The Mission Of Israel And Of The Messiah In The Plan Of God -- By: Robert L. Thomas
MSJ 8:2 (Fall 97) p. 191
The Mission Of Israel And Of The Messiah In The Plan Of God1
Professor of New Testament
God placed human beings, including the Messiah and the people of Israel, in His creation to fulfill a mission. The four Servant Songs of Isaiah (42:1–9; 49:1–13; 50:4–11; 52:13–53:12) summarize the mission of the Messiah as coming in two phases: a period of lowliness at the end of which He would die for the sins of His people and rise from the dead and a period of exaltation during which He would restore Israel’s land and provide salvation to all peoples. Features of the Servant’s first phase identify Him clearly as Jesus of Nazareth, with His second phase receiving full development in Daniel 7 as explained in Revelation. The mission of Israel has marked similarities to that of the Messiah, for example, the responsibility of witnessing to the nations. Israel has failed in her mission, however, and awaits a future restoration before she can fulfill her mission. That will come in her future kingdom when the Messiah returns. Israel also has a significant mission during the present age, illustrated by Jewish authorship of all but two of the NT books. Yet she is not presently fulfilling OT prophecies of her future role in the kingdom. The ultimate mission of all peoples will receive fulfillment in the new Jerusalem when they enjoy personal fellowship with God in bringing glory to Him.
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God has a plan for this world. As a personal Creator of all things, He had a goal in making the universe and planet earth the way He made them. Human beings He put into the world play a vital part in achieving His goal for the world. He has assigned them a mission to execute.
In particular, it is God’s servant who has the task of carrying out the mission of God. Scripture applies the words “My servant”2 to ten individuals and
MSJ 8:2 (Fall 97) p. 192
one corporate body.3 One of the individuals referred to by this title is God’s Servant,4 the Messiah. His mission is paramount in the fulfillment of God’s plan. Another primary participant in God’s program is God’s corporate servant Israel. The present discussion will focus on the mission of these two in implementing the plan of God.
The Mission Of The Mes...
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