When was Galatians Written?

SummaryBoth Galatians and Acts mention a visit by Paul to Jerusalem and a dispute between Paul and other Jewish Christians in Antioch, but in opposite sequences.  The visit to Jerusalem in Galatians was a private meeting with a small number of important people, while the visit to Jerusalem in Acts resulted in a large public meeting with a formal church council decision.  For this and other reasons these were two different visits to Jerusalem.  But the two disputes in Antioch are the same.  Both were caused by men that came from the church headquarters in Jerusalem and taught that, unless you (Gentile Christians) are circumcised, you cannot be saved.

On this basis a threefold sequence is proposed: First an informal visit to the leaders in Jerusalem, followed by the public dispute in Antioch, which was resolved through a formal Council decision in Jerusalem.  Since Galatians does not mention the Jerusalem decision, it must have been written before that decision, therefore somewhere in AD48-50.

Purpose – To prepare for a discussion of the early development of the church, this page reconciles events in Jerusalem and Antioch, described in Acts, with the events in the same cities, described in Galatians.  This will help to determine where Galatians fits into the early development of the church.

Dates – See here for a table with dates for key events in the early church.  As indicated by this table, chronologists do not always exactly agree on the dates, but they more or less agree.  For that reason the dates in this article are all approximates.

Galatians mentions:

  • A visit by Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem (2:1-10)
  • Followed by a dispute between Paul and other Jewish Christians in Antioch (2:11-24)

Acts mentions the two cities in the opposite sequence:

  • First a dispute between Paul and other Christians in Antioch (15:1-2)
  • Followed by a visit by Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem (15:4-30)

Some argue that Paul’s visit to Jerusalem in Galatians 2:1-10 is the same as his visit to Jerusalem in Acts 15.  There are similarities, such as:

  • The key issue in both visits is whether Gentile Christians must be circumcised (Gal 2:3; Acts 15:5).
  • In both Barnabas went with Paul (Gal 2:1; Acts 15:2).

However, the details of the two visits are too different to refer to the same visit:

  • In Galatians Paul took Titus along as an example of the work he does under the Gentiles (Gal. 2:1, 3), but there is no mention of Titus in Acts 15.
  • In Galatians Paul went to Jerusalem “because of a revelation” (Gal 2:2), but in Acts it was because of a decision of the brethren in Antioch (15:2).
  • In Galatians Paul visited “those who were of reputation” “in private” (Gal 2:2). In Acts “they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders” (15:4), and the entire church council, consisting of the “apostles and the elders” (15:6, 22) decided the matter.
  • In Galatians “those who were of high reputation” (Gal. 2:6, 9) simply “gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship” (2:9). In Acts there was a formal church council decision, where-after leading men from the Jerusalem church were chosen to go with Paul and Barnabas with a formal letter explaining the decision “to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles” (15:23).

Further indications that the visit to Jerusalem in Gal 2:1-10 cannot be the council decision in Acts 15, include:

  • If the visit to Jerusalem in Gal. 2:1-10 was the same as in Acts 15, then the council decision was taken before the incident in Antioch in Gal. 2:11-24 and therefore before Galatians was written. But this is very unlikely because Paul would then have mentioned the Jerusalem decision in the letter to the Galatians, because the entire purpose of Galatians is to argue against the circumcision of Gentiles.
  • If Gal. 2:1-10 was the same as the Acts 15 church council meeting, then James would not have sent men afterwards to Antioch to preach the circumcision of Gentiles (Gal. 2:12).  Also, Peter and the other Jews would not have responded in Antioch the way they did (Gal. 2:12-13).

It is therefore proposed that these two visits to Jerusalem were not the same.

It is rather proposed that the two disputes in Antioch (Gal. 2:11-21; Acts 15:1-2) are the same.  Both disputes were caused by “men (that) came down from Judea” (Acts 15:1) (“from James” Gal. 2:10) and taught “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1) (“the party of the circumcision” – Gal 2:12).

On that basis the following sequence of events is proposed:

  1. Knowing that a dispute would burst out in the open, the Spirit first led Paul to informally visitthose who were of reputation” (Gal 2:2) in Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1-10).
  2. This is followed by the dispute in Antioch, described in both Galatians 2:11-24 and Acts 15:1-2.
  3. This is followed by the more formal visit to Jerusalem, to resolve the dispute through a formal Council decision (15:4-30)

We are now able to date Galatians relative to these three events.  Since Galatians mentions the dispute in Antioch, but does not mention the Jerusalem decision, and since that decision is critical for the topic in Galatians, namely whether Gentile Christians must be circumcised and live like Jews, it is proposed that Galatians was written by Paul while on his way to Jerusalem after the Antioch incident.  Since the Jerusalem council decision is dated to AD48-50 (about 20 years after Christ’s death) it means that Galatians was written during those same years.  It would make Galatians the earliest of Paul’s letters.

This conclusion corroborates with the information in Gal. 2:1-10, namely that the first visit to Jerusalem was “after an interval of fourteen years” (Gal. 2:1).  The key event mentioned in the previous chapter is Paul’s Damascus-conversion (1:16) in AD35.  It is therefore possible that the furst visit to Jerusalem in Gal. 2:1-10 was “fourteen years” after AD35, which will bring it to AD49.  On the assumption that the Antioch-dispute and the Jerusalem church council decision happened within a year or two after the first visit, the Jerusalem council meeting could have been in AD50.

Galatians Table of Content

Next: Building …

Overview of Galatians Chapters 1 to 3

This is a summary of the main points in the verse by verse discussion of Galatians chapters one to three.  Please refer to the verse by verse discussion for more detail.

Distortion

Paul himself founded the churches in Galatia (1:8), but after he left some people arrived there, probably Jewish Christians from the church in Jerusalem (2:17), preaching a dangerously distorted gospel (1:6-9).  Their intention was to force Gentile Christians to be circumcised (2:3, 12) and to live like Jews (2:14).  They reasoned that “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1).  If we use the terminology in Galatians to say the same thing, we would say that they reasoned that man is justified by the works of the Law (2:16).

It was to respond to this distortion of the gospel that Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians.  He labored to prevent the circumcision of Gentile Christians.

The Danger

Paul was concerned that the Galatian Christians suffered so many things in vain (3:4; 4:10).  This implies that these Christians were at risk of losing their eternal inheritance.  They were being compelled to be circumcised, but circumcision, in itself, is not the danger.  The real danger lies in the thinking that people are put right with God by their own efforts (3:3).  People with this conviction will always create a large number demanding rules and regulations as a barrier against sin because they will soon realise that they are not able to keep God’s law.  They will invent rules and regulations to force themselves to obey God’s law.  But such a system of laws invented by humans, founded on the understanding that one must earn your own salvation, turns the mind away from God to self.  It kills love for God, and when love for God dies, love for fellow beings also perishes.  It leads to selfish and narrow-minded criticism of all who fail to comply, which kills compassion.  The Judaism of Paul’s day was a good illustration of such a system of laws invented by humans, founded on the understanding that one must earn your own salvation. Christians that become trapped in such a system are at risk of eternal loss.  This is the danger that could cause the Galatian Christians suffer so many things in vain.

Paul opposes this dangerously distorted gospel in a number of ways:

  • He defends the supernatural source of his message,
  • he states that there is no need to circumcise Gentile Christians.
  • he explains that people are justified through faith, not by the works of the Law, and
  • he argues that Christians are not subject to the Law of Moses.

Supernatural Source

In the first two chapters Paul defends the supernatural source of his message.  He claims that:

He is “an apostle” (1:1), which means to be sent by God.

He was set apart even from his mother’s womb and called through God’s grace to preach Him among the Gentiles (1:15-16; 2:7-8), which gives Paul the right to prescribe what Gentile Christians must do and not do.

He received his message from God, not from men (1:1, 11-12, 16-19; 2:6).

