Apocalyptic Vision in Galatians

Lou Martyn, commenting on 1:11-12 and elucidating Paul’s “bifocal” vision in Galatians:

This certain hope, grounded in God’s invasive action in the advent of Christ, is the apocalyptic good news Paul calls “the gospel.”  But its being apocalyptic is underlined by the fact that it is not visible, demonstrable, or provable in the categories and with the means of perception native to “everyday” existence, native, that is to say, to existence determined solely by the present evil age.  The inbreak of the new creation is itself revelation, apocalypse.  The dawn of this new creation, causing the death of the old enslaving cosmos, brings about an epistemological crisis.  One who knows himself to be grasped by it cannot continue to perceive and to know in the old way.  On the contrary, he now sees bifocally; he sees, that is to say, both the evil age and the new creation simultaneously.  This bifocal, simultaneous vision is distinctly unbalanced, however, in that, just as God’s power is “much more” than the power of Sin, so God causes the apocalyptic seer to see the powers of the new creation “much more” than he sees those of the Old Age (Rom 5:12-21).  It is this bifocal vision that enables Paul to make confident statements about the future of the Galatian churches (5:10) (p. 104).

2 thoughts on “Apocalyptic Vision in Galatians

  1. Andrew

    It’s not clear why this is surprising .. quite. Or perhaps you’re not saying that it is ..

    It’s clearly a new age for the elect who have been upgraded as a Kingdom of servants, to a Kingdom of sons .. [Gal 4] .. but its also the last days of the beast dragon who persecuted the beast ..

    Surely no one would deny this given that the ending of the daily sacrifice was just around the corner:

    [Dan 8:9-11] And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him THE DAILY SACRIFICE WAS TAKEN AWAY, AND THE PLACE OF THE SANCTUARY WAS CAST DOWN.

    (It sounds crazy when it’s put that way, but it’s all right there – the sacrifice would end and the temple destroyed).

    [Dan 8:10] also happens to be referenced in [Rev 12:4; 13:7] which is the bit about the dragon standing before the woman (Israel) and the child (Christ and Christ-likeness).

    This bi-opic shows great cause for optimism (for the sons of God) and trepidation (for persecution to come). We know in hindsight, early Christian’s underwent terrible persecution at the hands of the beast (Rome) as they fled into the wilderness.

    Paul ends with “As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” [Gal 6:16]

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