WAITING AND PRAYING

There has been quite a delay since my previous post as the intention of the current one was to set out the practical implications of what I believe has been revealed to me by the Spirit. But frankly it all appears so audacious I can scarcely bring myself to do it. What presumption! What audacity! – “You’re having a laugh, aren’t you?” No, but others are – and unless my ears deceive me, they are not of this earthly realm. And they have given me a name (several in fact as you will have heard if you listened to the recording I have published). And it is not of a prophet as I might have wished or vaingloriously anticipated but pertains to my previous secular occupation: the now virtually obsolete “Charton” – coachman/ bus driver, but also the tenuously related יִצְחָ֔ק which pertains to laughter and to election (cf. Gen17:17; Gal4:28). I have written it in Hebrew for it is always quoted as such (“Yitshak”🤣). The latest recording that I received (shortly to be published with some elaborations regarding earlier recordings) also repeats that name. By whom is it uttered? By demons I suspect – but such do tend to know who’s who (Acts19:15), apart from which it cannot be they (imprisoned spirits) who have compiled the recordings. More to the point, if it were intended as a deception, why provide a name that no one would expect or associate with what I understand myself to be doing (Mal4:5-6)?

A prophet of such standing would expect to receive clear, concise, divinely or angelically provided instructions. That has NOT happened in my case – the disclosure has been curious, cryptic and protracted, progressing over a nine-year period (to date). Yet scripturally speaking, that is not so surprising (cf. Dan12; Mal4 Rev10; Enoch93&104Charles). [I do not equate Enoch with canonical scripture, but as its opening verse intimates and most early Church fathers acknowledged, it is inspired writing, quoted as it is in Jude. It was not written for the benefit of the Church through her history but as its opening verse affirms, for “the elect and righteous” who would be living in the final days of the current epoch. Its author miraculously foresaw that the writing and the prophecies it contained would be virtually lost to the Church and the world for a prolonged period, then later rediscovered and translated into many languages – exactly as happened through what was discovered at Qumran in the mid-20th century].  

Scoffers and doubters can take comfort that I currently claim to have no divine, still less ecclesiological standing whatsoever. But then, if I were the Pope or the greatest Evangelical evangelist there has ever been, could I now unite the churches in preparation for Christ’s return? You will surely appreciate there is not the remotest chance, given where we all are. Truly, there could be no individual, speaking under the authority and auspices of any particular church denomination that could do that right now or indeed since the time of Luther. Hence the voice of one crying in the spiritual wilderness – “prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight”. If the children of the Reformation are to be reunited with their spiritual forefathers so all may “come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God , perfected to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Eph4:13), duly equipped in time to preach a coherent gospel as a final witness to the world (Mt24:14), it could only ever take place from the predisposition that all denominations, doctrinally and for many liturgically, have been substantially in error. That is most definitively in respect to their understanding of the context of the church and gospel within God’s providential intentions towards His creation as a whole (cf. Enoch93:10Charles]. That in turn pertains to God’s secret plan for the Gentile nations (effectively resulting in an inserted epoch 🤣 in the context of Old Testament prophecy and salvation history), revealed by Paul but seemingly not wholly understood by anyone (Eph3:2-11 cf. Rom11:11,12,15,30) – for the apostle’s teaching taken (as I now do) at face value cannot be squared with traditional interpretations of what the bible actually means by gospel salvation.

Notwithstanding these cautionary caveats, be in no doubt that I believe I have received divinely provided insights concerning – i) how the bible should be interpreted – in the process enabling it to become intrinsically coherent; ii) in broad terms how God is going to exercise judgement and take forward His plans for his earthly creation, and iii) most pertinently for those who are likely to be reading this, what is required of those who shall be the “saints” who live to see the return of Christ in glory. The matter has already been set out in the Little Book of Providence, supplemented by posts on this website and Facebook book page. I continue to pray earnestly that I will receive more substantiating affirmation, ideally of the kind that could be verified by others – at which point my approach and demeanour would be less tentative, more akin to that of Ezekiel chapter three.   

NOAH’S GREAT-GRANDAD PREDICTS PDF DOWNLOADS ON THE INTERNET

My post’s title is intentionally tongue-in-cheek – but not entirely so; for sometimes what appears to be a preposterous proposition can turn out to be the truth. But academically speaking, it is contentious to believe that Noah’s great-grandfather Enoch was the real author of the Book of Enoch. But what is virtually universally accepted is that it was written at least 2000 years ago. Yet the implication of the quoted prophecy (which may not be visible on mobiles unless you click the picture) is that certain books were to be freely and universally distributed. The full text reads:

After they have written down truthfully all my words in their languages, not erring from my words but writing them down truthfully, then I know another mystery. Books are to be given to the righteous and the wise to become a cause of joy and uprightness and much wisdom. To them shall the BOOKS BE GIVEN, and they shall BELIEVE IN THEM AND REJOICE OVER THEM, and then shall all the righteous who have learnt from them the TRUE paths of righteousness be recompensed” [En104:10-14 – my highlighting]

The idea of books being widely distributed was humanly speaking an alien concept prior to the mid-2nd millennium invention of the printing press. That was the primary means by which the Protestant Reformation gained traction in the 16th century. [As referred to in a recent post, I believe the author of Enoch alludes to that distant future event when he wrote in the same chapter (104): “they will alter and pervert the words of righteousness in many ways, and will speak wicked words, and lie, and practise great deceits and write books concerning their teachings”]. But now Enoch is referring to books being given (i.e. by implication freely distributed). And to whom? – a specific grouping, sect or nation? No, “to the righteous and the wise” who clearly would be scattered throughout the world. And how could these “righteous and wise” obtain this writing? Clearly, they must have the ability to access, examine and thereby discern that the writing in question was profitable for wisdom; then to freely acquire it for themselves. I cannot envisage such a scenario being feasible until the invention of the internet and portable document format files (PDFs), themselves an invention of the early 1990s, at least two thousand years after the prophecy.

Why Enoch must have written Enoch

Remember, the Book of Enoch is quoted in New Testament Jude and acknowledged by many early Fathers to be divinely inspired – even by those such as Augustine who did most to ensure it was rejected from the canon of Scripture. That is why I (along with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) am clear it was the work of the patriarch himself. For how could that which is inspired and included in the New Testament be a fabrication of deceit? How could that which is divinely inspired be the creation of someone in the 2nd or 3rd century before Christ claiming to be the original patriarch, passing off as divine prophecy much that was already history? And it has been shown to be prophecy indeed – discerning that the Book of Enoch would be lost to the Church and the world for centuries and then (in the caves of Qumran in the 1940s) rediscovered and translated into many languages, just as foretold.

