Shabbat Bible Study for December 8, 2018
©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3, Sabbath 39
Devarim 21:10 – 22:5 – YeshaYahu 54:1-10 – Psalm 136 – Galatians 3:1- 5:26
Devarim 21:10 – 22:5 – Background: Last week’s portion was about Israel at war. Beginning in 20.10, we see how we are to treat a city against which we are going to war that is ‘afar off’; it is not one of the 7 nations whom Israel is going into haAretz to displace. In that passage we are to send an embassage to offer the city Shalom under certain conditions. If they accept, that is well. If they do not, then “Oh, Well!”; they had been offered their lives and refused. If they refuse Shalom, we besiege the city and when we’ve won, we are to kill every male among them, and save the women and children, cattle and flocks. Beginning in v.16, we see that we are not to offer Shalom to the 7 nations that we are displacing baAretz; they are to be either destroyed or driven out of Y’hovah Elohecha’s land. We are not to destroy any fruit trees baAretz, for they will be for our food.
Then in 21.1-9, we get instructions on how to deal with a man found slain without the walls or borders of a city. Now, the passages before that one have to do with our conduct in battle and the passages following it deal with our conduct AFTER the battle, so what is this 9-verse parenthesis about? The context makes me infer that this man found slain outside the city, was a man who had been wounded in battle and, while trying to get back to his inheritance or, at least to someone who could help him, died of his wounds. And that brings us to our passage for today.
Vv.10-14 – “When thou goest forth to war,” indicates that this is NOT dealing with one of the 7 nations we were going to dispossess. This is definitely about a foreign enemy, who had opted to fight when offered Shalom. Y’hovah here acknowledges the human nature of man; that men away from home will be tempted to sexual sin. Admit it, guys; no matter how deeply you love your wife, when you see a beautiful woman, your flesh reacts; your eyes follow the form until you have a chance to use your reason and engage your spirit. It is human nature. And you women are not off the hook either, if you’re honest with yourselves. It is Y’hovah’s design and it is not sinful; at least not until you engage your reason and start to dwell on your natural urge to spread your DNA in that direction. And it MAY not be sinful until you actually engage in the act. Remember,
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (I John 3:4)
Πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, καὶ τὴν ἀνομίαν ποιεῖ καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία
Whoever works sin also works iniquity (Torah/law-lessness) and sin is iniquity.
That seems to say that sin is active; that adultery and fornication are overt acts. Y’hovah is telling us that when we lust for a beautiful woman in the enemy camp, there is a procedure to follow to take the woman to wife, so that we will not sin. The prefatory comments in Schottenstein’s Chumash are quite good on this subject, though I think “most of the commentators” went further than Y’hovah does, as we will see. Cf. Chumash pp.136. I agree with Rashi and Ramban, though I see the point of ‘most of the commentators’, also: if the Israelite’s yetzer hara will not leave him alone, ‘most commentators’ say he may indulge it one time, but then must give her time to mourn her change of station in life; her parents, culture and/or husband/sons. I think that is more accommodation to the flesh than acting in trust and faith in Y’hovah.
Vv.15-17 – This passage on the ‘hated wife’ follows hard after the beautiful captive for a purpose. If a married man has gone into battle and there found a woman he desires and made her his wife (multiple wives were allowed in ancient Israel, though IMO that was never ‘optimal’), he may not diminish his duty to his first wife, according to the original covenant Israel agreed to 4 times.
If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. (Exodus 21:10)
I gotta tell you guys, we are not wired that way. I mean, there is only so much a guy can do, regardless how much his youthful pride or his yetzer hara may lie to him.
Now, this passage is actually addressing the man’s firstborn’s rights. Whether the bachor is the son of the hated wife or the favored wife, he is the firstborn and his rights are sacrosanct; the man may not favor the son of the favored wife over the son of the hated wife, if the hated wife’s son is the actual bachor. Ohr haChaim thinks that the last phrase of v.15 says that the hated wife WILL have the bachor, like Leah did, because Y’hovah sees the broken heart of the hated wife and gives her the bachor as consolation for her husband’s treatment. In context, this looks like the ‘hated’ wife is the 1st wife, and probably a native Israelite wife, while the favored wife is the ‘hottie’ from another culture. Q&C
Vv.18-21 – This passage deals with a man whose son is rebellious and will not honor his parents. It follows hard after the discussion of the favored/hated wives, and the rebellion may stem from the father’s treatment of the son’s mother. If the rebellious son is the son of the favored wife, it may be that he expects the same treatment as his mother gets. If the rebellious boy is the son of the hated wife, it may be because the son of the favored wife actually DOES get the same treatment his mother gets. I think these three situations that get treated in this chapter may be seen as each following the other, and I think they may be illustrated by both Avraham and his sons and Ya’acov and his sons. These strifeful situations are exactly what WILL occur in a multi-wife family, with both wives living under the same roof. I do not see how they can possibly NOT happen or that it cannot be anything but hard on the man’s home life. In Ya’akov’s case, the (almost) exact situation developed between Leah and Rachel and then carried through to their children (the only difference, and it may actually have made matters WORSE, is that Leah and Rachel were sisters – possibly twins). Rachel and Yoseph were the ‘favored’ ones; Leah and her children were the ‘hated’ ones. Reuven saw that Yoseph got all the choice stuff, even though he, Reuven, was the bachor. So, after Rachel’s death near Ephrath, Reuven went in unto Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid and Ya’acov’s concubine;
21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar. 22 And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard. Now the sons of Ya’akov were twelve: 23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Ya’akov’ firstborn, and Shimon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: 24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: 25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: 26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these the sons of Ya’akov, which were born to him in Padanaram. (Gen.35.21-26)
So, I think it is easy to see, by dot-connecting, that it’s a bad thing for the believer’s (or any other) family to have more than one spouse. First papa takes a 2nd wife; then he favors one over the other, then the sons of the favored wife are treated differently than the other wive’s sons and the strife reaches into their progeny. Likewise, Ishmael was Avraham’s firstborn son, and Avi loved Ishmael. He mourned for Ishmael when Y’hovah told him to follow Sarah’s instruction to put Hagar and Ishmael out of the camp, for Yitzhak was the son of the promise, not Ishmael. Perhaps Avi knew of this instruction, and knew the problems that would forever follow those 2 beloved sons. From what I see in scripture, it is not SIN for a man to have more than one wife, but it is obvious that it is also not wise.
The rebellious son was to be taken outside the camp and stoned and this sin removed from Israel. When word got around of any son being stoned, that would deter the sin from spreading. The 1st purpose for this mitzvah is that it relates directly to the 5th commandment to love Y’hovah.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which Y’hovah Elohecha giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12)
The 2nd purpose is that our life not be cut short by stoning. Deterrence was the LAST purpose of capital punishment, not the first. We need to keep the camp pure so Y’hovah can walk among us.
Vv.22-23 – In Israel, the body of an idolater or blasphemer was stoned to death and then hung on a gallows (tree) so people would see what comes of these sins. It is very interesting what Chumash says about v.23 on pg.139. Let me reiterate that last sentence,
People who see the body think it’s the king. (Rashi)
Do you think their ears are hearing what their mouth is saying? On the day of Passover, Yeshua was hung on a tree and the priests were afraid that the executed would not die and be buried before sundown and thereby defile their Shabbaton of Unleavened Bread, so they asked Pilate to go out and break their legs. Joe and Nic got Pilate’s permission to take Yeshua’s body to be buried somewhere other than the criminals, for he had taken the curse from the land and the people of Israel. I think they may have thought that his body would be defiled by contact with the criminal’s bodies. I assume the criminals’ corpses were buried in a mass grave, and possibly carried to the burial ground stacked on a cart.
Devarim 22.1-5 – The 1st 4 verses deal with what happens if a man finds any unknown livestock hanging around unattended. He is either to take it to the brother, if he knows whose the animal is, or he is to take it home and safeguard it until the owner comes looking for it; this is true of both clean and unclean livestock and any other lost property. This kinda puts the kibosh on, “Finder’s Keepers; Loser’s Weepers”, doesn’t it?
V.5 – A woman wearing what pertains to a man or a man wearing a woman’s garment is abomination to Y’hovah. There are 2 possibilities as to what this appertains. The one that comes quickly to mind is cross-dressing and temple prostitution. Both were more prevalent in Canaan than in Israel. The other relates to my un-PC commentary last week about women in combat assignments in the military. Again, Stone’s Chumash deals with this on pg.141. Women were not to ‘gird up their loins’ for battle, and men were not to dress like women to escape combat. We saw last week that if a man was frightened to go to battle, there was no recrimination taken against him; it was better that he not be there to confuse a portion of the battle line and perhaps cause the loss of the war. Q&C
Isaiah 54:1-10 – This prophecy is about Ephraim, the barren, divorced wife, who has more children than Yehudah, the married wife. If what I think could be right is right, that is the understatement of understatements. If the Avrahamic covenant has taken its full course, the possibility exists that every person on earth is a descendant of Avraham. It could even be that in the 3500 years of the nation of Israel, and the 3000 years of Israelite exploration and dispersion, that everyone on the planet is a descendant of Ya’akov.
