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The Epistles of Paul - Galatians Part 4: Heirs of the Covenant
The typical denominational Christian understanding of Galatians 3:16 is not only absolutely contrary to the original intent of its author, Paul of Tarsus, but it is also absolutely contrary to all of the promises of Scripture. It goes so far as to endeavor to make void all of the promises of Scripture which we see that Yahweh had made to Abraham and to the children of Israel exclusively, in spite of Paul's actual words confirming them, but especially in spite of the words of Yahweh God Himself. It is an outright theft and a grave deception to imagine that the “seed” of Galatians 3:16 is the single individual, Jesus Christ. Those who insist on saying this must not be able to understand just how or why Yahweh would keep His promises to a particular race, they cannot even properly identify that race, and therefore they seek to twist the Word of God. Here we shall see that in the balance of Paul's statements, it is clear that Yahshua (Jesus) Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant, and not its lone beneficiary, since Paul also attests that the intended beneficiary of the promises to Abraham are a plural entity, and not a singular individual, and Paul himself connects these promises to Abraham to the promises of a New Covenant.
In spite of the traditional explanations of the denominational sects, it is quite clear that here in Galatians chapter 3 Paul is explaining that the promises of Yahweh God fulfilled in Christ are indeed going to be kept according to what Yahweh had already promised to Abraham as it is recorded in Genesis, which ensured Abraham that his seed would become many nations and as the stars of heaven, and that they would inherit the world as well as inheriting his blessing. This is what Abraham believed, so this belief alone is the “faith of Abraham”. Paul also said, in Galatians 3:15, that the covenant could not be amended or added to. There is no man capable of adding to or amending the promises of God. There is no changing the nature or definition of Abraham's seed, and there is no adding to the promises of a New Covenant as they are found in Jeremiah or Ezekiel. Paul once again reinforces this statement in Galatians 3:17.
Where earlier in Galatians chapter 3 Paul had written that “6 Just as 'Abraham had trusted Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness' 7 then you know that they from faith, they are sons of Abraham”, he is making a rather direct statement that those who are from of the faith which Abraham had, they are the sons of Abraham, because the faith of which Paul speaks can only be what Abraham himself had believed, and certainly not what anyone else may believe. Abraham's faith was his belief that his offspring would become many nations, that nations and kings would come from the seed in his loins, and that it was that seed which would ultimately inherit the earth.
Paul then said here in Galatians chapter 3: “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.” Those from faith are the result of what Abraham had believed, over 2,000 years before Paul was writing, and therefore they can only be the nations of the promises made to Abraham, as we had seen that Paul also explained that same thing in a different manner in Romans chapter 4, and it is those very nations who are blessed in the blessing to Abraham, which is how Paul himself is interpreting the promises made to Abraham where he refers to those nations which the writing had foreseen.
Therefore in order to understand who the proper heirs of the promises to Abraham are, we must understand that they are also the heirs of the New Covenant promises to Israel, and that is what Paul is saying in Galatians 3:16. Paul is explaining that one cannot be an heir merely by keeping the laws of God or by adhering to the works of the law. One can only be an heir if one is of the faith which Abraham had, which describes what Abraham had believed, as Paul states that faith is according to the promises. Paul had likewise said in Romans chapter 15: “8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.” So after Paul had said to the Galatians that “15, Brethren, (I speak as befits a man,) even a validated covenant of man no one sets aside, or makes additions to for himself”, he then explained that “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”, which narrows the scope of the promises to Abraham in the same way that the Book of Genesis narrows that scope: to include only one of the families that had descended from Abraham, out of several. That Paul means seed as a collective group and not an individual is clear where he later says in this chapter that there are heirs of this promise, and not merely a single heir. Paul cannot say anything which is contrary to the way the promises to Abraham are passed down in Genesis. Rather, he is only explaining how those promises were passed down in Genesis.
So we see in Genesis chapters 12, 15, 17 and 22 that Abraham had received these promises, which told him that his seed would be innumerable, that they would become many nations, and that they would be blessed and would inherit the earth, and then this promise was later passed down to Isaac, and then to Jacob, where it was repeated again at Genesis 28:14. When the promises were passed down to Isaac with the statement “in Isaac shall thy name be called”, the children of Ishmael and those which Abraham would later have with Keturah were eliminated from any hopes of inheriting them. Then when Esau forfeited his birthright and the promises were instead passed down to Jacob, his children also lost any hope of this inheritance. That is the meaning of Galatians 3:16, and as one can see Paul explain in Romans chapter 9, his words here are necessary because many of the people in Jerusalem who sought their righteousness in the law were actually descended from Esau, and not from Jacob, and they thought they could attain the promises by keeping the law. So we shall repeat verse 16 with this understanding: “16, Now to Abraham the promises have been spoken, and to his offspring [the nations and kings and seed as the stars of heaven which he was promised]. It does not say 'and to offsprings', as of many [meaning to Ishmael or the sons of Keturah or the sons of Esau]; but as of one: 'and to your offspring,' which are anointed [which is in reference to the children of Israel alone].” So Paul is explaining that the exclusivity of the promises of Yahweh God persists in the New Covenant, even among the offspring of Abraham.
Furthermore, in order to understand which nations descended from Abraham, we are therefore obligated to follow Paul's epistles and not only study what Paul had said but have the faith to examine it along with the Old Testament prophecies and histories, and to and compare it to ancient history in order to find the truth as to what Paul had said, because he was the apostle to the very nations who are the heirs of these promises and this covenant. Doing that, we shall indeed learn that it is proven in ancient history that Paul did exactly as his commission professed, by bringing the Gospel of God to the nations of dispersed Israel, to those nations which were indeed the seed of Abraham and the heirs of the covenant. Paul having been appointed as the apostle to those nations, with the hope of the twelve tribes of Israel, therefore he should have known to which nations it was that he was commissioned to bring the news of those promises, that news being the Gospel itself.
Therefore there was no epistle of Paul to the Arabians, among whom were the Midianites, Moabites, Ammonites, Ishmaelites and other tribes who were descended in part from Abraham. Neither was there an epistle to the Edomites, a great number of whom converted to Judaism in Judaea but whom Paul had identified as “vessels of destruction” in Romans chapter 9. Neither were there any epistles of Paul to Syrians, Persians, or any of the Japhethite tribes, such as those of the Ionians or Thracians, although he had often passed through their lands on his journeys. Neither were there any epistles of Paul to the Egyptians, Ethiopians, or any of the other peoples in Africa. There were only epistles of Paul to certain of the places in Europe where tribes which were descended from the dispersed Israelites of antiquity had dwelt, and these Galatians were among them. The content of those epistles reveals on many occasions that he was writing to Israelites, which is absolutely clear in these upcoming passages of this epistle to the Galatians.
After explaining the narrow scope of the promises to Abraham in verse 16, Paul goes on to reinforce what he intended and writes:
17 Now this I say, a covenant validated beforehand by Yahweh, the law which arrived after four hundred and thirty years does not invalidate, by which the promise is left idle.
The Codices Bezae (D), Freerianus (I 016), the 5th century Uncial 0176 (in which only several verses of this very chapter have survived, Galatians 3:16-25), and the Majority Text have here “validated beforehand by Yahweh in Christ” (which may also be read “validated beforehand by Yahweh to the Anointed”); the text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C). P46, א, A, B, and C.
This covenant to which Paul refers is the initial covenant which Yahweh made with Abraham, after the manner in which it was customary for men to make covenants at that time, which is recorded in Genesis chapter 15: “9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him…. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.” Yahweh passed between the carcasses, as a man of that time would do, validating the Covenant and staking His very life upon it, which was the tradition of men at the time. In the ancient Mari Letters that have been unearthed by archaeologists and which are believed to date to around the time that Israel went down to Egypt in the 18th century BC, there is a description of a covenant which was apparently made in much this same manner. There the phrase “kill an ass” indicated the making of a treaty of peace between two parties (Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, J. Pritchard, editor, Princeton University Press, 1969, p. 482).
Notice that Paul said that the covenant was validated with Abraham, and that the law arrived 430 years after that, which is a reference to the giving of the Levitical law at Mount Sinai. Here it is apparent that Paul had interpreted the four hundred years of Genesis 15:13 and the four hundred and thirty years of Exodus 12:40-41 to have begun with the promise of Abraham which Yahweh had made to him in Genesis chapter 15, which was after Abraham had arrived in the land of Canaan. It is a common misunderstanding that the children of Israel were actually in bondage in Egypt for four hundred years. Rather, their bondage lasted for not longer than a period of about 200 years. [Once this is properly ascertained, it becomes clear just how often the denominational commentators repeat one anothers' errors, never studying the original data for themselves.]
This 200 year figure is arrived at in two ways. First, we may take Paul's 430 years and deduct the time until Isaac was born, then we may further deduct the time until Jacob was born and then the age he was by the time that he had arrived in Egypt. Abraham was 86 when Ishmael was born, and had already been in Canaan 10 years (Genesis 16). So the 430 years began when Abraham was about 76 years old. Isaac was born 14 years after Ishmael, when Abraham was 100 years old. This accounts for about 24 years. Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob was born, which makes our total figure about 84 years. Jacob was 130 years old when he went to Egypt with his family (Genesis 47:9), which brings us to 214 years. Jacob then lived another 17 years during which Israel was not yet in bondage (Genesis 47:28). So over half, or about 231 years, of the total of 430 years is past by the time when Jacob had died, and Israel was put in bondage by the Egyptians some time following Jacob's death.
The second way to arrive at the conclusion that Israel spent no longer than 200 years in bondage in Egypt is by examining the genealogies. In Exodus chapter 6 we learn that Levi had a son named Kohath, who in turn had a son named Amran, and Amran was the father of Moses and Aaron. Kohath was already born when Levi went to Egypt with his father (Genesis 46:11). By the time Moses was born, Israel was already in captivity. The birth of Moses must have been nearly 120 years after Jacob had gone down to Egypt along with Levi and Kohath, and according to the Bible Moses and Aaron were in only the second generation of Levites born in Egypt. It is not clear whether the captivity had already begun when their father Amran was born, but the Israelites were being severely oppressed by the time that Moses was born. Moses had later fled Egypt when he was about age 40 and he returned when he was about the age of 80 (Exodus 7:7), leading the children of Israel out of Egypt a short time later since after 40 years in the desert Moses died at the age of 120 (Deuteronomy 34:7), a time period which is also verified in the numbers of years recorded for Aaron when he died (Numbers 33:39).
If the life of Moses consumed 80 years of the 200 year period during much of which Israel was in bondage, that leaves a hundred and twenty years from the time when Kohath his grandfather went down to Egypt with Levi to the birth of Amran and then to the birth of Moses. That is a long time to engender only two generations of children, but both Kohath and Amram had also lived long lives, and may well have had children as late as Isaac had, and Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob was born. Amran had lived until he was 137 years old, and evidently he did not live to see the Exodus, so he must have been greater than 57 years older than his son Moses when Moses was born (Exodus 6:18-20). So if Kohath and Amran each had their sons at an age greater than 60, it is very possibly as many as 120 years for Israel to be in Egypt by the time Moses was born, and the Exodus happened 80 years later.
As for Moses being of only the second generation of the children of Israel born in Egypt, and living long enough to come out of Egypt in the Exodus, we see further corroboration in the genealogy which is given for the tribe of Judah. The same situation exists where Amminadab the son of Ram the son of Hezron is also of the second generation born in Egypt and he had also lived to participate in the Exodus (Numbers 1:7, Ruth 4:19, 1 Chronicles 2:4-10). Amminadab was the grandson of Hezron, and Hezron was born in Canaan, as he had accompanied his father Pharez when he went down to Egypt with Jacob (Genesis 46:12).
So this second manner of deducing the figure of 200 years in captivity fully corroborates the first manner which is deduced from Paul's statement here in Galatians. The captivity itself was not 400 years, as most commentators imagine. Rather, it was with all certainty only as long as 200 years.
As for the population of Israelites on the plains of Moab, of which an account was first taken about 240 years after Jacob went down to Egypt and where there are over six hundred thousand men of fighting age, this is very possible. Starting with 30 child-bearing couples, if each couple has 7 children, in the ninth generation there will be over 675,000 couples ready to bear over 4.7 million children. Those numbers are quite plausible and more than sufficient for the generation which wandered out of the desert of Sinai. Moses himself may have been of the second generation born in Egypt, but being 80 years old at the Exodus there were several generations already born which he had led out of Egypt, and still more born in the desert at Sinai.
18 For if from law [P46 has “through”], the inheritance is no longer from promise, but to Abraham through a promise Yahweh has given it freely.
In all of the promises which Yahweh had made to Abraham concerning his seed, nothing was conditional on the part of Abraham. Nothing at all was required of Abraham until Genesis chapter 17, where it is seen that he and his sons were circumcised as a sign of the covenant. Later, circumcision was mandated for Israel as a part of the law, and after a lapse during the sojourn in the desert it was resumed in Joshua chapter 5. But the only conditions of the promises of Genesis chapters 12 and 15 were on the part of Yahweh. The giving of the law at Sinai and the vow of the people to keep it were for reasons that were in addition to the promises to Abraham, as Paul shall explain here.
If the law of Yahweh God given to Israel at Sinai over 400 years later does not invalidate the promises to Abraham which were passed down through Jacob, then neither does the church, which came along over 2500 years later, invalidate those promises. Paul again defined the scope of the promises in Romans chapter 4, written several years after this epistle to the Galatians, where he had written: “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. 15 For the law results in wrath, so where there is no law, neither is there transgression. 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.'” The promises to Abraham, which are fulfilled in Christ, are to those same offspring, as Paul said here, “the promise is to be certain to all of the offspring”. The nations of the blessing to Abraham are also according to the declaration, “Thus your offspring will be.”
Where Paul says that the covenant with Abraham was validated beforehand by Yahweh, and that the law does not invalidate it, it is evident that the reasons for the giving of the law were supplemental to the promises to Abraham. Of course, this is also evident reading the Old Testament, because if the children of Israel were ever destroyed, deserving or not, then the promises to Abraham become meaningless. Yet the children of Israel have mercy and salvation in Christ, so the promises to Abraham and Jacob would be kept by Yahweh their God. The Christian promises do not begin with Christ, they begin with Abraham. As we are told in the opening chapter of the Gospel of Luke and elsewhere, that Christ is the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If one is not a part of the promises made to Abraham and passed down through Jacob, according to the declaration “thus [his] offspring will be”, then one has no part in the promises in Christ.
19 Then why the law? It had been imposed on account of the transgressions,
The Codex Bezae (D) has verse 19 to read “Then why the law? It was placed on account of the traditions”, which is sort of strange and virtually meaningless. The 3rd century papyrus P46, which is one of the oldest papyri, esteemed to date from around 200 AD, has the entire clause to read only “Then why the law of those practices?” This would indicate that the rituals of the law were the subject of Paul's reference. The text of the Christogenea New Testament here follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C), 0176, and the Majority Text. The verse continues: until the offspring would come to whom [or “to which”] He had promised Himself,
The precise dating of the coming of the Messiah is found in prophecy in Daniel chapter 9. The final clause may have been rendered merely “to whom He had promised”. The Greek word ἐπήγγελται is the Aorist Medium 3rd person singular of ἐπαγγέλλω (Strong's # 1861), which is generally in this voice “to let proclamation be made...to promise” (Liddell & Scott). However we instead chose to interpret the Medium Voice verb following its basic grammatical signification, where the initiator and the recipient of the action are one and the same, thereby illustrating the meaning of the many prophecies of Scripture concerning the nature of the Messiah. One example is where the Word of Yahweh says in Isaiah chapter 43: “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine…. 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” To finish verse 19 and the one which follows:
having been arranged by messengers [or “angels”] in a mediator’s hand. 20 And the mediator is not of one, but Yahweh is one.
The Greek word ἑνὸς is literally “of one”, but used with a word such as mediator (μεσίτης) Thayer adds that it may be read idiomatically, “of one party”. With that understanding, we may perceive Paul to be stating “but Yahweh is one party” in his conclusion to this verse. However it is also evident in Scripture that Yahshua Christ, Yahweh incarnate, is the mediator of the Covenant, but He being God had also made the promises. Therefore, contrary to the claims of the denominational sects, He is certainly not the recipient of the promises. A mediator is not of one party, and Yahweh is one party, so Christ being the Mediator, there must still be another party, which is Abraham and his collective seed.
In Hebrews chapter 8 Paul refers to the New Covenant promised to the children of Israel, and he describes Christ as mediator of that covenant where he says: “6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” The Old Covenant was based upon the promises of Israel to keep the law, so that they would have a tutor unto Christ, as Paul explains here. But the New Covenant is based upon better promises, which are the original promises to Abraham that were always superior to the Old Covenant.
Then in Hebrews chapter 9 Paul affirms this once again and says: “15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” However only the children of Israel, the seed of Abraham through Jacob, are “they which are called”. In Isaiah chapter 51 we read an appeal by Yahweh made to the children of Israel: “1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.”
The purpose of the Messiah is explained further in Isaiah chapter 49: “6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Nations, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 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.” Yahweh is faithful because in Christ the Mediator He has kept the promises to Abraham and to his seed. Paul is explaining to the Galatians the significance of the Messiah in the scope of these promises made in the Old Testament. He is not adding anything to it, and he is not taking anything away from it.
21 Therefore is the law in opposition to the promises of Yahweh? Certainly not! If a law had been given having the ability to produce life, indeed justification would have been from of law.
As it says in Psalm 143, “for in thy sight shall no man living be justified”, and David had written that of himself regardless of his love for and his desire to keep the law. Likewise even of Abraham Paul had written that “… if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God” (Romans 4:2). Abraham was deemed righteous by Yahweh God because Abraham believed the Word of God. His reward was the immutable promises which God made concerning his seed, which out of all of his sons, only the children of Jacob Israel were accounted as his seed. In Psalm 105 we read of the permanent nature of the promises to Abraham which were given before the law: “6 O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. 7 He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth. 8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. 9 Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; 10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant.” The Psalm affirms that the things which Yahweh had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are everlasting, permanent promises. The Levitical and Kingdom laws given at Sinai were not in opposition to these promises, but were rather supplementary to them, as Paul shall explain.
22 But the writing has enclosed all under fault, in order that the promise, from the faith of Yahshua Christ, would be given to those who are believing.
The Old Covenant was therefore to teach Israel what sin was, the consequences of sin, and the mercy of God in spite of sin. All of Israel had sinned, and only Israel had been enclosed in sin, as Paul explained in Romans chapter 5 that sin is not imputed where there is no law. Therefore, if “all” here means everybody in the world, then Paul of Tarsus is a liar, because the Scripture says of Yahweh in Psalm 147 that “19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.” But if by saying “all” here Paul only means to refer to all of the seed of Abraham through Jacob, who are the subject of this entire discourse, then Paul is telling the truth, and the Scripture is not ever broken.
Therefore, where in 1 Timothy chapter 2 Paul once again refers to the mediator of the covenant and he mentions “all men”, Paul can only be meaning to reference all of the men of Israel, where he says: “3 This is good and acceptable before Yahweh our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be preserved and to come into full knowledge of truth. 5 For Yahweh is One, and one mediator of Yahweh and men: a man Yahshua Christ, 6 who gave Himself up a ransom for all, the proof in proper times.” Yet being the mediator of a new covenant promised only to the children of Israel, Yahshua Christ is mediator only to “all men” of the children of Israel. Yahweh actually discarded others of the nations of Genesis 10 so that He would save the children of Israel, as we read in Isaiah: “3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” So “all men” cannot mean all of everybody, but only all of Israel. For that reason and others, Paul never wrote epistles to the people of Egypt, Ethiopia and Seba.
Here, rather than the “faith of Abraham”, Paul mentions the “faith of Yahshua Christ”. But what is the faith of Yahshua Christ? From Daniel chapter 9, where Yahweh God answers the prayers of the prophet, we read: “24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” So we see that the promise of the Messiah was to make reconciliation with Israel for the iniquity of the people. Then we read further: “25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the Prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” So the Romans, who were the people of Messiah the Prince, would destroy Jerusalem and the temple after the cutting off of the Messiah. Then a little further we read: “27 And he [meaning the Messiah] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [meaning the promises of New Covenant related to those initial promises made in the irrevocable covenant with Abraham, for which we can cite Luke 1:72]: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease [which are the rituals of the temple in Jerusalem], and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate [when the people of the Messiah the Prince came and destroyed the city, which is the subject of the prophecy].”
So in accord with the Messianic prophecy of Daniel we read in Isaiah, who preceded Daniel by about 200 years, from Isaiah chapter 53: “5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Therefore Paul says that “the writing has enclosed all under fault” speaking of all the children of Israel just as Isaiah was speaking of all of the children of Israel where it says “all we like sheep have gone astray” and “the iniquity of us all”.
From Isaiah chapter 46 we read: “3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: 4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you…. 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”. Having declared the end from the beginning, we see that the New Covenant and the Messiah are for the salvation of one race: the seed of Abraham through Jacob Israel.
Then we see the purpose of the Messiah as attested by Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who from Luke 1:67 we see “was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying”, and what he says is absolutely agreeable with the description of the Messiah promised in Daniel and in Isaiah: “68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 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”. This is what Paul is teaching here, for “all men”, meaning only “all” of the people of the children of Israel. No other men fit into the context of any of these statements or promises of God.
As Paul said in Romans chapter 4, Yahweh God can “calleth those things which be not as though they were”, as we see in the promises to Abraham. However we must also consider that God also calls things which are as though they shall not be, as we may read in Obadiah 16 where the Word of Yahweh says that “all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” Just because there are men of other nations and races here today, that does not mean that they can be accounted among “all men” in reference to the promises which Yahweh made to Israel alone. The heathens will evidently not be here one tomorrow day forthcoming, so how could they be accounted as men in the promises of God?
Out of all of Abraham's seed, it was the Gospel of Yahshua Christ which were to separate the chosen from those not chosen, the children of Israel from the children of Abraham's other sons, as Christ said to those who opposed Him, as it is recorded in John chapter 10: “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” The “faith of Christ” is the belief that Christ came to do what the prophets had written of Him. Those things which He was to do pertain only to the children of Israel. Therefore “those who are believing” are of the children of Abraham who hear His voice and follow Him, who are the sheep of Yahshua Christ. Paul's words in verse 23 continue to elucidate the validity of the interpretation:
23 But before the faith was to come we had been guarded under law, being enclosed to the faith destined to be revealed.
Only the children of Israel were ever “guarded under the law”, and therefore only the children of Israel were “enclosed to the faith destined to be revealed”. No one from any other race or nation was ever “guarded under the law”, including those of Abraham's other sons, whom are also excluded from “the faith destined to be revealed”, which was the “faith of Christ”, and not merely some vague belief in a poorly-defined Jesus. This Jesus Himself said “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” They heard His voice, and they followed Him. For anyone else to believe in Jesus is vanity, because they shall not penetrate the enclosure created by the Word of God.
24 So the law has been our tutor for Christ, in order that from faith we would be deemed righteous.
In this manner, earlier in this chapter Paul had quoted the prophet Habakkuk where he had written concerning the children of Israel, saying that “the just shall live by faith”. And here we see that the law was supplemental to the promises to Abraham, which are permanent promises given apart from the law. In fact, the law itself foresaw in various ways that the children of Israel would break the Old Covenant. One example is in the curses of disobedience in Deuteronomy chapter 28 where we read: “36 The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.” However earlier, in Deuteronomy chapter 17, it was already foreseen that Israel would indeed be disobedient in this manner where it says “14 When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.” Making a law which was contingent upon the disobedience of Israel, Yahweh was prophesying their disobedience and their resulting punishment.
But that the law was “our tutor for Christ”, we again see that those of the faith in Christ are those who had once been under the law, and out of all of the world's peoples as well as all of the children of Abraham, that can only apply to the children of the twelve tribes of Israel. If only they were ever under the law, then only they from faith may be deemed righteous in Christ. As it says in Isaiah chapter 45, “25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Yet for an Edomite to be under the law is folly, as today's Jews claim, since the law was given only to Israel and they are not Israel.
25 But the faith having come, no longer are we under a tutor; 26 for you are all sons of Yahweh through the faith in Christ Yahshua.
But the faith in Christ Yahshua is that He would reconcile the children of Israel to Yahweh, as we have read from both Daniel and Isaiah. There is no faith in Christ outside of this faith in Christ: that in Christ the children of Israel are reconciled to God. That is because there are no Old Testament promises for anyone of any other race. The faith having come, the children of Israel would no longer be condemned by the law, as Paul explains in Romans chapter 7: “1, Are you ignorant, brethren (I speak to those who know the law,) that the law lords over the man for as long a time as he should live? 2 For a woman married to a living husband is bound by law; but if the husband should die, she is discharged from the law of the husband: 3 so then as the husband is living, she would be labeled an adulteress if she were found with another man; but if the husband should die, she is free from the law, she is not an adulteress being found with another man. 4 Consequently, my brethren, you also are put to death in the law through the body of Christ; for you to be found with another, who from the dead was raised in order that we should bear fruit for Yahweh. 5 Indeed when we were in the flesh, the occurrences of fault, which were through the law, operated in our members for the bearing of fruit for death; 6 but now we are discharged from the law, being put to death in that which we were held, so that we are bound in newness of Spirit, and not oldness of letter.” The Romans were of the children of the lost tribes of Israel as well as the Galatians.
27 For as many of you have been immersed in Christ, Christ you have been clothed in.
We may have done better to write the last clause “in Christ you have been clothed”, but the phrase “clothed in” comes from a single Greek word, and wherever that happens we avoided splitting such phrases.
As we have previously seem in this presentation of Galatians, being “immersed in Christ” means being immersed in His death: in the purpose of His having died on behalf of the children of Israel. As Paul had written in Romans chapter 6: “3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
28 There is not one Judaean or Greek, there is not one bondman or freeman, there is not one male and female; for all you are one in [P46 and A have “you are all of”; א has “you are all among the number of”; the text follows B, C, D, and the MT] Christ Yahshua.
Paul is not saying that there should be no more slaves. The word here for bondmen is the same Greek word, δοῦλος (Strong's # 1401), which was translated as servants in 1 Timothy 6:1 where, in an epistle written several years after this epistle to the Galatians was written, Paul wrote: “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.” Rather, Paul is saying that among Christians, slaves should get equal love and respect with freemen, as he later wrote in the epistle to Philemon, where he wrote to him of the slave Onesimus, that he being a Christian should be treated “16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?” The word for servant in that passage is also δοῦλος each time it appears. Paul also continued to make distinctions concerning sex, where he wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, an epistle which was written several years after this one, that “it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” Therefore he is not saying here that there will be no more distinction between the sexes.
Therefore it is not as if there could no longer be Judaeans or Greeks, but as Paul had said in Galatians chapter 2, “6 Now from those reputed to be something, whatsoever they were then makes not one difference to me. Yahweh does not receive a man's stature, therefore to me those of repute are conferred nothing.” Likewise he later wrote in Romans, chapter 3: “9 What then, are we better? Not at all: for we previously accused both Judaeans and Greeks all with being at fault: 10 just as it is written, 'that there is none righteous, not even one.'” Paul's words therefore have nothing to do with servitude. race or nationality or sex.
Therefore, all of these things only have to do with the status of a person, and that there should be no distinctions of status among Christians: they should all love and treat one another equally. This is also the meaning of Paul's later discourse on the parts of the body of Christ which he had made to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 where he concludes “25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” But Paul is only speaking in reference to the Body of Christ, to the seed of Abraham, and that is a distinction which he maintains throughout this chapter. The conclusion of the chapter actually reinforces that assertion:
29 But if you are Christ’s, then of the offspring of Abraham you are heirs according to promise.
The King James Version has added the conjunction and to the last clause of this verse, which is in none of the original manuscripts. However many other versions have added things far more sinister.
Without adding any words or punctuation and without changing any of the original word order, this verse is difficult to comprehend in English, and may be literally translated: “But if you of Christ then of Abraham offspring you are heirs according to promise.” The word for “then” is the Greek word ἄρα (Strong's # 686). According to Liddell & Scott ἄρα was generally used to describe a thing which is next in order after another, or something which explains what has preceded. Both of these uses are manifest where ἄρα also appears in different types of conditional sentences.
The Greek word ἄρα often serves to introduce the apodosis in a conditional sentence (the then... part), a clause which answers to the protasis (the if... part), where the word ἄρα can have an inferential force. For example, “If it is raining, then I cannot go fishing.” But there are several types of conditional sentences. They can either express factual implications, or they can express hypothetical situations and their consequences. (Refer to the Wikipedia article on Conditional Sentences for examples.) In order to determine the type of conditional sentence to which such a statement belongs, the grammar of each of the clauses in the sentence must be examined.
We see conditional sentences using the same Greek words for if and then in Matthew 12:28 and in Hebrews 12:8. In both instances, if the protasis, which is the clause following the if is true, then the apodosis, which is the clause following the then must also be true. These are conditional sentences which express factual implications.
In Matthew 12:28 we read: “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” If the kingdom of God in the person of Christ and His disciples was not manifest, then Christ was not casting out devils by the Spirit of God. In other words, if one clause is true, then the other clause must also be true. Christ did not say to the Pharisees in Matthew that the kingdom of God may come unto you or will come to you, He said it is come to you. So by the grammar of each clause, we see that both clauses in His statement must be true. This is a conditional sentence which expresses a factual implication, or as Liddell & Scott have it in their definition, “something which explains what has preceded”.
In Hebrews 12:8 we read: “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” If one is a bastard, then one is not a partaker in the chastisement of the children of God, as the Word of God says to the children of Israel that “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:2). Again, if one clause is true, then the other clause must be true.
So this is also a conditional sentence which expresses a factual implication. The then part of Paul's statement is “something which explains what has preceded”, which is the if part of Paul's statement. Paul did not say in Hebrews that one may be a bastard, or could be a bastard, so by the grammar of each clause we once again see that both clauses must be true. This is because the verb in the apodosis is Indicative, which is a mood that is used to express a definite statement. The verb is not Subjunctive, which is a mood that expresses contingency or uncertain fulfillment, which is something that would be or could be. Nor is it optative, a mood which expresses a wish or desire, which is a contingent possibility.
