He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me.
    I will make you a light to the Gentiles,
    and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Isaiah 49:6

The salvation theme in the Bible reveals God‘s work of rescuing and saving both Israel and the other nations.  Yahweh, the God of all the earth, displayed His love and kept His word to Israel by freeing her from the bonds of slavery with His strong and outstretched arm.  This was a basic part of Israel’s credo and crucial to understanding the first commandment.  This credo transformed Israel from being merely one nation among others into the chosen community which owes its very existence to God’s act of deliverance and returns its praises to Him in psalms and prayers of thanksgiving.

The prophets picture the people of other nations as returning to Jerusalem, where the God of Israel shall appear as the God of all the peoples.

Psalm 87 proclaims Jerusalem as the ecumenical city whose citizens shall some day include inhabitants of the various nations, even from those nations who once most ardently opposed the God of Israel.

The Bible also describes the means God is using to bring salvation to Israel and the nations.  No other OT passage probes more deeply into this matter than the “Servant” songs of Isaiah 40 – 55.  These “Servant” songs make unmistakable reference to the spread of salvation through the whole world.  The Servant shall carry it to the ends of the earth, and He will not stop until righteousness prevails throughout the earth.  The coast-lands are awaiting His instructions.

In Isaiah chapter 53 we find the fourth Servant song and we uncover the secret of how the Servant of the Lord shall discharge His mission.  This deeply moving passage depicts the Servant becoming a victim of the most savage human butchery.


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