The Stranger & the Alien/Foreigner in Israel

“I came across this quote from Gillespie in Aaron’s Rod Blossoming. It is actually from another author, John Seldon, in a book that I cannot find translated into English yet. If any one knows of a copy in English I would love to get it. The title is De jure naturali et gentium juxta disciplinam Ebraeorum.”

Online Friend

“In respect of members’ for, as Mr. Selden hath very well observed concerning that sort of proselytes who had the name of Proselyti Justitiae.” They were initiated into the Jewish religion by circumcision, baptism and sacrifice; and they were allowed not only to worship God apart by themselves, but also to come into the church and congregation of Israel, and to be called by the name of Jews, nevertheless they were restrained and secluded from dignities, magistracies and preferments in the Jewish republic, and from divers marriages which were free to the Israelites, even as strangers initiated and associated into the church of Rome have not therefore the privilege of Roman citizens.”

Gillespie
Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, pg 4

It is easy to see that Selden and Gillespie both rejected the “open borders” “easy citizenship” ideas that so permeate our culture, especially the church. No matter the religious standing in Israel, a “stranger” remained that in the civil realm, no matter their religious affiliation. Even “divers marriages” were kept from these “strangers and aliens.”

This quote tracks well from a portion of a sermon I did in 2015

So, what we see here, in this examination of the Hebrew word “ger” is that this idea of stranger, alien, sojourner requires context in order of us to understand how it is being used. Clearly in this Dt. 28 passage the word is being used in more of a discontinuity sense. We know this because God is saying that disobedience will bring the result that the alien — the one not belonging to the Israel as Israel — will rise higher and higher over them. A clear demarcation is being made between the immigrant and the native son.

The resident alien (ger) in Israel was never so integrated and assimilated into the Israeli social order that the distinction between citizen born and alien evaporated. The resident alien (ger) was held to the same law, could become part of the worship cult BUT they were always known as distinct from Israeli born. Hence they are continuously referred to as ger (stranger).

Having said this we should realize that clearly there is a immigrant class that is living among the people of God. This people are not to be oppressed. They are to be treated with justice according to God’s law and they are to be able to find a way in the land. However, they are clearly the “tail” of the social order.

We know this because the text teaches that the roles will be reversed for disobedience. They who were once the head will become the tail and those who were once the tail will become the head.

Some one judgment of God upon Israel’s disobedience is that God’s people will become strangers and aliens in their own land.

We should note here also that this text does away with notions of egalitarianism. All peoples in all settings are not equal. God speaks here of one people being a tail and one people being a head and says that He is the one that makes that to be the case and in here we learn that obedience to God’s Law results in being the head.

It is not Christianity that teaches egalitarianism but rather it is Liberalism as Machen noted,

“… one thing is perfectly plain—whether or not liberals are Christians, it is at any rate perfectly clear that liberalism is not Christianity. And that being the case, it is highly undesirable that liberalism and Christianity should continue to be propagated within the bounds of the same organization. A separation between the two parties in the Church is the crying need of the hour… The modern liberal doctrine is that all men everywhere, no matter what their race or creed, are brothers.”

J.Gresham Machen
Christianity and Liberalism, p.133 

Of course we have come to the point that we no longer think in terms of categories like stranger, alien, foreigner, and sojourner which means we no longer think in terms of family. If we take Deuteronomy 28 seriously and see our delight with the stranger being lifted above us we must at least ask ourselves if we are under God’s just punishment for our disobedience.

When we think of our own immigration issues we see that the result here is also that the head is becoming the tail and that the tail is becoming the head

Responding to Pope Doug’s “Aside to the Actual Kinist Out There”

Pope Doug wrote a subsection titled;

An Aside to the Actual Kinists Out There

Since we are talking a lot about you guys, I thought it might be appropriate to take you aside for a minute. You all like to think of yourselves as the shock troops of the resistance, as an elite corps of hard-headed race realists. You are in fact the soft underbelly of the resistance.

Bret responds,

What marvelous providence that you have decided to take us aside because we’ve been meaning to take you aside also. This works out to be very convenient.

It is true that we like to think of ourselves as the last heroes of the West. It is glorious to contemplate that we are the descendants of Charles Martel at Tours and/or John Sobieski’s plumed knights fighting the Turks at Vienna as opposed to some armchair general who has been more full of himself than blood sausage for quite some time now.