The church leaders in Jerusalem accepted his message as from God (2:9).  This acceptance is practically illustrated by Titus, an uncircumcised Gentile, whom he took along with him on his visit to the church headquarters in Jerusalem, where Titus was not compelled to be circumcised (2:3, 9).

No circumcision required

Paul concludes chapter 3 with the statement that people that have been set right with God are all equal.  He wrote, “there is neither Jew nor Greek” (3:28).

Judaism made a sharp and harsh distinction between Jew and Gentile.  It presented Israel as God’s special people (Romans 11:1), but Gentiles as “sinners” (2:15).

Jewish Christians, by arguing “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1; Gal. 2:3; 6:13, 12), and by compelling “Greeks”, such as Titus, “to be circumcised” (2:3; 6:13), maintained the difference between the circumcised and the uncircumcised Christians.  This caused a rift in the church and tension between circumcised and uncircumcised Christians.

It is this rift that Paul was trying to heal by stating that people that have been set right with God are all equal.  It is a correction of the distortion that argues that there remains a difference between circumcised and uncircumcised Christians from God’s perspective.  What Paul effectively is saying is that there remains no need to circumcise Gentile Christians.

It is rather strange that Paul does not use the Jerusalem church council decision, as recorded in Acts 15, to support this position.  The issue on the table was whether Gentiles must be circumcised (Acts 15:1, 3, 5), and the church council agreed with Paul that Gentiles must not be circumcised (Act 15:19-20).  Perhaps the church council took place only after Galatians was written.  One person proposed that Galatians was written while Paul was on his way to Jerusalem for the church council.

Justification

In 2:16 Paul argues that “man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus”.  In doing so he attacks the foundation for the demand that Gentile Christians be circumcised.

This statement not only explains that “man is not justified by the works of the Law” (2:16), but also provides the correct method of justification, namely “through faith in Christ Jesus” (2:16; 3:10).  The question in Galatia was therefore how one is justified.  To be justified means to be put right with God.  It does not mean to become without sin.  The question is how a sinful human being is put right with God:

By arguing that one is justified by the works of the Law of Moses, the Jewish Christians from the church in Jerusalem argued that man is put right with God by performing the external deeds required by the Law of Moses, seeking to thereby earn justification.

By arguing that one is justified through faith in Christ Jesus, Paul argued that man is put right with God by what goes on in his mind.  “Faith” is the internal mind-set that trusts God and relies on His merciful-kindness (grace).  To summarize Romans 7 in a single sentence, there is no condemnation for one that wants to do what is right, even though he continues to sin.

Many people see the statement that “man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus” as the key message of the letter to the Galatians, but it is merely the reason why Gentile Christians must not be circumcised.  The key issue in the letter is whether Gentile Christians must be compelled to be circumcised and to live like Jews.

Many people interpret the statement that “man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus” as a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith.  However, this argument was used to oppose the error that links salvation to the Law of Moses, and it should not be applied out of context, as if somebody would be saved merely on the basis of the conviction that Jesus is the Christ, while persevering in the lusts of the body.  The faith that saves is not mere conviction that Jesus is the Messiah.  Faith that saves wants to act in accordance with God’s Law; not the Law of Moses, but God’s Law as explained by Christ.

How Justified

After recounting certain historical events in the first two chapters, concluding chapter 2 with his speech to the Jewish Christians at Antioch, chapter 3 shifts the focus to the Galatians specifically.  The first two chapters define the key issue, concluding with the statement that “man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus”.  Chapter 3 provides support for this statement in a number of ways:

Paul provides various arguments in support of justification through faith.  He argues as follows:

Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (3:6; Gen. 15:6).  If this was true for Abraham, it should also be true for all Christians (3:7), because they are his children (3:29, 7).

God promised to Abraham that “all the nations will be blessed in you” (3:8), which means that “God would justify the Gentiles by faith” (3:8).

