SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Tuesday November 5, 1996

Jerusalem: Mission Center of the Earth
(Isa. 2:2)

What does Isaiah 2:2 say about Jerusalem's (Zion's) role in world evangelization during Old Testament times?

It was always the Lord's plan that Israel would act as a missionary agency to spread the good news. (See Isa. 14:1.)

A key passage indicates that the coming Messiah would be sent to all nations:  "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations" (Isa. 42:1, NIV; see also Matt. 12:18).

In Old Testament times, God's main approach to evangelism was to make Israel a model people, conspicuously situated among the nations.  Non-Judaic peoples would travel to Jerusalem to see why all these good things were happening, and they would be taken to church--the temple.  (See Deut. 4:5-8.)  Thus Jerusalem became a magnet, drawing people to a central sanctuary.  Israel's discipleship responsibility rested in their God-given call to be a model for the world in social and religious life.

How does the queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon illustrate the "centripetal" mission concept?   1 Kings 10:4, 5.

The queen of Sheba made the trip to Jerusalem because she "heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord" and wanted to "test him with hard questions" (1 Kings 10:1, NIV).  She returned home with a clear picture of the Lord. "Praise be to the Lord your God.... Because of the Lord's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness" (1 Kings 10:9, NIV).  Centuries later, one of her countrymen would discover the connection between the Jewish religion and Christianity through a missionary he met on a desert road (Acts 8:26-40).