Zion Ministries - Bible prophecy
THE BOOK OF GALATIANS - IS THIS GOD'S INSPIRED WORD?
God has at last revealed the truth of this book. And the truth is probably not what you expect! For nearly 2000 years it has been a powerful weapon in the hands of those who despise God and His Laws. It has served them well. Now it will be their nemesis!
By Neville V. StevensThe New International Version used throughout unless otherwise specified.
The Book of Galatians has been a great blessing for many people. These are the ones who have sought to corrupt the people of God. This is the book that has traditionally been used to provide the ammunition to defeat those who believe in obedience to God.
In fact, the Book of Galatians is a strange book, and you have to wonder about its purpose. If anyone set out to destroy all that the Prophets and Apostles wrote, this book would provide the perfect starting point. All those who claim 'salvation through grace' alone would be totally without any evidence to support their beliefs - except for this book. "Oh, thank you God for providing this book, otherwise I would have been obligated to obey You" is their core doctrine. And thanks to the book of Galatians they can treat the Laws of God with utter contempt and claim virtue for doing it.
CAN THEY REALLY? You may be shocked to know the horrifying truth!
Those of us who have actually read the Bible, and spent years studying it, know that there is something weird about this book of Galatians. It is strangely contradictory - and even flagrantly so - with the rest of scripture. It hammers home two main points: firstly, the need to treat the Laws of God with contempt; and secondly, if you permit circumcision for any reason whatsoever, you are not a Christian. And on these two points, the message is delivered with great force. Let's be very clear on this, the author of this book intended to deliver telling blows to anyone who still advocated the observance of the things of God.
Who was this author? Was it the Apostle Paul? Some of the things written in the book of Galatians are alarmingly contradictory of other scriptures, and on at least one occasion the author refutes the meaning of a scripture directly spoken by God. One thing is certain, whoever wrote some of these things was no apostle!
Let's assume for the moment that Paul was the author of this book. And let's examine some of the things stated. And before we do, let's also understand that no-one can contradict the Words actually spoken by God and still claim to be His servant. This principle is clearly defined inIsa 8:20 "To the Law and the Testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, they have no light of dawn." No-one has the right to contradict God and God makes this perfectly clear: Isa 8:13 "The LORD Almighty is the ONE you are to regard as HOLY, He is the ONE you are to FEAR, He is the ONE you are to DREAD, and He will be a sanctuary; but for BOTH Houses of Israel He will be a STONE THAT CAUSES MEN TO STUMBLE and a ROCK THAT MAKES THEM FALL. And for the people of Jerusalem He will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will STUMBLE; they will FALL and be BROKEN, they will be SNARED and CAPTURED."
Quite apart from the fact that God emphasises that His Words are the benchmark for understanding, He also affirms that His Words - the Words He speaks - WILL CAUSE MEN TO STUMBLE and FALL and be BROKEN and go into CAPTIVITY. What is more, God confirms this to be BOTH Houses of Israel. And just so we understand in what time period God refers, this is what He says:Isa 8:11 "The LORD spoke to me with His STRONG hand upon me, WARNING ME NOT TO FOLLOW THE WAY OF THIS PEOPLE." V16 "Bind up the TESTIMONY and seal up the LAW AMONG MY DISCIPLES. I will wait for the LORD who is HIDING HIS FACE from the House of Jacob. I will put my trust in Him. Here am I, and THE CHILDREN THE LORD HAS GIVEN ME. WE ARE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS in Israel FROM the LORD Almighty, who DWELLS IN MOUNT ZION." Be sure you are very clear on what these words mean! God has great purpose in recording them. The time will come when your very life will depend on the meaning of these words. And just to emphasise the theme of these words again, notice in full context the words of V20 "To the LAW AND THE TESTIMONY! If they do not speak ACCORDING TO THIS WORD, they have no LIGHT OF DAWN. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will CURSE THEIR KING AND THEIR GOD. Then they will look towards the earth and see only DISTRESS AND DARKNESS and FEARFUL GLOOM, and they will be THRUST INTO UTTER DARKNESS."
And can we be sure that these things speak of our time? The Apostle Peter confirms it:2Pet 1:19 "And we have the WORD OF THE PROPHETS made MORE CERTAIN, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a LIGHT SHINING IN A DARK PLACE, until the DAY DAWNS and the MORNING STAR RISES IN YOUR HEARTS. Above all, you must understand that NO PROPHECY OF SCRIPTURE came about by the PROPHET'S OWN INTERPRETATION. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (See also 1Pet 2:8 where he quotes from the same verses). At the time of UTTER DISTRESS AND DARKNESS, and in the TIME OF FEARFUL GLOOM, the words of the prophets will be made CERTAIN. The LIGHT that DAWNS IN THE DARK PLACE is from the LIGHT OF DAWN - the BRIGHT MORNING STAR (See also Rev 22:16, Mal 4:2, Luke 1:78, Ps 84:11).
