Galatians 4:21-31

Two Covenants

Galatians 4:21-22 "21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman."

We have talked a lot about Abraham and his offspring, and how his descendants became the nation of Israel. However, when we discuss that aspect of Abraham's life, we are focused upon the descendants that came forth from his son Isaac.

We have not spent any significant time lately discussing Abraham's other son Ishmael. When we take the time to study the life and decisions of Abraham, we learn that when things did not go the way that he expected regarding the promises God had given him, he took matters into his own hands. Without realizing what he was doing, Abraham produced a child of the flesh. There was no way that he could have known then what his actions would create.

Ultimately, as the millennia would pass the Ishmaelite’s were a disenfranchised people. The Jewish people had their God and their place in human history. Christianity had been birthed now for hundreds of years. Yet, there was this people group who seemed to be wandering aimlessly in the Arabia.

Then, just as Paul had warned approximately 600 years prior, the story goes that an angel appeared to a charismatic warrior named Mohammed, and gave him "revelation" about a god named Allah. However, it should be noted that there are sources, which explain that Allah was one of many deities that existed in the polytheistic religions of that area.

When someone tells you that Allah and Jehovah- the God of the Jews are one and the same, it is a lie...they are not one and the same. Mohammed was railroaded by a lying fallen angel. The story goes that it was the angel Gabriel. But an angel of God is not going to preach a gospel that is completely contrary to what God has said before.

Genesis 17:1-22

The Sign of the Covenant

1 When Abram was ninety- nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

9 And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”

19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

The result of Islam is that the story is changed. It is no longer Isaac, but Ishmael that is the promised seed. But the problem is that the Jewish OT predates dates the Quran by thousands of years. In addition to changing who the promised seed was, the Muslim religion also changes the story about Jesus. They state that the real Jesus did not die on the cross. Instead, it was another man named Jesus. The result is that there is no recognition of the importance of the cross as the instrument of God's wrath poured out upon His Son to be the substitute sacrifice for our sin.

People attempt to convince us that Islam is a religion of peace hijacked by radicals, but the truth is that Mohammed was a radical. In the Hadith, which is a commentary of Mohammed's quotes compiled by his followers, Mohammed stated that with one drop of the martyr's blood all his sin is atoned. What this means is that if the martyr gives his life in the fight against the infidel, then his sin is forgiven. In this system, Jesus did not die for humanities’ sin. In this system, the martyr can die for his own sin.

I want to make something clear. Paul did not have all this information about Islam in mind when he wrote this analogy about Isaac and Ishmael because Christianity predates Islam by 600 years. So the religion of the Jews predates Islam by thousands of years and Christianity predates it by hundreds of years, but we're just supposed to buy the lie that Islam has a “holy” book of truth also when they completely changed the Jewish scriptures regarding the promised seed from Isaac to Ismael thousands of years later. And they disregard the atoning sacrifice of Jesus hundreds of years later.

People can call me what they want to call me, but someone is lying and trying to re- write history. Make your own determination. But I am sticking with the version that was documented first. All this was really a historical side note. Now, let's break down the passage.

Galatians 4:23-24 "But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—"

So when we look at the passage, there is an obvious comparison and contrast taking place between Sarah and Hagar and the results of their offspring.

Hagar is known as the "bond woman"

Sarah is known as the "Free woman"

The story can be found in Genesis chapter ?. But we should quickly review the concept. I have taught on multiple occasions that God gave Abraham a promise in Genesis 12 where He instructed him to come out from his father's house. The result would be that Abraham would be the father of a great nation and that through his seed (Jesus) all nations of the earth would be blessed.

I wonder how many people listening to this sermon would raise their hand if asked..."Has God ever promised you something...or have you ever seen promises in His Word that you though were for you only to find that day after day and year after year they never come to pass?

The next question would be..."When that happened, did you attempt to change the circumstances yourself?"

You were in a financial bind and instead of waiting on God and changing your spending habits… going without because you did not have money to purchase, you went and got a payday loan...and another...and another.... Now, you are in such financial disarray you can barely stay afloat financially. If that is you, you produced an Ishmael.

There were things going on at the job that were causing pressure in your life. You were not able to get along with certain people. But God wants you to be able to get along with everyone so that you can be a witness to all paths you cross. He wanted you to trust Him for grace and stick it out because He teaches us things about ourselves in the midst of those trials. Contrary to popular opinion, it's not everybody else's fault. Matt has problems that God wants to deal with and in order for Him to point them out; He often has to place me in uncomfortable situations.