Here in Galatians 3:29 where Paul wrote “if you are Christ’s, then of the offspring of Abraham you are heirs according to promise”, once again the verb in the clause in the “then...” side of the statement is Indicative, expressing a definite statement. So this is also a type of conditional sentence which expresses a factual implication. If you are Christ's, you are also Abraham's seed. Paul did not write that if you believe in Jesus you may be, or you could be, or you shall be Abraham's seed, in the manner in which the denominational sects claim. Both sides of the statement must be true. If you are Abraham's seed, according to what Paul had explained in Galatians 3:16, then you are of Christ.
The commentators of the denominational sects isolate this one verse, and then they claim that it is a conditional sentence which expresses a hypothetical situation and its consequences, but that is a lie. Rather, this is a conditional sentence which expresses a factual implication, just as we have seen in Matthew 12:28 and Hebrews 12:8, or else all of Paul's previous statements in this chapter are no longer true, and Paul is a liar. But Paul is not saying that someone can simply claim to be Christ's and imagine himself to be of Abraham's offspring. Rather, all through this chapter Paul's words prove that someone cannot claim to be Christ's and imagine himself to be of Abraham's offspring.
Paul had previously explained that those of Christ are those of the faith of Abraham, which are those in whom Abraham had believed: that the seed which would come from his loins would become many nations, as Paul also said, that the seed is according to the promise. Paul had also explained that those of Christ's are those who were guarded and tutored under the law, which can only refer to those same nations of Abraham's seed which came from his loins: which later became many nations in the dispersions of the children of Israel. This verse may read at the beginning: “But if you are of the Anointed...” If you are Christ's, you are of the offspring of Abraham and heirs according to the promise. But if you are not of the offspring of Abraham and heirs according to the promise then you are not of Christ. Paul will reinforce all of this again in Galatians chapter 4 where he says that Christ came “to redeem them that were under the law”.
For the second clause of Galatians 3:29 I am nearly impelled to write “then of Abraham you must be the offspring, heirs according to promise.” The difference between these Present tense 2nd person plural forms of the Greek verb εἰμί (Strong's # 1510, which is “to be”) being that ἐστέ with the final letter accented indicates the Indicative mood, and ἔστε with the first letter accented indicates the Imperative mood. The accents belong to the editors of the manuscripts, and not to the original Koine Greek as it is found in the Great Uncial manuscripts. But the Subjunctive and Optative forms of the word are entirely different words, about which there can be no confusion.
However as we have explained, the necessity imposed, that one must be from the physical seed of Abraham's loins, is already clear enough in Scripture, for example at Matthew 15:24, and especially here in Paul’s letter to the Galatians at 3:23, 4:5, and 4:28, that one must be of the offspring of Abraham in order to be of Christ in the first place. Where Paul says here in this verse “heirs according to promise”, the promise is in the Old Testament, as Paul is referring to the promises which God made to Abraham in Genesis, and the word for heirs is plural, so therefore the heirs are not the singular individual seed, referring to Jesus Christ, as the denominational sects also strongly insist.
Paul confirms this once again in Hebrews chapter 6, an epistle written several years after this one, and he said that “For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.” The confirmation was of course in Christ. Paul confirms this again at Hebrews 11:9 where he spoke of Abraham, writing that: “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” James, writing to “the twelve tribes scattered abroad”, also confirms that the heirs of the promise of God are a plural entity in the second chapter of his epistle: “5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” Peter confirms this as well, in 1 Peter chapter 3: “7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
Paul confirms this further at Romans 4:14, 8:17 and in Titus 3:7: The heirs of the promises to Abraham are not one individual Jesus Christ, but a collective plural Anointed people which are the children of Israel. Therefore Paul says in Romans chapter 8: “17 And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ”, where in that he explains that one must be a child of God first, and then one is an heir with Christ, who has a two-fold nature as God and man. The children of Israel are designated as the children of God in Deuteronomy 14:1, as well as in other places in the Old Testament, and if one is not one of those Deuteronomy 14:1 children of Israel, one cannot be an heir to the covenant and the promises of Abraham. If Deuteronomy 14:1 and a few places pertaining only to Israel in the prophets are the only places in the Old Testament where Yahweh has claimed any children, then no one else but the children of Israel can make such a claim for themselves.
The commentators of the denominational sects seek to commit history's greatest crime: to steal the inheritance of God from the true children of Israel, and give it over to devils. Covenant theology is the only legitimate theology, and it is the core of what we call Christian Identity. It is the only theology which causes the children of Israel to heed the Word of God where it says in Isaiah to “Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.” It is the Elijah ministry which Christ had said would have to come before the end, described in Malachi chapter 4: “5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”