Were Christians Given the Place and Inheritance of the Jews?
Realized Eschatology would have you believe that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews. Recall Max King’s quote, given earlier, where he said, “They overlapped a little, but Isaac ‘came on’ when Ishmael ‘went out.’ The son born of the spirit was given the place and inheritance of the son born of the flesh” (The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 239). By redefining the allegory of Galatians 4:21-31, the A.D. 70 doctrine has occasioned its own downfall.
An assumed purpose of Paul’s allegory is used as the basis for contending that Christians were given the Place and inheritance of the Jews:
The purpose of Paul in this allegory was threefold: First, to show that Abraham had two sons which existed side by side for a time (emp., mine, jp) in the same household. This is a truth that is vital to the teachings of the New Testament, and will be a key factor in the study and application of prophecy. Much misapplication of Scripture can be attributed to a failure to recognize this simple but vital truth. These two sons are typical of the two Israels of God, one born after the flesh (old covenant) and the other born after the Spirit (new covenant) . . . . Ishmael was thefirst born and, as such, had the right ofprimogeniture, a right he maintained at the birth of Isaac, and even thereq/ter until he was cast out or disinherited (Ibid., pp. 29-30, emp., mine, ip).
Realized Eschatology’s redefinition of the allegory concludes that Ishmael was the rightful heir of Abraham “until” he was “cast out.” Thus, we should believe that the Jews under the old covenant were the rightful heirs of the inheritance, but were “cast out” at 70 A.D. (at which time Christians took their place and received the Jews’ inheritance). However, the Bible declares that Ishmael was never heir of the Abrahamic promises (Gen. 12:1-3)! Remember, Ishmael was Sarah’s remedy for Abraham’s lack of an heir (inasmuch as he gave her handmaid Hagar to Abraham, Gen. 16:1-3), not God’s. Even before Isaac was born, God made it clear that Ishmael was not heir of the promises he had made, when he declared that his covenant would be established with Isaac, not Ishmael (Gen. 17:15-21). Since Ishmael never was heir to these blessings, he could not be “disinherited” of them! Isaac did not take Ishmael’s place as heir! Neither did Christians take the Jews’ place as heirs of God’s inheritance!
The old covenant did not contain the inheritance of God’s Abrahamic promises. Righteousness and justification are not through the law, but through faith in Christ (Gal. 2:16,21; 3:7-14,21-23; Rom. 3:20-22). The law gave a knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20), but no release from it (Gal. 3:10,12,22-23). It produced “children of bondage” (Gal. 4:24). It contained no inheritance (Gal. 3:18-19), only a curse (Gal. 3:10-14). The “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” (Rom. 3:22) is “apart from the law” (Rom. 3:21). Therefore, the “children of promise” (Gal. 4:28 Christians) did not receive their inheritance from the Jews of the old covenant. If they did, the inheritance would be “no more of promise” (Gal. 3:18). To suggest that Christians were given the place and inheritance of the Jews is to demonstrate a woeful misunderstanding of God’s promise to Abraham and how it is received. Its blessing are received through faith in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:16-19,23-29), not through the law. Our inheritance is “according to promise,” not according to the law!
The Allegory of Galatians 4:21-31 Denies the A.D. 70 Doctrine
Max King’s quote from page 239 of his book says “this simple allegory (Gal. 4:21-3 1) establishes the ‘Spirit of Prophecy. “‘ Instead, the truth of this allegory destroys the A.D. 70 doctrine. Why was this allegory used by the apostle Paul? What does the allegory teach?
The background of the allegory is found in Galatians 3:23-29, where the inspired teacher makes four needed observations:
(1) V. 23 – The law of Moses was in force, and men were under it, before faith came.
(2) Vv. 24-25 – The law was a tutor to bring men to Christ, and now that tutor was no longer needed.
(3) Vv. 26-29 – We are children of God and heirs according to promise through faith in Christ, not through the law of Moses.
Having used Galatians 3 to teach that Christians are not justified by the law of Moses, but through faith in Christ, Paul now addresses those Christians who “desire to be under the law” (Gal. 4:21), and shows them that the law itself contains an illustration of how their desire was out of place.
The allegory (Gal. 4:21-31) uses Sarah and Hagar as the two covenants (v. 24), and their sons as the product of those covenants. Hagar signifies the Mosaic law, which produced “children of bondage” (v. 24). Verse 25 emphasizes this point of bondage (cf. Gal. 3:10,22; Rom. 3:20). Sarah corresponds to the new covenant. Isaac corresponds to Christians, who are the children of promise (vv. 26-28). In verse 29, the children of bondage (Jews) are presented as persecutors of the children of promise (Christians), just as Ishmael was the persecutor of Isaac (not “the first born” of Abraham). What should Christians do? Should they desire to be under the law? Should they turn back to bondage by joining their persecutors? No! The allegory teaches them (and us) not to go back to the law and live under it, for that would place them (and us) in the bondage of sin. Instead, “Cast out the handmaid (old covenant) and her son (Jews with their persecutions),” and live in the freedom of the new covenant (Gal. 4:30-5:4). God says to purge yourself from turning back to the Mosaic law, and to live as the children of promise that you are! Do not live in bondage to the law and its curse, but in freedom from sin and death through faith in Christ!
The allegory does not carry within it the arbitrary definitions and subjective applications which the A.D. 70 doctrine places upon it. We cannot apply the allegory beyond where and how the inspired apostle of Christ applied it. To make of it an “embryonic statement” of the Realized Eschatology theory is a wresting of Scripture (2 Pet. 3:16) by the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 3:18-20; Rom. 1:22). Such mishandling of the word of truth must be avoided (2 Tim. 2:15) and contended against (Jude 3-4). In our final installment on the A.D. 70 doctrine, we will look at some of the grave consequences of its principle tenets.