The Bondwoman to be Set Free: Part 3
Nov 06, 2006
There are three levels of meaning to the story of the bondwoman in Scripture. In a way, they are like body, soul, and spirit. The physical bondwoman (Hagar) is represented by her physical children, today called Arabs and, by extension, the religion of Islam, which means "submission."
The soul is represented by the legal bondwoman (Jerusalem--Gal. 4:25). The Apostle Paul tells us that Jerusalem is Hagar, and her children (legal Ishmaelites) are those Jews who remain in Judaism. When they rejected the Mediator of the New Covenant, they put Jerusalem under the authority of Hagar, the Old Covenant, which had been given under Moses at Mount Sinai. But Mount Sinai was the inheritance of Ishmael, and Hagar ("stone" in Arabic) is a name for Mount Sinai. Thus, they put Jerusalem under the jurisdiction of Mount Sinai in Arabia, and it became the inheritance of Ishmael.
The third level is the spiritual bondwoman, which is the Church in the Pentecostal Age. As I showed in my book, The Wheat and Asses of Pentecost, wheat and asses are the two primary symbols of Pentecost in Scripture. That is why Saul was first anointed king of Israel after searching for his father's donkeys (1 Sam. 9:20), and he was actually crowned king on the day of wheat harvest (i.e., Pentecost) in 1 Sam. 12:17.
It is important to understand these three levels of bondwoman, because they have everything to do with the present situation in the world today. All three love their mother, Jerusalem, the bondwoman of Scripture. All three are competing for her in their own way, and each believes that his mother is the key to world domination in the Age to come. But Paul contradicts this, saying, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman" (Gal. 4:30).
Sarah is the free woman, and Isaac is her son. Isaac's physical children were first given the opportunity to fulfill the promises to Abraham and Isaac. Most of them failed altogether, and only a few were found worthy. In the New Testament, Paul says that "we" are the son of free woman (Gal. 4:31), for that calling was given to the Church. However, most of the Church failed as much as the physical children of Isaac. Instead of using Pentecost as a stepping stone to Tabernacles, they thought of Pentecost as an end in itself.
Pentecost itself was a feast day of Israel commemorating the day God spoke from Mount Sinai to give Israel the Ten Commandments. In other words, Pentecost is associated with Sinai, which again is the inheritance of Hagar and Ishmael. It is therefore a commemoration of both the law and the Old Covenant, which, in themselves, are inadequate to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant. Pentecost is good, and its spiritual gifts are excellent; but it is a wilderness feast, not a feast of inheritance.
Israel came out of Egypt at Passover, received the law at Pentecost, and were supposed to enter the land at Tabernacles (but did not do so because of fear). Thus, the pattern shows us that Pentecost was supposed to train the Church in the wilderness to learn the principles of faith and hearing His voice, so that they would have the faith to enter the inheritance at Tabernacles. Most of them have failed in this as well.
There are, of course, Calebs and Joshuas all through history who live in the midst of the Church in the wilderness. These are the overcomers who have not lost the vision of the Promised Land, who do not desire to go back to Egypt when the going gets rough, and who understand the sovereignty of God even when they run out of provisions.
These are the true Isaac-ites, rather than Ishmaelites. These are the Davids, rather than the Sauls. These are the overcomers, rather than average Christians.
But it is also important not to think dualistically when thinking in such terms. The callings of God are not for the purpose of dividing people, but to train the called ones so that they may bring ultimate unity to all men. For instance, God did not call Abraham in order to bestow blessings only upon him or his seed. God called Abraham as the administrator of the blessings to all families of the earth (Gen. 12:3).
Likewise, God did not choose Israel in order to bless a few and curse the rest. "The Elect" are not the few privileged people, separated from the rest of the doomed and the damned. God chooses the few to bless the many. The ultimate goal is to bring all into the unity of the faith and into the full measure of the stature of Christ. The few undergo special training in order to bring the rest into a greater knowledge of God.
Hence, the Sarah company, the children of Isaac, the overcomers, are chosen for responsibility to bring the Hagar company, the children of Ishmael, and the Church into revelation and maturity in Christ. Those in the Church who think of the physical children of Ishmael as "the enemy" are fortunate that their belief is incorrect, for the Church, too, is Ishmael on its own level. Those in the Church who hate Jews--the legal Ishmaelites--and who make them out to be Satan's seed are equally fortunate that their belief is incorrect, and for the same reason.
There are always a million reasons to divide people. This is the way that the carnal mind thinks, for it is dualistic by nature. In its desire for dominance (the meaning of "Sarai"), the carnal mind divides people into chosen and unchosen, valued and unvalued, good and evil. In this way, the mind justifies its endless battles for position as it strives for dominance.
But the spiritual mind sees "chosenness" in a different light. It sees chosenness as an opportunity to bless others. The double portion given to the firstborn son (inheritor) is not seen as a privilege but as a responsibility to care for one's parents and others.
The promise was given to Ishmael that he would become a great nation. That promise holds true on all three levels. The Arab people have not yet seen how great they will become, nor the Jews, nor the Christians. They will not see it until the manifestation of the sons of God, for these are the overcomers that God has been training for thousands of years to manifest Christ as He really is. When they are manifested, all others will realize that this is what they have desired all along.
In the Tabernacles Age to come, the stone kingdom will grow until it fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35). This will take time, of course, but the point is that the nations will have no need to be afraid of Christ or His people. He is not the angry God of Jonathan Edwards, but the loving Father presented by Jesus Christ. He will not beat people with a rod of iron, but will rule securely, for His "rod of iron" cannot be broken.
In the Tabernacles Age, the Isaac company will inherit the Kingdom, but the Ishmaelites will also become a great nation as citizens of the Kingdom. Only by faith in Jesus Christ will anyone be a citizen of His Kingdom, of course, but this will be an age where all nations will come to the heavenly Mount Zion (Heb. 12:22) to learn His laws and His ways (Isaiah 2:2-4). "For the law will go forth from [heavenly] Zion, and the word of the Lord from [New] Jerusalem."
The law and the word will not go forth from Hagar-Jerusalem or from the earthly Zion, but will certainly be taught from the heavenly perspective through the people of Sarah--the New Jerusalem and the heavenly Zion. These are the true inheritors of the Kingdom.
This is the final part of a series titled "The Bondwoman to be Set Free." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones