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Bible verses about Analogy of Church as 'Womb'
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Galatians 4:26

Some will contend that Galatians 4:26—"but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all"—proves that a Christian is a fetus conceived by the Holy Spirit, and by analogy, is being carried in the womb of the church, awaiting birth into the Kingdom of God at the resurrection when Christ returns. This cannot be so on several counts. The first is Paul's use of the term "mother." In context, it indicates that the "mother" is not carrying a fetus, but rather, she has already delivered a child—actually many children, the born-again Christians who make up the membership of the church.

The second problem begins with a fact that several commentators assert: Neither Paul nor any other of the apostles ever once equate the church with "Jerusalem above." Growing out from this truth is that Paul specifically states that "Jerusalem above . . . is the mother of us all." However, the church is on earth. Paul is using Jerusalem figuratively in his illustration, in the sense of a homeland from which people spring (Galatians 4:25). It is as if the homeland gives birth to the children in question.

In the passage, the apostle is comparing the weakness and slavery of the earthly Jerusalem with the freedom and power of the heavenly one. The children of God spring from the heavenly because that is where our spiritual Father is located. From there, we are governed, our blessings flow, our rights are secured, and our interests are promoted (Ephesians 1:3). Jerusalem above is the city in which our names are registered (Hebrews 12:23) and our citizenship held (Philippians 3:20). Heavenly Jerusalem, which will come down to earth following the Millennium, is the place we all aspire to be when that magnificent event occurs.

There is no scriptural way that this verse can be made to say that the church is our mother and that we are fetuses in its womb. Besides being unscriptural, it is illogical. Are not the members of the church simultaneously also the children of God? How, then, can the children also be the mother? Can a child be carried in its own womb and then give birth to itself? God does not use such strange, illogical illustrations.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Born Again or Begotten? (Part Three)


 

1 Peter 1:22-25

Although gennao can technically mean "begotten," the weight of Scripture is heavily on it meaning "born" rather than "begotten," even in scriptural areas far removed from the John 3 controversy.

In I Peter 1:23, the phrase "having been born again" is anagennao, which comes from gennao, and means "to beget or (by extension) bear (again)." The apostle makes quite clear in I Peter 2:1-2 that he considers those he is writing to as already born, rather than unborn and within a womb. Only a child already born would feed on milk, or Peter's metaphor would be totally wrong.

A similar circumstance appears in Hebrews 5:13-14:

For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Again, the metaphor pictures an already-born child who eats and drinks.

Paul castigates the members of the Corinthian congregation because of their spiritual immaturity, describing them as babies who needed milk:

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able. (I Corinthians 3:1-2)

The metaphor of eating and drinking only works if we are considered already born spiritually. We were spiritually begotten by the Father at some point in the past through His calling, but we have progressed beyond that begettal to a spiritual birth long before the resurrection of the dead. There is not a single verse that shows us to be begotten but not yet born.

The analogy of being begotten and in the womb of the church is not only scripturally wrong, it is totally inadequate when God commands us to do practical activities normal to Christian life. A child in a womb cannot pray, study, fast, serve, consider, choose, sacrifice, humble himself, repent, forgive, be merciful, walk in the Spirit, rejoice, love, use wisdom, be discreet, intercede, or bring glory to God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Born Again or Begotten? (Part Three)


 

 




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