“‘A Symbolic Drama’ With Meaning for Us”
In this section, the Watchtower focuses on Galatians 4:24-31. This “symbolic drama” is interpreted for us as follows.
While the Abrahamic covenant had a literal fulfillment for the descendants of Abraham when they inherited the Promised Land, the Scriptures show that the terms of that covenant also have a spiritual fulfillment. (Gal. 4:22-25) In this greater fulfillment, as the apostle Paul explained under inspiration, the primary part of the offspring of Abraham is Christ and the secondary part refers to the 144,000 spirit-anointed Christians. (Gal. 3:16, 29; Rev. 5:9, 10; 14:1, 4) The woman producing the offspring is none other than “the Jerusalem above”—the heavenly part of God’s organization, made up of loyal spirit creatures. (Gal. 4:26, 31) As the Abrahamic covenant promised, the offspring of the woman would bring blessings to mankind. (w14 10/15 10 ¶11)
We have two groups in view here:
1) Physical/literal Israelites
2) The 144,000 anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses
To illustrate how these tie into the Galatians passage, the Watchtower has provided this helpful chart:
There are two problems with the Watchtower’s interpretation. First, Galatians 4 makes no statements that are true of some Christians that wouldn’t be true of all Christians. In fact, the context proves as much:
“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Gal. 3:29)
Here, Paul applies an attribute that is common to all Christians (i.e. belonging to Christ) to Abraham’s spiritual descendants. Yet, the Watchtower does not believe that all Christians are Abraham’s spiritual descendants. Rather, only the 144,000 anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses are Abraham’s spiritual descendants. Therefore, we have every reason to interpret Sarah, the “free woman’s” children, as all true Christians.
But this isn’t the most difficult part for the Watchtower. In Galatians 4:27 we read, :
“for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of her who has the husband.” (NWT)
If we use the above chart to insert the Watchtower’s interpretation into the text, it would read:
“For [Christ and the 144,000] are more numerous than [Literal Israel under the Law covenant]”
The Watchtower’s interpretation fails because there was surely more than 144,000 Israelites who were under the law covenant. But if we interpret “the children of the desolate woman” as referring to all true Christians for all time, then there is no problem.
Digging for Spiritual Gems
“ʼAbbāʼ as a form of address to God is extremely uncommon in Jewish literature of the Greco-Roman period, doubtless because it would have appeared irreverent to address God with this familiar term,” continues the above-mentioned reference work. However, “Jesus’ . . . use of this term in prayer is an indirect attestation of His extraordinary claim to intimacy with God.” The other two Scriptural occurrences of “Abba”—both in the writings of the apostle Paul—indicate that first-century Christians also used it in their prayers.—Romans 8:15;Galatians 4:6. (w09 4/1 13)
Two questions come to mind.
1) Which is more intimate to use in prayer: “Abba” or “Jehovah?”
2) Which do we find to be used in prayer most often by Jehovah’s Witnesses?