The Father's Family of Nations

By Francis Frangipane

People who study prophetic signs have repeatedly warned us the "end of the world" is at hand.   Indeed, we are inundated with books, movies and sermons, each proclaiming in their own way the end is near.  While I agree that we are certainly in the season of great, end-time prophetic fulfillment, can we press "pause" for a moment on some of our darker apocalyptic expectations?  The Spirit of God is doing something worldwide, and we should unite our hearts in faith and prayer for the Lord's amazing purpose.  The Holy Spirit is being poured out upon the nations.

It seems to me that, in order to truly understand our times, we must first understand the heart and power of God. Indeed,  Jesus said we err, "not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God" (Matt 22:29).  We can be so familiar with the doctrinal facts of our salvation that we minimize how far Christ has come to bring us to Himself.  We know that the Son of God left the privileges and power of the Godhead to take upon Himself the form of fallen man, fulfilling His redemption of mankind by His death on the cross. 

The epicenter of Christ's redemption indeed was Calvary, but His journey to reach mankind did not end there.  The spiritual shock waves of His life exploded throughout all the realms of time and all generations of mankind.  Incredibly, His goal was not just to bring good news to His generation or even to ours; He also descended into sheol, deep into the darkness of hell into the realms of eternity-past.  

Beloved, Christ continued reaching for souls even after His cross!  Peter tells us that when Jesus died "in the flesh," He was simultaneously "made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison . . ." (1 Pet 3:18-19).   Moreover, Jesus Himself said, "An hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live" (John 5:25).  Christ left heaven to come to earth, and then left earth to descend into Hades.  He reached to the corners and deepest depths of the universe, both of the living and the dead; wherever there might be a human soul, God was in Christ proclaiming the good news of redemption. 

If He would travel through time, space and the lightless substance of hell to reach souls, we can be assured He will not leave one nation on earth without a genuine opportunity to hear the good news.  India will hear; China will have opportunity; the entire Muslim world, every nation, will have its legitimate season of harvest.  And after the fulness of the gentiles comes into the kingdom, and even Israel turns back to Him, "then the end shall come" (see Rom 11:25-26; Matt 24:14). 

This is the heart of God, and if you are serving a deity that does not have this passion for the unsaved nations, my friend, you are serving the wrong god.   

This truth, that "God so loved the world," is not just a familiar salvation verse: it is a view into God's heart.  God loves the entire world,  not just the Jewish, African or European worlds; not merely the Western or English speaking worlds. Because of our fearful expectations, we have subtly accepted the idea that the Lord is done with the nations, and that revival and national harvests are not to be expected. Additionally, many believe next on God's calendar will be Israel facing the abandonment of the nations and, then, Armageddon.  I, for one, would like to challenge this thinking. 

Consider the Lord's first promise to Abraham:  "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations" (Gen 17:4).  God's plan was not only to bring Israel from Abraham's loins, but a "multitude of nations" that would be in covenant relationship with the Almighty.   The Lord continued His promise, "I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you" (Gen 17:6).  In Gen 18:18 the Lord said of Abraham, he "will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed."  Again, the Lord affirmed His international view of Abraham in chapter 22: "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed" (vs 18).

From the very beginning, each time the Lord looked into Abraham's spirit, He not only saw Israel, He also envisioned blessing "all the nations of the earth."   Is God ignoring Israel or has He replaced her with other nations?  Of course not.  But listen to what the Lord told Moses, "Israel is My son, My first-born" (Ex 4:22).  The term "first-born" speaks of other nations that shall join in sequence.  
I have five children.  Though each, I'm sure, is convinced I love him or her the most, in truth I fully love them all.  I do not reject my first-born simply because I have other children.  In God's heart, while He indeed is looking at the nations, His first-born, Israel remains precious to Him.  In fact, how we treat Israel, actually mirrors how we honor God in His choice of first-born in His family of nations.  Consider the Lord's word to Jeremiah: "Israel was holy to the Lord, the first of His harvest; all who ate of it became guilty; evil came upon them"(Jer 2:3).  

Israel is "the first of [God's] harvest."  Those who bless Israel, will be blessed and those who curse Israel or engage in evil toward the Jews, "evil [will come] upon them."   Thus, Israel should be protected, loved and honored as the first-born.  But, again, the Lord says Israel is the "first of His harvest."   There are other nations that have come and are coming into the Father's family, and more shall arise at the end of the age.

