Saturday, May 26, 2012

Study through Acts, Chapter 7 lesson 3

St. Stephen rehearses Israel’s history during his soliloquy. For a deeper understanding of this week’s lesson, please first review Exodus chapters 1-20, 32-35. This lesson in Acts chapter 7 will be nearly meaningless without at least a cursory reading of those chapters in Exodus. Then answer the following questions.

Acts 7: 39-43 See especially v. 42-43.

Note the shift in tactic. It’s what will get Stephen martyred because he tells them of their sins. See Acts 5:26-29, See also Luke 22:47-48; Titus 1:15-16, Compare Mt 7:21-23. What do all of these Biblical texts illustrate for us in the 21st century? How ought Christians live in light of these examples? Please read and consider the weight of the  Catechism of the Church paragraphs 674-677 below. The yellow highlights are mine for emphasis.

vv. 44            The pattern of the Tabernacle was important for symbolism. See Heb 8:1-5; 9:1-9, 21-28.  What might the Holy Spirit be teaching us through Stephen’s review?

Vv 45-46       Note St. Stephen bypasses the history of King Saul (e.g. the entire book of 1 Samuel). Although Saul is important to Israel’s history, why might St. Stephen have moved passed it to talk about King David?

v. 51             The knockout punch.  See Matt 21:23-27 with application to 21st century.
vv. 54-60      See especially v. 60. Forgiveness is a choice, even without others asking for forgiveness. Re: Jesus on the cross – Father forgive them . . . Application?

v. 56             Compare Dan 7:9-14; Isaiah 9:5-6.  Application?

674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus.569 St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old."570 St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"571 The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles",572 will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".573

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.574 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth575 will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth (my highlight). The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.576

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,577 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.578

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.579 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy (my highlight), but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.580 God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world (my highlight).581

569 Rom 11:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39.
570 Acts 3:19-21.
571 Rom 11:15.
572 Rom 11:12, 25; cf. Lk 21:24.
573 Eph 4:13; 1 Cor 15:28.
574 Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12.
575 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.
576 Cf. 2 Thess 2:4-12; 1 Thess 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; 1 Jn 2:18,22.
577 Cf. DS 3839.
578 Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the "false mysticism" of this "counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly"; cf. GS 20-21.
579 Cf. Rev 19:1-9.
580 Cf Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4.
581 Cf. Rev 20:12 2 Pet 3:12-13.

We will move into Chapter 8 next time.

No comments: