A Light Unto the Nations

The Torah’s Mandate to Build Bridges with Pro-Israel Christians

The Torah’s Call

“I made you for a people's covenant, for a light to nations.”

Isaiah 42:6

This verse captures the mission statement of the people of Israel. For most of Jewish history, the role of “light unto the nations” has been understood primarily as a private call to have a positive influence on the world by living an ethical life and setting a personal example of righteous behavior.

Rarely was anyone on the outside ever interested in what the people of Israel as a nation had to say. But Isaiah is calling for so much more. The Bible, the “light” that God gave to the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai, is meant to illuminate the entire world. God’s light is capable of opening the eyes of the blind and leading the imprisoned out of darkness. 

The establishment of the State of Israel and the return of God’s people to God’s land is a sign that the day has finally come to put Isaiah’s words into action. The people of Israel, a strong nation in its ancestral homeland, are ready to fulfill their destiny and share God’s light with the world.

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed

Since the foundation of the State of Israel, the numbers of philo-Semitic evangelicals have increased. They see with their own eyes how the Jewish people is returning to its land after its awful, two-thousand-year-long exile, and is creating a prosperous country. They see new settlements and vineyards flowering in the very areas described by the Bible, and they are excited by our miraculous return to Zion. They are overwhelmed by the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies of the prophets of Israel…

Sometimes I see these honored guests walking on our roads and paths, and I am filled with great love; I am deeply moved and have to hold back tears. How beautiful are these people, who volunteer enthusiastically, crossing oceans and continents to express their wonderful connection with us. 

How they shine with joy at being privileged to see the miraculous return to Zion, to walk on holy ground, and to contribute to making the desert bloom. Perhaps they are the pioneers who begin to fulfill the words of the prophecy:

In the end of days, the Mountain of the Lord’s House shall stand firm above the mountains and tower above the hills, and all the nations shall stream towards it. Many peoples shall go and say: “Let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob, that He may instruct us in His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.” For Torah shall come forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge among the nations and arbitrate for the many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not take up sword against nation, and they shall never again know war (Isaiah 2:2-4).

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

It is a disservice to Judaism to see its teachings as meant for Jews alone. Moses knew that God had summoned Israel to be more than just one other nation among the many that have surfaced in the course of history. It was to become an example, a role model, a living tutorial in what it is to construct a society built on the idea of the equal dignity of all under the sovereignty of God.

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein

We are a small, embattled country, and a small embattled religion, beset with enemies on all sides and sometimes from within, with a shrinking list of dependable allies. One of the last dependable sources of support for the State of Israel, and sometimes for the Jewish people, are other faith communities – Christians in particular. We also have a second goal… For the first time in 2,000 years, we have an opportunity to speak our minds as believing Jews and provide guidance to others who wish to know the dvar Hashem (the word of G-d) about pressing social issues.

Dr. Michael Wyschogrod

Our deepest solidarity is with our fellow human beings because they are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). This statement, to my mind the single most powerful in the Bible, is made about the human being as such, not about Jews. If the result of the election in Abraham is an alienation of Israel from the rest of humanity, then the election has achieved the opposite of its intended result. The purpose of Abraham’s election was that “in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” If Israel withdraws into its own identity and loses interest in the ties that bind it to the rest of humanity and that make it a surrogate of that humanity, then Israel will have tragically misunderstood its true identity.

Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Amiel

The crucial element of our true redemption is this: It is not only the “Jewish question” that is important for the gentiles, but also the “Judaism question”. Meaning, it is not only the Jewish people who need Judaism – the entire world needs Judaism! The nations of the world need the spirit of Judaism. These are the “final days” spoken of by the prophets.

Rabbi Tuly Weisz

It is a rule of history: when Jews abandon the Torah and behave like all the other nations, the nations persecute us. When Israel recklessly follows western values, the nations hate us even more. Only when we fulfill our destiny and teach the nations how to live G-dly lives based upon Torah values will we transform Israel from the most condemned country into the world’s spiritual superpower.

Rabbi Pesach Wolicki

More and more Christians are reevaluating their understanding of Jews, Torah, and the origins of Christianity as an offshoot of Judaism. These are monumental changes! Like the refounding of the State of Israel, this too is part of the “first flowering of the redemption”. The principles that apply to the process of our own national redemption must guide us here as well. We must recognize that historical changes happen gradually, and that it is our duty to actively participate in these changes and bring the nations closer to the Torah’s ultimate goal. In the words of the Rambam himself: ‘…to pave the path for the king Messiah and to repair the entire world to serve Hashem together, as it states, “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the L-rd and serve Him shoulder to shoulder’ (Tzefanyah 3:9).

The Israel Bible

Learn more about the Bible's connection to the Land, People, and God of Israel