Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles lived in the midst of a paradox. Messiah had come, was risen and left, and yet he is still here. Then again he is not fully here, but still to come.
Even the learned Paul would have been hard pressed to uncover any hints of this puzzling new messianic situation in the Hebrew scriptures. How should the Apostle Paul act in this new reality? Should he wait for the future fullness to unfold when the Messiah returns? Or follow an impulse to work towards bringing the fulfillment of the messianic kingdom now here on earth?
In this new territory of a partial messianic fulfillment, Paul embraces a mission to reach the Gentile nations. Paul is envisioning the prophetic end times when the nations would come up to Zion to worship the God of Israel as he references in Romans. During this messianic delay, his faith turns to activism and works zealously to bring about elements of messianic fullness that had not yet been fulfilled. His messianic faith worked for change on the...
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