Kelly Kapic (God So Loved, He Gave: Entering the Movement of Divine Generosity, 206-8) explains the various motivations of Pal’s Collection for the saints in Jerusalem: to relieve poverty, to unify the churchto share God’s grace together. There was also an eschatological motivation: ”While it is nowhere stated as one of Paul’s explicit purposes for organizing the Collection, this project bears some striking similarities to various Old Testament prophecies. A time in the future was anticipated in the Old Testament when Gentiles would come bringing gifts to God’s people in Jerusalem. When Paul, as the apostle to the Gentiles, comes together with his foreign companions to bring their gifts from Macedonia, Achaia, Galatia, and Asia, they certainly appear to be, at least partially, fulfilling some of these ancient expectations so long foretold.” Kapic cites Isaiah 60:5 and other texts.
He goes on to say that “it is clear that one final day is coming when all the wealth of this world will come rushing back in worship to God.” True; but it seems that we should see Paul’s Collection in terms of a realized eschatology: It is not only a pointer to the future pilgraimage of nations and their treasures to the city of God; it is the first manifestation of that great Offertory, an Offertory further realized in the treasures brought into the church by kings and rulers from Constantine on.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm
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