Where it says that Ephraim was desolate, the Hebrew word is shomeimah, and more likely should read something like, ‘made desolate’ – she was disinherited and childless, in the spiritual sense. Surely Ephraim numbers hundreds or even thousands of times greater in number than Yehudah, largely thanks to the perennial wasting of Yehudah’s numbers by pograms and inquisitions at the hands of Ephraim, whether Ephraim was aware of its familial relationship w/her or not. And now, thanks to the spread of the besorah in the world in and since the 1st century of the common era, this is not only true physically, but spiritually, as well. As we’ll see in our apostolic text today, all who are in Mashiyach are Avraham’s seed. The prophecy of vv.2-10 has been and will continue to be fulfilled in both Ephraim and Yehudah, ultimately in the Kingdom and then the New Creation. The two dispersed sheepfolds, seen in the zodiac as Pisces, will be recalled from their diasporas by Mashiyach and wed to their beloved, never to be sent away again.
Tehellim 136 – This is the Psalm we read during the Pesach Haggadah, after the telling is over, for it briefly recounts the history of the Wilderness Adventure and how Y’hovah delivered us from Egypt to the land of promise. This is a picture of the Greater Exodus that will be precipitated by Mashiyach sending his angels to the 4 corners of the earth to recall his Bride and all the guests to the wedding. Everything that Y’hovah recounts through David is a mere shadow of the deliverance he will provide in our not too distant future [a future that gets less and less distant with every breath we take]. The battle lines are being drawn before our eyes on the evening news. All the doom and gloom in the Middle East is actually exciting news for those of us who are looking toward the soon Kingdom of Mashiyach in Yerushalayim. It will not be long before all the world knows that Y’hovah’s rachamim truly does endure l’olam va’ed. Q&C
Galatians 3:1-14 – In his book, Galatians, Avi ben Mordecai makes the case that the greek manuscripts only use one word to describe Torah AND oral traditions (nomos, which is mostly translated as ‘law’ in English) and that contextual knowledge is therefore necessary to know to which ‘law’ Paul refers. And I contend that this is pretty much the case in ALL of Sha’ul’s letters. The Galatians had had Yeshua set before them as crucified and resurrected from death; this is how the gospel had been preached to them, and they believed that gospel. Now Sha’ul wants to know who has beguiled them into thinking that they needed to do some other works to be saved!? He is reiterating in an interrogative form the astonishment he showed in 1.6ff
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Mashiyach unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Mashiyach. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Gal.1.6-9)
This is the same Sha’ul who had brought the decrees of the Beit Din in Yerushalayim that their justification is not in any overt acts, but by the faith of Yeshua. Remember the decree of the Beit Din in Acts.15,
That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. (Acts 15:29)
The anti-missionaries were already at work in Galatia, trying to bring those who had been set at liberty back under a yoke of bondage to the traditions of men. He asks, ‘How did you come to Mashiyach? By works of the law; or by the hearing of faith?’ Paul will go on to show that works of oral tradition (Sinai in Arabia), and the Jerusalem that now is = bondage; and that faith, and the Jerusalem that is above (New Yerushalayim) = liberty. But that’s in ch.4.
So, what is it then? Having begun in the Spirit of Truth, are you made perfect by the works of sinful flesh? He asks if they have suffered in vain. What they suffered before the decision of the Beit Din was to be ostracized because they were Gentiles, not allowed into the fellowship meals to discuss and better learn the Torah parsha that had been read that Shabbat; perhaps not allowed into the synagogue to hear Torah read at all. The Beit Din had sent the letter declaring that all they needed to do was abide by the 4 necessary things and they could enter the synagogues, hear Torah read and expounded, partake of the oneg meal and ask all the questions their little brains could construct. So, are they going to allow their liberty to be so quickly stolen from them? He finishes the paragraph by saying that the father of the Hebrew faith, Avraham, was justified by his faith, not by his works. In fact, his elder son, Ishmael, was not born for at least a year or so after he was ‘counted righteous’, so Avraham was at most 86 in Gen.15 when he was accounted righteous. That was before Hagar and Sarai had their trouble, and therefore it was antecedent to the antecedent to the metaphor Sha’ul will use in ch.4: faith came first; and then the works that proved the faith was real.
From v.9-14 – Avraham was not an Hebrew when he believed Y’hovah; Hebrew derives from the word avar, meaning to cross over and he had yet to cross Euphrates. But Y’hovah, to foreshadow the justification of the heathen by faith, justified Avraham by his faith and made the promise to Avraham that in him all the nations would be blessed BEFORE he ‘crossed over’. Now a curse is not a blessing, so they who are justified by the works of the tradition of CC place themselves under the curse of that tradition and they are subject to all the oral law, of which that tradition is part. After the delivery of the covenant in Ex. 20-31, there are only 3 mentions of CC in Torah proper (the books of Moshe); 2 speak of Y’hovah CCing our hearts and 1 speaks of CCing the male child on the 8th day. That’s it. So, I don’t think that the necessity of having a proselyte CCd before he could be taught Torah is in Torah. The idea of a proselyte being CCd in the flesh in Torah is conspicuous by its absence. So why is it so prominent in the Apostolic texts? Because it had become prominent in the Yehudi faith with very little Torah, but a lot of tradition, backing it up.
It is evident that no man is justified by his works when even the prophets get in on the act
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)
A man’s soul is lifted up, in this context, when he thinks he’s all that AND a bag of chips; when he thinks he is justified by his good works, like Cayin did. But it is the faith of Mashiyach Yeshua that justifies us, for he took the curse of Torah, which is the death that we deserved and he didn’t, as a substitute for us on a tree. Remember our Torah for Y3; Shabbat 39
22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged accursed of Eloha) that thy land be not defiled, which Y’hovah giveth thee an inheritance. (Devarim 21.22-23)
It is for that reason that Mashiyach took our curse upon himself; that we could be made the seed of Avraham in him and partakers in his promise. Q&C
Gal.3.15-25 – Paul opens this passage telling his audience that he is speaking as a man, not under inspiration of Yah, but by his reason. Even a covenant confirmed between ‘just guys’ can’t be nullified or added to, except all parties agree to the change. Avraham received the covenant from Y’hovah, but had no personal part in it. The covenant was to Avraham and his seed. Paul makes a grammarical point that the promise was to ‘A’ seed, not lots of seeds. IOW, when Y’hovah told him, “In Yitzhak will your seed be called”, Ishmael was not counted of the seed. So the line through which the ultimate seed, Mashiyach, would come was through Yitzhak, Ya’akov and Yehuda, all the way to Yoseph, the husband of Miriam and the legal, rightful heir to David’s throne.
Now that covenant is not annulled just because there is a subsequent covenant. In fact, covenants are cumulative – one adds to another. The Torah covenant that was codified at Sinai did not annul Avraham’s covenant. And no subsequent covenant annuls the Sinai covenant. IOW, the ‘New Covenant’ does not nullify any covenant given before it, unless there is a specific agreement between all parties concerned. And inheritance is not by works of Torah, since that would nullify the promise given 400 years before.
So what is the purpose of the Law? More importantly, what is the law Paul is speaking about? The law spoken of in v.19 is the one that Yirmeyahu speaks of in 7.21-24,
Thus saith Y’hovah Tsavaoth, Elohim of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. 22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be Elohechem, and ye shall be ami: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. (Ex.19.5-6) 24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
It is the laws of burnt offerings for transgressions and the laws pertaining to the Levitical priesthood who would offer them that was added to the covenant entered into at Sinai. These laws were changed, annulled, when the Melchizedek priesthood was revived by Yeshua’s death and resurrection, for he is ‘a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek. (Heb.7.17, which is the beginning of the context for ch.8).
Y’hovah hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Psalms 110:4)
17 For he testifieth, Thou a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. (Hebrews 7.17-18)
Webster’s 1828 has this for ‘disannul’
Disannul differs from repeal as the genus from the species. A repeal makes a law void by the same power that enacted it. Annulment or disannulment destroys its force by repeal or some other means.
Y’hovah didn’t repeal the Levitical laws or the atonement of Yom Kippur. Through their completion/perfection in the death and resurrection of Yeshua, Y’hovah made them inefficacious, useless to justification.
So what is the purpose of the law that was added? To make atonement for sins so we could be ‘blameless’ until the perfect atonement would come to make us righteous in him – Yeshua haMashiyach
And for this reason he became the Mediator of the Renewed Covenant,48 that he might by his death be redemption to them who had transgressed the first (Sinai) covenant; so they who are called to the eternal inheritance might receive the Promise. (Heb.9.15 AENT).
Who was the mediator of the Levitical law? Moshe, who was the mediator of every encounter with Y’hovah in the wilderness adventure – Israel ASKED him to mediate so they wouldn’t have to get near Y’hovah [Ex.20.18ff]. Wooses.
