Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Galatians 1:13

  • For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.

Paul hated the church of God. Paul hated Christianity that was advancing in Israel at the time because Christianity was against Judaism.

Judaism emphasised the importance of the traditions of elders. They had additional rules on top of the law of Moses. Jews explained the meaning of the Scripture in their own terms, and explained away some of the Scripture to their own advantage. For example, they did not allow healing on Sabbath days, although they fed their cattle on the same days. One of the possible reasons why they showed neglecting attitude toward their fellow brothers and sisters in Israel might be that they feared that God were such a harsh judge, and this view is a gross misunderstanding of the person and character of God.

Isrealites may have feared the punishment of God in neglecting the law of Sabbath, so they made additional rules to the law of Sabbath to make sure they did not err. This meant not even healing was allowed on the Sabbath day, while neglecting the compassion for their neigbours. Their reasoning might be, "Oh, well, it's the sabbath so I'm not allowed to work, and certainly I'm not allowed to do any sort of medical work to help you get better!" "I don't want to be punished by God for caring for you on the Sabbath day!" "That would be working on the Sabbath day! So no! Poor you! Wait till the next day, then I can help you."

Then comes Jesus, and He healed the sick.

Luke 13:14-17

  • But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 
  • Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 
  • And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 
  • As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.


This is my view that the problem with Israelites at the time was that they thought very little of their God. They viewed God as a harsh judge and punisher for the littlest thing committed by them. This is my view that they wanted to make sure that they did not make any mistakes to incur wrath from God, even though they cannot even keep one law in the law of Moses perfectly. For example, Deuteronomy 6:5

  • You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

They thought their God was a hard man like them.
Matthew 25:24-30

  • He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 
  • so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
  • But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
  • Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
  • So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
  • For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
  • And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Pharisees also indicted Jesus' disciples for plucking the heads of grains on the Sabbath day, and this was Jesus' reply to them.
It is important to understand what this means,

  • And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. (Matthew 12:7)

Also, they explained away the commandment of God, "honour your father and your mother" by saying Corban to the money they could have given to their parents to support them in their later years. By saying Corban, the commandment of God was essentially nullified. They could shirk their responsibility to support their parents by dedicating the money to the temple instead. This would mean that if they were angry with their parents, they could give any money that could be given to their parents to the temple instead. Jesus reproved such practices.

Mark 7:11-13

  • But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Paul was part of this religious system, and he hated Christians because they broke the traditions of elders that had become, erroneously, like the commandments of God, yet His commandments were ignored in many instances.

He wanted to destroy Christianity to preserve the traditions of his ancestors, not necessarily the commandments of God.

This is what Saul (Paul) did for instance,
  • And Saul approved of his (Stephen) execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. (Acts 8:1)
  • But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. (Acts 8:3)

But Jesus had mercy on him. 
  • and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:4)

Jesus called him through His grace. Even though God knew all his faults and blemishes, He revealed Jesus His Son in Paul.
  • But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles (Galatians 1:15, 16)

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