As for the “other books” that were to be freely distributed, that cannot refer to the supplementary books of Enoch or indeed anything discovered at Qumran. They of themselves could never be a source of joy, wisdom and righteousness for the generation “who would be living at the time of tribulations when the wicked and godless are to be removed” (Enoch’s opening verse). Why? Because as with the canonical Old Testament, they do not contain or adequately reflect the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles set out in the New Testament. So, either the books being referred to are entirely new revelation for the last days of the current age OR they are a clarification of earlier revelation that had been widely misinterpreted. It can only be the latter – for everything the world and the church are intended to know and practice in the current age has already been provided in the New Testament and cannot be supplemented. What is more, unlike the scarcely credible assertions of the Protestant Reformers, I am affirming that all that is necessary for gospel salvation is and always has been taught and provided for within the Catholic/Orthodox churches that can trace their sacerdotal lineage back to the apostles. The issue being addressed is whether the bible as a whole has been properly understood? Indeed, was it intended rightly to be interpreted until the very last days, especially concerning the sovereign Creator’s providential purposes and His rationale with respect to evil and suffering? Revelation chapter ten hints otherwise:

 “(The angel) had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken, and DO NOT WRITE THEM” (Rev10:2-4). 

Yet its opening verse had declared Revelation to be “the disclosure of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants (the Church) the things which must soon take place” (Rev1:1). For sure, that disclosure was often presented in  symbolic terms, but nevertheless John wrote down everything he saw and heard as a testimony to the churches. Yet there was one unique exception: the contents of the little book referred to in chapter ten. We are (literally) only given a flavour of what that might contain: sweet as honey to the taste buds but creating bitterness in the abdomen (Greek: κοιλία) , in view (I believe) of what had previously been ingested. “For in the days of the voice of the seventh messenger, when he is about to sound off, then the mystery of God shall be completed, as He announced to His servants the prophets” (10:7).

Nevertheless, it is all somewhat cryptic and open to various interpretations – less so in the Book of Enoch for those who can receive it. For in addition to the aforementioned reference to books being given to the wise and righteous, we saw in the previous post concerning the Apocalypse of Weeks that immediately before the wicked were removed from the earth and  the dead in Christ raised: “at the close (of the seventh week) shall be chosen the elect righteous (ones) of the eternal plant of righteousness to receive a sevenfold instruction concerning all of God’s creation”. As affirmed a few paragraphs ago, such could neither contradict nor substantively add to what has already been revealed in the biblical canon, merely clarify or remedy its interpretation. For example, explaining how the benefits of Christ’s Passion applied to those outside the Covenants of Promise, i.e., the bulk of humanity – regarded by many Christians as mere collateral damage within God’s redemptive plans for humanity. Such an amelioration would surely be sweet as honey in the mouth, replacing the much narrower perspectives that subsequently become ripe for expulsion. 

Conviction assured; verification awaited

If you are accessing this post on Facebook, you will notice that the featured picture for my book page is that of this post, an Enoch scroll containing the reference to the mystery of the “other books” quoted in En104. That is because for some years now (but crucially for testimonial purposes, not at the outset of writing The Little Book of Providence) I believe I have a personal interest in this prophecy. That has become clearer and more certain in recent months, especially following the events and communications to which I referred in my 70th birthday testimonial post. But I need to convince others that such is the case, and this will be attempted in subsequent posts.

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ENOCH – COMPLETING THE BIBLICAL JIGSAW

The bible – a puzzle to many adults also!
"The righteous shall be victorious in the name of the Lord of Spirits and He will cause the others to witness this that they may repent and forgo the works of their hands. They shall have no honour through the name of the Lord of Spirits yet through His name they shall be saved, and the Lord of Spirits shall have compassion on them, for His compassion is great. And He is righteous also in His judgement, and in the presence of His glory unrighteousness shall also not maintain itself: at His judgement the unrepentant shall perish before Him"[Enoch ch50 Charles translation – my highlighting]

My previous post outlined Enoch’s prophecy regarding weeks 8-10, the start of which is the point that Christ returns to judge the earth and raise the dead-in-Christ from their graves. Of course, as with the canonical Old Testament, LJC is not named as such, but it is undoubtedly Him (“the Chosen One”) being referred to, as the narrative indicated a few chapters earlier:

 On that day the Chosen One will sit upon the throne of glory, and will choose among men’s deeds and places without number, and their spirit will become strong in them when they see my Chosen One and those who have called upon my holy and glorious name.  And on that day I will cause my Chosen One to dwell among them, and will transform heaven and make it a blessing and a light eternally.  And I will transform the earth and make it a blessing, and will cause my chosen ones to dwell thereon, whilst those who have committed sins and crimes will not step on it [45:3-5].

The key point I am highlighting from the opening featured passage is that there are not two but three categories of people identified at the end-of-age judgement. The same is more cryptically indicated in canonical Revelation with respect to the New Jerusalem. Chapter 21 describes this as a bride adorned for her Husband. The city is enormous in size and the saints of God are its inhabitants – they are the bride. Yet we also read in verse 24 that “the nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it”. Or as some versions/manuscripts render it “the nations of those that are saved”… (e.g. KJV). These cannot be the saints of God who are the “wife of the Lamb” and who inhabit the city. The likes of the Apostle Paul, Moses and Elijah do not “walk by its light” or pay occasional visits. No, the group being referred to are those who have been saved (spared) through the compassion of God and in view of their willingness to repent and bow the knee to the King of Kings, or “Chosen One” as the Book of Enoch describes the Son of Man. As Paul indicated, others who refuse to believe the Good News of Christ even after it has been made clear to them (which has certainly not been the case for most in the current age) are to be ignominiously dealt with (“set ablaze”) at Christ’s appearing (2Thes1:8).

Likewise in Enoch’s prophecy there are three groups. Firstly, the elect righteous, sometimes referred to as “the chosen ones”. They are those who had been “victorious in the name of the Lord of Spirits” and who shall receive honour and praise, even from the angels (40:5) [If you are uncomfortable with that idea then you should observe how Jesus describes His elect in Revelation (3:21) – for the LJC regards His faithful disciples as His own kith and kin and corporate bride-to-be, indicating the elect are to attain both royal and divine status (cf. Heb2:10-11)]. As should be evident from Scripture as a whole, this group are, proportionally speaking, a minority. Given planet earth’s cultural and religious formation, not to mention her catastrophic historical ecclesiological fractures, most human beings have never received an accurate account of the path to glory, still less embarked and persevered along it.

The role of natural law

Hence the divinely ordered but confusingly entitled “natural law”, for as I have previously explained, it pertains to that which is spiritual and to Christ as Logos as much as to the laws of nature. An effectual role for such was acknowledged by the earliest Christian writers such as Irenaeus (pupil of Polycarp, the pupil of the Apostle John) and Eusebius (3rd century Church historian who through his explicit references to natural law indicated such had been understood within the Church up to that point). But (typically) such divine benevolence was rejected by 4th /5th century Augustine and much later by the Protestant Reformers who built on his “theology of sovereign grace”. For natural law in this context (outlined below) infers a benevolence on God’s part and an underlying goodness on humanity’s part that such theologians and their adherents regard as abhorrent, undermining the gospel as they understand it. Satan would despise it also (the clue’s in his name), for he will have been more than happy for God to be presented as incomprehensibly harsh and unjust from any human perspective, and for men and women to be regarded as virtually depraved by nature, with gospel evangelism adapted  accordingly.

Second century Christian writers knew better, not because they were superior biblical exegetes but because they had received the full deposit of faith in written and verbal form, either from the apostles themselves, their proteges such as Timothy and Titus or those men’s immediate successors (which takes us into the early 2nd century). Hence, Justyn Martyr had spoken of God’s benevolence towards all who endeavour to walk uprightly and in accordance with right reason[1];  God, he wrote, is One who accepts those who imitate His own qualities of temperance, fairness and philanthropy and who exercise their free will in choosing what is pleasing to Him[2]. Irenaeus, also 2nd century, recognized that God in His providence is present with all who attend to moral discipline”[3] paying heed to the natural precepts of the law by which man can be justified[4]. To such men, God was comprehensively and comprehensibly adorable. He was just, He was good, He was compassionate, just as human beings understand those terms. And that is why the Creator has ensured that every human being has been provided with the innate ability ultimately to be united to Himself (but not to be delivered from the corrupting influence of mortal flesh in the present except they encounter the grace of Christ in the gospel – Rom7:24-25).

Through the faculty of conscience, most (not all) have an internal urge to do what is right – they inwardly delight in what is noble and virtuous even though they usually fail to live up to such moral aspirations (cf. Rom7:22-23). The architect-in-chief of Western theology on the other hand asserted that man by nature could do “absolutely no good thing, whether in thought or will, affection or action[5]. That is an affront to divine providence as much as it is to humanity. Yet there are some to whom such a description does apply: the twice dead (in mind and spirit– Jud1:12) – the children of the devil. In Enoch’s language they are the wicked and godless; in the secular world they are akin to psychopaths, whether criminal or respectable. Such peoples’ universally observed characteristics closely align with Scripture’s presentation of those who, like their archetype Cain are not “of God” (1Jn3:12) – devoid of a functioning conscience, lacking compassion and empathy, and with no compulsion whatever to speak the truth.

So, returning to the Judgement, in Enoch’s parable there are three categories – i) the righteous, ii) those who witness the vindication of the righteous and repent of their own wrongdoings. They are saved (i.e. spared) through God’s compassion, but not honoured to the degree of those who had obeyed the gospel. For only those who have partaken of the means of grace and been formed by divine teaching have souls fitted for immediate magisterial service in Christ’s Kingdom. Thirdly, there are those who refuse to repent and shall “perish before Him”. One might wonder who on earth would refuse to repent knowing the fate that awaits them. Likewise in New Testament accounts, who would not be willing to bow the knee to Jesus Christ when He is revealed to the world in His majestic glory? Category threes will already know the answer: for Jesus Christ is the summation of all that is good, and as such is an abhorrence to them. They cannot “repent” anymore than a goat can become a sheep or tares become wheat. They cannot become something they no longer are – a human being who in any measure reflects the image of God, being the personification of love.

Completing the biblical jigsaw

Be assured, the soteriological assumptions outlined above are not derived from the Book of Enoch but the New Testament – the teaching of Jesus and Paul in particular. And all have been reconciled and integrated with the teaching of the whole bible in The Little Book of Providence. Nevertheless, the Book of Enoch helps fill out the detail and complete the jigsaw. Otherwise aspects of the bible would remain a puzzle, such as the purpose and rationale for the universal flood and the existence of gigantic hybrids referred to in the Old Testament relating to the conquest and divinely ordered ethnic cleansing of some Canaanite territories. Hence God’s justice and judgements can be clarified and fully vindicated. And whilst mankind’s contribution to the woes and evils of this world is substantive, it is secondary to that of fallen members of the angelic realm – a reality more clearly presented in Enoch than canonical scripture in view of the greater detail provided concerning the judgements and destinies of the respective parties.

The focus of the bible

That is because canonical Scripture’s focus is the salvation history of the world centred on Christ and His peculiar peoples – the Jewish nation and the Church. It was never intended to be a comprehensive account of God’s creation – the origins, history and destiny of the angelic realm being a prime example; Enoch goes into far more detail. Likewise, God’s providential intentions towards creation as a whole – these are alluded to in the bible, but often cryptically so, in verses and passages that typically biblical theologians label as difficult or anomalous. Not so this “armchair theologian”, who is no theologian at all in any academic sense, merely someone who understands himself to have received revelatory insights concerning biblical interpretation. And especially those that impact upon the context of Israel and the Church within God’s broader benevolent providence; believing also that such an eventuality and the writing pertaining to it has been prophetically foretold, most clearly but not exclusively in the Book of Enoch (previous post).

References:


[1]  The first apology of Justin chaps. 43 & 46

[2]  ibid. chap. 10

[3]  Irenaeus against heresies Book III chap. 25 (para 1)

[4] Ibid. Book IV chap. 13 para 1

[5]  “On Rebuke and Grace” – chap. 3

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Related post: ENOCH’S APOCALYPSE – THE AGE TO COME

ENOCH’S APOCALYPSE – THE AGE TO COME

First resurrection
THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL ARISE FROM THEIR SLEEP, and wisdom shall arise and be given unto them. And after that the roots of unrighteousness shall be cut off, and the sinners shall be destroyed by the sword ... shall be cut off from the blasphemers in every place, and those who plan violence and those who commit blasphemy shall perish by the sword.  And after that there shall be another, THE EIGHTH WEEK, that of righteousness, and a sword shall be given to it that a righteous judgement may be executed on the oppressors, and sinners shall be delivered into the hands of the righteous.
 And at its close they shall acquire houses through their righteousness, and a house shall be built for the Great King in glory for evermore.  And after that, in the NINTH WEEK, the righteous judgement shall be revealed to the whole world, and all the works of the godless shall vanish from all the earth, and the world shall be written down for destruction. And all mankind shall look to the path of uprightness.  And after this, in the TENTH WEEK in the seventh part, there shall be the great eternal judgement in which He will execute vengeance amongst the angels.  And the first heaven shall depart and pass away, and a new heaven shall appear, and all the powers of the heavens shall give sevenfold light. And after that there will be MANY WEEKS WITHOUT NUMBER FOR EVER, and all shall be in goodness and righteousness, and sin shall no more be mentioned for ever. [Enoch 91:10 -17 - R H Charles’ translation]

Weeks 1-7 of Enoch’s prophecy (previous post) closed with the statement that a seven part “instruction” concerning God’s intentions towards all creation would be provided for the elect and righteous alive during the time of tribulation (En91:10 Charles translation). I linked this to the patriarch’s still more remarkable prediction that “books will be given to the righteous and the wise to become a cause of joy and uprightness and much wisdom – they shall believe in them and rejoice over them, and then shall all the righteous who have learnt from them all the paths of uprightness be recompensed” [En104:12-14].

The age to come

That is immediately followed by the passage quoted above, which as is well known is out of sequence within the Book of Enoch as compiled. It concerns weeks 8-10 which commence with the resurrection of the righteous followed by a culling of the wicked. As in canonical Revelation (ch20), the earth then continues for a period of time after the righteous have been resurrected, before (in Enoch’s language) being “written down for destruction” to make way for a new heaven and new earth. This is thought-provoking in itself – that the book of Revelation written towards the end of the first century AD should corroborate Enoch’s premillennial perspective (the earth continuing after the resurrection of the righteous and judgement of the wicked), given that the latter was certainly composed BC, I believe by Enoch himself.  

In comparing the two accounts, Enoch gives more detail of events in the age to come but notably makes no clear reference to the return, ongoing presence or role of the Lord Jesus Christ. But again, in view of when it was written that is not so surprising. For references to the Lord and Saviour of mankind were relatively rare and heavily veiled in the canonical Old Testament. Yet He is referred to Enoch, where the author wrote:

 And at that hour that Son of Man was called near the Lord of the spirits, and his name before the Head of days. And before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were made, his name was called before the Lord of the spirits. He will be a staff to the just and the holy, upon which they will support themselves and not fall, and he will be the light of the nations, and he will be the hope of those who are sick in their hearts. All who live upon the earth will fall down before him and bend the knee to him, and will bless and praise him and will sing psalms to the name of the Lord of the spirits. For this purpose he was chosen and hidden before him before the world was created, and he will be before him to eternity. And the wisdom of the Lord of the spirits has revealed him to the holy and the just, for he preserves the portion of the just, because they have hated and despised this world of injustice, and have hated all its deeds and ways in the name of the Lord of the spirits; for in his name they will be saved, and he will be the revenger of their lives [En48:2-7 Schodde translation – my highlighting].

The age to come is likely to spring some surprises in terms of what was foretold in the New Testament. That was certainly the case when the Old Testament age gave way to the New. And not only concerning Jesus, but also what Paul twice referred to as “my gospel” – his revelation that the Messianic community would no longer be exclusively Jewish – God’s secret plan that Paul outlines in Ephesians chapter three. Jesus had hinted along those lines in some of His parables, but the Old Testament prophets had understood that the Jews would continue to be “the children of the kingdom” even after the coming of the Messiah. They alone were God’s elect, His priesthood for the world. Gentiles would be enlightened by them and pardoned if they came to acknowledge the Lord – but it was not envisaged they would be granted “the same gift of salvation” as the Jews resulting in eternal life or have “an inheritance with those being sanctified” (Acts11:17-18 & 26:18). Note from Acts11, this was something of a surprise even to Peter, whereas the risen Lord had made the matter much clearer to Paul (see also Rom11:11,12,15).

Such unforetold developments are one reason I have no intention of trying to throw light on what either Enoch or John in Revelation indicate shall occur in the earthly age that follows this one. It is not my territory, by which I mean I have no insights on the matter. Such prophetic insights as I have received (which turned much of my earlier understanding on its head) concern God’s providential intentions for the current age and indeed for the Gentile peoples of Old Testament times. That has enabled me to demonstrate from Scripture that divine benevolence is not restricted to the Jews and the Church but to all redeemable creation, and I have set the case out in The Little Book of Providence. Some recent testimonial posts have indicated why, after many years of uncertainty, I believe I am intended such a role. Also, that such a provision is in accordance with prophetic expectations, more especially that of Enoch.

The resulting seven-part synopsis resolves many longstanding biblical tensions and doctrinal conundrums, resulting in a presentation (albeit written in an unscholarly manner) that I am convinced is unprecedentedly coherent, consistent with God’s nature as revealed in Scripture and in line with how the Church and the world has actually panned out to date. If the Lord chooses to own such a work, readers of sufficient number and influence will in due time come to share that view so that the matter can be taken forward.

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Linked post: THE  APOCALYPSE OF WEEKS & ENOCH – COMPLETING THE BIBLICAL JIGSAW

THE APOCALYPSE OF WEEKS

Enoch’s Apocalypse of Weeks

Enoch’s Apocalypse of weeks is believed to be the earliest apocalypse of the Jewish tradition. The Book of Enoch was effectively treated as canonical by the very early Church. Church fathers including Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian believed it to be inspired and written by Enoch himself. Even those such as Augustine who were instrumental in ensuring it was ultimately rejected by most of Christendom acknowledged it to be divinely inspired, principally in view of its citing in New Testament Jude. As I have been recently testifying, the Old Testament cannot be rightly interpreted without reference to the Book of Enoch, especially regarding the activity and influence of the fallen watchers that resulted in the universal flood and the need for ethnic cleansing within the Canaanite territories. More importantly it contains prophecies of events that may be happening right now. For as the opening verse affirms, it was written to be a blessing, not to the Church through her history, but to “the elect and the righteous who would be living at the time of tribulations when the wicked and godless are to be removed”. 

The scholarly consensus is that it was written in the 1st or 2nd century BC. However, I am convinced, along with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the aforementioned early Fathers that Enoch was written by Enoch. There are various theories cited on the internet as to how practically speaking that could be the case which I won’t go into here. But think about it – if, as so many believe the Book of Enoch is inspired, being a true word from God (biblical Jude believed that or he would not have quoted from it in his letter), how then could it at the same time be a fabrication of deceit? How could that which is divinely inspired be the creation of someone in the 2nd or 3rd century before Christ claiming to be the original patriarch, passing off as divine prophecy much that was already history?

Most interpretations of the weeks have worked on such an assumption, i.e., that the apocalypse was written 2000-2300 years ago. A typical example is available HERE. But taking this prophecy to have, like some within the Old Testament, a dual (Temple/Church) perspective, my interpretation of the first seven weeks is as follows:

I (Enoch) was born the seventh in the FIRST WEEK, while judgement and righteousness still endured”.

Calculating from the genealogy in Gen5, Enoch was born around 600 years after Adam’s creation, yet he records that “righteousness still endured”. This is supported by Gen4:26 that stated that after the birth of Adam’s grandson Enosh, “at that time men began to call on the Lord”. But all was about to change, yet canonical Scripture only makes a fleeting reference to it (Gen6:1-2); not so the Book of Enoch which goes into the greatest of detail.

“And after me there shall arise in the SECOND WEEK great wickedness, and deceit shall have sprung up; and in it there shall be the first end. And in it a man shall be saved; and after it is ended unrighteousness shall grow up and a law shall be made for the sinners”.

The fallen watchers briefly referred to in Gen6 were intended to be a guiding and restraining influence for fallen humanity. But they rejected their designated function, sexually uniting themselves to women, creating monstrous hybrids (giants) in the process and leading humanity into ever deeper depravity. Consequently, God saw that “the inclination of the thoughts of man’s hearts was only evil all the time” (Gen6:5). I say again for the sake of the many who have been deluded by the teaching of Augustine and the Protestant Reformers, that was not the case from the time Adam fell till the fall of the watchers, any more than it is for the postdiluvian world. Yet it is the case for some – the offspring of Satan (cf. 1Jn3:11), whom the Book of Enoch’s opening verse affirms are shortly to be despatched from the earth. Clearly the “first end” refers to the Flood. Other versions of Enoch make it clearer that after Noah and his family left the ark, unrighteousness grew progressively, after which “a law was made for the sinners”. I don’t believe this to be relating to God’s covenant with Noah for that was immediately after the flood (Gen9). It would therefore be referring to the Torah, which although ostensibly made for the Jews, was ultimately intended to be a light to the whole world as Moses indicated in Deut:4:5-6.

And after that in the THIRD WEEK at its close a man shall be elected as the plant of righteous judgement, and his posterity shall become the plant of righteousness for evermore.

I believe this to be referring to Jesus Christ, the Man at the centre of history who otherwise would not have received a mention. Others believe it to be Abraham or Elijah but surely only Christ could be “the plant of righteousness for all time”. Of course, if it is Christ, that affirms the later weeks must be referring to the New Testament period, i.e. to the Church.

