Galatians 1:1-5

The Authority of the One Sent from Elohim

By David M Rogers

www.BibleTruth.cc

Published: Spring 2007

Table of Contents

The Authority of Sha'ul

The Message of a Shaliach

What is the Assembly?

Galatia

The Blessing


Galatians 1:1-5

Sha’ul, an emissary – not from men, nor on account of a man, but by Messiah and Elohim the Father who raised Him from the dead – and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia: Favor to you and peace from Elohim the Father and our Master Messiah, who gave Himself for our sins, to deliver us out of this present wicked age, according to the desire of our Elohim and Father, to whom be the praise forever and ever. Amen.

The Authority of Sha'ul

The letter to the Galatians begins with the identity of its author.  In the Greek manuscripts, it reads, Pau/loj , pronounced "paulos."  In English, this name is Paul.  Who is Paul?  The account in the book of Acts tells us:

Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him... (Acts 13:9, KJV).

In Hebrew, the name "Saul" is actually Sha'ul, pronounced sha-ool.

Many Christians think that when he was "converted" to become one of Yahusha's followers that his name got changed to Paul.  This is not so.  His name has always been Sha'ul.  The record says that Sha'ul was also known as Paul.  Evidently, just as in our times, common names in one language have an equivalent, but slightly different rendering in another language.  Just as John in English is understood to be the same name as Juan in Spanish, Sha'ul was also known as Paul (Paulos in Greek).  The Greek speaking audience of Sha'ul referred to him as Paulos, just as the Hebrew speaking folks called him by his given name Sha'ul.  (Going forward, we will refer to him by his given name, Sha'ul.)

Sha'ul describes himself as an "emissary."  Most English Bibles use the word apostle.  It comes from the Greek, avpo,stoloj (pronounced "apostolos") which means apostle; messenger Thayer's Greek Lexicon defines this word as a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders.   The Liddell-Scott Lexicon renders our word a messenger, ambassador, envoy; a sacred messenger, an Apostle.

In the Hebrew language, mind and culture, the shali-ach (pronounced shalee-ach) is a sent one or emissary.  From the Hebrew, xylv, the shaliach is a sent one, emissary.  From the root word,  xl;v' (shalach to send, send away, let go), comes other derivatives such as xl;v, (shelach) weapon, and hx'Wlv. (shelûchâ) shoot, branch.  Thus, a shaliach is an emissary (“apostle”), one sent with a message.  Usually this one is invested with authority to act on behalf of the one who sent him.

The ancient Prophets were all shaliachs.  Mosheh, Yeshayahu (Isaiah), Yirmyahu (Jeremiah), Yechezqel (Ezekiel) and Malachi, to name a few, were all sent by Yahuwah to deliver a message from the mouth of Yahuwah.  These sent ones were given authority to speak and backed that up with miracles.  Here are testimonies regarding the above named emissaries:

Moses: Shemot 7:16 Say to him, 'Yahuwah, the Elohim of the Hebrews, has sent me to you to say, "Release my people, that they may serve me in the desert!" But until now you have not listened.

Isaiah: Yeshayahu 6:8 I heard the voice of the Adonai say, "Whom will I send? Who will go on our behalf?" I answered, "Here I am, send me!"

Jeremiah: Yirmyahu 1:7 Yahuwah said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young.' But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you.

Ezekiel: Yechezqel 3:5 For you are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Yisrael-- 6 not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand--surely if I had sent you to them, they would listen to you!

Malachi: Malachi 4:5 Look, I will send you Eliyahu the prophet before the great and terrible day of Yahuwah comes.

The Messiah himself claimed to be a Sent One, and was given authority to speak and do miracles “in the father's name.”

Yochanan 12:49 For I have not spoken from my own authority, but the Father himself who sent me has commanded me what I should say and what I should speak.

Messiah Yahusha was The Prophet who was sent (thus he was a shali'ach) with authority to bring a message from the mouth of Yahuwah Elohim:

Devarim 18:18 I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their fellow sons of Yisrael. I will put my words in his mouth and he will speak to them whatever I command.  19 I will personally hold responsible anyone who then pays no attention to the words that prophet speaks in my name.  20 "But if any prophet presumes to speak anything in my name that I have not authorized him to speak, or speaks in the name of other elohim, that prophet must die.

