In Proposition 118, George Peters states:
“This view of the Kingdom is most forcibly sustained by the figure of the Barren Woman.”
If you are like me and are/were a bit clueless as to what this figure of the Barren Woman is all about as noted in Scripture, have no fear. Peters outlines in great detail in the below notable observation the meaning of this important figure as related to Israel.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 118 is the following:
“Who is this “barren woman”? The definite answer is given by the entire scope and order of the prediction. For the present, we reply: It is the Jewish nation as the covenanted elect nation, or, if the reader chooses, Jerusalem as the type of the nation, its chief representative, the nation itself being thus designated. For, (1) this nation is represented as being married to God, being His wife. The marriage relation being thus used as a figure to denote the intimate, Theocratic relation that God sustained as earthly Head and Heir over it. Many passages teach this, in which the nation, under the same figure, is declared to be treacherous as a wife, guilty of whoredoms, etc. In this same chapter she is therefore called “a wife of youth,” a woman that was married when but young, etc. Compare Ezek. 16; Jer. 3:20, etc. (2) She is a “barren woman.” Because, (a) she forsook the Lord and followed her own devices, so that God said, Hos. 2:4, “And I will not have mercy on her children, for they be the children of whoredoms;” Hos. 4:6; (b) she persecuted and destroyed her children; Ezek. 16:20-21, “Moreover thou hast taken they sons and daughters whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, that thou hast slain my children,” etc.; (c) hence the increase that would have resulted had she proven faithful, was, owing to her wickedness, not realized, Hos. 9:14-17; (d) by her sinfulness she defeated the gracious purposes of God respecting her. This is apparent from numerous declarations in which God promises to her to perform such and such things if she only prove faithful. The lamentation of Jesus over her is sufficient evidence. The nation, persistent in its evil course, instead of blessings receives the curse which is productive of barrenness; (e) she brings forth fruit unto herself and not of God, Hos. 10:1, “begotten strange children,” Hos. 5:7. (3) She is not only a “barren” but a “desolate woman.” In view of the wickedness of the nation God forsook her and in wrath hid His face from her (vs. 7-8), so that in verse 6 she is called a “woman forsaken;” and, owing to this forsaken condition, in verse 4 it is designated by way of reproach a “widowhood” (a condition, notwithstanding the assertions of some, that can never be applied to the Church). How amply this has been fulfilled is evident from Scripture (Ezek. 16:36, etc., Hos. 2, etc.), and from history. Down to the present day she is yet in her “widowhood,” yet a “forsaken woman,” yet “judged as a woman that breaketh wedlock.” Right here the reader may pause and ask, if all this as been so minutely fulfilled that is a matter of record in the languages of the earth, will not the remainder, also asserted of this very “forsaken woman,” be verified? Certainly!
If you had any element of not understanding what the figure of the barren woman is all about as noted in this Proposition, after reading the above notable observation, this figure, its meaning, and application should now be much clearer.
The book of Hosea is an important text for grasping the concept of Israel being betrothed to God. Her chasing after other gods is likened to adultery. As a result of this playing the whore and refusing to repent and return to her Betrothed, Israel was divorced, thus becoming the “barren widow,” the “desolate woman”, the “woman forsaken.”
This seems like a dark and horrible status to be in and quite frankly it is. However, this will not be the end of the story for Israel. The doctrine of the Kingdom predicts God remembering His covenant promises with His people. This will result in a time of repentance. Peters shares a rabbinical writing I think is worth mentioning:
“Woe to those who shall live in the days of the Coming of the Messiah; woe, and also hail to them! For when He, the Holy One, blessed be His name, will appear to remember the barren…” (Rabbi Simeon – Book of Sohar).
We can see the expectation of the people for this future coming kingdom. Woe to those who declare God as being done with His people or who teach that another has fully taken her place in the eyes of God. Such a position is foreign to Scripture and thus cannot be inculcated into or associated with the biblical doctrine of the kingdom. This barrenness is but for a time.