Saturday, January 30, 2016

A mini-study on Galatians 3:2-14

I recently saw a meme on Facebook that read:  “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? (Galatians 3:2)” - a blatantly anti-Torah message designed to go into the face of Torah keepers.  So, let’s let Scripture explain itself, in CONTEXT! 

Galatians 3: 2. Only this do I want to know from you: did you receive the Ruach from the works of Torah, or did you receive the Ruach from hearing of the faith? [1]    3. Thus you are foolish ‑ that the truth you had in spirit has ended in the flesh with you. [2]    4. All of these vanities you endured. Oh that it might not be for no purpose.  5. He therefore, who gives you the Ruach, and works miracles (power) [3]  among you, does he do things by the works of Torah or by hearing (and obedience) [4] to faith?

6. Just as Awraham believed Elohim and it was credited to him as righteousness.[5]    7. You must therefore know that those who trust in faith are the children of Awraham;  8. Because Elohim knew beforehand that the Gentiles would be declared righteous through faith that he first preached[6]  to Awraham, as it is said in the Set Apart Scriptures, “In you will all the Gentiles be blessed.” [7]    9. Then the believers are blessed by Awraham the faithful one.  10. For those who are servants of Torah are still under a curse, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not act[8]  on all that is written in this book of Torah.” 

11. But that no man is made righteous by Torah before Elohim is evident, for it is written, “the righteous will live by faith”. [9]   12. Thus Torah is not made by faith, but whosoever will do the things that are written in it, will live in it. [10]   13. But Mashiyach has redeemed us from the “curse of Torah,” [11]  by becoming accursed[12] for us, for it is written:  “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”.[13]  14. That the blessing of Awraham might come to the Gentiles through Y’shua the Mashiyach; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  (AENT)


[1]  Notice the hearing of “the faith”, as ONE Faith, a singular righteous belief system and way of life in YHWH as demonstrated through Mashiyach Y’shua.  Rav Shaul discards religiosity as a substitute for the indwelling of the Ruach haKodesh.  The point is that it doesn’t matter whether it’s Jewish or Christian tradition that makes void the Word of YHWH in favor of one’s own “works of the Torah”!
Christians who think they are exempt from this rebuke are only fooling themselves.  Those who attend church on Sun-Day, erect Tammuz (Christmas) trees, paint Easter "eggs", or follow other pagan rituals have heaped up their own “works of Torah” (religious works) unto themselves.  Did these receive the Spirit by attending church meetings? believing in a theology? being part of a local religious status quo? 

[2]   This is one of the most difficult Aramaic passages to translate, as an attempt to read just the words without the parentheses will reveal.  What we see is that there is a definite juxtaposition between spirit and flesh, and that the Galatians’ error leads to the latter.  The word meshelmin that is translated as “end” can also mean “complete”, and to “complete in flesh” means to terminate after life with no redemption afterwards.  A variation of meshelmin is said by Y’shua on the stake as meshalam, or “it is accomplished!”

[3]   Or “miracles”, since the word khaila is used as “power” in the Prayer of Our Master (kingdom, power, glory) and the power of the kingdom is to literally do miracles.

[4]   The word shemaia (Heb. shema) means not just “hear” but also “to obey.”  Probably the latter meaning is better, but both can equally and simultaneously apply to the point Rav Shaul is making.  This word is not to be confused with shmaya (heavens) which sounds similar but is spelled differently.

[5]   Genesis 15:6

[6]  “Preached” as in the hope, or the Good News (Gospel).

[7]   Genesis 12:3

[8]   D’varim/Deut. 27:26

[9]  Habakkuk 2:4

[10]   Leviticus 18:5

[11]   There are 12 specific curses mentioned in Deut. 27:15-26; however, one can also apply this to the entire Torah simply because if anyone knowingly or unknowingly sins but does not seek forgiveness and restitution, they are under a curse, certainly not a blessing. There is a “Y” in the road of every choice we make; one road leads to blessing, the other to a curse.  (If you have an AENT, please see Eighteen New Testament Misconceptions #4: Curse of the Torah in Appendix.

[12]   Y’shua was “accursed” by his accusers, but Christians teach that YHWH and Torah accused Y’shua.  However, Y’shua was the Perfect Lamb.  He never broke Torah; therefore could never come under any curse of Torah.  We come under the curse when we sin and refuse to turn to YHWH!

[13]   See Deuteronomy 21:22-23.  Y’shua committed no capital crime.  Pharisees were warning Jews off Y’shua by saying that he had become a curse because he hung on the torture stake.  The Pharisees tried to vilify Y’shua before the Jewish people. Paul is repeating this accusation of the Pharisees for the benefit of “Messianic Pharisees” (see Tosefta Sanhedrin IX.7).  “Messianic Pharisees” (Galatians 2:4) were likely weary of being shunned by their people (see Matthew 10:39) and wanted back into the synagogues, so they were posturing themselves as Ebionites (see footnote Titus 3:9). 

Today “Messianic Pharisees” or Ebionites, attend Orthodox synagogues and are enamored with traditional Rabbinical Judaism; they believe Y’shua is Mashiyach, but not the Arm of YHWH or YHWH Tsidkenu revealed.  Paul is using the strongest words possible to affirm the Truth by reminding certain Galatians that they are trying to dilute the Netzarim Faith with traditional Pharisaism.  In 2,000 years little has changed; many Orthodox Rabbis still call Y’shua a bastard and a curse of the Jewish people because he “hung on the stake.”  Some Rabbis will even provide a mock funeral for Jews who follow Y’shua, and teach that the family member is as though they never existed; so if one can understand the duress that certain “Messianic Pharisees” were under, then one can understand why Paul chose such severity of words!


  1. That is a great chapter and the AENT is really helpful in understanding Paul's intended message and which even Peter wrote about Paul's letters 'can easily be misconstrued by unprincipled men'. This link is the translator himself Andrew Gabriel Roth teaching this very chapter of Galatians:

    1. Thanks for posting this! Andrew's teachings are absolutely AWESOME! He is truly anointed, there's no dout about that!