Because this is specifically a conversation with Paul, to avoid confusion and complication, I respectfully request that anyone else refrain from adding questions and comments here. You are welcome to email me, though, and I will save your responses for a later post (similar to the responses to Cyrus).
Ok, Paul. First of all, some guidelines for us both:
- Each comment should be made in two parts, a response to the previous point and the raising of a question.
- Response -- We should respond to the question that was last put forth, keeping in mind the purpose of explaining and encouraging understanding and not simply fighting. Also, please avoid using phrases such as "You don't understand because you are not one of God's chosen" (more examples here). We can also respond to the previous response, as long as it doesn't include an additional question that needs an answer.
- Question -- We should ask a question, either to further pursue the issue, or raise a different point. For the ease of following the conversation, please limit the question to one point. Do not ask a question related to your response and ask a new question as well. Though it is understandable to ask a couple questions if they are all very closely related.
- If we think the other's response is incomplete, inadequate, or needs to be clarified, first we should answer their question (give our response), then our question should concern the previous response. In other words, don't avoid their question in order to focus on their response. In this way, we should never be talking about more than two topics at once.
- Timeliness is nice, but life is busy. A delay in answering should not be taken negatively or cause concern, unless there has been silence for more than two weeks.
Yes it is highly figurative. The apostle when it came to explain the new covenant did not mention Sarah or new law but just mentioned about the heavenly Jerusalem. To get a better understanding about the heavenly Jerusalem we must find related verses in the bible and read them together to understand and not in parts.
He didn't say much about it probably because this passage was focused on showing how we are free from slavery to the law, and not focused on the "heavenly Jerusalem."
If you were wanting a "better understanding about the heavenly Jerusalem" as you say, I would not start with this verse at all. I would look first (and mainly) at Heb. 12:22-24 and Rev. 21.
Understanding the heavenly Jerusalem properly does include the verse Gal 4:26. And the apostle did focus a lot and thereby described Jerusalem as our Mother.
And now I'll take the first turn here in the response/question format:
If you read the whole passage (Galatians 4:21-31), there are 10 verses. Only two of them mention Jerusalem. Six of them directly mention Sarah and/or Hagar (two more if you count verses 26-27). Five of them directly mention the sons Isaac and/or Ishmael (who was not named, but we know who he was). Therefore, I would say his metaphors were focused on the women and the sons, not on Jerusalem. That's why, if you were wondering about a "heavenly Jerusalem" I would not start with those verses.
My question for you... You had asked me before what I thought of when I heard the word "Jerusalem." You agreed with my response that it was a city. When you think of Jerusalem the city, what specifically do you think of? Do you include all the people (inhabitants) in that thought picture, just see the buildings (like empty shells), or maybe just the physical location (as a dot on the map), or...?
Now it's your turn. Please remember the two parts, response and question.