The Dichotomy of Sonships
Vol 24 No 04
Series Number: 6
A dichotomy is a pairing or dividing into two parts, groups, or classes when the parts are distinctly contrasted to each other. That is precisely what we have, not only in the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31, but throughout the Bible. We have the physical or material world contrasted in many ways with the spiritual or spirit world.
In 1Corinthians 15:44-50 the Scriptures speak of the contrast of the natural body and the spirit body. We have the earthy body and the heavenly body. There is the mere human body and there is the human body that has been made into a divine (spirit, heavenly) body. The mere human body is enslaved to the laws of the physical universe, while the divine body is free from the physical laws of the universe.
Throughout the Scriptures evil is contrasted with good, by grace through faith obedience which is contrasted with flesh obedience, the faithful are contrasted with the unfaithful, the carnal are contrasted with the spiritual, the righteous are contrasted with the unrighteous. These dichotomies are constantly emphasized from Genesis to Revelation far more than we think.
In the allegory in Galatians 4:21-31, we have the following dichotomy:
1. A slave mother contrasted to a free mother.
2. A slave son contrasted to a free son.
3. A slave sonship contrasted to a free sonship.
4. The Law Covenant contrasted to the New Covenant.
5. The earthly Jerusalem contrasted to the New Jerusalem.
6. The Law Covenant as an undesirable yoke of bondage contrasted to the New Covenant with its divine freedom of Christ in His deified firstborn sonship.
7. God's sons in the flesh persecuting God's sons in the Spirit: it is not lost people persecuting saved people, but God's people, who are corrupting God's Word with Protestant doctrine, persecuting God's covenant people, who are daring to ferret out the true Gospel and stand fast in the grace of God, Galatians 2:1-14; 4:16,29; 5:11 6:11-17.
8. Clinging to the Law Covenant (which could make nothing perfect, Hebrews 7:19) and thereby forfeiting the divine inheritance of the firstborn sonship of Christ (Galatians 4:30-31), contrasted to obeying only the New Covenant which provided and is still providing the true "new and living way" (the freshly slain and quickened back to life way) of divine access into the heavenly holy of holies, Hebrews 7:19; 10:19-22)
9. Aborting the divine firstborn sonship of Christ by being cut off from Christ as a result of trying to obey both the Law Covenant and the New Covenant, contrasted to pursuing the covenant promises in the body of Christ by grace through faith obedience under the New Covenant only, Galatians 5:1-4.
10. Buckling under and giving in to the pressures and persecutions by the flesh sons and to the pleasures of the earthy world (all of Galatians), contrasted to standing fast in the freedom of the firstborn sonship of Christ while enduring constant adversities in order to qualify for that divine sonship (All of Galatians).
I. TRAVAILING IN BIRTH AGAIN
"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you," Galatians 4:19
Paul could wish himself accursed from Christ for his brethren's sake, Romans 9:1-3. On the one hand, his brethren were all the nation of Israel; on the other hand, his brethren were those in the Jerusalem church, which church remained a staunch Law-keeping church throughout its history. And, of course, his true brethren were those in the faith of Christ in a true church. Moreover, emissaries out of the Jerusalem church visited the church in Antioch insisting that both Jew and Gentile Christians must keep the Law Covenant in order to receive covenant salvation – the salvation of the life, promised to those who by grace through faith faithfully endure the required and severe covenant training, Act 15; Deuteronomy 8; Isaiah 48:9-12; Amo 3:1-2.
This caused the first very sharp and major dispute between these emissaries on the one hand and Paul and Barnabas on the other, which took place in the church in Antioch. The dispute was partially settled in the Jerusalem church when the Lord sent Paul and Barnabas up there to defend the truth that the Law Covenant had been fulfilled and set aside, Act 15; Galatians 2:1-10.
This Jerusalem meeting produced the second major conflict that Paul and Barnabas had with the Law-keeping hard core in the Jerusalem church. Though Paul and Barnabas, with Peter joining in, won a major victory for the true Gospel of Christ, the matter was not conclusively settled, not at all. After Paul and his company returned to Antioch, Peter was badly mauled by the Law-keepers who had now gained complete control of the Jerusalem church, with James, the Lord's half brother, becoming their captive leader. The obvious result was that the Lord moved Peter to go to Antioch for further greatly needed instruction and strength.
More than this, God moved Peter to flee from the terrible abuse he was receiving in the Jerusalem church after the Jerusalem meeting (Act 15; Galatians 2:1-6; Galatians 2:11-14), and take refuge at Antioch and thereby provided the occasion for a third major confrontation between Paul and the now adamant Law-keeping Jerusalem church. This last passage (Galatians 2:11-14) makes it necessary to understand that there was a major battle that took place in the Jerusalem church after Paul and Barnabas and company returned to Antioch.
Powerful men of the Law-keeping sect of the Jerusalem church were too powerful for Peter and the other apostles in the Jerusalem church and had won complete control of the Jerusalem church. As a further result, the Lord also permitted the powerful and influential Law-keeping leaders in the Jerusalem church to dare think they could now handle and overwhelm Paul and Barnabas as they had done Peter and those with him, thereby inducing these powerful Law-keeping leaders to boldly and officially (with the authority of James and the Jerusalem church) follow Peter to the church in Antioch, Galatians 2:11-21. The result was that this third confrontation revealed the weak-ness of the apostle Peter and even of Barnabas with all the other Jewish brethren in the church in Antioch.
Here we see how the influence of powerful men, or even a powerful organization, can scare good and godly men into betraying the truth. Though Paul had such love and compassion for the church at Jerusalem and for the whole Jewish nation, that he could wish himself accursed from Christ for their sake (Romans 9:1-3), yet he would not for a mo-ment, on this occasion, be awed by the influential stature of those "who came from James" to the extent of corrupting the true Gospel of Christ, Galatians 2:1-14. Paul was the lone Jew, the only Jew, who was not the least overwhelmed or frightened by this official and awesome delegation from the Jerusalem church, but rather stood firm and unmoveable in the Holy Spirit against forcing the Law Covenant on the Gentile and Jewish church members, Galatians 2:11-14. This was a major and a must situation, and Paul rose to the occasion.
See further through the book of Galatians how Paul was fighting precisely that same Law-keeping influence flowing out of the Jerusalem church. See also Act 21:17-26; Romans 2; 7; 8:1-15; 9; 10; 11; 2 Corinthians 3; All of Hebrews; et al. Paul did not write this letter to the Galatians as to lost people or as though there were lost people in the Galatian churches. These were truly saved and scripturally baptized church members whom Paul and Barnabas had personally and scripturally established into true churches on their first missionary trip from Antioch. However, these saved and scripturally baptized church members were about to abort their divine standing in the firstborn sonship of Christ. With the greatest care, read and study Galatians 4:19-31 and the application of this allegory as Paul continues in Galatians 5:1-5.
II. PERSECUTION OF GOD'S PEOPLE BY GOD'S PEOPLE
"But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now," Galatians 3:29
Ishmael's "mocking" at Isaac appears to have been a small thing in Genesis 21:9, but this allegory immensely magnifies the impact of such conduct. As in Ishmael's case, persecution was not from those who are outside the covenants, so also in Paul's day and so in our day, we have the Lord's people persecuting the Lord's people, Jews persecuting Christians, emissaries of the Law-keeping Jerusalem church resisting and persecuting Paul, Act 6; 7; 8; 15; Galatians 1 & 2.
Many Landmarkers today are persecuting others Landmarkers, calling them "New Lighters" and other slanderous epithets in an unchristian way, especially when they carelessly neglect to investigate what this so-called "New-Lightism" is. Let them step forth and prove that these writings are not soundly and scripturally based. Actually, the persecution comes because the persecutors are becoming more and more Protestant in practice and in their theology and cannot refute the true covenant interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, which is not at all new to the Scriptures. Please observe:
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that the resurrection of Christ was a divine birth of His human body, Col 1:15,18; Revelation 1:5; Act 13:30-33.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that those in a true church are metaphorically credited as being deified members of the deified body of Christ, Col 2:9-20; 3:1-10. God is speaking in a metaphor of things which be not, as though they were, Romans 4:17.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that the resurrection of the bodies of the faithful covenant people will be a divine birth, 1 Corinthians 15:44-50; 1Pe 1:3-5; Eph 2:1-16.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that scriptural water baptism PICTURES the resurrection birth of Christ, Romans 6:2-6; Col 2:9-20; 3:1-10; Eph 2:1-16; 4:15-24.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that baptism also PICTURES the resurrection birth of the bodies of the faithful saints when Christ returns, Romans 6:2-6; Col 2:9-20; 3:1-10; Eph 2:1-16; 4:15-24; Titus 3:5.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that the Holy Spirit was given to the church on the day of Pentecost on the basis of the glorified (deified) birth of Christ's body in His resurrection, Jn 7:37-39; Romans 8:23; Galatians 4:4-7; 2 Corinthians 4:17–5:5,14-21; 1Pe 1:3-5; 2:24.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that the Holy Spirit was given to the church on the basis that the bodies of true church members were and are metaphorically credited as being crucified together with and in the body of Christ, died together with and in the body of Christ, buried together with and in the body of Christ, and raised in a deified body together with and in the body of Christ when His body was crucified, died, was buried, and born again out of the grave into a divine, spirit, heavenly body, Jn 7:37-39; Col 1:16,18; Revelation 1:5; Act 13:30-33; Ps 2:7; Hebrews 1:5-6; 5:5; 1Corinthians 15:44-50; Romans 6:2-13; Col 2:9-20; 3:1-10; Eph 2:1-16; 4:15-24; et al.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that God, before the beginning of creation, predestined and has since been preparing two very distinct kinds of sons: 1) Firstborn sons who will be the bride of Christ and share with Him in His firstborn sonship; 2) Slave sons who will forever possess earthy bodies enslaved to the laws of the physical universe, Galatians 4:3,9,19 – 5:4; Hebrews 12:8 (1-23); Col 2:9 – 3:10; 1 Corinthians 5:5; et al.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that only the covenant people (the faithful under the Adamic Covenant, the faithful seed of Abraham under the Abrahamic and Law Covenants, and the faithful in true local churches under the New Covenant) are the only ones in position to qualify and share in the firstborn sonship of Christ, Exodus 4:22-23; Hebrews 11; 12:23 (1-23); Romans 8:23-30; Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; et al.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that the unfaithful saved of the covenant people are "cut off"from Christ, and thereby abort the firstborn sonship, lose the "at home with deity" within covenant indwelling
of the Holy Spirit, and will not receive the new birth in the resurrection, Galatians 4:19–5:4; 6:7-9; Jn 15:1-6; Romans 11:11-22; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; et al.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that the "glory of God" belongs only to the faithful covenant people: to the faithful in the covenant with Adam, in the covenant with Abraham, in the covenant with Israel, and in the New Covenant in a true local church, which is metaphorically the deified flesh body of Christ, Isaiah 43:13; 48:9-12; Romans 9:4; 8:17-30; 11:1-22; 2 Timothy 2:10-13; Philippians 3:7-14,21; et al.
They do not teach, yet cannot scripturally deny that the unfaithful saved within the covenants and the saved who are outside the covenants will be raised in corrupt bodies, will weep, wail, and gnash their teeth, be beaten with many stripes, and be cast into Gehenna where the worm does not die and the fire of the conscience is never quenched. Be sure to use the basic rule of interpretation, which we as Landmark Baptists disregard when we come to severe warnings in the Scriptures which are addressed to saved covenant people, Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 5:22,29-30; 10:28; 18:1-35; 23:33; 25:30; Mark 9:42-50; Luke 12:4-5,46-48; James 3:6; Galatians 6:7-9; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 Corinthians 5:5; Philippians 3:7-14,21; et al.
III. CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON
"Nevertheless what saith the scripture? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman,'" Galatians 4:30
What application does this verse have in the allegory? What application does it have to the saved and scripturally baptized members of the Galatian churches? What application does it have to Paul travailing in birth pains again for the Galatians atian Christians who were on the verge of aborting the new birth of the body into the firstborn sonship of Christ? What is the application the Holy Spirit made through Paul immediately following the allegory, Galatians 5:1-5?
We will continue to emphasize that Paul did not write this Galatian letter to lost people; furthermore, this letter to the Galatians atian churches was not written concerning unsaved people. If we cannot handle this allegory and its application in the greater context, we are likely headed for the same place the Pharisees were (the Greek word is Gehenna, not Hades), Matthew 23:33.
This allegory and its greater context (Galatians 4:19–5:5; and all of Galatians) first had its slavery application to the "false brethren" out of the Jerusalem church, but more directly to the saved and scripturally baptized Galatian church members if they continued in their efforts to keep the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant. More than this, the allegory, by its nature and context, is applicable to all truly saved and scripturally baptized church members until the Lord returns. The allegory clearly reveals God's overall plan for the firstborn sonship of Christ as follows.
All the faithful covenant people (of all ages) will share the firstborn sonship with Christ, which equates the bride of Christ.
The unfaithful saved will be slave sons who will not share in the resurrection (firstborn) birth of Christ. Paul was travailing in birth pains on behalf of the Galatian church members, fearing their abortion of that divine birth. If the Galatians persisted in trying to obey the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant, they would incur the curse, condemnation, wrath, and slave servitude required by the Law Covenant, be cut off from Christ, abort the resurrection birth into the firstborn sonship of Christ, and forfeit the inheritance of that firstborn sonship.
IV. THE SONS OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE HEIRS
"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,'" Galatians 4:30.
"And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. 6 "But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country,"Genesis 25:5-6.
