, there were no Romans, no Dorian Greek Corinthians, no Germanic Galatae, but all these and others descended from the children of Israel in the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. These nations, which later became the nations of Christendom, are the nations of the faith of Abraham and it is they in which Abraham believed. These nations are the recipients of the promises to Abraham in Christ. The rest of Paul's language in Romans chapter 4 is just as explicit and just as exclusive. If one is not of one of these nations, one cannot be a recipient of the promises of Christ.
8 And the writing having foreseen that from faith Yahweh would deem the Nations righteous, announced to Abraham beforehand that “In you shall all the Nations be blessed.”
As we had said earlier, Paul is not merely contrasting two different and obscure belief systems, works versus faith. Rather, Paul is contending that the children of Israel, who under the Levitical system were held accountable to the works of the law and failed, are nevertheless judged righteous by Yahweh because of the promise to Abraham. The nations being deemed righteous are the nations “from faith”, which are the nations that Abraham believed would come from his own bowels.
Yahweh said to Abraham, as it is recorded in Genesis 22:18: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” This same promise was also repeated earlier, at Genesis 12:3 and 18:18. This promise was later passed down to Isaac, and then to Jacob, where it was repeated again at Genesis 28:14. The passing of the promise to Jacob, at the exclusion of Abraham's other sons, is the point of Paul's statement at Galatians 3:16.
9 So those from faith are blessed along with the believing Abraham.
Here and in Romans chapter 4, it is evident that Paul of Tarsus interpreted the phrase referring to “all the nations” of the promise where it says that “in you shall all the Nations be blessed” to be a reference to the nations which would come into existence as a result of that same promise to Abraham. In Romans 4:13 Paul had said that “the promise to Abraham or to his offspring” is “that he is to be the heir of the Society”, or the “world”, and this is also promised in various other prophecies, such as that at Isaiah chapter 54 where we read a promise to the Israelites who were taken into captivity by the Assyrians and it says: “2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; 3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.”
Examining the text of Genesis chapter 12 alone, where it first appears and Abraham was promised that “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”, we can interpret the phrase “all the families” to mean all of those Genesis 10 descendants of Noah who after the flood were divided in the land and it says in verse 32 that “These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.” However it can be shown in ancient history and in Biblical prophecy, that by the time of Christ the children of Israel had indeed possessed the lands and ruled over the remnant of all of these tribes of the Genesis 10 nations. This was fulfilled primarily in the peoples of the Romans of the Mediterranean world, the Parthians of the east, the Phoenicians of the west, and Germanic Scythians of the north, of which the Galatae of Paul's epistle were only a small portion. Except for various remnants, gone were the Assyrians, Egyptians, Medes and other formerly great peoples of the Genesis 10 nations from the time of Abraham, while others such as the Thracians, Ionians, Lydians, Tartessians and Persians were mixed among them in Europe and Asia.
However there were Canaanite, Edomite and other tribes which were the enemies of God and Israel which were also spread throughout large portions of the world of that time, and these could not be heirs of the covenant. Here Paul is informing us that those from of the faith of Abraham are justified along with the believing Abraham, having the promise of God in Christ. These were the wheat and the tares of the parables of Christ, notably that which is found in Matthew chapter 13. The tribes descended from Abraham would eventually subsume all of the Genesis 10 Adamic tribes of the Old World, or those Old World nations would be destroyed by the enemies of God, something which is also often a matter of Biblical prophecy and which is evident in history.
From this point, the dispersed of the children of Israel who had already become many nations would either continue to be chastised according to the prophets, or they would seek God in Christ and be justified, which is also according to the prophets. As it says in Isaiah chapter 45: “15 Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour. 16 They shall be ashamed, and also confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers of idols. 17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. 19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” It is Yahweh God who declares what is right, and in that same chapter He had also promised that “25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
But Israel, as we have seen Paul explain here at length, could not be justified by the law. At Paul's time, the remnant of Israel in Judaea was still divided over this, and not even all of the Israelites in Judaea had yet accepted the Gospel. Paul had expressed his concern for them, as opposed to the Edomites in Judaea, later in Romans chapter 9. Here he also continues by comparing those who seek justification according to the law:
10 For as many as are from rituals of law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed are all who do not stand fast in all the writings within the book of the law, to do them.”
Here Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26, which in turn applies only to the children of Israel. In that chapter there is an entire list of curses for people who do various wicked things, such as those who commit idolatry, incest, or fornication with beasts. [Today we are being punished with beasts as a result of our idolatry, and many of us are fornicating with them.] The last of those curses is “26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” Yet by “words of this law” the reference must be to all of the laws found in the book of Deuteronomy, and not just what is mentioned in that chapter.
As we had also explained in our presentation of chapter 1 of this epistle to the Galatians, disobedience to Christ is a failure to do all of the words of the law of Moses, and thereby to be accursed. The part of the Law which concerns Christ is found in Deuteronomy chapter 18, where it says “15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken”, and Christ Himself asserted that He was this prophet. Christ Himself said in John chapter 6: “46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” There were other ways in which the writings of Moses had prophesied concerning Christ. However not believing what had been written about the Christ, or what Christ had said, according to the law itself men exhibit themselves to be accursed. So to continue looking to the works of the law for one's justification is equivalent to rejecting the sacrifice of Christ by which Israel is justified, and to be accursed.
11 And that in law no one is deemed righteous before Yahweh is clear, because “the just shall live by faith.”
Here once again Paul quotes Habakkuk as he did in Romans chapter 1 (1:17). We had already cited this passage here as well, in our commentary for Galatians chapter 2 at verse 18. There we had described the prayer which Habakkuk had made on account of the unrighteousness in Jerusalem where he said in chapter 1 of his prophecy: “Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth”, because the children of Israel in Jerusalem had abandoned the law of God. Yahweh's answer to that prayer is recorded in Habakkuk chapter 2 where it says that “the just shall live by his faith”, and not by the righteousness found in the law. We had also cited Psalm 143 where it says in verse 2 “for in thy sight shall no man living be justified”, again to show that man cannot be justified by the works of the law.
12 Now the law is not from faith, but “he [the MT has “a man”; the text follows P46, א, A, B, C, and D] who practices these things shall have life by them.”
Here Paul quotes Leviticus 18:5, a passage which he also cites at Romans 10:5 where he says “Moses writes of the justice which is from of the law, 'That a man who practices these things shall have life by them.'” Paul is obviously not despising or diminishing the law of God, as he also states at Romans 3:31: “Do we then nullify the law by faith? Certainly not! Rather we establish the law.” The law is good, as Paul said in Romans chapter 7, but where all men sin and are destined to fail they require the mercy of God for justification.
Paul is only explaining that Yahweh through His mercy has chosen to freely justify all of the seed of Abraham through Yahshua Christ, whereas the Old Covenant should have proved to the children of Israel that they could not be justified by the law, as it says in Romans chapter 3: “21 But now apart from the law, the justice of Yahweh is made known, as attested by the law and the prophets; 22 but justice of Yahweh through the faith of Yahshua Christ, for all of those who are believing, for there is no distinction: 23 for all have done wrong and fall short of the honor of Yahweh; 24 being freely accepted by His favor, through the redemption that is at the hands of Christ Yahshua”. Without the mercy of God, the promises to Abraham could not have been kept by God, so God extends His mercy to Israel through Christ, while He also demonstrates that He Himself can and will keep His law.
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, becoming a curse on our behalf, (for it is written, “Accursed is everyone who hangs upon a timber,”
The curse of the law is that we, being fallible men, cannot live by the entire law perfectly all of the time. Therefore, failing in any point we are cursed. This alone should keep men humble. Just as the apostle James had said in chapter 2 of his epistle, “10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Here Paul is also citing Deuteronomy chapter 21 where it says “22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”
The sins of the children of Israel, idolatry, fornication, adultery, rendered all of the children of Israel worthy of death. Christ dying on their behalf, He had to die according to the law in Deuteronomy. Therefore in John chapter 12 where Christ had said “32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”, the apostle John had explained that “33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.” Again in John chapter 18 we read “31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.” Pilate told the Judaeans to execute Christ, and if they had done so then the method would have been stoning. But the Roman method was crucifixion, and the apostle took care to make a note which indicates to us that this circumstance was amenable to the fulfillment of God's law.
14 in order that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Nations at the hand of [ἐν, “at the hand of”, or simply “in”] Christ Yahshua, that we should receive the promise of the Spirit [P46 and D have “blessing”; the text follows א, A, B, C, and the MT] through the faith.
Where Paul says “the Nations”, he can only mean those same nations which he made reference to in his explanation of this same thing at Romans chapter 4: the nations descended from Abraham as a result of the promises of God in which Abraham believed. Here Paul is concluding what he had started to explain earlier, and means those nations from of the faith of Abraham which he mentioned in verses 8 and 9 where he said “8 And the writing having foreseen that from faith Yahweh would deem the Nations righteous, announced to Abraham beforehand that 'In you shall all the Nations be blessed.' 9 So those from faith are blessed along with the believing Abraham.” Where he says “those from faith”, these in turn must be the same nations to which Paul had referred when explaining this same thing to the Romans, four years later, writing Romans chapter 4 where he said that “Indeed, not through the law is the promise to Abraham or to his offspring, that he is to be the heir of the Society, but through righteousness of faith…. 16 Therefore from of the faith, that in accordance with favor, then the promise is to be certain to all of the offspring… 17 (just as it is written, "That a father of many nations I have made you,") … for which he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, "Thus your offspring will be". Abraham indeed became a father of many nations according to the declaration “thus your offspring will be”, and those nations alone constitute those who are of the faith of Abraham, because it is they in which Abraham had believed.
Abraham did not believe in negros or asians somehow becoming his seed, and Abraham did not ever believe that his seed would be replaced by some church organization which in turn would accept negros and asians. All of the sophisticated devices of Jews and Catholics and all of their dispensationalist followers fail and contradict the Word of God. Paul himself asserts as much in the following verse:
15 Brethren, (I speak as befits a man, [or according to man]) even a validated covenant of man no one sets aside, or makes additions to for himself.
The Greek word ἐπιδιατάσσεται, which is the Present Passive or Medium Voice 3rd person singular form of ἐπιδιατάσσω (Strong's # 1928), appears only here in the New Testament where we have written “makes additions to for himself”. Rather concisely, Liddell & Scott define the term to mean “to add an order” citing only the New Testament, but at διατάσσω Liddell & Scott have in part “Medium to arrange for oneself, get things arranged”. The Medium Voice in Greek is used when the initiator and the recipient of an action are one and the same. Interpreting the verb to be in the passive voice seems implausible here, since man is the subject and covenant is the object of the verb. Paul is saying that no non-Israelite, no one who is not expressly included in the promises of the covenant, can change the meaning of the Scriptures to include himself into the promises of the covenant! This is exactly what the denominational churches have been teaching, but here Paul has insisted that they cannot do such a thing.
As Christ said in Matthew, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Have not the Jews, the enemies of Christ, taken the kingdom of heaven for themselves by reinterpreting the Bible for Christians in a way that attempts to make gods of the Jews and men out of beasts. In reality, the Jews are devils and the beasts are made to be taken and destroyed.
16 Now to Abraham the promises have been spoken, and to his offspring. It does not say “and to offsprings”, as of many; but as of one: “and to your offspring,” which are anointed.
And, of course, here in this passage all of the modern translations interpret the word seed where it appears in the singular to be a reference to Jesus Christ. Therefore the King James Version reads this passage to say: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” However, in the context of all of the promises to Abraham, if we were to insist that the word seed must be interpreted to refer to a single individual, then it must be interpreted to refer to Isaac, and not to Christ. This is because Paul says in Romans, speaking of the people in Judaea, that “6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” In the book of Genesis, which Paul is referring to in Romans, we see in chapter 21: “9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. 11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.” So the word of Yahweh states that Isaac is Abraham's seed in the singular sense, and not Christ.
However even in spite of this truth, we cannot be forced to interpret that a singular individual is the recipient of the promise which Paul has mentioned here in this verse, since later, in verse 22, Paul says that “the promise, from the faith of Yahshua Christ, would be given to those who are believing”, and we see that the recipients of which he speaks is a plurality. As Christ later in this epistle is described as the Mediator of the promise, therefore Christ is not the recipient of the promise at all, but Christ is the Mediator through whom the promise is assured and delivered. Paul then says in verse 29 “if you are Christ’s, then of the offspring of Abraham you are heirs according to promise.” If you are not of the offspring of Abraham you cannot be of Christ, and you cannot be an heir according to the promise because as Paul also said in Romans chapter 4, the promise is certain to all of the offspring of Abraham.
Therefore Paul says in Hebrews chapter 2 that “11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” Now the one here is not Adam or Eve or blood, but rather Paul refers again to Abraham, where he states later in the same chapter: “14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same... 16... he took on him the seed of Abraham... Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren... to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” As in Romans chapter 8 Paul had called Christ “the firstborn among many brethren”, among those whom He had foreknown and predestinated and called: the children of Israel.
When one is interpreting and translating a verse which has multiple possibilities of interpretation, one must choose the interpretation which does not cause any conflict with other statements made by the same writer, or in the case of Scripture, by the Bible itself. However interpreting the seed of Galatians 3:16 to refer to Christ Himself contradicts all of the promises to Abraham as well as several other statements which Paul makes here in this epistle, while interpreting that seed as the collective children of Israel agrees with the promises to Abraham and with all of Paul's other statements in this epistle. Therefore, in the context in which the promises of God were made to the patriarch Abraham, as well as the context of Paul's other statements where he explains the nature of the promises to Abraham, we must assert that only one possible interpretation of the text of Galatians 3:16 is actually valid, and that is the one found in the Christogenea New Testament, which is also literally correct as well, where it says:
“16 Now to Abraham the promises have been spoken, and to his offspring. It does not say 'and to offsprings', as of many; but as of one: 'and to your offspring,' which are anointed.”
Here Paul contrasts the Greek word σπέρματι, which is the Dative singular of σπέρμα (Strong's # 4690), with its Dative plural from, σπέρμασιν. Thayer says of σπέρμα that “the singular is used collectively of the grains or kernels sown”. But later in his definition Thayer claims that this is not so here in this instance, and offering a perverted explanation of Paul’s use of the word in this verse, he rather brazenly calls it “genius”. Thayer insists that Paul meant a single individual, Jesus Christ, by his use of the term for seed here, and then he adds flattery to somehow make his own corrupt definition seem legitimate.
In the context of this and Paul’s other epistles, especially in Romans and Galatians where he discusses these promises made to Abraham, we must understand this explanation of Paul's to be a comparison of the several races sprung from Abraham: that of Jacob-Israel as opposed to both Ishmael (discussed by Paul here at Galatians 4:21-31) and to Esau (compared by Paul with Jacob in Romans chapters 9 through 11), and even to those sons which Abraham had with Keturah (Genesis chapter 25).
Countering these Scriptures, as if their own logic has greater authority, the denominational Christians often resort to the accounts in the Gospel where John the Baptist is recorded as having told certain of the Pharisees and Sadducees that Yahweh can raise up children for Abraham from stones. That may well be true, but that will not make them the heirs of the covenant according to the promises of Yahweh, and the promises of Yahweh cannot fail. In Scripture, the wicked are constantly challenged to do good, and the proof of the Word of Yahweh lies in the fact that they cannot do good, which is why a bastard should not ever enter the congregations of Yahweh.
