18 Because I know what they are doing and what they are thinking, I am coming to gather people from all nations and language groups; and they will come and will see my glory, 19 and I will perform a miraculous sign among them. I will send escapees from them to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud– which draw the bow– to Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have not heard about my fame or seen my glory; and they will declare my glory among these nations. 20 They will bring all your relatives from all the nations as an offering to Yahveh, on horses, and in chariots, and in canopied wagons, and on mules, and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says Yahveh, just like when the Israelites bring a grain offering in a ceremonially clean container to the temple of Yahveh. 21 And I will take some of them to be priests and as Levites as well, says Yahveh.
priests and as Levites as well
There is some question as to whether Isaiah was predicting that some of the new priests and Levites would be Gentiles, or if he was referring to restored Israelite exiles. Here is my case in favour of the first option:
· The subject of verse 18 is all nations, i.e. Gentiles.
· In verse 19, the miraculous sign among these Gentiles is that escapees will be sent by Yahveh to all these Gentile nations to declare his glory among them. This is consistent with the Great commission, which extends beyond ethnic Israel.
· The “they” of verse 20 are Gentiles because they return the exiled Jews “just like when the Israelites bring a grain offering.”
So, if my logic is right, Isaiah is predicting a new type of priesthood and “Levite-hood.” This new type of temple service will not require sons of Aaron, but even Gentiles can serve as priests and Levites as well.
Do you feel excluded from God’s service? Do you think that circumstances have conspired to prevent you from serving the LORD the way you want to? Do you feel like you have missed your calling? Don’t believe that. Invest yourself in the LORD, no matter who you are. He has welcomed you to his family. He will accept your ministry.
LORD, give us the courage to believe in your calling and gifting, and to minister to others in your name.