John T. Willis

Saturday, February 25, 2012

God's Mission to Restore All Peoples--Part 4

The Hebrew prophets place great emphasis on the importance of God's mission to restore all people. Here are a very few of many examples.

1. Oracles concerning foreign nations in Amos.
*Amos 1-2 contain EIGHT oracles concerning various nations. The first SIX are directed against foreign nations: Syria, Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. The last TWO are directed against South Judah and North Israel. It is clear that THE POINT of these oracles is to emphasis that ALL NATIONS, ALL PEOPLES commit the same old sins and thus Yahweh will punish each nations, including his own chosen people. All of us are in the same boat. God judges all of us. When we repent, God delivers us out of his love and mercy and grace. This applies to ALL NATIONS, not just God's chosen people.
*Accordingly, Yahweh through the prophet Amos summons Ashdod and Egypt to come to Mount Samaria to observe the sins of God's own chosen people, in order to encourage peoples of foreign nations to turn away from their sins and receive God's redemption. Amos 3:9-12.
*Amos 9:7 is a very clear, clarifying text:
"Are you not like the Ethiopians to me,
O people of Israel? says the Lord.
Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt,
and the Philistines from Caphtor,
and the Arameans from Kir?"
God looks upon the hearts and lives of all peoples, judges them, and desires to save everyone, not just his chosen people.

2. Isaiah 13-23 contains numerous oracles concerning the nations, INCLUDING God's chosen people in Isaiah 22. These oracles are predominantly oracles of doom. But they also include oracles of hope for peoples of all nations.
One very important text on this theme is Isaiah 19:16-25--an oracle of hope. Here note especially Isaiah 19:22-25:
"The Lord will strike Egypt, STRIKING AND HEALING
and HE WILL LISTEN to their supplications and HEAL them.
On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria,
and the Assyrian will come into Egypt,
and the Egyptian into Assyria,
and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
On that day ISRAEL will be a THIRD with EGYPT and ASSYRIA,
a BLESSING in the midst of the earth,
whom the Lord of hosts has BLESSED, saying,
'Blessed be Egypt MY PEOPLE,
and Israel MY HERITAGE.'"

3. Jeremiah. The book of Jeremiah contains numerous texts testifying the message that Yahweh's mission is to restore all peoples.
*Jeremiah 46-51 contain numerous oracles concerning foreign nations, including oracles of hope as well as oracles of doom (see especially Jeremiah 46:26; 48:47; 49:6, 39).
*Jeremiah's initial call is directed to ALL NATIONS. Note Yahweh's words to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:10:
"See, today I appoint you over NATIONS and over KINGDOMS,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,

4. Jonah. The entire book of Jonah focuses on the great truth that Yahweh seeks to bring ALL PEOPLES to God. Jonah became greatly disturbed when Yahweh made this declaration. When the people of Nineveh repented, Yahweh changed his mind about his former announcement that he would destroy Nineveh in forty days. He did this because he cares for and desires to save all peoples. See especially Jonah 3 and 4.

The primary theme of the entire Bible is that God is on a mission to restore all peoples to him. In the next blog, we will turn to a few texts in the New Testament confirming this same truth.

Share YOUR insights and concerns and experiences with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis