The Controversy; Flesh vs. Spirit
From the journal notes of Keith Chadwell
1Co 15:46 ASV; “Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual.”
Beginning many months ago, I started thinking and writing on a subject starting in the Old Testament which chains through to the Spiritual applications in Paul’s writings to the Galatians 4:19-31, etc... I believe the Lord brought this to my attention and prompted me to delve into it in some detail. The premise of my study and writing began with this thought; “Consider, now, the controversy between the children of the bond woman and the children of the free woman.” So I began to think and study; first about the, NOW, natural situation between the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac. At the same time, I was, also, considering; the; “NOW” spiritual application of this allegory.
There is a natural fulfillment to Bible prophecy, followed by a spiritual fulfillment. Of course, in his letter to the Galatians; Paul was talking, more, about the Spiritual fulfillment of the allegory he discusses, in Gal. 4:19-31, of Ishmael and Isaac. In other words; Paul was pointing out the prophetic allegory or metaphor written in the Book of Genesis which was pointing to the Spiritual reality the Church would face of the controversy between the flesh and the spirit. This is the, very real, conflict that would exist and does exist, today, for all Christians between their fleshly desires (represented by Ishmael) and the desires of the Spirit or will of God (represented by Isaac).
In the allegory, as Paul called it, from Genesis; the bondwoman, Hagar, birthed Ishmael. Ishmael was Abraham’s first son. Ishmael was the product of getting ahead of God and natural man trying to help to manifest God’s promise with ways of the flesh and not waiting on the Spirit to do His work in order to bring forth God’s promise.
The other woman, Sarah, birthed Isaac, Abraham’s second son. Isaac was the child of the freewoman who was “born after the Spirit”. Isaac was the child God promised to Abraham and was a product of the work of the Spirit, when such a thing seemed impossible in the natural.
Ishmael’s descendants, in the natural, are now, generally, what we know as the Islamic peoples of the Middle East regions. True to the prophecy regarding Ishmael in Genesis 16:17-12; (below), his descendants were among those who were the enemies of the children of Israel when they crossed the Jordan to take “the promised land”. (Psalms 83:4-8). Since then, Ishmael’s descendants, in the natural, have been in bloody controversy with Jews and just about anybody else who won’t agree with them.
Genesis 16:7-12 (Literal translation version); “And the Angel of Jehovah found her by a well of water in the wilderness; by the well in the way of Shur. And He said, Hagar, Sarai's slave-girl, where did you come from? And where do you go? And she said, I am fleeing from the face of my mistress, Sarai.
And the Angel of Jehovah said to her, Return to your mistress and submit yourself under her hand. And the Angel of Jehovah said to her, I will exceedingly mulply your seed, so that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
And the Angel of Jehovah said to her, Behold! You are with child and shall bear a son; and you shall call his name Ishmael, because Jehovah has listened to your affliction.
And he shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against all, and the hand of everyone against him; and he shall live before all his brothers. (Emphasis is mine)
The point is this; the decedents of Ishmael, in the natural have been true to the prophecy and have been, down through history, like “a wild ass of a man”, their hands against all and the hand of everyone against them…”
And… true to the prophecy, our flesh, like “a wild ass off a man”, has been at war with our Spirit since the Spirit was first given to believers.
James 4:1 (KJV) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members ( your flesh)?
James 4:1-10 (CEV) Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn't it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body?
You want something you don't have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill!
But you still cannot get what you want, and you won't get it by fighting and arguing. You
should pray for it.
Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for
You people aren't faithful to God! Don't you know that if you love the world, you are
God's enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an
enemy of God.
Do you doubt the Scriptures that say, "God truly cares about the Spirit he has put in
In fact, God treats us with even greater kindness, just as the Scriptures say, "God
opposes everyone who is proud, but he is kind to everyone who is humble."
Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you.
Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify
your hearts, you people who can't make up your mind.
Be sad and sorry and weep. Stop laughing and start crying. Be gloomy instead of glad.
Be humble in the Lord's presence, and he will honor you.”
Current events in the Middle East, Biblical prophecy, and Current events in the Spirit are all tied together; 1Co 15:46 ASV; “Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual.”
The real considerations are those things hidden by God in this natural allegory, which Paul points out in Galatians, chapter four, that has been playing out in Natural world history, even unto this very day, with parallel fulfillment in the Spirit.
This allegory from Genesis continues, with lessons for Christians to learn, regarding the controversy between the children of the bondwoman (the flesh) and the children of the free woman (the Spirit).
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