Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 33
THE TRUE INTENT OF THE LAW
Now before we begin with verse 15 today I want to go back up to verse 13 and pick up the flow.
“Christ hath (past tense) redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through (not through Israel as the Old Testament had promised, but through) Jesus Christ; (in other words that finished work of the Cross) that we (as Gentiles) might receive the promise of the Spirit through (not through the Law but) faith. 15. Brethren, (Paul was speaking to Gentile believers up there in central Turkey in Galatia, and Paul says -) I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, (or can cancel) or addeth thereto.”
Now that sounds like double talk in a way doesn’t it? But you see what the apostle is really saying is that as he himself is also human, he’s a man like anyone else, and he has an understanding that the Law, so far as humanity was concerned, was weak and beggarly. It just couldn’t get the job done, and that sometimes shocks people. We ordinarily think of the Law from the other side, and that is that it was what? Perfect, Holy, Righteous, and that it is. But from mans point of view it was powerless, and all it could do was point the finger of condemnation at mankind. All right, but since it’s a covenant, and remember a covenant in Scripture is always a one way street. Every covenant in Scripture begins and ends with God, and men can’t touch it. They can’t enlarge on it, they can’t subtract from it, and this is exactly what he is saying. Even though from a mans standpoint it is weak and beggarly – now look at it again in verse 15.
“Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, (and we know it was as it was settled in heaven. So if it be confirmed,) no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.”
Now let me take you back to a scripture. Sometimes things come to mind that I didn’t intend to do and this is one of them. Come back with me to II Samuel chapter 7, and here we find the Davidic covenant. Now that just simply means that it was a covenant that God made with David concerning his offspring, the Nation of Israel. And for sake of time let’s start with verse 14. Where He’s been speaking about the Royal line of the house of David which would lead up to the coming of the King, the Christ, the Messiah. This Royal blood line is going to come down through Solomon on one side, and Nathan on the other. But He’s speaking primarily here of Solomon, and the Lord says-
II Samuel 7:14
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son, If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:”
Now even though it sounds like He’s only addressing Solomon in particular, yet He’s looking at the long view the whole Nation of Israel. That’s who He’s really talking to. He would chasten the Nation of Israel by the nations who were their enemies, and the various other ways that God had of chastening His people. Now continue on.
II Samuel 7:15
“But (now the flip side).) my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.”
Yes He’s going to chasten them, He’s going to deal harshly with them when they come into a place of unbelief, and abject behavior, but in spite of everything that Israel does in opposition to her God His mercy will never depart from them. Why? Because it’s a covenant, and God will never go back on His word, and He has promised that through the line of David coming down through Solomon and Nathan would one day would come the King, the Messiah, and it had to happen regardless of what Israel did in the mean time, the covenant stands secure. Now coming back to Galatians chapter 3. Remember there are all kinds of covenants in the Old Testament. It starts with the Abrahamic in Genesis chapter 12, and then the Davidic that we just looked at. You have the Palestinian that promised Israel the land of Palestine. You’ve got the covenant of the Law which was a covenant, and none of those things could Israel or anybody else add to or take away or ever cancel because it’s made and going to end with God. Now let’s move on to verse 16.
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, (plural) as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, (that is the Seed of Abraham in this case)which is Christ.”
Now I guess we’d better chase that down all the way back to Genesis chapter 3, because after all that’s what the scripture expects us to do. Even if this is old to you, and it’s just review for a lot of you, yet I think that the scriptures demand that we just build line upon line and precept upon precept, and not just wonder what Paul is talking about. Well let’s go back and see what he’s talking about, because it’s all back here. And most of you have grown up with this verse. I think one great old preacher once called this verse “the beginning of the line of scarlet thread in scripture, and now here it is. God says to Satan –
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; (see the language? And the seed of the woman) it shall bruise thy head, (Christ defeated Satan at the finished work of the Cross) and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Satan also got his licks in by virtue of making Christ suffer.)
