CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

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NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CHURCHES

CHAPTER ONE (Lesson LIV) 

But the desire to maintain the perpetual virginity of Mary caused Catholic priest, confessor, theologian, and historian Jerome to counter Helvidius by developing a theory known as the Hieronymian (Jeromian) Theory in 383 AD. According to Jerome, the brethren of the Lord were the sons of his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Alphaeus or Clopas, and, therefore, Jesus’ cousins. It was traditional during the time of the Anointed One for Jewish uncles, cousins, nephews, and even fellow countrymen to refer to each other as “brothers,” since they all came from the same Abrahamic family tree. This is something they did frequently. That’s no doubt why even today Christian men call each other “brother” since they are all part of God’s family.1

Another theory bears the name “Epiphanian Theory” in honor of Epiphanius, the Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus. He proposed that James was the brother of our Lord, by way of Joseph and his first wife who died, leaving him with several children. That is no doubt why Joseph proposed to Mary. This view was supported by Church Historian Eusebius. Epiphanius must have written his theory before his death in 403 AD. It also could be seen as a compromise theory between those of Jerome and Helvidius. The main dividing line between them all was the perpetual virginity of Mary which raised her from a simple handmaiden to a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.2

William G. Moorehead (1839-1913), was a Final Covenant professor at Xenia Theological Seminary for over forty years. Before this, he was a missionary in northern and central Italy. It so happened that a book titled The Millennial Dawn by Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, published in 1902 was a hot item in Moorehead’s day. The original book was followed by a series in which over 1600 Scriptures were examined and used from the First and Final Covenants. Moorehead called the teachings found in Millennial Dawn wicked and disastrous. For him, audacity and falsehood reached its final climax in Russell’s writings.

First of all, the essential, vital truth on which Christianity rests, namely, the absolute certainty of the Anointed One’s literal, bodily resurrection is denied, it is utterly twisted and misrepresented despite the overwhelming testimony of the Four Gospels, of all the Epistles, and of John’s Revelation, and the word of the glorified Son of God Himself. As the Apostle Paul said it best, if the Anointed One did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is wiped out as a supernatural system, and Christians are of all people the most pitiable, the most pathetically deceived.3 The heretics of the early centuries, Cerinthus, Marcion, Valentinus were not as daring nor more destructive in their wild speculations of what the Scriptures really say, than the author of these books.

For instance, the lie invented by the Jewish chief priests and elders that Jesus’ disciples stole His body away during the night while the soldiers slept is less shocking than the baseless and wicked conjecture that Jesus’ body dissolved into gas! To the devout, believing mind, nothing could be more profane or blasphemous than this slander. A thousand years before Yeshua appeared in human form, the Spirit of God promised Him that His flesh should rest in hope, that it should not decay.4 Also, there was the new tomb wherein no one ever laid before, the official seal, the angels watching, God’s mighty guard, all combined to protect and safeguard His sacred remains until the resurrection.

Moorehead’s point here is that it is recorded that the disciples, Mary of Magdala, Peter and John, then the two men on the road to Emmaus, then all the rest of the twelve disciples, but especially James, the Lord’s brother as Paul refers to him here in verse nineteen, all saw Him alive in His own resurrected body; talked with Him, walked with Him, even ate with Him.5 So to say that our Lord’s body dissolved into gas is not only shocking but disgusting! Wouldn’t you think that there would have been some among the followers of Jesus who knew of such deception if it really happened? Wouldn’t one of Paul’s old Pharisee friends have been disappointed at Paul’s conversion and told him the honest truth so that he would come back to his former faith? 6

Alfred Edersheim, the converted Jew who traveled to Palestine so he could better know the Yeshua he now believed in, also was struck by his own peoples’ reluctance to accept the resurrection of the Anointed One. For Edersheim, the real question was: since the Apostles and others evidently believed Him to be dead, and weren’t sure of His Resurrection, and since the fact of His Death was not a formidable challenge to His Messianic Character – causing them to invent or imagine His resurrection – how are we to account for the history of the Resurrection with all its details in all the four Gospels and by the Apostle Paul? The details, or “signs” are clearly intended as pieces of evidence to all of the reality of the Resurrection, without which it would not have been believed; and the many who actually saw Him cannot be dismissed. And the language of the Apostle Paul implies a careful and searching inquiry on his part7.8

Cyril W. Emmet (1875-1934), gives us a different sense of what he feels Paul is saying here. First of all, he does not believe that by saying “after three years,” he meant 36 months (1095 days). And if we count his time in Damascus after his conversion, his stay in Arabia both before his trip to Arabia and after, it would have been even shorter. Rather, that we should understand it saying: “in the third year since my conversion.” For instance, if Paul was converted in August of 38 AD and went up to Jerusalem for the first time in April of 40 AD, that would be one complete year and part of two others. Secondly, the Greek verb historeō translated by KJV as “to see” also means, “to learn more about,” “become acquainted with.” Today we would say, “I wanted to get acquainted with.” So this was an informal trip to Jerusalem to visit the Temple, some old friends, and get to know the Apostle Peter of whom he heard so much.9

Grant Osborne inspires some insight as to why Paul waited this third year after his conversion to go up to Jerusalem to have a chat with Peter and any other Apostles he might encounter. And of all places, why did he go into neighboring Arabia. First of all, Paul was forced to leave Damascus because he was turning the place upside down with his preaching and aggravating the Jewish leaders, who were his former comrades against the Christians. Then secondly, no doubt when word got back to Jerusalem of what happened to him even before he reached Damascus, those who authorized his mission were no doubt incensed by his betrayal. So going up to Jerusalem right away was not an option.

Another thing that Osborne brings up is that it must have felt strange for Paul to consider seeking the acquaintance of these two former archenemies, the leaders of the assembly of believers. We can only imagine that Paul was enamored with James, asking him question after question about having grown up with Jesus. The two men would find a lot in common, for James, like Paul, was not a believer until Jesus’ postresurrection appearance.10 James went through his childhood and early adulthood rejecting Jesus, as Paul did.11 The terse rendering of this verse implies that Paul’s time with James was quite brief. The point again is that Paul wanted to get to know these men but did not come to solicit their imprimatur to authenticate his ministry.12

One commentator makes a good point here, in that when Paul says he saw none other than Peter and James, he was not saying that he avoided all contact with the other brethren, especially Barnabas and his own family members, but that of the original twelve disciples, he visited only with Peter and James. This may not mean he did not hope to meet John or the others, but they may have been out of town ministering in the immediate area. If you have ever visited Jerusalem you know why this is possible.13

Theologian Robert Gundry points out that Paul does not say that he spent three years meditating in the Arabian desert away from Damascus so as to figure out the Gospel in view of God’s having revealed His Son to him. In fact, Paul started proclaiming Jesus as God’s Son immediately in Damascus.14 and it remains unclear here in Galatians 1:17–18 how much of the three years Paul spent in Damascus and how much in Arabia. Since he’d started proclaiming the Gospel three years before going up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas (Peter), he couldn’t have gotten the Gospel from Cephas. Besides, he stayed with Cephas only fifteen days; and he didn’t see any of the other Apostles so that they weren’t the source of Paul’s Gospel any more than Cephas was.

Gundry also believes that Paul’s reminding the Galatians of this to underline how very delayed, short, and limited were his Christian contacts in Jerusalem and, therefore, how impossible it was for him to have learned the Gospel of grace by any means other than divine revelation, Paul assures the Galatians that he’s not lying. The words “Believe it or not” (“Behold” – KJV) in our text punctuates this assurance, and “in front of God” (“before God” – KJV) implies that the assurance is given in full awareness that God will punish him if he’s not telling the truth.15

Maria Mavromataki tells us that Aretas IV Philodemus held Damascus and other areas of Judæa between the years 37 and 40 AD. This fact leads to the conclusion that the conversion of Paul to Christianity took place in 35 – 36 AD, while his escape from Damascus must have been before 40 AD. Paul next visited Jerusalem, where, as he tells us himself, he arrived three years after he was called by God. There, through the good offices of Barnabas, he met the Apostles and formed a close relationship with them. Here his life was threatened for a second time and, after seeing a vision of Christ, he fled to Cæsarea and Tarsus. Later, he visited Antioch and, after delivering, together with Barnabas, funds collected to support the assembly of believers in Jerusalem, returned there. It was from Antioch that the spread of Christianity throughout the world was to begin. The Apostle Paul, having now believed in Christ with his heart and mind, set a new and single purpose in his life: the preaching of Christianity. As he told young Timothy, “Of this Gospel, I have been appointed herald, apostle, and teacher.16

1 See Acts of the Apostles, 1:16, 2:29, 37; 3:17, 22; 6:3, et. al.

2 Marvin Vincent: Word Studies, op. cit., Vols. 3&4, p.91

3 1 Corinthians 15

4 Psalm 16:9,10; Cf. Acts of the Apostles 2:26-28

5 Luke 24:42

6 William G. Moorehead: The Fundamentals – A Testimony to the Truth, Vol. 4, Ch. 9, pp. 98-99

7 1 Corinthians 15:13, 14, 20

8 Alfred Edersheim: The Life and Times of Jesus the Anointed One, Vol. 2, Bk. 5, Ch. 16, p. 493

9 Cyril W. Emmet: On Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 9

10 1 Corinthians 15:7

11 John 7:5

12 Osborne, G. R: On Galatians, op. cit., p. 41

13 Ernest De Will Burton, op. cit., p.60

14 Acts of the Apostles 9:19–22

15 Robert H. Gundry: On Galatians, op. cit., (Kindle Location 295)

16 Mavromataki, Maria: Journeys in Greece, op. cit., (Kindle Locations 269-276)

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POINTS TO PONDER

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I came across this goody the other day and wanted to share it with you, just in case you’ve been asking God for the same things. It’s something to ponder.

I asked God to give me happiness.

God said, No ~ I’ll give you blessings; happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.

God said, No ~ Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.

God said, No ~ You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.

God said, No ~ I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me love others, as much as He LOVES me.

God said… Aha! Finally, you have the right idea.

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SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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I read this article on the Inspiring Pretty Website. It should give us something to think about as we approach our 4th of July holiday. It will help remind you that we’ve been through all this before and need to keep our eyes on the reason and purpose for which the United States was founded.

While he was in office, he was one of the most unpopular presidents to ever serve the United States. But he was still ridiculed in public print, accused of being power hungry, and called a tyrant by a leading newspaper editor of the day. Some said he used the office of being President just to gain favor and become more respected, and critics didn’t even like the parties he gave. On and on it went.

His Secretary of State resigned in disagreement over foreign policy; two of his Cabinet members quit and joined an opposing political party to fight him. There were riots in the streets, and Congress refused to give him what he needed to enforce the law. Everyone felt the United States was on the brink of a full-scale civil war. Predictably, scores of newspapers and many American patriots demanded his immediate resignation.

He ultimately declared: “I would rather be in the grave, than in the Presidency.” Sound familiar? No, it was Abraham Lincoln, even though he was treated terribly. And no, it isn’t someone you may think it is. This man was the man on whom later was conferred the highest honor possible: the undying title, the Father of his country. Yes, that’s right! George Washington!

Feelings may vanish with vision, and misunderstandings rise to cloud issues, but if God ordained this nation, then it didn’t come into existence to fail. Having served in the military and was ready to give my life for this country so America could remain free, perhaps I view the Fourth of July from a different perspective. And having worked continuously since I began working at age sixteen-years-old, I didn’t have the government giving me anything, I had to earn it all. Would I trade what I went through with what young people expect today? Absolutely not! That would be like asking a butterfly if it would rather go back to being a pet caterpillar. Happy 4th of July, everyone. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

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CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

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NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CHURCHES

CHAPTER ONE (Lesson LIII)

As expected, Doctor of the Church Thomas Aquinas was eager to answer the question of whether or not Mary remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth?1 In one of his responses, he contends that the woman “Mary” who is called the mother of James and John is not to be mistaken for “Mary” the mother of Jesus. However, “Mary” the wife of Alphaeus whose son was James the less, known as the “brother of our Lord,” is the one mentioned here in verse nineteen. In other words, Paul was referring to another James, not to the brother of Jesus. However, Aquinas goes on to answer whether Mary the mother of Jesus took a vow of perpetual virginity?2 He writes that it would seem that the Mother of God did not take a vow of virginity. For it is written, “You will be blessed more than all other peoples; there will not be a sterile male or female among you.”3 For Aquinas, sterility is a consequence of virginity. Therefore, the keeping of virginity was contrary to the commandment of the Law. The Law was still in effect before the Anointed One was born. Therefore, at that time the Blessed Virgin could not lawfully take a vow of perpetual virginity.4

