Who's your mother?
Feb 09, 2012
In Galatians 4:22-31, Paul makes it clear that to qualify as an inheritor of the Kingdom, one must have Sarah as one's mother, and not Hagar.
Paul tells us up front that he was speaking allegorically, and not literally. Hagar is the Old Covenant, corresponding to both Mount Sinai and Jerusalem. Sarah is the New Covenant, corresponding to the Jerusalem that is above--that is, the New Jerusalem. He gave the Galatians the benefit of the doubt by telling them in verse 26,
(26) But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.
In other words, the "children" of the physical city of Jerusalem are those who remain bound by the Old Covenant, but the "children" of the heavenly Jerusalem are set free by the New Covenant. Judaism, then, can only produce Ishmaels, children of the bondwoman, born according to the flesh. True Christianity, on the other hand, can only produce Isaacs, the "children of promise" (4:28).
The problem comes when Christians, who are supposed to be children of Sarah, revert back to the fleshly claims of Ishmael. Such Christians become children of the bondwoman, Hagar. In essence, they claim to be of Sarah, but their beliefs and practices show that they really desire to be of Hagar instead.
Pentecost was fulfilled in Jerusalem in Acts 2. But because there are two Jerusalems, one physical and the other heavenly, Christians are called upon to choose their mother. They may either claim Hagar or Sarah. In the early Church this was one of the key issues that threatened to divide the Church. And Paul was in the midst of that dispute.
The Church in Jerusalem was considered to be the "mother church." The Christians there tried to add Jesus to their Judaism, and so they continued to offer animal sacrifices, keep the feasts in the previous manner, and were careful to observe the rituals of the temple. They honored the Levitical priests and considered them to be the true priests of God. It finally took the book of Hebrews to instruct them in the new way that God had provided.
The book of Hebrews shows us how to move from the old way to the new. In fact, it was even called "Hebrews," because a Hebrew literally means an immigrant, one who crosses over to another place. It shows us that God replaced the Levitical priesthood with a new order called the Melchizedek Order (Heb. 5:10), of which Jesus, who was of the tribe of Judah, became the High Priest. If Levi still had the priestly calling, then Jesus was not qualified to be its high priest.
Hebrews 8 then speaks of the tabernacle of Moses, which was only "a copy and shadow of the heavenly things" (8:5). Its sacrifices had to be repeated daily, because they could not "take away sins" (10:4), and so they were replaced by the one true Sacrifice "once for all" (10:10).
Likewise, the New Covenant replaced the Old Covenant, as far as God was concerned. The Old had been broken, as Jeremiah had prophesied, and so the people needed a better covenant (8:6). This New Covenant came through the heavenly Jerusalem, not the physical city.
When men try to fuse the two cities and the two covenants, they are attempting to claim both Sarah and Hagar as their mother. This cannot be done, for in the end, no man can have two mothers. God does not recognize Judeo-Christianity any more than He would recognize a son of Hagar-Sarah. To become a Christian, one must renounce Judaism and leave Hagar.
This is what Israel did when it left Egypt in the days of Moses. Egypt was Hagar as well, for Hagar was an Egyptian. Hosea 11:1 says, "out of Egypt I called My son." God was Israel's father, and Egypt was their mother at the time of their birth as a nation. Spiritually speaking, those Israelites were Ishmaelites, because they had Egypt as their mother.
Ishmael was a "wild-ass man" (Gen. 16:12, literal translation). Hence, when Hagar-Egypt gave birth to Israel, the nation was a wild ass in its spiritual character. But the law made provision for them in Exodus 13:13,
(13) But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb...and every first-born of man among your sons you shall redeem.
All the first-born of Israel needed redemption because they were spiritual donkeys, born of Hagar-Egypt. That is why they could not leave until they had kept the first Passover. That feast redeemed them by the lamb, according to the law. This alone is what made them the sheep of His pasture.
But that generation of Israelites continued to be double minded, many of them wanting to return to their mother, Egypt, rather than face the wilderness that lay between them and the Promised Land.
We find the same problem in the Jerusalem Church many years later. The Pentecost Church was born from Hagar-Jerusalem. This could only happen on account of their redemption by the Lamb of God, who died for them on the cross on Passover. But they were still attached to their mother, Hagar, and refused to leave until 69 A.D. during the lull in the war with Rome. The full break came only with the destruction of Jerusalem, when God literally forced the Christians to leave the bondage of their mother. Only then did the Christians cease to offer animal sacrifice, and they had to take the book of Hebrews seriously.
Now we find ourselves in a strangely similar circumstance. In the past 150 years we have witnessed a growing "messianic" movement that has brought Hagar back into contention as the mother of us all. Teachers have arisen, telling us that Jerusalem will soon become the mother of the Kingdom in the Age to come. They say that a new physical temple will be rebuilt there, and that Jesus will rule the earth from that location. They say that Levitical priests will be called once again to offer animal sacrifices. Many have reverted to the idea that Christians ought to practice Judaism and only add Jesus to the old religion.
Unfortunately, it will again require the destruction of Jerusalem to rid Christians of this old carnal mindset. In this way, the prophecy will be fulfilled, which Paul quoted in Gal. 4:30,
(30) But what does the Scripture say? "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."
God first cast out the bondwoman in 70 A.D. He is preparing to do so again today. It was prophesied in Jer. 19:10, 11 and described as a nuclear war in Isaiah 29:5, 6. Why is such destruction necessary? Because Christians have brought Hagar back and claimed her as their mother. Or, more properly, Christians have claimed to have two mothers. They have appealed to God and set forth her case before the Divine Court.
God will indeed make a ruling. His ruling will not be different from His previous ruling in 70 A.D. Hagar is NOT the mother of the Kingdom, nor can she ever be the mother of the inheritors in Christ. The Old Jerusalem is NOT the New Jerusalem. The old Levitical order will never replace the Melchizedek Order, whose high priest is Jesus Christ. Animal sacrifices will never replace the one true Sacrifice which Jesus made on the cross.
We will NOT go back to Egypt, even if that is the carnal tendency of Christians today. The book of Hebrews makes it clear that all of these old religious forms under the Old Covenant have been replaced by something better under the New. Modern Christians ought not to disagree with the book of Hebrews and attempt to revert back to the old forms found in Judaism. If Jews wish to remain as spiritual Ishmaelites, that is their business, and I will respect that. But Christians have little or no excuse.
In fact, these Christians are, once again, the real reason God must destroy Jerusalem once again.
Dr. Stephen Jones