I was reading Galatians chapter 4 last night and came across an interesting concept. I’ll try to be as direct as possible with the gist, but the entire passage spans verses 21-31. For brevity’s sake, I’ll list the main theme, but please review the entire passage at your convenience.
Abraham had two sons…the son by the servant was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise…an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar…and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all….we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise…“Throw out the servant and her son, for the son of the servant will not inherit with the son of the free woman.”…we are not children of a servant, but of the free woman.
These concepts are more fully expounded in Rev 12 (the new spiritual woman Jerusalem) and Rev 17 (the earthly woman Jerusalem). Here, we see the overall context of the Bible coming together a little more.
In Galatians, Paul states that Abraham’s two sons, by two different women, also foreshadow the two covenants—new and old. However, he compares the covenant from Mount Sinai to Hagar and her son—the covenant of bondage. He goes on to compare Issac to the promise of the New Covenant, which is freedom and the New Jerusalem who is the mother of us all. It may be important to note here that Galatia was in Asia Minor, a heavily Gentile area. Most likely, he was speaking to a congregation that was predominately non-Jewish. He states to them that they are children of the promise of the New Covenant like Isaac.
From the context, it would seem some of the Old Covenant followers had somehow influenced this church in attempts to bind them to the Law (v21). However, Paul states to throw out the old way because it will not inherit with the son of the free woman.
This is an important concept that we still see often today. Paul is stating that the two covenants can’t coexist. The old covenant of bondage must be set aside for the new covenant of freedom in Christ Jesus! We are all children of the New Covenant, Jew and Gentile alike. As Hebrews 8:13 states:
In that he says, “A new covenant”, he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.
This seems to be related to the destruction of the woman of bondage, old Jerusalem. We now live as children of the new Jerusalem in the covenant of freedom!
As we celebrate our freedom today (U.S. Independence Day), let us remember that we are not children of bondage, we are children of the promise—the New Covenant of freedom!