The word “seed”, as in English, also in Greek and Hebrew, is a singular noun which is used collectively where it signifies many of a single type. The Greek plural form of σπέρμα appears elsewhere in the New Testament only at Matthew 13:32 and Mark 4:31, where diverse types are meant, so the word is used in the plural. This is true in Old Testament Hebrew also, where zera (Strong's # 2233), which is typically seed, speaking of many of the same type, only occurs in the plural one time, at I Samuel 8:15, where it is used of crops and diverse varieties are implied, but in the King James Version it is translated as a singular. Likewise another word, kilayim (Strong's # 3610), does not mean seed by itself but rather it is a noun of the dual form which means “two kinds”, and what kinds it refers to must be determined from the context in which it is used. In Deuteronomy 22:9 it is translated as “diverse seeds” where it appears in the context of sowing a vineyard and it says “Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds”. Rest assured that neither shall Yahweh sow the Body of Christ with “diverse seeds”, because only the seed of Abraham are recipients of the promises of God.
But where Paul uses the Dative Plural σπέρμασιν in this passage, he is referring to the various types of tribes which had descended from the patriarch Abraham: the Ishmaelites, Edomites, Midianites etc., and he is informing us that only one of those tribes are the recipients of the promises, meaning the Israelites, for it is they who are the anointed. This is also precisely what we witness in the book of Genesis where in chapter 21 we see the trial with Hagar and Sarah and the conclusion of Yahweh to Abraham that “in Isaac shall thy seed be called”, and of the sons of Isaac, Esau is later eliminated for being a fornicator and a profane man, as Paul later calls him in his epistle to the Hebrews, and the promise is passed on to Jacob instead.
Esau had despised his birthright, and had taken wives of the Hittites, which is why Paul described him as a fornicator in Hebrews. After Rebekah helped arrange for Jacob to get Isaac's blessing rather than Esau, she informs us as to why where she is recorded as having said at the end of Genesis chapter 27: “46 ... I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?” So in response to Rebekah's distress we see the reaction of Isaac in Genesis chapter 28: “1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. 2 Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. 3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; 4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.”
Since σπέρμα may be translated as race, as Liddell & Scott attest (σπέρμα, II. 2.), in all fairness we may have done better to translate this verse: “Now to Abraham the promises have been spoken, and to his race. It does not say ‘And to races’ as of many; but as of one: ‘and to your race’, which is Anointed.” The history of the Old Testament shows that the other tribes descended from Abraham had mixed with the races of Canaan, and thereby polluted themselves in the manner of Esau.
Our critics may point to the verb ἐστιν here, which is properly the second person singular of the verb to be, or “is” (a form of of εἰμί, Strong's # 1510) but here in our translation it is “are”, and it is easily demonstrable that ἐστιν is often translated as “are” when it refers to a collective noun, or a collection of objects. In proper Greek grammar, the collection being singular so the verb is singular. One need not look further than Galatians 4:24 and 5:19 for examples of this, and Luke 18:27 is another example. In all of these cases the King James Version renders the same form of this verb as “are”. In English we may say that “the herd is running”, referring to a collection of sheep, rather than “the herd are running”. We therefore translated ἐστιν as are to convey the idea that the reference to the anointed is to the collective seed, which in this case is referring to the children of Israel as a group: the Body of Christ.
The children of Israel are the Anointed collectively, as we have already discussed at length while presenting chapter 1 of this epistle to the Galatians, where we used examples from Paul's epistles found at 1 Corinthians 1:13 and 12:12, Hebrews 11:26, 1 Timothy 5:11 and elsewhere to show that Paul used the term to refer to the Body of Christ collectively. We then provided other testimony from the Old Testament and other New Testament writings in order to further demonstrate the proof of our assertion. In Galatians 3:14 Paul informs us that the “blessing of Abraham would come to the Nations”, and in Galatians 3:15 and 16 Paul tells us that those nations which descended from Abraham which the blessing would come to are only the ones which Yahweh had anointed, which are the nations of the children of Israel as opposed to the other nations descended from Abraham.