But on to why we wanted to take you aside. We aren’t taking counsel from you Mr. Pope. We aren’t fooled by your mastery of the false dichotomy or the subtle contradictions. We aren’t impressed with your attempted impersonations of Ambrose Bierce, Chesterton, Mencken, or any other of your literary heroes. We see through your lifelong three card monte game. We know a grifter when we see one.

Frankly, we would rather be the soft underbelly of the resistance then a fifth columnist termite who honestly believes he is doing the Lord’s work. We are hopeful that even the soft underbelly of the resistance will be enough to resist your fifth columnist work. We admit that is not asking much but every little bit for the Kingdom helps. Soft underbellies of the world unite!

Pope Doug continues,

You are not the lost golden apples of the Hesperides in the true West. You are the crabbed fruit of the West, lying on the ground in one of our lower-IQ orchards, most of which fruit the ants have already carried off.

Bret responds,

Yeah, well, your Mother wore combat boots.

Take that!

Pope Doug,

If anyone on the right suddenly starts talking about the Jooozzz, and is sounding suspiciously like Ilhan Omar, the chances are outstanding that it is one of you guys.

Bret Responds,

Has Ilhan Omar along with the Kinists been channeling John Calvin again?

“…now, when, through nearly fifteen centuries, they (Jews) have been scattered and banished from their country, having no polity, by what pretext can they fancy, from the prophecy of Jacob, that a Redeemer will come to them? Truly, as I would not willingly glory over their calamity; so, unless they, being subdued by it, open their eyes, I freely pronounce that they are worthy to perish a thousand times without remedy.” 

John Calvin
(Commentary on Genesis 49:10)

“Primo meretur eorum perdita obstinatio et indomabilis, ut immensa miseriarum congerie sine fine et modo oppressi omnes exhilarent suis malis, nemo autem eorum misereatur.”

“First of all, their (Jew) depraved and indomitable obstinacy merits that none of them be pitied, as they all delight in their evils while being oppressed by a great mass of miseries without end or measure.”

John Calvin
RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIONS OF A CERTAIN JEW

Don’t you just hate it when Kinists start sounding like John Calvin?

Pope Doug writes,

The tweets in question in this case can sound so brave right after two in the morning, and also after two beers, right before you publish them, but when your opponents find those tweets and are consequently saying ohboyohboyohboyohboy to themselves, they are not doing this because they just plopped their lame arguments onto the sturdy slab of an oak table called the adamantine right. No, they actually found a two-dollar card table of the wobbly right, the kind that collapses as soon as they put any kind of weight on it. That’s why the ohboyohboyohboy reaction.

Bret responds,

Face it Doug… you’ve become a scaramouche. You’re more concerned about your reputation and your career than you are in speaking painful truths to the real enemies of Christendom.

“Anyway the wind blows
Doesn’t really matter 
To Doug…”

Listen Dude, if you ever had a spell on the White Boy Summer crowd it is gone. You are now like Merlin who has been imprisoned by the spell of Viviane. Your enchantment is lost on Gen. Y and most of Gen. Z. You will now live out the rest of your life serving as General to those who refused to fight the people who needed to be resisted the most.

Thank you for your earlier service. At one time many of us hoped that you would be the one who had the requisite midi-chlorian to lead but alas that has not been the case.

Alienism is Kinism

Keep in mind that when Alienists wage war on Kinists they are doing it because they (the Alienists) are Kinists. The Alienists are Kinists is seen that they are championing the cause of their people (the stranger and the alien) over and above the people to which the Kinists belong to.

Alienists are Kinists and they hate the overt Kinists because Kinists do not consider their people to be the people to which the Alienists take as theirs. To use a Old Testament motif, the Alienist Kinists are the Jews whose people is everybody except the goyim Kinist Kinists.

Think about it. The Kinist impulse is to love a particular people, and inasmuch the Alienists refuse to count Kinists as their people, they likewise have the same impulse to love a particular people. The Kinist Kinists have a particular love for a particular people. The Alienist Kinist has a particular love for a particular people (everyone except the Kinist). The Kinist embraces the brotherhood of his people while affirming a very real spiritual union with all men from all tribes who are in Christ. The Alienist embraces the brotherhood of all men while excluding Kinist Kinists from any possible spiritual union in Christ. Both are expressing particular loves. The Alienist is a Kinist… just a distorted and disturbed one — one who calls evil “good,” and good, “evil.”

Alienism = Inside out Kinism.

HC 28 — The Advantage That Comes From Believing in God’s Providence

Question 28: What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

The Heidelberg Catechism, being closer to the Medieval Church than it is to the modern Church that came in with the Enlightenment breathes with a devotional air. Throughout the HC the Catechizer will provide this kind of question and answer in order to make sure that student comprehends what we might call the cash value of the doctrine. The HC is not interested in an abstracted theology that doesn’t have traction in every day life. As such we get these kind of questions. Here we find a rich and still practical theology.

Here, the interest is making sure that the student understands the impact of the truth of God’s providence as in the life of the believer. Urisinus and Olevianus as the Catechizers desires their students to take the truth of God’s providence and find daily comfort in their lives from the belief of this Doctrine.

The question once again pushes the student in the direction that all of their living is conditioned by the Creator, Sustainers, and Governor of all things. There is no living absent of God’s providence and control. Indeed, it is the case that in God we live, and move, and have our being. All of our lives are lived out before the face of God to whom we must give an account. For the Catechizer’s the God of the Bible is not remote but closer to us than our next breath.

It is good to return to these realities if only because modern man lives as if the sky above him is bronze with no notion of the reality of God. The Christian is a different kind of man. He knows that all of life is life as dictated and directed by the kind and merciful providence of God. All of life is riven with the testimony of the God’s divine control and we as God’s people should find the benefit/advantage of that truth.

Answer: That we may be patient in adversity;8 thankful in prosperity;9 and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father,10 that nothing shall separate us from His love;11 since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.12

The Catechizers are brutally honest. God’s providence does not erase the reality of adversity that we face in our lives.

Ps. 39:10, Remove Thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of Thine hand.

However, with their confession of God’s providence the sting is taken out of the adversity the Christian faces because the Christian knows that any and all adversity is adversity that is under the direction and control of God the Father Almighty. We do not live in a world that is dictated by chance, fate, or bad luck. All that comes into our lives, including our adversity, comes into our lives as fashioned by God’s providence.

8Rom. 5:3, And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience hope.

Even in our adversity the Christian can glory because we know that as God’s providence is directing all things the final outcome of that adversity will work in us godly character, and one of the things that the Christian desires above all else is godly character.

God’s providence is also intended to cause us to lift our eyes in gratitude when God determines to bless us with prosperity. The tears of heaven sent adversity may last through the night but the joy of heaven sent prosperity cometh in the morning.

What a glory that we should be given the instinct to be thankful to our benevolent God when He heaps prosperity upon us.

9Deut. 8:10, When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee.

Thankless Christians when soaked with prosperity is a terrible oxymoron.

This truth of God’s providence of course makes a completely dependent people shut up to God’s wisdom as to what is best for us. This embrace of the doctrine of God’s providence has the ultimate purpose, in terms of the advantage it is to be to God’s people, to work in us a placing of our firm trust in our faithful God and Father. God the Father Almighty knows what is best for us — both in terms of adversity and prosperity — and this providence of God is intended that we invest our reliance upon Him who has shown His faithfulness to Himself and us in providing His Son as a surety that we did not deserve. If our lives were only characterized by daily adversity (God forbid) the reality that God the Father Almighty has provided the prosperity found in providing Jesus Christ as our deliverance announces that God has shown Himself faithful in His providence.

1 Thes. 5:18, In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

This firm trust in God driven by confidence in His exhaustive providence is to fill us with the confidence that nothing shall separate us from His love.

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This reality that we, as the people of God the Father Almighty, can be separated from the love of God for His people reminds us that it is God’s love for His people as conditioned by love for Himself, that everything that comes into our lives by way of God’s providence is from the hand of God who is expressing His love to us in His providence as it unfolds in our lives.

The hard thing in all this is the ability to continue to believe in God’s goodness and love for us when providence brings adversity. It is at those times when we will be tempted to question a providence of God that is anchored in His love for us as conditioned by His love for Himself.

This is why it is good to learn our catechism and the truths therein before being visited by a hard providence because when we are in the hot box of a hard providence it is even more difficult to learn the truth being taught here. When parents are holding a child born crippled at birth it is hard at that point to lean on God’s providence if we have not already learned it. When persecution comes knocking it is hard at that point to lean on God’s providence if we have not already owned it. When wasting disease visits us it is hard at that point to lean on God’s providence if we have not already learned it. Let us pray earnestly that we might get this doctrine in the very marrow of our bones.

The catechism ends here reminding us again that “all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.12″

Every event that happens in creation serves God’s purposes because every event that happens in creation has no reality apart from the reality that God gives it in His providence. Whether we consider the malevolence of our arch-enemy;

12Job 1:12, And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Job 2:6, And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

Or rather we consider the movement of Satan’s armies;

Matt. 8:31, So the devils besought Him, saying, If Thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.

Or rather we consider the operation of any secondary cause;

Isa. 10:15, Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood

Nothing happens in all creation apart from our Father’s leave. Nothing can come into our life apart from our Father’s leave.

Let us briefly ask what we would have to say if all this were not true. We would have to say that

1.) God is not God since God by definition is one who has totalistic and exhaustive sovereignty. If God’s providence is not true than God would not be worth worshiping since he would be just some kind of celestial bystander who would be as taken by surprise at the events that enter into our lives as we are. Take pity on those who worship a God who does not have the kind of providence that we learn in our Heidelberg Catechism.

2.) We would have to cower in fear of man. If God’s providence is not true than we are fools to cross tyrants or the wicked in our lives. It is God’s providence that gives us the courage to have no fear of man. It is God’s providence that causes us to realize that man can do nothing to us apart from God’s leave. A lack of confidence in God’s providence would make cowards of all of us.

3.) We would go mad with the grief that enters into our lives. It is only confidence in God’s goodness and providence that steadies us when hardships and persecutions come into our lives. If we really lived in a time plus chance plus circumstance world we would not be able bear up under the burdens of this life. Only the reality of God’s providence provides a backdrop wherein we can press on when life presses us down.

4.) We would not continue to contend for the crown rights of Jesus Christ in every area of life. Were we not confident of God’s providence we would not strive to bring every area of life under His authority. Apart from God’s providence we would hunker down and not risk great things for the glory of God, being fearful of what might come into our lives absent a God who controls all things.

God’s providence works in us both to accept hardship as from the hand of God while at the same time energizing us to contend, compete, and contest for the glory of our great God.

O Sovereign God,

We thank thee with all our being for your providence. We thank you that it is true that all our life is conditioned by you and dependent upon you. We pray that we might grow to adore you more and more because of your providence in our lives. We pray that you might keep us from being like Job’s wife who assigned wickedness to you because of what you ordained for Job and His family. Grant us thy favor to be confident in your goodness no matter come what may. Help us to be like our Father Job, who, despite the hard providence in his life refused to curse God. Help us to be like our Father St. Paul who was driven on by the confidence in your providence to never cease in opposing your enemies at every turn.

Grant us your grace, in light of your providence, to never surrender.

In Christ’s name we pray 

AMEN

Galatians 2:1-10; Paul, Titus & The Issue of Circumcision

Galatians 2 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2 And I went up [a]by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.6 But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God [b]shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, [c]Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

This morning we are considering this first half of Galatians 2. Next week we will finish the chapter and will then roll into the advent season with four sermons consistent with that theme.

There are matters here that we need to absorb in our 21st century context.

You will recall that the the book of Galatians is in many ways the book of Romans with the difference that the book of Romans Paul is dealing with the same issues in a much more systematic fashion whereas in Galatians St. Paul is dealing with the same issues as in a triage situation. There is a danger of the central doctrines of the Gospel being abandoned due to subterfuge and deception. Enemies as termites are in the Church in Galatia seeking to eat away the foundation and so recast the new and better covenant in the image of the old and worse covenant. There is an attempt to re-imagine the faith once delivered forever unto the saints. There is an attempt put people into a intolerable bondage and all this as in the name and under the authority of Jesus the Christ.

In this book Paul uses some of his roughest language in order to defend the Gospel which he sees at being at immediate risk. He asks the Galatians “Who has cast a spell (bewitched you).” He says of his enemies that given their hyper concerns for circumcision as an absolute ceremonial law necessity for salvation he wishes that they would just go the whole way and emasculate themselves. He says that if anyone should preach another Gospel than the one he is preaching let them be eternally cursed/damned.

Certainly not very nice.

This startling language reminds us that there is a time and a place for everything under the sun, including defiant, militant, and shocking language. It reminds us of Calvin’s quote;

The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both.”

Now we live in a epoch in the history of the Church where frankly there is a need for the unrelenting usage of the voice required for driving off the wolves as by the clergy. As sheep you need to realize that when your shepherd throws rhetorical left hooks and uppercuts it is in the interest of protecting you. This is what St. Paul does in the book of Galatians because the Gospel is at stake.

Before wading in the matter at hand consider St. Paul here. Here is a man’s man. Perhaps one of the greatest heroes who has ever walked the planet. The man was a genius – one of those original thinkers who comes around every two or three generations. On top of that he was implacable and un-moving. He took all the outrageous slings and arrows of a determined enemy and did not budge. He considered not the opinion of man unless that opinion was consistent with the Word of God. He was beaten down… hounded relentlessly, scarred, shipwrecked, and stoned. According to Scripture he was not much to look at. Some scholars think he was a physically unimposing specimen and not very eloquent of speech. Yet, Scripture breathes with the man’s heroic humility. He was self-effacing and only for the sake of the Church would he speak of his accomplishments.

Parents …. if you want a hero for your sons, consider putting the Apostle Paul in their pantheon of heroes.

When we come to chapter 2 the battle has already underway.

There are 4 issues that St. Paul addresses here. Some of these 4 will overlap somewhat but we will look at them as 4 issue all the same because there are some slight nuances that are subtle enough to consider in their own right.

Paul time stamps the events with the mentioning of his going to Jerusalem again 14 years later with Barnabas taking Titus along with them. There is some debate among the scholars (as there always is on almost anything) as to exactly when and what the 14 years is later. We won’t get into the weeds of that debate and will just offer that a strong though not complete consensus believes that Paul is speaking of here the famous Jerusalem council mentioned in Acts 15. The reason that it is believed that the Jerusalem council that is being referred to here is because there is a good deal of overlap between Acts 15 and the issues that are swirling here in Galatians 2. Then there is the fact that you have some of the same players mentioned in Acts 2 that we find central to Acts 15.

In vs. 2 when Paul says that he went “and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain,” the meaning here is not that Paul was fearful that he might have been in error but rather the concern that the other Apostles, though perhaps agreeing in principle with him, might have gone soft due to the politics of the situation seeking to try to keep the peace with the Judaizing party that had crept into the Church. We learn from Acts 15 that Paul learned that he was not running in vain and the Church leadership of Peter and James was with him on the matter of grace alone.
Here then we bump up against the first issue in this section.

I.) Issue #1 – The Matter of Titus (vs. 2-3)

They brought Titus with them to Jerusalem because he was a living incarnation of the issue at hand. Titus was a Greek and so uncircumcised and yet this Titus had expressed faith in Christ and was counted as among the Redeemed.

The issue at hand though was … “Is this to be allowed.”

Circumcision had been a sign of the old covenant but the old covenant had passed and a new and better covenant had been issued in by the Lord Christ. Circumcision was a blood right exercised upon the source of life. However, with the coming of Christ all blood rights had ended with the shedding of His blood and by His being cut off that which was typological in the OT was fulfilled in Christ. Christ was THE source of life which in his death had been cut off as the fulfillment of all the lesser cuttings at the source of life prefigured in the OT cutting of circumcision.

By demanding that circumcision be continued – that Titus be circumcised – the enemies of the Gospel wanted to return to the OT shadows. In point of fact the Judaizing- Pharisee party wanted to return to a Talmudism that found salvation being grounded in works. By this demonic desire to return to a Talmudic faith the enemy would have overturned the Gospel of free grace.

Understand that had they been successful in this attack on the centrality of Christ alone they would have overthrown Baptism and God’s sovereign grace and so salvation would have been redefined. The Judaizers said “be circumcised, keep the ceremonial law, and then you can come to Christ.”

