So, maybe, and I think very probable

I kinda think – hence the title – that we are in a time of ‘collapse’. Much is shifting and here are a few perspectives I have held for some time… we are seeing a shift from west to east and from north to south. I realise once we have an interest in something we tend to get that ‘fed’ to us, so I need to be a little careful but every day I get feeds around ‘new currency’, ‘a shift from the dollar as global currency’, ‘the BRICS are planning xyz’. I don’t know if the term ‘collapse’ is too strong, and I don’t know if it is appropriate what that might look like. Certainly foundations are being shaken.

Jesus spoke into another time when foundations would collapse… and those foundations were understood to be ‘holy’ foundations:

Not one stone will stay upon the other.

If foundations are shaken / removed / they crumble then what they supported will not remain, the building will at best be filled with cracks if not something more devastating.

A time of shaking brings with it both threat and also opportunity. Threat to what has been and opportunity to embrace what is not fully known nor understood. I suggest we are right at that time. ‘End-time’ language does nothing for me as I think it is so mis-guided, but I do consider that we can legitimately use language such as ‘eschatological opportunity’. That is not for believers to own as exclusively theirs (eschatology is about the world, the planet, creation after all) but surely it would be incredibly helpful if a good bunch of believers were willing to welcome in the unknown and not to retract to a measure of self-preservation.

At a time of collapse insecurities surface and there will be a push to restore some old certainties. To hold on to old certainties might not be totally wrong, for there are values worth holding on to… however, we need to be sure those ‘old’ values are rooted in the irruption of the age to come, or as Paul puts it,

[B]ut a new creation is everything!

Everything!! Old values have to be rooted in new creation values if they should remain as foundational.

There is much talk of Judeo-Christian values and I understand that, but we cannot insist on that uncritically. I love the principles of the law such as it is illegal to maximise profits (come on you know that’s true!), but we have to be careful about what we read in the law – it was given to a nation not to the world, and God very early on clearly did not think the law on capital punishment was one he should follow, evidenced by his protection of Cain.

So I think we need to not simply receive every plea for a return to Judeo-Christian values… some of them are seriously sub-Christian! And… and there is a big and. Values that transform are values from the future. The whole aspect of ‘new creation’ being everything.

There is wisdom from the past, but if we are not careful we can embrace that which holds us back from bringing in the future. We are not looking to restore old certainties.

What would eschatological values look like?

Consider the lobster

No this is not a new past-time I have developed! But it is something that Jordan Peterson uses to suggest that hierarchies are inherent. Apparently we share with lobsters a similar nervous system, and that lobsters organise themselves hierarchically with those who produce more serotonin climbing the ladder. Of course, animals of all sorts organise themselves hierarchically… and I don’t think Mr. P. would appeal to the world of the honey bee to suggest a pattern that could help us with the Queen bee laying all the eggs in the colony after being fertilised by several males; and after the breeding season, the males are driven out of the colony and die!

Hierarchies exist. And there is a strong appeal to ‘Judeo-Christian’ values to (for example) push for the strong male and all that goes along with that. As I wrote yesterday we can certainly appeal to a ‘Judeo’ value, but a ‘Christian’ adjective added? Can we appeal for hierarchy from a ‘Jesus value’.

But he said to them, “The kings of the gentiles lord it over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather, the greatest among you must become like the youngest and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves (Lk. 22:25-27).

Hierarchy exists within the animal world; it exists among the gentiles… but… ‘not so with you’.

A Jesus-value. Masculinity needs to be restored; I am sure many of us (males) need healing in that area… but many also need to discover that a hierarchical masculinity is ‘not to be so with you’. The restoration of femininity is high on the agenda, not replacing masculinity with femininity, but in true femininity and masculinity being manifested within society, and within (both) males and females.

Mr. P. and many others are way smarter than me, but I do see a worrying trend taking place. It should not be of great surprise as at times of transition two elements come together. The first is that of ‘crisis’ (crisis of masculinity is perceived, but that is not the true crisis) and a re-establishment of former certainties… and if we can couch them in ‘Judeo-Christian’ language we will gain considerable traction.

Let’s see if we can discover some Jesus-values. The lobster and the bee are not really a good place to find a way forward. With the coming of Jesus, even ‘Judeo values’ belong to this age that is passing. The Jesus-values come from the age he inaugurated that is pulling all things in that direction.

… and women

There are often a few words that appear in a text that makes one wonder. This morning I thought about Paul (Saul) and his persecution of believers in Jerusalem (Acts 8) immediately following the death of Stephen. The motivation was that fellow-Jews who had joined the ‘blasphemous’ sect that later became known as ‘Christian’ were endangering the nation as a whole. Israel was already under the judgement of God, evidenced by the control of the land being in the hands of the Romans and their puppet leaders. This was being compounded by Jews who claimed that a crucified person was none other than the promised Messiah. If this movement was not stopped in its tracks the punishment from heaven would be even greater. Hence he understood that to be zealous for God would mean he would need to stop the movement at all costs. If he did so then he would be assured that he was righteous. He was eradicating evil from among his people, and there was a strong model for this in the golden calf incident (Exod. 32) with the sons of Levi demonstrating their ‘zeal’ in slaughtering 3000 of their fellow-citizens of Israel. As a result the Levites become the priestly tribe. (Wow… there are just a few challenges in reading the OT are there not? And thankfully Pentecost changes the optic some with 3000 coming to life…)

Saul demonstrates his zeal and ‘righteousness’,

as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless (Phil. 3:6).

As zealous as the Levites who were ‘rewarded’ by God!

He does not worry about Gentiles who could claim whatever they wished about Jesus. They were condemned already – his concern was to cleanse Israel. So to do so he ‘entered house after house’. Allegiance to Christ was on a household basis, hence enter a house, and if they were following Jesus he would seek to eradicate that house.

That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison (Acts 8:1-3).

The spread of Jesus-aligned houses is remarkable, and the spread of the gospel likewise is remarkable, hence his request to go to Damascus to the Jewish community there to eradicate this blasphemous heresy.

And one very startling element in that final verse. He dragged off ‘men’ – that would have been enough in that culture. They were the ‘head’ of the household. Remove the head and problem dealt with. But this ‘heresy’ was different! Dragging of the supposed head would not be enough. The gospel liberated women, not simply through personal salvation, but liberated them culturally and socially. Paul had no option if this heresy was to be cleansed from Israel – the women had to be removed also.

‘Salvation’ was a total turn around socially as well as ‘spiritually’.

We are seeing this rise again in this era. Hence the digging in of some ‘Christian’ quarters to re-establish the hierarchy of so-called ‘Judeo-Christian’ values. Maybe we could use the term ‘Judeo’ values but I think the earliest evidence within the ‘Christian’ expression means we cannot really add the second adjective to the values.

Supporting Christian values so that there might be an establishment of them – now that is a challenge!

[Oh yes Paul writes about ‘head’ and all that within the so-called ‘household codes’… beyond this post, but against the background of the Graeco-Roman world he uses the common formula of his day that was used by philosophical and religious groups to show they were not overtly seeking to overthrow Rome. Not overtly, but subversively, Paul used the formula apologetically, but in them he sows something beyond hierarchy… Christian values.]

Interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures

I have begun to record a few introductory videos on ‘eschatology’ and once I get the material written that expands on the videos will begin to publish them. For many reasons I have to start with the New Testament and then seek to read back; starting with the older testament of course is where many of those who see ‘signs of the end-times’ begin. (And of course I think they have in one hand the current news-stories and try to make Scriptures fit to current events. That has long been the way with those who seem to think prophecy is simply history written ahead of time.)

I have noted a couple of things this time round as I have been making the introductions. First, that there does not seem to be within Scripture the thought that what is prophesied must have a literal outworking, there is no straight line interpretation. The extreme of this is when there are clear prophecies that are not fulfilled. So I think if we are trying to make a clear line connection we are forcing something the Scriptures avoid.

It also seems to me that given that prophecy is in the realm of promise that releases faith, rather than prediction that indicates fatalism, many of the OT prophecies are contextual, they speak of an incredible hope, thus encouraging a major faith leap, but that the ultimate promise will far exceed what has been prophesied.

The incredible passage in Isaiah 19, of which I quote a few verses below, surely indicates this:

On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians.
On that day Israel will be the third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people and Assyria the work of my hands and Israel my heritage.”

