“Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.” (Gal. 4:25)
To make sure there is no doubt about what Paul is talking about, he zeroes in on Mount Sinai. It is the one in Arabia. It is the one where Moses received the law. It is the one revered in Jewish thought. Make no mistake, Paul is saying, I’m talking about the law that you Judaizers are wanting to push on the Gentiles, the law of Moses.
Here is the thread of thought. Hagar is Abraham’s slave and has a child out of wedlock, according to the flesh. This Hagar is the same as the Covenant of Sinai. The Covenant of Sinai is the law of Moses. Therefore, Hagar is the same as the Jewish center of the law, Jerusalem. Hagar is in slavery and so are her children. The law brings slavery and thus Jerusalem is in slavery and all the Jews who are the product of the law in Jerusalem are in slavery as well. Jerusalem is not being used by Paul just as the city where the temple is but as a representation of Israel.
This is straight talk and certainly near to blasphemy in the ears of the Jews. This is why the Jews wanted to claim Abraham as their father rather than Moses. Paul has explained that Abraham has nothing to do with the law and neither do his children. Now he is doing the same for Abraham’s children’s mothers. The two boys come from two different mothers, so different that one is a slave woman and one is a free woman and so then are the sons, slave or free. The slave produces slaves and the free produces freemen. The covenant of the slave woman is the law Paul states and the covenant of the free woman is the promise.
It is interesting that many Christians today are longing to go back to Jerusalem. They believe that Jesus is coming back to earth and reestablishing the kingdom of the Jews. They insist He is going to reign in the very city that Paul says is in slavery. None of these ideas is present in the teaching of Paul. The very opposite is true. Paul is separating Christians, Jews and Gentiles, from Jerusalem and all that is a part of the Mosaic law. Jerusalem to Paul is earthly, fleshly and Christ is heavenly and spiritual. Jesus is gone to heaven to reign at the right hand of God and that is where He will stay until the end of time when the Godhead will reign over a heavenly kingdom. At that time Jesus will return to gather the elect from the four corners of the earth. They will reign in heaven with Him.
Task for Today: Keep in mind that the law is portrayed as earthly and physical, while the promise is portrayed as heavenly and spiritual. The physical world, like the physical law, will come to an end. The spiritual heaven will last through eternity. Set your sights on things above rather than on this earth. Jesus went to heaven to make a home for you. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for one here. Memorize Hebrews 11:16, “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” The Saints were looking for a homeland and it wasn’t Jerusalem. Jesus will not reign on the earth because He is a heavenly King.