Galatians -- The Church's Declaration of Independence

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ZNP

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Sep 14, 2020
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#1
Galatians -- The church’s Declaration of Independence

1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—

To say that Paul was an apostle means that he was sent with a message to us. He was sent by Jesus Christ and he was sent by God the Father. Jesus Christ was the one that was raised from the dead and God the Father was the one that raised Him from the dead. Every religious leader and cult leader claims they are sent by God. How do you know the difference? Theudas claimed to be somebody (Acts 5:36) and after him Judas the Galilean claimed to be somebody. So how do you know which one is truly sent by God with the word of God? God’s word is like gold, it is precious, it is treasured, it does not rust or corrode. 2,000 years later gold is still as precious as it was. Fool’s gold on the other hand does rust and decay. The words of Paul have been treasured for 2,000 years, how about the words of Theudas? How about Judas the Galilean? Gamaliel’s counsel was accurate, time will tell if this is truly a word from God, but it is also pathetic. You are a teacher of the Jews, you should be able to discern the words of God from the words of man. Still, if they are the words of God they will have the resurrection power, you will not be able to kill them, and that is the point that Gamaliel made. If you are going to bring this extremely revolutionary message of the gospel to an evil age, you know they will kill you. That is a given. So the only ones who could possibly send this message are those that have conquered death.

2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,

Paul was not alone. There is a fellowship of the Body. Right now we are watching the Black Lives Matter movement. They also want to rescue people from this evil age. There are a lot of people with them. But many of those in this movement are not interested in being in the fellowship with everyone else. Many people have their own agenda. An apostle does not have his own agenda, he is a messenger. He is bringing a message from Jesus and from the Father. It is not his word, it is their word.

To the churches in Galatia:

This word is to the churches. Do you need to be rescued from this evil age, well this word is for you. Do others need to be rescued from this evil age? Well, “to me to live is Christ”, if Jesus Christ rescued you from this evil age, then for you to live is to help rescue others from this evil age. The church is the vehicle that brings in the kingdom of the heavens. The only weapon the evil age has against this word is to “kill it” and Paul said “to die is gain”. Therefore the enemy is powerless against the gospel.

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

What do you think, as you watch these protests, are they ministering grace and peace to you from God our Father? Nancy Pelosi was asked what she felt about protestors ripping down statues and she said "I don't care about statues". For six months we heard various people justifying these heinous acts calling them "mostly peaceful" protests while buildings and cars burn in the background. It was like saying that the JFK Parade in Dallas was mostly peaceful. Others have claimed that "riots are the voice of the unheard". So it isn't the actions of thugs and criminals but the "voice of the unheard". We watched them burn down a police station for what? For Jacob Blake being shot and which after very careful examination the police officer was completely exonerated as having acted appropriately to safeguard people's lives. We saw these anarchists call to defund the police and set up autonomous zones all while government and other political leaders did nothing. Was this a word of grace and peace? Washington DC was set on fire and the Whitehouse was under siege by these protestors and the media ridiculed Trump because the Secret Service took him to the bunker, fearing the Whitehouse could be over run. Grace and peace?

4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age,

Jesus was the true revolutionary. No one else would do this. Give yourself for the sins of sinners to rescue them? The idea is utterly revolutionary. according to the will of our God and Father, When you pray according to God’s will that is a prayer that is powerful and God will answer. Many people right now are praying for justice, walk according to God’s will and you will be unstoppable.

5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus' victory over death was glorious. But much of what we are seeing is not glorious, it is shameful.
The woman who set fire to Wendy’s, shameful. Looting, rioting, and vandalism shameful. Much of what is done is done in ignorance, again shameful. For example, there is a statue of Teddy Roosevelt on a horse with a strong african man and a strong native American on either side. This statue is in front of the museum of natural history and depicts the two continents, North America and Africa. Teddy Roosevelt was a naturalist who gathered creatures from both continents that are in the museum showing our natural history. This includes archaeological digs and dinosaur bones gathered by many, many other scientists. Since Teddy’s contribution was the real foundation of the museum he is depicted. There is nothing insulting about this statue nor does it have anything to do with oppression. Doesn't matter they want to tear it down.

There are many in these Stop the Steal rallies who are protesting election fraud that took place during the election. The evidence of fraud is overwhelming and undeniable which is why they will not so much as listen to the evidence nor are you allowed to say "election fraud" on their platforms. People were hoping judges or legislators or even the Vice President would do the right thing. The glory will be to the Lord Jesus, not them. Jesus is the savior, Jesus is the Lord.
 

ZNP

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Sep 14, 2020
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#2
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all.

Many people complain saying “who can you believe”, there are different denominations, one argues that you can have musical instruments, another argues that you can’t. One insists on women wearing head coverings, another doesn’t. This is not something that is unique to the civil rights movement, it has been a common theme for 2,000 years. I don’t marvel that there are certain minor issues that people are not clear about. The rapture, is it post tribulation, pre tribulation, mid tribulation, a mix of all three? Should we celebrate Columbus, Lincoln and US Grant? These disputes don’t surprise me at all. What does astonish me is that some would desert Jesus for a preacher with gold chains, a luxury car, private jet and mansion. The Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head yet their gospel is one of material blessing. If cars, mansions and airplanes prove God has blessed you where does that leave Jesus Christ and the apostles? Likewise, why would you desert Jesus and the apostles for people like Theudas who got 400 people together for a rebellion. He has been consigned to the ash heap of history, but Paul and the truth in his message has shone brighter and brighter for the last 2,000 years. What does astonish me is how anyone could be confused by the message Jesus gave. He made it very simple, “love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself”. Is there anyone who can honestly say that confuses them? If the civil rights movement is about “loving your neighbor as yourself” it will get powerful resonance in billions of people worldwide. But if it is an anarchist movement designed to destabilize and confuse, it will simply result in shame and defeat. I have heard preachers say that we cannot fix injustice. How, if you are one with Jesus Christ who rescues us from this evil age can you say that? Fixing injustice is the gospel. If you are not preaching this what are you preaching?

Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

No one should be surprised that some are trying to throw you into confusion. Confusion, sin, darkness, doubt, all these things are of Satan. The gospel was preached to you, everyone has seen Jesus who gave Himself for our sins that we might be saved. That is good news. The fact that there are people masquerading as angels of light and trying to confuse people should not be a surprise to anyone. In the gospels the only person trying to make money off of Jesus was Judas. He was under God’s curse. Why would anyone turn from Jesus to follow Judas? Prior to Jesus there were people who preached insurrection, but when they died their movements died. Why would you imitate them? You can’t even remember their names? Besides Jesus, and the apostles what other revolutionaries can you name from 2,000 years ago?

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

What does it mean to be a servant of Christ? Jesus said that He would build the church and that the gates of Hades would not prevail against it. You are serving Him in this mission. You do whatever He tells you. You are not worried about pleasing people, You are simply worried about pleasing Jesus. Many of these so called ministries are completely focused on pleasing men, how many views, how many likes, how many subscribes. The only like that matters is if Jesus says “well done good and faithful servant”. In Jerusalem the crowds wanted to tear Paul apart, he was imprisoned, stoned, slandered and rejected. Yet 2,000 years later we are here reading his letter. That is because he had a word from God that the rulers of this evil age did not want you to hear. It is still true today, this is the word that they don’t want you to hear.

