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Galatians 3: 15-29 Corps - 1983 - Part 1

Format: mp3
Publication Date: 10-26-1983

Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.  

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.

He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International  and served as assistant to the president. 

Galatians 3:15-29
47
The questions, “What is the purpose of the law?" and "How does it tie in?" are central to this section.
3:15 “after the manner of man” – an everyday life custom. Man’s particular custom.
“disannulleth” – to make of no effect. In the eastern custom, once a covenant has been ratified or validated, it could not be annulled or made of no effect. It cannot be added to; you can do another covenant, in addition to the other, but you cannot add to it. Verse 17 carries that example (the custom of the covenant) to the specific covenant that was given to Abraham.
(literal according to usage)
“My brothers, I speak using an illustration from everyday custom. No one ever annuls or adds [clauses and conditions] to a covenant of men which has been ratified and validated.”
3:16 “the promises made” – fig. polyptoton: same word is used in different parts of speech. Literally – “promises promised”.
“and to thy seed” – fig. gnome: citation. This is alluding to a number of places in the Word, but it is not a quotation.
Scriptures alluding to this fig. gnome:
Seed in the singular is used of Jesus Christ (I Samuel 8:15, Genesis 4:25, 21:13, I Samuel 1:11).
“Man child” – the seed of man (II Samuel 7:12, I Chronicles 17:11).
Seed can have the singular sense when the context merits it. It can have a plural sense if context allows it.
Galatians 3, verse 8, the second fig. gnome, “in thee shall all nations be blessed” (Gen 18:18).
Galatians 3, verse 16, “thy seed” – keep these in mind.
Genesis 12:1-3 in thee – out of whatever would come out of him.
Genesis 12:7, “unto thy seed” – what was his seed? It could be Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Judah, and those following them. Or, it could refer to that ultimate seed Jesus Christ.
Genesis 18:18 – now that essentially is reiterated in 22:18, with one exception, In Thy seed.
Genesis 21:12 – Isaac was his seed in one sense, but here it does not say Isaac is your seed. It locks into the fact that thy seed is Jesus Christ.
Verse 16 is biblical research! Paul had to work the word to find this. There are many places where seed had a plural sense, but there are other places it refers to singular (i.e.)
10-26-83 Galatians 3:15-29
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Jesus Christ. It is in a parenthesis, part of Paul’s documentation for what he is covering, tying the significance of the custom of the covenant into the specific covenant that was given to Abraham. That covenant was regarding the seed, which was Christ.
(literal according to usage)
(Now the promise was declared to Abraham and his seed. It does not say “and to seeds,” that is many people, but “and to our seed,” that is one person who is Christ.)
3:17 “confirmed” – to establish before hand, to ratify or validate.
“in Christ” – omitted by some texts and manuscripts, and it should be because it is referring to the covenant with Abraham. Christ was not there yet, only in foreknowledge.
“four hundred and thirty years after” – Acts 7:6. Here it is plural from Isaac on. How old was Abraham when Isaac was born? 100 years old. His seed commenced the sojourn. Therefore the promise, the coming of the law, happened at the end of this time of sojourning. In the strange land being treated evilly, which is the end of 400 years, so it is also the end of the 430 years. Therefore, the promise given to Abraham had to be how many years before Isaac’s birth? 30 years. See Acts 7:2, and Genesis 12:1-3.
“disannul” – make it invalidated.
(literal according to usage)
Now my point is this: the law, which began four hundred and thirty years after the covenant was previously validated by God, does not invalidate and annul the declared promise.
3:18 “gave” – to give by grace. Why is the covenant given to Abraham so significant? Why is it also called “a promise”? Why do you serve the law? It was necessary until the seed should come.
(literal according to usage)
For if the inheritance came from [observing] the law, then it was not the result of the declared promise. But God gave by grace the inheritance to Abraham through the declared promise.
3:19 “it” – the Mosaic law
“was added” – Does that invalidate the first covenant? (vs. 15) No. The reason for making this new covenant was because of the sin that was going on and they needed a watchdog, something else, though this did not invalidate the original covenant.
(literal according to usage)
Then what was the purpose of the law? It was added to make sin a legal transgression until the Seed should come as it was promised. It [the law] was ordained by angels, that is the mediator.
10-26-83 Galatians 3:15-29
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3:20 A mediator (a days man, a go-between) is not a mediator of one party or he doesn't represent one party but he is in between the two parties. Who are the two parties? God and Israel (when it comes to the law). God is one of the parties, Israel is the other and the mediator does not represent either one.
In order to understand Galatians 3, it is necessary to understand the custom of covenanting. The word “covenant” is the Hebrew word berith and the Aramaic word is diyatchiqi. There is no exact word in English or Greek that translates the essence of the covenant in Biblical cultures. When we talk about a covenant in our culture and when the Greeks talked about a covenant in their culture, it was not the same as the Biblical culture in the Old Testament. The covenant was a strong agreement or pact and could be a situation where the terms of the covenant would be presented by only one party, like between God and Noah. God presented the terms and Noah could accept it or reject it; he could not change it or add to it. A situation could be where both parties presented their terms (i.e. David and Jonathan). A covenant was legally binding in the Eastern culture. Making a covenant involved a whole ceremony consisting of many parts, much like a wedding ceremony in the fact that it had many parts. Furthermore, the parts of the covenant could vary with the situation and circumstances. Not every covenant was the same, there could be an exchange of gifts; there could be the pronouncing of curses that were to come upon the person who broke the covenant. You might have witnesses to the covenant. You could have the presence of a mediator but not always. A feast or a memorial might take place to celebrate the covenant. Like Abraham and God – I will not flood the earth again. Or between David and Jonathan. In the case between Abraham and God, the covenant that God made with Abraham was made directly with no mediator.
An important part of the covenant was a token or a sign which sealed the covenant. It could be sealed in a variety of ways. When the KJV used the word "token" it is the Hebrew word for sign, mark, that which was the sealing of the covenant. Two signs of sealing a covenant are mentioned in the Bible in particular, one is blood and one is salt.
Once a covenant was made and signed with blood or salt, or was sealed with blood or salt it was complete and could not be added to, subtracted from or changed. They could make an additional covenant if the parties that made the covenant felt the need to do so, but it would not change the original covenant. See I Samuel 18:3, 20:16, 17, 23:15.
Covenants were occasionally broken. Like Israel breaking their covenant with God, Jeremiah 31:32. The penalty was severe and quite often it was death. See Judges 4. Sometimes a new covenant was made and would often have more specifics stipulated for either or both parties. Galatians 3:19 a mosaic law was added. It does not invalidate the original covenant. The reason for now making this additional covenant was because of the sin that was going on and they needed something else. When that original covenant would be fulfilled, you no longer need the other covenant that was added in the meantime. So when God made another covenant with Israel at the base of Mt. Sinai, new stipulations were added: The Ten Commandments and the Mosaic Law.
10-26-83 Galatians 3:15-29
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In Galatians 3:17, the original covenant, which later on God reaffirms and again in Genesis 15 and 17, they seal it with circumcision. Abraham was in the Promised Land to give an inheritance (Genesis 15:4, 5 and verses 7, 8). Why did Abraham question God? In the Hebrew or Aramaic the word “promise” does not mean promise the way we know it. Promise meant to say or declare. At that time the way to prove that you genuinely meant what you said you made a covenant. That is why Abraham said to God, "Well how will I know you will give me this land?" And God said he would make a blood covenant. However, by the time of Christ the concept of "promise" had entered Semitic thought as a declaration that one will or will not do something.
This is why the word, promised, is used in Galatians of the time God said he would give Abraham the land. Now we will look at the word promise in Galatians. In the Aramaic there are two words translated promise:
1. shudaya – promise of the spirit by believing. It is similar to the Greek idea of promise. The root of the word means to confess. Galatians 3:14, 19.
2. mulkana – to say or to counsel. A declaration that reflects back to the original way of thinking, like “God Said it”, emphasizes the statement God made. Galatians 3:16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 29; Galatians 4:23, 28.
There were many ways of making a blood covenant or salt covenant, to seal whatever you have said. One way was to cut each other and rub the blood together (Jeremiah 34:18, Genesis 15). The original covenant was before circumcision.
