Galatians Part 7 - Galatians 1:14

2. Paul had profited (v. 14) in his former religion, which had a tradition of equating gain with godliness and redemption. 1PE 1:18. A. profit: intr. To make progress; to advance, go forward; to improve, prosper, grow, increase (in some respect). Obs. (1) Paul had advanced in the Jews' religion, and it is a general rule that systems promote those who further their interests, not the interests of something contrary. a. He had been a Pharisee, “...the most straitest sect of our religion...” (ACT 26:5). To be a Pharisee was to be the epitome of the Jews’ religion. b. Pharisees were covetous (LUK 16:14) and self-enriching religious hypocrites (MAT 23:14) who used dishonesty, craftiness and deceitful handling of the word of God along with pseudo-miracles to further their gain. 2CO 4:3; MAT 12:27. c. To profit in the Jews’ religion as a Pharisee was to be in a specialty that maximized the use of religion to prey upon the burdened consciences and ignorance of men for personal gain (MAT 23:4-7). They were the experts, the divines that dared not be gainsayed. JOH 9:34. d. Covetousness was the one thing that Paul knew condemned him (ROM 7:7). He was a tentmaker (ACT 18:3) but one with ambition. The traditions of the fathers had spoiled him. c/w COL 2:8. (2) Paul's post-conversion view on true riches stood in obvious contrast to his former persuasion. EPH 1:7; 3:8, 16; HEB 11:25-26. B. The Jews (especially apostate Jews like the Pharisees) had a fixation on material prosperity, particularly the acquisition of gold and silver. MAT 23:16-17. (1) Their financial drive proved to be their primary stumblingblock to the truth. EZE 7:19; ROM 11:7-10. (2) They basically longed for the power of King Solomon, who “...made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones...” (1KI 10:27). (3) The hexagram “Star of David” flag of the First Zionist Congress of 1897 was adopted as the emblem of the flag of the State of Israel in 1948 and has roots in their ancient Kabbalistic magic. It is overtly indistinguishable from the “Seal of Solomon” from Jewish tradition and Arabic/Muslim occultism which was used as an amulet (charm) or talisman (engraved object assumed to have occult powers of the planetary influences and celestial configurations under which it was made). (4) As great as Solomon was, Jesus told the Jews concerning Himself, “...a greater than Solomon is here” (MAT 12:42). C. Historically, the pursuit of wealth by the ungodly of them had been without scruples. AMO 8:4-6; HOS 12:7-8; ZEC 11:4-5. D. These warped materialistic priorities found their way into the Jewish Christian church. JAM 4:13; 5:1-6. E. The church had to be especially on guard against the advocates of Judaism who had ulterior motives to their ministries. TIT 1:10-11; 2PE 2:3. F. True spiritual Christian Jews paid dearly to follow Christ. HEB 10:32-34; ROM 15:26. G. The proof of Paul's ministry was not the same kind of proof that would have advanced him in the religion of the Jews. 2CO 6:4-10. H. Always beware the advocates of the “prosperity gospel” (1TI 6:5-6). They are the spiritual brothers of the Pharisees. I. Remember that modern-day Judaism is the religion of the Pharisees. (The Unedited Full Text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, art. Pharisees, cited earlier in this series) Galatians 1-1-17 Page 12 (1) The dynamic of modern Judaism is therefore that of the Pharisees: wealth and the assumption that they are a special people who are “in” with God. c/w JOH 8:39-41. (2) That many of them are decent, hard-working, educated people or that some may even be blameless before the law as Paul was (PHIL 3:5) does not alter the blind dynamic of their religion which is pro-Jew, pro-wealth, antichrist (1JO 2:22). (3) A Jew who converted to Christ, Michael Brown, underscores what it was like growing up as a Jew in New York years ago. a. He would often see the words, “Jesus saves” scrawled on walls, etc. but had no idea what that could even mean. It was an unfinished sentence and a foreign concept to him. Some Jews came up with a mocking bumper-sticker that said, “Jesus Saves and Moses Invests.” b. A mid-1970’s Christian evangelistic campaign had a slogan, “I Found It.” Brown’s fellow grad-student, an Orthodox rabbi, countered that campaign with the slogan, “We Never Lost It” and explained to Brown, “We Jews do not need saving.” c. At a dismal point in his life, Brown became painfully aware of his sinfulness and humbly turned to Christ! But these two anecdotes sum up modern Judaism. d. (4) Only when an unbelieving Jew turns from lust and lucre to the Lord will the blindness be taken away (2CO 3:16) and the same may be said of men in general. 1TI 6:9-10. J. Pharisaism/Judaism, loose secular or strict orthodox, is unable to save one unto the kingdom of heaven. MAT 5:20. (1) The only type of Pharisee that makes a good Christian is an ex-Pharisee like Paul who completely forsook that system (PHIL 3:7-8) and the same applies to someone in modern Judaism. (2) The Pharisees which had gotten into the church without abandoning their Pharisaism were trouble for the church and the gospel. ACT 15:24; GAL 1:7. a. A Jew might be one of God’s elect in Christ yet an enemy of the gospel. ROM 11:28; PHIL 3:2-3, 18-19. b. How foolish (like the Galatians, GAL 3:1) are churches which cozy up to Judaism or Zionism and advance their errors for them! c. To impose the abolished code of Moses’s religion upon N.T. believers or support the present or future political aspirations of Zionism does not curry favor with God. 2CH 19:2; HEB 13:9-13.
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