So let's be very clear on this! In orders of rank, the words spoken by God Himself are the most important in the Bible. It's unthinkable that any of God's actual spoken words should be paraphrased or assigned an alternative meaning. And particularly a meaning that is counter to the actual words spoken by God. We can have the confidence that no true servant of God would do such a thing.
And now we come to the Book of Galatians. Perhaps other writers in the past have found themselves trying to defend the indefensible.
Firstly, Peter said that some of the things that Paul wrote were hard to understand (2Pet 3:16). The Book of Galatians is one such book that contains many things that are hard to understand. There is evidence that Paul had written to the Galatians previously. He says in Gal 5:21 that he was warning them 'as he did before.' The previous letter was not canonized. Only the present Book of Galatians was. Of all the books of the Bible, this book causes the most problems for understanding. While the subject matter here is not about canonization, this writer has often had cause to wonder why it was canonized. This is the one book that this writer gets very little inspiration from the Spirit to understand.
There is one statement in the Book of Galatians that is positively outrageous! This is what it says: Gal 3:10 "All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."" These two statements CONTRADICT each other. While Paul correctly affirmed what Moses said (Deut 27:26), HE ARGUES FOR AN OPPOSING MEANING! And again, he says this in V12 "The Law is not based on faith, on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live in them."" Here he quotes from the Book of Deuteronomy and he is quoting a DIRECT STATEMENT FROM GOD: Deut 18:1 "The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'I am the LORD your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. DO NOT FOLLOW THEIR PRACTICES. You MUST OBEY MY LAWS and be careful to FOLLOW MY DECREES. I am the LORD your God. KEEP MY DECREES AND LAWS, FOR THE MAN WHO OBEYS THEM WILL LIVE IN THEM. I am the LORD." Clearly, God was NOT saying that those who OBEY Him should NOT live in His Laws. HE SAID THE EXACT OPPOSITE!! God Himself is speaking when He says 'YOU MUST OBEY MY LAWS' and also when He says 'BE CAREFUL TO FOLLOW MY DECREES.' He is still speaking when He says: 'KEEP MY DECREES AND LAWS, FOR THE MAN WHO OBEYS THEM WILL LIVE IN THEM.'
Did God add a rider to accommodate those of the opposing view? For instance, did He say 'Those of you who choose to DEFY My Laws and treat them with contempt will be ELEVATED ABOVE all those who OBEY them.' NO, HE DOESN'T!! He does, however, mention such people many times, but not in this context. They are closely associated with a certain consuming fire! (Heb 10:26-27). Such people, who by their fraudulent association of 'faith and works' have relegated all that God has spoken to the garbage bin of antiquity - BUT ONLY IN THEIR OWN DEMENTED MINDS!
How could Paul get it so wrong? How could he bring himself to so WILFULLY MISQUOTE GOD? In addition to this and many other things, Paul also transcribed the 'CURSE OF THE LAW' to mean Christ (Gal 3:13). While Paul several times states that he is using human reason and analogies (Gal 3:15, 4:1, 4:24, 5:2, 5:16), some of them are very poor and based on personal opinions. Please bear with me on this, I will shortly make my point.
But one of the most telling comments in the Book of Galatians follows this: Gal 3:14 "He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit." Yes, we can accept this! These Gentiles were redeemed so that Abraham's blessings might be made known to them through Christ. Then Paul adds this: V16 "The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The scripture does not say "and to seeds", meaning many people, but "and to your seed", meaning one person, who is Christ."
IS THIS WHAT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS? These are the verses that relate to the blessings offered to Abraham, and GOD IS SPEAKING: Gen 12:2 "I will make you a GREAT NATION and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." V15 "All the land that you see I will give to you and your OFFSPRING [seed] for ever. I will make your OFFSPRING [seed] like the DUST OF THE EARTH, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your OFFSPRING [seed] could be COUNTED." Speaking to Isaac, God said this: Gen 26:3 "...For to you and your DESCENDANTS [plural] I will give all these lands and will CONFIRM THE OATH I SWORE TO YOUR FATHER ABRAHAM. I will make your DESCENDANTS [plural] as NUMEROUS AS THE STARS IN THE SKY and will give THEM all these lands, and through your OFFSPRING [seed] all nations on earth will be blessed, BECAUSE ABRAHAM OBEYED ME AND KEPT MY REQUIREMENTS, MY COMMANDS, MY DECREES AND MY LAWS."
There is nothing in the words that God spoke to Abraham that suggests He is speaking of one person in relation to Abraham's children. In fact its a deliberate and provocative lie to suggest such a thing! Again and again, God speaks of HUGE MULTITUDES of people who CANNOT BE NUMBERED, who are like the STARS OF THE SKY and like the DUST OF THE EARTH. There is no denying that Christ was prophesied to be born through the seed of Abraham, and more particularly through the seed of David. Christ was certainly the Seed of Abraham, through direct linage, but the scriptures speak of OFFSPRING or SEED in the PLURAL. Surprisingly, Paul actually confirms this in V29 "If you belong to Christ, then YOU ARE ABRAHAM'S SEED, and heirs according to the promise." Here he clearly indicates that Abraham's seed are MANY people! And concerning multiple 'seed' see also V8. So what the author says in relation to Abraham's seed is NOT correct! Let it be stated with even more force: IT IS LYING DECEPTION!
"Well that does it!," you say. "Why should I continue to read an article that refutes the scriptures!" Well, hang loose for just a little while longer! You are about to learn something very important!
Am I refuting the scriptures? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I have faithfully quoted the scriptures, including the Book of Galatians in many articles. I have continued to do so, until God advised me otherwise. The Book of Galatians continued to be the only Book in the entire Bible that troubled me (with the exception also of the 'Song of Solomon.'). What is more, there is a distinct lack of influence of the Spirit of God when studying it. One of the main focal points of this book is the question of circumcision (Gal 5:2, 3, 11, 12, 6:12, 13, 15). Notice what it says: Gal 5:2 "Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that IF YOU LET YOURSELVES BE CIRCUMCISED, Christ will be of NO VALUE TO YOU AT ALL. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is required to obey the whole law." Was the author speaking of actual circumcision? Notice what he says: V12 "As for those agitators, I wish they would GO THE WHOLE WAY and emasculate [castrate] themselves." He also says this in Gal 6:12 "Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your FLESH." He says this in V15 "Neither circumcision or uncircumcision means anything..." (see also Gal 5:6). Yes, he was talking about the actual removal of the foreskin not some sort of 'spiritual' circumcision. On the one hand, he states that Christ is of no value to anyone who allows himself to be circumcised, yet he says neither circumcision or uncircumcision means anything. This sort of inconsistency is certainly not the style favoured by God!
Obviously, by Paul's own admission, he shunned circumcision. NO, HE DIDN'T! Notice this verse: Acts 16:1 "He [Paul] came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him [Timothy]. Paul wanted to take him on a journey, SO HE CIRCUMCISED HIM BECAUSE OF THE JEWS who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek." So Paul circumcised Timothy (a disciple) for no other reason than the Jews might take offense. And what did Paul claim in the Book of Galatians? Gal 5:2 "Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that IF YOU LET YOURSELVES BE CIRCUMCISED, Christ will be of NO VALUE TO YOU AT ALL." The controversy over Gentile circumcision arose, and is described in Acts 15:1. In the very next chapter, we find Paul circumcising Timothy (Acts 16:1). So if Paul really wrote the words in Gal 5:2, he was being a hypocrite! IT'S OBVIOUS HE NEVER WROTE THEM AT ALL!
Notice what Paul wrote in Rom 2:25 "Circumcision has value if you observe the Law, but if you BREAK the LAW, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. If those who are not circumcised KEEP THE LAW'S REQUIREMENTS, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet OBEYS THE LAW will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a LAW-BREAKER." So even those who are not circumcised - BUT KEEP THE LAW - will CONDEMN those who are LAW-BREAKERS! Breaking God's Law dishonours God (V23), but worse than this, it is also blasphemy: Rom 2:24 "As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." So the very act of breaking God's Law dishonours Him, and it also BLASPHEMES HIS NAME. The strange thing about all this is, that many people argue furiously against God's law and claim virtue for breaking it. Which God do they serve? Not the One who inspired the Bible - THAT MUCH IS CERTAIN!!
One thing is certain, the Book of Galatians was written after the men of Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas and some others to Jerusalem to see Peter and the Apostles and to get a ruling on these things. The principle issue was that of circumcision of Gentile converts (Acts 15:1), but also whether it was permissable to eat meat that had not been bled (but rather, strangled), meat offered to idols, and the ever-present problem, sexual immorality (Acts 15:28). It was Peter who gave the verdict: Acts 15:6 "The Apostles and elders met to consider this question. AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a CHOICE AMONG YOU that the GENTILES MIGHT HEAR FROM MY LIPS the message of the Gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did to us." Yes, it was God's CHOICE that the Gospel might be heard AMONG THE GENTILES by the LIPS OF PETER, and the account of this is clearly stated in Acts 10:1-48. So, long before the Book of Galatians was written, God had chosen Peter to make the Gospel known to the Gentiles in the Holy Land.
Following Peter's statement, James confirmed what he had said, and proposed to sent a letter confirming their findings. This was done with the consent of the whole Church (V22). They also sent Judas Barsabbas and Silas back with Paul and Barnabas to confirm the contents of the letter. This is the same Barsabbas that was once balloted for the position of twelfth apostle (Acts 1:23).
