God’s beautiful pluralism vs. boring equality

God’s beautiful pluralism vs. boring equality January 25, 2017

Most theologians presume that all national and Jewish-gentile distinctions were eliminated by Jesus and the church after Jesus’ resurrection, so that Jewish distinctions are lost in a sea of gentile sameness. Yet in the book of Revelation, the gates of the new Jerusalem are inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel (Rev. 21:12). The saints in heaven are still distinguished by their tribe and language and people and nation (5:9). The 144,000 are “sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel” (7:4).

So particularity of peoples and nations and languages is preserved by the New Testament. So is the identity of Jews as members of the tribes of the sons of Israel (Jacob). But for most theologians today, these distinctions have been washed away. For them the future of redemption has the beauty of sameness, a homogeneity more characteristic of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment than of the Bible. Yet the future world as presented by Scripture has a divine diversity, where men and women retain their sexual differences, and languages and ethnic identities are preserved. Jews are still Jews. This is the biblical beauty of God’s pluralism, so much more plural and interesting than the boring equalities of our politically correct culture today.

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