And after that in the FOURTH WEEK, at its close, visions of the holy and righteous shall be seen and a law for all generations and an enclosure (or court) shall be made for them

Identifying the “visions of the holy and righteous” is difficult however the weeks are interpreted. It could refer to those saints raised at Jesus’ resurrection, who were seen in Jerusalem (Mt27:52-53). Given the timescale (i.e. the New Testament period), the “law for all generations” would be Christ’s teaching. The apostles’ commission had been to go to every nation and “teach them to observe everything I (Jesus) have commanded you (Mt28:19-20).

And after that in the FIFTH week, at its close, the house of glory and dominion shall be built for ever

Jesus had told one of His disciples, “You are Peter (Πέτρος) and on this rock (πέτρᾳ) I will build my Church and the gates of hades shall never prevail against it (Mt16:18). The early Church both in the east and west generally accepted that the bishopric of Rome (where Peter had been buried) had pre-eminence. The controversy that continues to this day pertains to whether Rome’s bishop should have jurisdiction over the rest (a subject for another occasion). Particularly In view of the “week” that follows, I take the house of dominion to be referring to the Church established at Rome.

And after that in the SIXTH week all who live in (the house of dominion) shall be blinded, and their hearts shall godlessly forsake wisdom. And in it a man shall ascend. And at its close the house of dominion shall be burnt with fire, and the whole race of the chosen root shall be dispersed.

It follows from what I have consistently been attesting, that the “blinding” and “forsaking of wisdom” occurred around the 4th/5th century, its chief contributor being Augustine. The man referred to who later arose to prominence within the Church would be a 16th century Augustinian monk. He legitimately challenged aspects of the Roman Church’s integrity and theology (especially regarding “indulgencies”) but went on to dispute her very credentials as the true Church [NOTE #1]. Through the support Luther gained for his rebellion, the Roman church was severely damaged (“burnt with fire”) and many of the faithful “dispersed” into separate, independent denominations, reliant on Scripture alone whilst rejecting the Eucharistic sacrifice which the Church in East and West had historically regarded as sacrosanct.

And after that in the SEVENTH week shall an apostate generation arise, and many shall be its deeds and all its deeds shall be apostate. And at its close shall be elected the elect righteous of the eternal plant of righteousness to receive sevenfold instruction concerning all His creation.

I have just inferred to whom I believe the “apostate generation” applies. It is referred to again a few chapters later (104) where Enoch wrote, “they will alter and pervert the words of righteousness in many ways, and will speak wicked words, and lie, and practise great deceits and write books concerning their teachings”.  By implication such books would need to be widely distributed if they were to make an impact and furnish an “apostate generation” – which rather implies the availability of the printing press. At the close of this period (which I’m clear is the present), a seven-part instruction concerning God’s providential intentions towards His whole creation would be provided. Such would not in any way subvert canonical Scripture; it would elaborate upon those aspects which had been intentionally veiled and much misunderstood. That especially concerns God’s providential intentions towards the earthly creation as a whole. Those who received it and acted upon it would be “the elect righteous of the eternal plant of righteousness” – the generation of saints who would live to see Christ’s return. As to how this would come about:

“After they have written down truthfully all my words in their languages, not erring from my words but writing them down truthfully, then I know another mystery. Books are to be given to the righteous and the wise to become a cause of joy and uprightness and much wisdom. To them shall the books be GIVEN, and they shall believe in them and rejoice over them, and then shall all the righteous who have learnt from them the true paths of righteousness be recompensed” [En104:10-14]

Note, this would not occur until just after Enoch’s writings had been faithfully set out and made available to many peoples in their own languages. Again, it affirms Enoch’s Apocalypse of Weeks to be prophecy indeed – for his writings were concealed for centuries and only recently discovered and widely translated. As for the “other books” setting out God’s intentions towards wider creation, if the prophecy is to be taken literally, such were to be “given” – by implication made universally and freely available. That would only be possible via the likes of PDF downloads or digital printing through the internet, a very recent development and a thoroughly alien concept to the human relater of the Apocalypse. My earlier post refers.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

Does my analysis perfectly fit Enoch’s Apocalypse of Weeks 1-7? By no means, but it appears less fudged than others I have seen which restrict those middle weeks to the Old Testament/Temple period. It reflects the supposition that all churches, particularly in the west, have experienced substantial doctrinal error, especially after the 4th century, and that those who later severed themselves from the Apostolic lineage are apostate. Given the broader benign providence at the heart of this disclosure, this is not as drastic as it might appear. Every deceased soul that has loved Christ or indeed loved “Christ” currently reposes in heaven (Mt25:37-40). What is more, mutual ecclesiological error is the ideal, possibly only predisposition for re-uniting the fractured Body of Christ so that a unified gospel may be proclaimed to the world before His coming (Mt24:14). Given when these prophecies were made, even if it were just a few centuries BC, the fact that they can be made to resemble any version of Church history is remarkable. All the more so given that the concept of a universal Church was unknown to the Old Testament prophets of the bible, being a secret “hidden in the Father” – until Paul clarified the situation (for some) in the New Testament (Eph3:2-11).

An analysis of weeks 8 to 10 may follow shortly, in which case it will be much briefer given that I claim to have no insights whatsoever concerning how the millennial age shall pan out, merely that it shall be initiated at Christ coming “when the wicked and godless [note 2] are to be removed” and the dead in Christ raised, so that a period of righteousness may ensue upon the earth.

NOTE 1 - The proverbial elephant in the room within most Reformation debates is the perennial Eastern Orthodox Church whose priority has always been to remain faithful to the apostolic deposit of faith. Yet her sacerdotal practice has been much the same as Rome’s. Like her, they accept the real presence of Christ at the altar, regarding the Eucharist as “the awesome sacrifice entrusted to the Church to be re-enacted and given to the faithful for the nourishment of their faith and forgiveness of their sins”.
NOTE 2 - The "wicked and godless" aka "children of the devil" are systematically defined from Scripture in chapter six of The Little Book of Providence. They are the defaulters from the eluded universal covenant of life of whom Cain was the archetype (Gen4:7 King James Version). Morally, such people are devoid of conscience, compassion, empathy or any compulsion to speak the truth. For they lack that quality which is the essence of God Himself, being LOVE (1Jn3:10-12 & 4:7-8)

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Linked posts: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?  &   ENOCH’S APOCALYPSE – THE AGE TO COME 

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

For the last three years or so I have been posting on Facebook and on this website, progressing through the bible, drawing out those passages which pertain directly or indirectly to the subject matter under consideration being divine providence. I have been careful not only to focus on passages that support my thesis (that God’s benign providence is vastly broader than has traditionally been understood) but also narratives that might appear to support the much narrower Augustinian derived Western theological perspective. That is that humanity is a massa damnata (condemned crowd), the bulk of whom are destined for eternal torment. In Augustine’s words “many more are to be left under punishment than delivered from it so that it might thus be shown what had been due to all” (City of God book XXI chap. 12). In the case of the New Testament I have had something to comment on the subject in virtually every chapter so far (having reached Ephesians 3).

