Is there a “Mother God”, a “New Jerusalem Mother” or “Heavenly Mother”, as The World Mission Society Church of God believes and teaches? The answer is “no”!
The WMSCOG tries to prove from the Bible that there is by taking verses out of their context and reinterpreting them. Such passages include Galatians 4:26; Revelation 22:17 and 21:2, 9.
But let’s see what these verses are really saying in their context.
First, Galatians 4:26 says, “But Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.” The WMSCOG, in short, says that “the Jerusalem above” is the New Jerusalem, which is the bride/wife of the Lamb (Rev. 21:2, 9), who supposedly is “Mother God”. But is this really what it’s teaching in context?
Galatians chapters 2-4 are showing that justification/salvation is by grace (undeserved favor from God toward mankind) through faith in Christ alone and not by keeping the Law (the Mosaic Law/Covenant, which includes the 10 commandments, Ex. 19:5; 20:1-17; Deut. 4:8, 44-45; 5:1-21), as seen in Galatians 2:16; 3:8-13, 23-26. Then in Galatians 4:24, it states that this historical section of Scripture (Gal. 4:21-31) is used as an allegory (a figure of speech where people, things, or events stand for ideas or principles so that the literal sense has a parallel symbolic sense). Two women, Hagar the bond/slavewoman and Sarah the free woman (both of whom had children by Abraham), symbolize two covenants, Galatians 4:24 (not a Mother God).
Hagar the bond/slavewoman symbolizes the Mosaic Covenant/Law, which was given at Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:1-2), and her son Ishmael, a slave, symbolizes all her children; that is, all those who live/follow the Mosaic Law/Covenant to try to gain justification/ salvation are in slavery/bondage (to the Law), Galatians 4:24-25; 2:4; 3:23; Acts 15:5-6, 10, and will not get justification/salvation but a curse/condemnation, Galatians 2:16; 3:10-11; 1:8-9. And Jerusalem at the time the book of Galatians was written (A.D. 48) was the hub of Judaism and the implementation of the Mosaic Covenant/Law with the temple being located there (Lk. 2:22-27; Jn. 4:20; Mk. 11:15-17; Acts 21: 17, 23-24, 26).
Sarah the free woman, on the other hand, symbolizes both the Jerusalem above (Gal. 4:26), heavenly Jerusalem, the home of departed believers (Heb. 12:22-23), and the Abrahamic Covenant with her child of promise Isaac (Gen. 15:1, 4; 17:15-16, 19, 21). So Sarah the free woman symbolizes the mother of all children (believers in Jesus Christ by faith, Galatians 3:3-9, 26) under grace (Gal. 1:6; 2:21; Rom. 6:14) in contrast to Hagar symbolizing the mother of those under Law (the Old Testament commandments). Like Sarah’s son Isaac, believers in Jesus Christ are children of promise, Galatians 4:28, since believers in Jesus Christ are promised eternal life in heaven, 1 John 5:13; 1 Peter 1:3-5, 8-9.
- In conclusion, believers in Jesus Christ are children of the free woman since salvation/justification is a free gift from God (Rom. 6:23; 3:24) and not children of the bondwoman since salvation/justification is not by keeping the Law/the Old Testament commandments (Rom. 3:28; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Gal. 2:16). Christ ended the law for righteousness for believers in Him (Rom. 10:4), and believers are not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:14-15; 7:4-6).
- And the “Jerusalem above” is not referring to some “Mother God” or “Heavenly Mother”, as we’ve clearly seen in context here.
Second, the bride mentioned in Revelation 21:2, 9 and Rev. 22:17, which is the bride/wife of the Lamb (the Lamb being Jesus Christ, Jn. 1:29) refers not to some “Mother God” or “Heavenly New Jerusalem Mother” literally, but to Christ’s church/saints (i.e., Christians/believers in Jesus Christ). How do we know this?
Well, the context of Revelation 21 and 22 begins in Revelation 19:7-8, which states, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
- So the bride is the saints and her clothing is their (the saints’) righteous acts. And the word “saints” is a synonym for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, in other words, the Church (e.g., 1 Cor. 1:2; 14:33; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2).
Also, Ephesians 5:31-32 say, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”
- So a man and his wife is compared to Christ and His church, not some “Heavenly New Jerusalem Mother (God)”.
Then in 2 Corinthians 11:2, the apostle Paul says, “…I betrothed you (i.e., gave you believers in Jesus Christ in marriage) to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.”
- The “you” Paul is referring to are the people he wrote this epistle/letter to, namely, “the church of God at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia” (2 Cor. 1:1), and not some “Mother God”.
Third, in Hebrews 12:22-23, it says, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect.” Notice that, here, heavenly Jerusalem is a place, “the city of the living God” and, in fact, is considered part of “heaven” (Heb. 12:23), and its inhabitants include “the general assembly and church of the first-born” and “the spirits of righteous men made perfect”.
- So heavenly Jerusalem is a place closely associated with the believers/saints in it, and not some “Mother God”.
In Revelation 21:2, it says that “the holy city” (again it’s a place, not a person), “new Jerusalem” is “made ready as a bride…” Notice, it does not say it “is” a bride, but “as” (like) a bride. This is a simile (a figure of speech comparing things) rather than a literal fact. In Revelation 21:9, the bride, the wife of the Lamb, that John is shown by the angel is a vision of the city and the people who are to live in the holy city Jerusalem, namely, believers, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, Revelation 21:24, 27.
- So the bride is not the city of Jerusalem itself, but rather its inhabitants. If the city of Jerusalem were the bride, then it’s only so by way of a metonymy or personification (figures of speech, like “the White House” is a personification for the president of the USA) for the people living in the city of Jerusalem, namely, believers. Therefore, the Lamb’s bride is not some “Mother Heavenly God”, but believers in Jesus Christ, as all the above Bible passages show.
As for God creating man in His image, male and female (Gen. 1:27), what does this mean?
The word “image” (the Hebrew word is “selem”) means likeness or representation (Dr. William Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, p. 225; and Dr. Lawrence Richards’ Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, p. 350. In this passage, the word “image” is used figuratively because God does not have a human form/body (Jn. 4:24; Lk. 24:39) but is Spirit. Being in God’s image means that humans share in God’s communicable attributes (e.g., personality, immortality, etc), Drs. J. Walvoord and R. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, p. 29. This image of God is reflected in mankind’s intellect, emotion, will, and immortality that sets human beings apart from the animal creation (Dr. L. Richards, p. 351; Dr. M. Unger’s, Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 17; Drs. C. Pfeiffer & E. Harrison, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 4; Dr. H. Leupold’s Exposition of Genesis, vol. 1, p. 90; and Drs. C. Keil & F. Delitzsch, Commentary of the Old Testament, vol. 1, pp. 63, 64).
- So, “the image of God” that mankind (male and female) is created in is not referring to a male and female counterpart to God, but to God’s immortality and personality.
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