Gal 3:5-6 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (KJV)
The pro-Pauline author of the above verses contrasts in them "works" and "faith." He would have the reader believe that "righteousness" is accounted to man because of his "belief alone without works" and makes such an argument by referring to an Old Testament verse from Gen. 15:6 where he expresses to his readers that they like Abraham can be "righteous" before God by "belief" or "faith alone." Disconnected from this "righteousness" is works or anything having to do with "obedience" or "conduct" or "works of the Law" as understood as the Commandments and Law of God. The whole chapter of Galatians 3 is a treatise that replaces "faith and obedience" in God with "faith in the Pauline gospel and Paul's presentation of Jesus and his death, burial, and resurrection (Christ crucified)." In such a presentation we find later in the chapter that we can be assured the Law has been replaced by "Christ crucified" and this when one accepts "faith in Paul's Jesus" then they are no longer under the Law.
Gal 3:24-25 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (KJV)
Key to the whole treatise in Galatians is the quote from Gen. 15:6 where Abraham is lifted up as the example for all non-Jews to be "justified by faith alone" as Abraham was (supposedly).
Answer for yourself: Was Abraham really justified by faith as we are told in this chapter of Galatians?
Answer for yourself: Has the writer failed to express the hidden nuances of this Hebraic verse and misled his audience on purpose?
Answer for yourself: He the writer not know himself what this verse he used actually meant in the Hebrew or did he know and not reveal that to an audience that he was assured would not know and did so for theological purposes in his rejection of Judaism?
We first must confront the fact that Galatians chapter 3, all but for one 4 verses did not exist in the First New Testament collected by Marcion. Being a "pro-Paulinist" Marcion collected ten of Paul's epistles including what is believed to be Paul's first epistle; the epistle of Galatians. Missing within it is almost all of Galatians chapter 3. This chapter is the very core of Galatians' theology and to this we must look since it does not appear till after 180 A.D. when Irenaeus produces his response to Marcion in the Second New Testament.
In this article we must deal with the passage from Gal. 3:6 where it is stated "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
Answer for yourself: To whom does the "him" refer in this verse: Abraham or God?
Answer for yourself: Do you realize that the answer to the above question will have a very important part to play in how you approach your Christian faith?
Answer for yourself: Does the writer of these verses after 150 A.D. take this passage from Gen.15:6 completely out of it's Hebrew context and use it in such a way at make it appear that if you have "faith" in Paul's theology and his unique "gospel" that you are considered righteous by God where the original passage never, in the Hebrew, equated "righteousness" to a "belief" but to actions? He sure does and we need to look into this.
One of the things that I first learned in Seminary was a class on Hermeneutics whereby we learn "how" to interpret the texts of the Bible according to a system of laws that are imposed upon the text whereby we can be assured we are drawing out of the text the correct meaning. These are varied and I don't intend to get into them deeply but let me say simply that if a passage is take from it's original context and used contrary to the way the original writer intended the passage to be understood then we are guaranteed not to have arrived at the meaning both the original writer and God intended. We must remember we are dealing with a foreign language and culture and are striving the best we can to arrive at the truth and without such stick adherence to the laws of interpretation the a passage can be made to mean whatever anyone wants it too. Hopefully we can do better than that.
We one become familiar with Gen. 15:6 in both the Hebrew and it's Jewish context we find the following. According to the Artscroll Tanach Series commentary on Bereishis (Genesis) Vol. 1 we find some very important information for our consideration concerning this verse that brings a completely different understanding of the verse as used by the author of Gal. chapter 3.
Let us divide the verse into two parts for our study. The following is taken from the above commentary of Genesis by Artscroll Tanach Series.
And he (Abraham) trusted (placed his confidence) in HaShem
Rashi tells us that Abraham, unlike before, did not request a sign from God as he had previously when he was told by God that he would possess the land. Directing his trust completely to God's Providential care of every individual, Abraham discarded his astrological calculations as in his day mankind looked to the stars for answers about what the future held. The above verse in the Hebrew represents a much deeper concept than "faith" alone as the writer of Galatians 3 would have us believe. It suggests total submission in the sense that one places his total confidence and seeks all his guidance and attitudes in God. It suggest the selling out of the whole being to God!
And he reckoned it to him (as) righteousness
Answer for yourself: What is the subject of the verse?
Answer for yourself: Who does the "him" refer in the above verse?
Answer for yourself: The author of Galatians would have us think that God reckoned it to Abraham that his belief that he would one day have a son was "righteousness." Is this the true meaning of the verse that "belief" in something accrues "righteousness;" like belief in a promise from God or belief in Jesus as Paul presented him? Does God really reckon one righteous because he accepts Paul's ideas about Jesus and believes in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection or some Pauline ideas of some form of atonement attached to the death of Jesus as Paul would have us believe?
These are very, very important questions and issues and the WHOLE of the New Testament & the Pauline epistles (2/3 of the NT) is build upon this concept of belief in these Pauline doctrines about Jesus in order to be considered "righteous" before God because we are told that Abraham "believed" in God and he was considered "righteous by God." With Abraham as our example we are led by Paul to believe that if we, like Abraham, believe in what Paul says and his unique understanding of Jesus which all other Jews rejected around him, then we like Abraham are considered "righteous" before God.
Is this Pauline premise concerning Abraham the biggest lie ever told by any man that ever lived or is this the truth?
Rambam (Maimonides), and the vast majority of Rabbis before him and since understand the verse as following. Rambam, as he points out says, why should faith in God, especially by one as great as Abraham, be considered a virtue? Abraham knew what all men should know...
God is not a man that He should lie (Num. 23:19)
According to Rambam we are speaking of a man who, on the basis of his faith, was later prepared to sacrifice his beloved son, and had withstood all trials; how could he not show his faith in such a good tiding from a God that does not lie (that God had promised him a son from Sarah and that God would fulfill his promise)? What Rambam is saying is that it took little faith to believe in God's promise of a son but an even greater faith later to sacrifice your son because this same God had commanded it! So Abraham's exercise of his faith concerning his son was inconsequential overall in the whole scope of the later example of Abraham's faith in God when it came time to sacrifice his son.
Rambam therefore suggests that the subject of the verse is Abraham:
He (Abraham) considered it an act of righteousness on the part of God that He would promise him a child unconditionally (in God's righteousness) and without regard to Abraham's merit, and the possibility that he might sin.
The verse says, therefore, that Abraham's trust in God's promise was total, for, since it was an act of Divine righteousness on God's part, it was irreversible. This concept is fundamental. When God promises to do good, He does not retract His promise even if the generation is guilty of infractions. God promised Abraham the good tiding of a son and Abraham believed that the fulfillment of it was guaranteed and this was a credit to God's righteousness that He would fulfill what He had promised even if Abraham had maybe displeased God or sinned since the giving of the Promise! The unconditional love of God and His honoring of His Word to Abraham regardless of Abraham's failures and sins was understood by Abraham as a manifestation of God as a Righteous God above all other gods. It would take a truly righteous God to honor His word regardless of man's failures toward Him. Abraham understood God honors His Covenant with man even if man breaks the same Covenant toward God. Such is the "righteousness" of God and this explains why the subject of the verse is "Abraham" and "Abraham reckoned it to God as a form of God's righteousness."
The Gentile writer of Galatians chapter 3 (written after 150 A.D.) turns the whole verse backwards and changes the subject from Abraham to God. This not only changes the whole understanding that Moses and the writers of the Jewish Scriptures intended but suspends the whole theology of the New Testament on an erroneous interpretation of faith. The whole of the New Testament and it's personation of "faith" is WRONG! Somebody either did not know Hebrew or listen to the Jews who knew how to interpret this verse. It is a very sad day indeed when we as non-Jews think that we are better prepared to understand passages from a book that originated in a different language and culture and presume we can know it better or arrive at a better interpretation that those whom were given it directly from God. Such is the hatred and blindness of anti-Semitism and if you are not aware that the early Church Fathers were baptized in it then it is time for you to wake up. Rome used "religion" as a political glue and Jesus was for them "quick glue" and they literally recast him and all that concerned him into a Gentile remake of Pagan Mystery Religions and Gnosticisms.
When the stark reality of this Jewish teaching hits your head and your heart then you realize that these "blinded Jews" have been right all along (by the way Rom. 9-11 where the Jews are called "blinded" did not appear in Romans until 180 A.D. as well and was written by later anti-semitic Gentiles like before). When you come to realize that God never considers anyone "righteous" because of any mental ascent or belief in anything apart from the actions such a "belief" produces then this should scare you to death since you are reading a New Testament document that not only totally misrepresents the doctrine of "faith" but assures you that you are no longer under the Law which are simply what God considers the appropriate responses that He desires from mankind in RESPONSE TO HIS FAITH. Not only have we been taught faith wrong as Christians and followers of Jesus but taught wrong concerning how to respond to God in the first place. Millions die daily as "good Christians" and appear before God as disobedient idolators because they never studies or checked out their faith. I challenge anyone to look at the Jewish documents and tell I am wrong. It is absolutely ludicrous to believe Isaiah and the other Prophets who tell us Israel is the light for the nations and then approach their writings and their authorities as they teach and interpret them and tell them Rome corrects them and Paul has another idea. If you have read this website on Paul then you know that Paul was himself a Gentile and a rejected bad Jewish convert and this explains a lot of his purposeful departing from Judaism in part as well as those who would follow in his footsteps. It should be coming together for you by now!
Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim 3:53 defines "righteousness." It is, according to Rambam, "giving everyone his due." He explains, however, that the Torah uses the word in a different sense. In Scriptural terms, paying a laborer his wages or repaying a debt is not called "righteousness." These "ACTIONS" are not "beliefs" but are something we owe whereby we received a benefit from another. But be not mistaken the subject of "righteousness" is not "belief" or "beliefs in a theology" but "actions" resulting from such a belief." This is the same thing we just saw concerning Abraham!
Rambam goes on to say that according to the Jewish Scriptures "righteousness" is PERFORMED when we FULFILL our DUTIES to our fellow man when prompted by our moral conscience - e.g. healing the wound of a sufferer; returning a pledge to a poor debtor (Deut 24:13). Likewise, ACTING virtuously and displaying faith is God is called "TZEDAKAH" (righteousness) because we thereby act righteously toward our intellectual faculty (beliefs). What you need to see is that beliefs must be connected to right actions and these actions have been previously defined by God as the Law which just happens to be reflective of our Covenant responsibilities to both God and mankind in our Covenant). It is these Laws that when obeyed makes a distinction between obedience to the Laws of God resulting in Godliness or the failure to observe them which results in conduct often interpreted as "good." It make look good but it is not Godly and God knows the different and it is these same Laws that we are told we don't have to obey in the New Testament that all we need is to believe in "this" or "that" and God will consider that our "righteousness." I just show you that this whole concept is wrong and is a lie!
It is in this sense whereby Abraham obeyed what God had said that God accounted Abraham's faith as "righteousness manifested" in that it was Abraham's faith that RESPONDED in concrete ways (Laws of God which He had previously commanded) whereby God saw Abraham walk out his faith in Him. Only because of Abraham's obedience to God and His Word was Abraham accounted righteous!
Gen 26:5 5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
(KJV) 8451 towrah or torah- law, direction, instruction a) instruction, direction (human or divine)
Answer for yourself: Did you notice that Abraham kept and obeyed God's Torah (instruction) and God's Law?
Again the term "righteousness" in a Biblical sense denotes those righteous actions which God does as a benevolent God without regard to man's merits or deeds and which man does in response to his faith in this Righteous God which Abraham knew! Such goodness by God toward mankind will continue despite man's actions. Abraham, convinced that he was undeserving, regarded God's promises to him a manifestation of God gracious "tzedahak-righteousness."
Answer for yourself: So who is "accounted righteous" in Gal. 3:6...Abraham or God?
Abraham was never righteous apart from his obedience to God's Laws which are always understood as his "faith" in demonstration
I hope that you can begin to see that the same writer who would have us misunderstand the passage he used from Gen. 15:6 also says in the same chapter that "when faith in Christ is come" then "you are no longer under the Law (schoolmaster). The is completely contrary to what Gen. 15:6 said and the message of Genesis through Malachi.
Galatians is a lie from start to finish. What began for Paul as an attempt to no longer enforce circumcision upon the non-Jew by the Jews for acceptance by them because of their dislike and hatred for the non-Jew later becomes at the end of his life and for his followers the repudiation of the Law in it's entirety and this is seen in the continual writing of anti-Law religious propaganda after 150 A.D. in the name of Paul and the Apostles in much of the writings of the Gospels. Without such knowledge the Christian is left with no recourse than the reading of the New Testament and the rehearsing of error and disobedience until he dies and then receives an Eternal Correction by HaShem. Do you want that to happen to you because you never took the time to seriously study your faith?
Answer for yourself: Are we going to have to wait until we die to find out that the New Testament and Gentile Christianity is so terribly wrong in many of the doctrines that they teach?