By: Matthew Dyer
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in
Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
Often times when I witness to folks of the Anglo-Israel truth, that the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Germanic, Scandinavian and kindred peoples are the true physical descendants of God’s covenant people Israel, I get a response with the above verse as an objection. This is because it is often used to promote a “Spiritual Israel” doctrine which teaches the New Covenant was not made with the physical people Israel, but rather God is now working with a spiritualized Israel made up of all people. This doctrine is not biblically correct.
In order to understand this verse correctly, we must first understand the context and to whom it was written. So we have to ask ourselves, “Who were the Galatians that Paul was writing to?” Philip Schaff’s Popular Commentary on the New Testament states in the introduction of the Epistle of the Galatians the follow concerning the identification of the Galatians.
“GALATIA or GALLO-GRÆCIA was a mountainous but fertile province in the interior of Asia Minor. It had its name from the Gallic or Celtic tribes which inhabited it. Their ancestors, on invitation of Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, had come from the left banks of the Rhine and the Moselle, and, in company with a small number of Germans, settled in Asia about 280 before Christ…. Galatians, Gauls, Celts, are often used synonymously by ancient writers. The Scotch Highlanders still call their own country Galatia (Gaëldachd), the land of the Gauls (Gaels).”
The Galatians were Celtic people! I bet you didn’t know there was a book of the Bible written to Celtic people. So some may say: “So what? They were still not Israelites or Judeans, the scripture says there were Greeks there also!” Maybe so, let’s take a look at Galatians 3:7.
“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7
Verse 7 also is quoted to prove a spiritualized Israel in the Bible, but this verse taken alone does not prove this concept. If the word “they” spoken of in this verse refers to Non-Israelite “Gentiles”, then one must come to the conclusion that all Children of Abraham throughout the Bible are spiritual children, and not a physical people. Now on the other hand, if the word “they” is referring to literal flesh and blood Israelites from either the House of Judah or the House of Israel, then we have to come to the conclusion that only those physical Israelites who are of faith are to be considered TRUE children of Abraham. This means all Israelites in the world who are not Christian and following Jesus Christ are NOT true children of Abraham, and were just like the House of Israel that God divorced.
“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.” Jeremiah 3:8
We find the Apostle Peter saying something similar to dispersed Israelites in 1 Peter 3:6.
“Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” 1 Peter 3:6
These people to whom he was writing to in 1 Peter 1:1 were flesh and blood Israelites already. So what Peter was saying could be understood to say:
“…you (who are the physical daughters of Sarah) have (truly) become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.”
So could Paul and Peter both be saying in these passages that in order to be a TRUE Israelite one must be Christian first? Indeed! The scriptures DON’T teach you are saved BY RACE, and NOT GRACE. So an Israelite is not simply saved or a true child of Abraham because they are a faithless Israelite, but has to become Christian and be obedient to the Master to become the fullness of what they are supposed to be. But how do we know the Greeks in this passage were actually Israelites?
“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:23-27
Let us ask ourselves who the “we” that Paul is speaking to in verses 23-25? These have to be the same people that Paul is speaking to in verses 26 and 27, wouldn’t you think? Of course, it would only make sense. So it would also be safe to say that the “ye” in verses 26 and 27 are the “Jew” and “Greek” in verse 28; thus we can also understand that the “we” in verses 23-25 are both Jews and Greeks. Correct?
Now let us ask ourselves: “who in scripture was given the law and considered under the law?” This description fits only one group of people in the Bible, and that is the Israel people.
“These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.” Leviticus 26:46
“Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance (Possession) of the congregation of Jacob.” Deuteronomy 33:4
“For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children” Psalm 78:5
No one can deny that the law was given to the Israelites and belonged to them, and were under its requirements. So this identifies both the Jews and the Greeks in Galatians 3 as flesh and blood racial Israelites. But now let’s read what Peter had to say about the Galatians.
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” 1 Peter 1:1
This letter is written to the people of Galatia as well as others. The word that Peter used here is translated “scattered” in the King James translation, is the Greek word “diaspora”, and means Israelites from the dispersion in other countries. In other translations such as the NKJV this word is translated “dispersion.” This word “diaspora” is also used in James 1:1 where James identifies these people as Israelites.
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” James 1:1
There is no doubt that Peter, James, and Paul knew the people of Galatia were both Jew (Judean) from the southern nation of Judah, and the Greek from the northern nation of Israel that were sent into Assyrian captivity, divorced by God for their sin, and then dispersed throughout Europe were in fact both flesh and blood Israelites. They were of the same race.
In Galatians 3:28-29 Paul is explaining to both groups of Israelites that being a Judean Israelite or an Israelite from the dispersion isn’t what makes you a TRUE child of Abraham, but also becoming Christian and following King Jesus. An Israelite who is a Christian under the New Covenant is a true child of Abraham.
“For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” Hebrews 8:8
A very good book concerning the topic of Gentiles in the New Testament is The Mystery of The Gentiles by Ted R. Weiland. It can be read for free at his website by clicking HERE