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not… neither… but…

30-03-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet

In the first chapter of the letter to the Galatians, Paul explains how his apostleship, his evangel and his teaching have no human origin, but are purely based on revelation of Jesus Christ. To make that clear, he used a double negative, three times, in order to show, in contrast, the positive truth. The first time, he did this at the start of the letter:

Paul, apostle, NOT from men, NEITHER through a man, BUT through Jesus Christ, and God, the Father, Who rouses Him from among the dead,

Here is the subject Paul’s apostleship, i.e. his delegation. Paul is not a delegate of people, nor by means of a man did he become a delegate. He was not a delegate of the men of distinction in Jerusalem (2:9) and also was not appointed by one of them. It was by direct revelation of Jesus Christ (who was raised from among the dead by God the Father) that Paul has become a delegate. In verses 11 and 12 Paul writes about the evangel that he preached among the nations:

11 For I am making known to you, brethren, as to the evangel which is being brought by me, that it is NOT in accord with man. 12 For NEITHER did I accept it from a man, nor was I taught it, BUT it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Was it, in verse 1, about Paul’s delegation, in verse 11 and 12, the evangel is the subject. The structure of the sentence is the same, here, as in the beginning. The evangel he evangelized is truly for mankind, but is definitely “not according to man,” i.e. it is squarely against what man would conjure up. Paul had not heard the evangel from a man, and neither was it taught him by a man. Not in Jerusalem, from Peter, did he learn about Jesus Christ, but outside the country, near Damascus. There, Jesus Christ revealed Himself to him from heaven, in a blinding light. However, not only on the road to Damascus did Jesus Christ reveal Himself to Paul, but also later; because already at his calling, he heard from out of heaven “I shall appear to you” (Acts 26:16). For Paul also had to be taught (see 1:12). Therefore, after he was called, he …

16 … did NOT immediately submit it to flesh and blood, 17 NEITHER came I up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, BUT I came away into Arabia…

For the sake of emphasis, after Paul was called as apostle, by Jesus Christ and had received the evangel of the resurrected Lord, directly from Him, he was in need to receive education in it, also. And for this, Paul did not go for consultation with “flesh and blood” and neither did he travel to Jerusalem to be instructed by the apostles, who had enjoyed years of training of Jesus Christ, on earth. None of that – Paul departed immediately into Arabia. Not to be instructed by flesh and blood but by the Lord, Himself! How very significant is the location, in this context, to which he departed straightaway. It is the same location as where “Mount Sinai” is to be found (Gal.4:25) and where Moses, for many days, was taught by the Lord, Himself. Paul’s apostleship, his evangel and his teachings have no earthly, human origin, but are directly traceable to Jesus Christ, Who revealed Himself, in person, to him from heaven above. index_2