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Mission in the Old Testament, 2nd Edition

Israel as a Light to the Nations

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"A wonderfully accessible introduction to and exploration of the missiological promise-plan of God, and hence would serve well as a supplemental text in classes both on missions and the Old Testament."--Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Walter Kaiser questions the notion that the New Testament represents a deviation from God's supposed intention to save only the Israelites. He argues that--contrary to popular opinion--the older Testament does not reinforce an exclusive redemptive plan. Instead, it emphasizes a common human condition and God's original and continuing concern for all humanity. Kaiser shows that the Israelites' mission was always to actively spread to gentiles the Good News of the promised Messiah. This new edition adds two new chapters, freshens material throughout, expands the bibliography, and includes study questions.
1. God's Preparation for Missions in Genesis 1-11
2. God's Plan for Missions in the Patriarchal and Mosaic Eras
3. God's Promised Person for All--The Davidic King of Promise
4. God's Purpose for Missions in the Psalter of Israel
5. God's Use of Individuals to Reach Gentiles in the Old Testament
6. God's Call to Israel to Be a Light to the Nations
7. God's Persuasion of Jonah to Be His Witness with Other Prophets from Israel
8. God's Call to the Missionary Paul Based on the Old Testament
Study and Discussion Questions


Praise for the First Edition

"Mission in the Old Testament challenges the axiom that the gospel mandate begins with the New Testament. Kaiser rightly begins with Genesis 1-11 as the opening drama of redemptive history that explains the subsequent developments in the story of salvation. The connecting point between the testaments is God's promise to Abraham to include all the clans of the earth in his blessing. The book offers great insights for all concerned with the direction of the church."

Willem A. VanGemeren, professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Too often we are caught up in the details of biblical revelation. Walter C. Kaiser helps us regain the big picture of what God is doing in human history. . . . His challenge helps us put mission back into the center of our lives and ministries, . . . demonstrat[ing] clearly that God's mission to the world is the central theme binding Old and New Testaments together. For us to focus on anything else is to miss what God has done and continues to do in human history."

Paul G. Hiebert, author of Transforming Worldviews

"In the best tradition of Richard De Ridder, John Stott, Arthur Glasser, John Piper, and Roger Greenway, this book is a much-needed resource for all . . . who want to understand God's missionary purpose for the church as found in the Old Testament. . . . Clearly, concisely, and captivatingly written, [it] will make a wonderful resource for Bible study groups. It is must-reading for members of congregational outreach, evangelism, and mission committees, and is an outstanding resource for pastors to preach and teach on mission in the Old Testament. . . . The reader will [also] find excellent sources for further study in the footnotes and bibliography. . . . When members of our churches in North America read this book, they will be moved to recommit themselves to God's mission of world evangelization."

Charles Van Engen, Arthur F. Glasser Professor of Biblical Theology of Mission, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Walter C. Kaiser Jr.

    Walter C. Kaiser Jr.

    Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (PhD, Brandeis University) is president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and at Wheaton College. Kaiser is active as a preacher,...

    Continue reading about Walter C. Kaiser Jr.


"Mission in the Old Testament could be used as a supplementary text in mission and Old Testament courses. Local churches and individual Christians beginning to search for their role in the missio Dei will find it a good introduction and springboard for further study. Teachers and group leaders will appreciate the study questions for guiding discussions."

Walter L. McConnell III,


"Whether a budding believer or seasoned saint, one can profit from this edifying and enjoyable read. When it comes to missiology, we dare not neglect the OT in our doctrinal formulation."

Mark A. Hassler,

Master's Seminary Journal

"A fascinating little book that argues that God's purpose in his sovereign selection of the nation of Israel was not arbitrary or simply because he preferred Hebrew culture, but strategically missiological. . . . Taken individually, the exegesis of one or another passage might not convince the reader of the book's thesis. But collectively, I could not deny that global missions has always been God's passion."

Timothy Raymond,


Praise for the First Edition

"The book is an interesting exercise in conventional biblical theology."

The Bible Today

"Every believer who experiences God's call to the field of mission needs to digest this book. Every pastor who seeks to preach the whole counsel of God's Word needs to own this book for his library and needs to make the truths of this book his own."

Charles E. McLain,

Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary Online Review

"Kaiser's work is a welcome contribution to the literature that hopefully will correct popular evangelicalism's sole reliance upon the New Testament for its mission theology."--David K. Strong, Missiology

David K. Strong,


"Kaiser paints with broad strokes and at the same time provides finer details. His book needs to be read carefully with an open Bible to absorb the rich panorama of God's mission heart. Christians who study this book will more fully understand the wonder of God's grace and gain a fuller appreciation of the continuance of God's mission of love from Old Testament times into our contemporary era."

Evangelical Missions Quarterly

"This volume remains a wonderfully accessible introduction to and exploration of the missiological promise-plan of God, and hence would serve well as a supplemental text in classes both on missions and the Old Testament."

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"The major thesis of Kaiser's book is that mission to the peoples and nations of the world is a central and constant element of God's plan for Israel throughout the Old Testament. . . . Kaiser's thesis is a compelling one. Evangelical readers who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the Old Testament will find Kaiser's book to be a source of both information and comfort."

Review and Expositor

"Kaiser writes persuasively and well. He has produced a valuable volume. . . . The many insights offered make the volume a useful resource. The documentation: glossary, bibliography, Scripture, subject and author indexes, adds further value."

Elizabeth A. Clark,


"The book reflects the fact that it is written by a seasoned Old Testament professor and writer. He knows how to make his case so that students and churchmen will appreciate it. . . .The book is a helpful introduction to missionary themes in the Old Testament. Its brevity, its price, and its language should make it attractive to prospective readers."

Luke L. Keefer Jr.,

Ashland Theological Journal