God made a second covenant with Abraham, the covenant of circumcision (Genesis 17:9 – 14). The uncircumcised man would be cut off from the people because he had broken the covenant. A covenant would almost always have some kind of memorial or witness that when looked upon it, would remind them of the covenant he had made (i.e. circumcised penis, Israelites – Gentiles).
When Christ's blood was substituted and became the token in place of the original blood covenant, then you no longer needed circumcision because now his blood takes the place of all that. That’s where Galatians is taking you, to show that Abraham’s covenant, statement, declared promise, was much earlier that the law, and when Christ fulfilled the law, the law which was temporary, came to an end. The reason the law was put there was because Israel had broken the original covenant, so they needed something else with additional stipulations. But now when that original covenant is fulfilled in Christ, the “seed”, do you still need the temporary covenant? No. Now you go back to the original covenant made to Abraham which was by believing!
“in the hand of a mediator” – the mediator sets in opposition with the angels; in other words the angels were the collective mediator between God and Israel to make the law. It was ordained by angels, that is, in the hand of a mediator. Everybody says that the mediator is Moses, but Moses was a man too!
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Acts 7:38 (Moses); 7:53. The angels must have been the mediator between God and man. But who was the mediator between God and Moses? No one.
“of one” – means that mediator cannot represent one of the parties; must be neutral.
The law was not against God’s promises. It was decreed by a mediator, by a transient or temporary agreement until the former agreement could be fulfilled by the coming of the seed. That’s why the law was the schoolmaster. Jesus Christ is the mediator of the new covenant which is salvation by grace, justification by believing, through the faith of Jesus Christ. In this new covenant now, Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and man. Once you’re born again, do you need a mediator? No. You just need an advocate to handle your broken fellowship.
(literal according to usage)
Now a mediator does not represent one of two parties [God or Israel], and God is one of the parties.
3:21 “promises” – singular in the Aramaic. Verses 21 – 25 will answer the question asked in vs. 21a (is the law then against the promises of God?)
(literal according to usage)
Then is the law contrary to the promise declared by God? Absolutely not! Let me elaborate. If a law had been given which could impart life, then righteousness would have come from the law.
3:22 (literal according to usage)
But the Scriptures show that everyone is imprisoned by sin with the result that the promise declared [to Abraham] might be given to those who believe by the faith of Jesus Christ.
3:23 (literal according to usage)
But before the faith [of Jesus Christ] came we were kept under guard by the law, imprisoned until the eminent faith [of Jesus Christ] was revealed.
3:24, 25 schoolmaster – pedagoge, not an instructor but a trustworthy slave to whom was committed the care of his master's sons from ages six to puberty. He was to guard them from evil both physically and morally rather than to communicate instruction. He went with them to school; he accompanied them outside and was responsible for their personal safety and their avoidance of bad company. The law was a “pedagoge”, not an instructor or a teacher. The law was absolutely necessary.
(literal according to usage)
Consequently, the law has been our pedagogue until Christ so that we might be justified by believing. But after the faith [of Jesus Christ] is available, we are no longer under a pedagogue.
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3:26 Aramaic – the faith of Jesus Christ.
“ye” – second time this word has come up since vs. 7. We are sons of Abraham by believing and sons of God by the faith of Jesus Christ.
(literal according to usage)
For all of you are sons of God by the faith of Jesus Christ.
3:27 baptized – The context is the new birth.
“Put on” – be clothed with, not the renewed mind but baptism.
(literal according to usage)
As many of you as have been baptized into Christ [in the name of Jesus Christ, by the new birth and your identification with Christ] have been clothed with Christ.
3:28 Ephesians 2 and 3. When you are clothed with Jesus Christ you are all one – the mystery. fig. anaphora – sentences have the same beginning. fig. paradiastole – repeating disjunctives neither – nor, etc..
(literal according to usage)
There is neither Judaean, nor Greek Gentile; there is neither slave, nor freeman; there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
3:29 This verse concludes where he started about Abraham's seed, but he still must tie in “sons of God” which is in 4:1 – 7.
(literal according to usage)
If you are of [identified with and are clothed with] Christ, then, in conclusion, you are the Seed of Abraham and you are heirs according to the declared promise.