Friday, January 21, 2011

Missionary Call of Israel in the Old Testament

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In reading and doing my homework for the "Perspectives" class, I am learning that "missions" is not strictly from the New Testament, instead it began in the Old Testament (OT) where God called His people to be a light to the nations and an example of godliness to those who knew not the Lord of Creation.

Despite current beliefs that the command of "evangelism" (the Great Commission) was given only to readers of the New Testament, it is very clear in the text I am currently reading within my Perspectives Reader, titled "Israel's Missionary Call", that this belief is false. This text cites three basic scriptures from the OT as evidence that God's purpose for His chosen elect, the Israelites, from the bloodline and seed of Abraham, through whom God said He would bless "all peoples on earth" (Gen 12:1-3), was to do just that - bless all the peoples on earth through His Name!!

God's message to the Israelites is still His calling for us today:

To Proclaim His Plan to Bless the Nations
In Haran, God promised to Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:3

To Participate in His Priesthood as Agents of that Blessing
On Mount Sinai, God called on Moses and said: "‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

To Prove His Purpose to Bless all the Nations
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us, Selah,
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you rule the peoples with equity
and guide the nations of the earth. Selah
May the peoples praise you, God;
may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
Although Israel did not and does not always step up to the plate of being a light to the nations, it does not change the fact that this was God's purpose for them - and still is! However in the meantime, until the time of the Rapture when all believers in Christ are taken from the earth, as descendants of Abraham through faith in the Promised Messiah, Jesus, we Gentiles must be co-workers with God in order to fulfill His promise and plan to bless all the nations through Abraham. The Lord our God is One, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the same yesterday as He is today as He will be in the future, and His will, promises and plans for His creation has not and will not change, whether we read about Him in the Old Testament or the New Testament.

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God bless you!

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