Redeeming Nations

Paul described the proclamation of “Christ crucified” as the “wisdom and power of God.” The proposition that God overthrew Sin, Satan, and Death through the execution of a lowly Nazarene was contrary to the “wisdom of this world.” Even the spiritual “powers and principalities” did not understand and sealed their doom by crucifying the “Lord of Glory.”

Jesus will consummate his victory when he returns and populates the Holy City, “New Jerusalem.” This hope is portrayed in several ways, and we find a graphic illustration in the image of the sacrificial “Lamb” who brings this redemptive process to a dazzling conclusion by “Shepherding the Nations” to “New Jerusalem.”

World Map - Photo by Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash
[Photo by Nicola Nuttall on Unsplash]

His goal in subjugating His enemies differs radically from human understanding and expectations. Just as his contemporaries did not understand him, so we fail to comprehend how the “
Slain Lamb” reigns.

In the vision of the “Rider on the White Horse,” for example, Jesus wears a robe “sprinkled with blood,” but it was bloodstained BEFORE he engaged in “combat” with the “Beast from the Sea.” To whom did the blood belong, and how did it get there?

This “Rider’s” only weapon was the great “sword” that “proceeded out of his mouth,” the “Word of God.” Rather than a bloodied blade hanging from his belt, on his thigh was written the proclamation, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Jesus is the “Word of God” sent to “judge and make war in righteousness,” not in rage or through vengeful violence. The men of his “army” were “clothed with fine linen, white and pure” with no weapon in sight. His “sword” was used “to SHEPHERD the nations,” not to crush them.

The “Lamb” did not annihilate the “Nations” or the “Kings of the Earth.” Both groups appear in the vision of New Jerusalem where the “nations” were walking in the Lamb’s light, and the “Kings of the Earth brought their glory into” the City.

Rather than the aftermath of a great slaughter, a life-giving river flowed from the Divine Throne bordered on either side by the “Tree of Life,” and “its leaves were for the healing of the nations” - (Revelation 21:24-26, 22:1-4).

Jesus is the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth” who redeemed men from every nation and made them a “Kingdom of Priests.”  This statement uses past tense verbs to describe things achieved through his Death and Resurrection. Even before his return, the “saints” are found reigning with him as “priests,” not soldiers or conquerors.

Instead of slaughtering their persecutors, these royal “priests” mediate his light to a dark and dying world. They “overcome” and reign as he did - by self-sacrificial service, perseverance in testimony, and martyrdom when necessary - (Revelation 1:4-6, 3:21, 12:11).

It was the self-sacrificial “Lamb” who “overcame” through his death, and therefore he reigns supreme over all things. He fulfills his Messianic role as the redemptive “Lamb” who shepherds his people, including “nations” and “kings.”

If Jesus is the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth,” what kind of king would he be if he allowed Satan to conquer the “nations” for all time? Is he not the one who overcame and now “Shepherds the Nations”? What shepherd would allow a predatory beast to slaughter his sheep? - (Revelation 12:5, 19:15).

The term “nation” is fluid in its application, being used negatively and positively. For example, the “Beast from the Sea” was granted authority over men from every “nation, people, tongue, and tribe.” More often, it is the “Lamb” who purchased “men from every nation, people, tribe, and tongue,” and therefore he reigns over his redeemed people - (Revelation 5:6-10, 7:9-17, 13:7-10).

At times, the “nations” are victimized by the “Dragon” and his vassals. “Babylon” is condemned because “she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” She, “by her sorceries, deceived all the nations.” Ultimately, Satan is responsible, but how could Jesus “overcome” and “Shepherd the Nations” if he allowed the Devil to keep his ill-gotten gains? - (Revelation 14:8, 18:3, 18:23, 20:3-8).

In the end, the “Nations” and their “Kings” are found in “New Jerusalem” giving honor and glory to the “Lamb.” This happy result was predicted in the Book:

  • Who shall in any way not be put in fear, O Lord, and glorify your name, alone, full of lovingkindness; because all the nations will come and do homage before you, because your righteous deeds were made manifest?” - (Revelation 15:4).
  • The nations of them which are saved will walk in the light of it: and the Kings of the Earth do bring their glory and honor into it…And they will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it” - (Revelation 21:24-22:4).

ENEMIES OF THE LAMB


The “Lamb” has four “cosmic” enemies - the “Dragon,” the “Beast,” the “False Prophet,” and “Babylon.” Men who ally with Satan by giving their allegiance to his “Beast” have their names excluded from the “Book of Life.” The term applied to human opponents of the “Lamb” is the “Inhabitants of the Earth.” They will face the “Hour of Trial, which is going to try the Inhabitants of the Earth.”

The martyrs saw “underneath the altar” in the Fifth Seal pleaded with God to avenge their blood on the “Inhabitants of the Earth,” the same group that rejoiced over the deaths of the “Two Witnesses” - (Revelation 3:10, 6:9-11, 8:7-13).

This group is composed of unrepentant men who submit to the “Beast” and embrace its “Mark.” They are identified as those “whose names were not written in the Book of Life.” Despite the “plagues” sent to correct them, they refused to “repent of their idolatries.” They are the men who consciously oppose the “Lamb” and reject the redemption offered by him - (Revelation 3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10).

The “Inhabitants of the Earth” are never presented in a positive light, and no member of this group is found in the “New Jerusalem,” although the “Kings of the Earth” and the “Nations” do become citizens of the Holy City.

Rainbow Peak - Photo by Look Up Look Down Photography on Unsplash
[Photo by Look Up Look Down Photography on Unsplash]

New Jerusalem” will descend to the Earth, not to become the home of a tiny “remnant” who make it by the skin of their teeth, but to be inhabited by an innumerable multitude of men from “every nation and people” - (Revelation 7:9-17).

The “Lamb” does not redeem the “nations” by oppression or military conquest, but through the perseverance, priestly service, and testimony of his “saints,” those who overcome the Devil by “the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and because they loved not their lives even unto death.”

In Revelation, the term “witness” often means martyrdom. Just as the “Lamb” redeemed his brethren by his self-sacrifice, so his disciples reign with him on the Earth by bringing the Good News of his Kingdom through their priestly service, sacrifice, and “Testimony.”



RELATED POSTS:
  • The Royal Shepherd - (The Lamb’s reign commenced with his death and resurrection, and since then, he has been shepherding the nations toward New Jerusalem)
  • The Lamb Reigns - (The Faithful Witness, Jesus Christ, now reigns supreme over the Kings of the Earth, and even over his enemies - Revelation 1:4-6)
  • Sovereign Over All Things - (Messianic promises from the Psalms are applied to the PRESENT reign of Jesus who possesses all authority in Heaven and on Earth)

Comments

POPULAR POSTS

Preach the Gospel!

His Everlasting Covenant