Have you ever noticed the language of Revelation 5:9-10?
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”Revelation 5:9-10 (ESV)
This is a description of heavenly worship. The Lamb of God is being worshiped as He sits upon the throne. Before Him is the heavenly throng.
Two things to notice.
- The list “tribe, language, people, and nation” is not new. It comes from Genesis 10, verses, 8, 20, and 31. Genesis 10 is the Table of Nations and describes not only Israel’s origins, but also the origins of the Gentiles. In fact, 69 of the 70 nations described in Genesis 10 are Gentiles, by definition.
- Revelation 5:10 uses the language used for the nation of Israel for all the people groups! That means, in the new creation, God will have His people from all the peoples first described in Genesis 10, redeemed, renewed, and doing what they were designed to do, worship!
There is a lot of space between Genesis 10 and Revelation 5, almost the whole Bible. This Sunday, we will trace that story. Genealogies and tables aren’t apparently the most exciting parts of the Bible, but I hope that we will see in our study that these sections of Scripture are important and, quite frankly, pretty exciting. This table, in particular, is a vision of heaven. It is a prophecy. And it is a central part of the mission of our church family.
Chapel Hill Bible Church, along with all Biblically faithful churches, is called to be an embassy of heaven. Every local body has a particular setting and not every setting is super diverse, ethnically, and so every church is responsible to reflect heaven in ways appropriate to their context. But our context is diverse and God has called us, as He gives opportunity and as we obey His Word, to be a local body that is varied in ethnicity, culture, and nationality, among other attributes. This is a good and beautiful calling. Furthermore, it is not about being culturally up-to-date. It is about good theology. As such, this calling is wonderful and honors Jesus.
My prayer is that our study this coming Sunday, and our journey with Jesus in general, will lead us to beautiful places and mission opportunities to make Christ known among the nations and as a multi-national and multi-ethic church, by God’s grace and for His glory. Will you join with me in that prayer and will you enjoy the amazing story of the Scriptures which shows us the truth, the way, and the life? Perhaps you might read Genesis 10 this week in preparation and even pray over how those nations exist today as the modern nations? Will you pray that even this week God would save many from those nations, especially nations that have little to no gospel witness? Will you pray that the Lord uses our church to embody the nations and proclaim the gospel to the nations?
Amen. Come Lord Jesus!