But I didn't like it so I high tailed it out of there and got me another job. You just created an Ishmael.

I'm a Christian and I am married, but my spouse gets on my nerves. She is not willing to let God change her so I'm going to get a divorce and marry someone who is more in tune with God. No sir! No ma'am! You’re the one that is not in tune with God. You want things your way. Your about to produce an Ishmael and the fallout will follow you for the rest of your life. Furthermore, chances are that the next one you marry will be worse than the one you previously had and the cycle may continue until you realize they weren’t the whole problem to begin with. The whole time God was trying to change you, but you were so focused on everyone else, you never grew up as a Christian.

You struggle with addictions. One preacher said that Jesus purchased your victory at the cross and now it is time to believe what the Word of God says. Another preacher says that God uses AA and self- help programs for people with addictions. If you walk into that, you are walking into Ishmael's camp and there is no freedom there. In that camp, there is only bondage.

Back to the story, Abraham became frustrated and weary waiting on God's promise. The result was that he and Sarah took matters into their own hands. Abraham made a child with their slave woman Hagar and she brought forth Ishmael...he was a child of the flesh. What do you mean by that? Ishmael was produced through Abraham and Sarah's wisdom and effort. When it appeared all hope was lost because Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 99, stress started to set in.

“We better hurry Abe and do something time is getting short. There is no hope in our situation. Maybe God wanted to do it this way.” God didn't want to do it that way. You took matters into your own hands.

When you and I attempt to walk in the flesh through our self-effort, through self-help, through man's wisdom, the result is bondage.

Whereas, when we walk according to the in Christ, the result is freedom.

But let's look at the symbolism because Paul is telling us that these two births offer a good analogy of the two covenants.

Galatians 4:25-26  "for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all."

Mt. Sinai is the mountain upon which God gave Moses the 10 commandments (Law). Paul is saying that Hagar was a slave and in bondage. Furthermore, Abraham's attempt, through his own strength to bring forth God's plan resulted in bondage. Similar to the slave woman and her son, the current state of the natural Jerusalem at the time Paul was writing was in bondage to the Roman Empire.

But the Jerusalem that is above describes the heavenly Jerusalem that will one day be brought from heaven to reside in the new earth (Revelation 21:10). In this case, the New Jerusalem is seen as the place where God's presence and power dwells. This Jerusalem is seen as the place where the New Covenant was birthed. It is the place where the plan of God came from. And it is through this plan that we have been birthed into our new lives of freedom through Christ.

Galatians 4:27 For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.”

Now it can get even more confusing if you do not realize that Paul is changing thoughts here. Before, he was using an analogy where Sarah and Hagar were contrasted. Now, he is quoting from Isaiah 54:1. When Isaiah spoke this prophecy, Israel was in bondage to Babylon. The Israel that was in bondage was barren. The promise was that there would be a day coming when Israel would be full of children. The time he was speaking of describes the Millennial Reign when Israel, as a nation, will have accepted Jesus as her messiah.

Galatians 4:28-31 "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free."

The flesh will always persecute the Spirit. In other words, people who are living under Law will come against and persecute those who are living according to the Spirit. The Judaisers were not living according to the Spirit. They were living under Law and bondage, and they were persecuting the Galatians for their attempt to live according to the Spirit.

Jewish tradition tells us that Ishmael began to persecute Isaac, and the scriptures tell us that Sarah told Abraham that the bond woman and the "boy" would have to go because the flesh and the Spirit cannot reside together.

God would tell His children today cast the flesh out of your life you cannot walk in the Spirit and the flesh at the same time. To live according to the Spirit means to trust every day and every moment that what Jesus accomplished on the cross gave us the adoption as sons, and now God's Spirit dwells in us. And God's Spirit is present to give us victory in every area of our lives.

The flesh or the children of the bondwoman would attempt to mix the two. In other words, they would say that it is ok for Psychology and Jesus to dwell together...that Jesus and programs can dwell together. But God said that the bond woman and the lad must go!

So I don't know what you have been mixing with your Jesus. But God's Word would say to you that if it is not faith in Jesus and what He provided through the cross then it needs to be sent out of the camp because the two of them cannot live together.