(Gal 4:1 NASB) Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,
Gal 4:1: Paul is still building upon his theme of all believers in Yeshua as Messiah having the Spirit of Elohim in their hearts being Abraham’s seed. Paul considered the account of Abraham as the salvation message. He said that people were declared righteous by faith long before Torah came. And that through faith in Messiah, we are all sons of Abraham regardless of our lineage or whether we are Jews or Greeks by blood.
A child of the master is not much different than a slave. Paul goes on to explain:
(Gal 4:2 NASB) but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.
Gal 4:2: An heir is a potential owner of all the master’s wealth. But if the heir is still a child, that chid is still under guardians. He must be taken care of by guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
(Gal 4:3 NASB) So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.
Gal 4:3: Before we realized Messiah, we were in bondage to sin and to the world.
(Gal 4:4 NASB) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
Gal 4:4: He was born under the law. He came to fulfill (make full) all righteousness (Matt. 3:15).
(Gal 4:5 NASB) in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
(Gal 4:6 NASB) And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Gal 4:6: He was born under Torah in order that He might redeem those who were cursed under Torah.
This adoption of us as Elohim’s sons allows us to call Elohim our “Father.” “Abba” is Aramaic and is a term which means “Dad.”
(Gal 4:7 NASB) Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Gal 4:7: We are no longer considered the same as a “slave” as Paul described in verses 1-3. Now we are an heir of Elohim through Messiah. Torah restrained sin and brought conviction to our hearts that led us to Messiah.
Torah is the same “tutor” or “babysitter” described in Galatians 3:23-26. Paul is building upon that same theme.
(Gal 4:8 NASB) However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.
Gal 4:8: The Galatians were pagan idol worshipers before they knew Elohim. They worshiped false gods and were totally out of His will. They did not know Him and were bowing to idols.
(Gal 4:9 NASB) But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
Gal 4:9: The Galatians were turning back to their idolatrous ways. They were known by Elohim and now they are going back to idolatrous practices.
Paul was more than a little upset with the Galatians…
(Gal 4:10 NASB) You observe days and months and seasons and years.
Gal 4:10: They are observing their former pagan holidays like Ishtar (Easter – fertility goddess worship) and Saturnalia (Xmas – sun god worship). Many Bible teachers, such and John MacArthur and others, will attempt to pluck this passage out by itself and make the claim that God “changed his mind” and we should not longer follow the Sabbath Day and Feast Days. But if the whole passage is read together, it is obvious that Paul was speaking of the Galatians turning back to their former idolatry (Gal. 4:8-10).
This is not a reference to following the Biblical Feast Days.. This is a reference to the pagan holidays they were observing before they found Messiah as mentioned previously in verse 8.
(Gal 4:11 NASB) I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
Gal 4:11: Was Paul totally wasting his time by giving them the Gospel of Messiah? If they were going to return to their idolatry after they were told of Elohim and Messiah, what hope existed for them?
Many of the people considered it easier to go back to their former idolatry than to get circumcised and convert to Judaism. The Judaizers were wreaking havoc in the Galatian community.
(Gal 4:12 NASB) I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong;
Gal 4:12: Paul says he wants them to follow Elohim as he does. Paul came to their level to present the Gospel to them. Now they need to rise to his level as a complete and mature follower of Yeshua Messiah.
They need to get away from the nonsense of idol worship.
(Gal 4:13 NASB) but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time;
Gal 4:13: Paul had to pause his missionary journey and stop in Galatia because of a physical infirmity.
(Gal 4:14 NASB) and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself.
(Gal 4:15 NASB) Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness, that if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
Gal 4:15: When he stopped in Galatia because of his illness, they welcomed him as an angel (messenger) of Elohim. They would have done anything for him. Paul loves them for that.
(Gal 4:16 NASB) Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Gal 4:16: Paul is now referring back to the matter at hand. The Judaizers were telling them that Paul was all wrong. They said that the people must become Jews in order to truly be a child of Elohim. They must either listen to Paul or listen to these false teachers.
(Gal 4:17 NASB) They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out, in order that you may seek them.
Gal 4:17: They were zealous, but only for the purpose of making fools of the Galatians. They wanted the Galatians to feel they were excluded from the family of Elohim. That way, the Gentiles would seek the Jewish leaders in order to be close to God.
(Gal 4:18 NASB) But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you.
Gal 4:18: Paul tells them it is good to be zealous in good things all the time, not just when he is around.
(Gal 4:19 NASB) My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you–
Gal 4:19: They are going back to being children under the law. They were wanting to be declared righteous through their circumcision and through becoming a Jewish proselyte.
The Galatians were going back to idolatry or they were seeking righteousness through Pharisaic Judaism. Paul was condemning both false beliefs.
(Gal 4:20 NASB) but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Gal 4:20: Paul is not at all happy with them. These people are wanting to turn to their former idolatry or to the Judaizers who want them to become Jews in order to attain their righteousness.
(Gal 4:21 NASB) Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?
Gal 4:21: Paul puts people into two different categories for judgment: under Torah, or under grace. Paul also states this in his letter to the Romans (Romans 6:12-15). It is obvious in that passage (if we do not just pluck one phrase from it), that Paul is saying we are to turn away from sin (Repent!! (or turn back to Torah) For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!!) because we are no longer under the curses of Torah if we are under the grace of Elohim. Remember the definition of sin since sin should no longer reign in our mortal bodies. Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4, Dan. 9:11, Deut. 27:26).
If we are under Torah for judgment, our deeds will be judged according to the perfect Torah and we will be punished accordingly. If we are judged under the grace of Elohim, then the blood of Messiah will suffice for our sin penalty because His Spirit is within us and we have that DESIRE to please Him and follow his Torah, or His Instructions.
Many in Galatia wanted to reject Messiah and become Jewish proselytes. Paul is now going to use an historical account from Torah as an example and warning to the people.
(Gal 4:22 NASB) For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman.
Gal 4:22: Paul is going to illustrate being a child of Abraham through blood (or becoming a Jew) and being a child of Abraham through faith, or faithfulness.
(Gal 4:23 NASB) But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise.
Gal 4:23: One woman was Hagar. Her child, Ishmael, was born as a child of Abraham through the flesh. He was born because of the desires of Abraham and Sarah to have a son as Elohim promised. Ishmael was the son born from the desire of the flesh.
But Isaac was the son born through the promise.
(Gal 4:24 NASB) This is allegorically speaking: for these women are two covenants, one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar.
(Gal 4:25 NASB) Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.
Gal 4:25: The Jews (those who reject Messiah and embrace Talmudic Judaism) were, and still are, in bondage to the lie that they are righteous because they are sons of Abraham. That is a meaningless label under that circumstance (Matt. 3:9).
(Gal 4:26 NASB) But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.
(Gal 4:27 NASB) For it is written, “REJOICE, BARREN WOMAN WHO DOES NOT BEAR; BREAK FORTH AND SHOUT, YOU WHO ARE NOT IN LABOR; FOR MORE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND.”
Gal 4:27: The sons of the promise are free. They are not in bondage to the traditions of the Jews and their works salvation where they will ultimately be judged by Torah. Paul just stated that the two women are the two covenants. Since Israel was not able to obey His Torah through their own efforts with the covenant they made with Elohim at Mount Sinai, Elohim had to make a New Covenant with them and put His Spirit within them. This New Covenant and the Spirit of Messiah only comes to us through the blood of Messiah.
This is a quote from Isaiah 54:1-5.
(Gal 4:28 NASB) And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.
Gal 4:28: We are as much sons of Abraham as was Isaac.
(Gal 4:29 NASB) But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.
Gal 4:29: Isaac was persecuted by Ishmael (Gen. 21:9-10). In the same way, these believers in Galatia are being persecuted by the Judaizers.
(Gal 4:30 NASB) But what does the Scripture say? “CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON, FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.”
(Gal 4:31 NASB) So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.
Gal 4:31: We cannot be children of both the bondwoman and of the freewoman. We must decide if we are to be sons of one or the other. If we depend on becoming Jews for our righteousness, as was the case with many in Galatia, then we are slaves to our works, traditions and efforts, and we are doomed.
If we accept ourselves as children of the freewoman, then we are saved through Yeshua as sons of Elohim through His promise.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas