The Bondwoman to be Set Free: Part 2
Nov 04, 2006
The promise of the Holy Spirit was given in the second chapter of Joel. When the Spirit came to the disciples in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted from Joel's prophecy to explain those events.
"I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind" (Acts 2:17). The Spirit was indiscriminate in that we read, "Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy" (Acts 2:18).
Later, Philip was the first to preach the gospel to the despised Samaritans (Acts 8), considered by most in those days to be "the enemy." They, too, received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (8:17).
From here, Philip was sent to a desert place, where he met an "Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians" (8:27). When Philip met him, the eunuch had been reading from Isaiah 53 and needed some explanation of its prophecy. That section of Scripture actually begins in Isaiah 52:13 with "Behold, My servant will prosper. . . His appearance was marred more than any man," etc. These are messianic prophecies of Christ who was beaten and abused before being crucified. But 52:15 is most interesting:
"Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; for what had not been told them, they will see; and what they had not heard they will understand."
The Ethiopian eunuch had just finished reading this passage and was now well into Isaiah 53 about the Messiah bearing our iniquities when Philip interrupted him. "Do you understand what you are reading?"
"How could I, unless someone guides me?" the eunuch answered.
So Philip explained it to him. Then the eunuch wanted to be baptized. What gave him that idea? Isaiah 52:15, "Thus He will sprinkle many nations." This was a reference to the law of sprinkling established in the law of Moses by which men were cleansed at the laver. These were called "baptisms" in Heb. 9:10 ("divers washings" in KJV).
The eunuch was thus baptized in the Old Testament style in fulfillment of Isaiah 52:15. As an Ethiopian, he represented the first of "many nations" whose hearts would be sprinkled to cleanse an evil conscience and whose bodies would be washed with pure water (Heb. 10:22).
When Philip had baptized the eunuch, he was caught away to Azotus and from there he preached the Word all the way to Caesarea (Acts 8:40). This, too, prophesied of the Word going to Rome, for Caesarea was named for the Roman Caesars and was a type of Rome itself. This foreshadowed the Romans receiving the Holy Spirit as well, which began in Acts 10 with Cornelius, the Roman Centurion.
All of this forms the backdrop to the prophecy that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all flesh, not merely Israelite flesh. Likewise, the Holy Spirit would not be limited by class lines either, for even the bondslaves, both men and women, were eligible to receive the Spirit of God.
My point is that Hagar was a bondwoman, and so she was included in the promise of the Holy Spirit. Hagar is the physical mother of the Arab peoples, the Ishmaelites. Hagar and Ishmael represent a much larger group, of course, for they represent all carnally-minded people. In this broader sense, they represent Jerusalem and the children of Judaism, as Paul tells us in Galatians 4.
But beyond that, they also represent the Church in the Age of Pentecost, which has God as their Father, and Egypt as their mother. In other words, they have Abraham's faith, but they also have the daily practices of Egypt. They are carnally-minded Christians, not really understanding the sovereignty of God, and so they murmur and complain about their adverse situations as much as Israel did in the wilderness under Moses. The name "Hagar" is related to the Hebrew word hagaw, which means "to murmur." (See Strong's Concordance #1897.)
The bad news is that they are a mixed bunch. The good news is that they have the promise of the Holy Spirit. And this is precisely what we could well see fulfilled in the coming year, the year of Noah, for the flood was upon the earth for a full year. Noah did not actually leave the ark until Chesvan 27 (Gen. 8:14), a year and ten days after the flood began (Gen. 7:11). But since their years were lunar years (354 days each), this actually represented a full solar year of at least 364 days.
When the angel of the Lord met Hagar in the wilderness in Genesis 16, he gave her a very important revelation that is relevant to the Hagar company today (on every level). Hagar was pregnant with Ishmael, and the angel told her to name him Ishmael, "God hears," because "the Lord has heard your affliction."
Hagar had been abused at the hand of Sarai, Abram's wife, for Sarai herself still needed a little spiritual development. One may argue, of course, that Hagar deserved it, and no doubt she did, but this still does not excuse Sarai's behavior. Both women were carnally-minded at that point. Keep in mind that Sarai's name means "dominative," and her name had not yet been changed to Sarah, "princess."
In other words, Sarai prophesies a dominative spirit. Her name actually is related to another Hebrew word having the same spelling, which means "hostile" (Strong's #8298).
Apart from the Holy Spirit, represented by the "h" that was later added to her name, Sarai had an problem with domination and hostility toward Hagar. This problem has manifested on all levels in recent history as well, as Hagar's descendants (physical and spiritual) have been treated like "the enemy" instead of as future believers. Gen. 16:7 says of Hagar,
"Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur."
A few verses later we find this well prophetically named Beer-lahai-roi, "for she said, Do I see, here, even after the vision?" (vs. 13, Dr. Bullinger's rendering). The Interlinear Bible renders it, "The well of the Living One Seeing Me."
Either way, it is a promise to Hagar. According to Bullinger's rendering, the people of Hagar were to have their eyes opened to see God after receiving the vision. In other words, it foreshadows Joel 2:28 where the young men (along with the bondmen and bondwomen) will see visions when the Spirit is given.
By the Interlinear rendering of the well's name, it prophesies God "seeing" Hagar. The act of seeing has greater significance than just passively seeing with one's eyes. It has to do with recognition in the divine court, as in "The King will SEE you now." Hence, "the Lord has heard your affliction" (Gen. 16:11).
Hagar had a petition, a grievance, and she will yet have her day in court. Today, this prophesies the day that God will yet hear the complaint of her physical descendants, for they have been abused at the hand of Sarai, Old Covenant believers--both Judaism and carnal Christianity.
The verdict, as prophesied in the story of Genesis 16, is that she will bring forth a son. Later, in Genesis 17, God told Abraham that Ishmael would become "a great nation." Ishmael was not the only-begotten son (i.e., the inheritor), but yet he would be blessed in the end, once the divine plan unfolded.
This prophecy is of utmost importance to the Church under Pentecost, for it applies directly to them as well. They will not be inheritors in the Tabernacles Age to come, for they will not rule and reign with Christ. Their portion will continue to be the pentecostal portion, which is an "earnest of the Spirit." The fulness of the Spirit is for the overcomers, who will need it to rule properly in the Age to come.
This is the second part of a series titled "The Bondwoman to be Set Free." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones