4 But when the fulness of the time [the 69th week -Dan 9:26] was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
He raised up a man, possessing all the qualifications necessary to constitute him a redeemer. This was Jesus, who was a "Son of God," in a literal sense. He owed his origin to the Deity's creative power, which formed him in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
But though descending thus directly from God, he was not merely constituted a divine being, for that would have placed him above the nature intended to be elevated; at the same time, he would naturally be endowed with higher moral and intellectual powers than those whom generations of sin had deteriorated. His mind germinally received the divine stamp at his conception by the Spirit. Yet this did not make him different from men. He was of the same nature, but higher in the development of that nature.
We see in the world around us great differences in the same nature. Some men are superior to others in mental and moral capacity, and yet no one would attempt to deny that they are all of common stock with the uneducated and the idiotic. Jesus, doubtless, had the highest mental and moral capacity it is possible for a human being to possess, and yet he was not the less a man on that account. JJB
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, July 1868
He could not have been "made under the law," if he had appeared after the law had passed out of operation; and he could not have become "the end of the law," had he been born while it was in the full career of its national mission. His appearance at the exact time chosen was a necessity from this point of view.
Nazareth Revisited - 'The Necessity for Christ in the Divine Scheme of History'
Of the patriarchs, Jesus said, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." And Paul tells us that the whole Mosaic constitution of things, under which Israel lived from their calling out of Egypt until the time of Christ, was but a schoolmaster to lead them to him.
In the fullness of time, Christ came-the perfect man, the embodiment of all the purposes and ideals of the creation, the central axis around which all the meaning, glory, and beauty of the divine plan revolved. A great change was bound to follow upon this transcendent revelation. For 4000 years all history had been building up to this point.
"We were in bondage," says Paul, "under the elements of the world: but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son."
The fullness of the time had come. Nothing could ever be the same again. The wine could no longer be restrained in the ancient bottles. That which had been brooding in the womb of the Spirit for 40 centuries, first conceived in the promise to Eve, gradually taking shape in the covenants and revelations to Noah, to Abraham, to Judah, and to David, shadowed forth through Moses' law with unexhausted beauty and unsearchable detail, and heralded with ever increasing boldness from prophet to prophet, finally in the fullness of time burst forth into the full view of the world. Nothing could ever be the same again.
The whole relationship of mankind to God was changed, because of the transcendent revelation of Himself that God had made to man in the wonderful life, the terrible death, and the glorious resurrection of His only begotten Son-the perfect man.
"The former times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." That is, to change their way of life according to this wonderful divinely provided pattern.
4000 years had been devoted to preparing the scene for the brief appearance and work of this one man. God's values and proportions are quite different from man's. Time and numbers mean nothing to Him. And we must shake off all the human perspective, as we view the divine plan of the ages.
Bro Growcott - Fulness of Time
Now how was that done? By the mode of his introduction into the world. His mother was a Jewess of the house of David, under the law. Consequently, he was a Jew, as much under the law as any other Jew. He was no new Adam, such as the Renunciationist theory makes him. He was the seed of Abraham, and the seed of David, and, therefore, stood in all the constitutional relations of David as to the law, both Edenic and Mosaic.
The object of Jesus being made under the law was that he might die under its curse; but how could the curse of the law lay hold of him so that he might endure it in his own person, seeing he kept the law spotless?
... "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law."
Here let us realise what the curse of the law means, as regards its effect on the subject of the curse. Paul says, and I quote his words, because I wish to make my ground scripturally sure upon every point—that your faith may stand in the wisdom of God, and not in my speculation or reasoning; he says, in the 2 Cor 3: 7,
"If the ministration of death, written and graven in stones, was glorious," &c. Here he styles the law "the ministration of death." Again (6th verse), "the letter," he says "killeth" (speaking of the law); "but the Spirit" (that is the work of the Spirit of God in Christ) "giveth life." Now then, "cursed is he that hangeth on a tree."
...He hung on a tree, and by that fact the law cursed him. Thus he was made a curse for us in so far as hanging on the tree brought the curse of the law on him.
...Why did Jesus incur its curse in that particular, in submitting to be hung on a tree? Because the Father required it of him, which I will prove.
"This commandment I have received of my Father."
What commandment? To lay down his life. How? He says
"the Son of Man goeth up to Jerusalem, and he shall be mocked and spit upon, and shall be crucified, and rise again the third day."
Therefore Jesus knew that it was crucifixion which was required of him, when the moment came for him to submit—for mind you it was his own voluntary submission so far as man was concerned; but those who are misleading the brethren do not distinguish between God and man in the case.
Jesus meant to say that although sinners would destroy him, it would not be the triumph of sinners' violence, but a submission required of him by the Father. In the garden of Gethsemane when the hour had come, he said,
"If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will, but Thine be done."
In this connection we can understand what Paul means by saying that he was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, which implies that he was commanded unto the death of the cross; for how can a man be obedient unto that which is not commanded? If Christ had refused to do that which was commanded, would not that have been sin? And if Christ had sinned, could Christ have been saved? Where, then, is the talk of Christ having it in his power to enter eternal life alone, without dying?
It is a carnal mind that talks thus; a mind not understanding God's plan. God required Jesus to submit to the death of the cross, in order that he might come under the curse of the law, in that particular way, because any other curse (involving his own personal transgression), would have prevented his resurrection.
If he had stolen or lied, or worshipped Baal, he would have been a transgressor: in submitting to the cross, he was not a transgressor but an obedient child doing what the Father required of him; and therefore he did his Father's will in submitting to be placed in a position which the law cursed.
When he died, the law obtained the utmost triumph it could claim. When God raised him because of his obedience, it had no further claim. So far as he was concerned, the law ended with his death. Its handwriting was nailed to his cross.—(Col. 2:14.) He took it out of the way. Hence when Jewish believers buried themselves in the symbolic grave of Christ in baptism, and rose to a new life in him (the risen Christ), whose name they thus took upon them, they became related to all that had been accomplished in Christ. Christ was
"the end of the law for righteousness"
to everyone of them (Romans 10:4), because Christ kept the righteousness of the law, and yet came under its curse, and gave it all it could claim. In Christ they were therefore free. As Paul said to them
"Ye are become dead to the law by the (slain) body of Christ, that ye should be married to another (in baptism), even to him that rose from the dead."—(Rom. 7:4)
The Christadelphian, Oct 1873
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Christ himself was included in the sacrificial work which he did "for us".
He was himself born under the law that he might work the work that was to be done for others in that position. Not only so, but in bearing the curse of the law away, it had to act on himself. This will be seen if we ask how he took the law away; he did it by bearing it:
"Being made a curse for us",
How? Instead of us? No: by himself coming under it. This is Paul's teaching.
"As it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
It might seem in Moses that the clause about the cursedness of hanging on a tree means mere human infamy: but we must suspend our impressions in the presence of the Spirit of God in Paul. Mere human infamy is not the curse that Christ has redeemed us from, but the curse of God, as evident from his statement in the immediate context:
"As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse, for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them"
Christ was cursed by the law in the mode of his death. He could not be cursed in any other way, for he was not a transgressor of the law. But in this way, he was cursed. And it is probable that this clause was inserted in the law for this very purpose -- that Christ might innocently die under the curse of the law, and so take it away: for the law can do nothing more than kill.
When he died he was no longer under the law, which was made for mortal men, and had dominion over a man only as long as he lived (Rom. 7:1). When he rose, he was free from the curse of the law--redeemed by his death. It is by union with him as a resurrected free man that we obtain this redemption wrought in him. This is what Paul says:
"Ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead"
He was born under the law and redeemed from the law, that we might be redeemed by sharing his redemption.
Law of Moses Ch 18
... how do believers become Sons of the Eternal Spirit, and Brothers of Christ? The answer is in general terms through the adoption which pertains to Israelites, -(Rom. 9:4; 8:15). What is adoption? "It is an action whereby a man takes a person into his family, that he may be part of it, acknowledges him for his son, and receives him into the number, and gives him a right to the privileges of his children."
The Israelitish adoption is that divinely appointed institution whereby modern Athenians, Englishmen, Americans and other Gentiles, all of them, by nature of their "father the devil," mere sons and daughters of Sin's flesh, and therefore constitutionally sinners, or the serpent's seed-may obtain entrance into the family of Deity; be acknowledged by Him as sons, fellow-citizens with the saints of Israel's commonwealth, sons of Zion, and of His household; and entitled to all the privileges of children.
As children by this adoption, they constitute the Israel of God; "not because they are any of them flesh and blood descendants of Abraham, for "the flesh profits nothing;" but because they are Christ's by purchase: who was "sent forth in the fulness of the time"-(Dan. 9:26) to give himself for our sins that he might redeem us, and deliver us from this present evil world; and that we might receive the adoption of sons.
This adoption is received now; and all who have received it, receive also its spirit; by which they can now say, "Abba Father, " and rejoice as the brethren of Christ. Hence, Paul says to them,
"because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father." Wherefore thou art no more a doulos, or bond-servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."-
But, though now sons of the Eternal Father, and brethren of his son Jesus, the adoption is not perfected. The Sin-devil still holds possession of our flesh. This is evinced by "the motions of sins" within us "the law of sin in our members." the law of our nature, or, "the law of sin and death;" by disease, decay, and death.
We are in the bondage of corporeal corruption, groaning and travailing in pain. We are waiting for the Captain of our salvation from heaven, to "change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body," by his all-subduing power-(Phil. 3:20, 21.)
The result of this powerful operation will be "the redemption of our body" from all the evil it needs to be redeemed from. This redemption of the body of his brethren, individually and collectively, is the perfecting of the adoption; when the sons of God and brethren of Christ will be made manifest, or apparent, to the world, that knows them not now, "because it knew him not"-"we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body"-(Rom. 8:23.)
"Ye are all the sons of God in Jesus Christ, through the faith. "If, then, it be understood, how Jewish and Gentile sons of the devil, or sinners, get into Christ, it will be known wherein consists the adoption pertaining to this imperfect state. Paul gives us to understand upon what principle they become sons through the faith: namely, upon the principle of obedience, finding expression in subjection to the divinely-appointed ordinance of baptism; "for," says he, "as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female (in Christ): for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."-(Gal. 3:26-29.) Thus "the obedience of faith" puts a sinner into Christ, the Holy and Just One, the Son of God, of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of David, the King, of Israel, the High Priest, the Sanctifier, the Altar, the First-born, the Circumcised Jew, the First-fruits, and so forth.
In all these things they share who put him on. By adoption they are holy, the sons of God, of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David; kings, priests, sanctified, justified, in the altar and partakers of it; first-borns, and Jews circumcised with the circumcision of Christ; first-fruits and brethren of the King of kings.
Such are the high honours to which they are admitted in this imperfect state, as the earnest of their position in the glory to be revealed. The world doth not know them in these divine relations; but that matters not to them; "having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His"-by the adoption. - Letters from Bro Thomas
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, April 1869
When the redemption price was thus paid the law of Moses had no more dominion over the apostles.
Its curses had become ineffectual in their case. Every whit clean by the arrangement indicated, they could stand up on Pentecost, and under inspiration of holy spirit, could reveal to the astonished Israelites the new doctrine of God's system of justification in the name of Jesus, attested by the law that cursed him, and by the prophets.
Being redeemed from the curse of the law they had received the adoption of sons; and because they were sons He had sent forth the spirit of his son into their hearts; and they could stand up and proclaim without sin "justification through the faith," independently of the sacrifices prescribed by the ritual of Moses. "The faith" had come, and they were no longer under the Mosaic schoolmaster.
The reader, then, will bear in mind the distinction subsisting between "justification by faith," and "justification through the faith." The apostles and prophets were justified, or cleansed from all their sins "by faith;" but since the day of Pentecost no Jew nor Gentile can obtain pardon or purification by the same formula as they.
To believe the word of the kingdom, and that Jesus is Son of God, will, since that notable day, save no man apart from the revealed mystery; nor would the belief that the Christ should die and be raised again, apart from the recognition of Jesus as the Christ, and the word of the kingdom save a believer.
The area of "faith" was enlarged by the apostolic proclamation into "the faith," so that after the day of Pentecost, the doctrine of the apostles presented people with more things to be believed for justification than were believed by Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, or themselves. Till the glorification of Jesus they were
"fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets had spoken;"
for they did not understand that the Christ ought to have suffered the things Jesus suffered, and afterwards to enter upon his glory. Luke 24:25. But when Jesus was about to be taken up and received into glory, he opened their understanding that they might understand the scriptures of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms, concerning him; and said unto them,
"Thus it is written, and thus it behoved the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance, and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem."—verse 44.
Such was the case of the apostles in regard to their personal justification, which resolved itself into—
1. Their baptism of John's immersion of repentance for remission of sins through the word Jesus should preach to them.
2. Their belief of that word of the kingdom in an honest and good heart.
3. Their confession that he was the anointed Son of the Deity and King of Israel; and,
4. Their feet being washed by the personal ministry of the King himself.
Here was a work of the Spirit which occupied a much longer time to accomplish than a modern clerical religion-getting. This is the excitement of an instant which leaves the proselyte as ignorant of the truth as it found him; whereas the cleansing of the apostles every whit was, like that of Abraham's justification, an affair of years.
The apostles were a practical illustration of the word in Dan. 9:27, concerning the transactions of the seventieth week,
"He shall confirm a covenant for many one week, and in half of the week he shall cause to cease from sacrificing and offering."
They belonged to the Week of Confirmation, in which the spirit was causing to cease from sin-offerings; preparing a covering for iniquity; introducing a righteousness for the hidden periods; sealing the vision of the eighth chapter, and the prophet; and anointing the holiest of the holy ones, or saints. Their baptism of John did not cause them to cease from sacrificing and offering according to the Mosaic law: nor did their feet-washing by Jesus. Till he put away sin-offerings by the sacrifice of himself, the immersed apostles were under the dominion of the law, and bound to attend to its requirements; but when Jesus died
"to redeem the transgressions under the law,"
their iniquity and that of all the prophets was covered; and in his resurrection their justification was complete. The righteousness they had acquired was such as the law could not give. This could only represent the taking away of sins, not actually and permanently abolish them: while the state perfected by the death and resurrection of Jesus, invested them with a purification which needed not to he renewed in all subsequent time, and would be found sufficient for the Millennial Period and beyond, in other words, "for ever."
After Deity was "justified in spirit," by the perfecting of Jesus, the apostles no longer offered sacrifices and offerings. They "ceased sacrificing and offering," though sacrifices and offerings continued to be offered according to the law, for nearly forty years after by all Israelites who did not submit to the Deity's system of righteousness exhibited in the gospel the apostles preached.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Apr 1861
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
It may seem strange that (with but one exception in Isaiah) no one in the Old Testament ever addresses God as Father, not even David in the Psalms. Jesus, on the other hand, rarely used any other form of address.
This conception of God as the Father was a great stumbling block to the Jews in the teaching of Jesus. This is perhaps the greatest aspect of Jesus' manifestation and revelation of God to the world.
...Truly, as John says, the glorious Gospel of Christ was a new commandment. And yet it was not new, but the same from the beginning. For this intimate sonship was latent and implied right from the forming of man in God's image. Luke traces the genealogy of Christ right back to
"Adam, which was the son of God"
The faithful line of Seth, before the flood, are spoken of as "sons of God" (Gen. 6:2). And God said to Pharaoh-
"Israel is My SON, even My firstborn!" (Ex. 4:22).
The heart of the covenant to David was, of David's son-
"I will be his Father, and he shall be My Son"
And again (Psa. 2)-
"Thou art My son, this day have I begotten thee."
Twice more in the Psalms, the same thought is approached-
"A father of the fatherless is God in His holy habitation."
"Like as a father pitieth His children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him" (Psa. 103:13).
God through Jeremiah says to Israel, speaking of the future:
"Thou shalt call Me, my Father" (3:19).
And Jeremiah 31:9-
"I am a Father to Israel."
The Fatherhood of God and the Memorial Name are inseparably linked. Israel, as a nation, never reached a degree of spiritual discernment where God could fully manifest Himself
as Father. There was always a thick, fleshly veil on their hearts.
As we realize how little was said, or understood, of this beautiful truth during all the long Old Testament times, let us, like the beloved apostle, be moved by the manner of love and
revelation that has been shown to us, and let us appreciate the infinite value and significance of the first words of the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray-
Bro Growcott - The 144 000 on Mount Zion
11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Would Paul sometimes wonder if all his work were a sad mistake? Wonder if he were vainly wearing himself out trying to draw common clay to impossible heights of refinement and nobility? "I fear for you," he said, "lest I have bestowed labour on you in vain" (Gal. 4:11). And the word "labour," when Paul uses it, involved a measure of peril, hardship and bodily suffering that we can hardly even visualize. Paul, in his life, gave "labour" a real meaning. His was not composed of pleasant and convenient interludes, adjusted to the pampered desires of the flesh, but a steady, pushing, uphill course in the face of every conceivable disappointment and trial.
