Saturday, 4 June 2016

Prophecy, History and the Gospel

The Apostles' doctrine - the Gospel - was formulated on the claim that God had acted in objective events in history, events which they were eyewitnesses of. The Gospel wasn't formulated merely as a result of God acting in the inner experience of select men. Nor was it dependent on any alteration, spiritualisation, or substitution of identities spoken of in Prophecy. And neither did the Apostles' doctrine include any such idea as that there has been an unforeseen delay in God's actions in history, as if the Gospel is a mere parenthesis inserted until God gets back to fulfilling Prophecy. God acted - in history, first. In real events. On the ground. On location. In Israel. As foretold. Events which even unbelievers could see, hear and touch. The Apostles saw it. And they explained how the Law and Prophets had foreseen it too. Christ Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day, as prophesied in the Scriptures. If that was not so, our faith would be nebulous. Subject to personal experience. The product of private interpretation. Wouldn't make full sense. Not grounded on objective historical and Scriptural fact. It was that very history which set-up the experience and situation we enjoy today. The spiritual blessings, realities, identity and hope which we now have in Christ, are possible precisely because God first of all acted in history, in the Person of Jesus Christ, on the cross, on the ground in Israel, fulfilling Prophecy and Promise to Israelis first, as prophesied - and Gentiles were also grafted-in, also as prophesied. That was the historical and Scriptural order of events. Objective events. That's how the new man, the Church, which is His body, came about. It's the reason the Early Church could feel assured of salvation by grace through faith without the works of the Law. Because God had acted in history, in Jesus - Jews experienced the promised-salvation first, and also Gentiles, as Prophesied. To be part of it, a person has only to believe and receive and know Jesus. Then he is born again by the Spirit of God. It's a wonderful inner experience. The gift of God, to be received personally, is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Receive Him today! The one objective historical event which we all alike look forward to now then, is the Second Coming of Christ, that blessed hope. The culmination of all things which was foreseen by all the Prophets since the world began - the resurrection of the dead. The assurance of our participation in that great Day was inaugurated by the Gospel-scheme.

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