So, are the laws for sacrifices and the priesthood AGAINST the promises of Elohim? No way, dude! If there were any law that could have given life, righteousness would have been from law-keeping. The law that was added was given to show us our need for a deliverer. Righteousness is by grace through faith and that faith is not ours, but Yeshua’s. Faith = actions based on belief in the truth of Torah, not just mental assent to Torah’s truth.
The sacrificial law guarded our hearts before we were given the faith of Yeshua (Eph.2.8-10). It was a hedge built around us to warn us of the consequences of sin. ‘Shut up’ means ‘held together’. The Levitical law held us together until we could come to the faith of Yeshua. The law that was added was our schoolmaster, not the Sinai Covenant and other Toroth. Torah is the way we know what to do and not to do. The law that was added was to keep us blameless before a just and righteous Elohim if we transgressed the Torah. So, the law of the priesthood and sacrifices for transgressions was the schoolmaster showing us the penalty for sin and warning us away from it. Now that we have Yeshua’s faith, we have no need of sacrificial laws – they are completed in Mashiyach.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (Hebrews 10:26)
To offer an offering for atonement after Yeshua’s death and resurrection is just killing an innocent animal for nothing.
GalutYah 4:1-11 – This passage is an application of Prov.17.2
A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren. (Proverbs 17:2)
In Gal.4, Sha’ul refers to the tutor, the governor, the child and father. My opinion is that the father represents Y’hovah; the child, the Israelite heir who needs instruction in righteous living; the tutor, the oral traditions; and the governor represents revealed Torah. Governors and tutors were the trustees of a wealthy man’s estate. Once again, in his book, Galatians, Avi ben Mordecai makes the case that the greek manuscripts only use one word to describe Torah AND oral traditions (nomos, which is mostly translated as ‘law’ in KJV English) and that contextual knowledge is therefore necessary to know to which Paul refers. And, again, I contend that this is pretty much the case in ALL of Sha’ul’s letters.
In v.3, Yeshua was born of a woman (from which you can infer ‘virgin’ since there is no mention of a man) and ‘subject to Torah’.
4.3 [AENT] – Even so with us, when we were young, we acted as if subject to the elements of the world. 4 But when, therefore, the fullness of time had come, Elohim sent His Son who was born of a woman, and was subject to Torah, 5 to redeem those who are under Torah that we might receive adoption as sons. [GalutYah 4.3-5 AENT]
In Phil.2, Paul describes this,
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Mashiyach Yeshua: 6 Who, being in the form of Elohim, thought it not robbery to be equal with Elohim: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the tree. (Phil.2.4-8)
He ‘subjected himself’ to his own Torah (would that Congress took notice). Then in v.4, Paul refers to those who are ‘under Torah’. AENT has a salient note in the text on pg.568.
“Notice the difference between being under Torah and being subject to Torah; the lack of discernment between these 2 has propelled many souls into anti-Torah lifestyles. Torah is to be written on the heart by Ruach haKodesh by Grace; it is by Grace that a person refrains from sin, as they become subject to the Word of Y’hovah. It is by Grace that a person comes to know and accept the redemptive work of Yeshua haMashiyach; however, the correct response to Yeshua is to live a life subject to Torah’s instructions in righteousness. Being under the Torah is to be under the authority of any religious regime that postures itself as an authority on Y’hovah or his Word. For example, the Word of Y’hovah instructs that we are to rest from our works on Shabbat, but some religious authorities teach that a person must attend a service on Sunday or during the week to ‘discharge’ his ‘obligation’ [in much the same way that the world has us ‘discharge our debts’ rather than pay them in lawful money – Mark edit]. Those who are under religious authority are ‘under Torah’, which is a MUCH different thing than being transformed into the image of Elohim, according to Mashiyach.”
So, according to AENT, to be ‘under Torah’ is to be under ‘religious authority’, not Y’hovah’s authority (to which we are subject). We are free agents. We can subject ourselves to whomsoever we choose. May it be Y’hovah and his Word, and not some guy’s interpretation of another’s word, as the Prushim were. Q&C
Paul’s use of personal pronouns in Galatians, as in all his letters, is very important. When he uses ‘we’ he speaks of Jewish believers in Yeshua (subject to Torah); ‘thou/ye; you/thee’ refers to gentile believers in Yeshua (subject to Torah); ‘us’ refers to all believers in Mashiyach (subject to Torah); and ‘they/them’ refers to Prushim believers in oral traditions (under Torah) and full conversion to Judaism which culminates in CC, before gentile justification. Elohim sent Yeshua to redeem ‘them’ so that ‘we’ could receive our adoption as sons of Elohim. Now, ‘we’ are no longer servants, like the tutors and stewards, but sons who have Ruach in our hearts and are, therefore, partakers in Yeshua haMashiyach’s inheritance.