Even the Old Testament confirms that “the righteous man shall live by faith” (3:11; Habakkuk 2:4].  “Live by” is an Old Testament expression that means to be justified (to be right with God).

Paul interpreted the promise to Abraham, that “all the nations will be blessed in you“, as that “God would justify the Gentiles by faith” (3:8), and adds that this promise was received hundreds of years before the law, and therefore the law did not invalidate the promise (3:15, 17-18).

The promises, which God made Abraham, were actually received by Christ (3:16, 19).  Thus everything belongs to Christ.  The only way that people can become “Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (3:29) is “in Christ Jesus” (3:14), which means that they “belong to Christ” (3:29).

Some of his arguments support both the view that man is not justified by the works of the Law and the view that man is justified through faith:

The Galatians did not have to perform “the works of the Law” to receive the supernatural manifestations of the Spirit (3:2, 5).  All they had to do was to believe what they heard (3:2, 5).

The Galatians began their lives as Christians in the power of the Spirit, but now they are trying to “perfect” their lives by their own power (3:3), which is illogical.

Unless one does “everything written in the Book of the Law”, one is “under a curse” (3:10, quoting Deut. 27:26).  Scripture has shut up everyone under sin (3:22), which means that the Old Testament declares that all people sin (Romans 3:9, 23).  Therefore the law is not “able to impart life” (not able to grant “righteousness”) (3:21).  Therefore (note the words “so that” in 3:22) the promise (to impart life) is “given to those who believe (3:22).

Not subject to the Law of Moses

Another important argument used by Paul against this distortion is that Christians are not subject to the Law of Moses.  Chapter 2 contains three veiled indications of this.  Both the reference to Christ as “a minister of sin” (2:17) and the reference to something which Paul “destroyed” (2:18) are interpreted above as implying that the Law of Moses is not binding on Christians.  Furthermore, Paul’s statement that he died to the Law (2:19) means to be released from serving by the letter the Law.  Chapter 3 states more directly that Christians are not subject to the Law of Moses:

Paul wrote that the Law was “added” (to the promises – 3:18), but only “until the seed (Christ) would come” (3:19, 16).  The law served as a “tutor … to Christ” (3:23-24), “but now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (3:25).

But this does not mean that Christians are lawless.  Paul taught that Christians are subject to the “law of God”, but not in the form given to Moses.  Rather, Christians are subject to the “law of Christ” (6:2).  Christ did not interpret the Law given to Moses; Christ actually replaced it with His own laws.

Israel in prophecy

Large church groups still today maintain a future special and separate role for Israel in God’s plan.  This view is opposed in articles on Romans 9 and 11 on this website.  Galatians confirms that literal Israel no longer exists as a separate entity in God’s plan:

  • Circumcision is “the sign of the covenant between Me and you (Abraham)” (Gen.17:11), but Paul argued “neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision” (6:15; 5:6). Since circumcision has been annulled it seems to stand to reason that physical Israel, as a separate entity in God’s plan, has expired.
  • God gave to Abraham both the promises and circumcision (Gen 17:10). Paul sets aside circumcision, but Paul does not set aside the promises.  These promises remain valid (3:29).  To the discomfort of many Jewish Christians, he taught that Gentiles are now regarded as “Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (3:29; 14), even without circumcision. They share in the “inheritance” (3:18) promised to Abraham.  This is another way of saying that they are justified (3:7-8; Romans 4:13, 16). However, the statement that “those who are of faith … are sons of Abraham” (3:7, see also 3:16, 29) also means that non-believing Jews are no longer be regarded as “Abraham’s descendants”.       They have no claim to be “heirs according to promise”, which also implies that physical Israel, as a separate entity in God’s plan, has expired.

    >>> Galatians Table of Contents

Galatians 3:26-29

3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.


These verses can be divided into three statements:

Firstly, the means of justification with God, namely “through faith” (3:26);

Secondly, the description of justification, using many different metaphors, namely “sons of God” (3:26), “in Christ Jesus” (3:26, 28), “baptized into Christ” (3:27), “clothed … with Christ” (3:27), “belong to Christ” (3:29) and “Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (3:29). These metaphors all have more or less the same meaning.

