A Light To The Nations
ears ago, the LORD revealed that multiple passages in the Old Testament establish the concept that God arranged for Israel to function in a mediatorial role, as a Light to the Gentile Nations. This revelation resulted in a recognition of how these prophecies blended the identity of Christ, shining from within the construct identified as Israel, to the larger body of nations.
“But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves” (Isaiah 61:6).
The alignment of a mediator between two parties is hardly novel in the Bible, as most believers have read the often cited texts which tell us that Jesus Christ is the exclusive mediator between God and man:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5).
The New Testament further revealed that Moses was the mediator between God and Israel, when the LORD established His covenant between them. The book of Hebrews, describing how the New Covenant between God and man was a “better covenant” (Hebrews 8:6) than that in which Moses was the mediator, establishes the fact the covenant delivered by Moses in the Ten Commandments became the Old Testament:
“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:13).
Throughout the prophets, we find indicators the LORD’s plan was to redeem the world in stages, and these are characterized by promises He made through His mediator. This is related to the idea of priesthood, where the priest of the LORD, following the parameters of the covenant itself, functioned as an intercessor between God and Israel.
The covenant between God and Israel was to convert Israel into a larger mediator, which would then export the righteousness of God to the balance of human kind, known in Scripture as the Nations – or the Gentiles. In short, Israel was to shine the light of God to the Gentiles. The righteousness of God was seen in the metaphor of light in many Scriptures, as the light of God was to shine to the world at large, through the agency of the chosen of God:
“O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5).
When God called Moses to be the mediator between Himself and the vessel which was to house His glory known as Israel, Moses came face to face with the glory of the LORD, even before He went up to the mountain to receive the ten commandments. God told Moses that His presence would go with Moses when he stood before the children of Israel:
“And the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” (Exodus 33:11, 14).
After Moses (as the mediator between God and the nation of Israel) had spent 40 days with the LORD on the mountain where God gave him the two tablets with the law engraved on them, he came down and the people were terrified when they saw that his face was shining.
“…when he came down from the mount, that Moses [knew] not that the skin of his face shone …And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come nigh him” (Exodus 34:29, 30).
When the Israelites (camped out in the wilderness after God had brought them out of Egyptian slavery) viewed Moses reflecting the glory of God, they were so afraid that an arrangement was made to put a veil over his face when he spoke to the people. As Moses taught the children of Israel how the LORD desired that Israel establish a great tent (called the tabernacle) in which the LORD would interact with the people, we see the concept how the Spirit of the LORD began to draw a people unto himself:
“And Moses spoke unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying…Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD; whosoever is of a willing heart…” (Exodus 35:4, 5).
It is here we see the fruit of the efforts of the mediator, in that multiple verses show how the people whose hearts were made willing by the Spirit of God, were assembled into a body of the chosen of the LORD.
“And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation…” (Exodus 35:21).
This alignment of those who voluntarily responded to the call of the LORD further anticipates the pattern of how God utilizes those who are chosen to shine His light unto the nations.
“And they came, both men and women as many as were willing-hearted…” (Exodus 35:22).
This is an important distinction, for the myth that people were chosen simply because they were blood descendants of Abraham is still with us today – and it’s deadly. The fact is, a huge portion of the Israelites that came out of Egypt provoked the LORD, and were judged for it (Hebrews 3:9). However, as the Spirit of God moved on the people, the LORD drew those who responded to His leading.
“The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses” (Exodus 35:29).
Under the Old Covenant of strict conformity to the law (as delivered by Moses the mediator), the annual sacrifice of the lamb for the sins of the people was required. However, contemporary Christians commonly fail to see the “Israel” in view was comprised of those who responded to the LORD’s calling, even as many others turned to foreign gods, such as Baal, Moloch, and Ashteroth.
This has a distinct parallel in Christianity, as huge numbers of “believers” never really respond to the Spirit of the LORD, but simply go through the motions of their traditions, or the church their family is associated with. Such people don’t live their lives in a close walk with Jesus, for they don’t really know him.
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
As articulated earlier, the “Israel of God” is a spiritual body through which the LORD reaches out to the Gentiles – but when collective Israel refused the Saviour, their “light” went out. Thus, JESUS CHRIST stepped in from heaven, and identified Himself as the light which was rejected by Old Covenant Israel.
“I am the light of the world…As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 8:12, 9:5).
After Christ finished His mission to translate “Israel” into a spiritual house (Colossians 1:13, I Peter 2:5), He told His followers that we are now the light of the world – a straightforward indicator the body of Christ is now the Israel of God, mediating between God and the Nations. Using the metaphor of the light of God (as well as salt, a preservative), He said the following:
“Ye are the light of the world. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour…it is thenceforth good for nothing”
(Matthew 5:14, 13).
This is not what is commonly called replacement theology – a doctrine which says the “Church” replaced Israel, as Israel is a spiritual entity, and the believers in the Saviour of Israel are actually the true Israelites – as opposed to members of a fictional body called the “Church.” As most believers in Christ refuse to understand their true identity as Born Again Israel, they are now in exactly the same position ancient Israel was in, when their light went out. Thus, the lukewarm body of Christianity, which is indeed leavened with “salt” that has lost its savour, is about to see the same sequence of events which enveloped Old Israel when the Saviour arrived.
Describing fallen Israel as “husbandmen” (managers of a vineyard) who failed in their role as mediators of the LORD in shining God’s light to the Nations (the vineyard in the parable), the fallen body of Christ faces the same fate:
“What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others” (Luke 20:15, 16).
--- James Lloyd