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The Inheritance of Jacob

Allegories Types and Shadows – Session 6

Prophet Jeremiah Shepherd

The Bible is no stranger to figurative language. Though many scholars deny the typology of scripture, searching the scriptures reveals that it is full metaphors, allegories and parables which point to Jesus and us emphasize the elements of God’s sovereign handiwork. The Holy Spirit’s application of artistic writing actually makes the bible as interesting as it is beneficial, testifying of the creative diversities of its Author and enriching the experience of mining for revelatory treasures. Jesus found the use of parables to be effective in both enlightening the simple-minded and confounding the proud.

Matthew 13:10-13 – NAS
10And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12″For whoever has, to him [more] shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13″Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

In many cases, allegories and parables enable God to control the release of truth to those who seek Him in spirit instead of simply scholarship, making revelation like the pearl inside of a symbolic story, only discovered through the assistance of the Holy spirit. Like a well-hidden treasure requires a map to be discovered, revelation requires a Revealer who is the Spirit of God.

Occasionally, Biblical texts will explain the meaning of its own parables whether they are mentioned in separate verses or included within the surrounding text. In other places, we must rely the Lord to interpret their meaning. Altogether, the existence of scriptural types and shadows is undeniable, and our process for understanding them will determine our perception of the path we take. The traveled paths of our past were once unfulfilled and misunderstood prophesy, and only those close to the Father were able to see it and follow it. The journey ahead has been prophesied but has yet to be fulfilled, the Lord wants us seek Him for direction.

Acknowledging the existence of types and shadows opens the door to discovering a particular allegory that is hardly-recognized within the story of the Biblical patriarch, Jacob’s. It reinforces the fact that the Jews are the people of importance when it comes to discerning the seasons of our existence. But, first, let’s analyze some examples of allegories plainly highlighted in scripture.

SARAH AND HAGAR

Galatians 4 is an extremely powerful chapter in apprehending the purpose and relationship of Jews and Gentiles. Earlier in Romans 2:28 and Romans 9:6, we established that all of literal Israel is not a part of the eternal body of Christ, but rather those among them who believe and receive Christ. Sarah and Hagar were living metaphors used by God to reinforce this truth, even giving abundant hope to all who are not of Jewish descent. Many religions have been created because of the Bible’s apparent exclusion of nations not named Israel, but a thorough understanding of scripture actually promises that these outside nations are significantly included. The story of Sarah and Hagar is a profound allegory of the Bible providing great encouragement to both Jews and Gentiles.

*Genesis 21:5-6; 9-13 ESV
5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.

Sarah Turns against Hagar 9But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. 10So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”*

First, let’s review the literal story of Sarah and Hagar as it happened. After Sarah had finally given birth to Isaac, his older half-brother, Ishmael, began mocking and laughing at Sarah and Isaac. Afterwards, Sarah became angered and demanded that Hagar and Ishmael be excommunicated from among their people. Of course, this greatly troubled Abraham who loved his son, Ishmael, even though he wasn’t the one from whom the physical Israelites would come. Seeing his distress, God encouraged Abraham that Ishmael would not be forgotten, and He promised to make a nation from the seed of the bondwoman, Hagar. Now lets discover what the Word says about this story’s enlightening, allegorical meaning.

*Galatians 4:1-11; 21-27  (ESV)
Sonship in Christ
1I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Paul’s Concern for the Galatians 8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.

Hagar and Sarah, Bond and Free 21Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written,

“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”*

This passage clearly establishes an interesting and critical understanding – From the Lord’s own allegorical construction, unbelieving Israelites who continue in their denial of the resurrected Jesus are still slaves to the law and therefore Ishmaelites, children of the slave woman! As verse 24 says, the two women represent two covenants. Hagar who is the bondwoman, identifies the covenant from Mt Sinai or the Mosaic law brought down from the mountain in the form of the Ten Commandments. This law made the children of Israel “slaves” of the Lord’s work since they had consistently proven themselves unwilling to obey God by their own choice. Their faithlessness continued as they murmured, complained and built idols in rejection of God’s mercy and grace, so He held them captive under numerous laws, practically dragging them through His righteous plan until Jesus arrived to fulfill the law. Galatians briefly, but plainly explains.

Galatians 3:23-24
23Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Hagar was the slave woman, so Ishmael, Hagar’s son, and his descendants allegorically represent Israel, who largely remains enslaved to the old covenant, today. From the spiritual viewpoint, most of literal Israel is the seed of Ishmael, not Isaac. As Paul says, “She (Hagar) corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children”. She was a “Bond woman”, because she was divinely intended to correspond to a nation still bound by the Old Covenant law.

“Jerusalem above” as mentioned in Galatians 4:25 refers to those who have become freed citizens of “New Jerusalem” [Revelation 21:2], Christ’s coming kingdom which John saw coming down from heaven “as a bride adorned for her husband”. If Hagar represents physical Israel, then Sarah (the barren one) is largely, though not exclusively, an allegorical representation of the Gentile nations who were now at the front of the line to reap the free-for-all benefits of Jesus work at Calvary.

Gentile nations, who were previously unable to bear spiritual children to God’s plan throughout the old testament are now impregnated with seed in the new covenant. So verse Galatians 4:26 tells Gentiles to “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear”, and continues with the promise that they will be greater in number than the other. In this we realize the critical truth that Non-Hebraic nations are not alienated from the promises of God but actually represent a larger percentage of New Jerusalem than even the Jews. It’s fairly easy to see how this makes sense, because Israel is obviously a small percentage of the total number nations to which the overall appeal of Salvation is made.

If only this revelation were realized by the world, the drive to establish pagan religions would have lessened. This is an extraordinary message of hope to nations who’ve felt and continue to feel abandoned and forgotten by an apparently Jewish religion. It is a promise that God has not forsaken anyone, neither Jew nor Gentile. Still, there is more revelation in Hagar and Ishmael who represent modern Israel.

*Genesis 21:14-21 (ESV)
14So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

15When the water in the skin was gone, she put the child under one of the bushes. 16Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, “Let me not look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 17And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. 20And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow. 21He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.*

This portion of Hagar and Ishmael’s story presents good news for present-day Israel. God has not left them for eternal destruction. By revelation, we can safely conclude that the promises made to Hagar, bondwoman and mother of Ishmael, are actually promises to literal Israel about her spiritual future. In spite of the incessant, sinful ways of the Hebrews, the Lord still promises both Abraham and Hagar, on separate occasions, that He will make a nation from Ishmael. [Genesis 21:13 & Genesis 21:18].

Genesis 21:13
13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

When the water first given to Hagar and Ishmael ran out, Hagar placed Ishmael under a bush and left him for dead. Then, an angel of the Lord spoke to Hagar and promised to make Ishmael a great nation as well, even though they had been cast away. While there in the wilderness, God nourished them with a well of water, and Ishmael grew to become an expert archer.

Every aspect of God’s promise to Hagar and Ishmael correlates to Israel’s existence. Israel’s mockery of God and the Gentiles they viewed as inferior is illustrated by Hagar’s mockery of Sarah and Isaac. As a result, Israel was punitively exiled and dispersed into foreign lands similar to the way Ishmael was excommunicated into the wilderness. Additionally, because of Israel’s failure to obey Yahweh and betrayal of the Savior of the world, many people have given up on them just as Hagar left Ishmael for dead. For them, it appears as though Israel’s special grace has run dry much like Ishmael’s resources once did. But God’s continued faithfulness toward the survival of Ishmael should be carefully understood to reveal His continued nurturing of the remnant of Israel, in spite of their current condition.

Throughout the course of History, Israel has been one of the most battle-tested and resilient nations. They have revolted and rebelled against much larger empires on numerous occasions, yet they have never been extinguished. In essence, they have lived in the wilderness, skillfully learning to defend themselves, becoming fighters and warriors. This is not happenstance, and it is most likely the reason why Ishmael becomes an expert archer. This insinuates that God will return to make them a nation, and the strength they’ve gained while in their wilderness may enable them to stand and be used for a unique purpose in the last days.

The eventuality of Hagar also assists in understanding Revelation 12, which describes the woman in the wilderness who is nourished for a season. In this chapter the woman is Israel who gives birth to Jesus but fails to transition into the new covenant as a nation. She flees into the wilderness where “she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time” [Revelation 12:14], just like Hagar and Ishmael were nurtured and protected by God in the wilderness of Paran.

Revelation 12:13-14 ESV
13And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.

This story of two mothers corresponding to two covenants is an elaborate and extensive allegory depicted in the Word and Highlighted by Paul in the new testament. It’s revelation extends across two covenant periods, testifying of God’s love for the Gentiles but also His remembrance of Israel.

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