Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blessing the Nations (cont.)

As we've seen, throughout the Old Testament, the people of God didn't come through very well on their original mandate to bless the nations (Gen 12:1-3). By the time Jesus came, worldwide Judaism seemed pretty much neutralized as a missionary force.

Some had adopted too much of the accursed lifestyle of the Gentile world to exercise nearly the moral influence they ought to have had on it. In the ancient Near Eastern world, Israel's kings had adopted every god from Baal to Tammuz and had even gone so far as to practice child sacrifice. In the Hellenistic world, Israel allowed Graeco-Roman paganism to make severe inroads--even in Palestine. They ended up worshipping every Zeus, Dick, and Hermes that showed up in the Judean hills.

And much of the "holiness" they did claim was perverted. It could be the legalistic "holiness" of the Pharisees, which obscured the beauty of biblical holiness. It could be sectarian, like the "holiness" of the Qumran community, who escaped the pollution of city life to live in caves on the shores of the Dead Sea. But such a community stood no chance of affecting main street.

But Jesus came renewing the missions mandate. We'll look at that in the next blog posting.


  1. some of this sounds like modern day fundamentalist churches.

  2. Do you refer to the legalism or the sectarianism when you say that? I suppose both might apply?

  3. yes, perhaps both might apply.