Is there a heavenly mother?
Question: "Is there a heavenly mother?"
Answer: The Bible does not teach the existence of a “heavenly mother.” God is the “heavenly Father” (Luke 11:2). The church is pictured as a bride, loved by Christ (Ephesians 5:25-33).
The concept of a “heavenly mother” who is the “true” bride of Christ is taught by the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG or WMSCG), a Korean cult founded by Ahn Sahng-Hong in 1964. The WMSCOG believes that Ahn Sahng-Hong was the second coming of Christ. When he died in 1985, his “spiritual wife,” Zahng Gil-Jah, took over, calling herself the “heavenly mother” and citing verses such as Revelation 21:9-10; 22:17; and Galatians 4:26.
Revelation 21:2 describes the New Jerusalem as a beautifully adorned bride. Verses 9-10 show that the “wife of the Lamb” and the New Jerusalem are synonymous terms. Obviously, the New Jerusalem is a city, not a person. A city is a group of people, not an individual; in this case, the city is the church, the redeemed of the Lord living in God’s heavenly city. The Lamb’s “wife,” then, is figurative, not literal.
Galatians 4:26 says, “The Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.” Taken by itself, this is indeed a perplexing verse. However, the context makes the meaning plain. Paul is contrasting the Old and New Covenants. As an illustration, he contrasts Hagar (Abraham’s slave) with Sarah (Abraham’s wife). Hagar represents the bondage to the law, and her son, Ishmael, was a son of law and of bondage. Sarah represents freedom, and her son, Isaac, was a son of promise and of freedom. Paul’s point is that those “born” of Sinai (under the Old Covenant of law) are in bondage, whereas those “born” of the heavenly Jerusalem (under the New Covenant of grace) are free. To paraphrase verse 26, “We, like Isaac, are children of promise; we are not under the law; we are freeborn citizens of the heavenly city of Christ.”
So, the “mother” in Galatians 4:26 is not a literal female personage. Rather, it is a symbolic representation of the kingdom of Christ. Another passage that pictures the city of God and its inhabitants as a mother and children is Isaiah 49:17-21. Anyone who proclaims herself the “heavenly mother” or who claims to be the literal “bride of Christ” is practicing deceit.
The World Mission Society Church of God is absolutely a cult. Its “heavenly mother” heresy is just one of its many false teachings.
Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer
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Is there a heavenly mother?