Jesus Purchased
One of the very things that compelled Jesus at Calvary was the promise He had from Psalm 22 (which He recited at the cross).  Listen to what was in Jesus' mind as He suffered, "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before Thee" (Ps 22:27).  Jesus suffered, but the joy set before Him was that "all the families of the nations" would turn to God.  Again, we are familiar with Isaiah 53 and its awesome discourse on Christ's suffering, but the last verses of Isaiah 52 are really the headline that introduce the ministry of the Messiah:
"Thus He will sprinkle many nations, kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; for what had not been told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will understand" (Is 52:15).  The next verse is Isaiah 53:1, which asks, "Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"  The message to be believed is this, that the Lord's servant "will sprinkle many nations" and that "kings will shut their mouths on account of Him."  Do you see this?  Jesus not only came for me, but my nation as well.  Do we believe this report? Has this aspect of the "arm of the Lord" been revealed to you? 

One might argue, "My nation is in deep darkness and moral abandonment."  The Second Psalm says to those very nations that have counseled together against the Lord, "Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth for Thy possession."  Another might argue, "These promises are for the Millennium, not this age." Oh?  Consider: While warning that great darkness would cover the earth and deep darkness the people (Is 60:2), Isaiah says, "But the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising" (60:1-3).

You see, there will not be darkness covering the earth in the next millennium.  This promise is for today and applies to the nations in our world!  The darkness is not greater than the light.

Again, Isaiah 2:2 reveals that, "In the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains . . . and all the nations will stream to it."   Theologians, as valuable as they are to our spiritual understanding, will tell us that this promise is for after Christ returns.  However, God Himself declares it will come about "in the last days."  The "last days" is the biblical designation for the epoch we are currently in.  It began at Pentecost, remember?  Listen to the agenda of God during the dispensation called the "last days."

" 'And it shall be in the last days,' God says, 'that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind' " (Acts 2:17).  The last days are now, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is going on now, and God's aim is "all mankind."  I am not saying all flesh will be saved, but all will have an opportunity to see the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.  "All mankind" means every nation will experience an outpouring capable of reaching the maximum amount of people in their cultures.

What about the Muslim world?  Listen to this promise: the Lord says in Psalm 87:4, "I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me."  Rahab is the ancient name for Egypt; Babylon is modern day Iraq.  Can we take faith that a time will come when both Egypt and Iraq will "know" the Lord?  Why not?  Just because these nations currently have Muslim majorities? Who told you we cannot ask God for these nations? Our God is the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. Nothing is too difficult for Him.   People say that only a remnant will be saved; He says, "The harvest is plentiful" (Matt 9:37).  Let's just obey Him and pray for laborers to be sent into this harvest. 

Look at this report from David Bryant, President of Concerts of Prayer Int'l and Chairman of the National Prayer Committee.  This is from a recent email he sent concerning the upcoming National Day of Prayer:
"As you know there will be an uplink from the prayer gatherings all across Africa that take place on the very same day as our National Day of Prayer. As of today, we have NOT just 74 stadiums linked together by TV and radio in prayer (the stat from 2 weeks ago) but NOW nearly 150 stadiums!! From all over the Continent! Some stadiums are expecting as many as 90 thousand in attendance! And in Egypt (where large Christian gatherings are illegal) nearly one million Egyptian Christians are linked together to pray through the same agenda as the stadium events will pray throughout the rest of Africa."

But one may argue, "The nations are all in turmoil."  The Lord says, "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations" (Ps 46:10).   God will be exalted where?  "Among the nations!"  Is this only in the Millennium? No, cease striving now; God will be exalted now!

Space limits how many promises we can print, but consider the following in just the Psalms and Isaiah:  Ps 67:2,4; 72:11; 82:8; 86:9; 96:10; 102:15; Is 42:1; 42:6-7; 49:6; 52:15. (I could list a hundred more!) Are these all nullified in the New Testament? I think not!  Jesus commanded His disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" (Matt 28:18-19). 

Finally, when the disciples wanted to know if the end was near, Jesus readjusted their focus from prophetic speculation to a heavenly priorities: He told them they were to be His "witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Act 1:8).  Just as the Father had the nations in His heart when He raised up Abraham, so Jesus sent, and is still sending, His disciples to "the remotest" parts of the earth. 

Beloved, when the time of the absolute end truly draws near, there will be unmistakable signs in the heavens, and in the earth perplexity among the nations at the roaring of the sea and the waves (Lk 21:25).  No one will miss the real end.  Whether you believe in a pre or post tribulation rapture, the heart of God desires we pray to Him for our nation.  We should not confuse our expectation of a pre-tribulation rapture with a pre-harvest rapture.  The bulk of the harvest will precede the gathering of the saints to Christ.

Dear friend, if God would send His very Son to darkest hell to rescue sinners, we should expect Christ to have no qualms about appearing in the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and pagan worlds as well.   His promises cannot return to Him void.  Let us, therefore, not surrender our hope.  Let us labor together with God. He has a great family of nations that shall yet turn to Him.  Perhaps yours shall be the next!