This is what Titus’s presence was all about. If a Gentile Christian like Titus present in the very heart of the Hebrew Church in an Convocation led by Hebrew Christians was not compelled to be circumcised, then the principle was established and no Gentile would be forced to be circumcised.

Understand that the kerfuffle here was about the fact that Gentiles were coming in without being circumcised. They were pulling their hair out over this. All this angst over Gentiles coming into the covenant and yet not a peep in the NT about these same people being told that their children were no longer members of the covenant which is what we are being asked to believe if the Baptists are right about excluding children.

Anyway … this is the issue surrounding Titus’s presence. Titus was a symbol of the conflict. Is the Gospel Christ alone or is the Gospel in concert with the Judaizing impulse?

This is an issue we as Theonomist must keep before us. We desire to honor the Law and we should but we learn here in Galatians that it is possible to go to far. It is possible to go so overboard with the law that we find ourselves wasting away again in Judaizing-ville. We need to ask ourselves careful questions about the applicability of the law lest we fall into this Galatians error. We need to develop principles to teach us where and when the general equity of the law continues and when the law has been eclipsed in the new and better covenant.

Well, we know how the issue with Titus turned out @ the Jerusalem council.

10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus [b]Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

Salvation would be by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

This moves us to the next issue here in Galatians 2

II.) Issue #2 – The Problem of Subversion – vs. 4

4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage)

Clearly, St. Paul is dealing with the problem of 5th columnists in their midst. In the early Church existed poseurs whose work was not to build the church up but to tear it down. In today’s language we would refer to these types that Paul mention as FBI plants or “controlled opposition.”

Paul calls them “false brethren” which means they were not brethren at all. Neither were they simply misguided. They had an agenda. They were epistemologically self-conscious about what they were seeking to achieve. They were trying to kill the church.

Before we continue down this path let me briefly mention that here we find one more example in Scripture wherein there is support for the truth of and reality of conspiracy theory. Paul is speaking of a conspiracy here. Listen to the language here. “False brethren.” “Secretly brought in.” “Came in by stealth.” “To spy out our liberty.” “That they might bring us into bondage.” St. Paul could guest host for Alex Jones and the Info Wars.

I only bring this up because so many in the Church today want to dismiss conspiracy theory as one legitimate tool in which to understand reality. If St. Paul could, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, identify a Conspiracy then I can say that the Bible teaches explicitly that men act in a conspiratorial manner in order to advance an predetermined agenda contrary to what it looks like on the surface.

The conspiracy unto subversion here was to overthrow the liberty from the ceremonial law that Christians have in Jesus Christ. Once we are in Christ we are delivered from the ceremonial law.

We would add that we likewise have been saved from the accusatory power of the law. The law can no longer condemn those in Christ Jesus. The Gospel is that though we are great sinners we have been delivered from the law of sin and of death. The law now points us to Christ as the one who has stood in our place and took upon Himself the just accusation that fell upon His people. The law now points us to Christ as the one who has paid for all of our sins, rebellions, and guilt. We walk in that kind of liberty.

Oh blessed liberty that we have in Jesus Christ. To not only be forgiven of that which I hate most about myself but also to be reckoned with the obedience of Jesus Christ is sweet liberty indeed.

The false brethren wanted to steal all that way and put upon all believers again a yoke of bondage that would make them miserable their whole lives and they were doing it by means of the most subtle of subversion.

This is the way fifth columnists usually roll when they bring their rank heresy into the Church. They are subtle. They sprinkle their heresy in all the nicest phrases. They dress it up to look pleasing and to sound reasonable. This is what in our time R2K has done. This is what Federal Vision has done. This is what the New Perspective on Paul has done. This is what Dispensationalism has done. These fifth columnists always sound fair but when one gets close enough they always smell foul.

If the early Church closest to the death of Christ had to deal with this it should be no surprise that the Church in every generation will have to deal with fifth columnists acting conspiratorially with the intent of re-fashioning the Church.

Note, before we move on that this subtlety is a always a matter of a worldview shift. Whatever direction there heresy is attempting to run, it can not run in that direction apart from significant worldview shifts. This is why we bang so hard here on knowing what you believe and why you believe it and what you don’t believe and why you don’t believe it. You need to have that ever growing ability to sniff out the fifth columnists conspiratorialists.