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

I used to be a stock broker and I learned a key secret. Once the accountants take over a company sell that stock. Accountants are totally focused on pleasing men, not just any men, but the stockholders in the company and the men who employ them. They ask themselves, ‘How do I justify my ridiculously high salary?’ The answer: ‘I save the company more than they pay me’. If you pay me $1 million I justify that salary by saving the company $10 million. How? Suppose I am able to “trim” 100 people from the payroll who each make $100,000, or better yet, trim 200 people who each make $50,000. So companies that began with a vision on providing some key service or product better than anyone else turn into companies you hate to deal with. When they are small these “accountants” can’t use their strategy, but when they are big they can. When you call them you get an answering machine because that is cheaper than a person. The company begins with a vision, but once the accountants take over, everything changes, it is now a company of men pleasers. Filled with overpriced suits who justify their pay by getting rid of the workers who gave the company a soul.
 

ZNP

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#3
13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

That is how Paul advanced in Judaism, by persecuting the church and trying to destroy it. His job was to gather up those, like Stephen, and bring them before the jewish leaders who would “fire them”. Sunbeam corporation can illustrate this. They brought in a new CEO in 1996 “Chainsaw Al” who said he would halve the payroll. Stockholders loved it, the price rose 73%. But it was all an accounting fraud, and they declared bankruptcy in 2001. How do you motivate accountants to commit fraud? Simply threaten to lay them all off. Deceit, fraud, threats, these are all the traditions of men. So let’s consider what Paul has told us here. After the Lord’s death there were a few people preaching Jesus, but nothing to worry about. The Jews call Peter, James and John in and threaten them and basically hope the thing goes away. Acts 4:18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. When that doesn’t work they begin rounding up Christians and stoning them beginning with Stephen. Acts 7:57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him,58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. Then, with the threat of death it is easier for them to infiltrate the church and try to pervert the gospel by convincing the believers to desert Jesus and the apostles. This is the way to be zealous for the religion and advance beyond your peers. This is what Paul saw with the Jews and it is no different today with “Chainsaw Al”. It wasn’t until Jesus and the gospel that anyone learned the way of peace. We are now seeing video evidence that this is what happened at the riot on January 6. People with #Antifa organized to meet at 11am on that day and riot at the capital as a way to damage the rally.

15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.

The gospel is something completely different. It is a completely different revelation than the traditions of men. It is right to be angry at injustice, but revenge is not a workable strategy. The blame game doesn’t work. Replacing one tyrant with another doesn’t work. This book lays out what does work, how you rescue us from this evil age. Also, notice that "we are not ignorant of Satan's devices". That is why it was such a huge victory that Paul was saved.

18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

Marketing campaigns are all lies. People create a compelling narrative to sell their product. One recent Presidential hopeful sold herself as a “Native American” from Oklahoma to get into Harvard. For those who don’t know it is extremely difficult to get a native American into Harvard so if one applies Harvard needs a very, very good reason to turn them down. Her story was a lie. Witness Lee presented himself as the successor of Watchman Nee in much the same way as Elisha was the successor of Elijah. Therefore it was essential to his compelling backstory that Watchman Nee be seen as an apostle. Witness Lee called him the “apostle of the age” with “the vision of the age”. However, one problem with the story was that Watchman Nee was disciplined for several years because he had taken a mistress. Witness Lee lied about this saying the elders had mistaken Watchman Nee’s mother for a mistress and that Watchman Nee was too spiritual to correct the error. This lie led to a warped understanding of what it is to be spiritual. Paul’s backstory is very different. He is less than the least of all the saints. He persecuted the church and tried to destroy it. He doesn’t have any righteousness of his own, but he does have a first hand account of how this evil age operates. One of the people at the riot who talked to the Main Stream Media was later shown to be a BLM activist with very incendiary anti Trump speech. His response when this was brought out was that he was being open minded and wanted to learn more about the Trump supporters. However, since that lie was given more has come out that he organized the riot and filmed it. He clearly, from his written and spoken words, intended this to be an "opportunity to burn it to the ground" and "dump Trump". Everything he said was a lie.
 

ZNP

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Sep 14, 2020
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#4
21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.

What more would any of us want people to say? Simply “he is preaching the faith that he once tried to destroy” and praise God for it. This reminds me of a story from my own past. My freshman year at college I was not in the church and was not preaching the faith. In many ways I looked and acted quite differently (I had long hair, bare feet, grateful dead Tshirts, and was on the Rugby team). After two years of preaching the gospel on campus we had a meeting with students who were in Intervarsity, a Christian group on campus, because they had been slandering us. (This was when “The GodMen” and the “MindBenders” were out, two books accusing Witness Lee of being a cult leader. I don’t like this term because it is not Biblical, I think a better term is “false prophet”. A false prophet can be a real prophet, Balaam and Judas were both real spokesmen for God, but they were false because they were motivated by money). One person there said he knew me from my Freshman year, I was very surprised that he could recognize me, but he insisted “yes, we know who you are and we praise God for what he has done”. Paul saw this evil age operating firsthand, his testimony is that of an eyewitness and he swears he is telling the truth. When he takes this gospel to Jerusalem James tells him to take the Nazarite vow. This involves sacrificing an animal, an insult to Jesus who is our sacrifice. The key point to the gospel is that Jesus gave Himself for our sins. Paul begins this epistle telling us that Jesus gave Himself to rescue us from this evil age. These two things are in apposition. In the evil age the leaders threaten you (Peter asks who should we listen to you or God) and kill you if you don’t follow them, in the gospel Jesus gives Himself for our sins. In the evil age whoever heard of such a thing, the Lord dies for the sins of His people? While participating in the Nazarite vow the Jews in Jerusalem are outraged at the sight of Paul and want to tear him apart. But he is rescued by the Romans and since he is a citizen he gets a trial. He hasn’t broken any Roman laws, but do they release him? No, they want to please the Jews and on the other hand they are hoping for a bribe from Paul. You can see how corrupt and unrighteous the Roman government is, just as the Jewish leaders were. This is an example of “pleasing man” rather than pleasing God. However, just as the Jewish leaders didn’t think this was a big deal at first, the Romans also do not see Paul as any kind of threat to their rule. In prison he is able to focus on the word and write the New Covenant. Because he is now taking this gospel to the gentiles he is beyond the sphere of influence of the Jews. Especially after Titus destroys Jerusalem. The age of grace has begun, the church grows to the point the Romans feel threatened and like the Jews they also threaten and kill Christians, and then use that threat to infiltrate the church at the time of Constantine just like the Judaizers at the time of Paul. Historians believe this first began with Nero. The story is very enlightening, he wanted to buy up some real estate, the owners didn’t want to sell it to him, so he had their houses set on fire and since he controlled the fire department they did not come to put out the fire. Then, he blamed the Christians. He buys up the real estate for a fraction of the cost and at the same time he is able to blame the only threat he sees to his rule. They may not have seemed like much of a threat at the time but they refused to worship the Roman Gods and they said certain things were sins. So based on these insults Nero killed them. This is how the evil age works, it is how the Jewish leaders operated, it is how the Roman leaders operated and it is how “Chainsaw Al” operated. This is how tyrants operate, it is how fascists operate, it is how abusive police departments operate. If you understood what truly happened during the Mortgage Crisis you would be outraged. The banks wrote mortgages that they knew people could not pay. They even had NINJA applications, No Income, No Job. For the first five years the payments were reasonable, relatively low interest rate, and people could scrape by and make these payments. Imagine you are paying $1,000 a month for 60 months. Then the balloon rate kicks in and your mortgage doubles to $2,000 a month. It had taken all you had to make the original payment, now you can’t even hope to make this payment. Within six months you are evicted. The bank gets the house back and keeps the $60,000+ you gave them. Now they can sell the house again. Also, they don’t have to worry about you defaulting on the loan because they sold your loan to an investment bank who turned it into a “mutual fund of loans” and sold it to investors. Every salesman along the way made big bonuses on these. But in the end they knew they would be stuck with billions and billions of dollars of worthless loans. But they weren’t worried, they knew the US government would bail them out, they were “too big to fail” and they would then defraud the taxpayers whether or not you have fallen for the first con, you paid for it in the end. If the civil rights movement is all about rescuing people from this evil age then it is one with the Lord, and the church. This is the gospel. The gospel is the game plan on how to be set free from this evil age.
 

ZNP

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Sep 14, 2020
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#5
Galatians 2: What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

In Galatians chapter 2 Paul shares his experiences with the church as it was first being formed and God’s people were being rescued from this evil age. There are parallels between Paul’s experiences and our experiences in this country during the Revolutionary war as we struggled for freedom from an oppressive tyrant. If we consider this chapter in light of our own experiences it can help to light our path in the current struggle for civil rights in this nation.

2:1 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles.

Paul was contending for the gospel to the uncircumcision. Ps 35:1 Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. 2 Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. 3 Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, “I am your salvation.” 4 May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay. 5 May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away; 6 may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them. 7 Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, 8 may ruin overtake them by surprise— may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. 9 Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation. 10 My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.” This Psalm applies to Paul, it also was the prayer at the opening of the first Continental Congress in the US. It was appropriate 2,000 years ago, it was appropriate 200 years ago, and it is appropriate today with the Black Lives Movement. Just like Paul 2,000 years ago the present protests were a response to a “revelation”, a youtube video revealing the oppression. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. The esteemed leaders like Peter have been there from the beginning, they knew Jesus, if anyone can let him know if he has gone off on a wild goose chase it is them. Again, we have Civil Rights leaders who were there in the 60s, I wonder if those running these current protests have approached them? Paul is sharing his experience with us, he is also reminding us of his training in the scriptures under Gamaliel, and he is also indicating that he has put 17 years of study as a result of his revelations. He tells us he didn’t act until God gave him a revelation to act, and even then he first checks with the leading apostles. These five criteria indicate his responsibility in this matter. Who better to learn from than those who have been there before and come out victorious like Jesus, Paul, and the Revolutionary war.
 

ZNP

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Sep 14, 2020
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#6
3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.


Let’s not confuse circumcision with justification. Circumcision was a sign of the covenant that Abraham had with God. It is similar to a wife wearing a wedding ring. It is like God putting His signature on the contract saying you belong to Him. Titus was Greek, so he was never circumcised, yet no one compelled him to be. The gospel that Paul preached was a “New” covenant in which the signature of God is written on your heart, not on your flesh. "The mark of the beast" is the sign of the "covenant" with the Beast. You have to have that mark to buy or sell.


4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.


This is a critical point in this book, and one we have to understand. This is not some bizarre story that is 2,000 years old, this is what goes on today, it is common, far too common, and we need to understand it. Jesus told us we need to judge a tree by its fruit, Peter talked about false prophets, and Jude did also. The book of Revelation talks about the false prophet at the end of the age, the gospels present Judas as an example of a false prophet, and there are false prophets in the book of Acts. Paul talks about wolves that will come into the flock. So we need to understand what “false believers” are. Peter says that false prophets want to make merchandise of you. That is why people were enslaved, to make merchandise for their masters. Jesus says that these false prophets compass land and sea to make disciples and when they do they are worse sons of Gehenna than the false prophet. Saul of Tarsus was among these false brothers, his job was to bring the saints into bondage. How does the Jewish scribe get control of the church and make merchandise of them? He tells them there is one key piece missing before they can get the covenant with God. The Judaizers have the vision of this key piece, they are the “minister of the age” and if you want to be in the center of the New Testament move of God you need their ministry. They have a compelling backstory, James, the brother of Jesus is with them. Who can you trust if not the brother of Jesus? Ezekiel 45:9 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have gone far enough, princes of Israel! Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Stop dispossessing my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. The Lord’s salvation makes us God’s people and that in turn makes any attack on us an attack on Him. This was the basis for our complaint of “no taxation without representation” and it is also the complaint today that minorities of color are treated like second class citizens.

For example this recent riot at the capital in Washington DC involved a false flag attack. John Sullivan a BLM leader and a person who was at many of their riots organized and planned out an attack on Washington DC capital. He instructed people to wear MAGA and Trump gear as a "false flag". He has been arrested and charged and the evidence of his involvement is overwhelming video evidence that he himself made. That said it is still very confusing about what happened, who was involved, who organized and carried it out. Knowing that John Sullivan was involved does not get us to the bottom of this. However, it does demonstrate what Paul is referring to by "false believers" who sneak in to spy out our freedom.
 

ZNP

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Sep 14, 2020
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#7
5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

Many people don’t like conflict. This is not something that is trivial. You can’t say “what difference does it make”. This is not something where you can say “in the interest of keeping the oneness I’ll get circumcised”. This is about the truth of the gospel. How you respond will not just impact you but everyone else after you. Nehemiah 4:14 “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” If we have a New Testament with God when was it signed, when did it go into effect, where is the proof that I am an heir of God? This is the essential truth that Paul is fighting for in this chapter, it is also the essential truth to the civil rights movement. And what is the essential right on which the Civil rights movement stands on? The right to vote, a free and fair election. This is what the "Stop the Steal" rallies are fighting for.

6 As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message.

He is talking about Peter, James and John. James is the brother of Jesus, Peter and John were the closest apostles. It may not have meant anything to Paul but I bet it meant a whole lot to most people. This was a truly revolutionary message. Paul makes it clear that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross established a New Covenant. There were many trying to portray Jesus as a Jewish prophet and the Christians as a sect of Judaism. Paul had a revelation of the New Covenant that not even Peter, James or John had fully seen. The same today, many say this is not the time. Ecclesiastes 3:8 there is a time for peace and a time for war. Everyone agrees it is time to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and everyone agrees that the rescue of the nations from this evil age is the gospel. If we have been rescued from this evil age, just like the man that the good Samaritan rescued who had fallen among thieves, then isn’t it time for us to “go and do likewise”?

7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.

Preaching the gospel in a nutshell is to proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants Leviticus 25:10. In 1751 Independence Hall was built in Philadelphia and inscribed the bell in the tower with Leviticus 25:10. This bell is called “the Liberty Bell”.

8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

This is the story of how the New Testament came to be.

11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

Two different groups, one you treat like family, the other like illegitimate children. This was the key issue at the time of the Revolutionary war. This is what I see as the key issue in the Black Lives Matter movement. It seems that the police protect the one race like they are family, and treat the other race like they are criminals, or at the very least illegitimate step children. If we are going to have one country then the police need to serve and protect everyone alike as one family. This is also the key issue in the Stop the Steal rally. High ranking government officials, TV news anchors, all kinds of talking heads are calling the 74 million people who supported Trump, they are calling them domestic terrorists, deplorables, guilty of insurrection. This reminds me of Daniel's time when people were thrown to the Lions because they prayed to God, they were tossed into the fire because they worshipped God instead of the idols. In Galatians 2 It appears there was an inherent bias against the Gentiles by the Jews. This is quite insightful, how do you clearly convey to “whites” what the issue is? I personally have had positive interactions with police where they treated me like family. But this cuts to the heart of the issue, if you will not eat with the Gentiles you are not in the full fellowship with them that you are with Jewish believers. You have created a two tier system in the church with the Gentiles being second class citizens of the kingdom. You cannot accept this, there is not a two tier system. So, I talked to people, I met with the "deplorables" and I ate with them. Only after fellowshipping as family members can you understand what is going on. The judaizers are trying to bring us into bondage, the gentiles that they were attacking, the "second class citizens" they are the army that will help us defeat and overcome them.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel,

this is what we are seeing today with the Civil Rights movement. Joel 3:19 But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood. The reason for the protests is the violence done to the people where innocent blood has been shed. This is not in line with the truth of the gospel. This was also the response to the “shot heard round the world” in Lexington, Massachusetts. This is the history of this country, and this revolutionary history is based in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus crucifixion revealed the violence done to the people and the fact that the government was shedding innocent blood. I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? Peter was born and raised a Jew. Yet, he was very radical in the eyes of the Jews. He went into Cornelius' house and ate with Gentiles which is unlawful, a violation of dietary rules since the kitchen was not kosher. So in the eyes of Jews he lived like a Gentile, not like a Jew. Yet he makes it clear they can’t have full fellowship with him unless they act like Jews. That doesn’t make sense. And where will it end? Getting circumcised is simply the beginning, it means you also have signed a contract to follow all the Jewish customs. This is the “other gospel which is not a gospel”. This would simply be to make Gentiles imitate Jews. That isn’t a gospel, that is telling people that they need to abandon their heritage, their culture and adopt the Jewish culture. Is this the issue with the Black Lives Matter movement and the cops? Do the cops want blacks to speak the same language, listen to the same music, and dress the same as whites? Consider the school system, are they treating Blacks as full fledged members of the community or as illegitimate children? If we consider our current situation it is easy to see that there is an inherent bias in the system where some people are treated as full fledged members of the community and some are not. “Their foot shall slide in due time” Deut 32:35 Moses warning that if we backslide from the Lord calamity will come quickly. This was part of the great awakening in America, it was true of us then, it was true of Peter here, and it is true for us today.
 

ZNP

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Sep 14, 2020
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Dumitru Duduman prophecy about america -- Dream from 1984

He saw an Army coming all dressed in black except for 1 who was dressed in red, Lucifer. Those that think they can stand against me go to the left, those that don’t want to fight go to the right. Only about 25% went to the left. Then Satan gave the order to attack all those on the left, kill them. As they surrounded them and began to attack a light shined from the heavens and said “take out your sword and defend yourselves”. One of the people said “what sword” and the voice said “the word of the Lord is your sword”. Take it out and use it and they began to quote scripture from the Bible and the army stopped advancing and then they began to sing this song and the army got scared and ran away. Then Satan became furious and he said attack those on the right and one by one those on the right were killed, they couldn’t defend themselves. So one of the people in the group asked “how come those people couldn’t be defended as we were?” The voice said “those people were lukewarm all their lives. They had one foot in the world and one foot in the church. They never really had the word of God or the power of God. Because of that they could not be defended.” The sun began to shine and all the black clouds began to disperse. There was only one cloud left with Lucifer and his army on it. Lucifer began to shake his fist at the little group. And then he disappeared. He then looked around and saw many people in the group that he recognized as Christian brothers and this strengthened him very much.
 
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15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.


If you read about the Jewish history beginning with Abraham you realize being Jews did not prevent them from being sinful. The difference between King David and King Saul was not their “Jewishness” but their faith. David was not justified by the works of the law, he was justified by faith. Saul was convicted for his lack of faith. Can we find anyone in the Old Testament that was justified by the works of the law? Abraham wasn’t, Moses wasn’t, David wasn’t. In fact, the only one that has been found worthy is Jesus Christ. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. We know that the only way we are justified is by faith in the Lord. 21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. Ezra 8:21-23 This is what the Pilgrims prayed before leaving England. The Puritans were compelled to flee their country. They were concerned that their children were not being assimilated into the Dutch culture. Their situation was quite similar to what we see today where minorities are concerned that they are not being assimilated into the US. However, the pilgrims had seen the catastrophe that was the Jamestown experiment. Out of 3600 settlers 3,000 had perished. Jamestown was better funded than the Pilgrims were. But none of that matters, they knew that justification is by faith alone and in this prayer they put their faith in Jesus Christ for a safe journey.

17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!

Valley Forge was where the Revolutionary Army spent a very long cold winter. The army was broke, starving and freezing to death. The Continental Congress failed to supply the basic needs of human survival, much less pay the soldiers what they had promised to pay them. But just because man is faithless, it doesn’t mean God is. Washington prayed for supplies, churches had all night prayer vigils and one man, Robert Morris was moved to not only donate money but to go door to door among the wealthiest in Philadelphia to gather supplies for the army that saved the army. Exodus 45:21 and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work.

18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

When we express Jesus Christ living in us, we are a testimony of His saving grace. However, when we sin it doesn’t mean that we sinned because Jesus promotes sin. It means we are still in the process of being sinners saved by grace. The cross of Christ destroyed sin, it crucified the world, the flesh, the old man, and Satan. The sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law. We had sinned, a sacrifice needed to be made to pay for that sin, Jesus paid the price. If He had paid for our sin only to then promote sin, He would not be fulfilling the righteous requirement of the law, He would be a lawbreaker. In the same way if a revolutionary replaces one tyrant with another he shows himself to be a lawbreaker. Replace the Czar with Lenin and Stalin, it is just one tyrant for another. Replace the KMT with Chairman Mao, just one tyrant for another. They were rebuilding what they destroyed, they proved they were lawbreakers. The “catechism of the revolution” refers to a sermon that Jonathan Mayhew gave in which he said that we are to be under the authority of the government, but the government is to be under the authority of God. Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. When the government is not under that authority we have an obligation to resist. The revolution of the United States was focused on bringing our government under the authority of God, not of a new and different tyrant. Today people are arguing to “defund the police”. What this means is that if the police are not acting under the authority of God then we need to resist. We don’t need to continue to pay them, shut the local police department down, have the County Sheriff’s office take over. Then when they rehire police they can look very carefully at complaints for abuse and only rehire those who are not abusive. In this way you don’t have to wrestle with the union. At the same time the police union will realize that either they reform the police and come under the authority of God or else one by one they will all lose their job.
 
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#10
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

Jesus paid the price for sinners to be reconciled to God, He did this so He could save us by grace, but at the same time He knew that this would be a process. So then He saved sinners knowing they would sin again. How do you explain that in a way that is not promoting sin? When we receive Christ we receive the seed of the kingdom. Our flesh is the soil, not the seed. The seed of the kingdom is what Jesus is promoting, not our stinking flesh. On the cross of Christ I died, and the goal now is for that seed to grow. You can water and feed it just like a gardener. Singing hymns, praying, fellowshipping, spending time in the word, sharing a testimony are all ways to water and feed the seed of the kingdom. What was the seed of the kingdom for the United States? Patrick Henry’s “give me liberty or give me death”. This was based on Jeremiah 8:11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. This is the same today. They have given lip service to police reform, but there is no justice. The seed of this present movement is “no justice, no peace”.

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

“The seed of the kingdom” is Jesus Christ living in me. Imagine the “seed of the kingdom” is a lion cub. At first it is harmless. But, you feed and water that lion cub and it will grow into a full grown lion. Maybe the day the lion was born no one feared it, but two years later, five years later, it is a very different story. Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. If the Civil Rights movement grows into the image of the Son of God it will be in the image and likeness of the lion of the tribe of Judah. During the Revolutionary war Britain was the Superpower of the day and the US was a despised colony that no one feared, but not today. This word of Paul produces lions.

The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

These two chapters present the gospel that rescues us from this evil age. Paul began these two chapters telling us that Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from this evil age, now at the end of this portion, the life that we live, we live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. It is essential that we remember the Lord’s providencial love for us, without it we would surely have perished. In the Revolutionary war our army at Bunker Hill was in danger of being utterly destroyed which would have led to our swift defeat to the British. Washington organized a very dangerous retreat across the water. If the British boats had spotted it the Continental army would have been annihilated, but a dense fog rolled in at the critical moment. Those who were there saw this as an answer to their prayer. This in turn greatly encouraged them that God was fighting on their behalf. James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. If you live this life, with this faith, all those who try to bring you into captivity will be terrified. They have no way to conquer the one who has conquered death.
 
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#11
Galatians 3: What is the hearing of faith?


3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?


You have to make a choice. Who is in control of your life? What is a slave? It is a person who does not control their life, they don’t make the choices for what is right. To be “free” is to take control and make your own choices. Jesus chose to go to the cross, it wasn’t forced on Him, it was His choice. He made this very difficult choice because this was the way to achieve something He cared about. We also must take up our cross and follow Him. The Christian life is all about learning how to do things you thought you couldn’t do. Choosing to be crucified to save us is the perfect example of what it means to be “free”. What is a “cult”? It is a group of people who appear to have been bewitched because they give the leader of this “cult” control over the choices in their life. In a cult what is reinforced is not that you should believe the words spoken by the Lord, but rather that the leader of the cult believes the words and that is why you allow this person to control your life. It is foolish and it is amazing that people could be bewitched like this. What really stood out to Europeans that visited the US in the first hundred years was how independent Americans were, making choices for themselves. Paul reveals a very interesting secret about how his mind works. He knows that his salvation was completely based on Jesus crucifixion, so in his mind he is playing a video of that crucifixion, the “clear portrayal” of “Jesus Christ crucified” and then he examines that video to answer questions like “how did I receive the spirit”.


3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?


The Judaizers were trying to get the Galatians to finish by means of the flesh. You need to be circumcised in your flesh, if you are then you get to sit at the table with the apostle, then you get a voice and everyone listens to you. The entire point of the Lord’s crucifixion is that He listened to everyone, even the thief on the cross. Everyone had a voice and He listened to everyone which is why He told John to “behold your mother”. He could empathize with how His death was going to impact John and His mother. When I hear these protests for BLM what I really hear is that their voices have not been heard, they have not been given an opportunity to speak, and they feel ignored. There is a comparison between the crucifixion which is the circumcision of the heart and the circumcision of the flesh. The crucifixion demonstrated that we have a voice, God listens to our needs, and it demonstrates that the Lord is sensitive to our needs. This is how the church will finish our course. This also reveals an interesting facet to Paul’s mind. He is always connecting the dots of his experience, his life is a narrative. He realizes how he began, it was by repenting and receiving the work Christ did for him on the cross. Then he asks how will he continue on this journey, is he going to go back to the approach that he just repented of? That would be foolish.


4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?


We must feel our work is meaningful, it is not in vain. Second, we need to focus on our experiences, learn from them, turn them into a narrative, so that they can guide us going forward.


5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?


If we are listening to each other we can summarize what we heard, we can answer questions, we can admit when we don’t know the answer to a question. Once again, look at the example in chapter 2, everyone was able to speak, everyone was able to express how they felt, and they listened to one another. Peter’s epistle makes it clear that he heard Paul. How many times does Paul need to ask us if we believed what we heard? What is distracting them? Where is their focus? Is it the great apostle Peter? Is it that some have come from James, the brother of Jesus? There is a temptation to put your Christian life on autopilot. I’ll follow Peter, I can trust him. I’ll follow the brother of Jesus, I can trust him. This is the slave mentality, you need someone else to direct you. So again, consider Paul’s experience. He was struck blind when he heard the Lord say “why do you persecute Me?” He responds meekly “who are you?” This is his repentance, he realizes he didn’t even know God yet he was running around arresting people thinking he was serving God. One brother comes in, lays hands on him, and says “receive your sight”. He had asked “who are you Lord” and now he can see this brother. The Lord struck him blind and also removed the scales from his eyes, that was the miracle, but what caused that power to be transmitted from the Lord, through that brother to Paul is that they all “believed what they heard”. What is it that Paul believes? He believes that this brother is one with Jesus, that he is the “body of Christ”.


6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”


Abraham believed God about what? About taking his son, his only son, and sacrificing him. Put yourself in Paul’s shoes, God tells him to withstand Peter and James. These are the two chief apostles, James is the leader of the church and brother to Jesus, Peter is the leading apostle. Who is Paul to withstand them? The battle is over what? The church that he has raised among the gentiles. This is his only son. He could have felt like Abraham in being told to sacrifice his only son. I know people who dislike any conflict, especially in the church. They would be afraid to withstand anyone who had a reputation, whatever it is. They look at the flesh. This person has known Jesus his entire life, much longer than I have, he must be right. Even Barnabas who was well versed in the gospel that Paul preached to the Gentiles was swayed by them. But when Paul stood up against the Judaizers it wasn’t a destructive conflict but a productive one. You cannot believe what you heard unless someone speaks. This goes both ways. Paul gave Peter the respect and consideration to treat him the same way he wanted to be treated. Paul received the Spirit because he believed what he heard and he also trusted that Peter would receive the same spirit by believing what he heard. If we have a conflict we need to speak. In the church we need to have an environment where everyone can speak, Jews and Gentiles, male and female, slave and free. We need an environment where everyone can hear everyone, where the “great apostle Peter” can hear Paul who was less than the least of all saints. This reveals another secret about how Paul’s brain works. He is correlating his salvation experience with Abraham’s. He is using the Old Testament stories as a mental model for his own walk.
 
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#12
7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.


This is what it means to be children of Abraham. Paul took a chance, risked sacrificing his only son, but it was not in vain. It was credited to him as righteousness and he was walking as a child of Abraham. Ananias had faith to lay hands on Paul, that indicated he was a child of Abraham.


8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”


There were seven blessings associated with the covenant that God made with Abraham. The seventh and culminating blessing is that “all nations will be blessed in you”. This is why I say that BLM can be blessed “in believing Abraham”. This is why I say that the New Testament is a covenant that rescues us from this evil age and also empowers us to rescue all nations from this evil age by showing them the way of salvation. How does Paul come up with this? He is considering his experience and also the Old Testament stories. Now he has a question, where does it say that God would justify the Gentiles? If I can’t answer this we could all be going the wrong way. He then sees that is the seventh blessing to Abraham, it is there, as part of the original covenant God made with Abraham.


9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.



Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. If you “rely” on faith you must rely on the word of God. You have to meditate on the word, pray over the word until you can hear that word being spoken to you by God. Fellowship with others, hear the word of God in their speaking, in their preaching.


