I continue to wait and pray for the breakthrough needed to take matters forward. How and why I believe that can happen is likely to be the subject of subsequent post(s). In the meantime, I will summarize the main points regarding biblical interpretation that has been the primary focus of my writing.
God’s secret plan
The catalyst for the reinterpretations was an understanding of why Paul had unexpectedly been appointed as thirteenth faithful apostle [Matthias had replaced Judas as #12]. It was in order “to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to enlighten all people regarding the secret plan which had been hidden in God from previous ages (Eph3:8-9). But that secret plan is something that no one appears to have appreciated regarding both its providential and dispensational implications. For effectively it means that the current age is not a spiritualized fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, but in terms of the salvation history outlined in the Law and Prophets is an inserted epoch. Paul tells us this came about to provoke God’s disbelieving chosen race to envy – by enlisting members of the Gentile nations into the messianic community (Rom11 vv11,12,15,30).
It had long been prophesied that a coming Jewish Messiah would bring salvation to the world, but the supporting cast who themselves had a salvific role to enact (Ex19:6; Deut4:6) had failed to fulfil God’s purposes for them. They were therefore to be replaced, or rather enhanced, which radically altered the the timing for the establishment of God’s rule on earth. Observe how Paul subverts the OT prophecy concerning that rule: the feet are still beautiful but there is no longer a mention of God’s earthly rule which had been the apotheosis of Isaiah’s proclamation [Rom10:15 vis-à-vis Is52:7]. Likewise, John the Baptist had warned of the wrath to come, and it is clear he meant pretty darn soon, for he believed it would impact the scribes and pharisees that he had scolded. And (more problematically for some), Jesus’s Olivet prophecies, especially Mt10:23 but all of them in reality: the Son of Man would not be returning in glory for a very long time. For God the Father, under whose personal authority such matters of timing are placed (Acts1:7), will have known the Jews would fail their mission, but also that in technological and intercommunicative terms the world was nowhere near ready 2000 years ago for what needed to be enacted in preparation for Christ’s rule on earth. As the Romans11 references affirm (which in view of how the rest of the New Testament has been interpreted are problematical when taken as read), it had not been anticipated (i.e. prophesied in the Old Testament) that non-Jews could be saved in the sense of being raised to eternal life in the current age, hence Peter and others’ surprise and confusion when they were (Acts11:17-18; 26:18).
Once this dispensational shift is comprehended, it really is a revelation as sweet as honey, for the providential implications are glorious, especially with respect to the prospects for the many who do not (and unless spiritually aided cannot) encounter the grace of Christ through the gospel. For let there be no dissembling: Jesus, Paul, John and Luke (in Acts) affirm that fallen man is incapable of coming to salvation in Christ unless divinely enabled to do so (Jn1:13 & 6:44; Rom8:29; Acts13:48). For it is the Church, like Isaac who are the children of promise (Gal4:28). Ishmael, Isaac’s half-brother, though blessed by both God and Abraham was excluded. Likewise now, for those who have been cleansed and regenerated through infant baptism, it will have been a matter of grace and election. Even for adult converts, faith in Christ “is not of yourself, it is a gift of God” (Eph2:8 cf. Acts13:48). Nor can these references be referring to God foreknowing who would accept the gospel, for such would still be election based on merit. For nothing can be more meritorious than being prepared to give up everything to serve Christ. But Paul is adamant that election is not based on merit, either actual or foreseen. God gives to some the ears to hear and the eyes to see Jesus and proclaim with Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. If that has had happened to you then “Blessed are you, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but the Father who is in heaven”, says Jesus (Mt16:17); “God has saved us and called us to a holy calling, NOT on the basis of our works but according to His own purposes and the grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages”, says Paul (2Tim1:9).
Attaining the prize of final salvation and the rewards that go with it is another matter (e.g.1Cor9:24), for to remain within the covenant of promise requires personal cooperation and active participation in the life of Christ (Rom5:10). One must suffer with Him in order to be glorified with Him (Rom8:17). But election/predestination does not determine who shall become the children of God (cf. Rom8:21) but who shall be the firstborn of God’s human family. That is why the Church is described as “the assembly of the firstborn” (Heb12:23: “πρωτοτόκων” being plural – it is not referring to Christ but His people): the royal priesthood of God (1Pet2:9). And as just shown, these must be prepared to give up everything in this life for the privilege (Mt16:24-25), affirming once again God’s sublime equity. That is something which can only be achieved applying a dual perspective interpretation on salvation (next paragraph). Otherwise. one either rejects the bible’s teaching on the matter altogether, or goes along with the Protestant Reformers’ maxim, “Let God be God”, i.e. He may appear unjust and cruel to us but that is His prerogative. It is but He isn’t, and Paul has affirmed it – God is no respecter of persons but is fair and just to all (Rom2:6-16). That is a passage I once regarded as anomalous, but now I delight in it (it’s the rest of Romans I had failed to understand). It affirms the Creator’s thoroughly intelligible justice as Someone we can not only fear but adore.
Clarifying Matthew 25
Once the bifold nature of salvation has been identified, Paul can be taken at his word (especially in Romans 11). That is that Gentiles would not have “been saved” in the current age if Israel had not failed its mission. But that would not have meant they would have all faced perdition. The soul going to heaven or otherwise is rarely if ever what Paul is referring to, whereas Jesus clearly was referring to such a distinction in His parable of the sheep and goats (Mt25). It is a passage where religion is not mentioned or even implied , merely that the “sheep” had exercised compassion and that Jesus regarded their help of the poor as service to Himself (v40). For the Lord, as is sometimes the case with the Apostle John, is here distinguishing between those who are of God and those who are the children of the devil (1Jn3:10). Gospel salvation on the other hand relates to spiritual cleansing and empowering to relate to the Godhead whilst still in human flesh. Such is necessary for those who are to be most closely associated with Christ in the age to come. Such faithful disciples are also described as God’s elect: the firstborn of God’s human family and a kind of first fruit of the created order (James1:18). The rest (i.e. man by nature) Paul describes as being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph2:1). But the “death” to which Paul refers pertains not to the soul but to the procreated intellectual vessel that the spiritual/eternal part of us currently inhabits, preventing the soul from experiencing a cognisant relationship with God, our conscience becoming defiled by “dead works” (Heb9:14). Such a relationship is what the bible means by eternal life (Jn17:3 cf. 1Jn3:15 – note the present tense).
The inner conflict
Relatedly, in one of the most crucial yet misunderstood passages in the New Testament, the apostle describes the vessel inhabited by the soul as “the body of this death” (Rom7:24 check Greek), for he is referring to the condition he had been describing in the preceding passage. That pertained to the inner conflict between the bodily senses processed through the brain (resulting in the aforementioned “dead works” and defiled conscience) and the nobler instincts of the inner man or spirit: “For I joyfully agree with the law of God in the inner man but I see a different law in the members of my body waging war against the law of my (spiritual) mind, making me a prisoner of the law of sin – that law which is in my body’s parts (Rom7:22-23). That is affirming that it is not the God-given soul per se that is the source of mankind’s problem with sin but the procreated intellectual vessel (body and brain) with which it is associated whilst in mortal flesh. This is more good news – for it is something which is temporal that prevents mankind from rightly relating to God and falling into sin, not that which is eternal (1Pet4:6 & 3:19-20; cf. Gen6:3 strictly YLT). Note from the Genesis verse, God’s reference to “My spirit” cannot be the Holy Spirit for the latter is not possessed by all men whereas a God-given spirit is (1Thes5:23), albeit the post-Augustinian Church teaches otherwise. God did mankind a favour by shortening his lifespan as recorded in Genesis, knowing that the spirit He provided would always contend and fail against the flesh (body and brain) as long as they were co-existent. At least that is the case for the many who would not come to partake of Christ’s body and blood and be raised to eternal life (Jn6:53).
Heaven and the need for the other place
The events of Eden did not change God’s ultimate intentions towards those He had made in His image. He wanted them to “become like one of Us” (Gen3:22) – but not before they were ready. Satan persuaded Eve and Adam there was no need to wait. As a result of the fallout, it became necessary that man become re-accustomed to God and the things of God; likewise, the Word of God condescended to become accustomed to man through His incarnation. For the Christian, such divine pedagogy commences during earthly life through a living relationship with that same incarnate Word. But such a familiarization shall be required for all who are to play a positive role in the new heavens and earth where righteousness prevails, so for many the refamiliarization must continue after physical death (cf. 1Pet4:6). Depending on what one’s soul has become, the transformation required may be difficult and painful, but infinitely worth it, whilst for a few it will prove to be impossible. These are the unsaltables (below).
As a palliative to what I will write shortly concerning the true Church, those who in their lifetime delight in worshipping Christ and seek to serve Him, regardless of their denominational allegiance will clearly be at an advantage in respect of this transition. As, no doubt, will all who have feared the god of their understanding and have served such in the way they understand they should. Indeed, such will have been the only right and proper response to their conscience. It will have been a preparation for the worship and service of the true God, Son and Spirit. Likewise, everyone regardless of any religious faith at all, who in the language of second century Irenaeus, “attend to moral discipline, paying heed to the natural precepts of the law by which man can be justified. Regrettably for those of my former ilk, “imputed righteousness” will not play a role. It is our soul that enters eternity in the state it is at death, or else it would not be our life. For “righteousness” or the lack of it is what we are or have become. It is our true self that God ultimately wishes to unite to Himself; He already relates to His Son.
Hell – a divinely ordered establishment
At this point it is helpful to refer to Jesus’ teaching in Mt5:22, carefully noting the gradations. “I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be answerable to the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin, whilst whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into hell fire”. This reflects the absurdity of traditional Western teaching on hell: It is never “all or nothing”. Nevertheless, for those whose misuse of their bodily members and senses has compromised the integrity of their soul (Mt5:29-30), Jesus affirms directly in the context of hell’s punishments that such must “be salted with fire, salt being good. However, if the salt becomes unsaltable, how will you make it salty again? Better to have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another” (Mk9:49-50).
Neither is hell administered by demons with pitchforks as depicted in some medieval paintings, but by God, His saints and angels (cf. Lk16:25 – it is strictly Hades, but note the administrator and why Lazarus is being comforted – it has nothing to do with religion or having lived a sinless life). For, Jesus insists, everyone must be salted, if not in this life, then in the next (cf. Lk6:24-25). My book explains why this must be (ch.7). Your Church is unlikely to, for most have yet to grasp this mystery, yet it’s potentially the most wonderful news of all😂. Hell incorporates an element of punishment (for sure) and is best avoided. But for most attendees it is primarily a place of learning (the hard way), moral correction, preparation and purification. There is no distinction between the fires of hell and “purgatory” either in the bible or the writings of those who had received the Faith directly from the apostle.
In the worst cases, in view of what a few individuals have become in life (irredeemably vile), they could never exist within “new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells” that Peter sought after. It is best for such creatures and everyone else that after due punishment they cease to exist. For they are “unsaltable, good for nothing, to be cast out and trodden under foot” (Mt5:13). God’s hatred of evil, proportional punishment and redistributive/compensatory justice are the outworking of His love, as all who possess the mind of Christ should discern. Such was third century Origen: “God confers benefits justly and punishes with kindness; since neither goodness without justice nor justice without goodness can display the real dignity of the divine nature” (Origen de Principiis Book II chap5 para 3).
As already intimated, the souls of all people of good will (who already have salt in themselves), regardless of their faults and failings or religious faith shall ultimately be accepted into God’s kingdom and have the joy of being reunited with those they have loved and lost. The Son of Man teaches that heaven’s requirement is simply to have possessed and practiced “agape”, being the essence of God Himself (Mt25:40; 1Jn4:8). In other words (and this will confuse many but is explained HERE), the Mt25 “sheep” were justified by faith working through love (Gal5:6). However, Christian faith, obedience to the laws of Christ and attendance to the sacraments of Holy Church are required to be “saved to the uttermost”. That is to be fitted to become the corporate bride of Christ, even to share His throne (Rev3:21). This is for the proportionally few who are called, chosen and faithful. Like Paul, they “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phi3:14). 😲What? “Did you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1Cor9:24). Yet God has made it clear that He sent His Son to save the world and desires that all men be soul-healed and come to a knowledge of the truth. He does not achieve that by despatching the bulk of humanity to a lost eternity for failing to do what we have already proven from Scripture they were incapable of doing. Being, like Paul, an athlete for Christ to attain to God is one thing; avoiding perdition by showing oneself to be truly human (Mt25) is another. Everything fits into place once this salvific distinction has been apprehended – and God is shown to be what He truly is: comprehensively and comprehensibly adorable.
But there are more interpretative errors that God has determined should be sustained until these very last days: an eluded covenant (Gen4); misunderstanding aspects of faith and justification; failure to distinguish “children of the devil” from the unsaved; the non-imputation of Adam’s guilt to his offspring… I could go on (and on). In terms of summarized points, my 95 theses refer. Regarding traditional systematized Western biblical theology, what I have effectively been saying is “rip it up and start again”. Except there is no need – the task has already been completed and set out in The Little Book of Providence, albeit with about as much erudition as this retired London bus driver (“Charton”)3 would be expected to muster. Yet the book’s ability to enable scripture to cohere is I believe unprecedented, being ultimately the work of God and itself the fulfilment of prophecy. That has especially but not exclusively been set out in the Book of Enoch – extra-canonical scripture written to be a blessing to the final generation of Christians (its opening verse).
Less radical than Luther
I sense what you might be thinking (🤣 or 😒) but what Luther and the Reformers proposed and implemented 500 years ago was far more radical than this. Their “rip it up and start again” applied not only to essential doctrine but to the very body of Christ. Not only that, but in view of the traditional dualistic interpretation of biblical salvation they shared with the Catholic Church, Protestants were effectively saying that what was required of men and women to escape eternal torment had been largely unknown and untaught by the churches for the previous thousand or more years. And for the first 28 years of my Christian life I, albeit unwittingly, went along with this travesty. I now know it to be an extraordinary affront on our loving Heavenly Father’s providential care of humanity and Christ’s stewardship of His people through the centuries. Yet I in the past and Evangelicals today are typically oblivious to the implications of their founders’ assertions. For many are not au fait with the earliest Fathers’ writings, nor aware of Luther’s preposterous proposal that these men, some of whom had been directly tutored by the apostles, could uniformly have been in darkness concerning the essentials of saving faith.
I on the other hand have made it clear throughout that a true Church has always existed, albeit divided for the last 1000 years into East (Orthodox) and West (Catholic). Each has provided everything necessary (and more besides) for fulness of salvation. What has been lacking, more particularly in the West (apart from the vital contribution of the many sincere believers in Christ who became Evangelical) is nevertheless radical, indeed almost laughable “(יִצְחָ֔ק)”3. That is a right understanding of what humanity is intended to be saved FROM: not the pollution of an intrinsically corrupted soul but the moral degeneracy of the temporary intellectual vessel it inhabits (cf. Rom7:24). And what salvation is FOR: not to escape a wrathful God’s predisposition to condemn imperfect souls to hell, but to partake of the divine nature whilst still in mortal flesh (proto-theosis). That is so that those predestined to the role are fitted for immediate participation in Christ’s rule in the age to come. As Wikipedia affirms, such a premillennial perspective was the prevailing understanding of the early Church. The first “Christian?” opposition was from Marcion, a heretic who rejected the incarnation of Christ and the canonicity of the Old Testament. More significantly, third century Origen came openly to oppose the doctrine, having an over-spiritualized perspective on events relating to the second coming of Christ. Still more influential was Augustine’s change of mind on the subject. That typically ensured the doctrine was dropped by the Church thereafter. For as a leading Anglican scholar in the wiki article rightly observed, all medieval theology is essentially Augustinian – and the Protestant Reformers built on it. [If Augustine got it wrong we are all in trouble, so here we all are]. Apart from the witness of those early premillennialists who had most immediately received the Faith from the apostles, my opening point concerning God’s secret plan (the inserted epoch) reinforces the rationale for a terrestrial age to follow the current one.
Unlike the separated assemblies, the true Church (East and West) has not been guilty of trashing Christ’s historical care and oversight of the very people He regards as His own flesh and bones (Eph5:30KJV). But largely in view of her incomplete understanding of salvation’s nature and purpose, the Apostolic Church since the time the biblical canon was finalized and its doctrine systematized around the 4th/5th century, has (to put it mildly) failed to do justice to God’s munificence. Hence “The Little Book” – sweet to the taste but likely to create bitterness in the abdomen (Greek: koilos) through that which had previously been assimilated, once God’s magnanimous providence has been ingested (Rev10:10). For in terms of the Catholic Church, it was not until the 1960s Vatican II’s “Lumen Gentium” that God’s broader benign providence towards “people of good will” was articulated at the conciliar level. But in this former Evangelical’s estimation, such broader benign providence has not been adequately underpinned from Scripture. Nor could it be without deconstructing much Augustinian-derived theology – a matter I have been attending to since I was made aware of these truths.
Waiting and praying – for the Catholic Church
Having begun my 50+ year Christian journey from a very different position, it became clear after my first spiritual encounter which (inconveniently) occurred whilst I was at college training for the Baptist ministry (1998) that the Church at Rome is the assembly whose bishop is intended to have oversight of the whole Church militant, and with whom every Christian assembly should ideally be incorporated or affiliated – “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ when we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, henceforth no longer tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive” (Eph4:12-14).
But as I have been intimating, that cannot happen until all assemblies, Rome included (and to a lesser extent the Greek Church) acknowledge substantial doctrinal error – summarized in my 95 theses and set out in full in The Little Book of Providence. Clearly such an acknowledgement would only be forthcoming if it became widely recognized that I, though a spiritual and intellectual pygmy, am nevertheless in accordance with God’s good humour, an instrument for this purpose (Mt11:25; cf. Rev10:7). That is why I earnestly pray for YOU, the reader. For if and when the Spirit affirms in your mind and conscience that I write the truth, you could have a pivotal role to play in taking the matter forward, especially if you have any personal influence yourself as a priest/pastor/leader/writer or have an association with those who do.
 Two of the three names by which I was addressed in “the acoustic mystery“. יִצְחָ֔ק (Yitshak) aka Isaac, denotes he who laughs (or is laughed about), whilst “Charton” is an obscure surname denoting a carter or coachman (in modern times a busman). According to sources I have identified on internet, the Hebrew and English names are linked. The third address I received on the recording is still more extraordinary, being my usual name “Richard”, for the one who I am sure uttered it is no longer with us. The linked post identifies where on the recording these utterances occur.
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