All right now that’s the beginning of the promise then of the seed of the woman. It would come through the female side of the human race, not from Adam, but from the woman, and we can follow this all the way through scripture. Now if you will come to Genesis chapter 12, and let’s look at a portion of scripture that most of you have worn out your Bible on, and we call it the Abrahamic Covenant. I still maintain that it’s one of the most important portions of the whole Old Testament. If you don’t understand the Abrahamic Covenant then the rest of the Bible is sort of like a mist. You just can’t see it clearly! But once you get an understanding of this covenant, then everything falls into place. Now don’t forget the seed of the woman back there in Genesis 3:15.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, (in Genesis 11:31) Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Remember when God says, “I will” what is that? It’s a promise that He’s going to do it, and nothing in heaven or earth will ever stop Him. So He says, “I will shew thee a land.” Now verse 2.
“And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3. And I will bless them that bless thee, and (I will) curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Now that’s a bunch of promises isn’t it? That’s a truck load of promises that were promised to this one man. Now on the surface it doesn’t seem that great, but all of human history since 2000 BC is resting on these promises, and God has kept every one of them. Abraham became a great man. He’s still thought of as one of the great men of history. The scriptures uphold him as a great man. God blessed him in his progeny, and God has blessed those who bless Israel. God has cursed those who cursed Israel, and if you think I’m stretching the point, then you don’t know human history. All you have to do is go back into human history, and every nation that has ever come down hard on the Jew has gone down the tube, right on up through our present system of nations. Anyone that has turned against the Nation of Israel goes down the tube whether they like it or not. That’s why I’ve maintained for the past 25 years that as long as America remains a friend of Israel then America is going to be in pretty safe straits. But if we ever turn on the Nation of Israel and stab them in the back then America is going to go down the tube just like all the others have.
Now you might say, “What are you talking about?” Well Spain is probably one of the best examples. Now if you know American history, who were the explorers that really covered a good part of North America? The Spaniards. Spain was riding on the crest of national power and empire, and then in 1492, which was a little before some of the great explorers, remember God’s wheels turn slowly. But in 1492 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella made the decree that every Jew would either be out of Spain, convert to Catholicism, or be dead by such and such a day. So there was a great exodus out of Spain, and it wasn’t but a 100 years and what was Spain? Nothing! Just a blimp on history, and so it’s always been with every empire that has turned on the Jew, down they go, and it all comes back to this covenant promise, that, “He will bless them that bless the Nation of Israel, and He would curse them who curse the Nation of Israel.”
But however way things go one promise is secure and that is through the man Abraham all of the families of the earth would receive a blessing. And that came about with their Messiah. When Christ came and finished the work of the Cross, He became then a blessing out of the line of Abraham, but a blessing for the whole human race, and that’s where you and I are tonight. Remember when I teach Romans chapter 11 that He broke of the branches of natural Israel, and He grafted in the Gentiles? Oh I love that chapter. And when He sat Israel aside for a season, He brought the whole Gentile world into that place of privilege.
Not that they’re all saved, but they’re brought into that place of privilege where they now have an opportunity for salvation based again on the promises made to Abraham.
Oh it’s fascinating when you study this, and the whole human race for the past 1900 + years as Gentiles have been resting and feeding on the fatness of the root of Abraham while Israel has been out there in a dispersion. But the day is coming and I think it is getting close, where God is going to once again going to shut the door on the Gentile world. He’ll break them off from that grafted position, and then Israel will be grafted back in again as Paul says in Romans chapter 11.
At that time the Gentiles will find themselves again where they were before – without a Messiah and outside the covenant promises. Well I hope you have seen the promises of I will, I will, I will and all the way up through Abraham’s life God is constantly promising. Now remember some of these things took years before they were consummated. This is why the poor man grew impatient and finally succumbed to the temptation to use a slave girl. For after all he couldn’t have a nation of people if he didn’t have even one son. So that gave rise to the birth of Ishmael which we will be looking at in a future lesson. Now before we leave the Book of Genesis come on over to chapter 21:12 We’re going to follow this “seed” concept for a little bit. In this chapter Ishmael has reached the age of tormenting little Isaac. Isaac is now about 5 years old, and so Ishmael and his mother Hagar are sent out into the wilderness at God’s instructions.
