Current events suggest we are witnessing the birth of a new nation in north Africa as Sudan votes to divide the Christian south from the Muslim north.
Christians around the world have an opportunity to pray for the safety of their brothers and sisters in Sudan, for the growth of the church, and for the witness of Christ to the Muslim peoples in the north.
But the story has a larger, even cosmic, dimension. What does a nation mean to God?
The beginnings in Genesis include the birth of nations:
From these the coastland peoples spread in their lands, each with his own language, by their clans, in their nations. (Gen 10:5 ESV, emphasis added)
These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. (Gen 10:32 ESV, emphasis added)
At the end of the story, God still has a purpose for earthly nations. Revelation speaks of the light of the New Jerusalem, by which
… 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. (Rev 21:23-26 ESV, emphasis added)
In forthcoming book, Darrow Miller elaborates on this Great Commission truth.
At the great ingathering of the nations to worship Christ and celebrate his magnificent nuptial, the kings of the earth will present him with the glory of their nations as wedding gifts.
Solomon received the gifts of a nation, Sheba, from its queen. Magi brought gifts and homage from an eastern nation to Christ. These ancient examples preview the nations at the consummation of history bringing their unique gifts to Jesus Christ, the Lord of all nations.
Revelation foresees kings bringing their splendor, the glory and honor of their nations, into the City of God. … What will these royals bring? The glory of their nations; the wealth of their nations!
Darrow references Dr. Anthony Hoekema (1913-1988), the Dutch-born Professor of Systematic Theology, who captures the essence of the adornment of the City of God with the godly elements of cultural creativity:
Is it too much to say that, according to these verses, the unique contribution of each nation to the life of the present earth will enrich the life of the new earth? Shall we then perhaps inherit the best products of culture and art this earth has produced? (The Bible and the Future, Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1994, emphasis added)
Whether or not you interpret “nations” as geo-political entities is somewhat irrelevant. Clearly, the geo-political is being driven by differences in ethnicities and the related religious distinctions.
Although the Bible does not guarantee that every nation now in existence will be on parade, perhaps this new nation in Africa, whatever name it adopts, will be among those bringing their glory and honor into the New Jerusalem.
Until then, may the birth of a new nation bring honor and praise to Jesus Christ even today.
– Gary Brumbelow