Monday, 7 November 2016

Physical Not Ethereal

In explaining the existence of the Church, and the inclusion of Gentiles in it, the Apostles didn't take a completely a-historical approach to Old Testament prophecies about Israel.
They didn't simply re-interpret the geographical, geopolitical and ethnic identities and details in Prophecy.
Rather, they were eye-witnesses that there had come the fulfilment of God's promises - in Israel and for Israel, in living history - and that formed the very basis for their assertion about the Church.
If the Church didn't begin on the ground in Israel first, then the Church had no legitimacy, no foundation in Scripture, promise, prophecy or history.
In arguing for the legitimacy of the Church, the Apostles didn't merely alter the identity of Israel in Prophecy into something ethereal, spiritual.
When Bible-Prophecy said 'Israel', it meant Israel - because when Bible Prophecy meant Gentiles, it said 'Gentiles'.
And it was with precise regard to the identities in Prophecy that the Apostles proved the Scriptural basis for the Church.
Using Old Testament Scripture and its literal distinction between Jew and Gentile, they argued that the Kingdom-scheme - the Gospel - had to be 'first' to the Jews - literally in the land of Israel - and then after that to the Gentiles. That was the historical order in which the Church had to be birthed.
If there wasn't first an ekklesia (called-out ones, assembly, church) of ethnic Jews who were also Jews inwardly, spiritually - true Jews - believing Jews - then there could have been nothing valid, original, Scriptural, historical or legitimate for Gentiles to become grafted in to.
Not only did the Apostles witness that there had come the fulfilment of Israel's promises in Israel - they also proved Scripturally that only a remnant of Jews would believe and experience it - then they also proved that Gentiles would believe and come to enjoy precisely the same relationship to God.
The Prophets had foreseen that precise scenario, outcome, and order - not only spiritually, but also ethnically, geographically, and historically. The Law also predicted and foreshadowed that outcome, through that literal order.
Our Christian faith is based on the inter-relationship between Scripture and history - not merely on an ethereal, spiritual interpretation of Bible Prophecy.
Certainly, once Gentiles became grafted in, we became heirs of the same promises, of the same salvation, of the same promised-Kingdom - in one new man, the Church, which is His body.
And certainly God's intention all along was that we all - Jews and Gentiles, without distinction, and without the works of the Law - should become eternally linked to the true heavenly city, Mt Sion, the New Jerusalem, the Church of the firstborn.
But the basis for all that is something far more than a merely a-historical, ethereal spiritualisation and alteration of the identities and details of Old Testament prophecies.
Neither did the Apostles see a complete postponement of Israel's promises to the future.
Rather it came about through the precise fulfilment of every detail in Bible Prophecy - with accurate regard to identities, ethnicities, locations, times and order.
It's now historical fact!
Jesus is both Lord and Christ.
The Church was, and therefore it still is, the plan of God.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is God's foreseen, His best final and only plan - for Jews, Israel, Gentiles, and everyone.
We are justified freely by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ - without the deeds of the Law.
The Gospel is the good news that God's Kingdom-scheme has now been inaugurated - vouchsafing our place in His Kingdom when it comes in consummation and ultimacy at Christ's still-future Second Coming.

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