I have been reading an article for the Missiology classentitled, The Biblical Foundation of the Mission of the Church by Robert Dobbie 1962. Dobbie does a wonderful job of setting the context for the Jewish idea of the coming Messiah. He states:
The dreams of the new Kingdom included the religious centrality of Jerusalem, the political significance of Israel, the return of many Jews of the dispersion to their homeland, and a triumph over traditional foes. (Page 197)
Dobbie also pointed out how an errant idea of the true Messiah and the structure of Temple worship led to a non-missionary theology. Sadly enough, a misunderstanding of the true Messiah and the structure and or content of our worship can, does, and always will lead to a non-missionary theology.
But Dobbie does not let the nation of Israel off easy:
Even if the Jewish Church as a whole, in most of its history, failed to develop a missionary soul, much of its teaching, many of its insights, and not a few of its spokesmen worthily represent a claim to which no missionary cause can be indifferent. (Page 200-201)
I appreciate this word on so many levels. First, as I stated, it does not let Israel off the hook, so to speak. Granted revelation was progressive, but they had the bare understanding of what God desired and what He demanded from all of His creation. I would point you to the Abrahamic Covenant, particular Psalms, and several passages in Isaiah.
Dobbie also does an excellent job of pointing to the fact that revelation was progressive and illustrates this with what the prophets preached, and expected from their preaching.
[The OT prophets] made the ethical response of the people focal to its fulfilment or continuance. In particular they linked this manifold concept of righteousness to the necessity and the availability of forgiveness, on the explicit understanding of repentance as its indispensable precondition. (Page 202)
Dobbie then moves to sum up this article this way:
Thus it would appear that the positive marks of an authentic gospel, even in the Old Testament, are to be found, not in the history of the nation as a whole, nor in the witness of the Church as a totality, but in the faith and insight and loyalty of a few – a spiritual remnant – whose committal to their own convictions has foreshadowed and foretold the coming of Jesus Christ and whose life has been a worthy and in the main a compelling adumbration of that incarnate life which involves or should involve irresistible missionary response. (Page 204)
All in all, again, I enjoyed and appreciate his article. I am not sure if I can put my .pdf copy up here on the web for you. But if you want it and cannot find it, email me and we will see what can be done. I would encourage you to find this article and read it…it is one for the reference shelf.
Here is yesterday’s powerpoint outline mission-in-the-prophets.ppt.
Make every effort to get hold of the textbook Announcing the Kingdom and get reading ready for your book review; keep posting up to date (Pentateuch/ Historical Books/ Prophets summaries are now due on the websites).