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WILL THE CHURCH BE A MOTHER?
We are in the habit of thinking and speaking of the church in this way. We have taught so because we supposed, felt sure that the Scripture was our authority for so doing. But upon investigation, we find that it has no Scriptural foundation. Let us look at the matter carefully and make sure what is truth, then cast away any ideas which we may have built upon this supposition.
We had supposed it to be taught by the type of Eve and Rebecca and positively asserted by Paul in `Gal. 4:26`, "But Jerusalem which is above is free which is the mother of us all." Let us examine the positive statements first and afterwards the types. Casting your eye over the `preceding verses` and the `third chapter`, you will notice that in the Apostle's argument throughout, he endeavors to show clearly the difference between the law age just closed and the Gospel age just commenced. In `3:17`, he contrasts the two agreements of God–the two covenants. He claims that God's first covenant– the Gospel–which was preached before (before the law,) to Abraham (`Gal. 3:8`,) and confirmed in Christ, could not be disannulled by the second covenant (the law) made with the fleshly seed. Then he argues [`vs. 29`,] that if we be Christ's, we are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise or first covenant and being children of this better covenant with the better promises, it is quite unnecessary to prove that we are related as children to the second covenant–the law–either by obedience to that law or by tracing of fleshly descent. In `4:21-31`, he carries out this same line of reasoning, viz: That fleshly Israelites were children of God by the second covenant, while we become, by believing into Christ, children of the first covenant, and if we are children of that covenant, surely IT IS OUR MOTHER–"the mother of us all."
Yes, Jesus our head, comes as the Son of this covenant and we in Him.
Paul declares that God gave a type of these two Israels and two covenants. Abraham represents God. Hagar, the bond woman, represents the covenant of bondage–"the law." Sarah represents the first covenant, and as Isaac was the promised offspring of this wife, or free woman, so "we brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of this promise" or covenant. The fleshly children dwelt in the earthly city Jerusalem, still in bondage; but we who realize "the liberty of the sons of God," have "our citizenship in heaven" and in our new nature, "We are risen with him (Jesus) and seated together in heavenly places." They are the bond-servants of the law and of earth; we God's free heavenly children begotten of grace; they the children of the earthly kingdom, represented by Jerusalem; we of the heavenly kingdom, the "Jerusalem above."
We are sure then that `Gal. 4:26` does not teach that the church will be a mother; are we not?
Next examine with me the type of Eve: It is nowhere said that Eve is a type, but we think there are good reasons for considering her such, but we should remember that types have a time for ending as well as for beginning. Upon examination we feel assured that the type ceased where Eve was accepted by Adam as his wife. Paul tells us that Adam was a figure of him who was to come–Jesus–and we have seen how the death of Jesus was typified by the deep sleep which came upon Adam; how Jesus' pierced side, the price of our development as his bride, was typified by the open side of Adam from whence came Eve; how Adam, recognizing his wife as of his nature, bone of his bone, represents the fact that we shall be recognized by our Lord as of his nature–the spiritual. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." But here the type ceases. We should not suppose because Eve became a mother that Christ's bride will become a mother, any more than that Eve sinned and caused Adam's fall, so the bride of Christ must sin and cause the fall of her Lord. Moreover, we are sure that the having of children by Eve was after she had ceased to be a type of the bride of Christ, because her children were born in sin and under the penalty of death. Should we force these children as a type it could only prove that the bride of Christ would become the mother of dead-born children. No, we see no reasonable ground for considering Eve as a type beyond the time of Union with Adam, representing our union or marriage with our Lord. In fact this seems to be as far into the future as God ever revealed either by word or type.
But does some one say: "God said, be fruitful and multiply." Yes, we answer, this (`Gen. 1:28`.) was said to Adam as a natural man, not as a type of Christ. The description of the typical features occurs in another connection, `Gen. 2:21`. Read, compare and notice that there is no reference to offspring in the typical account.
Again we have seen that Isaac was a type of Christ; that Abraham's sending the servant to get a bride for Isaac, typified our Father's sending the Holy Spirit to take out of the gentiles a people, or bride for his (Christ's) name. And
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as the servant brought Rebecca from her father's house to Isaac and to Abraham's home, so we as the antitypical Rebecca leave our father's home [the world,] and go forth under the guidance of the spirit, to meet our Lord and to dwell in our Father's home. We, too, expect soon to meet our Isaac on the way that he himself may bring us into our new home. But here the type ceases. We had somehow come to imagine that Abraham blessed her and said: Be thou the mother of thousands of millions, but no, upon examination we find that this was the utterance of Rebecca's mother and brother, and was doubtless the customary greeting of their day. On the contrary, Rebecca was barren while a type. It was not until twenty years after this type had ended that she bore Jacob and Esau and this is quite another distinct type. `Gen. 25:20,21,26`.
We conclude then that neither directly nor by type does God tell us that the church will after her union with Christ, beget children of her own nature.
— January, 1880 —