Did you notice the Apostle Paul never stood in Peter's face to accuse him of anything! Neither in Jerusalem nor in ANTIOCH as is claimed in Gal 2:11. Not only are the scriptures silent on any meeting of Peter and Paul in Antioch, but the very language in which the supposed author of this book couches his comments in this regard are outrageous! There is no doubt that any such meeting would have taken place after Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem by those in Antioch. And remember the purpose of their visit was to enquire about the treatment of Gentiles. Before dealing with what the Book of Galatians says concerning Paul's presumed confrontation with Peter, notice what is recorded in the Book of Acts. Shortly after Paul was brought to Jerusalem in the company of Barnabas and introduced to the Apostles (Acts 9:26) (remember that prior to this, Paul had been killing Christians), some of the Grecian Jews sought to kill him, and so the Apostles shipped him off to Tarsus (V30).
Immediately after this Peter has his famous vision (Acts 10:9). This vision made him aware that he was no longer to consider Gentiles to be unclean. This vision occurred the day after the Italian centurion Cornelius had a similar vision (Acts 10:1). We all know that Peter visited Cornelius and sat down and ate with him and stayed for several days. He also baptised his whole household. So when Peter returned to Jerusalem he faced some criticism. Notice what was said: Acts 11:1 "The Apostles and brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the CIRCUMCISED BELIEVERS CRITICISED HIM and said, "YOU WENT INTO THE HOUSE OF UNCIRCUMCISED MEN AND ATE WITH THEM." Peter then goes on to explain that God had made it known to him that he was no longer permitted to call anything impure that God has made clean (V9). And of course, everything that is said in this regard was about those Gentiles whom God was calling - not just any Gentile!
While Peter was learning this valuable lesson, Paul was still in Tarsus. After these things, Barnabas went to Tarsus to find Paul. Having found him, he brought him to Antioch (Acts 11:25). Together, they met with and taught great numbers of people. Barnabas was well aware of Peter's journey to Caesarea to stay with Cornelius, and was very likely one of the six that went with Peter (Acts 11:12). Barnabas was a Levite (Acts 4:36) and a faithful worker in the Jerusalem Church. He was known to the Apostles long before Paul came on the scene. For some years he was Paul's mentor until Paul became the chief speaker (Acts 14:12), and shortly after they separated following a dispute concerning John Mark (Acts 15:39) who was also the cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10).
The scriptures are very clear that God used the Apostle Peter to make known to all the Church His requirements regarding Gentiles in the Church. And this also happened long before Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem to enquire on the circumcision question.
There are two widely differing accounts of Paul's conversion given: the account in the Book of Acts and the one given in the Book of Galatians. This is the account from the Book of Acts: Ananias went to heal Paul and restore his sight (Acts 9:17). Paul spends several days with the disciples in Damascus (V19). V20 "At once he began to preach in the synogogues that Jesus is the Son of God." V23 "After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was really a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the Apostles." Barnabas then explains all that happened to Saul in Damascus and how fearlessly he had spoken the truth in that city.
What is absent from this explanation is the reference to the three years that is mentioned in the Book of Galatians: Gal 1:15 "But when God , who set me apart from birth and called me to His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me so that I may preach Him among the Gentiles, I DID NOT CONSULT ANY MAN, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were Apostles before I was, but I went IMMEDIATELY INTO ARABIA and LATER RETURNED TO DAMASCUS. Then AFTER THREE YEARS, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other Apostles - only James the Lord's brother." Not only did Paul CONSULT Ananias, he was also told that Ananias would heal him and instruct and baptise him (Acts 9:10-19). So the comment that he DID NOT CONSULT ANY MAN is nonsense. Did he go IMMEDIATELY INTO ARABIA as suggested here? No, He didn't! He stayed and consulted with many people in Damascus, until he was forced to escape the city in a basket lowered over the wall.
Then we have a period of fourteen years mentioned in Gal 2:1 "Fourteen years later..." This is after the three years in Arabia and after his first visit to Jerusalem to meet Peter (with whom it says he stayed for 15 days), he mentions another visit to Jerusalem. This time with Barnabas, but notice he also says he took the Gentile-convert TITUS with him. This is, according to the book of Galatians, at the very least seventeen years after Christ's resurrection in 30 AD. This would put the time period at 47 AD. The mentioning of TITUS here is very important to the time sequence. But notice that after this seventeen years, the three Jerusalem Apostles are mentioned: James, Peter and John (Gal 2:9). It was well-known that these three Apostles were the pillars of Jerusalem, even from the time of Christ (Matt 17:1, Mark 5:37, 9:2, 13:3, 14:33, Luke 8:51, 9:28). It just so happens the Apostle James, the brother of the Apostle John, was beheaded by King Agrippa I in 44 AD (Acts 12:2). So one of the pillars of Jerusalem disappeared from the scene. So did Agrippa! The account of his death is given in Acts 12:21-22. So at the very least, the THREE YEARS IN ARABIA doesn't compute with the historical timescale.
It says this in Gal 1:19 "I saw NONE of the other APOSTLES - only James the Lord's BROTHER." Remember, this was the introductory meeting of Saul (later Paul) and all the Apostles just after his conversion. This is how Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, recalls it: Acts 9:27 "But Barnabas took him and brought him to the APOSTLES [plural]. He told THEM [plural] how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly the name of Jesus." The author of the Book of Galatians wanted to imply that he met only Peter at that first visit which he says lasted for fifteen days. He makes mention of James, the Lord's brother - but not the Apostle James! He says he saw none of the other Apostles! This obviously contradicts Luke's account in the Book of Acts.
