Judgment on the Nations
There are many long and somewhat difficult to read chapters throughout the Hebrew prophets that describe God's judgment on the nations in the end times. These need to be synchronized with God's promises of salvation in the New Covenant. As we compare the sweep of all these scriptures, a general pattern emerges with several recurring themes.
The nations of the earth will be judged by God and punished. All nations will be found in rebellion against God. Their final rebellion will be expressed by a united war against Israel. Their immediate punishment will come as destruction in that war. For example, Isaiah describes God's judgment on Babylon and Philistia in chapter 14, Moab in 15-16, Syria in 17, Ethiopia in 18, and Egypt in 19.
Yet this judgment is not prophesied without compassion. The prophets weep in intercession to save those nations. The prophecies are seen as warnings, calling the people to repent and find forgiveness from our merciful God. "My heart will cry out for Moab" – Isaiah 15:5. So are we called to pray in the footsteps of the prophets for God's grace to all the nations.
Within every nation of the world, there is a remnant of true believers. While every nation will be punished, there is a righteous remnant that contains a positive destiny from God for that nation. That remnant may be quite small, but there will always be some remnant. "The glory of Moab will be despised in its great multitude, yet there will be the smallest remnant, not mighty" – Isaiah 16:14. "The remnant of Syria will be like the glory of the children of Israel" – Isaiah 17:3. So the prophecies have a dual nature: punishment for the nation as a whole, yet promise of blessing for the remnant.
[Note: We cannot change the fact that all the nations will be judged. Yet we can change the number of people that will be judged versus the number of people that will be included in the remnant. Here is where our love, prayer, repentance, prophetic warnings, and evangelism can make a difference. The pattern of judgment and remnant cannot be changed, yet the size of each is variable and the numbers involved are dependent on what we do.]
There is a difference between the judgment of each nation and the destiny of the remnant within each nation. That difference will be expressed in their relationship with Israel. In Zechariah 14, we find the phrase "all the nations" twice. In verse 2, all the nations are described as coming against Jerusalem to battle. In verse 16, the remnant from each nation is described as coming up to Jerusalem to worship. In Romans 11, the remnant of every nation is described as being grafted in to Israel. While the nations of the world will attack the nation of Israel, the remnant of every nation will be grafted in to the remnant of Israel.
[Note: This spiritual realignment has to do with transfer of authority. God gave to David by covenant the legal right for government on the earth. Yeshua, as David's son, came to establish that authority. Yeshua transferred kingdom authority to the Messianic apostles in the first century. They in turn decided to open kingdom partnership to believers in all the nations (Acts 15, Ephesians 3). Today that pattern is reversing. The Church will be involved in transferring spiritual authority back to the restored Messianic apostolic community in Israel, which will in turn invite Yeshua back to rule and reign on the earth (Matthew 23).]
While many of these prophecies have been "sealed" (virtually impossible to understand) in previous generations, they are beginning to come to pass in our generation. The "seals" are being removed and the prophecies are becoming obvious before our very eyes: 1. Israel has been restored as a nation, 2. all the nations are angry at Israel, 3. the gospel is reaching every nation of the world, 4. the Messianic remnant of Israel has been restored, 5. The born-again remnant of every nation is beginning to identify and align itself with the remnant of Israel.
The time is at hand for us to understand and declare God's judgment on the nations, and His destiny concerning Israel and the Church.
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