Israel and God’s Mission

Some believe Israel’s role in the mission of God was to draw others in, and that God did not send them. However, a beneficial and insight book by Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr., a biblical scholar, argues that God sent Israel out. He write: “The fact remains that the goal of the Old testament was to see both Jews and Gentiles come to a saving knowledge of the Messiah who was to come” (Loc. 121, Kindle). For him, the Old Testament Great Commission would be Genesis 12:3, “All peoples on the earth will be blessed through you (Abraham).”

I agree with Dr. Kaiser that Israel’s call to be a light to the nations There are many biblical references to support this claim.

  • In Genesis 12:1-3, God calls Abraham to leave his home and go to a land that God will show him. God promises to make Abraham a great nation and to bless all peoples through him. This passage shows that Israel calling to be a blessing to the nations is God’s purpose.
  • In Exodus 19:5-6, God tells Moses he is bringing the Israelites out of Egypt to be his people. God promises to be their God and to dwell among them. This passage shows that God’s purpose for Israel was to be a holy nation set apart for him.
  • In Isaiah 42:6, Here Israel is chosen by God to be a light to the nations. He says that Israel will bring his salvation to the ends of the earth. This passage shows that God’s purpose for Israel was to be a missionary nation, sharing the good news of salvation with the world.
  • In Micah 5:2-5, God prophesies the Messiah coming from Bethlehem. He says that the Messiah will be a light to the Gentiles and that his salvation will reach the earth’s ends. This passage shows that God’s purpose for Israel was to be a nation through which the Messiah would come to save the world.

These are just a few biblical references that show Israel’s call to be a light to the nations. This understanding of Israel’s mission helps us teach others about God’s mission. We can show them that God’s purpose for the world is to save everyone regardless of nationality or ethnicity. We can also show them that God has chosen the church as his instrument in bringing salvation to the world.

By spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, we can let people know they are a part of God’s salvation strategy. By spreading the good news, we can also show them how they can participate in God’s mission to the world.

I recommend this book if you are looking for a good book with study and discussion questions to ponder at the end. Mission in the Old Testament: Israel as a Light to the Nations Assuming Dr. Kaiser’s thesis is correct, here are a few questions to consider:

  • What biblical references would you use to show others regarding Israel’s call to go out and be a light to the nations? Consider Genesis 1–22, Davidic writings, the Prophets, and others you can think about in this regard.
  • How does this help you teach others about the mission of God?

Work Cited

Kaiser, Walter. Mission in the Old Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2012.






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