God’s Heart for the Nations By MICHAEL BROWN for The Stream
I write these words from India, here now for the 28th time since 1993. In fact, this would have been my 30th visit to this amazing country if not for COVID.
Being here among the Indian people, I am reminded once again of God’s heart for the nations of the world. He cares deeply for the people He has created. He has put something unique into each of them.
There is a fascinating passage towards the end of the book of Revelation, which is the last book of the Bible.
The Glory of the Nations
Speaking of the New Jerusalem, where heaven will literally come down to earth and God will dwell in the midst of His people forever, the apostle John writes:
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:22–27)
So, in the midst of this absolutely glorious, transcendent vision, one in which God the Father and Jesus the Son will radiate their presence, we are also told that “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it … They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.”
There is a glory of the nations, a beauty, a diversity, a creativity, an identity that is special and unique. This will contribute to the overall glory of the New Jerusalem.
A Multitude Who Belong to God, Made up of People From Every Ethnic Group
Elsewhere Revelation describes this magnificent scene:
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9–10)
Does this mean that, even in heaven, people will still be identified by their national or ethnic or tribal or linguistic background? Will this remain part of our distinctive backgrounds, even as we all speak a common heavenly language? Or is this simply John’s way of saying that, in the heavenly kingdom, there will be individuals who came from every people group on the planet?
Either way, the message is clear: There will be a massive harvest from the nations. People from every tribe and tongue will put their faith in Jesus. The diversity of planet earth will be represented in God’s eternal kingdom. This is important to Him!
Ministering With People of Various Nations Through Zoom or Through Travel
With the advent of Zoom meetings, especially during COVID, I have had the joy of speaking to believers from all around the world from the privacy of my home office. I can connect to South Africa in the morning and Indonesia at night. I can minister to a leadership conference in Nigeria one day and then teach a class in Italy the next.
It saves a lot of money and a lot of time, and I’m sure I’ll continue to do meetings like this in the future. (In contrast, from the moment I leave my house to the moment I arrive at my final destination in India, it’s normally about 40 hours and up to 5 flights.)