“And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, (in other words because he had sent Ishmael out into the desert) and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Now the word “seed” in the Hebrew is like “sheep” in the English. And that is if you’ve got one over there it’s a sheep. If you’ve got 5 or 6 down here it’s still sheep. Well it’s the same way with seed in the Hebrew. So in the Scripture the only way you can tell the difference is by watching the context. Is the Scripture speaking of the many which would be the offspring of Israel, the tribes, and multitudes of people or is it speaking of the singular the “Seed” which was Christ! Now this one in verse 12 is singular. The Lord is not speaking of the millions of people from the 12 tribes. Look at the last part of verse 12 again.
“…hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy (singular) seed be called.”
So we have this constant promise according to the Abrahamic Covenant that through Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, and the 12 sons would come the Messiah. Not through Ishmael, but through Isaac. Now you see the Muslim world argues with that because they claim that the Old Testament has been polluted, and distorted, and that in reality Ishmael was the promised seed. Well you see that’s how it’s so easy to confuse people and lead them astray. But our Bible being the Word of God that it is, we can rest on it that it was through Isaac that the “Seed” singular would come. Now let’s come back to Galatians chapter 3 again and pick it up in verse 16 again.
“Now to Abraham and his seed (the singular seed, Isaac, and not the whole nation in this setting) were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”
And so this why everyone of us, regardless where we are in human history, we are all benefiting from this Abrahamic Covenant through whom all the world would be blessed. Now let’s move on to verse 17. Now Paul says –
“And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in (in the person of) Christ, (and now he’s talking about) the law, (the Law was a covenant just like the Abrahamic or Davidic Covenant were covenants. They were agreements that God made and which He could never change or withdraw. It’s settled forever, because God made it, and this Law covenant) which was four hundred and thirty years after,…”
430 years later Israel is going to come out of Egypt and receive the Law at Sinai. Now we’ve got to stop here for a moment because here is one of the places in Scripture where the scoffer likes to scoff and say, “see the Scripture contradicts itself.” Here it says 430 years. In another place it says 400 years. Well what’s going on? Well believe me there’s no contradiction at all. Again let’s come back to Genesis chapter 15, and set the record straight. Here God is speaking before Abraham’s name was changed.
“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed (now here seed is plural, God is talking about the whole Nation of Israel.) shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,(speaking of Egypt) and shall serve them; (in slavery) and they shall afflict them four hundred years:”
Now let’s come over to Exodus chapter 12:40.
“Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 42a It is a night to be much observed…”
Now that was the night of the Passover when Israel begins to exodus out of Egypt. Now I would like for you come to the Book of Acts chapter 7. Stephen in this chapter is rehearsing the whole history of Israel. Just like Paul does a little later on in the Book of Acts.
“And God spake on this wise, That his seed (the offspring of Abraham) should sojourn in a strange land; and they should bring into bondage, and entreat them evil (not 430 but now it’s) four hundred years.”
Is that a contradiction? No! It’s just simply a benchmark from where they measured time. Remember at Ur when God first spoke to Abraham it would seem that Abraham was at that time 50 years old. So he leaves Ur and migrates all the way up the Euphrates valley to this place in Syria call Haran. And there they stop until his father Terah dies. Then after Terah dies we find Abraham and Lot, and Sarah are now ready to move down into the land of Canaan. Now we can pretty much figure out from Scripture that when he left Haran he was 75 years old. So 25 years after the promise God made to Abraham, he still doesn’t have a child. Now when you start going back on the chronology of all of this the 430 years begins from the time he left Haran and came down to Canaan until Moses led the children out in what we call the Exodus for a total of 430 years. Now the 400 years that Stephen spoke of is from the time that Isaac was 5 years old and Ishmael is sent out into the wilderness till Moses leads the people out. So it’s just a matter of a benchmark of time. It depends on from what event you began counting. Are you going to start from Haran or when Isaac is 5 years old?