Mother In The Bible: Country Or Korean Lady? Galatians 4:26
The World Mission Society Church of God believes that Zahng Gil Jah is both the “mother” and “bride” described in the Bible. How does the WMSCOG arrive at this conclusion? How do WMSCOG recruiters present this conclusion to potential new recruits?
How They Recruit Using Galatians 4:26
When recruiting in shopping malls, heavily populated areas, or on college campuses, WMSCOG recruiters approach people and ask, “have you ever heard of god the mother in the Bible?” Regardless of what the person says, as long as they are not immediately shunned away, recruiters quickly open the Bible and begin to explain how they arrive at their conclusion that there is a “female god”. (When I was a member, I was taught to recruit this way). The WMSCOG “logic” goes something like this:
- Revelation 22:17 – WMSCOG recruiters point out that the “Spirit” is capitalized and therefore refers to the Holy Spirit. The bride has to be “god” because no one else can give us eternal life (as in water of life). Then, who is the bride?
- Revelation 21:2 – The holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven prepared as a bride for her husband. Who is the bride’s husband?
- Revelation 21:9 – The bride is the wife of the Lamb. Who is the Lamb?
- John 1:29 – The Lamb is Jesus. Then who is mother in the bible?
- Galatians 4:26 – The Jerusalem that is above is our mother. (I know it’s confusing, hang in there):
So, according to the WMSCOG formula:
mother in the Bible (Galatians 4:26) = Jerusalem above (Galatians 4:26) = Jerusalem bride (Revelation 21:2) = bride wife of Jesus (Revelation 21:9) = bride gives water of life (Revelation 22:17, just like Jesus in John 4:14) =
Therefore, bride is mother god
Clear as mud right? Anyone can clearly see that this does grave violence to the original meaning of the Scriptures. If you skip around in the Bible this way doing a keyword search, you can make it say anything you want to. Unfortunately for the WMSCOG, this interpretation easily fails when we read the verses in their proper context (and by the way, if you thought you could make sense of any book by jumping around all over it, grabbing a line from this chapter and another line from another chapter, you should try this with some other book in your library you’ve read before and see how it very poorly communicates the underlying story).
Problems With The WMSCOG Interpretation
- While the WMSCOG does not believe that the “bride” in the Bible represents the church, they contradict their own founder, a Korean man named Ahnsahnghong, when he writes that the bride does represent the church.
- While the WMSCOG believes that the “mother” in Galatians 4:26 represents a “mother god” (whom they also claim is a lady living in Korea named Zahng Gil-Jah), they again contradict their own founder Ahnsahnghong who wrote a book denouncing the idea of a “mother god”.
Galatians 4:26 Grossly Misinterpreted
The WMSCOG continues their pattern of misinterpreting Scripture by completely ignoring the context surrounding their cherry-picked verses. A person can be seriously mislead by this sort of thinking if the context surrounding Galatians 4:26 is not examined. Considering the context of Galatians 4 in its entirety, it becomes clear that the apostle Paul was not referring to a “female god”. Let us read the text as it is written.
Paul begins the chapter by comparing Christians to heirs of their father’s estate (Galatians 4:1-2). In continuing with this analogy, Paul goes on to explain how we were slaves under the law until Jesus, also born under the law, came to redeem us and adopt us as God’s children, making us heirs of our Father’s Kingdom.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
Paul goes on to express his concern for the Galatians because they had turned back to observing “special days and months and seasons and years” (Galatians 4:9-10). It is clear that Paul is quite disturbed by the behavior of the Galatians when he says “I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you” (Galatians 4:11) and “I am perplexed about you!” (Galatians 4:20). The Galatians seemed to have turned back to observing the ceremonial law of Moses, (“Tell me, you who want to be under the law” Galatians 4:21) despite having learned about redemption through Jesus Christ.
Paul uses the story of Abraham and his two sons to illustrate his point. Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman (Hagar) and one by a free woman (Sarah). As we read on in Galatians 4, Paul tells us that what he is about to say should be taken figuratively (aka metaphorically, allegorically, NOT literally).
These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Ahn Sahng Hong also agreed with this interpretation.
When interpreting the above verses figuratively as Paul intended (and flat out says), the following becomes clear:
- Hagar represents the present city Jerusalem, the old covenant, and therefore her children are slaves.
- Sarah represents the heavenly city Jerusalem, the new covenant, and therefore her children are free.
Therefore, in Galatians 4:26, it is clear that when Paul says that the “new Jerusalem is our mother” he is referring to the heavenly country Jerusalem as our motherland. In order to illustrate this more clearly, here are some additional Biblical examples of the word “mother” being used to refer to a country.
We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel…
(In this verse, mother represents a city in Israel.)
You stumble day and night, and the prophets stumble with you. So I will destroy your mother…
(It is clear, after reading the entire chapter, that mother in this verse refers to Israel as well.)
For more information on what the word “mother” is used to represent in the Bible, please view this excellent article.
As you can see, Galatians 4:26 taken out of context can mean anything. However, when we read the verse in context, it is abundantly clear that this verse does not refer to a mother god and Ahn Sahng Hong agreed. When I was in the WMSCOG, they discouraged us from reading outside the verses they wanted us to memorize because they said we would not be able to understand the Bible on our own. Actually, I can see another reason why–because doing so quickly leads one to leave the WMSCOG.