Galatians 3:16-20


Gal 3:16 (KJB)
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.
(Gen 22:16-18 KJV) And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: {17} That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; {18} And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of Genesis 22:18. The word ďseedĒ in the Hebrew is in the singular. In Galatians 3:16, the word ďseedĒ in the Greek is also in the singular. Paul was using this illustration to continue his case in point concerning the last will and testament showing that the promises were not made to the entire world but only to the seed of Abraham. He emphasizes that it was not to many seeds but only one, and that was the Lord Jesus Christ. These promises extended from Abraham right up to the Lord Jesus Christ who was in the physical lineage of Abraham but also was the Spiritual head of the church. This physical lineage came through Isaac and not Ishmael. If you recall Abraham had two lines coming from him, the line of Ishmael and the line of Isaac. (Gen 21:12 KJV) And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. This is why Paul ensures that the Galatians know that the Lord Jesus Christ came through the line of Isaac and not Ishmael. Now the promises were made to the Lord Jesus Christ from the line of Abraham and He is spoken of as a single seed but when He came and finished Godís salvation plan, that seed would be distributed to all the elect around the world who also would become the seed of Abraham.
Gal 3:17 (KJB)
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.
Confirmed before - Confirmed beforehand or ratify previously
Disannul - Make invalid or cancel
Of none effect - Make idle or useless, abolish, or do away with
Paul now reverts to the subject of the covenant of grace. He states that the covenant of grace which was confirmed beforehand cannot be invalidated to the point that it could be abolished. The fact that the covenant of grace God made with Abraham would not be annulled even though the law came into being 430 years after, either Abrahamís calling or when the promise was made to him at the age of 75 and he lived to be 175. If it was the time of his faith test, it would put the date at about 1977 B.C. Israel left Egypt in 1447 B.C. and received the law about the same time. 1447 + 100 (Abrahamís remaining years) + 430 would make it 1977 B.C. This means that grace reigned simultaneously with the law. The covenant of grace is actually older than the law. Even during the period of the law, grace was the only means of how God saved someone.
(Rev 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. In principle, the Lord Jesus Christ was slain from the foundation of the world which was the same time when God named everyone He was going to save. So even before the Lord Jesus Christ came into time and completed Godís salvation program at Calvary, people were being saved which included Abraham. So those who feel that grace only appeared after Pentecost in 33 A.D. are sadly mistaken. God has no other salvation plan but grace alone, even working simultaneously with the law. It is important to realize that the law was not given for the purpose of salvation for the law could not save. (Rom 8:3-4 KJV) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: {4} That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. It is also important to realize that God gave the promise of grace to Abraham while he was yet an uncircumcised Gentile. It was not till he was 99 years old when he was circumcised, 24 years after receiving the promise.
Gal 3:18 (KJB)
For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
(Rom 4:14 KJV) For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: God had given the promise of salvation by grace to Abraham and his heirs but if that inheritance is to be claimed by means of keeping the law, then it is no more a promise because it is something that people do. God made a promise but if it is to be obtained by manís works, it is no longer a promise but an objective. Paul stops that thinking right in its tracks by stating that God gave the promise to Abraham and in the previous verse he just got done telling them that the promise to Abraham and the law had a 430 year gap between them. Therefore, the law cannot be the promise whereby someone can be made righteous before God simply because the law was not yet given until Sinai.
Gal 3:19 (KJB)
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.
Added - Increased or being added
Transgressions - Trespasses or violations
Ordained - Commanded, directed, or arranged
Mediator - Arbitrator
Paul then asks a very important question to these Galatians. Why was the law given? He then answers it straightforwardly. It was added because of the sinfulness of man. It was designed to show that man could in no wise keep it for salvation and their only hope was the covenant of grace. God gave about 618 laws and each law showed how man could never keep a divine law because of the pervasiveness of sin in their life. Now the law was in effect until the Lord Jesus Christ came on the scene and then when He went to the cross and died, the veil of the temple was torn in two, from the top to the bottom, so it cannot be told that man tore the veil. Once the veil was torn in two, it signaled the end of the system of the Mosaic law. It was no longer to be kept because it was a foreshadow of the Lord Jesus Christ and once He came, the shadow was no longer needed.
(Psa 68:17 KJV) The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. When the Lord came down on Mt. Sinai for the giving of the law, there were also thousands of angels who came with the Lord. Then the term mediator is used here to describe Moses who was the foreshadow of the Lord Jesus Christ who was to come.
Gal 3:20 (KJB)
Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Paul now gives a clarification of the term mediator. A mediator mediates between two parties. However, in this case God acted alone when he made the covenant of grace with Abraham. This now provides salvation for all the Jews and gentiles who would become saved until the last day. It could also hold a meaning of the fact that since God is a triune God, He mediated the covenant between His Son and the Elect.