Galatians

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by RLBosley, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. RLBosley

    RLBosley
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    The past few weeks I have been studying the book of Galatians and this little book is a treasure trove of doctrine and theology. Also, this little book has reinforced a conclusion that I came to last year; that the theological system I formerly identified with – Dispensationalism- is entirely untenable. One of the major linchpins of Dispensationalism is the distinction between “Israel” and “the church” (or churches if you disbelieve in a universal church), meaning that God has two distinct “people” that have two distinct plans and two distinct eternal destinies. According to Dispensationalism, the church will receive an eternal inheritance in Heaven, while national Israel will inherit the Earth during and after the Millennial reign of Christ as a fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, a careful, exegetical study of Galatians proves this position is entirely contrary to what Paul believed and taught:

    Gal 3:7 KJV - …they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

    Gal 3:29 KJV - And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Gal 4:28 KJV - Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

    Gal 5:6 KJV - For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

    Gal 6:15 KJV - For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

    Paul systematically lays out that the Gentiles and the Jews have been all brought together in Christ, and that all who are in Christ are counted as the seed of Abraham because of their relationship with the true Seed of Abraham, Christ. Therefore there cannot be two "peoples" of God, but one unified group centered and grounded in their relationship to Jesus!

    As if all that wasn’t enough to show that there is now no distinction between Jew and Gentile or “Israel” and “church” Paul makes an even greater claim in Galatians 6:16:
    Gal 6:16 KJV - And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

    The “rule” here is the rule of the “new creature” that Paul also talks about in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Clearly Paul is saying that being circumcised (in accordance with Mosaic Law) or uncircumcised (as identification with paganism) doesn’t matter any longer, the only thing that matters is the “new creature” which is consisted with what Jesus said in John 3:3-7. Those who have this new birth, the “new creature”, Paul wishes peace and mercy upon them. Then Paul goes a step further and calls them the “Israel of God.” Some will try to say that because the text says “and upon the Israel of God” Paul has a different group in mind at the end of the verse, not the group associated with the new birth. However this makes no sense for two reasons.

    First; Paul just finished explaining in verse 15 (indeed, in the entire book!) that circumcision (and by extension the Mosaic Law) doesn’t matter, nor does uncircumcision (being a Gentile) but only the new birth in Christ matters. Why would Paul then immediately contradict himself and now say that there is a distinction between the circumcised –Israel – and those who are in Christ? He wouldn’t.

    Second; the word “and” (kai) does not necessarily show a change in focus. For example, Eph 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Clearly Paul intends the reader to understand that there is One who is both God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the same way Paul clearly intends to show that those who walk according to the rule of the new creation are the Israel of God and he wishes peace and mercy upon his fellow Christians.
     
    #1 RLBosley, Jul 12, 2013
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  2. kyredneck

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    Good post RL, excellent topic. One critique that I have though is your connection of the “new birth” of Jn 3 with the “new creature” of 2 Cor 5. The ‘new birth’ of Jn 3 is actually ‘born from above’ or ‘born again from above’ , and it is a very ancient birth, and it should be connected with your line of reasoning through Gal 4: 26:

    But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother.

    Ps 87 also concerns this heavenly Zion and her children, the Israel of God.
     
    #2 kyredneck, Jul 12, 2013
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  3. Edward63

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    Good study, RL and kyredneck... I had been researching along these lines of the two distinct people of God also. I noticed the following.

    In "for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" in Gen. 13:14-18, the "for ever" is conditional. I noticed the same Hebrew for "for ever" is used of circumcision and the Passover as well:

    “He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.” (Ge 17:13 ASV)

    “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast to Jehovah: throughout your generations ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” (Ex 12:14 ASV)

    But, Israel lost the land due to disobedience, AFTER THEY POSSESSED IT IN FULL AND JEHOVAH FULFILLED HIS PROMISES:

    “And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which Jehovah your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, not one thing hath failed thereof. And it shall come to pass, that as all the good things are come upon you of which Jehovah your God spake unto you, so will Jehovah bring upon you all the evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which Jehovah your God hath given you. When ye transgress the covenant of Jehovah your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down yourselves to them; then will the anger of Jehovah be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.” (Jos 23:14-16 ASV) [compare Josh. 21:43-45; Neh. 9:22-25; 1 Kgs 4:20,21 with Gn. 15:18]
     
  4. The Archangel

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    About two years ago our church studied through Galatians, and it is a wonderful book!

    I used Dr. Tom Schreiner's Galatians commentary (available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0310243726/?tag=baptis04-20)

    While I was already an adherent to so-called "New Covenant" Theology, this commentary reinforced so much of what I had already been thinking and seeing in the text.

    Schreiner is a world-class scholar and this commentary is completely readable. While studying through a book by itself is a great thing, it is also helpful to read what someone of Schreiner's caliber says about the meaning of the text. I couldn't recommend this commentary (or anything Schreiner has written) more.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  5. kyredneck

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    Good post Ed, thanks for the light shed on 'for ever'. But I believe there is another, deeper, spiritual or TYPICAL sense, in which it is indeed meant to be FOREVER. The TRUE seed of Abraham, Christ, is forever, the land (i.e., the land of milk and honey, the Sabbath rest of God, the kingdom of Christ) is also forever. This is an Everlasting Covenant that we are partakers of, and there will be no end to His kingdom.
     
    #5 kyredneck, Jul 12, 2013
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  6. Van

    Van
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    Progressive or Traditional?

    I am with you completely on this excellent study. But lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Traditional dispensation does not mesh with Galatians as you have demonstrated with a very compelling argument. However, comma, Progressive Dispensationalism embraces the view that "all Israel" refers to those chosen according to the Old Covenant, i.e. believing Jews, the saints of Hebrews 11, and those chosen according to the New Covenant. However Progressives believe that the unfulfilled promises, i.e. Christ sitting on David's throne will be fulfilled literally and reign for 1000 years.
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    I am not a hyper-dispensationalist. However, your study is lacking for several reasons. First, the issue is not salvation as salvation has been the same from Eden to the new creation - there is but one way, one savior, one salvation and the law was never designed to save anyone.

    So attempting to remove any distinction between Israel and Gentiles on the basis of salvation is invalid.

    Second, you fail to distinguish between the church and the kingdom of God. The church is given the keys of the kingdom and is therefore not synonmous with the kingdom of God. The church is the administrator of the kingdom of God on earth and is a public institution where the ordinances, ministry and public worship are conducted. Augustine confused the kingdom with the church in Matthew 13 and then Luther did the same thing except he attempted to invisibilize it. Hence, the church and Israel are not one and the same. Salvation does not distinguish between jew or gentile, bond or free, male or female but the church and Israel are not one and the same.

    Third, the promises of God to Israel as a NATION have not been fulfilled as Post-Babylonian exile promises demonstrate and Romans 9-11 with emphasis on chapter 11 prove to the objective reader.

    Fourth, the A-millennial view point skews the Biblical data because it confuses the promises to Israel with salvation which has never been different for Jew or Gentile since the Garden of Eden.

    However, the issue is God's purpose and promise.
     
  8. kyredneck

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    Question for you Doc, you still adamant that this passage, written to the Churches of Galatia, is pertaining only to Israel after the flesh?:

    15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
    16 And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. Gal 6
     
  9. The Biblicist

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    Yes, there is a clear distinction made between "upon them" versus "upon the Israel of God." Salvation is the same regardless of race but that does not make invalid the promises to Israel as a nation in the purposes of God that is distinct from the Gentile nations. Romans 11 makes that very clear to my miind.
     
  10. Van

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    The stumbling block of being born (by blood) as a descendant of Abraham, gives some sort of national promise is pure fiction. Only believing Jews, i.e. individually chosen Jews(Romans 11:5), become part of "all Israel."

    The blood line, or race view is not only unbiblcial, it is tribal. Jesus taught this truth, you must be born again, because being born with Jewish blood, does not qualify for being a child of the promise.
     
    #10 Van, Jul 12, 2013
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  11. kyredneck

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    15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
    16 And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. Gal 6

    So you're insisting that Paul says circumcision and uncircumcision doesn't matter, and then turns around in the same breath and makes a distinction between the two?

