Author Topic: Who are 'The Nations'?  (Read 881 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline fleur-de-lys

  • Chestertonian
  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 80
Who are 'The Nations'?
« on: January 15, 2013, 05:36:49 PM »
I wasn't sure where to put this, but it seemed like a 'protestant' sort of subject.

Before the return of Christ, the gospel will be preached to all the nations.

Quote from: Matthew 24:9-14
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

I think everyone agrees with that.

Then we have Romans 16:

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen

I'm honestly not sure how to understand St. Paul here, but it seems he is saying that the gospel has already been preached to the nations. Who then are the nations? Are they the same nations as the nations of Matthew 24?

A 'full preterist' has argued with me that the nations are the Jews, they had the prophetic writings, the gospel was preached to them, and Christ returned in A.D. 70. Consequently he denies the resurrection of the dead, or rather, says it has already happened in some spiritual sense. I know this is wrong; how is it wrong?
Between us, by the peace of God, such truth can now be told;

Yea, there is strength in striking root, and good in growing old.

Offline Shanghaiski

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,981
  • Holy Trinity Church of Gergeti, Georgia
Re: Who are 'The Nations'?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 10:14:05 PM »
The nations are the Gentiles. The Jews are Israel, very much distinguished from "the nations" in the Old and New Testaments.

The Gospel has been, is being, and shall be preached to the nations. I think it's possible to interpret St. Paul's words as not being completly dependent on time.
Quote from: GabrieltheCelt
If you spend long enough on this forum, you'll come away with all sorts of weird, untrue ideas of Orthodox Christianity.
Quote from: orthonorm
I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.

Offline rakovsky

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,997
  • St. Mstislav I
    • The Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah's Resurrection and Orthodox Christianity's roots in the Holy Land
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Who are 'The Nations'?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 12:06:07 AM »
In Christian thought, Paul explained that one need only be "adopted" by faith in Christ, Israel's king, to become an Israelite.

But in terms of Old Testament thinking, how could one become an Israelite?

There were uncircumcised gentiles in Old Testament times who had faith in and worshiped Israel's God. This group is sometimes called "Noahides", because they followed the rules from Noah's time, before Moses. Would they count?

What about other people who lived under Israelite rule and had faith in Israel's God, but still did not follow the Mosaic laws?

Aren't there cases of gentiles,
perhaps like Ruth or Rahab, who were also considered Israelites based on one of the above criteria?

Finally, St Paul wrote that God
"endured... the vessels of wrath... that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, ...even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles".(Romans 9) Paul then goes on to cite Hosea's prophecy about the Israelites in the New Testament being called "not my people" by God and then being called God's people again. Hosea was talking about the dispersement of Israel under the Assyrians.

Then in Ephesians, Paul said that since he is from the tribe of Benjamin, he is proof that God hasn't forgotten his people. This refers to the fact that God dispersed the tribe of Benjamin in Hosea's era. Perhaps at that point the Israelites became gentiles shortly, as Hosea wrote that the gentiles swallowed Israel up.

Does St Paul's discussion of the story in Hosea of the people losing their Israelite identity and getting it back show that God called not just the Jews, but the gentiles to be His people?
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20