Galatians 4:8-11 ¶ Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
The gods that Paul is talking about are the gods that the folks in Galatia served before their having come to Yahushua. In reality, they were not real gods as we know there is only One God; the God of Israel. The gods that they had worshiped were made of earthen substances, such as stone or wood idols of elemental spirits. These are the weak and beggarly elements that kept them in bondage.
The days that Paul is discussing in his letter that the Galatians were observing are not the days, month’s times and years that were prescribed to them to observe. Paul was worried that his ex-pagan converts might be returning to their pagan festivals. The folks that had visited Corinth and had tempted them into their old ways again, tended to add human traditions and standard’s to God’s prescribed Law. This is what we now refer to as Judaized Christianity.
These folks had taken God’s Law as prescribed to Moses and added so many do’s and don’ts that people were easily fooled and began making God‘s love into something to earn rather than to accept His teachings freely, based on His love for mankind.
The ‘days’ that have been prescribed are the special weekly Sabbath days – Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. ~ Exodus 20:8
The’ months’ that Paul noted are, the head of the month Rosh-Codesh (The beginnings of God’s New Year), celebrated when the new moon become visible and commences at the end of the calendar year.
The’ times’ that Paul mentions is translated from the Greek word of kairos, pronounced kahee-ros’ meaning an occasion, i.e. set or proper time: – seasons. The prescribed seasons that Paul is bringing to their remembrance are certainly not Christmas or Easter as many often think. These seasons were not prescribed by God. The ones that are prescribed and commanded are found in Leviticus chapter 23.
These seasons include the three Pilgrim Festivals _ Pesach (Passover), Shavu’ot often referred to as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost and Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles – along with Rosh-HaShanah (New Year previously mentioned), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Chanukkah (Feast of Dedication or otherwise called Feast of Lights).
The ‘years’ that Paul is referencing are the Sabattical Year (Every seven years), the Jubilee Year (Every fifty years) and other years related to tithing, possibly the life cycle events such as milah (Circumcision) pidyon-haben (Dedication of the firstborn son, marriage and the ceremonies related to death.
Paul mentions these again in Colossians Col 2:16-17 ¶ Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Paul says here that these are a shadow of good things to come and rightly so. It is in the Feasts of the Lord that we find the story of the Gospel of Salvation. Beginning with Passover, Jesus became the perfect blood sacrifice substituted for our sin and transgression against the law.
1st Peter 1:18-20 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
The Days of Unleavened Bread represent the purging of all leaven (Symbol of sin) which empowers us to walk in newness of life. After stopping three months in Corinth, Paul and his companions intended to sail to Syria aiming to arrive in Jerusalem in time to celebrate the Passover. Paul changed his plans on hearing of a plot by the Jews to kill him on board ship.
1st Corinthians 5:7 ¶ Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Paul reminds us here that we are to keep the feast of un-leaven just as he had planned to go to Jerusalem to do. Paul and his companions ended up walking the three hundred or so miles to Philippi where Paul was reunited with Luke. He sent his seven companions on to Troas while he remained in Philippi to keep the Passover because he knew he wouldn’t make it to Jerusalem in time. Paul observed them all of his life as we read throughout his letters.
As the first fruits, Christ was the first to rise from the dead showing us the same as a promise for us as a type and shadow when we shall be raised from the dead at the Resurrection.
1st Corinthians 15:20 ¶ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
The Feast of Weeks which we now call Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit was first imparted into those that believed. In order for God to put His laws into the heart of the redeemed, He had to water the harvest with the indwelling of The Living Water. (Acts chapter 2)
Hebrews 10:16-17 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
The last three seasons that God prescribed are set in the fall, yet to be fulfilled.
The Feast of Trumpets ~ 1st Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The Day of Atonement ~ So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. ~ Hebrews 9:28
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zechariah 13:1 ¶ In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
The Feast of Tabernacles, often called the Feast of Booths ~ ¶ And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. ~ Zechariah 14:16
The Feast of Trumpets is a type and shadow of all the children of Israel being re-gathered; Israel; being the collective body of Christ whom are called the children of Israel. This feast as Paul taught and said was one of those shadows of good things to come is one that most folks believe will announce the return of Christ Jesus. The Day of Atonement is a solemn assembly for repentance and forgiveness under the Law to be repeated annually is a type and shadow of that one day to come when Israel will return to her Messiah. The Feast of Tabernacles speaks of the type and shadow of the Kingdom of God when He will dwell with His children.