    This is totally unbiblical, Biblicist. There is no longer two. Of the two He has made one. ONE FLOCK, NOT TWO:

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and they shall become one flock, one shepherd. Jn 10:16

    12 that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
    13 But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the blood of Christ.
    14 For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition,
    15 having abolished in the flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; that he might create in himself of the two one new man, so making peace; Eph 2

    The two, now made one, are the Israel of God.

    for we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh: Phil 3:3
     
    #11 kyredneck, Jul 12, 2013
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  12. The Biblicist

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    No. I am not making a distinction based upon circumcison as it relates to salvation. I am making a distinction based upon how it relates to the nation of Israel versus Gentiles as a physical (not spiritual) distinction in regard to the promises of God to Israel as a distinct and promised nation.

    In regard to salvation and memberhip in the local church you are correct during this age. However, in regard to the ultimate promise to the nation of Israel at the end of this age you are not correct.

    In regard to scriptures that deal with the nature of salvation and/or the church institution you have a valid point. However, salvation has been the same prior to the cross as after it (Heb. 4:2; Acts 10:43; etc.). No church prior to its "foundation" of apostles and thus no church prior to Christ's first coming and so the two are not the same.
     
  13. kyredneck

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    I'm not sure of what you mean by 'salvation'. Eternal life? Going to heaven? If by 'salvation' you mean to be partakers of the goodness of God through the new covenant then we may not be so drastically apart. Which leads in to a question for you:

    The kingdom, the same kingdom of Jn 3, was taken away from them. They were cast out, and the kingdom was given to others:

    For if thou wast cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? Ro 11:24

    Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Mt 21:43

    28 There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves cast forth without.
    29 And they shall come from the east and west, and from the north and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. Lu 13

    11 And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven:
    12 but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Mt 8

    Question: Have all Jews, Israel after the flesh, who have never converted or professed Christ over the past two millennia gone to hell?
     
  14. kyredneck

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    I don't see how you can reconcile this with Ro 9:8:

    That is, it is not the children of the flesh that are children of God; but the children of the promise are reckoned for a seed. Ro 9:8
     
  15. The Biblicist

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    Precisely! New covenant salvation is the same for both Israel as a nation (Ezek. 36:26-27) as it is for gentiles now. Thus cirucmcision has no part to play in salvation.


    That kingdom is never taken away from born again Jews and it will not be taken away from a born again nation of Jews in the future (Rom. 11:25-28). As a nation they are temporarly "cut off" from all the promises of God as a nation. The kingdom public administrations are given to the church which is predominately Gentile but during the future millennium the kingdom administrations will be given again to the nation of Israel - a redeemed nation.

    Only what was "cut out" will be grafted in "again." The nation was "cut out" and the nation will be grafted in "again" (Rom. 11:25-28). The "remnant" was never "cut out."

    This refers to the PUBLIC VISIBLE KINGDOM ADMINISTRATIONS - the keys of the kingdom.

    He is speaking to the LEADERSHIP of Israel on an individual basis.



    Unbelieving Jews BEFORE the cross went to hell as well as unbelieving GENTILES as well as AFTER the cross. However, the promise is given to Israel as a NATION and "all Israel" as a nation will be saved at the coming of Christ (Rom. 11:25-28) just as "all Israel" as a nation right now are "cut out" and abandoned by God but Israel as a nation will again be grafted in.
     
    #15 The Biblicist, Jul 12, 2013
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  16. Edward63

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    Right on! I agree fully. I noticed that Rom. 11:25,26 came up later on in this discussion. I admit that is a difficult passage. But, I notice that I do not see a "throne", nor a "temple" nor reinstituted "sacrifices" there. I still have not made up my mind if there is to be a great influx of Jews into the church, the body of Christ in our future. That was the old view among many in the church, but then, the elect Jews have been coming to Christ down through the centuries also. I shy away from being dogmatic here. I do insist that there will NOT be a reinstitution of the Old Covenant!
     
  17. The Biblicist

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    That much is certain. although I do believe the Lord will use it according to what it was designed for - to be instructive of the great salvation truths. The Lord will explain every aspect and how it applied to so great of salvation.
     
  18. RLBosley

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    Thank you.

    I agree that "born again/born from above" is connected with Gal 4:26 But I can't see that as being separate from the "new creature." Both to me seem to be descriptions of regeneration - We are "born again, from above" by God and thus we become a "new creature."

    Thanks.

    I agree in a sense in that it was temporary because it was a picture of a greater, Heavenly reality. For the nation of Israel it was all temporary in time, however it finds ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and thus it is also forever. (I see that KY and you have already gone over this so I won't belabor it)

    I would also identify with New Covenant Theology, though I'm not reformed like most (all?) of them seem to be. Right now I'm listening to Blake White's study on Galatians. Good stuff! :thumbs:

    :thumbs:

    Thanks. Well part of that problem comes from the WIDE range of beliefs that is included in "dispensationalism," it's akin to trying to nail spaghetti to a wall... As for Progressive dispy, I'm not extremely familiar with it, but I was under the impression that they still maintained the distinction between Israel and the Church. After all that distinction is one of the defining marks of dispensationalism. Regardless, any move AWAY from classic Dispensationalism is a GOOD thing!:thumbs:

    And while I am still premill (historic) I don't see there being any promise left unfulfilled except what can only occur in the eternal state. Christ already reigns from David's throne and His Kingdom began at the ascension (Acts 2), it just isn't yet revealed in it's fullest form.
     
  19. RLBosley

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    I agree that salvation is and has always been the same.

    That's not what I was doing. I was showing how Galatians is clear that Jewish and Gentile believers are now one, and compose the one people of God (the church/spiritual Israel), contrary to the claims of dispensationalism.

    I know and agree that the Kingdom is not the church. That is not the scope of my post though.

    It seems that you are confusing Israel and the kingdom as being the same. They are not. The Kingdom was taken from national Israel (Matt 21:43) and given to another people/nation which is the church (1 Pet 2:9).

    The promises given to national Israel have all been fulfilled. Jos 21:43-45 makes that very clear. They inherited the land, they were given rest. That was all accomplished, but it was only a picture of the greater realities (spiritual land and spiritual eternal rest) as Hebrews 4 makes clear.

    I'm not sure what a-millennialism has to do with this as I'm pre-mill. Regardless Galatians shows that the gentile believers also inherit all those promises made to Abraham.

    There is no distinction. Paul demonstrates that repeatedly here and throughout the New Testament. And regarding the supposed distinction between "upon them" and "upon the Israel of God" I will refer you to the end of my OP:

    :thumbs:
     
  20. The Biblicist

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    If you agree that salvation "has always been the same" then Jews and gentiles have always been one spiritually in Christ - the elect - neither Jew or Gentile in regard to salvation.

    Ephesians 2:10-21 is speaking of "works" they are created unto in connection with the PUBLIC EXPRESSION of those works. Formerly, it was through the Old Testament house of God that provided a barriar between Gentiles and Jews in regard to SERVICE in God's House. That is no longer the condition in the New Testament PUBLIC HOUSE OF GOD. Note the indefinite article "a" in verses 20-21 which refers to the church at Ephesus.


    However, it critically affects your thesis as demonstrated above.

    The kingdom of God has many facets. For example, his kingdom ruleth over all creation. On earth there is a spirtual kingdom one must be born into where God rules in the hearts of men. On earth there is a professing kingdom where the tares will be removed out of this kingdom at His coming. On earth there is a public visible expression of His kingdom - the public house of God and public ordinances and public ordained ministry which yeild the "keys of the kingdom." There is yet a future coming kingdom in the Person of Christ when all the kingdom s of this world will be overthrown and He will rule over all. The word "kingdom" (baslea) refers to the Person, reign, and territory of a king. When John the Baptist came he sent before a PERSON who is described as KING (Mk. 1:1-4) to prepare the way for and thus the kingdom actually came to Israel in the PERSON OF THE KING and this is the gospel of the kingdom which is still being preached throughout the book of Acts right to the last chapter and last verses.



    That is simply not true for many reasons. You are looking at types instead of the promised antitypes. Not even their promised king had yet come although they had the types galore just as palestine was a mere type. The post-exilic books still look forward to the promises of God to Israel. Hebrews four teaches the very opposite. They only entered the promised rest spiritually but not actually in its fulfillment in body and soul under the promised King.


    Just the promises pertaining to salvation not to Israel as a nation.



    There is a clear distinction and no glossing it over will destroy that distinction as it is impossible to gloss it over in Romans 11:25-28 if HONEST OBJECTIVE analysis is followed.
     

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