Who the Nations are is an important question for the times we are living in.
The Nations will be gathered before Christ at his Second Coming, they will be on Earth during the Millennium and they will surround the New Jerusalem in Eternity.
The Greek word for the Nations in the Bible is ‘ethnos’. Ethnos is also translated as ‘pagan’ and ‘gentile’ in the New testament. All these words ‘Nations’ ‘pagans’ and ‘gentiles’ refer to people who are not God’s people.
Matt 28:19 says: ‘Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations’
Luke 24:47 says: ‘Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached to all nations.’
The nations then are the unconverted. They are those that we need to preach to.
Col 1:13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,
When people in the nations are converted, they become part of God’s kingdom
Rev 2:26 says ‘to him who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the Nations.
Those who are victorious are God’s people and they are different to the Nations.
God’s people will not be the nations in the Millennium or Eternity. God’s people will be given authority over them.
In Rev 20:7-9 Satan deceives the nations at the end of the millennium. The Nations number like the sand of the sea and march across the breadth of the Earth to surround the camp of God’s people.
This shows that the Nations will be present during the Millennium and they are separate from God’s people.
Rev 21:4 says that in Eternity, the Nations will walk by the light of the New Jerusalem
God’s people will be with God in the New Jerusalem.
Who then are these nations who are outside the New Jerusalem?
Rev 22:2 says that the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the Nations.
The nations in Eternity still need healing. Just who are they?
The Nations are here now, they will be standing before Christ when he returns and they will be on Earth during the Millennium and in Eternity.
Matthew 24 is all about the signs that will precede the second coming of Christ.
Christ will appear in the clouds and His angels will gather God’s elect from the four ends of the Earth.
Chapter 25 follows on from this and begins with the Parable of the 10 Virgins which tells us how God will deal with the Church. The foolish virgins miss out on the wedding feast because they forgot to take enough oil with them and their lamps went out.
The parable of the Sheep and the Goats is also in this chapter but this parable is concerned with how God will judge the Nations.
It says that when the Son of Man comes in all his glory and all the angels with Him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the Sheep and the Goats. He will put the Sheep on his right and the Goats on his left.
God tells them, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. In other words, God will judge the Nations according to how they treated God’s people. This is a judgment according to works.
God’s people in contrast are judged according to faith which is by grace.
The Sheep Nations who were kind to God’s people – (these brothers and sisters of mine) are rewarded and do not go to hell where one might expect a non Christian to go
Those who failed to show kindness to God’s people – The Goat Nations, are sent to hell
Thus we see that in the parable of the 10 virgins, not all those who are waiting for the Bridegroom go to heaven
And in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats, not all who are in the Nations go to hell
This explains where the nations in Eternity and in the Millennium come from.
The New Jerusalem is composed of believers from old and new testament times. The old testament believers symbolized by the 12 gates and the new testament believers by the 12 foundations.
Rev 3:12 says The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
Outside are the Nations who were not thrown into the lake of fire. These nations must therefore be in the Lamb’s book of life. Yet they are not God’s people