Vv.8-10 are a regular ‘bone of contention’ with our brethren in the Xian churches. But it need not be, if we read what’s written in v.8 and recognize the personal pronouns Sha’ul uses. He says, “when ye knew not Elohim”, referring to their former paganism. In this paragraph, he is clearly speaking to the gentile believers. It is the gentiles who, in v.10, were observing “days, months, times, and years”, not the Jewish believers – not even the Prushim CCers. AENT has another salient point to make on pg.569, note 51.
Adding specific detail from v.8, “those things who, by their very nature, are not Elohim; therefore, these days, months, times and years refers to any pagan or ‘alternative religious’ celebrations outside of Torah. However, many Christians use this verse to level their guns at Torah while, at the same time, celebrating on Sun-day [commemorating the Sun-god], Tammuz-day [Christmas], Ishtar [Easter] sun-rise services, Valentine’s Day, etc., all celebrations with pagan origins.
Xmas, Ishtar, Valentine’s Day (Ooo! THAT’s gonna tick somebody off!), Hallowe’en, Ramadan, SUNday, MOONday, Wotan’sDay, Thor’sDay, Augustus, Julius, need I go on? What does this say about what Y’hovah thinks of those who keep their own favorite pagan holy days, holy months and NOT those that he commanded us to observe until the heavens and earth pass away? Paul speaks of ‘doubtful disputations’ in Rom.14.1. That which Y’hovah has commanded in his Word is not doubtful, but absolutely certain! While it may NOT result in loss of eternal life (cf.Ps.89), it shall result in loss of rewards, both temporal and eternal.
23 … this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your Elohim, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. 24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. (YirmeYahu 7.23-24)
When a baby falls down when he’s learning to walk, he usually still moves forward, gains on his goal. Not so with us. When we fall in our spiritual walk, we always suffer loss. Take my advice and lose any paganism you are still harboring. You will suffer in the world, probably (haSatan HATES to lose strongholds among Y’hovah’s children), but your spiritual gain will be tremendous. Q&C
Vv.12-20 – Paul makes the distinction throughout this book between ‘we’ and ‘ye’, Jew and gentile believers. He is really afraid that the gentiles will go back to their paganism to have life a lot easier, as Israel was tempted to return to Egypt during the Wilderness Adventure and the priest who believed [Acts.6.7] were tempted to go back to their oral traditions and sacrifices for atonement for the same purpose – think, ‘Book of Hebrews’. He urges them to follow him as their example, as he follows Yeshua. They had received his message as from Elohim, as indeed it was. In v.17, ‘they’ were definitely the ‘full conversion’ Prushim CCers, who wanted to exclude the unCC’d gentiles from the synagogues. Watch out for those who will separate from or exclude believers because they don’t think exactly the same as them on other than salvific issues, or who make their traditions salvific. Sha’ul says that he is in doubt of their sincerity toward the gospel of Shalom because they are being affected by both the CCers and their former pagan buds. He then starts in on those who wish to put themselves ‘under the oral traditions’ of the Prushim to the end of full conversion and CC. He wants to know if they shema Torah, does their faith show itself by their obedience to Torah or to tradition. Q&C
Gal.4.21-31 Avraham had 2 sons, one of the flesh by a bondmaid and one of promise by a free woman. He then shows by allegory the similarity between being under the oral tradition and a son of the flesh, and being subject to Torah and a son of promise. Remember that the Prushim, who are for revealed Torah + oral torah, believe that both came down from Sinai alongside each other. Don’t let the mention of Sinai throw you off. The bondage represented in the allegory by the flesh, Hagar and Sinai in Arabia is the need of the Prushim to maintain control by insisting on the gentiles’ full conversion, with the finalizing action being CC. That describes ‘the Jerusalem that now is’, that is; after the death of Yacov the Tzadik, Yeshua’s brother, who led the Netzarim sect in J’lem until his martyrdom. “The J’lem that now is” is in bondage to the traditions of the elders, as Yeshua said in at least 2 places.
Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. (Matthew 15:2)
3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews [Iuaidoi], except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias [29.13] prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. (Mark 7.3-6)
The Yerushalayim above is the New Yerushalayim that will ‘descend’ to the New Earth from the New Heavens. This New J’lem is also called the Bride of Mashiyach, which I believe is the truest statement of them all, from our temporal point of view. Y’hovah will dwell there in his tabernacle, which the Bride is. He will be the light of it, as the Ruach will enlighten us all, both individually and corporately. All the allegorical promises seen in all the prophets find their ultimate fulfillment in Mashiyach’s Bride.
In v.27, Sha’ul makes the connection between Sarah, the Bride of Avraham, and New J’lem, the Bride of Mashiyach. And so now we, as Yitzhak in v.28, are sons of promise. And then Paul makes the connection in v.29 for both the Jewish and the gentile believers between the Iuaidoi Prushim CCers/Ishmael and the persecution of the seed – flesh vs. promise. Paul makes the application of the allegory in v.30, quoting B’reishit 21.10
Wherefore she said unto Avraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Yitzhak. (Genesis 21:10)
We need to shema Avinu’s Words, prove that we’ve heard them by our obedience and STAND FAST in the LIBERTY we have therein and not get entangled in the yoke of bondage that is seen in both the oral law of the Prushim and the pagan rituals of the gentiles. Q&C
The context of vv.21-31 shows that the gentiles in Galatia were being referred to as servants, and the Jews were children under the tutor. Vv.1-5 show the Jews’ (we) condition before Mashiyach and how they can now have the adoption as sons. V. 6 says the gentiles (ye) were proved to be sons by the Spirit in them, as it was in Cornelius in Acts 10. The gentiles in vv.7-10 are looking to go back to fleshly practices (Jewish religion), including the oral law. Paul warns them in v.11 of his fear for them in following after the Iuaidoi Circumcisers (cf.Acts 10 and 15). He refers to the CCers (they) in vv.17, and that brings us to where our passage begins.
So Sha’ul begins with the difference between the covenant law they want to be under in the flesh, and the covenant in which he and the Jewish believers are free in the Spirit. He goes into an analogy of Hagar and Sarah, the bond and free women, which he likens to the Covenant written on Stone and the covenant that will be written on our hearts (Jer.31.31-34). He also likens the covenant on stone tablets to the present Jerusalem and the covenant written of our hearts to the New Jerusalem, the city whose builder and maker is Y’hovah, which he calls ‘the mother of us all’. We who are children of the promise are looking for New Jerusalem, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2Pe.3.13).
Paul shows the Galatian gentiles exactly WHY the CCers were on about the gentiles being converted and CCd. They were after the flesh, and so persecuted those who were after the spirit (v.29). Those who are trusting in the Jerusalem that IS are carnal and in bondage. Those who trust in the promises of Y’hovah are looking for the New Jerusalem and are sons of the liberty found in those promises.
In 5.1 Paul speaks of the bondage of both the pagan elohim of the gentiles and the oral law of the Jews, and the liberty of the promises of Y’hovah’s Torah. Q&C
Galutyah 5.1-26 – Let’s contextualize this a little, shall we? This letter is written to the brethren in the congregations of Galutyah, which was a region of north central Turkey. Where do you suppose the believers met in Galutyah to hear this letter read? They were going to the synagogues on Shabbats to hear Torah and the prophets read, so there’s a likely place. And when do you suppose Sha’ul first went to Galutyah? He went shortly after the Jerusalem council of Acts 15, 1st mention of Galatia is in 16.6. Do you suppose he went exactly against the decision of the council so soon after they had found for his side of the dispute? I kind of doubt it. In Acts 16, Sha’ul is traveling with Titus, who was his test case in the Jerusalem council, the guy he said shouldn’t have to be fully converted to Judaism first and who the council said didn’t have to be fully converted to be accepted as a believer. But when he comes upon Timothy in Lystra, he has him circumcised “because of the Jews,” who knew Tim’s papa was a greek. What is that about? Titus, who is a full greek need not be circumcised, but Tim, who was ½ Jewish – kinda; biblically, Jewish-ness passed from father to child, not mother to child – had to go under the knife (v.3). Kind of bizarre. Especially when in the VERY NEXT VERSE Luke says they were carrying the decrees of the council to all the cities and their congregations. Gentiles need not be full proselytes to be saved, just follow the 4 decrees and attend synagogue. A heart truly after Y’hovah’s would take care of the rest. Do you think maybe his tirade v. Peter in Galutyah 2 may have had something to do with his own reaction to the Jews and Tim’s circumcision in Acts 16? It doesn’t say that he petitioned Y’hovah for direction in the Timothy case, just that he went ahead and did it “because of the Jews”. Let’s remember that even the Sholiach Sha’ul was human (like Kepha, Bar-Navi and Yochanan Moshe), and could be mistaken when he failed to consult Ruach before he did something.
