Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 11, 1968

The Adventists And Paul

Julian R. Snell

In Galatians 4:21-31 (Please read and keep before you) the apostle introduces an allegory to stress the difference between the law and the gospel. An allegory is a type of methaphor, a figure of speech, where one group of actions symbolizes another.

Our context refers to the circumstances of record in Genesis 16 for the symbolic action of our allegory. God promised Abraham that in his seed all nations should be blessed. Abraham had no seed, Sarah was barren and by reason of age Abraham's body was "as good as dead." A substitute deal was conceived by Sarah to send her handmaid Hagar in to Abraham to bear him a son. Ishmael was born. God reaffirmed his original promise in the statement, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." Hereby, God rejected the deal with Hagar, Ishmael was not the seed through whom the blessing promised was to come.

Our text makes application, allegorically, of these events to the two convenants. We note the following:

(1) The two women — the two convenants — old and new.

(2) The two sons (Ishmael and Isaac) — two nations — fleshly and spiritual Israel (verse 23).

(3) Hagar and Ishmael had nothing in common with Sarah and Isaac. The former a bondwoman, the latter a freewoman. The former a child of bondage, the latter a child of promise ("in thy seed shall all nations be blessed.").

(4) "Cast out the bondwoman and her son"

The bondwoman symbolizes the old covenant: her son those who keep it. So, "cast out the bondwoman" 1- the old covenant; "and her son — the keepers of the old covenant. This would include the Seventh Day Adventist and every other sabbatarian.

A futile effort to dodge the import of these verses is made by arguing that the law of bondage here is the law of sin and death. While all men are certainly under this bondage and can find no release short of the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleansing power is appropriated in obedience to the gospel, this is not the bondage with which the apostle deals in our text. He says, "this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth to Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children." (Gal. 4:25) "Jerusalem which now is" — fleshly Israel, in bondage to the fleshly law of Mt. Sinai. This is that which fleshly Israel had to cast off in order to become "free", "children of God by faith," "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Those who would continue in bondage to the law of Sinai make Christ of no effect and fall from divine favor. "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." (Gal. 5:4) Consider ye well!

5008 MacDill Avenue, Tampa, Florida 33611