Israel’s Mission to the Nations in Isaiah 40-55: An Update

Michael Grisanti | August 25, 2009

In describing Israel’s relationship to the nations, Isaiah 40–55 represents three loci of tension: either divine blessings for Israel alone or for the entire world also, Israel as either an active witness or a passive one, and either the nations as subject to Israel or as coequal with Israel in their standing before God. Israel’s mission to the world is either centripetal (inward moving) or centrifugal (outward moving). Biblical scholars have debated which it is. Attempts to explain fluctuation in the prophet’s message between the two possibilities have included elimination of certain passages, consideration of redactional layers, redefinition of terms, and pointing out external circumstances in the prophet’s time. A correct understanding does not consist in explaining away one side of the tension, but in recognizing God’s future restoration of the nation as a means of extending redemptive benefits to the nations, His blessing of the nations after their judgment, and His use of Israel to rule the nations at the same time that His chosen people are a vehicle to bless the nations.

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Michael Grisanti Professor of Old Testament Director of Th.M. Studies Director of TMS Israel Study Trip B.A., Pillsbury Baptist Bible College M.Div., Central Baptist Theological Seminary Th.M., Central Baptist Theological Seminary Ph.D., Dallas Theological Seminary Michael Grisanti is Professor of Old Testament at The Master’s Seminary where his scholarly interests include Deuteronomy, Old Testament theology, biblical ethics, the prophets, and the history of Israel. He has been actively involved in ministries around the world, which have brought him to Albania, Colombia, France, Honduras, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and Ukraine. For several years, he taught at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, MN. Dr. Grisanti has contributed to the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, and the Bible Knowledge Key Word Study set. He wrote the commentary on Deuteronomy in the revised edition of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, and the forthcoming volume on Deuteronomy in the Teach the Text series. He co-authored The World and the Word: An Introduction to the OT (B & H). He has also served as editor or co-editor of The Bible Version Debate: The Perspectives of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and Giving the Sense: Understanding and Using Old Testament Historical Texts. He has written numerous articles on Old Testament topics which have been published in Bibliotheca Sacra, The Master’s Seminary Journal, and the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Download 2015 Shepherd's Conference Notes

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