When Fi and I travelled to Israel, we noticed that there were a lot of Strict Jews around-not surprising! However, they were always running everywhere. They spend all day studying Scripture, mainly the Torah, and as we read this difficult passage it is important to recognise that for Jewish scholars nowadays and in the time of Paul there were four meanings to each piece of Scripture. 1. The literal meaning-in this case, the simple reading of the life of Abraham as told us in Genesis; 2. It's suggested meaning; 3. The meaning deduced through investigation and, 4. The allegorical meaning. This was considered the greatest of the four. Remember that Paul was a trained Rabbi and considered to be the golden boy of his generation. Paul takes the old covenant of the Law to be symbolized by Hagar, who was a slave. Her child, Ishmael was born out of desperation and a human attempt to have God's promise fulfilled. Sarah stands for the new covenant of freedom in Jesus Christ, as her child, Isaac, was born through the working of the Holy Spirit to fulfil God's promise to Abraham. Ishmael persecuted Isaac as the Jewish contingent within the church at Galatia were persecuting the Gentile believers. The Law which Christ brought in, the Law of love, is exemplified by His answer to enquirers that the fulfillment of the Law is to ''Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength'' and to ''Love your neighbour as yourself''. As Augustine stated: ''Love God and do what you like'', because if you truly love God you will do what pleases Him.
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