Martin Luther also makes a point about the fact that Paul went to Jerusalem uninvited, not to be instructed, but to visit with Peter. Another thing to make note of is, that Paul says he visited with Peter, but he only “saw” James. Furthermore, he makes no reference to learning anything from them. There are some who might argue that when we say “I saw” somebody, it not only means we spotted them but that we interacted with them. For instance, today I saw the boss to discuss my salary. But in Greek verb eidō used here, it only means to perceive with the eyes, also, to perceive, and, to come to the realization of.

Luther also wonders why does Paul emphasize this seemingly unimportant fact? Perhaps it was to convince the churches of Galatia that his Gospel was the true Word of the Anointed One which he learned from no man other than the Anointed One Himself. Paul was forced to affirm and re-affirm this fact several times. His significance to all the churches that enjoyed his ministry as their pastor and teacher were at stake. Paul knew, now that he was away from Galatia and perhaps never to return again, it was absolutely necessary that he not allow what he preached to them to be discounted or even declared false.5

Reformer John Calvin writes about how the problem of corruption in the church administration in the early years led them down the road to effecting the way the church was being governed in the Middle Ages by Rome. Shouldn’t it be that the high officials of the Church should surpass all other levels of leadership in terms of dignity and authority over the whole body? Furthermore, should those who flaunt the Gospel of the Anointed One and deviate from the teachings of the Final Covenant be allowed to turn their personal ideas into becoming perpetual church law? Or how could they assume that what the Anointed One told Peter about whosoever he bound on earth would be bound in heaven and vice versâ6 could be twisted to mean that they also possessed the same power? Not only that, but they can find nowhere else where Jesus said the same thing to any of the other disciples. So how can they take what was said to one Apostle and claim it as their own?

The truth is, says Calvin, only the Holy Scriptures can resolve these questions. When we look at all the passages that show what office and power Peter held among the Apostles, how he acted among them, how he was received by them,7 and compare them with each other we will find that Peter was just one of twelve, their equal, and colleague, not their master. He indeed did bring matters before the council in Jerusalem when decisions were to be made and shares what he thinks is necessary. But when a letter was written to the Gentiles, it was signed by James. Now, if James was just another Apostle, how did he achieve such a high status? It seems that being known as “the Lord’s brother,” may have something to do with it. But, at the same time, Peter listens to the others, giving them an opportunity to express their opinions and options, sentiments, and allows them to decide. And once they’ve decided, even he follows and obeys.

As a matter of fact, when Peter wrote a letter to the pastors of assembly of believers abroad, he did not do so authoritatively as a superior, but addresses them as colleagues, and courteously advises them as co-equals on what needed to be done.8 When he is accused of joining in with the Gentiles, he accepts the responsibility and stands ready to clears his name.9 When being ordered by his colleagues to go with John into Samaria, he did not decline to do so.10 The Apostles, by sending him, declare that they by no means regard him as a superior, while he, by obeying and undertaking the deputation committed to him, confesses that his association with them as possessing no authority over them.

However, even if none of these facts existed, this one Epistle to the Galatians would easily remove all doubt. There are two chapters devoted to the fact that when it came to the honor of the Apostleship, Paul is co-equal to Peter.11 That’s why he states, that he went to visit Peter, it was not to acknowledge his subjection to him, but only to solidify their agreement on doctrinal matters and do it openly. Furthermore, Peter did not demand that he must give such approval, but merely shook hands with Paul as a fellow believer. This way, others could see that they were common laborers in God’s vineyard; that less grace was not bestowed on Peter than on Paul. They both acknowledged that Paul was called as an Apostle to the Gentiles and Peter as the Apostle to the Jews.

So we can see, that when Peter got out of line in Antioch and acted in a hypocritical way by separating himself from the Gentiles to join his fellow Jews from Jerusalem for a meal, Paul showed no hesitation in rebuking him, and he submitted to the rebuke.12 All these things make it abundantly clear that either there was equality between Paul and Peter, or, at least, that Peter exerted no more authority over the other Apostles than they did over him. Calvin is quick to point out that he congratulates Paul’s professional and spiritual handling of this situation, without making it appear that he was above Peter and would expect the same preferential treatment from others. Peter, James, John, and Paul were colleagues, without one master among them except our Lord Jesus the Anointed One. Perhaps that will explain why Paul tells the Galatians that it took him fourteen years before he went up to Jerusalem to meet with Peter and the others.13 No doubt, Calvin would agree, that Peter was a very assertive person and just by his nature took control of the situation. Not only that but when Jesus came walking on the Sea of Galilee, there must have been a reason why it was Peter He called to walk out and meet Him.

In another writing, Calvin adds that almost all the early church scholars agreed that James was one of the disciples, whose surname was “Oblias” and called, “James the Just,” and that he presided over the assembly of believers at Jerusalem. Yet others think that he was the son of Joseph by his first wife, and others scholars that he was the cousin of the Anointed One on his mother’s side as he is counted among the Apostles, Calvin does not hold that opinion, however. Nor does he accept the defense offered by Jerome, that the word Apostle is sometimes applied to others besides the twelve. This subject under consideration is the highest rank of Apostleship, and we will see that he was considered one of the chief pillars of the assembly of believers.14 Calvin concludes that is it most probable, that the person of whom Paul is speaking is the son of Alphaeus15.16 Even John Wesley, notes that James the brother of Jesus, should read “the kinsman” of the Lord.17

James Haldane (1769-1851), brings up something that should give us reason to consider it as one of the main reasons why Paul was so hated by the Jews in Jerusalem. No doubt, some of them, having been his fellow Pharisee friends before, perhaps one or two that were students with him, not to mention the influential Sanhedrin member and Paul’s highly venerated teacher Gamaliel, found it hard to accept a former comrade who so suddenly switched sides. Saul of Tarsus could not have been such an ardent persecutor of this Christian sect called “the Way,” and have received letters from the High Priest to go after them in Damascus, without it having impressed many other zealots in Jerusalem.