But notice yet another questionable comment! Here James, Peter and John are confirmed as the 'pillars' of Jerusalem; now notice what is said: Gal 2:9 "James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and BARNABAS the RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP when they RECOGNISED the grace given to ME. They agreed we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews." The one who wrote this obviously didn't know that Barnabas was the one who led Paul into Jerusalem and introduced him to all the Apostles (Acts 9:27), nor did he know that Barnabas was sent to Antioch - by the Apostles - to establish the Church there (Acts 11:22) BEFORE Paul was called to service there. He also seems to be ignorant of the fact that Barnabas was well-known and held in high esteem by all the Apostles long before Paul came along (Acts 4:36). Did they indeed offer BARNABAS the RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP because they RECOGNISED the grace given to Paul? NO! THEY DIDN'T! Barnabas was well-established as a faithful brother and worker in the Church and held in the highest esteem: Acts 11:22 "News of this reached the ears of the Church at Jerusalem, and they sent BARNABAS to ANTIOCH. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. HE WAS A GOOD MAN, FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FAITH, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Then BARNABAS WENT TO TARSUS TO LOOK FOR SAUL, and when he FOUND him, he BROUGHT HIM TO ANTIOCH. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the Church and taught great numbers of people." The author of the Book of Galatians MISTAKENLY believed that Barnabas was a convert of Paul! He obviously didn't know the background of this man. Yet further evidence that this Book was NOT written by Paul!
Then we have the famous passage where Paul is supposed to have called Peter a hypocrite right to his face: Acts 2:11 "When Peter came to Antioch, I OPPOSED him to his face, because he was in the wrong. Before certain men came from JAMES, he used to eat with Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to DRAW BACK and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was AFRAID of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his HYPOCRISY, so that by their HYPOCRISY even BARNABAS was led astray."
This is clearly false! It never happened! Peter was instructed by God Himself concerning eating with Gentiles and it was Peter who was criticised by his fellow countrymen FOR EATING WITH THEM (Acts 11:3). After God's instruction, eating with Gentiles was never a problem to Peter! It was Peter who explained to everyone the reasons why he now chose to eat with Gentile converts - because they had been called by God! Having been told by God, he didn't need Paul or anyone else to tell him a SECOND time. And this happened in JERUSALEM - NOT ANTIOCH!
Was Peter AFRAID of the circumcision group? What a laugh! Peter was the most courageous of all the disciples! And it was for this very reason that the author of the book of Galatians sought to record this 'confrontation.' By attacking the most courageous of all the Apostles, he sought to elevate Paul above them all in spirituality. And by further dividing the Jews and the Gentiles on secular issues, the stage was set for making the transition to a false Gospel. And this is the intent of the Book of Galatians.
As previously alluded to, the mention of Titus (Gal 2:1) places the time of the authorship of this book after the second mission and probably even after the third mission. It's certain the author knew Titus, but he may not have actually known Barnabas, since he knew nothing of Barnabas' early association with the Church. Titus was a Gentile and a Greek. His primary role in the Church, and as Paul's assistant, was to establish Churches in Greece. Paul actually left him in Crete to appoint elders to the local Churches (Titus 1:5). Titus is not mentioned until the latter stages of Paul's ministry. And it seems Titus deserted Paul anyway and went off to Dalmatia in Greece (2Tim 4:10). Whoever authored the book of Galatians was a Gentile, and most probably a Greek. At the time that Demas, Crescens and Titus deserted him, only the Apostle Luke was with Paul (V11). This period corresponds with Chapter 20 of the narrative of the Book of Acts. This is where Luke begins to speak in the first-person-tense and uses the pronoun 'we'. The mention of the name of Titus in the book of Galatians (Gal 2:1) places the period around the time when everyone in Asia deserted Paul (2Tim 1:15).
Paul wrote the Book of Titus while Titus was still on the Isle of Crete. He makes this observation about these people: Titus 1:15 "...In fact both their minds and consciences are corrupted. THEY CLAIM TO KNOW GOD, but by their actions they DENY him. They are DETESTABLE, DISOBEDIENT and UNFIT for doing anything good." And of course, how could anyone claim to know God if they reject all that God has said? Commonly today, people have rejected the entire Old Testament - THE VERY SCRIPTURES USED BY CHRIST! Notice also Paul mentions the word 'DISOBEDIENT' and links this to the word 'DETESTABLE'. Anyone who is DISOBEDIENT to God is also DETESTABLE! What is more, they are UNFIT to be a part of God's endtime Work and are duly treated as UNFIT!
