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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Israel was not always to be in bondage to the law of Moses.

A great revolution was predetermined of God, which should result in the abolition of the Arabian covenant, and the dispersion of Israel among the nations.

This is allegorically styled "casting out the bondwoman and her son"; which was necessary for the good and all-sufficient reason that the Sinaitic constitution of the commonwealth of Israel was not adapted for the people and state when Christ should sit upon the throne of his father David, and the saints should possess the kingdom.

The law of Moses enjoined ordinances concerning the flesh, such as "the water of separation," which would be quite incompatible with the realities of the Age to Come.

Under the law there was "a remembrance again of sins every year" but under the New Constitution from heaven, "the sins and iniquities of the people will be remembered no more".

The Sinaitic constitution was faulty; it was therefore necessary that it should give place to a better, which shall be established on better promises.

Hence, the bondwoman was to be cast out to make room for a more perfect arrangement of the commonwealth.

Since the expulsion of Israel by the Romans, Jerusalem and her children are in the situation of Hagar and her son, while wandering in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

She is divorced from the Lord as Hagar was from Abraham, and "being desolate she sits upon the ground," and bewails her widowhood.

But there is to be "a restitution of all things".

Jerusalem is to become a free woman as Sarah was; and to take her stand in the midst of the earth as "the city whose architect and builder is God".

She will then "remember the reproach of her widowhood no more.

For her Maker will be her husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name; and her Redeemer the Holy One of Israel (even Jesus), the God of the whole earth shall he be called".

She will then be the metropolis of the world: and her citizens, or children, will be more numerous than those she rejoiced in under the law, as a married wife.

The period of her glory will have arrived, the twelve tribes be again the united, peaceful, and joyous inhabitants of the land; the "greater than Solomon," their king; and his city, "the heavenly Jerusalem," which "is free, and the mother of us all".

But, while Hagar represents Jerusalem under the law; and Sarah Jerusalem under the new constitution of the Hebrew commonwealth; Ishmael represents Israel, glorying in their fleshly descent from Abraham, and boasting in the law; and Isaac, those of Israel and the Gentiles, who regard the flesh as profiting nothing, and who are the sons of Abraham by believing the promises made to him and to his seed.

Hence, Ishmael and Isaac represent two seeds or classes of mankind, who shall not be heirs together of the promise.

Indeed, their natures are so opposite that it would be impossible for them to fulfil in concert the destiny marked out for those who are to inherit the promises.

The Ishmaelite-seed are wild men; whose hands are against all who believe the truth.

They are mockers; for as Ishmael mocked Isaac, so Israel mocked Jesus, and spoke reproachfully of him and his brethren, who are one.

The kingdom to be established is a righteous dominion, and requires righteous men for its administration; as it is written, "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of the Lord".

It is impossible, therefore, that the Ishmaelite-seed can be heirs of the promise.

All the honour, glory, and power of the state were in their hands under the Arabian covenant; and cruel and unjust was the use they made of their position.