In this article we will look over numerous issues that have plagued Christianity as well as the Seventh Day Adventist Church for over 100 years. Deceptions have been taught that have left numerous people with false ideas about the character of God. Are you after the heart of God?
Galatians 3:19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
There are numerous interpretations of this verse. And we will examine the false in comparison with the true. What you will find here as we examine these verses in contrast with the word is that almost everyone has misunderstood these verses.
The Added Law
The verse says it was “added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made”. According to the bible what law was added because of transgressions? A common belief today is that the ceremonial law was added and given to Moses at Mount Sinai. The fact of the matter was God gave first the moral law to Moses.
In Deutoronomy 5, the Ten commandments were repeated to Moses, then following the repetition of the Ten Commandments we have the following account by Moses:
Deutoronomy 5:22 These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
The word “added” in this verse is referring to the Ten Commandments. God gave the ten commandments to Moses and “added no more”. In Hebrews 12 we read:
Hebrews 12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
The same greek word “spoken” in Hebrews 12:19 is the word translated “added” in Galatians 3:19. So in other words after giving the Ten Commandments God “spoke no more”.
Or in other words when reading Galatians 3:19 it can actually be read “It was spoken because of transgressions”. The law was “spoken” at Sinai because of the sins of the people so that they could see their wickedness and repent.
The word “added” in this verse is not implying that the law was “added” in a mathematical sense as many have come to believe. If this was true then how is it that before Sinai, people like Cain recognized that they had sinned?(Genesis 4:7, 13) How did Joseph know what sin was?(Genesis 39:9) They knew because the law was in existence before Sinai.
Because of Transgressions
Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
The law was given to point out their transgressions. Paul did not know sin except the law pointed it out to him. It was something that magnified the sin and pointed them back to Christ. This could only have been the moral law that pointed out the transgression. Especially since the ceremonial was not performed until after the recognition of the sin.
The law would magnify the sin to the people. This is why the law was spoken at Sinai.
Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
The commandment made the sin exceeding sinful, thus it was “added because of transgressions.” Clearly it is the moral law that was “added because of transgressions.”
Ordained by Angels
“It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”(Galatians 3:19)
What law was Paul referring to then that was ordained by angels in the hands of a mediator? Obviously it is the “added law” or the Ten Commandments as we’ve already learned. Let’s look at some verses from scripture to see how clear it is that this “added law” again is the Ten Commandments.
Deuteronomy 33:2: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints [holy ones,—angels]; from His right hand went a fiery law for them.
The angels were at Mount Sinai when the fiery law was given to them. Stephen spoke of this giving of the law and said:
Acts 7:51-53 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (52) Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: (53) Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
Here we see that the angels had an intimate connection with the giving of the moral law on Mount Sinai. The law which these people did not keep. Again clearly “the added law” is the moral law.
The Mediator – Moses or Christ
“it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”(Galatians 3:19-20) God is one. And the bible says “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”(1 Timothy 2:5).
It is very clear that Jesus Christ is the mediator of the Covenant.
Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
Again the mediator of this law was Jesus Christ. What we have learned so far is that Christ is the mediator and gave the moral law at Sinai, the scene was ordained by angels.
Many would like to teach that this law is the law of Moses, and the law of Moses included only ceremonial laws and that it was abolished at the cross. They say that God was some sort of dictator before the cross who had a system of works in place, and that the means of justification was by the law.
God has never justified a single man by the law. Hebrews 11 tells us of the many patriarchs before the cross that were all justified by faith alone, and before the chapter starts, in chapter 10 we read the following:
Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith:
God has never taught justification came by the law. This view teaches nothing less than a double minded god, and by “beholding…we are changed into that same image”(2 Cor 3:18). The personality of God is everything to us as a people. It is important to recognize the truth on these matters so that we can see our Father in a proper light. Failing to see Him as He is will only lead to “justification by works”.
Till the Seed Should Come
Another common misinterpretation of this verse is that this verse refers to the ceremonial law alone and that it was only in place until the cross. They say that the seed Jesus Christ had come and that this referred to what he was to do at the cross rather than teaching that it refers to the second coming.
But let’s look carefully at this verse. Firstly who is the “seed” that should come?
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Christ is “the seed”. So Galatians 3:19 could be read “till Christ should come”. Now the most common “coming” spoken of in the New Testament is the “second coming” which is yet to come. As we shall see this is exactly what this verse is referring to.
Let’s note that a “promise” was given to Abraham and to his seed(Christ). That “promise” included the inheritance.
Galatians 3:16-18 KJV Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (17) And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. (18) For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Though the law is a promise, it was not the inheritance. God had promised Abraham an inheritance. Firstly what is the inheritance?
Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
The inheritance was that Abraham should be “heir of the world”. This promise is to him and the coming seed. Has Abraham received this “promise” yet? Has the seed come to receive the inheritance?
