A different gospel

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
Am I now seeking human approval or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:6-10).

The style of the letter is blunt and there are no ‘normal’ niceties up front. There is no ‘so good to see you, I simply want to bring up something…’ Not much to add to what Paul has to say – different gospel, pervert the gospel, let even an angel be cursed if they should bring something different to what brought, and I tell you all that as a servant of God. So your point, Paul, is?!!!!!

The language is remarkably strong. I am challenged by what might qualify as a ‘different gospel’. A while back a couple met Gayle and I for coffee and they explained their approach. Offer English as a second language, a few weeks in share the ‘gospel’ if they do not respond or show some serious interest, it would then be time to move on to someone else as they were obviously not good ‘soil’. Given also that the couple were strongly Calvinist in theology maybe it was God’s fault that they were bad soil?

At the end of our time the question came – would you work with us and support us. The answer was a one word answer and the shorter of the two possible words. Are they presenting a different gospel? Certainly their approach we could not put the word ‘good news’ to it. I think we maybe all have a ‘sub-‘ / not complete gospel, but there has to come a point when the gospel we hold on to and present is so ‘sub-‘ that it is different. And when it is way off maybe the ‘God’ we claim to serve might be a different god to the one that is ‘God’.

In the context of the letter in front of us different has to be measured by how much freedom or bondage is brought. We are likely to move toward error when the result is any level of burdens placed on someone… as has been said before:

The offence of the Gospel is not an offence of who is excluded, but the offence is an offence of who is included.

The door of entry is wide open. The narrow gate was the one that Jesus presented to Jews, those who really thought that favour with God was exclusively theirs. That’s just not how it works,

Galatians – freedom from the powers

Paul an apostle—sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers and sisters with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen (Gal. 1:1-5).

Paul an apostle – I maintain that Paul does not use the term ‘apostle’ as a title: ‘Apostle Paul’ or as we often say ‘the apostle Paul’, but he simply says Paul an apostle. If it is used as a title there is an inherent hierarchy. I have a title so am ‘above’ you. As a description of ministry / calling the submission is first from Paul to the Lord. As an apostle he has to be accountable for that calling, he has something to live up to. If an apostle there has to be signs that indicate the calling.

After the common greeting of ‘grace and peace’ he then presents a (the?) central effect of the cross. It is for our ‘sins’ so that we might be free from this present evil age. Maybe he emphasises this in the Galatian situation, but I suspect this is central to Paul regardless of the situation. The problem is that our sins – (summary: our corporate failure to be human) means that there are powers that dominate and we end up captive to those powers. It is certainly a theme throughout the letter: Jesus comes at the ‘fullness of times‘ when the powers are at their extreme, both expressed as ‘heavenly’ powers and their influence and the ‘earthly’ power of the all-but one world government of Rome that shaped culture. (The tower of Babel / Babylon as type of imperial rule was never absolute, being an unfinished but substantial process. All the ‘antiChrist’ language fits into the context of the ‘fullness of times’.)

‘Forgiveness of sins’, ‘justified’, ‘redeemed’ could all be used to describe what results from the cross but Paul chooses to major on the deliverance from the powers. He uses it as he addresses the Galatians as the issue that he confronts is of a people who are being pulled back to servitude. Coming into obedience to the law he indicates will simply put them on a path that will bring a separation from Christ and a submission yet again to the elemental spirits / elements (ta stoicheia).

I think that for Paul this ‘freedom’ is more than a ‘theological’ truth, more than something positional. That is very clear in how he introduces himself. If we were to read the opening words without realising there is some nuancing that has to take place we would have to assume Paul was all-but saying: ‘stuff anyone human, regardless of who they are, I am totally independent and my apostleship is direct, so I have no plan to submit to anyone!’

We know as we go on to read that this bolshiness is not quite as strong as that, but freedom in Christ has to mean that we must be able to say ‘no’ at a human level, for I consider if we lose that there will soon come a point where we will not be able to give a wholehearted ‘yes’ to God.

But it is far more than freedom to say ‘no’ to someone. It is freedom from the powers that are shaping this ‘present evil age’. Powers that tell us to conform, to fit in. Powers that shape culture, economics, national identities and the like. Our passport does not define us – citizenship in heaven is what defines, and God has always had a global concern.

The Gospel is much more than put your hand up, pray this prayer and look now you have received a ticket to the cloudy place by and by. It is freedom from powers NOW. That is the door we enter through, the journey is life-long discovering what that means. Sanctification is not about some spotlessness but about a process where I can be observed to be free.

An aside: a while back as cryto-currency was beginning to hit the headlines I said that there is a new currency that will come, crypto as we have it is not it but is a sign that it is coming. This is gaining speed with the likelihood of the majority of nations developing digital, and centrally-controlled, currency. Many are raising (right) concerns over this. Will it be the mark of the beast? Yes indeed it will. Same mark as we have had for millennia! There is a growing convergence, a desire to get to a great ‘fullness of times’. How do we respond? First, without fear but with faith, and second operating on a different economy. The kingdom economy is ‘give and receive’; not ‘buy and sell’. So many opportunities are coming our way to work out what it means to be free from the powers of this evil age… and seems to me we have just shy of 20 years to work some of this out. What a wonderful journey ahead.

Galatians… why not?

I have always liked the Galatians letter. Paul in a storming mood gets down to it, sends of his letter without any niceties, with a ‘listen to me, I am going to straighten all this out’. I like that for some reason, but I also like if for a few other reasons. It is short, it is not so involved as the much fuller version of ‘his gospel’ that we find in Romans; it is an early letter and it has conflict. So I thought (and hope I stick with it) I would simply make a few comments on the letter.

One of the issues surrounding the date is whether it comes before the council in Jerusalem in Acts 15 (AD50). He refers to a visit to Jerusalem (2:1) and of conflict with Peter (2:15-14… perhaps where he cheekily refers to Peter as Cephas). Did all this predate Jerusalem or come after? I think it came before and would date Galatians as very early 48/49AD. Peter’s behaviour being confronted by Paul prior to the letter that went out to the churches from Jerusalem. This adds to Paul’s depth of convictions to confront Peter before there had been a council to sort out those issues (though I personally think Acts 15 was a compromise that did not go far enough – all encouraging to us, where God takes a step back with a ‘you work it out’. Maybe all of this (date / who are the Galatians) is incidental but I like the idea that they were working things out as they went along.

An obvious theme in the letter is that of freedom / slavery.

  • Set us free from this present evil age 1:4.
  • Spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus 1:4.
  • Scripture has imprisoned all things 3:22.
  • Now before faith came we were imprisoned (under the law!) 3:23.
  • No better than those who are enslaved 4:1.
  • We were enslaved to the elemental principles (ta stoicheia) 4:3.
  • You were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods 4:8.
  • [Now] you turn back to the weak and beggarly elemental principles (ta stoicheia)… to be enslaved by them 4:9.
  • Children of an enslaved woman or of a free woman 4:22.
  • She is in slavery 4:25.
  • She is free 4:26.
  • Child of the enslaved woman… child of the free woman 4:30.
  • For freedom Christ has set us free… do not submit to a yoke of slavery 5:1.
  • You were called to freedom 5:13.
  • Become enslaved to one another 5:13.

To that we could of course add words such as gospel, justified and grace; and also specific texts such as the ‘In Christ there is neither…’, or that only ‘new creation’ counts.

Paul is heavily biased toward freedom, indeed his first description of what happened as a result of the cross is that we are ‘set free… from this present evil age’. Freedom wins the day!

He navigates a line between ‘submit to no-one… do not give up your freedom’ and meeting with those in Jerusalem, submitting his revelation to them lest he run in vain; he also comes very close to describing the law in negative terms, seemingly indicating that the law (for Israel) and the gods of the nations were in the same category (ta stoicheia: elemental principles / spirits; that which orders and structures / shapes a society, hence it certainly spills over into the demonic spirit world; I suggest it includes the demonic that shapes society, culture etc. and is perhaps a summarising word for everything that shapes and holds a culture / nation back from finding maturity and freedom). He comes close but avoids that direct 1:1 relationship. He is close, but the law came from God… but he certainly seems to suggest that when approached as law performs the same result, it cannot deliver the freedom that is in Christ.

OK… enough for now.

Conflicting statements

OK let’s get the two statements out there, and both from the lips of Jesus. And just in case it is only me who sees the conflict I will put that part in bold.

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matt. 12:30).

But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Lk. 9:50, also Mark 9:40).

So there we have it. The difference has to be context. Context of the first one is of those who are in the know, who are the ones holding the truth, and as a result quickly discern that Jesus is casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul. The second one is in the context of the disciples encountering someone who was casting out demons in the name of Jesus but who was not one of ‘them’.

I am probably one of those in the ‘know’. That means quite an ‘ouch’ for me. I know so much I can quickly discern where things are way off line. Then who are those who are in the second category? They are the ones who are ‘Not one of us’, who ‘does not follow with us’ (great language – the ‘us’ language)… but using the benefits that Jesus has brought. Dangerous, for sure… or dangerous for people like me?

So makes for some untidy mess, or maybe bringing clarity to how I mess it up by knowing where the lines of clarity are to be drawn.

Boundaries and inheritance

A number of years ago I was in Sacramento, maybe some 20 years ago and I was with a group of people who were looking at the ‘Church beyond the congregation’ (Thank you Mr. Jim T). At one point the person hosting asked someone to share her story. She worked in a Credit Union and was part of the department that had to follow through with people whose debt was a significant problem, making contact by phone. The sharp end for some unpleasant conversations. She explained that she began to realise that she could not view being in work as simply so that she could earn some money. After all God was her Provider. She then came across Ps. 16:6,

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage (NRSV).

The boundary line so have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance. (NIV)

The clear implication is that within the boundary lines there is an inheritance. She began to thank God for her boundary lines at work, and began to ask for the inheritance within those boundaries. She went on to explain (humbly) that recently they had had in-house training for her department, and at the end of the session the trainer said, ‘But if truth be out, and you really want to work well here, talk to Rose (not her real name) for we have so many commendations from our clients about her work.’

She had called people as they were planning their suicide and averted that giving them hope, she had contacted people and had been able to share wisdom that had saved them from yet more debt; the bank had received calls and letters saying what a credit she was to them and how much she had helped them.

That story has stuck with me. First, a move to acknowledge the boundary as coming from heaven, then seeking to uncover the inheritance there, that inheritance always will involve what we can be for someone else, how we can at some level become a ‘life-giving spirit’.

Our boundaries will always be challenged. I suggest two of the main ways is through jealousy or through intimidation. Jealousy will always seek to displace us, to dislocate us (and one of the reasons why a percentage of joint issues are rooted in jealousy that has been unleashed against us, Proverbs informing us that though anger is cruel, jealousy is at another level and asks if we can even stand against it). Jealousy results in an encroachement on our boundaries, that piece of land that is indeed ours. This encroachement is warned against:

Do not remove the ancient landmark that your ancestors set up (Prov 22:28).

Do not remove an ancient landmark or encroach on the fields of orphans, for their redeemer is strong;
he will plead their cause against you (Prov 23:10,11).

You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker, set up by former generations, on the property that will be allotted to you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess (Deut. 19:14).

Cursed be anyone who moves a neighbor’s boundary marker.” All the people shall say, “Amen!” (Deut 27:17).

The princes of Judah have become like those who remove the landmark; on them I will pour out my wrath like water (Hos. 5:10).

God does not take too kindly to it when we get involved in boundary moving and seek to encroach on another’s sphere. It was there in the original plan for the land, and thankfully even when there was bad stewardship the boundaries were to be restored in the year of Jubilee.

Jealousy and also intimidation to push someone back from their allotted place.

We can stand, even if Proverbs says ‘who can stand’. And stand we must, being the one central instruction in the ‘spiritual warfare’ (for this read ‘life’) passage. When the day of evil comes, stand, stand firm, withstand… That is important as the demonic (opposition in life) has a limitation on it location / territorial wise and time-wise. If we hold our boundaries then we restrict the location aspect and if we hold in the time frame will change.

In the middle of the passage on Gideon’s army we come across a statement that, ‘While each person held their position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled’. Their position. No comparison, no competition, no jealousy, no intimidation, no inordinate fear of inadequacy, no seeking to comply to someone else’s view of us, etc… Just here are my boundaries (one day they might increase) and in them I am something for someone else as I have an inheritance here.

How many trees (of life)?

Fundamental to the Genesis narrative are ‘two’ trees: the tree of life that was barred to the first couple after that initial fall (hence immortality of the soul has a major uphill battle ever since to get any traction from then on, and never makes it into biblical theology – phew for that!) and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the eventual ‘tree’ that Jesus is nailed to (‘they do not know what they are doing’). However, due to the generoisty of God they were allowed to eat of all the trees of the garden except that one that was off-limits.

Fast-forward and keep on going to the end of the story and we come to Rev. 22:2

On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ξύλον ζωῆς ποιοῦν καρποὺς δώδεκα, κατὰ μῆνα ἕκαστον – yes a little bit of strange letters… but more than strange letters… ‘a tree of life’ (no definite article, though it might be implied, for the moment let me suggest ‘a’) maybe one tree on both sides, maybe two trees, maybe a tree here and there and over there all around the river… really hard to envision and to translate, but I like the idea that all trees have become a / the tree of life… now where would that go?

Trees – God’s gracious creation – that which appeals to the eye and gives good fruit (trees being the first explicit reference to ‘aesthetic’ goodness); trees that represent people (‘I see people as trees’)… maybe trees then representing all that is good in creation, all that is mutually beneficial relationally, when connected with becomes a source of LIFE, true life for one and all.

There might have been two trees by way of contrast in the Garden, but the purpose of eating of all the trees was that in so doing life would be received and enhanced from any tree that was eaten from.

The New Jerusalem does not destroy creation, but brings it all to a new level. Maybe there are only trees of life in the NJ. And Paul says when we are in Christ already there is new creation. Every tree that was good to look at and had fruit that was healthy was to be eaten. In Christ transforms everything. The ordinary becomes sacred. The future is now; no need to look for the sacred, find a tree, and the tree that looks good to the eyes that see ‘new creation’ will become a source of and an enhancement of life.

More than meets the eye

The eye… what one looks at, or more precisely ‘how’ one looks at ‘someone’ is important for us all. A central element in Paul seems to be that something has already happened, for

… if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Cor. 4:17).

That is pretty comprehensive: ‘there is… everything… everything.’ The preceding verse states that ‘we regard no one from a human point of view’. Sight has changed, how we view everyone. That is a challenge beyond a challenge. Vladimir Putin is included? I guess so, for when Paul said no one, he had to be including Caesar and that particular one who raised the sword against him – Nero, the person who sparked the ‘antiChrist’ theme of Revelation (666 / 616 both being how his name was numerised).

Now to a Jesus’ text on how we see.

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt. 5:28).


In John 8 we read of the woman ‘caught in adultery’ and of course we do not read of ‘the man caught in adultery’. Patriarchal world-view, let’s pin the blame where it belongs… and enough in Proverbs to back this up biblically. So Jesus saying ‘but I say to you’ is not simply going from action to the heart (via the eyes) but is also going against the flow of biblical patriarchy (yes I did write that). If we only had Jesus we would be reading the ‘man, and only the man is guilty’.

We have then a wonderful correction to patriarchy. We see the same thing with his statements with regard to divorce where he (unlike the culture of his day) gives equal rights to women as to men.

The purpose of the ‘look’ is central to what Jesus is saying, interestingly the word ‘lustfully’ does not actually appear. It is the Greek word, epithumeo, the same word that Jesus said when he spoke to his disciples that he desired to eat the Passover with them (Lk. 22:15), and is the word used to translate the 10th commandment:

You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife (Exod. 20:17, LXX).

The text is a whole lot deeper than ‘control your sexual desires’, for that 10th commandment includes coveting donkeys and animals. When we combine it with Paul I think it is informing us that our sight is important. Whether that concerns sexual boundaries, or other boundaries, but essentially it is to do with our desires of possession. If there is a new creation we can have our sight changed. Old (patriarchal) definitions have gone, indeed old creational definitions have gone. We do not ‘see’ anyone that way. Ticking the box concerning sexual ‘lust’ gets us so far, but there is much further to go. No-one is here to meet our expectations, nor to be the fulfilment of our desires. They are first seen as living in this new creation and so cannot be classified nor objectivised.

Happy Christmas

Whether it was the 25th or not seems irrelevant. The incarnation, Emmanuel, God with us: almost too good to be true, but the investment (understatement) of God into creation opens a future that takes away all the limitations. I like that it is a week before our new year… a kind of breathe in and then breathe out as we hit that Jan. 1 date.

Here are a few of my Christmas texts:

Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen. 3:23,24).

The Adam (male and female) leave the original temple travelling Eastward. God also leaves the original temple, the place where they could hear ‘the sound of the presence of God in the evening hour’. His/ her sound now muffled but never silent outside that original temple.

Then he brought me to the gate, the gate facing east. And there, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east; the sound was like the sound of mighty waters; and the earth shone with his glory (Ezek. 43:1,2).

Glory returning… manifest in the humanity of Jesus… manifest in a vulnerable baby. But a shining earth.

Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar (Ezek. 47:1).

Water leaving the temple… the temple is not the goal, the ‘wherever the river goes’ until…

Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes… On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing (Ezek. 47:9, 12).

Healing leaves… for the nations.

Pray (what) for Israel

Glad to read of people praying for Israel, and in these days of resurgent violence to be praying for peace. Individuals and families being thrown into pain and suffering.

Something happens though that seems so predictable with a Scripture pulled out to defend whatever ‘Israel’ does. So here I go into a little turbulent waters.

What is meant by ‘Israel’? There are many answers to that question – dependent on what theology shapes the reading. And when I write theology, we also have to include Jewish theologies. Not all Jews (now, nor in biblical times) accept that ‘all Israel is Israel’. Even Jewish theologies differ on their perspective of the ‘land’.

Never speak a negative word about Israel… really? That seems so far from being in line with the biblical prophets. They spoke into the life of other nations but mainly spoke into the life of Israel. And given the various streams in the Scriptures if we let the streams of conflict to influence each other it would be very difficult to jump on a bandwagon of ‘support Israel at all costs’. In all situations, support can also mean challenge… don’t let me get away with whatever path I choose.

I am not actually convinced that God promised the land to Israel. Of course there are many, many Scriptures that suggest that… but then again there are some Scriptures that suggest God ‘ordained’ monarchy (Deut. 17:14-16)… whereas I much prefer 1 Sam. 8 as being God’s response to monarchy (for Israel). Oh and the land… I think Paul agrees with me in Romans. And if Paul does not then I think there is a Paul somewhere in the world who does! (Of course the first sentence above is a little provocative… but I appeal to Paul of Tarsus, Jeremiah, and to Stephen; to the original promise to a certain gentleman from Ur and to his ‘seed’.)

I am not interested in replacement, but am interested in fulfilment; I am interested in calling, and calling for the sake of the entire world (book #2 on ‘Significant Other’ tracks the downward trajectory of Israel as royal priesthood so that it opens the understanding of Jesus dying for the Jew (first)).