And the Messiah invested authority in his disciples to take the message of the kingdom of heaven and sent them out:

Mattityahu 10: 16 "I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

This is what Sha'ul is claiming in his letter to the Galatians: that he, Sha'ul, is sent from Elohim just as the ancient Prophets were, with a message of truth straight from the mouth of Elohim.

The Message of a Shaliach

Sha’ul, an emissary – not from men, nor by a man, but by Messiah and Elohim the Father

Sha'ul claims that this status of being a shaliach is not conferred upon him by any man.  It is the authority of Messiah and Elohim that gives him the right to speak the message of Yahuwah.  Right here at the outset of his letter, within the first few words he pens to the Galatians, he sets forth an important distinction he will make over and over again throughout this letter.  His apostleship is not related to men in any way.  While he used to be bringing a gospel based upon the believe system of the Pharisees, and although he also from time to time carried with him the decree by the authority of the high priest to imprison believers in Yehoshua, not so any more.  His authority it now given by Elohim and no other.

Since Sha'ul claims to be an apostle (shaliach) sent by Messiah and Elohim, we should understand the duties and responsibilities of the shaliach.  The genuine "sent one" will always speak those things which Yahuwah spoke to Israel.  Yirmyahu (Jeremiah) gives this testimony about the message he was given to speak to Israel:

Yahuwah said to me, "Before I formed you in your mother's womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations."  I answered, "Oh, Adonai Yahuwah, I really do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young."  Yahuwah said to me, "Do not say, 'I am too young.' But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you.  Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, for I will be with you to rescue you," says Yahuwah.  Then Yahuwah reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me.  Know for certain that I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted" (Yirmyahu 1:4-10).

Yahuwah gave Yirmyahu the words to say and the authority to speak His message to the nations.

Likewise, Yechezqel (Ezekiel) was given a specific message to speak to Israel:

He said to me, "Son of man, I am sending you to the people of Yisrael, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; both they and their fathers have sinned against me to this very day.  The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and hard-hearted, and you must say to them, 'This is what Adonai Yahuwah says.' And as for them, whether they pay attention or not--for they are a rebellious house--they will know that a prophet has been among them.  But you, son of man, do not fear them, and do not fear their words, even though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions. Do not fear their words and do not be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house!  You must speak my words to them whether they pay attention or not, for they are rebellious (2:4-7).

Ezekiel was a shaliach who was given a specific message: "This is what Adonai Yahuwah says."  He was told to speak "my words" - the words which proceeded from the mouth of Elohim - to the rebellious house of Israel.

All of the prophets who were sent out (shaliach-sent ones) were told to deliver the message which Yahuwah spoke.  That message was always centered around the core thought of returning to obedience to the instructions of the covenant Yahuwah made with his people at Sinai.  Yechezqel, for example, is told to rebuke Israel for straying from the commandments and for desecrating the Shabbats:

So I brought them out of the land of Egypt and led them to the wilderness.  I gave them my rules and revealed my laws to them. The one who obeys them will live by them!  I also gave them my Sabbaths as a reminder of our relationship, so that they would know that I, Yahuwah, make them set-apart.  But the house of Yisrael rebelled against me in the wilderness; they disobeyed my rules and rejected my laws. (the one who obeys them will live by them), and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I announced that I would pour out my rage on them in the wilderness and destroy them (20:10-13).

The message of the Scripture for everyone is to obey Yahuwah and walk in his paths. 

Now this is the commandment - the rules and right-rulings that Yahuwah your Elohim instructed me to teach you so that you may carry them out in the land where you are headed and that you may so revere Yahuwah your Elohim that you will keep all his rules and commandments that I am giving you--you, your children, and your grandchildren--all your lives, to prolong your days.  Pay attention, Yisrael, and be careful to do this so that it may go well with you and that you may greatly increase--as Yahuwah, Elohim of your ancestors, said to you, you will have a land flowing with milk and honey (Devarim 6:1-3).

And Israel was told to never add to the Instructions (the Law) and never to take away from the Instructions (the Law).

Now, Yisrael, pay attention to the rules and right-rulings I am about to teach you, so that you might live and go on to enter and take possession of the land that Yahuwah, the Elohim of your ancestors, is giving you.  Do not add a thing to what I command you nor subtract from it, so that you may keep the commandments of Yahuwah your Elohim that I am delivering to you (Devarim 4:1,2).

And

You must not worship Yahuwah your Elohim the way they do! For everything that is abhorrent to him, everything he hates, they have done when worshiping their elohim. They even burn up their sons and daughters before their elohim!  You must be careful to do everything I am commanding you. Do not add to it or subtract from it! (Devarim 12:31,32).

Thus, the prophet's message to Israel ALWAYS must conform to these basic rules:  The message must be truly what Yahuwah has spoken.  The message must be in agreement with the covenant Yahuwah made with his people which stipulates that his commandments were to be obeyed.  And the message of the shaliach must not deviate in any way from the written Torah (the Law) - the emissary was to never add a commandment or take away a commandment from the covenant given at Sinai.

The words of the sent one can always be confirmed by testing whether they agree with the words of Yahuwah.

Test #1

Devarim 18:21 Now if you say to yourselves, 'How can we tell that a message is not from Yahuwah?'--   22 whenever a prophet speaks in my name and the prediction is not fulfilled, then I have not spoken it; the prophet has presumed to speak it, so you need not fear him."

It is easy to tell that one is not a true prophet sent from YHWH if what that one says will come to pass does not come to pass.  This person speaks presumptuously.  He is lying about having a word directly from the Almighty.

Test #2

Devarim 13:1 Suppose a prophet or one who foretells by dreams should appear among you and show you a sign or wonder,  2 and the sign or wonder should come to pass concerning what he said to you, namely, "Let us follow other elohim"--elohim whom you have not previously known--"and let us serve them."  3 You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer, for Yahuwah your Elohim will be testing you to see if you love him with all your mind and being.   4 You must follow Yahuwah your Elohim and revere only him; and you must observe his commandments, obey him, serve him, and remain loyal to him.  5 As for that prophet or dreamer, he must be executed because he encouraged rebellion against Yahuwah your Elohim who brought you from the land of Egypt, redeeming you from the place of slavery, and because he has tried to entice you from the way Yahuwah your Elohim has commanded you to go. In this way you must purge out evil from within.

Shemot 34:27  And Yahuwah said to Mosheh, "Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Yisrael.“

The one who is a true prophet and sent one from Yahuwah will never lead anyone into bowing down before pagan deities, including Ishtar, Ba'al, Mithras or any other.  Nor will the true sent one ever lead Yah's people into obeying a different set of instructions (laws) than that which Yah gave through Moses at Sinai.  The true prophet must be leading the people to obedience to Yahuwah’s commandments which are written in the Scriptures.

Is Sha'ul a true prophet and a true shaliach?  Let's put him to the test.  Sha'ul gives this testimony about the directive which Messiah Yahusha gave him:

So I said, 'Who are you, Adonai?' And Yahusha replied, 'I am Yahusha whom you are persecuting.  But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason, to designate you in advance as a servant and witness to the things you have seen and to the things in which I will appear to you.  I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they turn from darkness (disobedience) to light (Torah) and from the power of Satan to Elohim, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faithfulness in me (Acts 26:15-18).

Does Sha’ul teach that the Goyim (Gentiles) are to have an inheritance with Yisrael?  Indeed he does.  See comments in The Promised Inheritance.  Does Sha'ul add to or take away from the commandments of the Covenant?  If he is a true prophet of Elohim, he CANNOT, because all true prophets and sent-ones will repeat the message of the Torah and the Prophets, which is a message to return to full obedience to the commandments of the Covenant.  Thus, if Sha'ul is to be regarded as a true emissary of Messiah and Elohim the Father, he MUST teach that the Torah (Law) is STILL an authoritative word of Yah for us today.

What is the Assembly?

Sha’ul, an emissary – not from men, nor by a man, but by Messiah and Elohim the Father who raised Him from the dead – and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia:

Sha'ul's letters is written and sent to the assemblies of Galatia.  In this section, we will explore the Hebraic concept of an assembly.  In the section that follows, we'll examine the region of Galatia.

The Hebrew Scriptures use two words which translate as “congregation, assembly, people.”  Hlhq – pronounced “kehilah” is usually translated assembly Hd[ “pronounced "edah” is typically translated congregation, assembly, multitude, people, swarmKehilah and edah are virtually synonymous.  Edah comes from the root word, d[;y' ("to appoint") from which the word d[eAm ("moed" an appointment, an appointed assembly!) comes.  It also has additional derivatives.  (For an in-depth word study analysis of these terms, see The Miqra page in this website.)

More important to us here is what the Torah (Law of Moses) says about the kehilah (assembly of Israel).  The Torah is explicitly given as an inheritance to the assembly of Israel:

Mosheh delivered to us an instruction (Torah), an inheritance for the assembly (kehilah) of Ya'acov (Devarim 33:4).

As an inheritance to the congregation of Israel (Ya'acov/Jacob), the Torah (Law), made up of the statutes and rulings (decisions) was to be the way of life for all Israel.  Furthermore, all disputes, disagreements, judgments and decisions, including capital crimes, felony and misdemeanor level infractions, and lawsuits of any kind, were to be decided upon by the elders of Israel on the basis of the Torah.

In the case of an accusation of a crime or infringement, the Torah requires at least 2 witnesses in order to convict an accused transgressor.

At the testimony of two or three witnesses they must be executed. They cannot be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.  The witnesses must be first to begin the execution, and then all the people are to join in afterward. In this way you will purge evil from among you (Devarim 17:6,7).

And

A single witness may not testify against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legal only on the testimony of two or three witnesses (Devarim 19:15).

The Messiah Yahusha, as he always did, affirmed the validity of the Torah of Moses for the "church" (assembly).  Even in the case of a brother who has "something against you," if the brother refuses to listen to you during your private encounter with him, you take it to the next level:

But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the congregation. If he refuses to listen to the congregation, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector.  I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.  Again, I tell you the truth, if two of you on earth agree about whatever you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.  For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them (Mattityahu 18:16-20).

If a dispute can be settled privately, that is always the first step we should take.  But ultimately, the congregation is to make decisions about personal disputes on the basis of the statutes and rulings of the Torah.  And only on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

The kehillah has the authority to render decisions and settle disputes because it is Yahuwah's agent in dispensing righteous decisions based upon the Torah which is made up of the chukot (statutes) and mishpatim (righteous rulings).  Thus, whatever they bind on earth (a decision based upon the righteous mishpatim) has already been bound (decided upon) in heaven, because He has already given us these decisions in the Torah!  The assembly is NOT making new law when they agree upon a matter in settling a dispute.  They are to make these rulings based upon the Scriptural Law, and thus the thing really is "bound in heaven" because the decision is based upon the right-ruling of the Torah, which "Heaven" has already decided upon!

The assembly's responsibility is to ensure the proper use of the Torah in settling disputes for the congregation.  They are Elohim's agent in issuing righteous rulings and thus are the supporting body for truth.  Sha'ul explains this in his letter to Timothy:

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these Instructions to you in case I am delayed, to let you know how people ought to conduct themselves in the household of Elohim, because it is the congregation of the living Elohim, the support and bulwark of the truth (1 Timothy 3:14, 15).

If the assembly of Elohim does not support the truth in its legal decision making, who will?  Therefore, by applying the chukot and mishpatim of the Law in legal disputes, the kehillah is the support and defense of the truth that is found in Torah.

As Sha'ul addresses this letter of exhortation to the assemblies of Galatia, there is an expectation that the assemblies will be testing his words and his teachings against the revealed truth of the Torah of Moses.  If Sha'ul adds to or takes away from the Torah, if he contradicts the Torah or if he denies the truth of the Torah, the assemblies of Yahuwah are required to reject his teachings and hold him responsible as a false prophet, the penalty of which is death.

Galatia

Sha’ul, an emissary – not from men, nor by a man, but by Messiah and Elohim the Father who raised Him from the dead – and all the brothers who are with me, to the assemblies of Galatia:

The message of Sha'ul's letter is addressed to the assemblies in Galatia.  What exactly does that mean?  Galatia, as anyone with a map of the ancient world can tell you, is geographically the central portion of Asia Minor, which is now the country of Turkey.  No doubt there were a number of congregations which Sha'ul had been able to enlighten about the ministry and teaching of the Messiah and his atoning death for followers of Yahuwah.

But Sha'ul likely had more in mind in addressing these followers of Yahusha as Galatians. It seems that Sha'ul was intentionally doing a play on words. The Hebrew word is galoot, translated captivity or exile. This word is found about 11 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. In each of these occurrences, it refers to the people of Israel who were exiled into captivity, either at the time of the Assyrian captivity or the Babylonian captivity.

Was Sha'ul alluding to those "Gentiles" who were dispersed from the lost northern kingdom of Israel?  The Prophets had spoken on many occasions about the re-gathering of the lost northern tribes.  Yirmyahu (Jeremiah) says concerning the "lost house of Israel":

Yet I, Yahuwah, say, "A new time will certainly come. People now affirm their oaths with 'I swear as surely as Yahuwah lives who delivered the people of Yisrael out of Egypt.'  But at that time they will affirm them with 'I swear as surely as Yahuwah lives who delivered the people of Yisrael from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.' At that time I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors." (Yirmyahu 16:14,15).

This promise of the re-gathering of the lost house of the northern tribe of Israel finds expression throughout the writings of the prophets.  Yirmyahu refers to the people of the houses of the northern and southern kingdom as "lost sheep."

"When that time comes," says Yahuwah, "the people of Yisrael and Yehudah will return to the land together. They will be coming back with tears of repentance as they seek renewed relations with Yahuwah their Elohim.  They will ask the way to Zion, and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to Yahuwah in a lasting agreement that will never be forgotten.  "My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have let them go astray. They have wandered around in the mountains. They have roamed from one mountain and hill to another. They have forgotten their resting place (Yirmyahu 50:4-6).

When these lost sheep repent of breaking Torah and return with their whole heart and mind to Elohim, these prophesies will be fulfilled.

Thus, it makes perfect sense that his message of reconciliation which Messiah accomplished opens the door for all of Elohim's people to be re-united.  Sha'ul speaks of this re-gathering of both houses of Israel:

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh (the exiled people of the northern tribes were called "Gentiles" because they had blended into the Gentile cultures where they were dispersed) --who are called "uncircumcision" by the so-called "circumcision" that is performed on the body by human hands-- that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Yisrael (alienated, because they once were citizens of the northern nation of Israel) and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without Elohim in the world.  But now in Messiah Yahusha you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Messiah.  For he is our peace, the one who made both groups (Yehudah and Yisrael) into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments (man-made commandments, not the Torah of Mosheh) in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace... (Ephesians 2:11-15).

Sha'ul, in this letter to the Galatians (exiles), had every expectation that this message of reconciliation through Messiah's death would bring about the fulfillment of prophesy - the re-uniting and re-gathering of both houses of Israel.

Likewise, Ya'acov (James) had the same prophesies in mind as he addresses all 12 tribes of Israel with his letter:

From Ya'acov, a slave of Elohim and the Master Yahusha Messiah, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad (in exile! - "galuts"). Greetings! (Ya’acov (James) 1:1  ).

Ya’acov’s letter was written to all 12 scattered (lost) tribes of Yisrael, not just to Jews and pagan Gentiles!

The Blessing

Favor to you and peace from Elohim the Father and our Master Messiah, who gave Himself for our sins, to deliver us out of this present wicked age, according to the desire of our Elohim and Father, to whom be the praise forever and ever. Amen.

This blessing, with which Sha'ul begins and/or ends most of his letters recalls the Aaronic blessing which the priests were to pronounce over the sons of Israel

Yahuwah spoke to Mosheh: "Tell Aharon and his sons, 'This is the way you are to bless the sons of Yisrael. Say to them: "Yahuwah bless you and protect you; Yahuwah make his face to shine upon you, and favor you; Yahuwah lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace."'  So they will put my name on the sons of Yisrael, and I will bless them." (Bemidbar [Numbers] 6:22-27).

Following the blessing, Sha'ul gives a foreshadowing of what is to follow in this letter.  He hints at the Messiah's atoning death as the means of delivering us out of the bondage of men during this "present wicked age." 

END