This brings us to issue #3

III.) Issue #3 – The Territorial Arrangement (vs. 7-8)


7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),

Here we see that the work is divided. It was not that Paul couldn’t evangelize Jews or that Peter couldn’t evangelize Gentiles, it was merely a matter where the emphasis of their ministry would be.

Now were Peter and Paul living today they would be accused of “racism” because of this arrangement. “How dare you divide people up according to their race/ethnicity?”

Don’t you two know that “Jew” and “Gentile” are a social construct?

We will speak more to this point next week but notice that while there is a respect of both people groups there is no agenda communicated here for there to be some kind of required assimilation between the two so that the distinctions of “Jew” and “Gentile” would disappear in a kind of pork sausage matzo ball soup.

Indeed, even upon conversion we know that often Jew and Gentiles did not worship together. Sure, there were times they would but there was no requirement to that end. There was nothing immature about a congregation that was a uniquely Gentile congregation nor about a congregation that was a uniquely Jewish congregation.

Hear Theologian John Frame on this matter;

“Scripture, as I read it, does not require societies, or even churches, to be integrated racially. Jews and Gentiles were brought together by God’s grace into one body. They were expected to love one another and to accept one another as brothers in the faith. But the Jewish Christians continued to maintain a distinct culture, and house churches were not required to include members of both groups.”

John Frame,
“Racism, Sexism, Marxism”

Jew and Gentiles were one spiritual body in Christ. Peter would minister among the Jews and Paul among the Gentiles and their respective church plants would all be one in Christ but the existence of the oneness in that Spiritual body in Christ did not require an assimilation that would result in the disappearance of both Jew and Gentile. John Calvin (Sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:2-3)

“Regarding our eternal salvation, it is true that one must not distinguish between man and woman, or between king and a shepherd, or between a German and a Frenchman. Regarding policy, however, we have what St. Paul declares here; for our, Lord Jesus Christ did not come to mix up nature, or to abolish what belongs to the preservation of decency and peace among us….Regarding the kingdom of God (which is spiritual) there is no distinction or difference between man and woman, servant and master, poor and rich, great and small. Nevertheless, there does have to be some order among us, and Jesus Christ did not mean to eliminate it, as some flighty and scatterbrained dreamers [believe].”

And here we see that order. Paul would go to the Gentiles and Peter would go to the Jews. Territorial issues are resolved and the unity of Christ is kept intact.

I need to keep my powder dry for next week on this subject but the abject idiocy and recklessness of the putative “White-Hat” churches is maddening beyond speech. It can only be explained by God sending a delusion upon them to blind them lest they see with their eyes, turn, and be saved.

IV.) Issue #4 – The Agreed Upon Requirement

10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

We need to speak on this so as to demonstrate that the OT law was still in force even though it is clearly noted in this text that the ceremonial law has been eclipsed.

The law throughout Scripture had required just this.

(Ex. 23:10-11; 30:15; Lv. 19:10, Dt. 15:7-11)

The prophets required this.

(Je. 22:16, Dn. 4:27, Am. 2:6-7)

It is found in the words of Jesus

(Mt. 7:12, Lk. 6:36, 38; John 13:29

The law continues to have its impact. Here we see that there is attention paid to these commandments of God.

When you combine this with the law that was placed upon the Gentile converts in Acts 15

(that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual[j] immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.)

You see that the law had abiding validity. The law answers the question that is being answered here, “How shall we then live.” The law, in its third use, is a guide to life and applies to every area of life. The Law is Holy, Righteous and Good, when used lawfully. The Law is where we find our delight both day and night. There is no dialectic between law and grace such as the R2K cognitively challenged want to posit when used lawfully. The law is the means of God that He has ordained whereby grace restores nature in the believer who is saved by a grace alone that in the finished work of Christ, God’s ordained law was honored – that law that taught; “that the without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin.”

So, on this issue we see that there that, in the words of Jonathan Edwards, “the Law and Gospel doth sweetly comply.”

Conclusion;

Re-cap

Therefore having looked at the 4 issues covered in Galatians 2:1-10 let us resolved to move in terms of a proper understanding of these issues.