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Spring 2005 Professor: Book review Mission in the Old TestamentCRITICAL BOOK REVIEWBibliographical Data: Kaiser, Walter C. Jr. Mission in the Old Testament - Israel as a Light to the Nations. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI. January 2004.Information about the Author: "Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. is president and Colman M.

Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary." He has a Doctorate. He is also the author or coauthor of several books. He is a strong advocate for Christians making God's missionary purpose a central theme in their lives. "Missions cannot be an afterthought for the Old Testament: it is the heart and core of the plan of God" (38). Walter desires for the church, to not only participate in blessing to the greatest of ability, but also to receive the supreme blessings the Lord has to offer us

Purpose of the Author: "God's eternal plan was to provide salvation for all peoples; it was never intended to be reserved for one special group, such as the Jews, even as an initial offer! It is the history of this offer and the way it was carried out in Old Testament times that will form the heart of our study here" (10). Through this book Kaiser wants his reader to understand the correlation or the connecting point between the Old Testament and New Testament pertaining to missions. Kaiser wants the reader to understand that Genesis is the beginning for the call of missions, not the New Testament. He yearns for the reader to reflect on what he has to say and not only share his burden, but act on it. Kaiser's main purpose and focus is to fully define, expound, and elucidate the Old Testament mission in a way that his readers' could have a better understanding.

"Mission points to a central action: the act of being sent with a commission to carry out the will of a superior. It is God who commissions and God who sends" (11). "Israel was to be God's missionaries to the world-and thereby so are all who believe in this same gospel" (20). Kaiser puts things into simple terms and charges us or challenges all of us " Who will go?"Plan of the book: Walter Kaiser's main theme or plan, if you will, of the book is to refute the notion that the theme of missions inaugurated with the Great commission, but instead missions is a main theme throughout the Bible's entirety. " Thus this theme of a mission to the whole world forms one giant envelope framing the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation" (7). Kaiser begins with displaying or focusing on the purpose of the Old Testament, then continues to reveal the correlation between the Old Testament and the New, and concludes with the charge to God's people.

Summary of the Book: From beginning to end The Mission in the Old Testament analyzes, explains, and brings forth the will of God and purpose for missions in the Old Testament. Kaiser accomplishes this by bestowing a profundity analysis displaying the charges and blessings that his servants received. Throughout the book Kaiser seeks to implore on his readers' that they too can be used. ".the word given in Genesis 12:3 that in Abraham's seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed is equated with the sum and substance of the "gospel" in Galatians 3:8. Therefore, without doubt we are at the center of what is at the core of the gospel and mission in both Testaments" (20). God used individuals in the Old Testament to reach Gentiles, but He did not stop there.

" It is clear that God's mission was not exclusively Jewish in the Old Testament" (49). It is also clear that the theme of missions does not end in the Old Testament, but continues into the New Testament and even today. In Chapter four Kaiser explains that God called Israel to be a light to the nations, and as we are like Israel we are charged with the same. "If any doubts remain as to how far Israel was to go with this message, that too is abundantly clear in this text of Isaiah: it was "to the ends of the earth"" (63). We as Christians are challenged also to take the gospel and the redeeming grace to the ends of the earth, so that all may have the opportunity to share in our special gift of eternal life in heaven. "What really puts the final clincher on this argument is that the task of being "the light to the Gentiles" is assigned to the servant" (63). Israel's call or charge has now become our charge or call as Christians.

It is the will of God for all Christians to have some part in missions, rather it is being involved in a mission field somewhere planting churches and ministering to people of foreign language or at our workplace, or even at our homes, ministering to the neighbors around us. It is God's will for all Christians to be some form of a missionary, and Kaiser reveals to us what that means, through the Old Testament and through his book. Evaluation of the Book: Walter Kaiser set out to show that the Old Testament plays a very important and eminent role in the mission as much as the New Testament. Also to show that missions is one of many continuing themes of the entire Bible. I think that he categorically succeed in getting his argument across, and with grace and ease.

Kaiser used several scripture references and Biblical examples to support his point. It is obvious that Kaiser did a lot of research on this topic. The thesis of the book included a few commonly asked questions and Kaiser did a magnificent job in answering all of them. The book had a good flow and transitioned well. After reading this book I now have a greater knowledge and understanding for missions.

As I said earlier it is God's will that we are all called to be some form of missionary. When people think "missionary" they automatically think foreign land, but that's not what the word missionary means. Going to a foreign land is just one form of being a missionary. We are all called or charged by God to be some form of a missionary. Recommendation: I personally have benefited greatly from reading Mission in the Old Testament. At first when assigned this book I assumed it was a book only for those who are preparing to go into the mission field to be used as a guide and a tool, but as I later discovered that my assumption was wrong. Instead this book was written for anyone who desires to know God's plan, God's purpose, God's will, and God's call for their personal life.

I also recommend it to be used in small study groups such as youth groups or a prayer meeting. I think every new and old Christian, if you will, should read this book. I myself have a greater knowledge and understanding of the Old Testament mission and like I said have a greater burden for God's missionary plan and purpose.

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