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Jesus Creed

GregMacd.jpgRobin Parry’s major focus, in his book The Evangelical Universalist  , is a biblical case for universalism, and that means one eventually has to take a good hard look at the Old Testament.

Which he does.
After sketching some suggestive Adam-Israel parallels, making Adam a type of Israel in the Land, Parry (aka, Gregory Macdonald) makes the very important observation that God’s covenant with Abram/Abraham had within it the (great) commission of being a blessing to the nations.
Israel was to be a kingdom of priests to mediate between YHWH and the Nations. This role leads Israel to be a light to the nations and to the nations making pilgrimage to the temple on Mount Zion. And Israel’s fate is embodied in the Servant of Isaiah. But Parry finds — as do many others — universalism in Isaiah 45:

45:20 Gather together and come!

Approach together, you refugees from the nations!

Those who carry wooden idols know nothing,

those who pray to a god that cannot deliver.

45:21 Tell me! Present the evidence!

Let them consult with one another!

Who predicted this in the past?

Who announced it beforehand?

Was it not I, the Lord?

I have no peer, there is no God but me,

a God who vindicates and delivers;

there is none but me.

45:22 Turn to me so you can be delivered,

all you who live in the earth’s remote regions!

For I am God, and I have no peer.

45:23 I solemnly make this oath –

what I say is true and reliable:

Surely every knee will bow to me,

every tongue will solemnly affirm;

45:24 they will say about me,

“Yes, the Lord is a powerful deliverer.”‘”

All who are angry at him will cower before him.

45:25 All the descendants of Israel will be vindicated by the Lord

and will boast in him.

Notice v. 23: this is an oath of YHWH, not just a hope that the nations will respond. All will bow and all will confess and all will say “the Lord is my righteousness and my strength” (alternative translation). He sees a kind of universalism at work here. [He has other texts too, but this is probably enough to see the direction. He also states that it was only with development in the belief of resurrection that a full universalism emerges.]

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