Friday, 22 December 2017

Narrative and Story

Every movement within a story, is understood by its place in the overarching narrative.
Every line of any chapter in the Bible, is understood by its place in the book in which its found, and in the overarching narrative of the whole Bible.
The overarching narrative of the Bible, goes something like this:
God created the world, created humans, placed them in a paradise, to play a central role in the world under the Creator, reflecting His image in the world;
But humans fell, chose idolatry, and went into exile from paradise, affecting the whole of creation, and suffer death.
It had always been God's plan though, for Jesus to come as God in Person, to restore God's good creation. And He told a friend of His named Abraham about this plan, in advance. It would all be achieved through his Seed.
He called Israel to be the custodians of that promise, the promise to restore the whole world. In the meantime He gave them a Law. But of course Israel couldn't quite keep it, being also themselves fallen humans just like the rest of mankind. So He also promised them a better covenant in future.
But meanwhile that was all used as part of God's plan. The Son of God came, and took upon Himself the brunt of evil, brought against Him by the blinded state of both Gentile and Jewish rulers; this He accepted on all mankind's behalf, and He rose again, defeating evil and death, and reigning in life, inaugurating the new world.
Believers in Jesus became beneficiaries of the coming new world, in advance - experiencing its power, salvation and justification in the present, through the Holy Spirit. Through their faith and suffering, they extend God's creation-restoring program in the world.
Until the Day when God is present with us again, and finally removes all enemies, and completes the victory over death which He has already inaugurated through the cross, even delivering the creature itself from the bondage of corruption, and dwells with us forever in Paradise in a new fully-restored world.
That's pretty-much the overarching story of the Bible.
So prophecies such as the destruction of the temple, are to be understood by their place in that overarching narrative - not as being the whole narrative itself.
Prophecies such as the coming general resurrection, aren't to be redefined so as to fit inside a temple-narrative - it's meant to keep its place in the overarching story.
Don't reduce the whole narrative down to a narrower narrative which was only ever meant to form part of the larger narrative.
AD70 did see the fulfilment of specific things, as intended - but that was only ever part of the overall story of redemption.
The story begins and ends in paradise; involves the whole of creation, including the physical: it's not only about the temple and Israel; the pivotal moment was not so much AD70, but the cross and resurrection of Jesus - He inaugurated and brought into this present world, the promised eternal life of the coming new world.
The announcement of this is called 'the Gospel'. The task is given to Messiah's Body, the Church, in union with Him.

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