Q) This has been bugging me for two months. It says in Galatians 3:19 (around there) , that angels gave the law. Moses said God gave him the law directly. Also, when Jesus was confronted by people that caught a woman committing adultery, he was writing on the ground as a symbol, that he can’t be told about the law because he is the one that wrote the law. What do you think about this? why different stories? Thanks!
Let me begin with elaborating on the context of Galatians chapter 3, just to make sure I understand the fullness of your question.
Here Paul is talking about the idea that the law of God was given to point out to us our inability to adhere to it. When sin entered into the world, it prevented us from being holy enough to live in Gods presence. For God to demonstrate our lowly state to us, he set a standard of living, so that we would know we fall short every time we break Gods laws. So the Old Testament laws were put out there for God to show us that we do not have what it takes to keep up with his standard of holiness.
God did reveal this law to mankind through Moses after he lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt. Mankind did always have the law written on our hearts from the very beginning though, which is evidenced by the fact that we all are born with an inherent sense of right and wrong. After all, if somebody steals from you, you don’t have to be taught that it was wrong. You just feel wronged. But as you grow older, and for many of us, grow deeper into our sinful state, we find ways to justify stealing from somebody else. So while we were born knowing it was wrong, we find ways to excuse it and feel right about it when we do it ourselves. This is why God clearly prescribed the law for Moses to deliver, because though the law was written on our hearts from the beginning, our hearts become corrupted, until we start to claim that morality is relative, and excuse sin.
So God drew a clear line.
Paul’s point in Galatians 3 is that Jesus came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill the remaining part of God’s covenant with us, which was to meet the expectations of the law for us. The law itself does not give life, it instead demonstrates our state of being dead in sin. But Christ gives life by paying our debt from breaking the law, which is required for us to be with God in all his holiness.
As for the point of God delivering his messages through angles to one person, and delivering his message to others Himself directly, let me speak to that.
When you read in one place that the angels delivered the law, and in another that God delivered the law, actually we see these things are one in the same. God has often chose to speak to us through His Holy Spirit directly, and also he has delivered messages to His people using angles. In fact, the word Angels and Messengers can be used interchangeably in the original languages of the Bible. For example, John the Baptists father received a message about his son from the same angle that the virgin Mary received her message from about Jesus before she got pregnant with Him.
Or in Acts, we see Philip was told to go to the road in the desert by an angel, but when he got there and needed guidance on how to minister to the Ethiopian, it was Gods Holy Spirit that ministered to Philip directly.
So when somebody receives a message by means of an angel, it is a message from God. Just like I could call a person and tell them a message, or send my message to them by means of a mutual friend. The message is still mine, even though I can use different means or even people to deliver the message.
In the story you mention about Jesus and the adulterous woman, this is found in John 8:1-11. I wonder if I understand your question, because I am not certain I see the connection to Galatians 3, but I will say this.
First, let’s read the portion of scripture, to confirm we are talking about the same story. Because in this text I don’t see anything that identifies what Jesus is writing in the dust.
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
One thing I am not clear on, and the scholars and theologians can only guess about, is what is the significance of Jesus writing in the dust? Was he just fidgeting, or was he writing something that was relevant? We really don’t know what that was about, so I wont let it confuse the issue.
What I do know is this. The religious leaders brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus to test him to see how he would deal with her. According to the law of Moses, the woman AND THE MAN having sex should have been stoned to death. But these religious leaders did not arrest the man, they only brought the woman, revealing their hypocrisy and double standards. Jesus knew that these peoples goal was not to identify and cast out sin, but to try to put Jesus in a position to condemn himself. Because if Jesus would have approved the stoning, they would have been able to accuse him of not being merciful, but if Jesus was to ignore the sin, then they could accuse him of disregarding the law of God.
So how does Jesus respond? He tells them that the sinless one is worthy of condemning this woman. This silenced the crowd, and the crowd left discouraged. Then Jesus forgives the woman of her sins, and tells her to turn from her sin and move on. Ironically, Jesus being the only sinless one, was the only one worthy of condemning the woman, and the only one who was interested in showing her mercy.
This is a good example of Jesus coming, not to abolish the law of God given through Moses, but fulfilling it for the law breaker and offering forgiveness. Jesus taught us that we will be judged by the same measure we judge others with, and that we should offer mercy by the same measure it has been offered to us by God.
I hope this has helped you to understand the context of these scriptures better. If I have failed to understand your questions, please do follow up with me to let me know how I can better explain. I enjoy our correspondence, and look forward to hearing from you.