So now Paul returns after a three-year absence with a new name and a new religion. We all know what people think when a good or close friend changes from one Christian denomination to another, such as having been a Baptist they suddenly announce they have converted to Catholicism. Or a long-serving Senator or Representative in one political party makes the decision overnight to join the opposition party. Paul, a stellar Pharisee, a student of Gamaliel, a persecutor of the Christian sect, who when off to Damascus to have them jailed and beaten, now comes storming back as a crusader for these same followers of the Anointed One.18

Marvin Vincent gives us the historical perspective on the argument of just who James, the brother of our Lord, was envisioned to be. First of all, Paul has already taken the step of calling him the brother of our Lord here in verse nineteen in order to distinguish him from James the son of Zebedee,19 who was still living, and from James the son of Alphaeus.20 The Lord’s brother means that James was at least a son of Joseph, Mary’s husband. There were several theories that contended for acceptance by the early assembly of believers. First, there was the Helvidian Theory. This was a paper written around 380 AD by Helvidius, a church layman in the Church in Rome against the belief of the perpetual virginity of Mary. Helvidius maintained that the biblical mention of “sisters” and “brothers” of the Lord constitutes solid evidence that Mary engaged in normal marital relations with Joseph and additional children after the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. Secondly, he was also against “Mariolatry” and required celibacy of the clergy that was a growing trend in the Church at that time. He supported his opinion by the writings of early church scholars such as Tertullian and Victorinus. While this has nothing to do with our salvation, it still remains a sticking point between Protestants and Roman Catholics to this day.

1 Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Vol. 5, Part (3)-Question (28)-Article (3)-Response/Objection (6), pp. 374=-375

2 Ibid. Part (3)-Question (28)-Article (4), p. 375

3 Deuteronomy 7:14 – Complete Jewish Bible

4 Thomas Aquinas, ibid., Vol. 5, Part (3)-Question (28)-Article (4)-Objection (1), p. 375

5 Martin Luther: On Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 34

6 Matthew 18:18

7 Acts of the Apostles 15:7

8 1 Peter 1:5

9 Acts of the Apostles 11:3

10 Ibid. 8:14

11 Galatians 1:18, 2:8

12 Ibid. 2:11

13 John Calvin: Institutes, op. cit., Vol. 4, Ch. 6, pp. 1135-1140

14 See Galatians 2:9

15 See Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13

16 Calvin, John: Commentary on the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit.

17 John Wesley, Commentary on Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit.

18 James Haldane: On Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit., pp. 51-52

19 Matthew 4:21; 10:2; Mark 10:35

20 Matthew 10:3

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CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

9526a07d9f8686ec5667a96cad064ff6

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CHURCHES

CHAPTER ONE (Lesson LII)

So, was Paul being stuck-up or high-minded? Did he want to make a big deal out of the fact that Peter was not much more than an uneducated fisherman fortunate enough to be chosen by Jesus, while he was a noted scholar and high ranking Jewish zealot? No, I’m ready to believe that as he and Peter visited and ate together they laughed and shared a lot of good stories. No doubt they were curious about each other’s experiences and asked some very personal questions. Paul did not see himself as a disciple or subordinate to Peter; rather, they were equals in God’s sight. It’s just that Peter seemed more comfortable preaching to the Jews, while Paul was specifically sent to the Gentiles.

Chrysostom went through a period of testing his loyalty either to the Church of Rome or the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. As to the question of the papacy, it is reported by Rome that he saw no problem in accepting the Roman Church’s contention that the bishop of Rome was the successor of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles. It also appealed to him in his exile against the unjust condemnation of the Council at the Oak (Nicea).1 Such appeals from archbishops and priest furnished the popes in Rome with a welcome opportunity to act as judges in the controversies of the Eastern church, and greatly strengthened their claims of superiority.

However, after examining Chrysostom’s Epistle to Pope Innocent, we see it was also addressed to the bishops of Milan and Aquileia, and falls far short of the language of submission to any infallible authority. He conceded to the pope importance of honor, but not the supremacy of jurisdiction. He calls the bishop of Antioch (Ignatius and Flavian) likewise a successor of Peter, who labored there according to the express testimony of Paul. In order to justify his actions, Chrysostom appealed to what Paul said here in verse eighteen. He represents Paul (Father of the Eastern Orthodox Church) as equal in dignity to Peter (Father of the Western Roman Church).

In Chrysostom’s mind, what Paul said about not visiting Jerusalem until three years after he started his ministry in order to get acquainted with Peter, as a sign that although Paul saw his Apostleship as coequal to that of Peter’s, he attempted to build a bridge between the two of them. So it was, that Chrysostom wanted to follow Paul’s example of ecumenicism since he lived during the violent controversies between the successor to the Apostle Andrew, the Bishop of Constantinople,2 with Pope Linus of Rome which eventually brought about a complete schism in 1054 AD. There is no doubt on which side he chose to stand since he became Archbishop of Constantinople (398 AD).3 As we can see, Paul provided an example for all leaders of different denominations to follow.

Ambrosiaster, a contemporary with Chrysostom and Augustine, makes note that both Peter and Paul received their education directly from Jesus. Peter walked with the Lord for three years, while Paul, after his conversion, spent three years in the area outside Damascus, preaching to the people living there about the One who called him. Ambrosiaster feels that Paul wanted Peter to know that they both received a commission from our Lord Jesus the Anointed One. Apparently, these callings gave their friendship a sense of comradery. So over the fifteen days, they spent in each others company, they found they shared more in common than any differences that the false apostles were whispering about Paul.4

One early Church scholar, Haimo of Auxerre, (820-865 AD) speculated about Paul’s staying in Jerusalem for fifteen days. He shares a theory, as espoused by other Catholic scholars, that was prevalent in his day, that the number “fifteen” pertains to both the First and Final Covenants on account of the numbers “seven” and “eight.” The number seven relates to the First Covenant because of the Sabbath, and eight to the Final Covenant because of the Lord’s resurrection celebrated on the eighth day. The Apostle was so filled with the teachings of both the First and the Final Covenants that he saw no reason to remain with Peter for more than fifteen days.5 However, I believe there is a simpler explanation in that Paul stayed two weeks (fourteen days), and then after the Sabbath left again for Damascus on the fifteenth day.

