We are called to mission not merely into the world, but to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). It must touch all nations, panta ta ethne. Noting Revelation 5:9 and 7:9, it is a comprehensive mission to ethnic groups or tribes (phule), to tongues and language groups (glosses), to peoples and nations (laos, ethnos).1 It is not merely to engage in the Great Commission – it is to complete the Great Commission.
God is calling His people to a transforming, ongoing relationship with Him, in the context of mission, out of the glory of worship. He has redeemed us, imparted to us a command with a message for the nations. He has empowered us with the Spirit, not for independent action, but for synergistic, unified action as his body, the church. The body features Christ, himself, as the head – not an apostolic council or a group of human elders. The Holy Spirit, like the nerve tentacles of the brain, move the body to act according to the will of its head.
There is no true Church of God unless that church is like its God – and the God of the true Church is a missional God.
Israel was not called to be a kingdom with priests, but kingdom of priests. They were to mediate between the nations and God. They were to be a nation that interceded for all other nations! The priestly nation to the nations – what a vision. And this is now the role of the church. Again, we are not to be a church, a movement, with priestly people (pastors), but a movement entirely comprised of priests – every believer a priest. Not only exercising the right to pray directly to God for oneself, but the responsibility to pray for others. This is the priestly, intercessory, missional ministry of the church. Peter declared plainly the intent of God,
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
This is Israel’s failed and forfeited mission, now reframed for the church – for believers. It is our missionary call! It is an invitation into the New Apostolic Epoch.