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I was thinking of using the title “From Providence to Eschatology” just to make things sounds more theologically rich.  Then I though, “So what?  Who cares?”

There is a step between Christmas and Pentecost, between Israel proper and the church that might be missed.  It seems to me that the OT is largely providential as the perspective is about God’s care for His people, Israel.  Of course, this comes along with his plans to redeem via the future Messiah, but Israel is the subject of the OT as the Lord protects the nation from destruction.

This is fulfilled in Christ.  He is Emannuel — God with us.  He is God present with His people, even better than the fire and cloud.  He weeps over Jerusalem.  He heals.  He does almost everything that is expected.  Almost.  And then He does the unexpected.

The unexpected is to move from with to in.  Our hope is now not national but spiritual.  While the Lord’s providential care for Israel goes on unchanged (Romans 11:29), he has added the church as the agency to carry the redemptive message of salvation.  It is now no longer just God with us, but Christ in you as your hope of glory.

Now it’s time for the big words.  God’s eschatology, God’s purpose in his caring, was to bring about this end. Eschatology is not simply about 2012, Nostradamus, Revelation, or the fascinating studies of Daniel 9 and Revelation.  It is about purpose.  The purpose is redemption.  Galatians 4 speaks this well, that Christ was born of a woman, born under the law, to bring about redemption.  Redemption is the Lord’s end game.  Christmas came as proof in advance, expressing His care and love for his lost creation.

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