Seven Letters to the Seven Congregations | Letter 6
Why Are Earthly Sons Reluctant to Recognize the Younger Anointed?
Following the example of the older anointed, others who have not had the witness of the spirit are also reluctant to accept the younger anointed brothers – partly because of the view expressed in our literature, but mostly because of the flesh. Again, Jehovah knew this attitude would exist among many, and so provided a warning to these resistant ones, and comfort to those so resisted. The Hebrew scriptures provide the warnings in types and shadows, and the Greek scriptures provide the explanation. Paul explains:
“[I]t is written that Abraham acquired two sons, one by the servant girl and one by the free woman; but the one by the servant girl was actually born in the manner of flesh, the other by the free woman through a promise. These things stand as a symbolic drama.”
– Galatians 4:22-24
So the stage is set. By referring to these events as a “symbolic drama,” we are prepared to learn something deeper. A sacred secret is about to be revealed!
Jehovah had promised to Abraham that he would have a son through whom all nations would bless themselves. (Genesis 15:5; 22:18) Nevertheless, his wife, Sarah, remained barren. In time, Sarah concluded that since she could not have children, Abraham might be able to bring forth children through her handmaiden, Hagar. So she arranged for Abraham to have relations with Hagar, and in time, Abraham brought forth a son through Hagar, the servant girl, “in the manner of the flesh.” (Genesis 16:1-4)
But, Jehovah’s word had gone forth and it was to have certain success in that for which it was sent. (Isaiah 55:11) His promise to Abraham would be fulfilled, but not by the flesh. This was
confirmed by the fact that both Abraham and Sarah had long passed their childbearing years. Now, Abraham could only bring forth a son as a result of Jehovah’s promise – which he did. This son was
born to Sarah, the free woman, the legitimate wife of Abraham, “through a promise.”
“[F]or these women mean two covenants, the one from Mount Sinai, which brings forth children for slavery, and which is Hagar. Now this Hagar means Sinai, a mountain in Arabia, and she corresponds with the Jerusalem today, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.”
– Galatians 4:24-26
So Sarah and Hagar represent two covenants. One covenant was earthly, Mount Sinai, and it would bring forth children in the manner of flesh. These children, prefigured by Ishmael, would exist in slavery. In other words, they would not be the free sons who were due the inheritance. The other covenant was heavenly, Jerusalem above, and would bring forth the children of promise, the true heirs to the kingdom, prefigured by Isaac. And the earthly sons would greatly outnumber the heavenly ones.
“For it is written: ‘Be glad, you barren woman who does not give birth; break out and cry aloud, you woman who does not have childbirth pains; for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous that those of her who has the husband.”
– Galatians 4:27
In this symbolic drama, Abraham prefigures Jehovah. Sarah is the mother of Jehovah’s heavenly sons, and Hagar is the mother of Jehovah’s earthly sons. The drama goes on:
“Now we, brothers, are children belonging to the promise the same as Isaac was. But just as then the one born in the manner of flesh began persecuting the one born in the manner of spirit, so also now.”
– Galatians 4:28-29.
Here, Paul begins to answer our question when he refers to Ishmael’s persecution of Isaac and states that, as then, the earthly sons would persecute the heavenly ones, so also now. But why? Read on:
“Nevertheless, what does the Scripture say? ‘Drive out the servant girl and her son, for by no means shall the son of the servant girl be an heir with the son of the free woman.”
– Galatians 4:30
Here is the issue – the inheritance. Hagar and Ishmael wanted to share in the inheritance and Sarah was not going to allow it. But, remember the circumstances.
When Hagar was given to Abraham, both Abraham and Sarah believed that the child thus born would be the son of promise. That was also Hagar’s belief as is reflected in her attitude.
“Accordingly, [Abraham] had relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant, then her mistress began to be despised in her eyes.”
– Genesis 16:4
Hagar’s haughtiness was apparently due to her belief that she would now be the favored one since it would be her son that would inherit all that Abraham possessed. Sarah’s response was to humiliate Hagar so that she ran away. When Jehovah’s angel found Hagar, he told her to humble herself under Sarah’s hand and return. In response, Jehovah would greatly multiply her seed into a great multitude. Hagar did return and bore Ishmael to Abraham. (Genesis 16:5-15)
During the next 13 years, Abraham and Ishmael were no doubt very close. Ishmael could have understandably felt the inheritance was his. Then, true to Jehovah’s promise, Isaac was born, the true heir. However, at Isaac’s weaning feast, it became apparent that Hagar and Ishmael still secretly coveted the inheritance. It was this “poking fun” that caused Sarah to request that Hagar and Ishmael be driven away. (Genesis 21:8-13) Sarah’s words at Genesis 21:10 reveal that the “poking fun” or “persecution,” as Paul described it at Galatians 4:30, had to do with the inheritance.
Sarah had reason to be concerned. The jealousy of Cain for his younger brother, Abel, resulted in Abel death. Later, Esau’s jealously toward Jacob threatened his existence. As did the jealously of Joseph’s older brothers toward him. The threat was real. Jehovah agreed with Sarah and, although he made provision for Ishmael, Jehovah caused Hagar and Ishmael to be sent away.
This symbolic drama provides insight into the thinking of some who serve Jehovah, but who are not the heirs to the Kingdom of the Heavens. They want to share in the inheritance and, to obtain this inheritance, they persecute the true sons, especially those arriving on the scene in the last hours.
It is interesting to note that Ishmael could have thought he was the heir for many years, until the true son was born. In a similar manner, some of the earthly sons today may have been given the impression that they would inherit all of Jehovah’s belongings. The “seeming” barrenness of Sarah during the last few decades may have encouraged that idea. Thus, when the “young” anointed – the sons according to a promise – began to appear, some belonging to Ishmael would, true to prophesy, poke fun, ridicule and persecute those belonging to Isaac.
The persecution is allowed by what is published in the organization’s literature. It is now known that most, if not all, of the information in the magazine is written by “Ishmaelites.” Since Jehovah’s Spirit does not bear witness with their spirit, the information provided is fleshly in nature. They can only write what appears to the eyes. Beneficial true, but milk belonging to babes.
It is from this limited physical point of view that the subject of the anointing is addressed. This lack makes it impossible for them to accurately understand or explain it, and it prevents them from being able to provide food for these ‘domestics’ at the proper time. (Matthew 24:45) As a result, the information turns out to be persecution and poking fun. And those “Ishmaelites” who receive the information carry on the persecution on the local level.
It is also interesting to note that, in the symbolic drama, “Hagar” and “Ishmael” are sent away. We will keep our eyes open as to how Jehovah works out this aspect of the drama, but perhaps it has something to do with the final letter, Letter No. 7.