THE APOSTLE PAUL, as perhaps the Galatians knew him…
In review of Part One, I introduced this subject by exploring the background and setting of Paul and the Galatian fellowship in the First Century, C.E.
I wrote about underlying trends that were going on the First Century, that were becoming vogue in the Mass Collective Consciousness around parts of the Roman Empire. Many of these trends centered around Palestine, for here were two great influences, or forces at work.
One, was the Jewish Polity, based on the ritual and worship of the Temple services in Jerusalem, based on the latest compilation of the Hebrew Scriptures, known as the Septuagint.
No other belief system had this type of sophistication and devoted adherents.
The second influence, was one that emerged from the Jewish Polity, and became a movement that quickly spread out of Judea and started to emerge from Jewish synagogues in the western part of the Roman Empire by its emissaries, or missionaries.
This second influence was based on supernatural events, happenings, miracles, and healing instances, along with a medium of the Divine Spirit, called the Holy Spirit, who could not only come upon individuals, but be part of their inner person.
This phenomenal development of this second influence, called Christianity later, but now simply, “The Way,” by its main missionary, had reached the region of Galatia in central Asia, or modern Turkey.
This brief summary above, I have written addenda to, here following, as related to what I had introduced…that:
A great revival occurred there, with many conversions of individuals persuaded by the preaching and ministry of Paul, this central missionary, who also worked signs and wonders. These unique signs confirmed Paul’s message was of Divine Origin, and that it was from the same God of the Hebrews, who had given His words in the record of the Septuagint.
However, this God of the Hebrews who was named YHWH, had been nearly silent for the prior 400 years, until the ministry of the Forerunner, or Herald, called John the Baptist.
Since God had not been not speaking to the Jewish Polity as noted by the Prophet Amos, it became apparent that a paradigm shift was being undergone, …particularly in the Mass Collective Consciousness… Amos had told of a dearth to come of the hearing of God’s Word, and it materialized when God, or YHWH, had no more sent prophets with His Word to address the Jewish people.
The Prophet Malachi had been the last prophet.
Thus, it had been a long time since a prophet had been raised up. In fact, few in the First Century Jewish Polity could much recognize what a prophet was anymore. For that matter, in the history of the Jewish Polity, when a prophet did appear, he was rejected. This rejection could mean shunning, being ostracized, persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, or killed. Indeed, Jesus had summed this up with the account in the Gospel in Matthew, 23:29-37.
Hence, when John the Baptist came upon the scene and started prophesying, the Jewish leadership rejected him and made it a point to persecute him, and they sent spies and agents out to discredit the Baptist, and his words, and work.
JESUS WITH HIS DISCIPLES: AFTER ABOUT A PERIOD of four hundred years, God sent the prophet, John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ, the “son of man.” Their anointed preaching ended this “silence from heaven.” Here, is shown Jesus commissioning his disciples, with the same anointing to speak the living Word of God, and to confirm it with signs following as they testified to Jesus of in Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-20.
This “silence from heaven” is what is known as the Intertestamental Period, where there was absolutely no prophet SENT to Israel! The Bible states then that there was no “hearing of the Word of the Lord.” The Jewish Polity had their writings, just a bit later compiled into the Septuagint as a complete Old Testament source… but this source was but an account of God’s Word… It was NOT THE SAME THOUGH AS “HEARING” GOD’S WORD…
“He that has ears, let him understand”… is still true today…
The deal is, that they didn’t want to recognize any “voice:” but their own.
By doing so, they rejected God.
It was just a matter of course, that the Jewish Polity would categorically reject Christ as well, particularly after John the Baptist was killed.
This despite that Malachi prophesied that there would be, after this long interval or period of time, an emergence of another prophet, patterned after one of the greatest prophets in the history of Israel: Elijah the Tishbite.
Malachi even described how this prophet would appear like in pretty fair detail, and what his work was to be, to prepare the “Way of the Lord;” meaning a Messianic figure. This prophet would not only “cry aloud, and spare not,” like Elijah had, but would appear much like Elijah. As Elijah had spent time in the Wilderness, so John would be a “voice from the Wilderness.”
A STATUE OF ELIJAH THE PROPHET IN ISRAEL NEAR MT. CARMEL, SITE OF HIS FAMOUS CONFRONTATION WITH THE PROPHETS OF BAAL, AND ASSOCIATED PROPHETS OF THE “GROVE.” Interestingly, though Elijah has been termed one of Israel’s greatest prophets, Elijah could not spend the rest of his life there, attributable to the enmity that he had made with the Polity of the Northern Kingdom, Israel. He was forced to leave, being caught away by the Spirit, in a dramatic departure. About eight years later, after this dramatic departure in a whirlwind, Elijah sent a letter from his undisclosed location, probably in Sidon, which would be in Southern Lebanon today (2 Chronicles 21:12-15).