How he longed to draw them on to a point where he could enjoy deep spiritual communion with them, but they would not follow. Their attention was taken up with other things that Paul knew were so unimportant. They would not put forth the sustained effort and application that was necessary. He must be constantly laying again the elementary first principles when, he told them, they should by now be teachers of the deep things themselves.
Bro Growcott - Self Examination
13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
Paul besought that a certain bodily infirmity might be removed. But God did not remove it. He saw it to be needful for the subjection of the flesh-lest Paul should be exalted above measure. Therefore if the hand of affliction is allowed to linger upon us, let us take comfort from the knowledge that it is necessary for our eternal welfare. That which is withheld would not be for our good if given, for "no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."
15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
Perhaps Paul's most enlightening reference to his affliction is what he says to the Galatians who, like the Corinthians, had once shown him great affection as the bearer of the Gospel of life to them, and then had despised him at the instigation of his enemies. In Galatians 4:13-15 he says --
"Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto you at the first: and my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected."
The word for "rejected" literally means to "spit out," and is used about things that are repulsive and disgusting.
This gives us more light on the nature of Paul's humiliating affliction. In their earlier thankful affection for him they had not despised him nor been repelled by the offensive-appearing nature of his infirmity. He continues (v. 15) --
"Where is then the blessedness ye spoke of?"
"For I bear you record that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes and have given them to me."
It is principally this statement that has convinced many that Paul's "thorn" was an affliction of his sight by a disease which gave him repulsive appearance. This, as a counter-balance to his visions, is considered all the more fitting as a reminder, for it was his eyes that were affected by his first vision of Christ on the road to Damascus.
But it is not conclusive and it is better not to speculate. What he says concerning the Galatians giving him their very eyes, if possible, is not an unusual way of expressing extreme affection, and may have no direct reference to the nature of his affliction.
We do know it was a great burden, humiliation, and handicap. Beyond this we cannot go.
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
Abraham had two sons; Ishmael the son of Hagar an Egyptian handmaid; and Isaac the son of Sarah. Ishmael was fourteen years old when Isaac was born. He was born in the ordinary course of things, and therefore said to be "born after the flesh;" while Isaac was born out of the usual course, Sarah being ninety and Abraham a hundred, she being also strengthened of God, according to the promise, and consequently said to be " born after the Spirit."
Hagar was a bondwoman, but Sarah was free: yet, had it been left to Abraham, he would have made Ishmael his heir as well as Isaac, for he loved them both. But Ishmael manifested an evil spirit towards Sarah and Isaac, which he imbibed from his mother. Moses says he mocked Isaac, or spoke contemptuously of him; which the apostle terms persecuting him, and characteristic of those of Ishmael's class.
Sarah's indignation was fired at this; "wherefore, she said to Abraham, cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac." Although Abraham was exceedingly grieved at this, God approved of Sarah's decision, and informed him that Christ should descend from Isaac, and not from Ishmael, saying, "In Isaac shall thy Seed be called:" nevertheless, because Ishmael was his son, He would make a nation of him also with twelve princes for its fathers.
This fragment of Abraham's history has a signification besides what appears on the face of it. The apostle informs us that the incidents are allegorical. That is, that the two women and their characteristics, represents two covenants; and the, two sons of Abraham by them, two seeds, or classes of persons. The covenants are, "the one from Mount Sinai in Arabia," and the other, the covenant confirmed of God 430 years before that of Sinai was promulgated; and which, being a matter of promise, the subject of which is Christ as the Inheritor of Canaan, and its future King in Jerusalem, now at the right hand of God, is said to be "Jerusalem which is above."
The apostle says that Jerusalem is the subject of both these covenants; but in different periods of her history. During her existence as the metropolis of the Hebrew commonwealth under its Sinaitic constitution, she was represented by Hagar the bondwoman; because the covenant from Sinai "gendered to bondage;" and in consequence the citizens of the commonwealth were in bondage with the mother city. They were "entangled with the yoke of bondage," "under the rudimerits of the world." They were bound to keep the whole law, by which they sought to be justified; and as they could not do it owing to the weakness of the flesh, they came under the curse.
But this state of things was only provisional. God did not intend the Hebrew commonwealth to exist perpetually under the Sinaitic constitution. Israel was not always to be in bondage to the law of Moses. A great revolution was predetermined of God which should result in the abolition of the Arabian covenant, and the dispersion of Israel among the nations. This is allegorically styled, "casting out the bondwoman and her son;" which was necessary for the good and all-sufficient reason, that the Sinaitic constitution was not adapted for the people and state when Christ should sit upon the throne of His father David, and the saints should possess the kingdom.
The law of Moses enjoined ordinances concerning the flesh, such as " the water of separation" (Numb. 19; Heb. 9:3), which would be quite incompatible with the realities of the age to come. Under the law there was "a remembrance again of sins every year" (Heb.10:3); but under the new constitution from heaven, "the sins and iniquities of the people will be remembered no more" (Jer 31:31-34).
The Sinaitic constitution was faulty; it was therefore necessary that it should give place to a better, which shall be established on better promises (Heb. 8:2,7). Hence, the bondwoman was to be cast out, to make room for a more perfect arrangement of the commonwealth.
Since the expulsion of Israel by the Romans, Jerusalem and her children are in the situation of Hagar and her son, while wandering in the wilderness of Beersheba. She is divorced from the Lord as Hagar was from Abraham, and "being desolate, she sits upon the ground" (Gen. 21:1), and bewails her widowhood (Isaiah 3:26).
But, there is to be "a restitution of all things." Jerusalem is to become a free woman as Sarah was; and to take her stand in the midst of the earth, as "the city whose architect and builder is God." She will then "remember the reproach of her widowhood no more. For her Maker will be her Husband; the Lord of Hosts is His name; and her Redeemer the Holy One of Israel (even Jesus) the God of the whole earth shall He be called.
She will then be the metropolis of the world, and her citizens, or children, will be more numerous than those she rejoiced in under the law, as a married wife. The period of her glory will have arrived; the twelve tribes be again the united, peaceful, and joyous, inhabitants of the land; the "greater than Solomon," their King; and His city, "the heavenly Jerusalem," which "is free, and the mother of us all."
But, while Hagar represents Jerusalem under the law, and Sarah under the new constitution of the Hebrew commonwealth, Ishmael represents Israel, glorying in their fleshly descent from Abraham, and boasting in the law; and Isaac those of Israel and the Gentiles who regard the flesh as profiting nothing, and who are the sons of Abraham believing the promises made to him and to his seed. Hence, Ishmael and Isaac represent two seeds, or classes of mankind, who shall not be heirs together of the promise. Indeed, their natures are so opposite, that it would be impossible for them to fulfil in concert the destiny marked out for those who are to inherit the promises.
The Ishmaelite-seed are wild-men, whose hands are against all who believe the truth. They are mockers; for as Ishmael mocked Isaac, so Israel mocked Jesus, and spoke reproachfully of Him and His brethren who are one. The kingdom to be established is a righteous dominion, and requires righteous men for its administration; as it is written, "He that ruleth over men must bejust, ruling in the fear of the Lord" (2 Sam. 23:3). It is impossible, therefore, that the Ishmaelite-seed can be heirs of the promise.
All the honour, glory, and power, of the state were in their hands under the Arabian covenant; and cruel and unjust was the use they made of their position. They put Jesus to death; and persecuted those to whom "He gave power to become the sons of God," believing on His name; and were "contrary to all men; forbidding the apostles to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved" (1 Thess. 2:15,16). They were then "first;" but power was destined to change hands, when they who were "the first shall be last."
They had killed the Heir that the inheritance might be theirs; but they have been destroyed, and the vineyard now remains to be bestowed upon others, who shall render its Lord the fruits in their seasons (Matt. 21:38, 41). Thus, as in the case of Ishmael and Isaac, "he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so," says the apostle, "it is now;" and we may add, ever will be, until the times of the restitution of the state when "the last shall be first," and beyond the reach of evil.
No one had the right, or the power, to appoint "the Heir of all things," but God. Abraham could not appoint Him, neither could He be self-appointed. Abraham wished that Ishmael might be the heir; or as he expressed it, "O that Ishmael might live before Thee." But God would not consent to this. He therefore promised to give him one for the heir, whom be should call Isaac; and of whom He said, I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him" (Gen. 17:19).
But Isaac was not only born of promise; he believed the promises likewise; for the Scripture saith, "by faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come." Now, it is written, "in Isaac shall thy seed be called ;" that is, Christ shall descend frorn him, and all who believe thcpromises, and put on Christ, shall be considered as "in Isaac;" and, being thus "the children of the promise," shall be "counted for the seed" (Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 4:28), who shall inherit the land and the world for ever. "The seed," then, is a phrase that must be understood in a twofold sense; first as referring to Christ, and secondly, to all who are constitutionally in Him. Isaac is representative of both; for Christ was in his loins, and all "in Him," must be constitutionally in Isaac also.
For want of understanding the Scripture doctrine of the two seeds some very fatal mistakes have been made by many well meaning persons. They have gone so far as to deny that the seed of Abraham after the flesh will ever be restored to the land of Canaan; which is in effect to deny the fulfilment of a vast proportion of "the testimony of God." The seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman, indicated before the flood, were afterwards distinguished in the seed of Ishmael, and the seed of Isaac." The children of the flesh are not the children of God: neither are they all Israel, who are of Israel." This is true; but it does not therefore follow that there is nothing more to be done with "the children of the flesh" than to burn them up.
To carry out the allegory, God has yet to make of the Ishmael-seed a great nation; for though Ishmael was an outcast and a wanderer in the wilderness, God promised that he should be great, and dwell in the presence of his brethren (Gen. 16:12; 17:20). The children of Abraham according tothe flesh are "the children of the kingdom," as well as the children of the promise; only these two classes of children stand in a different relation to the government and glory of the commonwealth, and to the dominion of the nations in the age to come. The Ishmael-children were cast out of the government by the Romans; but the children in Isaac will "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father," when the kingdom is restored again to Israel (Acts 1:6).
"In the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory," the children in Isaac will reign as "sons" while the children of the flesh will be the King's subjects, or "servants." This distinction is apparent from the following testimony:
"Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes throughout all the earth" (Psalm 45:16); of whom it is said, "If the Prince give a gift unto any of His sons, the inheritance thereof shall be His sons'; it shall be their possesion by inheritance. But if He give a gift of His inheritance to one of His servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; and after it shall return to the Prince: but His inheritance shalt be His sons' for them" (Ezek. 46:16, 17). The sons of the Prince are joint heirs with Him; but the servants of the Prince are only lease-holders for a certain number of years.
If the natural Israel are not restored to Canaan, the spiritual Israel, that is to say, the Prince and His sons, would inherit a kingdom without subjects to serve them. This would be like Victoria and her family reigning in Windsor Castle over the realm of Britain after all its inhabitants had expatriated themselves to the United States. it requires more than a staff to make a regiment; so also it requires a multitude of people as well as princes, priests, and kings, to constitute a kingdom in Canaan, or in any other country.
Now, the children in Isaac become the children of the heavenly Jerusalem by believing "the exceeding great and precious promises" set forth in "the manifold wisdom of God." They hope to see Canaan and Jerusalem under the new covenant, which will constitute them both heavenly.
They are even now said to have "come to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, and to the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22); but it is as yet only in spirit, that is, by faith and hope: and as the city and land will be made heavenly by the Lord from heaven, their glorious attributes are in truth "above;" to believe, then, in what will be brought down to the city from above, is for the children of the promise in Isaac to stand related to "Jerusalem which is above, the mother of them all" (Gal.4:26).
Hence, the apostle exhorts them, saying, "If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead (to earthly things) and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then, shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. 3:1-4).
Elpis Israel 2.2.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
At first sight, it may seem strange that simple personal occurrences at the beginning of things should have been made to fit in with coming events on a large scale with which they had no direct connection. It may seem as if it would have been more befitting the dignity of sense and truth that the two sets of circumstances should have stood apart, each on its own foundation. Any feeling of this sort is probably due to our mental meagreness, which is satisfied and exhausted with the proximate bearing of things.
With God, there is a depth and wealth of creative mind which is probably gratified by the adjustments and analogies of related parts in the evolution of His plans. We see some suggestion of this in the difference between the gifted mind of an artist and the poor mind of a day labourer.
An artist, in drawing a pattern for some fabric or utensil, will supply a style of ornamentation that is harmonious throughout, whether simple or elaborate; and so an architect, working out a plan for a building, will observe the same style of architecture down to the minutest details, where an uncultured mind would either omit all correspondence or introduce incongruous features.
It is certainly an added beauty to the work of God among men that its opening personal incidents should bear a general resemblance to its final developments on a larger scale--and so be a sort of prophecy--which enabled Paul to say
"which things are an allegory",
Whatever we may think of it, there the fact undoubtedly is; and it would be a pity to make the mistake of those who stoutly shut their eyes and maintain there are no types and shadows connected either with the history or the institutions of Israel under Moses.
Law of Moses Ch 12