Recently, I posted a blog in which I stated that Paul proclaimed the Evangel of the uncircumcision in which Israel's laws, rituals and feast days, played no role, at all (Col.2:16).
Following this blog, I received the following question:
But how then am I to understand Isa. 56?
:2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it…
It does not say: Blessed is the Israelite, but: "Blessed is the (mortal) man that doeth this, and the son of man … who keeps the sabbath!" And in verse 6 we read:
Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
It is not: the strangers that join themselves to Israël, but the strangers that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him" …
Good question! Isaiah 56 speaks about the time when "the Lord will gather together the outcasts of Israel" (verse 8). Jerusalem will be the capital of the world and the rebuilt temple "will be called a house of prayer for all the people" (verse 7). This is the glorious time of which all the Hebrew prophets have spoken. The celebration of the Sabbath, the day God specifically gave as a sign to Israel (Ex.31:13), will be a day of rest for all mankind. Indeed, the period itself is considered as being a "sabbath" and is called, for very good reason, "the day of the LORD".
This restoration of Israel, with the associated Messianic time, is the great subject of "the Evangel of the circumcision" that was preached by "the twelve" (Gal.2:7-9; Acts 3:19-21). When this Evangel, by Israel as a nation, was rejected, God called Paul outside the land, as "apostle and teacher of the nations". His ministry is not based on Israel's restoration, but on Israel's rejection (Rom.11:11-15). "The economy of grace" and "the mystery (secret)" (Eph.3:2.9), which Paul announced, was never before made known (Eph.3:5; Col.1:26; Rom.16:25). In other words: "the Evangel of the circumcision" is based on what was revealed by the prophets (2Pet.3:2), while "the Evangel of the uncircumcision" is precisely based on what was hidden (kept secret) in the prophets. In the Evangel that James, Peter and John preached, it primarily is about Israel ("the circumcision"), while in Paul's Evangel, it is about the nations, without distinction.
The times in which we are now living is an interruption in God's prophetic program. A pause, for which the name Paul stands as a model. After this pause, "the Evangel of the circumcision" will once again be preached, but then with success. That will be the time of Israel's restoration and of the temple that "will be called a house of prayer for all peoples". Isaiah 56 is all about this "shabbat shalom".
Translation: Peter Feddema