Elijah was either too old, though apparently was still alive, as the Ellicott Commentary suggests, or was retired, and not permitted to contact King Jehoram in person, as Jehoram would have finished the job on Elijah that King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were interrupted in doing, that of, killing Elijah. The Jewish historian Josephus, in his commentary relating to Elijah’s letter prophecy, also implies that Elijah, that though he had disappeared from Israel, no one knew when and where he had died.
My personal view is that Elijah, was caught away, as in the example of Philip in Acts 8, who was found in Azotus, due straight west of Jerusalem near the Mediterranean Coast, almost forty miles away. The same type of phenomenon occurred to Elijah, in almost similar manner as far as results go, except due North.
Here, in my further speculation, Elijah might have been reunited with the widow of Zarephath, and her son. Zarephath is fourteen miles south of Sidon. It would have been a happy ending for all.
Though Elijah was later lauded as being a great prophet in Israel, and popular with the modern Jewish Polity and the tourists shown here, his future counterpart, John the Baptist, who was quite similar in appearance and manner as Elijah, has no memoriam whatsoever…
But, the mass of the Jewish polity rejected and missed this visitation. Eventually, they rejected totally John, John’s baptism, John’s prophecies in regard to them, and John’s heralding of this Messianic figure.
They ended up killing the Christ, with the civil power of Rome to assist them.
This is part of the Gospel story that Paul had shared with the Galatians.
Paul also shared that the Messiah Figure that the Jewish Polity had expected,… although the Jewish Polity were cozy in their arrangement with the Roman Empire that had left them, that is, the House of Annas, the High Priest, in control of the nation, for the most part in cooperation with a King Herod… was somewhat different.
The Messianic Figure that most of Jewry expected, was an individual or authority personage that would lead and organize the Jewish Polity to revolt, and throw off the Yoke of the Roman Empire.
Much like, though in a larger type, of what Judas Maccabeus had done, a couple of hundred years earlier, in throwing off the domination and rule of the Greeks.
This Messiah that appeared however, was not a political animal. He had a much different mission. He was not interested in a political outcome. He was not interested in being “part of this world,” or have a “kingdom that was of this world.”
No, Jesus had a different mission.
Jesus had a miraculous ministry to support his preaching claims and that he was an authentic representative of God, as known as, the “Son of Man.” This “Son of Man” personification and appellation was an arcane reference to what the Prophet Daniel had introduced. Only a few of Christ’s listeners were aware of this association. But, this appellation was not lost on the Jewish High Priesthood, its academia, and overall Polity, or leadership. When Jesus called himself, “the son of man,” he was stating his Messianic claim in an esoteric fashion.
This “son of Man” designation was also recognizable to the sub-group, or obscure fellowship, of what was the nucleus of the emergent “Netzarim,” or disciples of the Nazarene.
I introduced this sub-group, or obscure fellowship in Part One.
They were part of the Mass Collective Consciousness that were anticipating something big, which materialized into literal form, as those who were “waiting for the Consolation of Israel.”
In his miracle and healing ministry, Jesus healed all manner of illness, sickness, disease, and those in need of creative body or limb regeneration. He also raised folks from the dead.
This was necessary, as in the time of Jesus and particularly afterwards, there were many who would claim Messiahship. This power to perform miracles separated Jesus from these impostors who had only words, not substantive actions, to promote themselves.
Though Jesus healed many folks, and many received such healings and miracles, yet…they could not receive something far more important…
It took…, not the life of Christ to make this possible,…or his multi-faceted ministry which must have been a wonderful spectacle to behold…
but his death…
You see, full redemption of sin could not be made possible by the many healings and miracles that Christ performed.
Full redemption of sin could only be attained by forgiveness of sin, through his shed Blood on the cross at Calvary.
This full redemption was what was presented to the Galatians by Paul as Paul had stated to them already “you should …obey the truth, (who) before your eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth, crucified among you.”
This must have been a powerful presentation by Paul through the Holy Spirit, to make the sacrifice and crucifixion of Christ …incredibly real…
This full redemption was what the Galatians went on to experience through the “hearing of faith.” By this hearing of faith, or also, “the hearing of the Word of God,” as “faith…” as a GIFT, “comes by hearing,and hearing by the Word of God…” (Romans 10:17) the Galatians had received the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
It was through this ministry of the Holy Spirit, that not only were “miracles working among you,” but this FULL REDEMPTION of salvation from sin by faith, which faith had also justified Abraham, the father of all those that believe (Galatians 3:8).
It was this FULL REDEMPTION from sin, by faith, that the teaching of the Judaizing Jews from Jerusalem were threatening.
This is why Paul was upset.
Paul had demonstrated the Power and Anointing of his preaching by the Holy Spirit to the Galatians in which the Galatians could know, as Paul did,… of a Christ… who loved them… and gave himself for them… to save them from their sins…
Now, on to Part Two…
Thanks for reading.
Copyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2015. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.