From: Norman W. Schaaf
Subject: Galations 3:13
I'm wondering if you can lend a little insight on Galations 3:13. I am
preparing to teach a class this fall on the book. I am very firmiliar
with the very poor wording that has come down to us through the years
confusing Torah with legalism or "works of the law". I am studying in
D. Stern's translation and going along in his commentary. This is quite
possibly the toughest verse in the whole passage, at least for me, and
I'm just not following him on it. I understand that those in the
previous couple verses who "do" the law are by that very "doing" missing
it through works not motivated by faith but by seeking after a
righteousness of their own. Consequently they themselves bring
themselves under the curse. Is this what is being referred to then in
verse thirteen or is the "curse" here referring to the sin atonement
needed by all?
I would appreciate whatever help you can give and any additional study
helps you would recommend on Galations. So much of what is out there is
so very poor. Wuest has some good points but he too seems at times to
confuse the issue of whether "law" is referring to Torah or "works of
Thank for all the good things that come over the newgroup.
We really enjoy the Juice studies as we are students with the Arkansas
Institute and their articles go right along with what we are studying.
FFOZ is a great addition too.
Thanks so very much for your help.
Norm and Annie Schaaf
In Galations 3:8-13 it is written:
8 "And the scripture foreseeing that God would justify (make righteous
/ justify or save) the heathen through FAITH preached the GOSPEL unto
Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So they they which be of FAITH are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it
is written, cursed is every one that continues not in all the things which
are written in the book of the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified (made righteous / justified / saved)
by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith
(Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Hebrews 10:38).
12 And the law is not of faith: but the man that doeth them shall live
in them (Lev 18:5, Ezekiel 20:11, 13, 21)
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a
curse for us: for as it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on
a tree (Deuteronomy 21:23)
When reading the text, it is important to read the text in
CONTEXT. Secondly, we need to read the text with a Hebraic mindset
#1) What is the setting of these verses of scripture? The issue is
HOW is a person justified or saved in the eyes of God. Paul quotes
from the JEWISH scriptures to make his point in the matter.
In Galations 3:8, Paul quotes from Genesis 12:3.
In Galations 3:10, Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 27:26
In Galations 3:11, Paul quotes from Habakkuk 2:4
In Galations 3:12, Paul quotes from Leviticus 18:5
In Galations 3:13, Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 21:23
First, notice that Paul is NOT establishing new doctrine. He uses the
Jewish scriptures and mostly the first five books of Moses to prove
his position. Therefore, the Apostle Paul (Rav Sha'ul) is making a
Torah based argument for his position. Rather than invalidating the
Torah through the work of the Messiah, the Apostle Paul (Rav Sha'ul)
shows how the Torah teaches that a person is justified in the
eyes of God not by works but by faith (and the grace/mercy) of God.
Therefore, his doctrine is not new but it is Torah based and centered
in the Jewish scriptures.
While Abraham was justified by faith in the eyes of God (Galations
3:9), he KEPT the Torah of God (Genesis 26:5).
James uses Abraham as an example to show us that he was justified by
God by faith but his faith was made perfect (complete / full stature)
by his works because Abraham acted on his faith because faith without
works is dead (James 1:20-23).
The issue being discussed in Galations 3 is HOW is a person SAVED in
the eyes of God? Paul answers the question by quoting from the Jewish
scriptures including the Torah and stating that a person is SAVED by
God through faith in the work of the Messiah and not by his own
Christians often get confused and equate law (Torah) with salvation.
This issue should become clear when we examine two Hebrew words,
Law (TORAH) and Jesus (YESHUA).
Jesus (YESHUA) means "salvation" (Matthew 1:21)
Law (TORAH) means "instruction".
When I think of "salvation", I think of JESUS (YESHUA).
When I think of "instruction", (how God wants me to live my faith
AFTER I am saved by YESHUA / Jesus) then this is TORAH.
The Hebrew word, TORAH (Strong's 8451) comes from the Hebrew word
YARAH (Strong's 3384) which means "to teach, to point out as aiming
the finger". INSTRUCTION is what a father (our heavenly father)
gives to his children (those who are saved by faith in Messiah) in
living a life which is pleasing to the father.