Hebrews 11:8-13 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (9) By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: (10) For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God…. (13) These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
These all died in faith not having received the promises. So when do they receive the inheritance. At the first coming of Christ or at the second coming?
Hebrews 11:39-40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (40) God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Jesus is still coming. And this is when the inheritance is to be received.
Galatians 3:18-19 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (19) Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
The promise of the inheritance has yet to be received. Jesus Christ, the seed of Abraham is coming to receive the promised inheritance that was promised to Abraham and his seed Christ Jesus and all of those who have died in faith.
The coming seed refers to the second coming of Christ.
Does This Imply that the Law is Finished at the Second Coming?
This is another misinterpretation. Many believe that this word “till” means that the law will last only “till the seed should come”. Then it will be done away. That is not what the verse is saying.
The following is a summary of one of many of the common misinterpretations of this verse which we have learned already is nothing less than misinterpretation.
1. They interpret the verse to refer to the ceremonial law which we have learned is wrong. 2. Then they interpret the verse to imply that the word “till” means that the law would cease at the coming of the seed.
3. Then they interpret the coming of the seed to refer to the first coming of Christ.
Some recognize this verse is referring to the moral law and end up interpreting it to be until the cross and they abolish the entire law, moral and cermonial. This is a great deception.
The deception is believing the word “till” limits the duration to which the law was to exist. But let’s look at some verses to see if the word “till” limits the duration to which something should cease to exist.
Isaiah 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
Now if we were to read this text in the manner that many read Galatians 3:19 we would come to believe that this limits the time to which Christ would then be discouraged. After he has set judgment in the earth then he would fail and be discouraged? I don’t think anyone would read that verse with that interpretation.
The law will not cease at the coming seed. Here is another example:
Psalms 112:8 His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.
This speaking of a good man, if we were to apply the word “until” the same way in which we use “till” in Galatians 3:19 we would have to conclude that this man when he sees his enemies will no longer be established and shall be afraid? The word “until” does not limit the duration of the thing to which it is applied.
Daniel 1:21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of King Cyrus.
Does this imply that Daniel did not live longer than this? In Daniel 10 we read that Daniel was given a vision in the third year of Cyrus.
1 Samuel 15:35 Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death.
Do you think that he went to see him as soon as he died?
These texts show that “till” does not necessarily limit the duration of the thing to which it is applied, and does not necessarily imply that the law ceases at the coming of the seed as we have already learned. When we get to heaven and we see the standard at the judgment in the sanctuary (Revelation 11:19) no one will be saying “That old law was abolished or nailed to the cross”.
Under the Law
One more point, which is important not to overlook. Paul was speaking of the Galatians as seeking to justify themselves by “works of the law” rather than by faith. The faith of Jesus includes having his law written on our hearts by the finger of God. (2 Cor 3:3, Heb 8:10)
Galatians 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Now many of the patriarchs were justified by faith as we’ve already read. However, before faith came each and every single one of them were kept under the law. Some have interpreted this verse to apply to a system of law that was only applicable to those before the cross. The truth of this is that it was applicable even to the Galatians after the cross. And it was applicable to all before the cross. (Gal 3:10, 23, 4:4-5, 21, 5:18).
The system by which justification comes has always been the same. Justification has never come by the law. Not a single soul has ever been, nor ever will be justified by law.
Before faith came we were all kept under the law. But what about after faith has come?
Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
So therefore men like Abraham, Abel, Moses, were all freed from being kept “under the law”. After faith came, which each one of them was justified by.(See Hebrews 11) not one of them was “under the law”(Gal 3:23-25). So therefore “under the law” does not refer to one particular people in one particular dispensation of time. This is confusion. This is what is taught in Babylon.
Under grace does not mean that it is now okay to break the law. The bible says “sin is transgression of the law”(1 John 3:4). Here is what Paul said about breaking the law(continuing in sin) after no longer being “under the law”.
Romans 6:15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Do we break the law because we are no longer under the law? God forbid. The only way to be under the law is to break the law. When you break the law willingly you bring yourself under it’s condemnation. This is why Paul says “God forbid”. We are no longer under the law, or under sin, or under it’s condemnation. Why?
Because Jesus Christ took the condemnation for us.
Galatians 4:4-6 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
He has redeemed us from under the condemnation of the law, being made under the condemnation of the law for us. Now that we are no longer under the law, but under grace, shall we break the law(sin)? God forbid.
- The words “added law” also translate “spoken law”
- The ten commandments were added because of transgression
- The Ten Commandments were ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator
- The mediator is Christ Jesus
- The seed is Jesus Christ
- The “coming seed” is referring to the second coming and the inheritance to come.
- The word “till” in Galatians 3:19 does not limit the duration of the law.
- Before Faith is come you are under the law
- The patriarchs and prophets were justified by faith and not under the law
- “Under the law” does not refer to a particular people in a particular dispensation of time. But it can refer to all people throughout time
- Shall we break the law because we are no longer under the law? God forbid.