King Agrippa - Paul before the civil authorities
King Agrippa depicted on coin

 And I (Paul) said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ (Acts26:15-18)

It is interesting to see the account Paul gives of himself before the Roman Governor Festus and in particular King Agrippa (chapter 26). What strikes me is the Apostle’s simplicity and honesty in recounting his experience as a one-time persecutor of Christians, his Damascus experience, His dealings with fellow Jews and the nature of his ministry to the Gentiles, whom it should be noted, as a result of  Jewish unbelief (Rom11:11) were to be offered “an inheritance amongst the sanctified“(Acts26:18)

 Whilst the likes of Governor Felix, his successor Festus and King Agrippa were at times incredulous, they were at least reasonable in respecting the fact that Paul had done nothing worthy of death as so many Jews claimed. The latter’s hatred and intransigence is at times staggering to behold. Regrettably, it is often those most steeped in their particular religious tradition who are the least open to new revelation or the idea that they or their tradition have interpreted the Scriptures wrongly which as Paul asserted these Jews certainly had. For as he said he was “saying nothing different from what Moses and the prophets had said should happen – that Christ should suffer and rise from the dead(26:22-23).

To be fair, prophecies concerning the death and resurrection of a coming Messiah are distinctly obscure in the Old Testament. The twelve disciples clearly had not apprehended the matter (Luke 9:44-45); nor for that matter had the scholarly Saul of Tarsus before his conversion.  But the truth was there for those to whom God’s Spirit granted prescience.

And such might be the case for the New Testament. For whilst the essentials of salvation in the current age should be clear enough, certain mysteries concerning broader providence – i.e. God’s intentions towards those not elected to Christian salvation and His plans for His earthly creation in  the age to come  have lain almost imperceptibly beneath the pages of Scripture, ready to be revealed in the last days, A classic example is a proper understanding of what Paul was indicating in Romans8:21-23 concerning the restoration of creation. 

Whilst the Book of Enoch was rightly excluded from the biblical canon (mainly in view of there being too many variations in manuscripts), many of the early Church Fathers including Clement, Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine and Tertullian believed it to be divinely inspired and a genuine work of the patriarch, which is hardly surprising since it is directly quoted in the New Testament (Jude14,15) . It contains a number of intriguing prophecies** and according to the book’s opening verse (1:1) was specifically written for the benefit of the final generation of Christians living at the time of the Parousia.

**In particular Enoch ch.104 vv11-13

And Enoch ch. 93 verses 8-10


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