Torah DOES NOT save us but it was given by God to INSTRUCT us how
to live our life AFTER we are saved. Yeshua / Jesus was/is the living
Torah / Word of God made flesh. When He lived his life on this
earth, He INSTRUCTED his followers how they were to live their lives
on this earth in a way which would be pleasing to our heavenly father.
One of the Messiah's most memorable instruction sessions is called
within Christianity, the "sermon on the mount". In Matthew 5:16, it
"Let your light (Psalm 119:33,97,111 ... TEACH (YARAH -- 3384) me, O
Lord, the WAY (Strong's 1870 --- (Derek) --- a course of life or mode
of action) of your statues and I shall keep it unto the end ... O how
I love thy TORAH ... thy word (Torah) is a LAMP (light) unto my feet
and a LIGHT unto my path)(Proverbs 6:23 ... For the COMMANDMENT is a
LAMP : and the TORAH is LIGHT) so shine before men (by keeping the
commandments of God) that they may see you GOOD WORKS and glorify
your Father which is in heaven"
So, Jesus / Yeshua said that keeping the commandments (Torah) of God
is LIGHT and GOOD WORKS (not talking about salvation).
In Matthew 5:17, Yeshua/Jesus continues by saying:
"THINK NOT that I have come to destroy the TORAH (a Jewish idiom
which means to wrongly interpret and apply the meaning of the Torah
to your life) but I have not come to destroy (wrongly interpret and
apply to your life) but to fulfill (a Jewish idiom which means to
correctly interpret and apply the Torah to your life) ..."
In John 14:15, Yeshua/Jesus said:
"If you love, keep my commandments"
In Revelation 22:12,14 it is written:
"And behold, I come quickly; and my REWARD is with me, to give every
man according as his WORK (good works) shall be .... BLESSED are they
that DO his commandments (walks by love and keeps the Torah) that
they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the
gates of the city"
Therefore, the first issue is to read the text in context. The
context of Galation 3 is HOW is a person saved? The answer is that
salvation does not come by TRUSTING in keeping the Torah for your
salvation but by the work of the Messiah through his death on the
#2) When we interpret this text from a Hebraic mindset, the CURSE of
the law was NOT KEEPING the Torah. Messiah redeemed us from the
CURSE of NOT KEEPING the Torah (for salvation sake).
The greatest commandment of God is given in Deuteronomy 6:3-7
as it is written:
"HEAR (SHEMA) therefore, Israel and observe to DO it (keep the
commandments and statutes of God) that it may be WELL with thee (a
blessing) that you might INCREASE MIGHTILY ... Hear (SHEMA), O
Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: and you shall love the Lord thy
God with all thine heart and with all thy soul and with all thy
might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in
thine HEART (the Torah written upon the heart) and you shall TEACH
them diligently unto thy children ..."
Yeshua/Jesus said that these words in Deut 6:4-5 is the GREATEST
commandment (Matthew 22:36-38, Mark 12:28-30).
So, therefore, Yeshua/Jesus said that the GREATEST commandment is to
love God and you show your love to God by keeping his commandments
(Deut 6:3-7, John 14:15).
In Deuteronomy 28:1-14 is the BLESSING for KEEPING the commandments
of God. In Deuteronomy 28:1-2 it is written:
"And it shall come to pass that if you will HEARKEN (SHEMA)
diligently (Deut 6:4-7) unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to
observe and to DO ALL His commandments which I command you this day
that ... all these BLESSINGS shall come on thee and overtake thee
In Deuteronomy 28:15-68 specifies the CURSES for BREAKING the
commandments of God. In Deuteronomy 28:15 it is written:
"But it shall come to pass, if you shall NOT hearken (SHEMA) unto the
voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to DO ALL his commandments and
his statutes ... that all these CURSES shall come upon thee and
overtake thee ..."
In Deuteronomy 30:15-19, God reiterates that BLESSINGS will come upon
his people for KEEPING His commandments and CURSES for NOT keeping
His commandments as it is written:
"See, I have set before thee this day LIFE and GOOD and DEATH and
EVIL. In that I command this this day to LOVE the Lord they God (the
greatest commandment ... Matthew 22:36-38, Mark 12:28-30) to walk in
his ways (1870 = Derek ... which is a course of life or mode of
action) and to KEEP his commandments and his statutes and his
judgments, that thou mayest LIVE and MULTIPLY ... BUT if your heart
turns away, so that you will NOT HEAR (SHEMA) ... I will DENOUNCE you
this day ... I call heaven and earth to record this day against you,
that I have set before you LIFE (keeping the Torah and the
commandments of God) and DEATH (breaking the Torah and the
commandments of God) BLESSING (for keeping) and CURSING (for
breaking): therefore CHOOSE LIFE (keeping the Torah and the
commandments of God) that both you and your seed may live"
Therefore, the CURSE was for BREAKING the commandments of God. Teh
BLESSING was for KEEPING the commandments of God. But, KEEPING the
commandments of God DOES NOT SAVE you in the eyes of God. The Torah
POINTS you and sets the standard of God to show your need for the
Messiah while at the same time reveals and INSTRUCTS us how to live
our lives in a way which is pleasing to God.
THE TORAH IS THE TREE OF LIFE
In the Garden of Eden, there were two trees. One tree was
called the TREE OF LIFE (Genesis 2:9). In Proverbs 3, we see that the
TORAH is called a TREE OF LIFE. In Proverbs 3:1,17-18 it is written:
"My son, forget not my TORAH but let thine heart KEEP my commandments
... her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace.
She is a TREE OF LIFE to them that lay hold of her: and happy is
every one that retaineth her"
But one may say, isn't Proverbs 3 also talking about wisdom? In
Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-6 it is written:
"Now therefore HEARKEN (SHEMA) O Israel, unto the statutes and unto
the judgements which I TEACH you for to DO them that you may LIVE ...
Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my
God commanded me ... KEEP therefore and DO them: for this is your
WISDOM (keeping the Torah/commandments of God) and your understanding
in the sight of the nations which shall hear (SHEMA) all these
statutes and say, surely this great nation is a WISE and
In Revelation 22:12,14, Jesus/Yeshua says that those who DO his
commandments may have right to the TREE OF LIFE"
In Revelation 22:1-2, there is a pure river of water of life
proceeding from the throne of God. And on either side of the river ws
the TREE OF LIFE which bare 12 manner of fruits and yielded her fruit
every month and the LEAVES of the tree were for the HEALING of the
Did you know that the PAGES of the Torah scroll are called LEAVES? In
Jeremiah 36:21,23 it is written:
"So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the ROLL ... and Jehudi READ it in
the ears of the king ... And it came to pass when Jehudi had read
THREE or FOUR LEAVES ..."
So, the "leaves" on the "tree of life" is a reference to the pages of
a Torah scroll. Revelation 22:2 is a quote and reference from Psalm
1:2-3 which describes a person who KEEPS the Torah of God as it is
"But his delight is in the TORAH of the Lord: and in his TORAH does
he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a TREE planted by the
RIVERS OF WATER, that bringeth forth his FRUIT in his seas and his
LEAF also shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall PROSPER"
Therefore in conclusion in understanding Galations 3:13, we need to
understand that Paul is NOT making a new doctrine but he quotes the
Jewish scriptures to validate that one is justified (saved) by faith
and not by trusting in your own righteousness through the keeping of
the Torah/commandments of God.
However, by understanding and viewing the scriptures from a Hebraic
mindset, the above truth does not negate the roll of the Torah in the
life of a believer in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah because God's word
states over and over and Yeshua/Jesus himself states that the
GREATER BLESSING that God will give to His people (apart from
salvation) will be unto those who keep the Torah of God.
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. May Blessings come from heaven above,
. And fill your life with Peace and LOVE
Through faith in Messiah and keeping His
To educate, train and equip for study both the Jew and
Non-Jew in the Rich Hebraic Heritage of our Faith.
Please visit the Hebraic Roots Global Network
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