The ‘fertile crescent’ with Assyria to the north and Egypt to the south and little old Israel sandwiched in between the two big powers is the background (oh and maybe I should add the two non-worshipping of God two powers, who were constantly a threat to Israel). Now the promise is crazy… Those two powers turning, so much so that we are left with – so who then is Israel, in the sense of God’s covenant people, for Egypt is ‘my people’ and Assyria ‘the work of God’s hands’! This was a prophecy of transformation beyond belief for the hearers (and another aspect I am drawing out is that the prophets spoke to the people of their day, they are not speaking to us, though the words remain for us).

A fulfilment. It is coming… But what is coming?

Is it the fulfilment in the sense of a straight line? Or the day is coming when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and Christ – the fulfilment beyond beyond the literal prophecy. That is where I land.

Why do I land there? Because so many of the Old Testament books as they wrestle with judgement and hope they are looking for a conclusion beyond themselves. And when Jesus appears everything changes. For those who read my understanding of Galatians it is literally ‘everything we thought we knew will now get us in trouble if we stay at that level’. The law defined transgression, but after the coming of Christ to try and establish law would be to take the quick path to be a transgressor. Little wonder Paul is blind for three days. Three days as he has to make a major conversion, a major turn around that the death (as Jesus cursed?) and to the resurrection (but God has vindicated this Jesus).

I am not anticipating that everyone will agree with my interpretations, but for sure Jesus has messed everything up that was so clear. He did that so that whatever was promised to Israel could be embraced by one and all. The inclusion of Israel was so that Assyria and Egypt could be drawn in on equal terms to Israel. Inclusion not to exclude, but to include without boundaries. And that is good news for Israel for they can have a place too! ‘My people’, ‘the work of my hands’, and even Israel can have a place -‘my heritage’.

We cannot be close to the end

I love the nonsense talk about ‘we are in the end-times’ (or I could have written I do not respect the talk that we are in the end times – read whichever sentence you wish!).

This post is a little tongue-in-cheek, but only a little!

I was quite taken by Anne’s comment on my last post:

Hope in this new earth? I can’t comment on a new heaven, not sure what that means anyway but I can comment on a new earth. Unfortunately it does not resemble what many of us have longed for. What to do? Is this something we can hope for or hope in?

First just to clarify ‘new earth and new heaven’ is a merism for ‘creation’ so I very much doubt if we are to be concerned about the ‘new heaven’ part. But if I understand Anne and anything to do with others who can document what we have done to what was our responsibility to steward is that what is future will be different – it will be a ‘new earth’ with or without a belief in a parousia along any conventional understanding of that word.

We are in the end times – theologically correct cos the resurrection and outpoured Spirit brought us there, so no worries about the term… however, when used to support so much bad all around, ‘wars and rumours of wars’ etc. we are (I consider) way off target. And even the ‘gospel to the nations and then the end comes’ approach does not get us too far, unless Paul’s multiple claims that that box was already ticked pre-AD70 was missing it.

So let’s get to the sign that we are really, really, and by that I mean really close.

See, I am coming soon…
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift…
The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

(I found those words in a book I read – right toward the end of an amazing story that is told in the previous chapters.)

A whole lot of ‘comings’ in there, of movement from heaven to earth. I don’t think I am pushing it too far to suggest that the voice of the Spirit, connecting to the bride, connecting to everyone who is thirsty uniting their voices… and shouting ‘Come’ seems to be what is needed so that truly ‘we are in the end times’.

The Spirit has been calling ‘come’, for the heart of God has always been for heaven to come to earth. The whole of creation was with heaven as being God’s place, the earth as the place where humans were to represent God and thus bring whatever was in heaven to earth. The tabernacle was a visible representation of that – the holy of holies being representative of heaven – OK enough of that… At Jesus’ death the inner curtain was ripped – that is the future – heaven (holy of holies) and earth (the various courts) no longer separated. So from the beginning there has been a God-desire (the Spirit is calling) for everything that is ‘above’ to come.

The bride has been calling ‘take me out’ – OOPS a contrary call to that of the Spirit!! (I appreciate that the bride has many voices, but the predominant one is that of ‘I need to escape’.) So we cannot be too close to the end if the first two voices are not in harmony. The call from the second voice is ‘NO DON’T COME, I WANT TO GO’. So until that voice changes how can we be close to ‘the end’?

