Is God Still the God of Nations?

In the Patriarchal narratives, God’s focus narrows. Taking on the role of a tribal deity, He concerns Himself with a singular family, by providing security, opening barren wombs, playing matchmaker, and dealing with other familial matters. However, in the book of Exodus, God’s role changes significantly. Coincident with the revelation of the meaning and significance of His personal name as I AM, God takes on the status of a national deity with roles of deliverer, guide, provider, protector, and warrior.

Bruce Waltke 
An OT Theology — pg. 393

1.) We shouldn’t miss the simple fact that Scripture transitions from God being a tribal deity in Genesis to being a national deity in Exodus for the simple fact that the tribe that God is the God of has become a nation by Exodus thanks to God’s grace in providing security, opening barren wombs, playing matchmaker and dealing with familial matters.

2.) God never ceases being a God who is a God of nations. The arrival of Christ did not end God’s status of a national deity. However, in the New Testament God is no longer uniquely the God of the Hebrew Nation. In the New Testament God is seen as the God of many nations as nations. This was foretold in the Old Testament prophecy,

Isaiah 2:2 Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.

Micah 4:1 And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it. 2Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.…

Isaiah 19:21 And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. 22 And the Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. 23 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: 25 Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

The import of this is that any attempt to suggest that God was a God of a nation in the Old Testament (Israel) but with the coming of Jesus God no longer deals with people in their nations but instead God deals with people just as individuals is not a Biblical reading of Scripture. God is still a God of nations. God still enters into covenant with nations to be their God. Yes, God builds the Church out of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, but it is a Church that is gathered as tribes, tongues, and nations.

This also ruins any idea that Christianity foresees a time where God rules over a United Nations Babel-like Christian Church. God is decidedly not a one worlder. Dr. Geerhardus Vos teaches this when he wrote on Romans 11:17, 19,

(The) “branches broken off” metaphor has frequently been viewed as proof of the relativity and changeability of election, and it is pointed out that at the end of vs. 23, the Gentile Christians are threatened with being cut off in case they do not continue in the kindness of God. But wrongly. Already this image of engrafting should have restrained such an explanation. This image is nowhere and never used of the implanting of an individual Christian, into the mystical body of Christ by regeneration. Rather, it signifies the reception of a racial line or national line into the dispensation of the covenant or their exclusion from it. This reception, of course, occurs by faith in the preached word, and to that extent, with this engrafting of a race or a nation, there is also connected the implanting of individuals into the body of Christ. The cutting off, of course, occurs by unbelief; not, however, by the unbelief of person who first believed, but solely by the remaining in unbelief of those who, by virtue of their belonging to the racial line, should have believed and were reckoned as believers. So, a rejection ( = multiple rejections) of an elect race is possible, without it being connected to a reprobation of elect believers. Certainly, however, the rejection of a race or nation involves at the same time the personal reprobation of a sequence of people. Nearly all the Israelites who are born and die between the rejection of Israel as a nation and the reception of Israel at the end times appear to belong to those reprobated. And the thread of Romans 9:22 (of being broken off) is not directed to the Gentile Christians as individual believers but to them considered racially.”

Geerhardus Vos
Dogmatic Theology Vol. 1 — 118

God still deals with people as being members of nations, peoples, and races. This is a very unsavory truth for the modern Evangelical with their love affair for the erasure of all the creation distinctions God created us with. God has not given up on Nations which is why when the Lord Christ was entrusted with all authority in heaven and earth by the Father the commission He gave His people was to go and teach the nations to observe all things he has commanded. Because of God’s purposes to still deal with nations as nations, the Church can be spoken of as a confederated nation of nations.

God did not inspire John Lenon to write and sing “imagine their’s no nations.”

 

 

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Kinist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture . Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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