Thesis #86 of 95 - The current age is not the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies in a spiritualized form but in terms of salvation history is a dispensation established to recruit Gentiles to the Messianic community.
Thesis #87 of 95 - The Gentile's unexpected, and according to Paul "unnatural" incorporation into the messianic community was to create "the fellowship pertaining to the secret (plan) hidden in God" . Although fore-ordained by the Father, this augmentation resulted from the refusal of God's first-choice nation to acknowledge their Messiah even after His resurrection and ascension to glory
Eph3:9-10 (Paul), shedding light on the administration (or fellowship) of the secret (plan) that in previous ages had been hidden in God; so that the multifaceted nature of His wisdom might become known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
Acts18:6 But when (the Jewish leaders) resisted and blasphemed, (Paul) shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean, so from now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Rom11:11 (The Jews) did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Far from it! For as a result of their rejection salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy!
Rom11:16-17a If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are as well. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you (Gentiles), being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches.
The mysteries set out in these two related theses were the focal point of my first book “Fellowship of the Secret”. It resulted from what I am clear was a revelation from the Holy Spirit. But it was the Apostle Paul who first disclosed such mysteries. All, humanly speaking that I did was to take Paul at his word, more particularly in two of the passages quoted above – Eph3:9-12 and Romans11:11 (and related verses 12,15 and 30). Namely, that what we understand as gospel salvation had never been envisaged (in Old Testament prophecy) for non-Jews in the current age. And it only became available to Gentiles in view of Jewish failure and unbelief.
That is unquestionably what Paul wrote, but he is hardly ever taken literally, largely in view of what the churches understand the New Testament to mean by “salvation” – i.e., that it is referring to the means by which human souls are to avoid perdition. As I have been explaining in the earlier theses that is simply not the case.
So firstly, note Paul’s rebuke to the Jewish leaders in Acts18:6 (above). Why should Paul not have been clean (i.e. have a clear conscience) if he brought such a message of salvation to the Gentiles and the Jews had not rejected it? Was not such salvation envisaged for all? Clearly not: “For as a result of the Jews’ rejection, salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealousy” (Rom11:11).
Much as exegetes might seek to dissemble, the Greek wording cannot be made to mean that Paul was speaking of protocol or order (i.e. preach to the Jews first then move on to the Gentiles), the transition occurred because of the Jew’s rejection of Christ and the message concerning Him. This only makes sense once it is has been understood that there is salvation and there is SALVATION. The latter was earmarked for the Jews alone in Old Testament prophecy but was to be made available to the nations through Paul’s revelation concerning the Gentile’s unexpected spiritual inheritance.
“Salvation” as foretold for the Gentile nations meant they would be enlightened by the Jews and pardoned in the name of Jesus if they acknowledged the Jewish Messiah as their Lord and Saviour. They would thereby receive absolution, for “all who call on the name of the Lord shall be spared“.
“SALVATION” on the other hand meant to be born again by water and Spirit, delivered from corruption by means of sanctification in the blood of sprinkling (Heb12:24) resulting in eternal life, being an interior communion with Christ and the Spirit, participation in God’s royal priesthood and a joint inheritance with the Lord of Glory. This privilege had been intended for Israel, chosen of God to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex19:6). But the Church was now to have that role (1Pet2:9). This transfer (or more strictly augmentation) of privilege was a disclosure Paul would sometimes describe as “my Good News” – Paul being God’s chosen vessel through whom “He willed to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles – being Christ in you, the hope of glory!” (Col1:27)
The purpose of the current age
So as stated in thesis #86, in terms of salvation history, the current age exists to recruit Gentiles (Paul’s “wild olive plant”) into the Kingdom of God. In more secular terms this period has clearly been the age of discovery for the whole human race, hence its longevity. It is the time in which the world has engaged in the pursuit of knowledge, gained an understanding of science and the universe, discovered new medicines and developed ever more sophisticated means of transport and communication. This is knowledge and innovation that has progressed exponentially in the last century.
It has all been working towards an end, which is not to prepare for global annihilation and a spiritualized eternity but for global renaissance and resurrection. Jesus is to be the Initiator of that renaissance or regeneration (Greek: παλινγενεσίᾳ), the birth pangs for which we may well now be experiencing (Mt19:28; Mt24:8). And so the Saviour of the world has become the “long expected Jesus”.
Referring back to Old Testament expectations, His shed blood was not exclusively to avail “as a fountain for sin and defilement for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem” as Zechariah had foretold (13:1) – but for “the elect from every nation”. What is more:
“He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens” (Heb7:25-26).
How the above fits in with Scripture as a whole has been set out in my book, freely available in PDF form HERE; larger print version for mobiles HERE.
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