21 "Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 "Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 "And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's," 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 (see also: Romans 4:16; 8:17,32; 1 Corinthians 3:15).
Under the Law Covenant, the firstborn son received a double portion; however, Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, and only gave "gifts" to the sons of the concubines. The New Covenant reveals that all the truly faithful of the covenant as firstborn sons will inherit all the fullness of God jointly with Christ, yet according to the degree of their faithfulness, Romans 8:17,32; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-26; 1 Corinthians 15:40-41; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12.
The slave sons of God will not be covenant heirs. They will receive a portion of land outside the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:23-26; 22:1-2. And they will also receive perfect bodies, but still just flesh bodies: an article down the line will be on the "glory"of God, and will show that the slave sons of the nations will not receive the glory of God. Also, the words "healing of the nations" in Revelation 22:2 should be translated "household of the nations," Luke 12:42 and Matthew 24:45 in KJV.
The word "therapeia" from "therapon" is usually translated "healing" in the New Testament, referring to the many healing miracles performed by Jesus. But the word is translated "household" in Luke 12:42 and Matthew 24:45 (KJV in the latter), primarily meaning "household servants." Moses is called a "therapon" (servant) in Exodus 4:10 (Septuagint, LXX) and Hebrews 3:5. Pharaoh's household "servants" are also called "therapon" nineteen or more times from Exodus 7 through 14.
The pastor is placed over God's therapeia (household servants, the church) in this age, and on the new earth the nations will serve as God's therapeia to God and to all in the firstborn sonship with Christ, Revelation 21:23-26; 22:1-2.
God has likewise appointed His angels to be ministers to the firstborn sons, Hebrews 1:14.
V. CHILDREN OF THE BONDWOMAN
"So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free,"Galatians 4:31.
We will see in Galatians 5:1-4 that the Galatians would be cut off from Christ if they continued their pursuit of obedience according to the Law Covenant. Persistence in trying to keep the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant would result in these eternally saved and scripturally baptized church members being cut off from Christ as High Priest of the New Covenant, from the New Covenant, from the Holy Spirit as the New Covenant Administrator, from the covenant promises, from the firstborn sonship of Christ, and from the inheritance and freedom that goes with Christ's firstborn sonship. They would no longer be sons of the free woman, but children of the slave woman. Those who are not sons of the free woman, are still sons, but are sons of the slave woman.
This allegory is the heart of the book of Galatians and the heart of God's overall purpose throughout all the Scriptures. It is a concise but major blueprint of God's purpose for mankind in all eternity to come.
7 "Do not be deceived (stop being led astray), God is not mocked; for whatever a man is sowing, that he will also reap. 8 "Because he who is sowing to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who is sowing to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (divine life in the resurrection). 9 "And let us not grow weary in well doing, for at the appointed time (the resurrection) we shall reap if we do not faint" (do not give up, do not give in, do not quit), Galatians 6:7-9.
If we faint and do not by grace through faith "keep in memory" (hold fast), we will not receive that divine life birth in the resurrection, Colossians 15:1-2,44-50. The Holy Spirit is not addressing lost or unsaved people in the book of Galatians, but rather is urging the Galatians churches (scripturally saved and baptized church members) to awake to the fact that they were being led astray, and to understand that the first requirement of the Law Covenant was to be perfect by the works of sinful flesh.
In God's own appointment this led to a constant breaking of the Law Covenant in the understanding within the heart of the covenant people, if they were honest, diligent, and searching God's Word as He commanded. This heart-understanding (conviction in the heart), in turn, led to repentance and faith for salvation from hell, and then to daily heart-circumcision which would lead to covenant salvation of the daily "life," Romans 2:28-39; Deuteronomy 30:2,6,10-14,16; Romans 10:6-13.
A circumcised heart was intended to produce a "by grace through faith" walk of the daily life of the covenant people even under the Law Covenant. This "by grace through faith" works in the daily walk of life is what we see in Hebrews 11 and all similar passages. We must understand and remember that under the Law Covenant, repentance and faith did not remove the curse, death, condemnation, wrath, and slavery of the Law Covenant. Furthermore, the Law Covenant becomes very much alive today to everyone who puts him-self under it to try to keep it.
All who are of the works of the Law Covenant are under the curse, death, condemnation, wrath, and slavery of the Law Covenant. That was true before the cross of Christ, and it is still true today: read Galatians 3:10 and 5:3 and thoroughly study this allegory and its application in Galatians 5:1-5. The Law Covenant has tremendous depths and treasures of information which we must have to properly understand the New Covenant. There is a mammoth storehouse of information to write concerning these things as we continue, not only in these very explicit dichotomies, but many rich instructions from the Law Covenant and their related passages in the New Covenant.