In the last post, we discussed the inheritance for Israel, showing that because of immaturity, they were the same as bondslaves. Their immaturity was not based upon age, but upon their legal status under the Law. An heir cannot inherit until reaching legal age. This we covered in Galatians 4:1-2. When and how did Israel’s inheritance come?
Legal Status as Children
According to Paul, Israel’s legal status was that of a child, a minor too young to receive their inheritance. Thus, they were under “stewards” until the time appointed of the Father. This is described as being under the “elements of the world.”
Even so we, wehen we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world,” (Galatians 4:3)
This is quite an interesting use of the phrase “elements of the world.” From the Greek term stoichea, it means the beginning principles of a religious system. In other words, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the periodic table of elements. We are not speaking of physical cosmology, but of covenantal cosmology. In other words, the world here refers to the Jewish cosmos.
The Jews were in bondage under the Law of Moses. That defined that legal status as children. As such, they could not receive the inheritance as long as they were under bondage to the Law.
How Israel Attains to Legal Age
In order for Israel to attain to legal age, they must be delivered or released from the bondage of the Law. In other words, they must turn their loyalties away from the temple services, animal sacrifiices, the Levitical priesthood, circumcision in the flesh, and the land of Palestine to the Messiah. Paul makes clear that in no other way could they attain legal status. “But when the fullness of hte time had come, God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who ere under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5).
Here, it is stated that God sent His Son Jesus, the Jews Messiah, in the fullness of the time to bring Israel to the legal age where they could inherit. However, to do so, they must be redeemed from their status as slaves to the law. What God wanted for them was adoption as sons. Sons have an inheritance. Servants do not. More importantly, firstborn sons have the most privileged heir status.
In the previous chapter, Paul affirms how Israel becomes sons of God freeing themselves from the Law. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jeus. And if you are Chirst’s then you are Abrahamn’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
In future studies, we will continue on this promise and talk more about deliverance from the elements of the world, the tranformation of seed and the adoption as sons. For an enlightening study on Israel’s inheritance, see Eschatology in Galatians, Abraham Had Two Sons. Available as downloadable ebook, only $5.50.
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