Time to take stock

And it so happens that that chapter, reviewed in my most recent biblical narrative post “God’s Secret Plan” was the catalyst for all my published deliberations starting with the book “Fellowship of the Secret”. In 2020 I shortened, depersonalized and systematized it to create “The Little Book of Providence” that this website is promoting. Given also that I recently turned the age of 70 (so in biblical terms am living on borrowed time), I have concluded that now is an appropriate time to review the project’s main findings to date. Actually, “findings” is not quite the word, for as my recent testimonial post affirmed, the understanding I have come to is not primarily the result of study or research but of revelation, which in view of what I experienced at the time I have no doubt was an encounter with the Holy Spirit. It was “revelation” in the sense of being given new insights as to how the bible should rightly be interpreted, more especially the epistles of Paul. Augustine and Martin Luther will have claimed to have had such divinely provided insights on the same matter in their day. But whereas both were already established scholars and leaders within their Church, I am a relative dullard; a Johnny Nobody. Or as the English version of my “new name” indicates, a retired busman [the recent post on “acoustical mysteries” refers].

But in the sphere of Spirit and Kingdom, worldly or ecclesiological status are not determining factors. God’s criteria concerning to whom He chooses to provide insights or equip for nobler service are decidedly counter-intuitive (Mt11:25). As for verification, I do not rely on a particular spiritual encounter to support my Pauline interpretations (which could hardly be further removed from the aforementioned gentlemen’s, especially that of Luther – see related posts starting HERE). Rather, it is the fact that my interpretations result in a providence that reflects God’s biblically testified benevolent disposition. It also make sense of the world and the church as each has panned out to date. Above all, the interpretations result in an unprecedented degree of biblical coherence: Paul agrees with Jesus and James regarding faith, works and the like, whilst Old Testament prophesy can be reconciled or at least explained by what Paul discloses in the New (Eph3 again – God’s secret plan).

The internet – vital for this process

So I am no scholar and those who wish to evaluate my findings need not be either – thanks to the internet.  But it has been necessary to research some matters that transcend biblical interpretation, for they impact upon it. That includes early Church history, especially that of the second century; in particular, how aspects of its theology (but not its sacerdotal praxis) were transformed by the fifth century, especially as a result of Augustine’s extraordinary influence. More recently I have also been examining the insights gleaned from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the late 1940s, especially the Book of Enoch and the related “Book of Giants”. Those who take the view “I’d sooner stick with canonical scripture, thank you very much” might do well to think again. For the Old Testament cannot be rightly understood without reference to those narratives. For example with regard to God’s rationale for the universal flood and the divinely ordered ethnic cleansing of the Canaanite territories acquired for the promised land. Both might appear cruel and harsh on God’s part, but once Enoch’s vastly more detailed narrative has been accommodated, they are shown to be essential for the wellbeing and ultimate restoration of humanity.

Likewise, in terms of specific OT narratives such as Gen6:1-5 (regarding angelic union with women) and several references to gigantic inhabitants within the Canaanite territories faced by the Israelite invaders (e.g. Num13:33; Deut3:11). Both are perplexing apart from reference to Enoch. Yet again, Augustine was the most influential 4th/5th century voice ensuring that Enoch’s historical accounts and a key prophecy for the last days [note 1] were rejected by the Church; hidden from the faithful for centuries – until discovered at Qumran.  

The mystery of Augustine

Regarding Aurelius Augustinus (354-430AD), I have concluded that virtually every distinctive input that colossus made to the future direction and doctrine of the Catholic Church is likely to have thrilled Satan’s heart. It had the effect of barbarizing God’s character, maligning the underlying goodness of human nature, diminishing the efficacy and scope of Christ’s saving work and undermining God’s benevolent providential oversight of His creation. Ironically, the Bishop of Hippo was canonized in recognition of his strenuous endeavours to protect the Church from error and apostacy. Yet his doctrines were arguably a catalyst for the growing tensions between the Eastern and Western Church culminating in the Great Schism (1054). A further 500 years later Augustinian monk Martin Luther and his supporters, whilst asserting that their monastic patriarch had been St Paul’s most faithful interpreter, determined to break-away from the polluted, doctrinally flawed monolith that they and many of their contemporaries (understandably) perceived the Roman Church to have become. She nevertheless remains a part of the true Apostolic Church, equipped with every necessary sacrament of grace (and arguably some more besides), whereas those who broke away fragmented into numerous denominations. That was largely because the bible they had come to depend upon proved to be anything but “perspicuous”, even regarding matters pertaining to salvation itself such as the Lord’s Supper and baptism.

That is one of the reasons every Christian should take time to examine the teaching and praxis of the very early Church (thanks again, internet). That is not because the ability of the earliest Christians to interpret Scripture would have been any better than ours (the canon had yet to be finalized) but because they believed and practiced what they did having received the ways of salvation either from the Apostles themselves, their biblical protégées such as Timothy and Titus or their immediate appointees (which takes us into the early second century). And as both Irenaeus and historian Eusebius testify, the churches of the second century were remarkably united in terms of essential doctrine. Moreover,  if what I have been shown has validity, even in those areas where the separated churches developed broad agreement, it was because they were united in error interpreting some key aspects of Paul’s teaching.

Verifying the messenger

So, does what I claim to have been shown by the Spirit have validity? Despite the munificent providence I have been outlining, many within the churches will hope and trust the answer is a resounding “No way”. For as just indicated, it implies that many sincere Christians are not a part of the true Church, and more often than not are devoid of that sacrament of grace which sustains spiritual life in the present and affords a prospect of resurrection in the age to come (Jn6:53,54) – unless, that is, we believe Jesus to have deceived His listeners and that the early Church was almost uniformly in error. However, in accordance with a central tenet of my thesis, this is not to be equated with whether the soul goes to heaven when one dies. Such is not dependant on religious faith, still less denominational allegiance, but personal “ἀγάπη” (Mt25:40) and the benefits of Christ’s Passion towards those who show themselves to be “of God” (1Jn4:7).  Nevertheless, religious faith and access to the means of grace do impact upon one’s future destiny – whether one is the elect of God, soon to be raptured and delivered from the climax of tribulation, ultimately to be corporately espoused to the Lord of Glory and reign with Him through eternity.

Regarding such a premillennial perspective, again that had been the consensus of the pre-Nicaean Church. But as 2nd century Irenaeus rightly observed, it is not a prerequisite for salvation – else we would all be in trouble given that the Apostolic Church in East and West has long rejected the doctrine, once again largely thanks to you know who, as Wikipedia’s helpful historical review of the doctrine affirms. My long-held pre-millennialist conviction was further reinforced when I came to understand the dispensational implications of what Paul has written in Eph3:9-12. And there is surely a more explicit indication in what Jesus had said about those who would be raptured as well as whom He would be raising “on the last day” (Jn6:54). Similarly, Paul in 1Thes4:16-18, and regarding the earth as a whole in Rom8:18-23, at least once it is rightly translated. Regrettably, that is not usually the case in bible versions utilized within the Catholic Church: κτίσις clearly refers to the created earth, not individual creatures within it “going to heaven when they die”.  

We are where we are

So where DO we go from here? I intend to construct or republish posts relating to the above themes, some of which will have been posted 2-3 years ago. For some biblical misconceptions are foundational – they go right back to Genesis. Two quick examples: who was the first man to be cursed by God? – it wasn’t Adam, our federal head. And to whom in Gen3:15 does Satan’s offspring refer? Then there is the Book of Enoch, seemingly not intended for the Church through her history or the Holy Spirit would have ensured its inclusion in the canon. Rather, it was to be a blessing “to the elect and the righteous who would be living at the time of tribulations when the wicked and godless are to be removed” (opening verse). With that in mind, the next post is likely to concern Enoch’s “Apocalypse of Weeks”, which many interpret in terms of the temple whereas the 5th, 6th and 7th weeks can more readily be associated with the Church, especially as I have portrayed it above.

Re-establishing church unity

Had I ruled the world or overseen the Church this is not the way I would have handled it. But as Paul observed, God’s apparent foolishness surpasses human wisdom. Accordingly, He has decreed that ecclesiological unity be re-established from division and plurality rather than a historically maintained integrity. The only way such unity could be achieved from where the churches are right now is if ALL are shown to have fallen into substantial error – and at least those that are to continue are willing to acknowledge the fact. That is why an apologist with the support of a particular church could never be utilized to prepare the Church and the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Once again, it must be (or start with) the voice of one crying in the spiritual wilderness.

Christ has never left His Church in darkness

The errors being exposed do not pertain to the means of salvation itself. The idea that God would withhold the knowledge and means of Christian salvation from the world for centuries on end is absurd, yet it is the implication of what I once believed as an Evangelical Christian. No, the way and means of salvation has always been adequately set out and provided for within the apostolic churches. In accordance with God’s intentions (Rev10), what has been veiled until these last days is the context of the Church and the gospel within His broader restorative plans for the whole earthly creation. Many of the Christian faithful have already come to sense such broader benign providence. Such was evident in Vatican2’s allusions to “people of good will” outside the Church. But certainly from an Evangelical (or this former-Evangelical)’s perspective, it has never been adequately underpinned from Scripture. Nor could it be without substantial deconstruction of established Western theology, hence this process.

Note 1 : Enoch’s prophecy: When they write down truthfully all my words in their languages, and do not change or diminish anything from my words but write them all down truthfully – all that I first testified concerning them; then I know ANOTHER MYSTERY, that BOOKS WILL BE GIVEN to the righteous and the wise to become a cause of joy and uprightness and much wisdom. and to them shall the BOOKS BE GIVEN, and they shall believe in them and rejoice over them, and then shall all the righteous who have learnt therefrom all the paths of uprightness be recompensed” (Enoch104:11-13).

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THE BIRTH PAINS

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are the beginning of the BIRTH PAINS.” (Matthew24).

Spot the good news in Jesus’s prophecy: it’s in capitals. Paul speaks similarly affirming that it is not just Christians who shall benefit from the regeneration that is to follow the birth pains:

“We know the whole creation suffers birth pains together until now; yet creation itself IS TO BE SET FREE FROM ITS SLAVERY TO CORRUPTION into the glory and freedom of the children of God” (Rom8:22&21)

But why such pain and suffering in the meantime? The Little Book of Providence explains the Rationale, more especially in chapters six and seven. 

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ACOUSTIC MYSTERY ON A 32 BUS

Since 2014 I have been writing (2 books), blogging and occasionally tweeting on biblical interpretation and historical Church perspectives on divine providence. Recently there has been more of a focus on the Book of Enoch and (regrettably) myself, for reasons that may already be becoming apparent. The most recent blogs/tweets have referred to an extraordinary recording that some who follow me will have heard, which those who are not of a nervous disposition can access below:

It contains much that is barely audible or comprehensible, but about a third of the way through [at the 5minute mark played at normal speed], an individual set apart from the rest (the compiler) clearly calls out, “Hello there, Charton”.  

Spiers and Surenne’s French and English Pronouncing Dictionary (among others) affirms that the name “Charton” is a shortened version of the French word “charretier” meaning “CARTER” or coachman – in modern settings, a busman. Such was I for seven years before retiring from fulltime employment in 2013. So, for the virtually obsolete “Charton” read “Carter”.

Sources on the internet HERE and HERE  indicate the name “Carter” is derived from Yitzhak (also spelt Yitzchak), biblical Isaac’s Hebrew name meaning “He laughs”. For Abraham had laughed when God said his geriatric wife would bare him a son whilst Sarah laughed for joy when she did. Likewise, when the Holy Spirit gave me a radical new understanding of the apostle Paul’s teaching, I at the same time wept, rejoiced but above all laughed – how COULD we all have got it so wrong? And when I published my findings, some liked it, some hated it, but no doubt the majority simply laughed: “You CANNOT be serious!” Oh, but I am, so was Paul in Rom 11 and Eph3, the providential and dispensational implications appear to have eluded everyone (recent post).

Whilst I find the aforementioned English/Hebrew connection between Charton/Carter and Yitzhak somewhat tenuous, it is what these sources indicate, and it ties up with what is repeatedly heard on the recording. If I were to say exactly what I believe to be the source, origin and nature of that cacophony, many would think me entirely crazy, so I will not disclose it for the present. There are more substantive matters concerning divine providence I would wish to impart whilst retaining as many followers as possible. Individual listeners must make up their own mind about the recording. Be aware, it is multi-layered – different sounds, words and names (especially “Yitzhak”) can be detected at very different speeds. [Something occurs at the 4min39s point when played at the very slowest speed concerning which I dare not elaborate at present, but proves to me this cannot be a human mock-up]. Be aware also that this is far from the first such recording I have received, and they started before ANY of my writing was published in any form or on any platform, so it cannot be put down to aggrieved readers.

The method of delivery is equally strange. In this case a London bus’s onboard i-bus system can be heard announcing its route and bus stops (I’m familiar with it, I once drove that route), but there is no passenger or traffic noise whatsoever. This can be verified when the recording is played at a very slow speed – total silence when those that are ranting briefly cease to rant. That seems to imply the recording is coming via the bus’s radio system itself – but how could THAT be explained? I do not invite replies, I couldn’t handle them emotionally or have time to respond to them. But feel free to share what you hear with others, especially if they can provide spiritual or indeed acoustical insights regarding what is going on. And if you still have an open mind or are simply intrigued, continue to watch this space.

The LITTLE BOOK OF PROVIDENCE: a radical re-interpretation of the bible:

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GOD’S SECRET PLAN

3By revelation there was made known to me a MYSTERY, as I wrote before in brief. 4Reading this, you should become aware of my insight into the MYSTERY of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;  6the MYSTERY being that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promises in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.  8Although I am the most inferior of all the saints, grace has been granted that I should preach among the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ 9to enlighten all regarding THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE SECRET hidden in God through the ages, who created all things through Jesus Christ, 10that through the Church should now be made known to the sovereignties and authorities in the heavens, the multi-faceted nature of God’s wisdom 11according to the purpose of the ages made in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph3:3-11)

And so we arrive at the passage of Scripture which gave rise to the title of my first book: “Fellowship of the Secret”. That was taken from verse 9 which could equally be translated “administration of the secret (plan)”. For as sometimes happens there is a textual variant in the bible manuscripts, probably due in this case to the similarity of οἰκονομία (administration) and κοινωνία (fellowship). In context either will do, for Paul is referring to the Church, being a fellowship of believers but also an administration for the propagation and application of the gospel. Similarly, “secret” could be translated “mystery” (as in KJV), being the same word in Greek – a secret of God is assuredly a mystery to man. And as I have highlighted, this short passage has several references to a mystery or secret, being the revelation of the Gentiles’ unexpected inheritance that had now been “made known to the apostles and prophets”. That must refer to prophets of the apostolic age (cf. Acts13:1; 1Cor12:28) for this mystery had only been revealed “now” (v5). Even the heavenly authorities were kept in the dark concerning it, as is confirmed by the sometimes mistranslated and rarely comprehended verses 8-11.