10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”


When someone gives you a command, you are cursed if you don’t obey, but you are not righteous if you do. This is known as head covering. Suppose I was in the Marines, given clear orders and did them, and yet many men died. I am not righteous, but I am also not cursed because I was following orders. And sometimes it can be extremely difficult to “follow orders”. Think about Ruth, she is a Moabitess. According to the law she can’t enter the congregation to the tenth generation. That means her kids will be excluded from the fellowship. The guardian redeemer knew this law so refused to marry Ruth. However, Boaz did marry Ruth and they were the great grandparents of King David. Why didn’t Ruth’s kids get excluded to the tenth generation? Because the law also says that the next of kin is to marry the widow of an Israelite. Ruth had two statuses, one was a Moabitess and the other was the widow of an Israelite. So what do you do in this situation? God judges the heart. In the very first chapter Ruth tells us “your God will be my God and your people will be my people”. According to her heart she was a widow of an Israelite.


11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”


On the other hand if I took actions that were extremely risky, violated all kinds of common sense for the military, as Macarthur’s landing at Inchon did, yet I did that based on faith. Then it would be seen as righteousness. Because of the tides it was an extremely risky move to land his forces at Inchon because the initial group would be stranded for hours before more boats could arrive. However, Macarthur realized that the North Koreans would also see this the same way and view it as a wall that the enemy could not breach. As a result he felt if done correctly they could make the landing before the North Koreans realized it because they wouldn’t be guarding it that carefully. He was right and it resulted in the very rapid defeat of the North Koreans in South Korea. Prior to the attack everyone thought he was making a terrible mistake, afterwards everyone agreed he was right and that he wasn’t relying on general principles but on faith. Boaz was also relying on faith, and Ananias was relying on faith. How foolish it would be for Paul to begin his Christian life based on the hearing of faith and then try to finish the race with the works of the law. Based on the works of the law Ananias would never have laid hands on Paul and Boaz would never have married Ruth.
 
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12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

A slave does not have the right to walk by faith. The master tells you what to do and you had better do it. Just like Balaam’s donkey. The donkey could see the angel of God that was guarding the way and tried to avoid him. Balaam kept beating the donkey for not obeying him until his eyes were opened to see the donkey had saved his life. We have been redeemed. We are no longer cursed to live like a slave to the rules and orders of this law. In the previous chapter the Gentiles being “second class citizens” in the church, that is a curse. If your job is to live according to all the rules that the Judaizers give you then your voice will be silenced. When Macarthur suggests to try landing at Inchon he will be silenced because this idea violates the rules. We don’t walk by faith, we walk by the dictates of those who “know these rules”. George Floyd was not the first person killed while being restrained by police. No, the trigger was that people finally stopped being so foolish and realized that these rules were a curse. I think that Macarthur was famous for one thing, he had the fewest men die under his command relative to the amount of men they killed. I think the ratio was 10 Japanese died for every American. Whereas he exemplified a General who walked by faith, the Japanese exemplified those who lived by the law. One of the things he did was to skip many of the Islands that the Japanese had taken and set up defenses on. As a result he was able to cut their supply lines, ignore many battles, and retake land in the Pacific at a spectacularly fast rate. Meanwhile these Japanese stayed on these islands according to their commands and twenty years after the war was over you could still find some poor Japanese soldier “holding down the fort”. What a great expression “cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole”. These Japanese soldiers still fighting on remote islands 20 years after the war is over, they are “hung on a pole”. It is as though one simple little rule has ruined you so that you are forever stuck in one place, unable to think or act rationally.

14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The promise of the Spirit refers to the blessings of the covenant. This is a very big topic and Paul covers it in the book of Ephesians where he goes into the seven blessings we have received. These blessings are given to us through our covenant, and the book of Galatians is all about how we receive this covenant. Abraham signed the covenant he had by circumcision. It was a sign on his flesh that they had a covenant of God. We receive our covenant by receiving Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. Jesus Body and Blood are the signs that we have received this covenant. It is called a testament because to go into effect Jesus had to die. Therefore it is the death of Jesus on the cross which is the proof of our covenant with God. Jesus redeemed the Gentiles to fulfill the promise made to Abraham. Jesus death on the cross is part of the original covenant. That means that walking by faith is also part of the original covenant.

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.

Great example. In the United States our covenant is the constitution. No law is legal if it is unconstitutional, that is, if it violates the contract that we have. This constitution was not made simply to those people alive at the time but is still in force as long as the United States is a country. The constitution also had promises of liberty and justice for all. In the same way our covenant was enacted when Jesus died and no one can come in later and change that. So then, why does Paul keep talking about Abraham and the old testament? The New Testament was prefigured in the Old testament. Our being rescued from this evil age was prefigured in the Jews being rescued from Egypt. Walking by faith versus walking by the curse of the law was also prefigured and Paul will talk about that. This is the mental model we need in our walk. Doing this allows us to be very fine in our reading of the Bible, to really hear the very subtle distinctions like the promise to Abraham’s “seed” rather than “seeds”. Paul was able to see that this promise to “Abraham’s seed” was a promise of Jesus Christ.

18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

I think if you ask Christians they will tell you the gospel is about being saved, but what does that mean? Some will talk about being saved from eternal damnation, but how many will talk about receiving our inheritance? Our inheritance is the blessings of the Spirit. The first blessing is to get a vision of our inheritance, to see all that we will inherit. This includes that God will make a great nation of us. We will receive a great name. We have been blessed to bless others. Those that bless you will be blessed and those that curse you will be cursed. Finally, all the nations will be blessed in us. This was given to Abraham through a promise, not by keeping the law. Think about it, the blessing is to make a great nation out of slaves, you don’t need to be a great nation first, otherwise what would be the point? The blessing is to make your name great, you don’t need a great name first, otherwise what would be the point? These promises don’t depend on the law, no, God giving them to us by promise is the grace of God.
 
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19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed To whom the promise referred had come.


These promises weren’t made to me, or you, or Moses. They were made to Abraham’s seed. Not “seeds” but “seed”. These promises were made to Jesus Christ. The law was a stop gap measure until Jesus Christ came. An egg shell is also a stop gap measure until the chick is hatched. Man fell at the time of Adam, Abraham believed God, it was reckoned to him as righteousness and God made a covenant with him to bless his seed. But that seed would not come for another 40 generations.


The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator.


God gave the control of the law to angels and mediators. The law only works when we trust everyone involved to have our best interests at heart. If I trust those people who are giving the law and mediating the law, then it can help bring me to Christ.


20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.


So the proper application of the law does not oppose the promises of God. But there is no law that is going to tell the general to try landing at Inchon, there is no law that instructed Paul when he should withstand Peter before them all. Abraham is not going to sacrifice His only son unless he has the hearing of faith. MacArthur’s righteousness was because of his faith. Abraham’s righteousness was due to his faith, Paul’s righteousness was due to his faith.


22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.


All of the promised blessings in the New Testament are dependent on receiving the word by faith and are only available to those who believe.


23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.


The Judaizers were “guardians”. They wanted the church to be under their control. But Jesus Christ is the head of the church, we are no longer under these third party guardians. Paul was taught the Old Testament by Gamaliel, and we can see how he uses that teaching as a mental map for his walk of faith. It helped to lead him to Jesus, but once he got the vision of Jesus he wasn’t guided by these weak rules, he was guided by Jesus, by His ministry, and by the clear portrayal of Jesus crucified on the cross.
 
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26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.


When Paul stood up to Peter and to those who had come from James he was standing as a child of God, a brother who had clothed himself with Christ. Our standing in the church is that we are children of God, not that we are “great apostles” or “the brother of Jesus in the flesh”. Your authority is that you are clothed with Christ, not in yourself, or in your natural man.


28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.


This is a revolutionary message, not just for Paul’s day but for this entire age. This deals with civil rights based on race, religion, status, and gender. Enslaving the “working class” is the traditions of men.


29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.


This revelation that we belong to Christ, that we are Abraham’s see and that we are heirs according to the promise is critical. Yes, Peter is and James is too. But when you stand at the judgement seat of Christ you can’t say “I was just following Peter” or “I was just following James”. That will not be reckoned as righteousness.
 
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Galatians 4 -- I am a child of the promise, now.


4 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.


This goal: “neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female” is an incredibly audacious goal. Equal rights for women has yet to be achieved worldwide, and this is 2,000 years after Paul stated this goal. Paul was in the middle East, if you make this suggestion today you could get thrown into prison. Likewise with “neither slave nor free”. According to the Bible a “slave” is equated to an employee, whereas “free” refers to the owner of the business. Likewise with the “neither Jew nor Gentile”. Some people think the US is terrible with our racial biases. One person from Australia ridicules the US for this on a Christian forum I frequent. So, I checked. Australia has less than 0.1% of their population is black, and 0.4% of their population is hispanic. The US is the only country on this planet that is legitimately struggling with having a country in which there is “no Jew nor Gentile, no slave nor free, no Greeks or Scythians, etc” Paul knows his goal is audacious, that is why it is a goal. If you look at human history over the last 2,000 years you will see very little change in social justice in the first 1900 years and then a dramatic change after the industrial revolution. These last few revolutions (industrial, technological, and internet) have had a huge impact on society. We are now at the very beginning of the Artificial Intelligence revolution. When you are on the internet using some of these tools there truly is no “slave or free, no Jew nor Gentile, no male or female”.


2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.


We are the heir, we are children of God destined to rule and reign with Jesus Christ. We were subject to “guardians and trustees” for four thousand years. That is the function of the law. The law appointed priests according to Aaron and also a levitical priesthood. We were in slavery under these principals. Do not equate Paul’s use of “slavery” to the Southern States in the US, rather equate it to the Old Testament definition (an adult has entered into a contract to sell his labor). If you are an employee of someone else and are told by them what to do and what not to do, then you are a slave.


4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.


This term adoption does not refer to what many think of as adoption, where a couple raises a child that is not theirs by birth as their own child. This term refers to the owner of a great business, like John Rockefeller. His son, John Jr., was his son from birth, but he doesn’t take over the company until he is ready. When he becomes the CEO of the company that is what “adoption of sonship” means. You could have several sons, but one may not be suitable to run the company and never does receive the “adoption of sonship”. In Genesis Reuben was the oldest son of Jacob, but he was disqualified and did not receive the “adoption of sonship”. Paul has set forth an audacious goal in chapter 3 and now he is laying out the short concrete steps we need to take to receive the adoption of sonship. Jesus, is our forerunner. He was born under law just like us, He was born of a woman, He was born into a poor, weak situation where He was not the “ruler” but was no different than a slave. If you want to get out of slavery you need to be redeemed, and this is what Jesus came to do.
 
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6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

This was a striking difference between Jesus and all the other leaders of the Jews. Jesus called God His Father. When Jesus began His ministry God testified of Him “this is my beloved Son, hear Him”. It is not enough to search the scriptures, we need to press on to the “hearing of faith”, that is how we receive the Spirit. If you do, you will receive the Spirit of His Son which cries out “Abba Father”. These are concrete steps. Ultimately being a Jew or Gentile will be trivial compared to being a son of God, calling Abba, Father. We will all be one because we all have the same God and Father. It won’t matter, slave or free, neither will it matter male or female. What will matter is that God is our Father. We are all in the same family. God gave Israel the land that He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that was the inheritance in the Old Covenant. Keeping the law was not why God gave them the land, the law was given so they would know how to walk in the land before God. In the same way the Old Covenant has been given to us so that we know how to walk in faith. Paul is demonstrating in the book of Galatians how he uses the Old Testament as a map to walk in faith in this good land.

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

It isn’t just circumcision. It is now observing special days. I hope this is very difficult to understand since in another place Paul says that some regard one day above another and to others every day is the same, and indicates these are minor differences. So what he is saying here is not exactly the same. Romans 14:5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. In Romans Paul is saying that each person must be fully convinced in their mind that they are doing what they do unto the Lord. There is no requirement that we all must have the same opinion on what to eat and how to celebrate the Lord’s day. So in Romans Paul is talking about each one of us being a servant to the Lord and if we stand or fall it is up to the Lord. Galatians is different. Here the church is observing special days, months and years. For example, the Seventh day adventists teach that you have to keep the Sabbath, and that Saturday is the Sabbath, so you must keep the Old Testament laws concerning the Sabbath on Saturday. Christmas and Easter would be special days. Lent is a period of forty days that the Catholics observe. What happens when you subscribe to the teaching that you must keep the Sabbath? You become enslaved by those weak and beggarly forces. What happens when you keep “Christmas”? Do you buy a tree? Do you get all your Christmas gifts? You are becoming enslaved to those weak and beggarly forces that have “commercialized Christmas”. If you celebrate the Lord’s birth that is wonderful, but you do know that He was not born in December. You also know that the wise men giving gifts to the Lord in the manger was to pay for Him to flee to Egypt and in no way can be compared to buying your son a PlayStation. If we celebrated the Lord’s birth in the Spring time by giving to the poor and homeless I could see that as being aligned to pure religion. But the way in which Christmas is celebrated is simply being enslaved by these weak and miserable forces. They are weak because there is no Biblical basis at all to celebrate Christmas, they are miserable because instead of caring for widows and orphans they are concerned with making merchandise of you. You are being enslaved by the worldly economy. The same thing is true of Lent. Mardi Gra is a festival in New Orleans to mark the end of Lent. There is no resemblance to pure religion, rather it reeks of this evil age. These are not concrete steps towards the church being the Kingdom on Earth.
 
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12 I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you,14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn.

Can you imagine the loss to the church, to human history, if they had treated Paul with scorn and contempt? He had an illness, he had his weaknesses, but he also was a gifted member that “completed the word of God”. This is contrary to the whole “survival of the fittest” psychology. Celebrating Christmas, Easter, Lent, and Mardi Gra are the same as treating Paul with scorn and contempt.

Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.

Isn’t this what we are taught? If the church is the Body of Christ, aren’t the members of the Body “Christ Jesus Himself”? Who really laid hands on Paul so he could receive his sight, was it Ananias, or was it Jesus Christ? When we look at the members we can see weaknesses, shortcomings, and issues, or we can see messengers of God, even Christ Jesus Himself. When you give the least of these members a glass of water in the Lord’s name you are giving it to the Lord.

15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

This is the light switch. I suspect that the reason they viewed Paul as an angel of God is because he told them the truth and yet now when he tells them the truth about their keeping these special days they treat him like an enemy. What happened?

17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.

If I am going to make merchandise of you, I must alienate you from Paul. For example, Witness Lee’s ministry put a lot of effort into alienating the members from the rest of Christians. For example, Witness Lee taught that there had not been any books published by Christians with any spiritual value in the last fifty years. The leaders taught that if you take the Lord’s table with any other Christian group other than them you will be drinking and eating judgement to yourself because all these other Christian groups are meeting in a divisive way. Witness Lee taught that all denominations were divisions, abominations in the sight of God. Only he had the “vision of the age” and all the other groups were “degraded Christianity”. Members were taught they were the “recovery”, those that had been called out to rebuild the temple, whereas all the other Christians had been carried off to Babylon. They were also taught that the only way we could help people in this age was to build up his ministry. That is how they justified not giving to the poor. In the same way people are told the best thing for the economy is to buy stuff for Christmas. These holidays are all about making merchandise of you and have nothing to do with pure religion.

18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.

The members of Witness Lee’s group were zealous, at least in the 70s and 80s. That was not their error, but sadly too many of them were zealous to build Witness Lee’s ministry to the exclusion of all else. The US also has a history of being zealous. Some were zealous for “liberty for all”, that was a good purpose, but what are we zealous for now?
 
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19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

Yes, it is true, you can be a child of God and yet be involved in this error. The civil rights movement has been episodes where again, and again we are in the “pains of childbirth”. The Civil war, separate but equal, dealing with Jim Crow laws, equal rights amendment for women, etc.

20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

This is a puzzle. Think of all the puzzle pieces that have had to be put into place to get to where we are today from the days of Paul. Why would they want to be under the law? It is easier than walking by faith. One thing that Witness Lee’s sect did was require members to share testimonies after each message. That is a hard thing, it requires you to experience Christ in your daily life. But Ed Marks discovered an easier way, just quote Witness Lee. Regardless of what the message was he could quote Witness Lee. It is easier. He taught the members to use Witness Lee’s footnotes, that was super easy, all you had to do was buy his Bible version. This is how he advanced in that sect, he sold Witness Lee’s bibles. Is that what you think the gospel is? Is that what it means to be “rescued from this evil age”?

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

Who do you want to be, Isaac or Ishmael? One was born as the result of Abraham trying to help God fulfill the promise he had been given with his flesh, whereas the other was born according to God’s promise. The promise may seem incredible, impossible, something only God can fulfill, but that is the point of faith. That is the point of the hearing of faith. That is what makes the hearing of faith so difficult, you have to trust God to do the impossible. It is so much easier to just trust your flesh, but what is the result? Paul is asking us, “is that who you want to be”? Do you really want to be Ishmael, the son of the slave woman, in this story? Isn’t it ironic that those who thought they wanted to be under the law didn’t even know what the law said?

24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.

When you get married you enter into a covenant. The marriage vows are a covenant. So it is not a big leap for Paul to say these two women represent two different covenants. God says that when a man is joined to a woman the two become one flesh. If you are joined to Hagar you become one flesh with Hagar. If you buy into Ed Marks approach to being a Christian you become one flesh with that. One covenant bears children who are to be slaves, they are told what to do. You don’t even own your testimony. This is what the law is, it tells you what to do.
 
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25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.

“Corresponds”, “correlates”, analogous to, these terms all indicate there is a pattern. Math and science are all about spotting patterns. If I can spot a pattern that I can apply I might be able to interpolate and extrapolate, glean more information about a situation than I personally measured and predict the future based on the past events. I am not personally familiar with Jerusalem at the time of Paul or even Mount Sinai in Arabia. However, in my experience with Witness Lee’s sect I can definitely see how we were in slavery. We were told what to do, what to read, what not to read, how to spend our time, and what to say. To me now this was very clearly a slave mentality. I came into this group in Houston the same year as Ed Marks. My prayer since the day I had first prayed to the Lord a few years earlier was to be able to read the Bible. I had a vision that all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom were hidden in this word. I wanted to be able to find them. Watchman Nee’s ministry helped me to do that, but Witness Lee’s ministry didn’t, so I focused on reading Watchman Nee’s books. But Ed Marks' goal was different. He wanted to major in “Witness Lee”. When he spoke he would quote from Witness Lee’s ministry and he became very adept at this. He could pull a quote from Witness Lee on any verse in the Bible. I could never understand that. Instead of getting God’s word for himself he was allowing Witness Lee to do it for him. As a result he advanced in the group and became a leading elder nationwide. But he is in slavery. If you ask him a question that Witness Lee has never answered he has nothing to say. Once Witness Lee died these “leading ones” began giving messages which were simply rehashed Witness Lee messages. They were like the Japanese soldiers still fighting the war twenty years after Japan had surrendered. But here Paul is answering a question no Rabbi ever answered, because if they had they would have realized they were slaves and that they were not in the New Covenant.

26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: “Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”

Paul used the story of Abraham to correlate with his own experience and then he found a word in the prophet Isaiah to help connect the dots. This is like an artist painting a masterpiece. The focus of this painting is that Jesus Christ was portrayed crucified in great detail. The Old Testament types and figures help bring out this picture, but this isn’t where it began. His focus is that the gospel is that Jesus Christ’s death rescues us from this evil age. That correlates quite well with the Old Testament, and he can now find wonderful illustrations like Balaam beating his donkey to help illustrate this slavery. Only with so many pieces of the puzzle in place does he expand on God’s covenant with Abraham to also include the relationship with Hagar and then compare the two geographic locations of Jerusalem and Mount Sinai. This is a masterful exposition of the Bible, the gospel, and the Old and New Testaments. Think about it, by embracing Witness Lee’s ministry and selling his bibles Ed had “a husband”. By comparison I was barren. But today I shout for joy because the Lord has answered my prayer. I can read the Bible. If I have a question about Black Lives Matter, or the Mortgage Crisis, of the Pandemic, I can read the Bible and see what God says.

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.

And yet wonderful exposition of the Bible was not the point. Too many preachers of the word stop with verse 28. The point is that spotting these patterns helps Paul to figure out this puzzle, to see what is happening to us now, today. Do those in the BLM realize that what is happening now is that those who are born according to the flesh are persecuting those who are born according to the promise? I suspect that some feel they need to help God fulfill these promises with their flesh. They are choosing to act, not like owners, not like the heirs, but rather like employees. The people who “told them what to do” didn’t have their best interests at heart so they are rebelling. But instead of realizing the issue is the slave mentality of wanting someone else to tell you what to do, they think the solution is to just change one tyrant for another.

30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”

If you convince the world that you are being abused by those who are telling you what to do there is no way we will agree to switch one abusive tyrant for another. We rejected King George, we weren’t about to replace him with another King George. That decision by Washington is one of the main reasons he is held in such high esteem. Where in history did we see someone willing to pay such a great price that we could be free?

31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

That is what it is to be born again and receive Jesus Christ by faith. The free woman is the woman who is walking by faith. Now imagine what would have happened if Joseph had scorned Mary and treated her with contempt. She is poor, does not seem to have any inheritance, according to the flesh it seems easy to do. Think of the blessing that would have been lost to Joseph and all of his descendants. Did Joseph walk according to the hearing of faith or the works of the law? Jesus Christ cannot be clearly portrayed as crucified unless He is also clearly portrayed as incarnated as a man. His genealogy clearly portrays that all those responsible for ultimately bringing Jesus to us were walking by faith, not by the works of the law. All of this is our mental map of what it means to be a child of God with Jesus as our big brother. I use the Old Testament like a map to see where I am and where I want to go, it helps me in this way. However, it is my servant, I am not its servant. I am a child of God, an heir, and these things belong to me, not me to them.