Every Nation
Written by Pastor Rob Alfalah   

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(All Bible Quotations from the NASB)

 

In Matthew 24:14, what does Jesus say in the context of His Signs of the Times discourse?  The Gospel will be preached in the whole world and then the end will come.  How is the Gospel going to go to the entire world?  I hope your answer was, “Through me.”  He’s waiting for you and me to be part of the fulfillment of this prophecy.  This Gospel will be a witness to “all” nations.  There are currently 232 identified nations in the world, including Vatican City:

 

  http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/population-by-country/ 

 

The UN only recognizes 206 nations at this point. Of those 232 countries, 208 of them have an Adventist presence - that’s 89.6%, encompassing 924 languages. As a matter of fact, there are truly only two global churches on Earth today and the Seventh-day Adventist Church is in more countries than any other church! Only 14 more countries left until we fulfill Jesus’ prophecy, right?

 

In Revelation 14:6, John writes, “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth - to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people…” - Revelation 14:6 (NKJV). What he sees is the fulfillment of what Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:14. But notice the scope of this message: to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. That definitely correlates to Jesus’ prophecy which states the Gospel would go to the whole world. But why doesn’t the angel just repeat the “whole world” portion? Why does he break it down into these four categories?

 

The word translated “nation” is ethnos from which we derive the English word “ethnic”. It means “a body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions”. This word deals with more than the 232 incorporated countries on Earth today. Some nations have multiple ethnicities: Iraq has 25 different ethnic groups represented among its 35 million residents. Togo has over 40 different ethnic groups within its meager 7 million. The Democratic Republic of Congo has more than 200 different ethnic groups within its population of 70 million. The US, the largest melting pot on Earth, has over 200 different countries listed as places of origin, but there are many ethnic groups within those - maybe thousands.

 

The word translated “tribe” means “a body of men united by ties of blood and descent; a clan.” Zambia (roughly the size of Texas) has 72 known tribes. Across the pond, the clans of Scotland number over 200. Nigeria has 371 tribes and Native Americans encompass 562 different tribes, many of which have their own native languages that are not mutually intelligible outside of that clan or tribe.

 

This brings us to our next word in Revelation 14:6: “tongue”. It is the Greek word glossa from which we receive our word “glossary”. It literally refers to the tongue in our mouths, but it also refers to languages. Earlier we noted that the Adventist Church is in 208 countries encompassing 924 languages with a percentage presence in 89.6% of the countries in this world. However, when you look at these figures through the lens of languages (ethnos and tribes, as well), you will find a far different result. There are currently over 4,500 languages on planet Earth spoken by at least 1,000 people. As a matter of fact, several countries have hundreds of languages spoken within their borders: The Philippines: 120-175 languages; India: 122 major ones and almost 1600 other languages; Papua New Guinea, with hundreds of ethnic groups, encompasses 820 languages. If you use languages as the barometer to measure the percentage that has been affected by the Adventist Church, you will arrive at only 20.5% (924/4500). That makes the task just bit more daunting, doesn’t it?

 

Well, there’s good news to the preaching of the Good News. We can fulfill this call right here in our own backyard. The St. Louis Metro Area is an ethnic hub with representatives from hundreds of different countries who arrived here through either emigration or refugee status. By reaching the “every nation” of our own city, we can fulfill Jesus’ call in Matthew 24:14 and be part of what John sees in Revelation 14:6. In turn, these groups will have a better chance at reaching outside of our borders to proclaim the Everlasting Gospel to their own families, friends, tribes and clans in their own languages. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ prophecy can be rapidly fulfilled. Do you want to be part of that work?

 

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