I wonder if Paul was familiar with Plato’s work, “Gorgios” in which we find Socrates asking Callicles if he believed that having knowledge implies one must also have courage and Callicles agreed. Socrates then asks Callicles if he thought knowledge and courage were two separate virtues, and Callicles said, “Certainly.” Paul knew that his willingness to stand up to the accusations and false charges against him required both knowledge and courage. The reason is simple: without knowing what you believe makes it hard to courageously defend what you believe. By the same token, without courage, whatever you believe in does not stand a chance of surviving against those who oppose you. To put it another way: it can be risky if you try to stand up for something you know in your mind but do not believe in your heart. Likewise, if you know something to be true in both heart and mind but fail to stand up for what you believe, it can be fatal. Paul was convinced both in heart and mind that what he received to preach to the Gentiles came straight from Jesus the Anointed One, and his critics could not shake his confidence.

There’s a difference between being certain and being conceited. I remember being asked to address a Minister’s meeting outside the United States where about one hundred pastors gathered. The Lord laid it on my heart to speak on the subject of Salvation and Sanctification being simultaneous works of the same grace; which I knew a great number of ministers anguished over but felt the need to stick with the denomination’s view because they didn’t want to be criticized or questioned about their theology. When the meeting was over many of them came up to me and said: “For the first time I understand that doctrine, why don’t some of our church leaders preach it the same way?” Afterward, as we were riding back to the hotel, the lead bishop of that area said to me, “I’m in full agreement with what you said, but I don’t have the guts to preach it.

Paul was not the least bit intimidated by Peter; he willingly told Peter what the Lord Jesus revealed to him. Perhaps Peter was able to confirm what he heard by saying, “Yes, that’s the same thing the Lord Jesus taught us.” At the same time, I’m sure there were plenty of reasons why Paul wanted to meet Jesus’ brother, James. Possibly he wanted a firsthand account of how Jesus grew up and for James to tell him of the miracles he saw his brother, Jesus, perform. Whatever they talked about, James took the opportunity to better understand Paul’s commitment and dedication in carrying out the message he received from the Anointed One on that Damascus Road, followed by his baptism by Ananias. I’m confident that since James knew his brother Jesus better than anyone else, he would have been able to tell if Paul was talking about the same Jesus he knew. It also gave Paul even more assurance that they were all preaching the same Gospel.

The fact that Paul calls James the brother of Jesus, touches on a subject well discussed and dissected, but to no sure and final conclusion. As early as the time of John Chrysostom of Constantinople (349-407 AD), this great preacher assesses the reason why Paul referred to James that way. Paul was showing what a sincere person he was by honoring James when he referred to him as “the Lord’s brother,” although he was not by birth His brother.6 Jerome comes to the conclusion that even cousins and other close relatives were called “brothers” in Jewish culture. Therefore, even while James may have been related to Jesus, he was not a flesh and blood brother borne to Mary and Joseph.7 One early Catholic scholar came to the conclusion that James was the son of Mary, wife of Clopas, the Lord’s maternal aunt8.9 This view is shared by most Catholic scholars and many Evangelical scholars as well.

Roman Catholic scholar Ambrosiaster addresses this topic as well. For him, Paul also saw James at Jerusalem because he was appointed the city’s bishop by the Apostles. He too was once an unbeliever, as the Evangelist says: “Even Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him.”’10 This James was the son of Joseph, which is why he is called the brother of the Lord. Joseph was his father and is also called the father of the Lord.

This is what Mary says to Jesus in Luke’s Gospel: “Why have you done to us, son? Look, your father and I have been searching for you anxiously and worried.11 And Philip says to Nathanael: “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.12 It is in this way, that Jesus is said to be the brother of James and the others, for he too was called the son of Joseph.13

But then Ambrosiaster goes on to say something very interesting. As he sees it, there were some people insane enough to make the ungodly claim that these men were the Lord’s brothers because they were born of Mary. These are the same ones who say that Joseph was not our Lord’s true father. But if they were really His brothers, then Joseph was their real father because whoever said that Joseph was His father also said that James and the others were His brothers. Ambrosiaster is not making the case here for Joseph being Jesus’ biological father the same way James and the others were his fathered sons. It is that the term “father” is used here in the parental sense, thus making James and the others our Lord’s step-brothers, but not his cousins.

1 While Archbishop at Constantinople, Chrysostom preached against the degenerate morals of people in the capital, especially at the imperial court and Empress Eudoxia. She convened a court and condemned Chrysostom. He was deposed as Archbishop and exiled to Armenia. He was then ordered to be transferred to the desolate Pityus in Abkhazia on the Black Sea. After traveling for three months in rain and frost, he died along the way, on September 14, 407 AD. His last words were, “Glory to God for all things!

2 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew occupied the First Throne of the worldwide Orthodox Christian Church, presiding in historical honor and fraternal spirit as “first among equals” of all Orthodox Primates. These include the ancient Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, as well as the more recent Patriarchates of Moscow, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Georgia. Beyond these, the Ecumenical Patriarch has the historical and theological responsibility to initiate and coordinate common activity among the Orthodox Churches of Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, Finland, Estonia, as well as various Archdioceses and numerous Metropolitan dioceses throughout the world, such as in Europe, America and Australia. https://www.patriarchate.org

3 Chrysostom: Prolegomena, Nicene Fathers, op..cit., Ch. 13, His Theology and Exegesis, p. 39

4 Ambrosiaster: Commentary on Galatians, loc cit.

5 Haimo of Auxerre: The Letter to the Galatians (Medieval Bible Commentary series), op. cit., loc. cit.

Chrysostom, St. John: Homilies on Galatians, loc. cit.

7 The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary, against Helvidius

8 John 19:25

9 Haimo of Auxerre: The Letter to the Galatians (Medieval Bible Commentary series), op. cit., loc cit.

10 John 7:5

11 Luke 2:48

12 John 1:45

13 Ambrosiaster, op. cit.

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CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

9526a07d9f8686ec5667a96cad064ff6

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CHURCHES

CHAPTER ONE (Lesson LI)

1:18-19  It wasn’t until three years later I made a trip to Jerusalem. I went up there to get acquainted with Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. The only other Apostle I visited with during this time was James, our Lord’s brother.

Paul does not tell us what motivated him to finally make a journey to Jerusalem to meet the other Apostles. But it is clear, that he may have picked out Peter because of his reputation of how he handled their early persecution by the religious leaders in Jerusalem and Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost. But in any case, Paul set his heart on staying with him for fifteen days. This may have been because his stay of two weeks would have included two Sabbaths on which travel was restricted. So if he arrived on Sunday, he could leave on Sunday fifteen days later.

When Luke tells this story, he mentions that when Paul arrived in Jerusalem many of the believers were still afraid of him and would not let him join them in fellowship or worship. But Barnabas was sympathetic to Paul’s situation and took him to see the Apostles. Barnabas then shared with them about Paul’s conversion and how, since then, he fearlessly preached the Gospel. Even though Paul mentions here that the only two Apostles he saw were Peter and James, yet Luke tells us that he took advantage of his stay in Jerusalem to go about the city freely sharing his testimony. He debated with Jews who adopted the Greek language and culture, with which he was very familiar. But this upset them so much they plotted to assassinate him. When the Christian believers, who at first did not accept him, heard about what was happening they took Paul and accompanied him over to Cæsarea when he could board and ship and return to Tarsus.1

The rest of what Paul says in verse nineteen raises one issue that to this day is still unsettled in Christendom as an accepted fact. That is, was James the biological brother of Jesus? The main sticking point is not whether Joseph was his father, but, was Mary the mother of Jesus his mother also. The Jews attacked the Apostles teaching that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, even claiming that it was a cover-up to a premarital affair she engaged in with a German mercenary. So the leaders of the assembly of believers felt that they must do something to counter these claims. Out of this came, centuries later, the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary.

The earliest evidence for the teaching that Mary was a perpetual virgin occurs in the writings of the early church father Jerome who was born in 347 AD and died about 419 AD. Prior to Jerome, there is no evidence that the early church taught anything other than the scriptural record – that Jesus had siblings: flesh and blood brothers and sisters. Some have claimed that Origen was the first early father who wrote that Mary was a perpetual virgin, but a close examination of his statement reveals that is not true.

And I think it in harmony with reason that Jesus was the first-fruit among men of the purity which consists in chastity, and Mary among women; for it were not pious to ascribe to any other than to her the first-fruit of virginity. His statement was simply that Jesus’ mother was a virgin, and not that she was a perpetual virgin.

You might say, that when Mary conceived, even though it was through the Holy Spirit, she was no longer a virgin. Also, as soon as she delivered Jesus in the stable, she was certainly no longer a virgin. But this is the biological, physical view. What they interpreted her virginity to be that she never had sexual relations with Joseph. Furthermore, Origen also says that in the Epistle to the Galatians, that when Paul visited Jerusalem he saw, none of the other Apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 2Not only that, but respect for James rose so high among both Christians and Jews that Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote that the people of Jerusalem suffered such great a misfortune that even the Temple was razed to the ground as a result of God’s wrath over the things they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus the Anointed One3.4

This did not sit well with all the Catholic scholars. One named Helvidius wrote a pamphlet sometime around 380 AD in which he spoke against Mary’s perpetual virginity. He quoted Tertullian and Victorinus as sources for his argument. Then in 383 AD, Jerome wrote a pamphlet against Helvidius and rejected his claim that since the Bible mentions the sisters and brothers of our Lord,5 that constitutes solid evidence of Mary’s normal marital relations with Joseph and additional children were born after the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus.6 The debate has continued to this day.

In fact, one Jewish polemic writer dismisses any relationship based on the statement by John: “For neither did his brethren believe in Him,”7 as evidence that there was mutual discord between Jesus and His family.8 However, Church historian Eusebius tells us that according to his research and evidence, James was known to be the brother of Jesus and that he presided over the assembly of believers in Jerusalem, as was entrusted to him by the other apostles, and that he “was esteem by all as the most just of men” among the Jews.9 Even Jewish historian Josephus refers to him as “the brother of Jesus, who was called the Anointed One.10 Since Josephus was a contemporary of James, and since he was particular about historical accuracy, it would seem strange that he would identify James as the full brother of Jesus if he knew it not to be true. So in a way, this gives us insight as to why Paul would include James in his visit to Jerusalem.

In addition to the reference of Matthew 13:55-56 above, there are two other sources that are often quoted to back up Paul’s contention here that James was the brother of Jesus. In Mark’s Gospel, he too repeats what Matthew said. So if Matthew was wrong and misspoke, certainly Mark would have corrected it, or vice versa.11 When Paul wrote the Corinthians, he mentioned that many of the Apostles took their wives along on their journeys, including the Lord’s brothers and Peter.12 To this we may add the witness of a Jewish historian who wrote during the time of Jesus. He stated: ”...and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called the Anointed One, whose name was James.13 So does it matter? It didn’t seem to phase the Galatians, so we should see no need to argue over it at present.14 Eternity will reveal the truth.

What Paul pointed out up until now is that God gave no man, or any group of men, nor any one in the assembly of believers organization the authority to be the final judge in approving a person’s claim to be a disciple of Jesus the Anointed One. Jesus Himself pointed this out to His disciples when they wanted to stop others who were preaching His gospel but didn’t belong to the original group of twelve.15 Paul received his revelation directly from the Anointed One, and even though the Apostles were at first uncertain about him, he stuck with it. Same say when John was given the “Revelation,” he didn’t send out draft copies for the other Apostle’s approval. So we must ask ourselves, how can the validity of true discipleship be authenticated? As Paul said, if anyone, even an angel, preaches another gospel other than one that proclaims Jesus the Anointed One as the Son of God and the only Savior of the world, and that our salvation comes through faith in the work of the Anointed One, not any work that we may do, then they are false disciples and need to be identified as such.

One thing I’ve experienced is that when I meet someone who belongs to a different denomination than I do, or is independent of any church organization, I still feel a kindred spirit and accept them wholeheartedly without reservation. Yes, I may find out that they may practice water baptism differently than I was taught, or view the gifts of the Spirit in a different light, but our spirits bear witness with His Spirit that we are part of the same spiritual body of the Anointed One. But if they take away from any of the true core truths that Jesus taught, then I do not accept them as a brother or sister in the Anointed One, but lovingly let them know where I disagree with their gospel.

Paul now puts to rest another possible gossip tidbit, that he was so aloof and so self-absorbed that he was unwilling to submit to the supervision of apostolic leaders. He makes it clear that he voluntarily went to Jerusalem, a place he visited many, many times before, just to get acquainted with Peter. He admits, he did not go there to get Peter’s blessing or be instructed, but to get to know the apostolic Rock better. Paul does not tell us what they discussed, but you can be assured that spending fifteen days with someone will provide plenty of opportunities for sharing notes and ideas.

What could they have talked about? Since Peter was part of the inner circle and spent a lot of personal time with Jesus, I’m sure Paul wanted to get a firsthand account of what it was like to walk and talk with the Lord. Peter may have shared about his walking on water, or his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, or his three denials, or cutting off Malchus’ ear in the garden, or even his encounter with the risen Lord in the upper room. But one thing for sure, Paul did not go there to get Peter’s approval of his ministry. If anything, he went to share with Peter what happened on the road to Damascus, then in Damascus, while out in the Arabian Desert, and after his return to Damascus.

Early church scholar Marius Victorinus believes that if the foundation of the church was laid on Peter’s shoulders, as the Gospel says, Paul knew that he ought to see Peter first. When he speaks of seeing Peter, it is as one to whom the Anointed One committed so much authority, not as one from whom he needed to learn anything. Victorinus suggests that below the surface, Paul may have implied that only fifteen days would not be long enough to gain any great depth of knowledge of God from Peter in such a short time?16

1 Acts of the Apostles 9:26-30

2 Galatians 1:19

3 Flavius Josephus: The Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. 20, Ch. 9.1, p. 1252

4 Origen: Nicene Fathers, op. cit., Gospel of Matthew, Bk. 10, Ch. 17, p. 702

5 Matthew 13:55-56

6 See Fathers of the |Church: Against Helvidius, The Perpetual Virginity of Mary by Jerome

7 Ibid.

8 Chizuk Emunah by Isaac ben Abraham of Troki, Second Part, Ch. 29

9 Eusebius, Church History, Bk. 2, Ch. 23

10 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. 20, Ch. 9:1

11 Mark 6:3

12 1 Corinthians 9:5

13 Flavius Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. 20, Ch. 9, Sec. 1

14 For those interested in reading an extensive treatment of this subject see Over 30 Parallel Bible Commentaries in One Volume: Study God’s Word Verse-by-Verse Alongside History’s Great Theologians (Kindle Location 16635-17619)

15 Luke 9:49-50; cf. John 10:16

16 Marius Victorinus: On Galatians, Edwards, M. J. (Ed.), p. 14

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CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

9526a07d9f8686ec5667a96cad064ff6

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CHURCHES

CHAPTER ONE (Lesson L)

When Paul returned to Damascus, in the very city he was headed for to hunt down Christians for execution, and begin preaching Jesus of Nazareth as the Anointed One some people were astonished, some were outraged, and some tried to kill him.1So,” exclaims Paul to the Jews and Gentiles in Galatia, “I am one of God’s chosen instruments; how do you feel about treating one of God’s anointed the way you are doing?” And can you imagine how the good ole boys back in Jerusalem felt about this upstart not coming to explain himself and get their blessing right after his conversion? Why did he wait so long? Who did he learn from? Who gave him their blessing? If these Judaizers thought Paul could be scared if they raised objections to his calling as an Apostle to the Gentiles; or that the higher-ups in the assembly of believers might object to his style of preaching and teaching, they were in for a big shock.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) outlines some of the things that made Paul such a confident Apostle of the Anointed One to the Gentles. His calling and commission were not accomplished in an ordinary way, says Henry, nor by simple, ordinary means. First of all, God established this plan for him long before he exited his mother’s womb, and before he did anything to qualify himself for such a calling. The next thing, he was called by God’s grace, not as a favor or reward from the Believers’ Assembly Council in Jerusalem nor any of the other Apostles. Nor did he receive such a revelation to announce himself an emissary from God after meditating under a fig tree like Buddha, or in a cave, like Mohammad.

There was something peculiar in the case of Paul, both in the suddenness and in the greatness of the change that occurred in him, and also in the manner by which it was brought about by Jesus the Anointed One’s personal appearance to him, and the immediate command to follow the Lord’s instructions to initiate his calling. As such, it was rendered a more special and extraordinary instance of divine power and favor. Furthermore, the Anointed One not only revealed Himself to Paul but was revealed as dwelling in Paul. This goes for all Christians, comments Henry. It will be of little help to us if we have the Anointed One revealed to us if He is not also revealed in us. We may say that we’ve seen Jesus, but can others see Jesus in us? And finally, this was all designed by God for him to preach among the Gentiles whom, as a Jew, he once hated, and, among Christians whom he once persecuted. For such a radical Jewish Pharisee to suddenly become a Christian and an Apostle by direct revelation from God was something only God could do.2

John Bengel (1687-1752) makes a good point by noting that the good pleasure of God is the farthest point which a man can reach when he is inquiring with respect to the causes of his salvation. Paul attributes nothing to merit, not even his years of study as a Pharisee under the tutelage of the venerable Rabban Gamaliel.3 However, Joseph Benson attributes Paul’s mastery of the Gospel to his three years in Arabia during which time he employed himself in studying the Jewish Scriptures more carefully than ever, with the help of a new light which was bestowed on him; in searching into the true nature of the Law of Moses, and in attending to such revelations as the Anointed One was pleased to give to him. And by these revelations, he acquired a complete knowledge of all the Anointed One’s doctrines, sayings, miracles, sufferings, resurrection, and ascension, and of the design both of the law and of the Gospel, and of the confirmation which the Gospel is derived from the writings of Moses and the prophets.4

Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), a Jewish convert to Christianity and Biblical scholar, made a trip into Palestine sometime before 1876 and shares what he found there. Upon reaching the city of Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, he noticed that the busiest road in Palestine, was the one on which the publican Levi Matthew sat at the “receipt of custom,” and when our Lord came by and called him into the fellowship of the Gospel. Matthew then made that great feast to which he invited his fellow-publicans, that they also might see and hear Him in Whom he found everlasting life and peace.5 For, it was the only truly international road of all those which passed through Palestine; indeed, it formed one of the great highways of the Middle East’s commerce.

At the time during which Paul wrote, it may be said, in general, that six main arteries of commerce and communication traversed the country of Israel, the chief objective points being Cæsarea, the military encampments, and Jerusalem the religious capital. One was the southern route, which led from Jerusalem, by way of Bethlehem, on to Hebron, and then westwards to Gaza, and branched off northeastwards into Arabia, from which it then led directly north to Damascus. It is by this road we imagine that the Apostle Paul traveled when retiring into isolation in Arabia immediately after his conversion that he mentions here in verses seventeen and eighteen.6 It helps us understand why the Evangelists and Luke gave little time to such detailed directions of where Jesus walked and where Paul traveled. But to know that it did not change all that much in 1800 years is remarkable. How would you like to have today’s technology and be able to travel back in time and visit that area? If you find a way, take me and my wife with you.

Edward Huxtable (1833-1893) sees here in verse twelve, the effects that perception has on the reception of teaching or a message. I remember when studying Psychology at the University of North Dakota that we were told how a teacher wanted to prove this point so he chose a young fellow professor to help him. He picked out a good number of students from Freshmen to Seniors, equal men and women, and of various age groups to attend a seminar on government policies on education. When the first group came in, the older professor introduced young professor as a Senior Student Associate. To the next group he was introduced as a Graduate Student; to the next as a Post-Graduate Student with a Master’s Degree. And finally, to the last group as an Official from the Federal Government’s Department of Education. At the end of each session, the students were asked to fill out a form in which they expressed their confidence in the speakers level of believe-ability. The speaker introduced as a Senior Student Assistant got the lowest score and the government official got the highest score, even the young professor said the very same things to all the groups.

Huxtable believes that Paul is doing a similar thing here to establish his credentials as a bonafide expert on the Gospel of Jesus the Anointed One. In Paul’s own words he told the Galatians: I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus the Anointed One. You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion – how I violently persecuted God’s assembly of believers. I did my best to destroy it. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors. But even before I was born, God chose and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased Him to reveal His Son to me so that I could proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.

When this happened, says Paul, I did not rush out to consult with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were Apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus.7 Paul was the only one among the Apostles with that kind of history. The Judaizers who came from Jerusalem were no match for Paul in his knowledge of the Torah and Oral Teachings. Nor were they able to claim any special revelation from Jesus the Anointed One Himself. So isn’t it a shame that the Galatians were ready to believe these pretend apostles instead of a God-ordained and Jesus-taught the Apostle with his great testimony of deliverance and empowerment by the Holy Spirit.

George B. Stevens (1854-1906) spoke earlier about Paul’s disappointment in how the Galatians didn’t seem to appreciate all he went through to bring them the freedom-giving Gospel of the Anointed One. Now here in verses eleven through seventeen, it appears that Paul was led to believe that part of this rejection of him is because they were being persuaded that the Good News he brought them was something he borrowed from someone else or thought up and invented on his own. So with strong language, Paul writes them that the teaching he gave them was not composed by human hands and minds. Rather, it came to him by a personal revelation of Jesus the Anointed One.

Now, just in case they weren’t fully aware of what that meant to him and eventually to them, he reminds them that at one time, not too long ago, he was a zealous defender of the Jewish religion that led him to become a fanatic persecutor of the assembly of believers. So it should be obvious to them that this sudden transformation could not have happened without God working a miracle. And the reason his abrupt change occurred is that God already had plans for him to serve the great purpose of revealing the Anointed One as the truly risen and glorified the Anointed One, Yeshua of Nazareth, to the Gentile world. That’s why this persecutor became a preacher and missionary to the whole world, That is the only way to explain it because that’s what really happened.

Furthermore, after his conversion and anointing by Ananias in Damascus, he didn’t head for Jerusalem to get instructions from the Apostles. Rather, the Spirit led him into the remote regions of Arabia where this was all further revealed to him. Paul is more or less saying, it’s alright if you want to reject me, but you are on dangerous ground by rejecting the Gospel I brought you because it came directly from God.8 This is a lesson for all of us who have been chosen and called to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus the Anointed One. Let people know it’s alright with you if they don’t want to accept you as a person, they should be careful that they do not reject the message God gave you to share with them.

Then Grant Osborne has an interesting point to make. It is an interesting question whether the Greek preposition/dative pronoun en emoi in verse sixteen should be translated as “in me” (KJV, NIV) or as “to me” (New Living Translation, Good News Translation), which seem more natural. Is the emphasis on the internal change in Paul (in me) or on the vision itself (to me)? Likely the revelation to Paul is implicit in the verb itself, and the unusual language “in me” should be taken literally as a reference to the internal change in Paul – his conversion. It is hard to imagine a more complete transformation. Paul was transformed from an Anointed One-hater to an Anointed One-believer, then an Anointed One-worshiper, and finally to a missionary to the despised Gentiles – all as the result of a single vision! No wonder he spent the next three days blind and isolated in Damascus.9 It took him that long just to begin to process the radical alteration of everything he ever believed and thought.10

1 Cf. Acts of the Apostles 9:19b-25

2 Henry, Matthew: On Galatians, op. cit., (Kindle Location 348-361)

3 John Bengel: On Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 575

4 Joseph Benson: On Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit.

5 Luke 5:29

6 Alfred Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of the Anointed One, Ch. 4, p. 41

7 Pulpit Commentary, op. cit., Galatians, Exposition, Edward Huxtable, p. 20

8 The Messages of the Bible, Edited by Frank K. Sanders and Charles F. Kent, Vol. XI, The Messages of Paul by George Barker Stevens, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1901, p. 68

9 Acts of the Apostles 9:8-9

10 Osborne, G. R: On Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit., p. 37

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