Chapter 5 says to ‘stand fast therefore.’ When you see a ‘therefore’, look to see what it’s there for. We stand fast in the knowledge that we are sons of the free woman, which we are told in 4.26 is the Jerusalem which is above; the New Yerushalayim wherein is our citizenship. Notice also, that Hagar is likened to Sinai AND the Jerusalem that now is, and she is in bondage with her children. I think the Sinai being spoken of here is the Oral Torah that the Iuaidoi [Jews], the leaders of the religion in Jerusalem, said was received by Moshe on Sinai at the same time the written Torah was received. This is a tradition, which may or may not be right. (Not all tradition is bad. What makes it evil is when WE make it equal to or superior to the KNOWN will of Y’hovah, which is the written Torah.) If I am correct (which I doubt not), the Oral Torah is likened here to the pagan religions of the gentiles. This is scriptural in that ANYTHING that draws glory from Y’hovah is pagan and abomination. Yeshua castigated the Jews for their adherence to traditions of men.
So we are to stand fast in the liberty we have in Mashiyach and against the yoke of bondage to 1) pagan traditions, if we are gentile or 2) Jewish traditions, if we are Jews. One of the big deals in Judaism is that a man is not considered a Jew until he has been circumcised; either on the 8th day, as one born into the family, or upon a ger’s completion of the rigors of becoming a proselyte. That is the basis of vv.2-4. We are made one in Mashiyach due to the Covenant being written on our hearts [vv.5-6]. If a man puts his trust in either Jewish tradition or self-justification in the written Torah, Mashiyach is ineffectual to him because he has not availed himself of Y’hovah’s grace. He has chosen the yoke of bondage rather than the yoke of Mashiyach, which is his grace.
Matthew 11:29-30 (KJV)
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
It is very important to notice the use of pronouns in this book. 1st person plural, ‘We’ = ‘free’ Jewish believers, 2nd person plural Ye’ = gentile believers and 3rd person plural ‘They’ = Jewish believers who think that gentiles need to be full proselytes to Judaism before their admission to the ‘Way’ of Mashiyach. Now, ‘they’ were trying to influence ‘ye’ to submit to Jewish traditions to which the Jerusalem council had decreed ‘ye’ did not have to submit. So the ones who were trying to influence the Galutyot were Jews who were either NOT believers or who had not shema’d [heard and obeyed] the decree of the council. Rav Sha’ul was confident that the Galutyot to whom he was writing would see ‘their’ error and come back to the faith once delivered to the saints.
In v.11, Sha’ul says that his persecution would end if he’d only submit to the traditions of the Jews. He uses circumcision as a generalization to mean the traditions of the Oral Law and the Gentile’s full proselytization. He says that he wished ‘them’ cut off – excommunicated, blotted out of the Book of Life – who would have their brethren placed under the yoke of slavery to the traditions of men. We have been called to liberty, not bondage; to the New Yerushalayim, not the old one.
Look at vv.13-14 – We are called to liberty, we are to use our liberty in service to others, and this Fulfills Torah in that we love our neighbor as ourselves. Oh, yeah! Torah is bondage all right. Our liberty is in Fulfilling Torah by loving our neighbors. If you aren’t loving your neighbor, you are probably destroying him. Be careful not to be destroyed along with him. Q&C
v.16ff is about Fulfilling Torah by walking after Ruach haKodesh. Look quickly at Rom.8.1. Read the WHOLE verse, not just part a.
Romans 8:1-4 (KJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Mashiyach Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after Ruach.  For the law of Ruach of life in Mashiyach Yeshua hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, Eloha sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after Ruach.
No condemnation for those in Mashiyach who walk after Ruach, and the righteousness of Torah fulfilled in us who walk after Ruach.
Before we can walk after Ruach, we need to mortify our flesh. By mortify I mean to reckon the flesh dead, not to actually kill it. He mentions the works of the flesh, most of which we are ALL familiar with. When we reckon our flesh dead, we will not practice these 17 works of the flesh. Notice that those who DO those things will not inherit the Kingdom. This points to the Hebraic meaning of doctrine and faith, which are complementary. In Hebraic thought, doctrine is what we DO about that in which we place our faith. James tells us about faith without works being dead. Sha’ul is speaking here about considering our flesh dead. Dead faith produces dead works. Living faith produces works that give life to those around us. This ties us back to vv.13-14, service in Mashiyach and Fulfilling Torah thereby.
The fruit of Ruach is manifested in our service to others. Each of those works that are the fruit of Ruach are service gifts. If we have received life from Y’hovah Yeshua’s Ruach, we ought to be manifesting the fruit of the Ruach of Emet (truth). Q&C End of Shabbat Bible Study