– The Nations –
places where the Scriptures speak of the "nations" it is referring to
non Jews-Israelites, but not exclusively so, and in the light of
New Testament prophecy this is an important distinction to acknowledge.
Concerning Israel, we find the following in Genesis:
17:4-6 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall
be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be
called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a
father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly
fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come
17:16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I
will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of
peoples shall be from her."
35:11 Also God said to him: "I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and
multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed
from you, and kings shall come from your body. cf. Gen 48:4
his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know. He also shall
become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger
brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a
multitude of nations."
now to the New Testament we find references to Diasporic Jews:
For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach
him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."
Acts 2:5-11 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout
men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound
occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because
everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed
and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak
Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language
in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites,
those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene,
visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and
Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful
works of God."
makes it clear that "…salvation is of the Jews."
The way or means of salvation came through the Jews, and ultimately in Jesus
Christ – a salvation that outworked through the "in Christ" first-fruit believers of the "this
generation" and thus fulfilled; they were the priestly vine [Jn 15:1,
5], the elect, the remnant, the chosen – those commissioned for the world's restoration unto God
[Mt 28:19-20; 2Cor 5:19; 1Pet 2:9-10].
nations of Mt 25:32 were the two southern tribes of Judah and
Benjamin gathered together with the ten northern tribes constituting
Israel – those who under the Assyrian Tiglath-Pileser in 722BC and the
Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar in 586BC had been "scattered to the four
corners" of the known world. Israel, having been scattered abroad
and assimilating into foreign cultures, though keeping to their
monotheism, became representative of the Gentile nations. And in a real
sense, being the covenanted people were out of covenant with their
God – being out of their Land, became in effect in relation to God,
accursed Gentiles – "Lo-Ammi – not My people" [Hos
8:8 Israel is swallowed up; now they are among
the Gentiles like a vessel in which is no pleasure.
Abram before coming into covenant with God was a Gentile so
too was Israel in her banished state. In restoration i.e.,
resurrection [Ezk 37:1-14], Israel is again the people of
God, yet this time inclusively so, for in Christ the middle wall
of division was obliterated and those "not a people" [Rom 9:
25-26] are now brought into the commonwealth of Israel [Eph 2:12],
and are now the people of God, or as John says "…Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they
shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God."
11:11-12 It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall
set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people
who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam
and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a
banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of
Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the
four corners of the earth.
context then it can be noted that the "All the nations will be
is to be equated with and is therefore identical to "…all the
tribes of the earth…" of Mt 24:30. Further to this is the
Greek text in which both Isaiah and Matthew render the common
translation "earth" more correctly as "LAND" [gēs
thus giving it a more focused setting.
then is what the great gathering of the peoples, the nations [Gen
49:10d] of the AD70 Parousia of Christ was all about. Consequently,
Israel's redemption brought to fruition the Divinely planned reconciliation
of the wider world [Rom 11:11,
this then we see that the PRIMARY deception of the nations
in Rev 20:10 was in reference to Israel under the Old Covenant.
David G. Embury
© Copyright 2004à