The Book of Galatians is almost a tirade against Law. What Law? Is it all the Laws of God? Or the Law of the Temple? Or the sacrificial Laws? If the answer is any of these things, then we should expect Paul to shun everything to do with the Temple, and the Temple Laws as a bare minimum. Never would Paul condescend to those things he vehemently spoke against. Whatever the Book of Galatians speaks against, notice what the Book of Acts says: Acts 21:20 "...Then they said to Paul: "You see, brother, how many THOUSANDS OF JEWS have BELIEVED, and ALL OF THEM are ZEALOUS FOR THE LAW. They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles TO TURN AWAY FROM MOSES, telling them NOT TO CIRCUMCISE THEIR CHILDREN or live according to our customs. What should we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, JOIN IN THEIR PURIFICATION RITES and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. THEN EVERYBODY WILL KNOW THERE IS NO TRUTH IN THEIR REPORTS ABOUT YOU, but that YOU YOURSELF are living in OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW." V26 "The next day Paul took the men and PURIFIED HIMSELF ALONG WITH THEM. Then he went to the Temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the OFFERING WOULD BE MADE for each of them." The whole purpose of this exercise was to ensure that everyone understood that there was NO TRUTH IN THE REPORTS ABOUT PAUL! Now if the reports were true, then these words alone are sufficient to identify Paul as a monumental hypocrite OR ELSE THE BOOK OF GALATIANS IS A FAKE!
WHICH IS IT?
Other books written by Paul pass all the protocols established by the Bible itself. One of the most important of these is when scriptures are quoted; they must reflect the true meaning of the original. And this is where the Book of Galatians fails miserably. It is childishly flawed. At least half the Book of Galatians was written by someone who had very limited knowledge of the Bible, and a total absence of the Wisdom of God. The Apostle Paul doesn't fall into this category. He was not only very knowledgable, but he was also devoted to God. He was taught by the greatest teacher of the law of that day - Gamaliel. Gamaliel was the grandson of Hillel, the founder of the Hillel School of Law. Paul also had impeccable credentials of sufferings for God in persecution, beatings, shipwrecks, and more. His calling was widely known and spoken of throughout the region. His apostleship was as firmly established as any of the other 12. So WOULD Paul author such nonsense? On the authority of God the Apostle Paul is not the hypocrite this book makes him out to be. The obvious misquoting of scripture has all the hallmarks of a clever counterfeit. And counterfeit additions are not something new. There are quite a few verses that have been added to the New Testament that were not in the original manuscripts, for example: Mark 16:19-20, John 7:53-8:11, 1John 5:7. The most reliable versions mention that these were not in the original manuscripts. The fact is there have been many unlawful additions to the Bible down through the ages, either in whole paragraphs or one-line additions or omissions, and it shows us that some people didn't like what the Bible teaches, and sought to modify it.
Then there are those who saw the contradictions in the Book of Galatians, and noticed the deliberate provocation expressed AGAINST the very WORDS SPOKEN BY GOD, and assumed God had some purpose for inspiring them. But now we can know with absolute certainty that God doesn't permit anyone to add or subtract from his foundational knowledge. And many people have tried to do that!
Some have imagined the Bible to be so sparse of knowledge that they decided to add some padding. The Gentiles added the Apocrypha - a whole raft of fake and spurious writings. Others sought to supplement the Bible with their own book, so they faked additional books, including the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon fails every protocol or convention established by God and is its own witness against any form of authenticity. In addition to these things, books and articles proliferate every day about the Bible. Every lame-brained fool feels qualified to teach about the Bible - provided they never actually quote the Bible in depth. They develop a repertoire of about 30 or 40 verses and immediately they are experts. The rest of the Bible is taboo! In fact, most 'christians' today reject the Bible in favour of only the New Testament portion of it. Some have now whittled that down to just the four 'gospels'. Increasingly, these have also been whittled down to just the Book of John. And then there are the emotional and spiritual cripples who emblazon their websites and everything else they write with just one verse - John 3:16. To these grovelling mendicants this verse represents the whole Gospel. Ask them for an opinion about the Book of Revelation (which God inspired some 60 years after the death and resurrection of Christ), and they are struck dumb! The Book of Revelation is also taboo to these curdled-brained morons.
Everything that is written concerning the Bible must complement ALL the Bible. And any Christian who presumes to teach the Bible must also be like Christ and quote extensively from the Old Testament. A true Christian doesn't teach his own opinions about the Bible, but like Christ, speaks only the Words of the Father.
There is evidence the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians at least several times: 1Cor 16:1 "Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the GALATIAN Churches to do...." This instruction was in letter form because Paul wasn't there at the time he instructed them (V2). He also says in Gal 5:21 that he was warning them 'as he did before.'
Many people down through the ages have sought to understand the Book of Galatians. Understanding that the Bible deals with God's Commandments and Laws from Genesis to Revelation, many faithful people have sought to offer explanations for some of the strange things that are written in Galatians. Dutifully, and in faithfulness to God, they have gone to great lengths to try to understand what Paul was talking about. Secretly, many may have thought Paul to be a bare-faced hypocrite, since his actions rarely matched the words in the Book of Galatians.
There is a distinct possibility that this book was originally written by Paul, in fact it is most likely, but it is absolutely positive that most of it are NOT the words of the Apostle Paul. It has been greatly altered to reflect a totally contrary view of the intent of the original. We can have absolute confidence that anything that contradicts what God has spoken is a fraud - even if it is bound in the covers of the Holy Bible.
Yet another thing raises questions about the authenticity of this book. This is the absence of Paul's trademark salutations at the end of it. And particularly the absence of any mention of another companion, except Titus. Paul traditionally sent greetings from all those who were with him. It does mention Barnabas, but he departed with John Mark before Titus came on the scene (Acts 15:39). We therefore know the original was written some time after the arrival of Titus. This would place it in the period mentioned in 2Tim 1:15 "You know that EVERYONE in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes." Eventually, at the conclusion of his ministry, all the Churches of Asia deserted him and turned away. Paul knew in advance that this would happen; and in complete accord with God's plan (Acts 20:25-31).
Paul usually had his letters written by a scribe (see Rom 16:22) because of his poor eyesight, yet he mentions that he wrote the Book of Galatians with his own hand - and in big letters (Gal 6:11). In other letters he usually wrote only the final greetings and salutations (1Cor 16:21, Col 4:18) and he had a special reason for doing this. The explanation is found in 2Thess 3:17 "I, Paul, write this GREETING IN MY OWN HAND, which is the DISTINGUISHING MARK in ALL my LETTERS. THIS IS HOW I WRITE." This was to guard against counterfeit letters which were already circulating among the Churches (2Thess 2:2). It may seem to be a minor point, but the whole of the book of Galatians was written in large letters which is a departure from Paul's DISTINGUISHING MARK. And since most of Paul's letters were very long, it would seem logical to have a scribe write them in smaller print. The Book of Hebrews is one of the longer letters from Paul, yet notice what it says: Heb 13:22 "Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only A SHORT LETTER." It should be pointed out that the Book of Galatians is a much shorter letter than the Book of Hebrews. This could indicate that the original was indeed a long letter.
The Book of Galatians certainly lacks the quality of the rest of the scriptures - almost as if it were written by someone who didn't know what they were talking about. On the question of the meaning of Gal 4:10, quite frankly, it could be explained either way. It could be speaking in favour of God's Holy Days, or against them. There is no context and no explanation given. If it speaks against them, then the author is calling them weak and miserable principles (V9). Presumably, Christ was observing weak and miserable principles when He EAGERLY DESIRED to keep the PASSOVER with His disciples before He died (Luke 22:14). And again, if the Holydays are no longer a requirement, then God has 'foolishly' illuminated the DAY OF PENTECOST by sending the Comforter (Counsellor) on that Day - just as the disciples expected! So was God honouring weak and miserable principles? Concerning the SABBATH DAY that God made HOLY in the Garden of Eden, presumably, this also is a weak and miserable principle.
Equally though, Gal 4:10 could be mitigating against the principles of the world. It could be warning against the observance of worldly festivals. Since the weak and miserable principles are linked to their former habits before they knew God (V8), and the warning is to 'not turn back again to these weak and miserable principles', it's obvious it doesn't refer to God's Holy Festivals which these Gentiles never kept prior to knowing God.
But what a magical verse this has been for so many people! Those who use it against the Holy Days appointed by God, quite happily ignore the whole Bible from cover to cover, and magnify this verse as the supreme justification of their beliefs. They will ignore a hundred verses or even a thousand in favour of this one verse, because this verse, IN THEIR MINDS, frees then from the obligation to HONOUR and OBEY God.
And such people are less inclined to quote Col 2:16 "Therefore do not let anyone JUDGE you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL, a New Moon celebration or a SABBATH DAY." Here the Apostle Paul warns against allowing anyone to JUDGE us for our GODLY PRINCIPLES. Yes, that's right! GODLY PRINCIPLES! And he warns against the PRINCIPLES OF THIS WORLD which consist of HOLLOW AND DECEPTIVE PHILOSOPHY and HUMAN TRADITION: Col 2:8 "See to it that no-one takes you CAPTIVE through HOLLOW AND DECEPTIVE PHILOSOPHY, which depends on HUMAN TRADITION and the BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THIS WORLD rather than on Christ." And just to reinforce this, the PRINCIPLES OF THIS WORLD, we are told, are based on human commands and teachings - NOT ON GODLY COMMANDS AND TEACHINGS! (Col 2:20-22).
It's probable that both books of Galatians and Colossians were originally written on the same theme because Gal 4:3 also retains the phrase 'BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE WORLD' which is the theme of the Book of Colossians.
Regardless of how the Book of Galatians may have started out, it no longer reflects the truth of God. Some sections of it may still be worthy of canonisation, but until it's examined in much greater detail - and tested - there is no basis for upholding any of it. And there is nothing contained in it that is essential to the understanding of the rest of the Bible. In regard to the written Word and also prophecies, God gives this instruction: 1Thess 5:19 "Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. TEST EVERYTHING. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."
