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"Why turn ye again...?"

Gal 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Gal 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Gal 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Gal 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Gal 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Gal 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

Having kept the Feasts of Yahweh for 40 years which are blessed pointers to Yahshua and His Kingdom, there seems to be a growing difficulty explaining why we do this to believing Christians whom we, because of their love for Jesus, (Yahshua) desire to have fellowship with. Their love for souls and dedication to evangelism is commendable and we want to dedicate ourselves in this area and join them. This is a big issue for us, as they seem to think that because we observe and keep Sabbath and the Feasts of Yahweh we may be classed among the ‘Judaisers’ (modern term) as mentioned in Acts 15 and in the book of Galatians.

So this situation has prompted us to write this letter/article, to clear up some misconceptions about Galatians chapter 4 (see above).

The first Apostles had to face this issue in the Jerusalem Council.
The issue Act 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."

Question. Were the Gentiles circumcised?
Answer. No.
Question. Were they saved?
Answer. Yes.

Thousands upon thousands were saved without circumcision. There were many churches made up of the uncircumcised all over the then Palestine (Israel) and Syria, Antioch, Cilicia, Galatia etc. There are many Epistles (letters) that make up our New Testament written to the Congregations every where where Jews and Gentiles worshipped together.

What was Peter’s answer to the problem of circumcision when he noticed that Yahweh was accepting the Gentiles and filling them with His holy Spirit?

Act 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
Act 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
Act 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Act 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Question Were Peter and the Apostles circumcised?
Answer Yes. So this made no difference to Salvation. Uncircumcision or circumcision is nothing. We are all saved by grace, through our Saviour. So the issue of circumcision is ended.
The thought that they should be circumcised as these ‘Judaisers’ were teaching was a big knock to the Gentile Churches. Some of these churches were so discouraged by this and disturbed that some were turning back to their old ways of life, backsliding in fact, and the Galatian Church was one of them (Gal 4:9 “… turning back again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage i.e. back to sin”) so letters were sent by Saul and Barnabas to encourage the Gentile Churches in the north, Antioch and Syria and Cilicia etc.

Act 15:23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; "The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia..."
Act 15:24 "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law..." (the law they are talking about i.e. the law of circumcision) "...to whom we gave no such commandment"
Here, where it says ‘Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law…’ is relating of course to the law of Moses re. circumcision! We know this, because Paul of course continued with Sabbath, part of the Royal Law. He was not advocating the breaking of the Sinaitic 10.
The decision of the Apostles was: Acts 15:20 “We trouble not those who are turned to Yahweh. But we write unto them that they abstain from the polluted offerings to other gods, (idols) from fornication and from things strangled and from blood.”

Question. Why these four instructions “...that they might do well...”
Answer. The reason for these four commandments was, that these four things were everyday occurrences in their former worship of false gods before they came to know Yahshua, which they were returning to (Gal 4:8 “…how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements…”) We see their reaction here towards Saul and Barnabas…
Acts 14:8 After healing a lame man the two, Saul and Barnabas were mistaken for gods on their missionary journey.
Acts 14:14 And when the people saw what Saul had done, they that is the Gentiles in and from the Galatians area lifted up their voices saying in the speech of Lyconia, "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men" and they called Barnabas Zeus and Saul Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.”
“When the Apostles Barnabas and Saul heard, they tore their clothes and ran in among the people (Gentiles) crying out saying ‘Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you. We preach the gospel unto you (here comes the answer) ‘That ye should turn from these vanities unto the living Elohim which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.”
In these sacrifices going on in Galatia, birds and animals were sacrificed to other gods, such as Zeus and Hermes. In these rituals meat was offered, fornication took place, things strangled were eaten and they also ate blood. All this they performed as offerings to these gods “that were no gods.”
Gal 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? These verses are linked together as part of the same thought.
Gal 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
Question. Why do some believing Christians assume that this verse means going ‘back’ to the Feasts of Yahweh? when the subject and issue was related to having been discouraged by the Judaisers who wanted them circumcised. They had been bewitched, they were returning to what they knew. The people who think that the ‘days, and months, and times, and years’ spoken of here are referring to the keeping of Sabbath and the Feasts need to read a verse earlier on in the same chapter, verse 8.
Galatians 4:8 “Howbeit then, when ye knew not Yahweh, ye did service unto them which by nature are nothing but idols. But now, after that ye have known Yahweh, or rather are known of Yahweh, how turn ye again i.e. 'return' to the weak and beggarly elements, (serving them which ‘by nature are nothing but idols’) whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? ”If this was referring to the Law as some like to suggest, then they are saying that the keeping of the Law is idolatry! ("by nature are nothing but idols!") Also, the Gentiles never did keep the Law, so the word ‘return’ would be incongruous!) They were Gentiles, and had never kept the Law, so how could they 'return' to it!

Why do people relate these verses to Sabbath and Feast keeping? Because of Judaisers insisting on their being circumcised, they had backslidden to their old gods, they went back to serve them (Zeus and Hermes) ‘which by nature are nothing but idols’ this service including barbaric acts of fornication, eating things strangled, drinking blood etc. etc. Gal 4;10 Verse 10 They went back to observe their days and months and times and years. That is the days and months and the times and years of Zeus and Hermes (their old gods) There was fortune telling, readers of the stars, necromancers, witchcraft, all going on in their former pagan practices. These were the ‘days, months, times and years’ spoken of.

If it were Yahweh’s Feast days there would be a complete contradiction in the New Testament, and Paul and the other followers would never have kept the Sabbath by joining the other Sabbath keepers every week in the synagogues which they clearly did, and they would never have observed the Biblical Feasts which again they obviously did as recorded many times, especially in the Book of Acts. Gentiles were never ordered to observe the Feasts (Acts 15) but to learn about them by listening to the Law of Moses in the synagogues each week, and we assume that we, too, therefore, as Gentiles are allowed to read and digest it too, and even join our Jewish brethren in keeping the Feasts should we so desire, perhaps as a preparation for the time when Yahshua will set up His Kingdom on earth and demand that all nations "...shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."

Now let us put these scriptures on a right foundation.

Jesus (Yahshua) Himself kept the Feasts of Yahweh (they are Yahweh’s great testimonies to the whole world what He has done through past generations) The apostles kept them, and Paul writing to his Corinthian (i.e. Gentile) church said,
Cor 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven that ye may be a new lump as ye are unleavened. For even Christ (Messiah) our Passover is sacrificed for us.
Therefore let us (Jew, Gentile, male, female, bond, free ) (US) keep the feast, not with Old leaven neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Question. Should we who have had our sins forgiven and washed away in baptism – who have received the promise of the Holy Spirit be judged by other believing Christians if we are all saved by grace?
Answer. Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of Feast days, New Moons and Sabbaths which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is the Messiah. (Christ)