What Paul was trying to bring to the remembrance of the folks at Galatia, would have reminded them of their spiritual identification rather than the fear that the Judaizes induced. They had convinced them folks at Corinth that unless they did things as they did, that God would not accept them, thereby making them submissive or subservient in order to enslave them. These folks thought that they were above the law and felt that they didn’t need God’s guidelines or guidance. They were quite satisfied living legalistically being subjugated to those weak and elemental demonic spirits, no better than the idols that the folks at Corinth had supposedly left behind. The Judaizes lived their lives by what they ‘thought’ that God wanted instead of what He spoke to Moses about. Any time we ‘think’ we know what God wants, we need to stop and ask Him, “Where Father is it found in Your word?”
Moses went through this similar experience. The folks at Corinth felt a sense of security in bondage and why is that? I think I know. My husband once told me that the life that I have chosen is not an easy one and many will not choose to walk the way I do. I see his view of it but he does not see mine. He sees all that I have given up and turned away from and he sees all that he does not want to have to turn away from. Yet, I see a new way that to me is easier than living in depression and oppression. I once had to make the decision to cross over that bridge to where I live in freedom but he does not understand what I see and walk in because he has not yet walked over that bridge but one day, he will. The only reason I am able to walk this way or anyone for that matter is because the power of God that was given in the form of the Spirit of the Son.
We are weak and in need of someone to constantly guide us and remind us on a daily basis. Perhaps the folks in the desert may have made it, although it sure seems unlikely when I look at the world we live in now and how little respect is shown to God’s way of living in harmony and peace. This passage also reminds me of what was said in Hebrews, of once having tasted the glory of God and the power of the world to come. It is not a good plan to slide back into the things and the way of this world. Paul’s desire is that he has not wasted his time and his investment in these people and that his letter might enlighten them to turn once again from their ways.
The non-gods that Paul mentions are who we all once upon a time served before we were enlightened in the truth. The culture that Yahushua was born into were used to celebrating a lot of prescribed times for celebration. But God never said that we were to take on man-made traditional holidays.When the Gentiles observed God’s annually prescribed days, new moons, the seven feasts, the weekly Sabbaths, the Sabbatical years and the Jubilees, they may have done so out of fear and acceptance rather than relishing in the relevance and spiritual identification of them all. However the culture of the times had long since become subject to legalism and performance sprinkled in by the demonic powers, those weak and elemental spirits.
These people that Paul was speaking to in this passage of the letter, was to Gentiles. You might be asking, who is a Gentile?
In the Bible, it is the Hebrew nation that is the chosen people led out of Egypt that God made a covenant with, through their descendant, Abraham. Although there were folks who had lived in Egypt during that time of captivity that were not of the Hebrew nation, that came out of Egypt with them. They are called sojourners. Anyone who would call upon the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Savior is adopted into His family and is in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, so anyone on the outside, who has not chosen Him, is a Gentile.
Apparently, Paul had become aware of a perversion of the gospel of grace that was actively affecting the Galatians churches. False teachers had invaded this territory and were distorting truth and the Galatians had not been aware of the subtlety of the enemy creeping in.
Before these people knew Jesus Christ as their savior, they served the world purely by nature like we all do, before we come to know Jesus. It is through Jesus Christ and the blood that He shed that sets us free from the law of sin whose penalty is death.
The law leads us by being a mirror of who we are, showing us our need to repent and turn from the sin that was born inside of us because we inherited the sin nature of the first man and first women. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can learn not to commit transgression against the law. The law, which is actually the teaching of God, whose words encourage us to live with-in boundaries, so that we know how to co-habituate with humankind. Sin, is transgression against the law of God.
1st John 3:4 ¶ Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
The penalty for disobedience or transgression of the law, (sin) to the teachings of God, is death. The requirements before Jesus offered His life was that if one transgressed the law, then their wage for that sin was death. Jesus paid our penalty, so we no longer die because we transgress the law. Jesus paid that penalty because God showed His grace unto the man that He created by sending His only begotten Son to do so. His Son Jesus gave His life so that we might go free. This is the grace that God showed to all humanity. But just like the woman who was caught in adultery, we are to go and sin no more.
The Galatians had basically turned their back on God and were back to serving worldly gods, which really do not even exist, according to this passage. They had been intimidated into scrupulously observing all the traditions, taboos, and superstitions associated with special days, seasons, and years of the pagan gods that they used to serve.
You know, it is so easy to slip back into a worldly relationship due to the temptation out there. This is where it is so important and I cannot stress this enough that we begin our day asking Jesus, to lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. I think more and more about the prayer that Jesus taught us and how vital it is to our DAILY WALK.
We do know of course that this is what is called the Lord’s Prayer but really is not. This is the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples to pray and we, like them, being followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are to do the same and claim this prayer upon our lives as well.
As a side note: The prayer that is the Lord’s Prayer is found in the whole chapter of John 17. If you have not read it, set some time aside to stop and read that. Jesus prays for Himself, then the disciples and then for all that would take up their cross and follow Him. The setting is in the garden of Gethsemane; no doubt you have somewhere in your life saw a painting of Him leaning on a rock, praying this beautiful prayer for Himself, His disciples at the time and us, here in our time.
So what can we learn from this passage in Galatians? We, who have chosen Jesus Christ, Yahushua, the Son of the living God, as our savior are no longer in bondage, serving other gods in the world because greater is He that now lives in us, than he that is in the world. We are walking in spiritual progress to the end of our life here on earth, towards the hope of glory, through Christ Jesus and the grace of God, who sent Him. Because of Yahushua, we are no longer held in bondage to the law of sin and death and we can walk freely to the Throne of Grace.
We can enjoy the set days, months, and times and years that God prescribed which is a shadow of good things still yet to come. However, we can do so as long as we do so, unto the Lord as Paul taught in chapter 14 of Romans that every man be fully persuaded in his own mind, for whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s and serve no other. We still have the law, but live it through the law of love for our Savior and for no other reason. Yahushua did not come to do away with the pattern of the law; He has shown us how to live it, leading by example.
His specific words were: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:17-18
To paraphrase, He said, I do not want anyone to think that I came to do away with the law or what the prophets taught. I did not come to destroy the law or what the prophets taught, I did come to fulfill what was taught and spoken. Not one little mark of the law and what the prophets taught will by no wise pass away until heaven and earth pass.
Heaven and earth are still here and so are the laws and what the prophets prophesied, still to be fulfilled. There is still quite a bit of what they prophesied, has not yet come to fruition.
Jesus went on to say: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19-20
So to again paraphrase what Jesus is saying here, whoever breaks or teaches that it is ok to break even the least of the commandments, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever teaches that we should be obedient to God’s law (teachings) and commandments (statutes) these teachers shall be called great in the kingdom. If our righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees, we will not even make it into the kingdom of heaven.
We need to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and in order to do so, we need to know and be obedient to His law and statutes so that our lives will become the mirror image of righteousness. HOWEVER: we cannot do so without the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us.
Jeremiah prophesied that the day would come when God would make a new covenant with His people that He would put the law into the heart of man and that the law would be taught in Zion.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
To place the law in our inward parts, and to write it in our hearts, I believe is done by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives with- in, those who have called upon the name of Jesus, the One who represents us before the throne of God.
When we except Jesus Christ as our advocate before the throne of God, He forgives us our sin because His Son Jesus, paid our ransom, setting us free from the penalty that calls for our death.
Jesus died for us instead. We are now set free from the law of sin and death. We do not need anyone to teach us about God because the Holy Spirit teaches us, from the least of us to the greatest. Kings or presidents, rich or poor. It just does not matter because the Holy Spirit is the one who will teach us all. We are to worship our God in Spirit and in Truth. What better way to do so than to submit our lives as a living sacrifice to be obedient to the will of the Lord God Almighty.
Paul knew that the false teachers who had come had affected their thinking and perverted their way of living truth. They had appealed to their humanistic senses rather than the value of walking in the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Paul knew that these teachers had gone a long way to make themselves look good but their motives were rotten. They wanted to shut them down from the way of thinking in freedom because the enemy does not have this luxury and he will do everything in his power to make things look good, but in reality is not any part of the grace of God. If he can get us to look the other way, towards him, we do not then depend and seek the approval of God.
The Galatians had been exposed again to legalism that false principle that grants acceptance to people apart from putting their trust in Jesus, rather than relying solely on Him and accepting His love for us and the promise that He will do all the work that He intends to perform in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Rather than our obedience to Him and the ‘whispers’ of the Holy Spirit, legalism is based on obedience to a set of rules that was never intended to save us, but only ground us in the view of our need for salvation’s promise through the blood of Christ Jesus rather than animals that were used in the interim until the perfect Lamb of God was revealed. As a good co-shepherd would, Paul had no choice but to use the strongest possible language because he had been the man responsible for establishing these congregations on the path of truth. If not, these false teachings would have destroyed all of God’s work that He had worked through Paul. If Paul had brought any other gospel, it would have been an accursed thing. Paul was concerned that all of his hard work had gone up in a puff of smoke.