Where should the voice of the bride be present? Wherever we want / need heaven to come. Every and all parts of creation where it is evident God isn’t at a significant level. That of course might mean relocation.

Maybe there is a third voice… the voice of ‘everyone’?

With or without the third voice it seems that the second voice is the key / the transition. Until it changes from ‘this world is not my home, it is a hostile place, so my hope is to be taken from here’ how can we be in the ‘end-times’.

Only semi- (if as much as that) tongue-in-cheek.

Speak up about hope

A Scripture that I have known for some time hit me at a new level yesterday (with the verse I am focused on emboldened below):

Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect. Maintain a good conscience so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil (1 Peter 3:13-17).

The word ‘defense’ is probably a little too strong – a ‘reply’ a ‘response’ is probably closer, like ‘asks for’ is probably better than ‘demands’… However we translate it the sense remains.

At the back of my mind of course the concept of always be ready to explain that I am full of hope of escaping eternal punishment because I am one of the ‘born again’ ones, and of course a sweet Scripture to place under the ‘evangelise / apologetics’ heading in the book of discipleship… BUT…

Hope in the New Testament is future oriented and ultimately tied to the parousia and the restoration of all things – the putting all things right. That is the hope, not the one that is in the back of my mind colouring how I read that Scripture. The context of the verse is of suffering unjustly, and not to respond with fear. The current scenario will give way to a different day. It will give way to ‘I see a new heaven and a new earth’. That is hope. Hope has come through in different contexts concerning the future -‘this world is not my home, I am just a-passing through’ was hope expressed in the context of slavery. We can critique the hope, but maybe all we need to do is change the lyrics a little. How about:

This world and its structures is not the home God intends for anyone, and as I honour Christ, I see a world beyond it, for the generations to come, and one in which I too will participate on that great day.

Not really suggesting that the above can be sung and give hope to the masses(!!), but my point is hope in the midst of this world is for the transformation of this world. Like the words of MLK when he spoke of day coming for his children when human relationships will be totally re-shaped.

Anyway back to our verse. Why would someone ask me about my hope? Well they are not going to ask if it is not evident. That is the first provocation – do I have hope for the here, or have I simply opted for a Greek-oriented (i.e. an unbiblical one) view of ‘life in the celestial by and by’? Amidst crises, pressures, setbacks if I have hope for a different world maybe someone will be provoked to ask me ‘why do you have hope’. Then I need to be ready with my answer. ‘I see a new creation’… it will come… it is coming… and even the pain and suffering is contributing to the future… that’s my hope.

Protest movements, protest marches stand against what is here, but within them is also a statement of a different future. I want to change so much – I keep watching economic structures (strictures) – but as much as protesting against, nay more than protesting against I need to see what is coming… and then to sow where I see the world is going.

There is a world that is doomed, world in the sense of what we have done with it; but there is a world that coming into view, world in the sense of ‘and God saw and it was GOOD’. There are false hopes always available to pull on, they are marked by what will pull strongly on the past, and in the Christian context draw on Scriptures and the (positive) impact of Christendom… They are false, not because they contain no truth, but simply because the viewpoint is expressed from the wrong location, and in being located there will not ease the transition but resist it.

So a note to self: Martin what is your hope? When asked why on earth (I like that phrase ‘on earth’) are you hopeful cos you are facing some setbacks… I think I will answer with ‘what is here around us is temporary, if I live inspired by what I see beyond the here and now, I am hopeful that I will contribute to the manifestation of what I see… and maybe inspire you to get similar sight… thanks for asking’.

And a final Scripture that indicates even some pretty entrenched people can be inspired by the hope they see in others:

[E]ven some officials of the province of Asia [Asiarchs] who were friendly to him sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theater (Acts 19:31).

Asiarchs… responsible to maintain the wonderful order of Rome, holding positions of great influence, having a lifestyle that would be considered a suitable reward for their work of expressing the glory of Rome far and wide; Paul proclaiming ‘Jesus, not Caesar’, disturbing all things… What hope did he carry that meant they did not want him to risk his life, even if that meant they were willing to risk their own lives? What did they see in his eyes?

The more I read the NT the more I am hopeful that if we can more and more align with what we read maybe we can come closer to that of a ‘new heaven and new earth’.

New words?

I was provoked by a comment that Geoff made on Matheus’ post:

All in favour of the new but, having embraced the charismatic, now have some reservations about ‘apostles’ and the ‘apostolic’. Maybe new words are needed for new things?

Do we need new words? That is a big and ongoing question. I am currently reading Thomas Jay Oord’s recent book where he argues that ‘omnipotence’ as an attribute of God is dead, it is meaningless, and even for the majority who advocate it the word is so modified that it proves to be not useful. He challenges the various translations, and puts forward a new word – amipotence. He is doing more than replacing a misused word with another, he is prioritising God as (is) love over any competing attribute. A new word – I don’t anticipate that the next wave of systematic theologies will replace the omni words with his new one, but they might engage with his critique.

Words and meaning

To some extent words have intrinsic meaning. ‘Cat’ does mean a furry animal that likes to sleep all day, but that would not mean that an animal of that species is sick when in a garage a mechanic says to another that ‘the cat is kaput’… implying the vehicle will need a new catalytic converter. And if we add the word ‘big’ in front the advice would not be to stroke the animal and let it climb on your lap.

Words do have meaning in and of themselves, but context and also changes in history of the word (‘what a wicked scheme’ might not mean the same thing in the 21st and 19th centuries) make a huge difference. Etymology and usage are important, and ultimately it seems usage is more important in deciding what meaning the word / phrase is carrying.

So new words?

I have long struggled with the word ‘church’. It seems to be reduced to a place, even when we say ‘church is not a building’, with such questions as ‘where do you go to church?’ Imagine asking – ‘where do you go to family?’ I have tried to mainly use the term ‘body of Christ’ when seeking to describe those who have submitted to the Christ of God and been incorporated into Christ. Thus rather than say ‘the church is the body of Christ’ to suggest we really should be considering that the ‘body of Christ is the church’. I have tried to look at the word ‘ekklesia’ in its usage, both as the term used of a people who have come together for the purpose of hearing God’s instruction for mission (the Septuagint, in other words the OT people of Israel) and the contemporary usage in the Roman world to describe those who were qualified to plan and work toward the culture and values of their city. Do we need a new word?

Geoff raises his concerns with the words ‘apostle / apostolic’. I share his concerns with regard to how they are understood. Maybe we should emphasise that they were not used as a title – ‘the apostle Paul’ – which does give a strong hint to being above and over others, but used as a calling to live up to – ‘Paul an apostle’ – implying that he has to fulfil that ministry; he is subject to God and has to work and build carefully. Do we need new words?

I suspect that new words will be helpful, but what new words will be the challenge. And I more than suspect that the difficulty lies deeper than the words. They tend to be understood within an institutional framework and viewed hierarchically. Perhaps Mr Oord is on to something. We want a powerful God and as all other nations have a powerful god we need an ALL powerful God (don’t panic – the opposite is not a powerless god!!) and if we have an all powerful God then those that represent him (has to be a masculine pronoun here) have to also carry power, which sadly translates as ‘authority over others’.

I am all for pushing for new words, but I suspect we also have to continue to inject the current words with meaning that is more in line with the original usage, or to the corrected usage in the wider original context. After all Jesus was termed King, a very term that I consider that bottom line God rejected! (And this is why I consider the term ‘king of the Jews’ was nailed to the cross.)

Time for new words; time for old words to be modelled in a different way to how we understand them. New words, but modelling is probably more important: how the words are used in the sense of practical embodiment.

Prophetic Observation: The Old becomes New

I read this post by Matheus Lapa recently and asked if I could re-post here. Matheus is not even close to being half my age(!!) but I have a great zoom connection with him on a regular basis. Brazilian, living in Canada, married to Eduarda with soon to be two children. He is certainly one of a new generation ready to rise from Brazil with perspectives that will take the body of Christ out of the ghetto. Enough from me!!

“In this way, if anyone is united with the Messiah, they are a New Creation – the old has passed away; behold: what exists now is different and new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).


Okay… Paul, a widely loved and studied figure in our days, right?! I suspect, however, that during his time it was not the case – for many, if we truly understood Paul, he wouldn’t be accepted by the overwhelming number of people who advocate for a “Pauline theology” today.

Paul was a sign of contradiction to his fellow countrymen and Jewish brothers due to Jesus’ call, the Messiah, on the road to Damascus, and he certainly represented a contradiction to Jesus’ disciples and the churches of his time: not only because he claimed that the apostles, who were considered something, had nothing to add to him (Galatians 2:6), but also by the way he lived his own life.