What Paul is disclosing is that it was not until the establishment of the Church, indeed by its establishment, that this mystery concerning the Gentiles’ portion, salvific inheritance and the nature of the dispensation pertaining to it was revealed by God even to the principalities and powers of Heaven. It had been “hidden in God” (i.e. the Father) from earlier ages. That is why none of the Old Testament prophesies depict the gospel age or Church in the form it has taken. For it was never envisaged (or disclosed) that the Gentiles would be included amongst Christ’s consecrated band of enlighteners, rather that they would become enlightened through association with the Jews, God’s elect people. But now according to Paul’s Good News, the Gentiles could themselves be made holy and incorporated within that consecrated fellowship and inherit all its privileges (Acts26:18). God’s secret plan had been accomplished through Christ’s Passion and the breaking down the wall of division between Jew and Gentile through the abolishment of Torah as considered in the previous post.

However, the providential implications of what Paul is saying here has remained a mystery to the post-apostolic Church. Paul’s teaching is actually reinforced in Rom11 (vv11,12,15 & 30) – if only those verses were taken as read, but as I pointed out in an earlier post, they rarely are. I have however discovered at least one early commentator (St John Chrysostom AD347-407) who came in part to an understanding of what Paul is disclosing in Eph3. That is that the dispensation of grace to the Gentiles resulting in eternal life and a glorious inheritance was unknown to the Old Testament prophets as well as the celestial principalities and powers before it was revealed through  Paul. This mysterious (or secret) dispensation Chrysostom recognized had not “come to pass” but had been “manifested” through the establishment of the Church. He went on to write in his commentary:

“For this is the gospel: ‘It is Jesus that shall save His people’ – but (note) not a word about the Gentiles. That which concerns the Gentiles the Spirit reveals; that they were called indeed the angels knew, but that it was the same privileges as Israel, yea, even to sit upon the throne of God, who would ever have expected this? Who would ever have believed it? – (for it had) been hid in God[Chrysostom Homily VI and VII on Ephesians covering (Eph3:5-11); cf. Homily V on Colossians  covering (Col1:26-28)]

He also affirms my translation from the Greek, i.e. that that the mystery was revealed now (not in the Old Testament), through (not “to”) the Church, to (not “by”) the celestial authorities. The fourth century Catholic saint and scholar does not work through the providential implications (which would have challenged the then teaching of his Church). But at least he had grasped the gist of what Paul was intimating, which is more than most interpreters had done, including myself until revealed by the Spirit.

I acknowledge that most other early Fathers, unless they had clearly understood Paul’s reference to this mystery, would regard God’s secret plan as a “strange doctrine” for I found it somewhat peculiar myself. Yet it must be presented, for not only was it directed to my mind during what I know to have been an encounter with the Holy Spirit, it also reconciles a great deal concerning the context of the Church and gospel within a yet more glorious plan of loving goodness; one in which the majority of human tongues will one day willingly confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father (cf. Phi2:11). Although I am the most inferior of all the saints, grace has been granted that I should enlighten all regarding the secret plan that had been hidden in God, even from the Church.

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Related posts: Covenant of promise & Fourteen in the bible

THE DIVIDING WALL

13 But now in Christ Jesus you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall15 by abolishing in His flesh the hostility, which is the Law composed of commandments expressed in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two one new person, in this way establishing peace; 16 and that He might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the hostility. [Eph2:13-16]

At a first glance this passage might appear to be describing how Christ’s shedding of blood at Calvary has broken down the dividing wall that existed between man and God since the Fall. That is a wonderful truth but is not what Paul is referring to here. This barrier is vertical, not horizontal. It refers to a division between one nation and others because of the Law (Torah), not between God and humanity because of their sin. The peace being established here is between disparate peoples so that they might become “one new person”. Both groups are to be united such that as one body they can be reconciled to God. That is by abolishing what had previously separated Jew from Gentile – Torah, being “the Law composed of commandments expressed in ordinances” (v15). Paul refers to this same issue in Colossians where he writes “(God) blotted out the handwriting of the ordinances that were against us, that were hostile to us; taking it out of the way and nailing it to the cross” (Col2:14).

This is more good news in the context of the broader benign providence I have been outlining. God’s laws and decrees set out in Torah, which as fallen human beings we invariably fail to keep, have themselves been nailed to the cross – the benefit of which cannot meaningfully be applied to a specific grouping (i.e. a “limited atonement”). The requirement to keep this Law has been annulled; period. But the same applies to sin. This is how Scripture presents Christ’s Passion with regard to sin: Christ became sin for us (2Cor5:21); He suffered once for sins (1Pet3:18); the iniquity of us all was laid upon Him (Is53:6). Jesus had come in the likeness of sinful flesh so that all sin in the flesh should be condemned (Rom8:3). Not your sin, not my sin, not His chosen people’s sin – simply SIN! That is why John could write: “Christ Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world” (1Jn2:2).

Having read the above, if you have been following these posts or have read my book, you will not immediately go on to challenge along the lines, “Then why be a Christian at all?” or “Wherefore the gospel?” Even the previous post should have made the reasons abundantly clear. Those outside “the covenant of promise” are, according to Paul, dead to God and without hope whilst in this world. For it is only God’s chosen people who can be set free from the domination and bondage of sin by sharing in Christ’s life (Rom5:10), overcoming the encumbrances of Paul’s body of this death (Rom7:24-25). Only such can be “alive to God” in the present or be fitted for their glorious inheritance as the corporate bride of Christ. And with the nearer future in mind, only such shall be resurrected or, if still alive, raptured, at the point that Christ comes with His saints to judge the earth (Jn6:54; 1Thes3:13; Jud1:14-15). At such a time, a certain category of people that Jude (quoting from the Book of Enoch) referred to shall be ignominiously removed from the earth. But these are not all who have failed to keep Torah or indeed failed to follow (or even know about) Jesus Christ. It shall be those who like their archetype Cain have entirely failed to keep the spirit of Torah and indeed every law God has provided for man: “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word within the statement, ‘You shall LOVE your neighbour as yourself’” (Gal5:14). For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is ANY OTHER COMMANDMENT, IT IS SUMMED UP IN THIS SAYING, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Rom13:9

It is no wonder that Paul had been so exasperated with the Judaizing infiltrators of the Roman and Galatian churches. They were seeking to rebuild the dividing wall that Christ’s work at Calvary had broken down. And they had failed to grasp that “it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified (Rom2:13). Yet at the same time “by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom3:20). Those seemingly contradictory statements of Paul make perfect sense once a distinction is made between outwardly observing “commandments expressed in ordinances” vis-à-vis fulfilling the spirit of the Law. The former has been abolished for everybody; the latter is required for all if they are to avoid the fate of the Mt25 “goats”. As Paul has just indicated in Gal5:14, such fulfilment in spirit pertains to love. That is a quality that all who are truly human possess and demonstrate to a degree (1Jn3:12: Mt25:40), whilst God’s elect who act as the Body of Christ in the world are to be perfected in love (1Jn4:17-18).

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