The Promised Hope of Israel – Acts 26:6-8

And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

Acts 26:6-8 NIV

The Old Testament, especially the prophets, is filled will promises made to the Jewish people. Promises concerning land, prosperity, a king, Jerusalem, and the temple. And many today expect to see a literal physical fulfillment of these at sometime in the future. I don’t pretend to know what God has in store for ethnic Israel. But Paul seemed to have an understanding of what God had in store.

In his trial before King Agrippa, Paul claimed that he was on trial because of his hope in what God had promised to Israel. For Paul, that hope was centered around the work of Jesus. And in particular his resurrection. All the promises God made to his people find fulfillment in Jesus.

And this echos what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. He had not come to abolish the Law and Prophets. Rather he had come to fulfill them. Reading the Old Testament with that perspective sheds a whole new light on the hope of Israel. And that seems to have been what Paul had done and was then sharing with Agrippa.

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