Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is a picture of the devil. The prophet Ezekiel registers in his book that Jehovah calls Egypt as the great dragon. “Thus says Jehovah God, ‘Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers, that has said, “My Nile is mine, and I myself have made it”’” (Ezek.29:3). The dragon is the devil himself. “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan” (Rev.12:9). Egypt is, therefore, a picture of this chaotic world, and of Satan’s kingdom.
Abraham, when he was called by Jehovah and left Haran, took with him his wife Sarai and Lot, his brother’s son. Hagar, the Egyptian, was not with them (Gen.12:4-5). And Abraham settled in Canaan, between Bethel and Ai (Gen.12:5-9). There was a great famine in that land, and Abraham went down to Egypt. Since Sarai was a beautiful woman, Abraham agreed with her that she would say she was his sister. Sure enough, the servants of Pharaoh praised her before him, and Sarai was taken to be in the house of Pharaoh. And Pharaoh loved Sarai and treated Abraham kindly on her account. Abraham was favored with sheep, cows, donkeys, camels, and servants (Gen.12:10-16). Hagar the Egyptian was given to Sarai by Pharaoh as a gift, that is, according to the picture, the dragon, which is also Satan, gave one of his servants to Sarai.
Then Jehovah struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai. Pharaoh summoned Abraham, returned Sarai to him, and they went away from Egypt, but Sarai took Hagar with her, the servant of the dragon, of the great dragon (in Hebrew, Hatanim Gadol).
Let us go to the New Testament, now, where the great apostle Paul reveals one of the greatest mysteries of the Bible: “Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking; for these women are two covenants, one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children” (Gal.4:21-25). The basis for this allegory is the Law of Jehovah (Gal.4:21).
Abraham had two wives: Sarai, who was his relative, and Hagar the Egyptian slave, who was a gift of the Pharaoh, the great dragon. And Abraham had two sons: The first-born, from the slave wife, and the second, son of Sarai, the free wife (Gal. 4:22). The slave’s child was born according to the flesh, that is, through carnal intercourse, but the child of the free woman was born according to a promise (Gal.4:23). Paul, then, partially reveals the mystery, saying, “This is allegorically speaking; for these women are two covenants, one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar” (Gal.4:24). If Hagar is Mount Sinai, it is a picture of the Law, given at Mount Sinai. The verse 25 says, “Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children”. Pharaoh, the great dragon, gave Hagar, and Jehovah gave the Law. Hagar the Egyptian is Sinai, the mountain of Jehovah. If we invert the picture, it will be like this: The Law would be a picture of Hagar, and Jehovah, who gave the Law to Abraham, would be a picture of Pharaoh, the great dragon. It is not difficult to conclude that Pharaoh is to Jehovah as Hagar is to the Law.
Hagar is Sinai, and the one who made the covenant at Sinai was Jehovah. So, Pharaoh is a picture of Jehovah. Ishmael, son of Hagar is a picture of the Hebrew people, and in reality Ishmael is Hebrew, for he is Abraham’s son. Isaac is a picture of the Church, according to the revelation of Paul in the letter to the Romans: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: ‘Through Isaac your descendants will be named.’ That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants” (Rom.9:6-8). And Paul goes on to say, “And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of Promise. But at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman [Sarai]” (Gal.4:28-30). The revelation that Paul is making is that the Law and the ones begotten by the Law will be thrown out, that is, Hagar and Ishmael.
Really, at the time when the Church was established and expanded, Cyrus marched against Jerusalem and destroyed everything—the temple also—and the Jews were scattered to the four corners of the world. Judaism did not exist any more for 1,900 years; that is, Hagar was sent away with her child (Gen.21:1-21).
As Sarah is a picture of the heavenly Jerusalem, the son of Hagar will inherit the earthly Jerusalem, and the son of Sara, the heavenly Jerusalem. There are, therefore, two inheritances: one earthly and the other heavenly (Gal.4:25-26).
It is important to underline that the Jewish priests persecuted the Christians and induced the people to persecute them. And so, the son of the slave persecuted the son of the free until they were sent away.
Abraham is a picture of Christ, since Sara is the picture of the Church, and the Church is the wife of Christ. Pharaoh possessed Sara, and loved her, but Sara, being the wife of Abraham, had to be returned to her rightful husband. In the same way, today, Jehovah has the church, but he will have to return her to Christ, the rightful husband. Christ will take his Church to the heavenly kingdom of his Father, that is, to the heavenly Jerusalem, and those of Jehovah will inherit the earthly Jerusalem, because they opt for the covenant of Sinai, made by Jehovah. The house of Jehovah is Israel, and the Israelites have suffered all kinds of afflictions these two thousand years, which the Holocaust is an example. It happened during the second war, and six million Jews were tortured and killed in the war camps of Hittler. In Num.12:7, Jehovah declares that Israel is his house. The Christians of our days, fanatics about the Old Testament abolished by Christ (2 Cor.3:14), insist on making themselves sons of Hagar, and in this manner becoming slaves together with Ishmael: they will not inherit the heavenly Jerusalem. This is what this extraordinary allegory of Paul suggests.
On the other hand, Jehovah hated Egypt and his king the Pharaoh. Egypt was a gentile nation, and Hagar, the Egyptian slave, was not of Abraham’s lineage. Ishmael was, therefore, crossbred. For this reason, neither Hagar could be a picture of the covenant of Sinai, nor Ishmael a picture of the Israelites, but Paul applied it in this way in the allegory of Gal.4:21-31.
Now, Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot twelve sons, which were the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is the lineage of Sara, not of Hagar. And it was with Israel that Jehovah made the covenant of Sinai.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira