Kingdom Strikes Back: Mission and Missionary (Part 1)

How can we read the Bible through the lens of God’s mission?

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” speaks about two aspects of God’s character: love and justice. God loves to show off his love. At the same time, he is the God of justice. His rule on earth as it is in heaven was interrupted by human failure. The enemy’s deception and the fall of man were the catalysts for God’s world mission.

God’s mission is to restore his rule on earth. Very soon he will destroy Satan’s counterfeit kingdom and establish his own kingdom. Since the beginning of time, God has been moving forward with this world-mission task. We are called to to participate and accomplish God’s world mission purpose in our own generation.

Let’s briefly examine what God has been doing in biblical human history. At the exact time that humans failed, God chose to love humans. Think about this: God does not stop loving us every time we make a mistake. As human culture and civilization flourished, unbridled human behavior spread unabashed. Noah’s ark of judgment and salvation did not solve the human problem. Humans found a way to live on their own. They were smart, resourceful, and technologically innovative. When God confused their language at the Tower of Babel, it was not a punishment; it was to show his love for them.

Out of a chaotic world, God called one man, Abraham to bless him to be a great nation and a blessing to others (Genesis 12:1-3). Here God’s salvation story took a different turn. Through this one man and his descendants, God had a plan to bless the whole world.

Through Abraham’s descendants, God’s world-mission purpose was being worked out in Egypt. A serious question arises: “Why would God allow his people to suffer slavery in Egypt?” Firstly, God was building a nation of people who would bear his name among the nations. God’s people were well trained by the yoke of slavery. Secondly, and more importantly, God wanted to reveal his glory through stubborn Pharaoh. God was able to wipe out Pharaoh of Egypt, but God allowed Pharaoh to be stubborn for his own glory (Exodus 9:15ff).

Beyond the Exodus, the story of God’s chosen people continued to unfold. We owe our biblical history to the story of the chosen people, Israel. The position and status of these chosen people was such that another question arises: “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too?”

God is the God of the universe. Before he was the God of Moses, he was the God of Abraham. Before he was the God of Abraham, he was the God of Adam. And before he was the God of Adam, he was the God of the universe. He is the God of all people of all nations. Thus, the idea that the Jews were inherently special, and that all people on earth would come to God only through them, is simply not biblical.

The temple in Jerusalem was not merely for Jews. Solomon’s temple was to bear the name of the Lord “so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you” (1 Kings 8:41). Later, when referring to the temple, Jesus said: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17). God’s mission extended beyond Jews to the Gentiles.

God was with people of other religions. It was unfortunate that his chosen people failed to accomplish his world mission purpose. As a father disciplines his son, God chastised his chosen people. The Babylonian captivity was God’s “left hand” in action. The Jews of the Diaspora became salt and light to the world. They proclaimed the name of God wherever they went, intentionally or otherwise. The book of Esther occupies a unique position in the middle of the Bible, even though it does not explicitly mention God’s name. This book gives us some idea of what God was doing with the people of other world religions. Esther, a Persian name, means “Star”; her Hebrew name was Hadassah, meaning “myrtle.” Should uncle Mordecai have counseled her to proclaim her Jewish identity and keep her Jewish name? For whatever reason, Mordecai told Esther to hide her Jewish identity, at least for a while. By doing so, Mordecai was immersing himself, contextualizing himself, into the local Persian culture for the sake of survival in this foreign land. But uncle Mordecai also knew how to stand up and pull the trigger when the call came. At the critical moment, he called on Esther and said, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Esther realized that God had a plan and vision for her life. She took a risk with her life and said, “If I perish, I perish,” in order to save her people from annihilation. The implication is that God sent Esther to the royal court of the Persian Empire because he loved Persians. As she went, she revealed the name of the God of Israel to the Gentiles so that they too would fear him.

The world and its dwellers are the focus of God’s mission. The justice of God demanded that all people of all nations be given an opportunity to hear the gospel.


  1. Thanks for the article Abraham!
    One thing which i did not understand though: why is God confusing the language at the Tower of Babel showing forth his love? Could you give some more explanations?

  2. Rebellion against God was disgusting. They were out of their minds. They left God out of their lives and were only collecting burning coals on their head. But God did not wipe them out as they deserved; he only confused their language. This is an act of God’s love.

  3. This post reminds me of a Christian missions course I took after college.( There’s a course located in nearly every city in the U.S. I highly recommend it. The textbook they give out is worth reading just for the cultural/theological insights on missions ( This is on my top all-time 10 books.

    Sorry, my participation in this ubfriends forum appears to be limited to reacting to posts by offering a book to read. Wish I could be a deeper contributor!

    “We read to know we are not alone.” – C.S. Lewis

  4. Great post but I am a little confused by your statement, “Thus, the idea that the Jews were inherently special, and that all people on earth would come to God only through them, is simply not biblical.”

    The jews were indeed God’s chosen people. Just because SOME chose not to follow his voice does not mean that they are not his people. Yes, it is true that God’s choosen people are those who listen to God but that still does not take away from the special status that the Jews enjoyed. Indeed, when Jesus entered Jerusalem he rode in a donkey AND a colt (Matthew 21). What do you think the donkey and the colt represent?

    Also, even if it was true that every single israelite (outside of Jesus) failed to live up to the level of holiness that God demanding, we know that one israelite did not fail and that isrealite is the blessed Mother of Jesus. She is the archetype and future model of what it would mean for Jesus to redeem his people.

    Just my two cents. I look forward to reading part II.