This is an article from the July 1980 issue: China

Missions in the Bible

Missions in the Bible

These three major sections of the Old Testament each resulted from the special pressures God brought upon the chosen nation.

Not only these historical writings but the Poetic and Prophetic writings all through those periods highlight and accent the wavering of that nation between honoring God by trusting and obeying rather than fearing and failing and falling into captivity.

In all this the nation Israel so often loses sight of the clear mandate of Genesis 12:1 3 that many casual readers and even some Bible scholars have drawn the conclusion that God chose Israel for no immediate missionary purpose but merely to behave, "to be good,' as though righteousness can ever be divorced from the universal demands of God. This view could be called that of a "Hibernating Mandate."

We believe otherwise. The originating missionary mandate of this nation was not suspended but delayed, and it was unimplemented, only because of disobedience and the hardness of heart of the people (see Numbers 14:20 23). Nevertheless, the passages in the Bible that most clearly define the mandate to be a blessing not just receive a blessing are found at the beginning in Genesis 12:1¬3, and toward the end as the chastened remnant reflected on its return from Babylon in Isaiah 49:6. Paul quoted both of these verses in order to make clear that Gentiles were to be included. But the most powerful point is where (Luke 24:44 47) Jesus blames the disciples for not discerning a missionary mandate in the scriptures of the Old Testament (Luke 24:44 47).

The New Testament portrays the chosen nation as very proud of its status but violently opposed to sharing its blessings with Greeks, Romans, or even the half breed Samaritans, and as a result, God takes the torch away from Israel, handing it to the nations (peoples) they despised. Their rejection of His Son is epitomized in Jesus' return to Nazareth, where his sermon is quite pleasing until he mentions God's favor to Gentiles (Luke 4). At that moment they explode with anger and try to kill him. Paul similarly (Acts 13) gets along well until he apparently becomes too attractive to the Gentiles.


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