One of the situations that occurred was in Corinth, a city where Paul worked and nurtured a community. A group of super-apostles sought to undermine his apostolic authority, claiming to possess greater wisdom and authority, highlighting their eloquent preaching.

The marks of Paul’s apostolic authority should be seen in what these super-apostles rejected: his simplicity and humility, weakness, and his sufferings for the sake of the Body of Christ.

The emergence of new apostolic individuals will be characterized by a disregard for conforming to what is already established; they will envision a new path to be taken, which will require new expressions to fulfill what lies ahead. The structure of these apostolic individuals will not be about glamour and fame, eloquence and wisdom as the established order dictates. These men and women will be a contradiction: radically humble, intentionally servants, persevering patiently through the persecutions and resistances that will come their way.


Who will be able to perceive this new apostolic expression? Just like Paul as a new apostolic expression was not recognized and received by everyone as an apostle of Christ, even by those he had worked with for a long time. Only those who have a new perspective, new eyes, will recognize the new authority.

Paul addresses this issue in 2 Corinthians when he declares that he would not assume a posture expected by the super-apostles. The apostle states that “we should not judge anyone by worldly standards” (5:17). What does it mean to judge by worldly standards? It means to rely on human standards, to decide based on what is seen or heard. We judge by worldly standards whenever we fail to see others through Christ.

How can we know people in a different way? This question can be answered when we look to Jesus. As we understand how Jesus saw people, we will understand what our attitude should be toward the world. According to the Scriptures, the Messiah would “not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears” (Isaiah 11:3).

To be inspired by the fear of the Lord is to have our inner being ordered toward the contemplation of God, relating to all things as God ordained. In practical terms, people who do not “judge by worldly standards” will never judge something about someone based on what they see or decide based on what they hear because they know that there is much more than what our eyes can see. God establishes this standard of relationship for the new creation as a break with this age.

Only those who have their perspectives renewed, ordered by the fear of the Lord, will recognize new apostolic expressions and will be developed, participating in the new horizons established by God.


The language of Scripture regarding the New Creation is marked by an imagery of continuity and discontinuity. For example, the vision of the New Creation as the final fulfillment of all things, where there is no more death and suffering, goes beyond the vision presented in the Old Testament. Isaiah’s vision of New Heavens and New Earth, a language used to describe the restoration of Israel, where the sins of the nation would be completely forgiven (Isaiah 65:17), the prophet sees the prosperity of the righteous but does not see the abolition of death: “For the young man shall die a hundred years old” (Isaiah 65:20). Thus, the New Creation (in Isaiah) is not something entirely different. It incorporates an ideal that is recognized by the Jewish mindset that was shaping a new understanding for the people of God – so it can say something about their identity, purpose, and hope for this present world.

Similarly, while this ultimate eschatological horizon, seen by the prophet John in the book of Revelation, has not yet arrived, we also need to articulate a language that is not only able to announce the reality of the New Creation but also generate an imagery that guides and orders life. This was the apostolic challenge of Paul, and I believe it will be ours as well: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17); “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Galatians 6:15). What does it mean to be a New Creation? How is the New Creation shaping today for the future? What are the signs we see today?

The challenge of this journey toward the ultimate eschatological horizon is what Isaiah would face if he had access to what John wrote about the reality of the New Creation: to have a framework capable of embracing both continuity and discontinuity, submitting to the process of being formed into a new form at each stage.


Paul’s apostolic activity is not related to what is now known as ‘church’. Paul was a builder – he was interested in forming New Communities for the New World of God. Thus, his instructions were not limited to ecclesiastical organization, but a social ordering of nations toward the one God and Lord.

The emergence of new apostolic expressions will also mark the formation of new communities that will be much broader in their scope, diverse in their expressions, and above all, marked by love. The context in which we are living as humanity is, in many ways, similar to what the early Christians experienced: they lived in a pre-Christian era, and today we live in a post-Christian era. This means that today we are in the exact context for the emergence of new community expressions.

Of course, this emergence will not be ‘easy’, the gaze of suspicion and distrust will remain, but it will be inevitable – they are already a reality, even if they cannot be seen now. In the coming years, new apostolic voices will present new expressions.