Allegory of Sarah & Hagar Gal. 4:21-31 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Gal 4:21-31 is the allegory of Sarah and Hagar. In this passage, Paul makes his third defense in this chapter showing why the Galatians should not be back under the law. He contrasts Sarah and Isaac with Hagar and Ishmael as allegories showing the difference between liberty in Christ and bondage under the law. Sarah and Isaac typify Christians who enjoy liberty in Christ. Hagar and Ishmael typify those who are in bondage under the law.
Thus we can see several contrasts between these two women and their children that reveal why it is better to be saved and free than it is to be under the law and in bondage. Notice the differences:
Sarah was the Freewoman – Gal 4:22 – Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister, Gen 20:12, and she was free; salvation in Jesus Christ makes us free, Jn 8:32, 36.
Hagar was the Bondmaid – Gal 4:22 – Hagar was an Egyptian maid to Sarah, Gen 16:1; Egypt was called the house of bondage, Deut 5:6.
Sarah’s child Isaac was born by promise – Gal 4:23 – The promise that Abraham would have a son was through Sarah, Gen 17:15-19; Rom 4:13-21.
Hagar’s child Ishmael was born after the flesh – Gal 4:23 – Sarah convinced Abraham to go in unto Hagar, Gen 16:2-3, 15; God’s promise that Abraham would have a child was not through this woman.
Sarah represents the New Covenant – Gal 4:24 – under the New Covenant, we are made children of God without having to do the works of the law to become children or to stay children; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 8:15-16.
Hagar represents the Old Covenant – Gal 4:24 – since the law puts a man under bondage to do all the that is in the law, Hagar, the bondmaid, makes a good example of the law, Rom 8:15; Gal 5:1; keeping the law does not make one a child of God.
Sarah represents Mt. Zion in heaven – Gal 4:24-26 (implied) – it is upon this mountain that the heavenly saints worship God, Ps 48:1-2; Rev 14:1-3; Heb 12:22-24.
Hagar represents Mt. Sinai in Arabia – Gal 4:24-25 – it is from this mountain that God gave Israel the law, Ex 19:21-23; 20; the law was to them a yoke that they could not bear, Acts 15:10; Rom 3:19-20.
Sarah represents New Jerusalem – Gal 4:26-27 – this is the heavenly city in which we will reside in eternity, Rev 21 – you must be a child of God to be in this city.
Hagar represents Jerusalem in Israel – Gal 4:25 – this is the city that was destroyed and taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar and by Titus. It is a city in bondage despite what the Pharisees said in Jn 8:33; and it will be in bondage till Jesus returns.
We, as Isaac, are the children of promise – Gal 4:28 – Jesus Christ is Abraham’s seed by promise [Gal 3:16], thus, we are children of God, and Abraham’s children, by faith in Jesus Christ, Rom 4:11-13.
We are persecuted by those in bondage as Ishmael persecuted Isaac – Gal 4:29 – those who are in bondage to the law persecute those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, Jn 15:20; 1 Thes 2:14-15; Acts 7:52 – consider the inquisition as a perfectly good example.
Sarah’s child Isaac was Abraham’s heir – Gal 4:30 – Isaac received the inheritance, Gen 25:5 – through Jesus Christ we become heirs of God, Gal 3:18; Rom 8:16-17.
Hagar’s child Ishmael was cast out with Hagar – Gal 4:30 – because her son was not to be heir with Isaac, Gen 21:10.
Conclusion: Gal 4:31 we are not children of the bondwoman; we are children of the free – the law can’t save you, it can’t keep you saved and it can’t grant you an inheritance – only free salvation in Jesus Christ can save you, keep you saved and give you an inheritance!