CONTEXTUALIZING ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH WITHIN BROADER PROVIDENCE
The title of the book is derived from a relatively obscure passage of St Paul (Eph3:8-11). It is the direct result of an experience that I understood to have been an encounter with the Holy Spirit. The experience brought much joy but also a certain trepidation as I came to perceive that the most influential theologian of the first millennium Augustine of Hippo, revered by Catholics and Protestants alike, had misinterpreted the Apostle Paul’s teaching on law and the economy of grace, in the process ensuring that the mystery and majesty of God’s munificent providence be sustained through much of the Church’s earthly pilgrimage. This I understand to be in accordance with divine intentions and it would seem to be what is being referred to in Revelation chapter ten. There was still more trepidation in the realization that what I had been shown could hardly be for personal devotion but was to be shared with as many as would receive it.
The overall message of the book is undoubtedly one of joy and hope for all people of good will; a providential outcome delineated from Holy Scripture which is in accordance with how Yahweh declares Himself to be in that same Scripture (e.g. Ex34:6-7): supreme, sovereign and awesome in His majestic holiness, yet fair and tolerant towards all; filled with mercy and compassion just like His Son – a God of love (agape) even as that quality is understood in human terms and defined in Scripture (1Cor13:4-8). Yet One who will justly punish those who wickedly offend or neglect the poor and vulnerable with whom His Son personally identifies (Mt25:42-46), even that same Jesus, the self-styled Son of Man who also has affirmed that He will judge the human race applying the standards we apply ourselves (Mt7:2).
Once Paul’s reference in Ephesians 3 to “the fellowship of the secret (plan) hidden in God from previous ages and the heavenly authorities” is grasped, there could be rapprochement between the Jewish fathers of the Faith and their Gentile children. “For I would not wish brethren that you be ignorant of this mystery so as to become wise in your own conceits – that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the complement of the Gentiles has come in – and so may all Israel be saved!“
“Saved”? – from what and for what? – the Apostle Peter tells us: our salvation is in order “to partake of the divine nature having been delivered from the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2Pet1:4); becoming instead “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own special people that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light (1Pet2:9NKJ). Such, I adduce in my book. is the context of Israel and Church within divine providence, not the totality but (under Christ) the instrumentality by which all redeemable humanity is to be reconciled to God within a united Heaven and Earth.
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