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Galatians 4:26 – The Jerusalem upward

31-08-2022 - Posted by Hans

… it is in line with the Jerusalem which now is, for she is in slavery with her children. Yet the Jerusalem upward is free, who is mother of us all.

“ Jerusalem which is now” represents Judaism that clings to the old covenant of Sinai and is “in bondage with her children.” If Paul opposes this to another Jerusalem, one would expect that he would call this ’the Jerusalem to come’ But he doesn’t. He speaks of “the Jerusalem upward”. ‘Current’ is a time indication while ‘upward’ indicates a spatial direction (Gr. anoo; see also John 11:41).

By “the Jerusalem upward” Paul refers to the mother-ecclesia in Jerusalem that was oriented to the message of God and from which the preaching of the Gospel started. That Jerusalem is free and has therefore officially recognized the freedom of the nations and with that also Paul’s Evangel during the apostle meeting (Gal.2:9; Acts 15:10,11).

“Jerusalem upward” was an oppressed minority in Paul’s day. Nevertheless, she stands at the cradle of “the ecclesia of God” (1:13) and can therefore rightly be called “our mother”. Where “the present Jerusalem” as a whole is unbelieving, the future Jerusalem will be “upward”. Then she will cry out, “Blessed is He who is coming in the name of the Lord!” (Mat.23:39).