Thirdly, a consequence of justification, which is the main purpose of these verses, namely that people that have been set right with God are all equal.  Differences, such as “Jew … Greek… slave … free man … male … female” (3:28), have evaporated.

There is neither Jew nor Greek.

But the question remains, in what respect is there no distinction between these people?  Obviously physical differences remain between Jews, Greeks, slaves, free men, males and females.  The sameness or equality refers to something else.  To understand what Paul is saying we have to consider the context:

Judaism made a sharp and harsh distinction between Jew and Gentile. It presented Israel as God’s special people (Romans 11:1), but Gentiles as “sinners” (2:15).  Judaism allowed Gentiles to join Judaism, on condition that they be circumcised and observe the Jewish customs.

When Paul refers to the circumcised and the uncircumcised (2:7; 5:6; 6:15), he includes the circumcised Gentiles under the circumcised. Such people were accepted by Jews.

Jewish Christians, by arguing “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1; Gal. 2:3; 6:13, 12), and by compelling “Greeks”, such as Titus, “to be circumcised” (2:3; 6:13), maintained the difference between the circumcised and the uncircumcised Christians.  This caused a rift in the church and tension between circumcised and uncircumcised Christians.

It is this rift that Paul was trying to heal.  It is in this context that Paul’s declaration of equality must be understood. It is a correction of the distortion that argues that there remains a difference between circumcised and uncircumcised Christians from God’s perspective. What Paul effectively is saying is that there remains no need to circumcise Gentile Christians. The statement that all are equal “in Christ” is equivalent to saying “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything” (5:6). Paul’s primary purpose in writing the letter to the Galatians was to prevent the circumcision of Gentile Christians.

Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise

God gave to Abraham both the promises and circumcision (Gen 17:10).  God called circumcision “the sign of the covenant between Me and you (Abraham)” (Gen.17:11).  Paul sets aside circumcision.  By calling it nothing (6:15), he sets circumcision aside for both Gentile and Jewish Christians.  But Paul does not set aside the promises.  These promises remain valid (3:29).  However, to the discomfort of many Jewish Christians, he taught that Gentiles are now regarded as “Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (3:29; 14), but without circumcision.  As stated by Ephesians:

… when you read … my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known … that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph. 3:4-6)

Israel in prophecy

Large church groups today maintain a future special but separate role for Israel in God’s plan. This view was opposed in articles on Romans 9 and 11 on this website. Galatians as follows confirms that literal Israel no longer exists as a separate entity in God’s plan:

  • Circumcision is “the sign of the covenant between Me and you (Abraham)” (Gen.17:11), but Paul argued “neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision” (6:15; 5:6).  Since circumcision has been annulled, physical Israel, as a separate entity in God’s plan, has expired.
  • Christian Gentiles are now also “Abraham’s descendants” (3:29), while non-believing Jews are not (3:16, 29).

TO: Galatians Table of Contents       NEXT: Overview of Galatians Chapters 1 to 3

Galatians 3:19-25

3:19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made3:20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 3:21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 3:22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.  3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.


The Seed … to whom the promise had been made” is Christ, for in 3:16 it says that “the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed … that is, Christ” (3:16).  People can also become “heirs according to promise”, but only if they “belong to Christ” (3:29).

The Law is not “contrary to the promises of God” (3:21) because the Law and the promises have different functions:

The Law “was added because of transgressions” (3:19), which implies that the purpose of the Law is to protect against sin.  This is confirmed a few verses later, where it reads, “We (Jews) were kept in custody under the law” (3:23), and “the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ” (3:24).  The Greek word that is translated “tutor” refers to somebody that takes children to school.  The NIV translates it as a “guardian”.  The law acted as guardian to the Jews.  The Ten Commandments should therefore not be seen as prohibitions, but as mercy; as a wall of protection against sin, which is a destroyer.

3:21 confirms that the purpose of the Law is not to “impart life”, which is equivalent to grant “righteousness”, which is another way of saying that the Law does not “justify”.  Since this is the answer to the question whether “the Law (is) then contrary to the promises” (3:21), 3:21 thereby implies that the purpose of the promises is to “impart life” (to justify).  The promise is to be “heir of the world” (Romans 4:13), which is a promise of “eternal life” (Romans 6:23).

We” (3:23, 25) in this letter refers to Jews; they were the people that were “kept in custody under the law” (3:23).

In 3:19-25 Paul continues to argue that man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus.  His argument is now as follows:

Scripture has shut up everyone under sin (3:22), which means that all people have sinned.  Therefore the law is not “able to impart life” (not able to grant “righteousness”) (3:21).  Therefore (note the words “so that” in 3:22) the promise (to impart life) is “given to those who believe (3:22).

Thus far in this chapter Paul has provided many arguments to support his claim in 2:16 that man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus.  Some of the arguments supported the notion that man is not justified by the works of the Law.  Other arguments supported the statement that man is justified through faith in Christ Jesus.  But in the current verses he adds a new line of argument, not previously mentioned in this chapter, namely that Christians are not subject to the Law of Moses:

He wrote that the Law was “added” (to the promises – 3:18), but only “until the seed (Christ) would come” (3:19, 16).  The law served as a “tutor … to Christ” (3:23-24), “but now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” (3:25).

This idea, that the Law of Moses is no longer relevant, is also contained in certain statements in chapter 2, namely:

  • Paul indicated that he “died to the Law” (2:19; Romans 7:6).
  • Both the reference to Christ as “a minister of sin” (2:17) and the reference to something which Paul destroyed” (2:18) are interpreted above as referring to the fact that Gentile Christians do not have to obey the Law of Moses.

Christians may generally agree with most of the arguments above, but the conclusion that the Law of Moses is no longer relevant, is disputed by many.  There are Christians today that argue that we must adhere to the laws given by Moses, or at least to the moral aspects of that law.  They might quote Romans 3:31 and other verses, such in Romans 7, where Paul, for instance, wrote that “I myself with my mind am serving the law of God” (Romans 7:25).  They consequently might interpret Gal. 3:19-25 as warning against a wrong use of the Law.  But as shown above, 3:19-25 rather clearly states that the Law, as given to Moses, has expired.  This includes circumcision and even the Ten Commandments.

Also consider about the wider context.  Paul is arguing against the circumcision of the Gentiles and against compelling Gentiles to live like Jews.  This also confirms that the Law of Moses has been set aside.  Someone may argue that Paul set aside the ceremonial laws, but Paul himself does not make that distinction.  The entire Law was “addeduntil the seed (Christ) would come” (3:19).

To Christians that want to retain the Law of Moses I would like to say that Paul taught that Christians are subject to the “law of God”, but not in the form given to Moses.  Rather, Christians are subject to the “law of Christ”:

Paul said of himself that he was “not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ” (1Cor 9:20-21).

He also wrote: “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

A reading of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-) would show that Christ did not interpret the Law given to Moses; Christ actually replaced it with His own laws, for instance:

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ …  “But I say to you that … whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. (Mat 5:21-22)

Note that Christ here replaces one of the Ten Commandments with His own version of that commandment.  In this way Christ replaced the entire Law of Moses with the fundamental principles that existed ever since creation, of which the laws given to Moses were adaptations suitable for the specific time and place and people.

Therefore, one cannot justify the Sabbath (either Sunday or Saturday) simply on the basis of the laws given to Moses.  One has to find the Sabbath in Christ’s teachings.  He said more about the Sabbath than about any of the other nine commandments.  He probably even said more about the Sabbath than about the other nine commandments combined.  If we want to retain the Sabbath, we will have t retain it on the basis of Christ’s teachings, and, perhaps even more important, in the format presented by Christ.

For a more complete discussion, see the separate page on the Law in Galatians.

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