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Galatians 4:27 – The children of the desolate

31-08-2022 - Posted by Hans

… Yet the Jerusalem above is free, who is mother of us all. For it is written, Be glad barren one, who are not bringing forth! Burst forth and implore, you who are not travailing! For many are the children of the desolate, Rather than of her who has the husband.

By “the Jerusalem upwards” Paul is not referring to a Jerusalem which is above, but to a Jerusalem which is oriented upward ( cf. John 11:41). He thus refers to the faithful (remainder of) Jerusalem from which the Evangel first sounded and where freedom was officially ratified during the famous Apostle meeting (Acts 15; Gal. 2:1-9). Of that Jerusalem Paul says: that is our mother and she is free.

Paul affirms the truth about Jerusalem as our mother with a quote from Isaiah 54:1. In the context of that prophecy, it is very clearly about the city of Jerusalem at the time when the Messiah will be in their midst (compare Isa 49:14-23 and 66:7-11). This passage will, of course, only be definitively fulfilled in the future. But Paul quotes this verse because he already sees a (pre)fulfillment of it. For is not Jerusalem which is right now “the barren one”, a widow and still without a Husband (compare Isa.54:4)? And yet…although “barren” (Sara!) her progeny are numerous!