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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

History is God's Story: Exegetical Content of Galatians 4:4-5

Galatians 4:4-5 declares, "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."

Paul is writing to the Galatians in an polemic letter against the Judaizers in which he defends his apostleship, his gospel, and Christian freedom among Galatia church. In Chapter 3, Paul is explaining the nature of the law and how it was given to us to produce faith in Christ because it's purpose was not to be righteous by keeping it, but by believing in the One who was righteous and fulfilled the law. Chapter 4 begins in the passage chapter 3 ends with regarding being adopted in the family of God through faith in Christ. He explains how it was possible to be a son and heir in of God in Christ in v.4:4-5 because God the Father sent his only Son at the perfect time in human history to fulfill his plan and promise in all biblical and redemptive hope.

(v.4:4a) "The fullness of time had come." This phrase means an idiom for the totality of a period of time, with the implication of proper completion. These words hold so much history that it permeates the sovereign foundations of God's hand working in humanity to establish the coming of his Son.

There are two things to categories to remember that happened in history to make the time and coming of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to be the "fullness of time."

1. History of Greco-Roman Hellenization - From the period of 344-166 BC, The Greeks, led by Alexander the Great's conquest in his early life, ruled over the known world which spread the Greek culture and language. This is called "hellenization" that is derived from the Greek word hellas, meaning "Greece." The Greek language is koine, which means "common." The Greek language was commonly known in most of the world and could be translated into native tongues because wherever Alexander conquered, he brought with him the culture and language of Greece. This is important because the entire New Testament was written in Greek, the only language to exist in history at that point in time that was known around the world. Absolutely divine authorship was behind the writing of the NT in Greek, so manuscripts could be copied and read all over the known world for ages to come!

The Romans took over as a Republic in 63 BC - AD 135, where General Pompey captured Jerusalem and did not destroy it, but put a governor in place to rule the region named Herod the Great. Roman law, politics, and culture was brought into Jerusalem. All of this is important to note because crucifixion was brought into popular history which is how Jesus died as the Lamb of God, and Judaism began to become the false religious system we read about in the Gospels during the life, ministry, and death of Jesus whom he exposed since he God in the flesh.

Recap: Greek language was known all over the world which was used to write all the New Testament, and Roman Empire comes into power that sets thing up for the arrival of the Messiah.

2. History of Judaism - First Temple was built in 960 BC, destroyed in 587 BC. Second Temple was built in 516 BC, King Herod reconstructs it to make it Herod's Temple in 20 BC. In this period, Judaism Temple worship was at the top of its class because their temple was one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. Jesus came on the scene when Judaism was most hypocritical in religiosity, but high in riches. (As we know, the Temple is destroyed in AD 70, which was predicted by Jesus).

This is important because Jesus was born during the time the Jewish people were seeking a Jew King to overthrow Caesar, the Messiah, Son of David, since 400 years of silence has passed by from the prophet Malachi to the life of Christ. Things changed from "Thus said the Lord" to "It is written." God did not speak during that Intertestamental period because history was being orchastrated to fulfill his redemptive plan and promises to save his people from their sins. God was on the move and establishing things to be fulfilled in the Old Testament in the first century which would be a new age, the age of the Son. Also the birth of John the Baptist was incredibly significant because he was the forerunner of the coming of the Messiah who pointed the way by preaching repentance, faith, and baptism. These all pointed to the expectancy of God fulfilling his plans and promise!

Recap: Jews got their land back after the Romans conquered the Greeks, but the Romans conquered the Jews again once, and oppressed them. Judaism was distorted, the Temple was about wonder not worship, and God was lost in his land. The Jewish people were crying out and looking for the Messiah to come and deliver them more than ever before, marinating the perfect time for Christ to come and establish his Kingdom through the Gospel of hope and eternal life.

Initially history is God's story! How amazing is it that he was silence during the 400 years of silence in words but not works, as he conformed history to work in his sovereign agenda to send his only Son to the world so we could be saved. Thank you Lord!

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