There is one incredibly strong Scripture concerning Israel… and I do not think that an appeal to the host of Scriptures that are often appealed to cut it… after all someone on the throne of David forever, priesthood for ever… for ever… for ever…

‘Because of the patriarchs’. Now that is strong. Says a lot about God… gives me a lot of hope for all peoples.


Inaccurate prophecy - an issue?

Prophecy, prophecy, prophecy and some more prophecy. Predictions…

Alongside getting blessed and helped, ever get troubled by what is / has been prophesied?

Maybe you are blessed when someone puts their hands up and apologises for getting it wrong? Well a big honour to anyone who walks in integrity and humility when that takes place… And yet, and yet there is something much deeper than accuracy that is often involved.

To compound issues there are inaccurate predictions recorded in Scripture. [There is in some charismatic circles a teaching that the prophets of the Old Testament spoke the ‘very words of God’, those in the New did not speak in such a way (Agabus is quoted). This approach was essentially formulated to back up a view of the inerrancy of Scripture, the New Testament being ‘apostolic’ and so the ‘very words of God’. Seems that whenever we start with a ‘this must be the case’ and then impose it on Scripture that we come to find out it does not stack up!]

So to the inaccuracies. There are a number of examples, and I am not thinking of ones such as Jonah and the ‘reversal’ of the word due to repentance. Here is one example:

Jeremiah prophesied that (king) Jehoiakim would die a death without any honour. No one would mourn for him, his corpse would be dragged around and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem; unburied his body would decompose in the sun (Jer. 22:18-19, cf. 36:30). Jeremiah also prophesied that no descendent of his would sit on the throne (Jer. 36:30-31). As it turned out, however, Jehoiakim received a proper burial and his son succeeded him as king (2 Kings 24:6).

The predictions and the (non-)fulfilments are both recorded in Scripture.

Accuracy is important… but there is always something deeper that is more important.

There is an interesting passage in Luke 9 when Jesus and the disciples were on the way to Jerusalem. They were not welcome in some of the Samaritan villages and so the disciples asked if they should call down fire on them! Jesus turned and rebuked them (Luke 9:54-56).

In some Manuscripts (and rightly rejected) there are a couple of additions, the disciples say, ‘should we do what Elijah did’ (1 Kings 1 we read that Elijah twice called down fire on a group of 50 people), and we also read that in Jesus’ rebuke he added that they ‘did not know what spirit they were of’. Both additions are almost certainly not original, but seem to be from a scribe / scribes who are trying to make sense of what was written. I like the sense they make of the rebuke.

The problem is not their appeal to Scripture, perhaps even the problem is not their discernment / revelation, the problem was their spirit.

If the (additional to the text) explanation is deemed a good one it is very telling. We can be right but wrong. We can be right at a level but wrong at a fundamental level. Certainly this is where the weight of Scripture lies. It is not a simple judgement of ‘right / wrong’ but of the effect, and the effect runs along the ‘life / death’ paradigm.

Prophesying from our expectation causes all kinds of problems. Peter (and most of his compatriots) had an expectation about the coming Messiah. He received revelation that Jesus was the Messiah… had Jesus not rebuked him and he would have posted on some famous prophetic word internet site he would have prophesied ‘be ready, Jesus is about to come and kick those Romans out, restore all us nice people to tell them what do’. The revelation was affirmed by Jesus, and the expectation came from the ‘dark side’.

In the final days within Jerusalem before the fall of the city hope was kept alive by prophetic utterances that knew of the deliverance of God, after all remember our roots, God is the God of the Exodus. Imagine how the hopes rose in 68AD when the Roman general had to return to Rome in the year of the ‘four emperors’… And within 2 years all collapsed, at great cost.

Vested interest. Interest tied in the case of Peter and Jerusalem to national interests and a strong ‘dominion’ theology that the people of faith will rise to the top, vindicated visibly from on high.

Yes I am disturbed when predictive prophecy does not come to pass… but am more disturbed by some deeper issues.