The Isaiah 19 Highway
Have you heard of the phrase “Isaiah 19 Highway”? If your thoughts went straight to the 19th chapter of the Book of Isaiah, that’s exactly the right place to start! So, what does the prophet reveal in this chapter that is so noteworthy?
Let’s take a look:
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together.
In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23-25)
The passage mentions three countries in particular: Egypt, Assyria, and Israel. Considering that the Bible speaks a lot of God rescuing His people Israel from an outside enemy, it is interesting that Isaiah broadens the picture here.
So, does God have a special plan for the neighboring nations of Israel, too?
Egypt, Assyria, and Israel
Let’s get a little more precise. What nations is Isaiah writing about? Egypt and Israel are easy to pinpoint, as they exist under the same names on the world map today. Which is miraculous in itself. But what about Assyria?
If you look at the map of the region in Isaiah’s day, you’ll notice that the Empire of Assyria spread over a vast area. What used to be Assyrian land belongs today to countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, part of Iran and even Turkey and Cyprus!
Together, the nations mentioned in Isaiah 19 represent several modern countries that compose the core of the Middle East.
Take a moment to take it all in. The most turbulent part of the world is outlined in Scripture with a promise that these people will come together to worship! God will bless them, and they will be a blessing on the earth.
The Way of Abraham
But the Isaiah 19 Highway is not the first mention of the nations being blessed and coming together to worship the Lord. God revealed His good plans to His servant Abraham, when He promises to bless all nations through him.
In fact, the two (Abraham and Isaiah’s prophesy) have a lot in common. When God told Abraham to leave Ur, this friend of God obediently followed. He travelled to Canaan, then to Egypt and back to the land of Israel. The path described in Isaiah 19 parallels that journey.
We often think of Abraham as father of Isaac and grandfather of Jacob. But his family line is broader and already in these three generations his legacy spreads much further. Before Isaac, Abraham fathered Ishmael. And Isaac also had two sons: Jacob and Esau.
With all descendants of Abraham in mind, we get a clearer picture of the people in the Middle East who look to this patriarch as a father figure. And the Bible says that they, too, will inherit the promises – through the atonement in the blood of the Son of God.
This is the legacy of Abraham. And this amazing promise of inheritance birthed a movement dedicated to raising a new generation of Jesus followers across the Middle East. It is called the Way of Abraham.
Abraham on the Isaiah 19 Highway
Derech Avraham (Hebrew for “the Way of Abraham”) focuses on Muslim-background believers to disciple them, facilitate establishment of new churches, support houses of prayer in the region, and assist refugees in the Middle East and beyond.
But what is really unique about this initiative is the fact that it is based in Israel and was started in part by Israeli believers. What started in Israel is now reaching into all her neighboring countries and beyond!
The ministry leaders are very intentional about their goal to bring together descendants of Isaac and Ishmael. In many ways, Abraham is still honored today as the father to the nations of the Middle East. And Derech Avraham strives to redeem this legacy for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
In essence, Derech Avraham is a relational network of Middle Eastern nationals and internationals who share a vision for the Middle East that is best outlined in Isaiah’s revelation of the highway.
The Biblical Inspiration and Mandate
The movement has chosen Abraham as their model in recognition of the patriarch’s obedience to the voice of God. He risked everything to bless the nations, as we read in the Book of Genesis:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; and I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 NIV)
The vision and mandate of Derech Avraham is to declare to the nations that Egypt, Israel, and Assyria are a blessing – together! God’s covenants, promises and prophetic plans include both Israel and the nations, and these particular ones are specifically outlined in the Bible.
Messianic Jews and internationals work on the ground in the Middle East to encourage believing communities. Going beyond the strategy of survival and the nationalist church mentality, they want the region to reflect the Isaiah 19 Highway and the Kingdom of God.
From Egypt to Assyria
The local leaders work in various spheres of ministry to see the Isaiah 19 region joined in faith in the Messiah. It is miraculous to see them walk together in worship, reconciliation, and blessing. It is already happening!
Young believers of Muslim background are hungry for more and eager to share with others the hope they found. And what should never be taken for granted, many of them are intrigued and interested in Israel, too.
The Lord said to Abraham that He will make him into a great nation and make him a blessing to the world. Through the efforts of Derech Avraham, small groups of Israeli believers are fulfilling these words by traveling to key locations in the region.
As they travel through the Middle East, they network with local believers, support them in their ministry, and develop discipleship training programs. They have worked in Iraq and Cyprus, with local representatives as well as people from Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Israel.
Derech Avraham constantly encourages new initiatives and supply resources for ongoing projects in the region.
MBB – Muslim Background Believer
A person born into a Muslim family in the Middle East is not at liberty to choose their faith. The strong culture and traditions forbid anyone in Islam to question or evaluate their beliefs. Doing so would usually put them at risk of physical harm or even death.
This reality makes it all the more shocking that the numbers of born-again Christians in the Middle East are growing.
It is estimated that in Iran alone there are about 3-5 million followers of Jesus today! The exact number is hard to estimate, due to security concerns. Some come to faith thanks to a supernatural vision, some in result of a personal quest for truth, and others through an encounter with another believer.
Derech Avraham strives to mobilize this next generation “on the Isaiah 19 Highway” by helping them understand their role. They encourage these pioneers to adopt the vision of Isaiah 19 and apply it in their environment. Will you help them advance in that work?
Transform Lives Through the Love of Jesus
Are you looking for a way to impact the people in this region? FIRM has an opportunity for you to help transform lives in the Middle East through Israel!
The Tribe is a passionate and faithful group of monthly donors on a mission to transform lives in Israel through the love of Jesus. Join the Tribe today: firmisrael.org/thetribe
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