Yesterday, we started looking at Galatians 4 with phrases like under the law and the elemental things of the world. Today we will look into the next set of verses that often cause confusion.
Formerly, when you did not know G-d, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know G-d—or rather are known by G-d—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. Galatians 4:8-11
I believe Paul is real clear in this passage, but those with an anti-Torah perspective seem to bring up this passage and believe it says not to follow the Torah. Let’s see.
Paul starts out saying when you did not know G-d, you were a slave to something that was not G-d. Could Paul be speaking about the Torah? The Torah clearly says following Torah is how to choose life (Deut. 30:15-20) and to have a relationship with Him, so if someone did not know G-d, they could not have known Torah. Paul must be speaking about being a slave to another. Then Paul asks his audience, how can you turn back to the weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved all over again? I discuss this in the post regarding v1-7. This cannot be Torah. Torah is never described as weak and miserable. It is from G-d and is anything from Him weak and miserable? I hope you said no. Is the Torah what has enslaved people? Again, we have dealt with this over and over again in Galatians 2 & 3. Sin has us bound (Romans 6) and that is what Paul is referring to. Anything outside of Torah enslaves us, so Paul is saying how can you go back to the weak and miserable things which will enslave you.
What are the weak and miserable things? Paul mentions them next…you are observing special days and months and seasons and years. This is the verse that is referenced to say that see it is Judaism/Torah that enslaves. One, remember Paul is obedient to the Torah. Two, Paul teaches Torah. So, could he be saying the days, months, seasons, and years are from the Torah? If he did it would contradict other passages written about Paul or that he wrote. In other passages Paul is encouraging observance of the festivals – Acts 20:16 and 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. Taking this verse in context, Paul could not be speaking of the Sabbath, festivals, etc.
We do not know for certain what specials days and months and seasons and years Paul is referencing, but we can say without any hesitation that Paul was not referencing the times G-d set aside for us.
Is there anything you can add? Maybe you disagree? If so, let’s discuss.
Until next time…kedosh, kedosh, kedosh is HaShem!