And many, it seems, need also to test themselves! It seems many have failed the test! Notice what the scripture says: 2Cor 13:5 "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; TEST YOURSELVES. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - UNLESS, OF COURSE, YOU FAIL THE TEST?"
And how do you suppose you would fail the test? There are many liars and frauds out there who have a 'Jerry Seinfeld' Gospel - it's the gospel about NOTHING! Those who follow this gospel are required to do nothing, believe nothing, obey nothing; and for doing absolutely nothing they will be rewarded - with nothing! And who is it that believes this gospel of nothing?
ALMOST THE WHOLE WORLD!
The only ones who don't, are the ones that actually OBEY GOD and HONOUR HIM.
If you believe in the gospel of nothing, where you do absolutely nothing either by intention or by default, then you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you, like the rest of the world, are a part of Satan's clan. Yes, that's where you stand, and this is your status. You may choose to believe yourself to be a pillar of virtue because you shun and despise God's Laws, but shortly you will have no need to doubt your status any longer.
Some of you will have opportunity to claw your way back from eternal destruction if you become faithful to God - but you will have to do it the hard way! God is about to build your faith! When all hope is gone, your only hope will be the hope of the resurrection. You MUST then go to your death in faith! Then you will BELIEVE God - or else!
And those who can encapsulate their entire doctrine in a single verse should also be philosophical enough to accept their final demise in the same shallow concept. If those who have tried to obey God are scarcely saved, where will those be who refuse to obey Him?
And one parting passage - study it and understand it! Heb 10:26 "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of JUDGMENT and of RAGING FIRE THAT WILL CONSUME THE ENEMIES OF GOD. Anyone who REJECTED the LAW OF MOSES died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How MUCH MORE SEVERELY do you think a man DESERVES TO BE PUNISHED who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the Covenant that sanctified Him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God."
Those who are so actively involved in teaching you to REJECT the LAW OF MOSES do so in DIRECT DEFIANCE OF GOD! God says the EXACT OPPOSITE! And just so you know that God is speaking of the endtime and the same raging fire that will consume His enemies, He has this to say: Mal 4:1 "Surely the DAY is coming, it will BURN LIKE A FURNACE. All the ARROGANT and EVERY EVILDOER will be STUBBLE, and that day that is coming will SET THEM ON FIRE," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left of them." Yes, well that's the evildoers taken care of, but God also speaks of righteous in the next verse: V2 "But for YOU WHO REVERE MY NAME, the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL RISE with healing in [His] wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the WICKED; they will be ASHES under the soles of your feet on the DAY when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty."
Now notice God's INSTRUCTIONS in anticipation of this DAY in the very next verse: V4 "REMEMBER the LAW OF MY SERVANT MOSES, the DECREES and LAWS I gave him at Horeb for ALL ISRAEL."
And what period is this speaking of? It speaks of the endtime - the last fleeting period of this dying civilization, the end of Satan's rule, and the beginning of the glorious DAY OF THE LORD. It speaks of the time when GOD'S ONLY WORK on earth will be done by a LEVITE PROPHET - the endtime ELIJAH. And God makes this PROMISE in the very next verse: V5 "See, I will send you the PROPHET ELIJAH before the great and dreadful DAY OF THE LORD comes."
THESE ARE THE WORDS SPOKEN BY ALMIGHTY GOD! You have the option to BELIEVE Him or to believe the freaks who have taught you to DISOBEY Him.
You have been warned, it's up to you! But be assured, you will get what you DESERVE, and insomuch as you have refused to BELIEVE the Almighty God, your punishment will be FAR MORE SEVERE than those of old who REJECTED the LAW OF MOSES (Heb 10:28).
If you have ever taken the time to read your Bible and to understand its message, you will know that it speaks of endtime events in severe terms. Christ spoke of it as a time that has no equal in the past nor will there be in the future. The Bible does speak of a similar time during the time of Noah, but even that period is paled by comparison. And even though the whole world population died except for a handful of people, they died a relatively pleasant death. It will not be so pleasant in the massive fires that encircle the earth in the endtime. The prophets spoke of it (Isa 9:19, 43:2), and so did the Apostle Peter (2Pet 10:11). And when the dead bodies are being heaped up, and death is all around you, don't blame God! He has already warned you!
What does God expect of you?
Firstly, He expects you to BELIEVE Him!
Secondly, He expects you to OBEY Him!
And thirdly, He expects you to HONOUR Him!
And if you think you are honouring God by supporting those who WON'T BELIEVE HIM then you are horribly and dangerously wrong! Christ made it plain that those who are not with Him are against Him (Matt 12:30). And the excuse 'I was only following orders' will not be valid in that day! Notice what else Christ says: V36 "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment FOR EVERY CARELESS WORD THEY HAVE SPOKEN. For by your words you will be acquitted, and BY YOUR WORDS YOU WILL BE CONDEMNED." You have been warned!
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