A House of Prayer for All Nations

Isaiah 56:7  

“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

In verse 6 God mentions “the sons of the foreigner” who want to serve God and obey His Sabbath law. Though God had chosen to work with a specific people—the 12 tribes of Israel—for a time, God’s plan has always been to include all nations. Israel was supposed to be an example to show the surrounding nations how wonderful God’s laws are and how great God is. But Israel failed in this mission.

When Jesus Christ came, He was disgusted with the way greedy people were turning God’s temple into a “den of thieves.” So He drove out the money changers and, in this context, Jesus quoted Isaiah: “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (Mark 11:17).

Through His sacrifice, Jesus Christ figuratively broke down the “wall of separation,” a physical limit on where people of other nations could go in the temple precinct, and spiritually He took away the sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). This allowed the gentiles to no longer be “strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:11-14, 19).

Now people of all nations can be members of God’s Church, which is His spiritual temple and house of prayer for all nations.

For more about the Church, see our section on “The Church.”

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