Recently, I dialogued with a famous New Testament theologian from England. Our discussion centered on Israel and the church. He was "replacement theology" oriented (the church is now the ongoing meaning of Israel, the true Israel of God, and that ethnic Israel no longer has any claim to the status of God's elect people). We spent much time on many passages, but he was not convinced.
Toward the end of our dialogue, I spoke about my hope of when Israel as a nation turns to Yeshua, it will lead to the conversion of the nations of the world. Indeed, it will lead to His return and world redemption. He was astonished that I thought that there would be a mass conversion of the nations after the tribulation and the judgments of the wrath of God (Rev. 16). I was astonished that this was not obvious to him, though I was raised with church teachers that never taught this but had a pessimistic view of the end of this age. However, text after text shows us that the biblical hope is for world redemption. I could fill pages and pages with texts from the Prophets and Psalms to show this. There is no way out of the conclusion. Here are a few such texts.
Isaiah 2 is most amazing. It predicts that all nations will come up to Jerusalem and that the Law would go forth from Zion. The nations beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations will no longer learn war. The implications of this are enormous. Isaiah 11 repeats that same hope with the idea that the Messiah is the banner for the nations. Even nature, the animal kingdom, will be elevated to a new level of peace.
Isaiah 45 is sometimes looked at as teaching only that the unconverted are forced to bow the knee to Yeshua. However, the context makes this pessimistic view impossible. The text states, "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.
Surely, one shall say, "Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength'" (Isa. 45:22-24a). Philippians 2 repeats the promise and applies it to Yeshua.
Isaiah 60:3a says, "Nations shall come to your light." Isaiah 65, Amos 9, Micah 4 and multiple psalms repeat the hope that the nations as corporate people will come to the knowledge of God.
Yes, there will be great difficulties before that happens. However, let us keep in mind that the extension of the kingdom in Yeshua to Israel and the nations will eventually reach this goal of world redemption.
Dan Juster is the director of Tikkun Ministries International, a Messianic Jewish ministry. He is an author and has been in Messianic Jewish ministry since 1972.
This article originally appeared at reviveisrael.org.
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