The Logic of Gentile mission in Paul and Acts
I'm getting wary of writing posts too late as I tend to write sentences that only need to be refined later. But what the hell.
To detail a point I made in response to Christian Zionism recently:
The fate of the Gentiles among the Prophets is a mixed chorus. Zechariah 8:13 states: 'Just as you have been a cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you and you shall be a blessing'. This reminds me of many passages in Isa 40-55, like the following:
Isaiah 49:5-8 And now the LORD says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honoured in the sight of the LORD, and my God has become my strength-- 6 he says, "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth." 7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, "Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you." 8 Thus says the LORD: In a time of favour I have answered you, on a day of salvation I have helped you; I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages
Significantly, when Paul speaks of his ministry he turns and cites ... Isa 49:9 (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17 - 6:2)
Likewise, Acts 15:14-18 runs:
'14 Simeon has related how God first looked favourably on the Gentiles, to take from among them a people for his name. 15 This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written, 16 "After this I will return, and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen; from its ruins I will rebuild it, and I will set it up, 17 so that all other peoples may seek the Lord-- even all the Gentiles over whom my name has been called."'
Gentile mission is presupposed upon the 'rebuilding of the dwelling of David', upon the 'gathering of Jacob', the 'raising up of the tribes of Jacob and restoration of the survivors of Israel'.
In other words: Exile –> Return –> Gentile Mission