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Bible history of Individuals and Nations. With whom does God work? Does YHVH work on a PERSONAL or NATIONAL scale? Individuals and/or groups?
History in the Bible tends to focus on individuals. It starts with Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham and his sons, Moses, Joshua and then the Kings. When we get to the New Testament, theology puts the accent on individuals. Repent and be baptized, references to faith are directives addressed to individuals. It would appear that New Testament theology is less interested, not to say, NOT at all concerned with the history of countries. Spiritual conversion is an individual matter, not on a national level.
The fundamental question The Explanation asks is, How would you bring peace and prosperity to the whole world? The whole world includes all people and all nations. Individuals and countries. When we consider that God, the Creator of humankind, alone, can instigate worldwide peace, then our question, does God work with individuals and countries? becomes very relevant. What does practical Bible wisdom have to say about this subject?
History of nations and the Bible. Agreed, they are strange bedfellows. Why approach it? The Bible has much to say about the relationship between individuals and collectivities. In an era of individualism, which is the case now, we need to see the practical Bible perspective. Next week we will. In preparation, I want to develop the notion of collectivities in the Bible. Notably that of nations and empires. Today we’ll especially show the outlook of God toward ALL nations. Large communities or collectivities. We need to see the other side of the coin.
The Bible starts with the Creation of the Universe and the World and narrates the history of humankind, starting with the Creation of the first man and woman. That’s HISTORY. Whether you believe it is another matter. The Bible, among other things, is a history book. It references and names individual people, tribes and countries. It gives geographical data that allows us to locate said countries on a world map. Granted some, even a lot of the names are unknown, but this is because in the 21st century we lack knowledge. Most reject Bible history.
Many say this is fiction, these places and people never existed. At the same time, there are many serious studies over decades, like the Biblical Archaeological Society witnessing to finds corroborating historic Bible events. Unfortunately, many original histories of such events are incomplete.
These are very erudite subjects that take years to master, and additional evidence from archaeologic and other sources make this an ever-changing argument. The Biblical Archaeological Society, at the link above, brings new findings to the general public. The National Geographic, a reputed source, also broaches this subject.
Debates on the veracity or not of Bible narratives, archaeology, geography, history etc. are NOT the goal of The Explanation. The aim of the present series of posts is to reveal practical Bible wisdom applied to real living in the 21st century. Many see the Bible only through spiritual, faith-based eyes. Evidently, that is its primary purpose. But it is an instruction manual for living in society in a harmonious way. Most don’t see that relationship, that basic principles if understood and applied would bring more peace and prosperity to people and nations today.
Abrahamic religions tend to be rather closed-minded regarding their group. Our relationship with God tends to be one-on-one. Yes, we think about others, but it’s generally with regard to our local perspective. Why can’t they think and act like I do? Like my Church does? This is a rather narrow-minded approach which needs to be expanded if we are to understand individuals (which you are) in respect to collectivities (beyond your Church and/or ethnic group).
God is not your exclusive God, nor is He exclusive to your Church. God is the God of every single human being, individually. Bible history shows us God is God of every single nation, collectively.
Here are the first verses that refer to nations. This history follows Noah’s flood and the survival of only eight people composing four couples, including his three sons and their wives. Today’s worldwide population descends from these three families. Note God’s action in this sequence. Theology is focusing on what GOD ACCOMPLISHES AND WHY HE DOES IT. the LORD confounded their language and scattered them to the four corners of the Earth.
6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
This could be considered a punishment, but it really is a means of preserving people alive. After the flood, humankind’s population grew, but they were on a downward spiral. God promised not to wipe out humanity. Instead, He scattered them to prevent pooling of resources.
In the previous chapter, we have the descendants of the three sons and the narrative of scattering. The three genealogies end with the same phrase, which I’ve included below. There are four Biblical Hebrew words which merit a closer study.
1 Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles (H1471) divided in their lands (H776); every one after his tongue (H3956), after their families (H4940), in their nations (H1471),
20 These are the sons of Ham, after their families (H4940), after their tongues (H3956), in their countries, (H776) and in their nations (H1471).
31 These are the sons of Shem, after their families (H4940), after their tongues (H3956), in their lands (H776), after their nations (H1471).
Go to UnlockBibleMeaning.com, look up and study those words. Together they reveal God’s implication in the history of ALL nations worldwide. Collectivities are a main focus for God.
אִי ʼîy ee; from H183 (אָוָה); properly, a habitable spot (as desirable); dry land, a coast, an island:
KJV – country, isle, island.
אֶרֶץ ʼerets eh’-rets; from an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land):
KJV – ⨯ common, country, earth, field, ground, land, ⨯ nations, way, + wilderness, world.
גּוֹי gôwy go’-ee; rarely (shortened) גֹּי; apparently from the same root as H1465 (גֵּוָה) (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence, a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts:
KJV – Gentile, heathen, nation, people.
לָשׁוֹן lâshôwn law-shone’; or לָשֹׁן; also (in plural) feminine לְשֹׁנָה; from H3960 (לָשַׁן); the tongue (of man or animals), used literally (as the instrument of licking, eating, or speech), and figuratively (speech, an ingot, a fork of flame, a cove of water):
KJV – + babbler, bay, + evil speaker, language, talker, tongue, wedge.
מִשְׁפָּחָה mishpâchâh mish-paw-khaw’; from H8192 (שָׁפָה) (compare H8198 (שִׁפְחָה)); a family, i.e. circle of relatives; figuratively, a class (of persons), a species (of animals) or sort (of things); by extension a tribe or people:
KJV – family, kind(-red).
There are many points and lessons here. I will highlight only two. First, The world population starts out with TWO unique individuals, a male and a female, just like Adam and Eve. It develops into a family and grows from there. Audit of Humankind devoted a section to How Humankind Socializes. Refresh your mind with these chapter titles and content. Only the human species develops from a couple into a nation and occupies a specific land territory, covering every square inch around the world. All the Biblical Hebrew words above culminate in INDIVUALS and NATIONS. God separated people by FAMILY and gave each of them their LANGUAGE and LAND to establish their COUNTRY.
- Human Society, the Only Global Social Species (3.1)
- You are a Unique Individual among 7 Billion on Earth (3.2)
- Gender Equality, Gender Inequality or Gender Compatibility? (3.3)
- Bride and Groom is a Cross-Cultural, Worldwide Phenomenon (3.4)
- Couple Relationship – Binding Husband and Wife in Marriage (3.5)
- Healthy Marriage, A Happy Twosome with Abundant Benefits (3.6)
- Family – The Cornerstone of Human Society (3.7)
- Parenting, Father & Mother have Essential Complementary Roles (3.8)
- Extended family. Many Generations = World Population (3.9)
- Ethnicity, Clans, Tribes, Where did They All Come From? (3.10)
- Nations Are Identified by Their Own Patriotic Ethnic Culture (3.11)
- Origin of Language, An Unsolvable Scientific Mystery (3.12)
- Globalization: Integration Versus Segregation of People (3.13)
Nation = Goy (H1471) in Biblical Hebrew
The second point to retain is more cultural in nature. H1471 גּוֹי gôwy go’-ee; The common pronunciation is GOY, like boy with a g. You might be aware of this word. It is often used by Jews to refer to non-Jewish people as Gentiles. From the KJV renditions, you see the translators used Gentile. What needs clarification is that nowadays Jews use this term to designate non-Jews. However, Biblically, the nation of Israel is GOY. That is not pejorative either to Jews or non-Jews. H1471 is simply a Biblical Hebrew word defining ALL NATIONS. Here it refers to the descendants of Abraham.
And I will make of you a great nation, (H1471) and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:
Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, (H1471) and all the nations (H1471) of the earth shall be blessed in him?
And you shall be to me (God) a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation (H1471 goy kadosh). These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.
Notice, Gen. 18:18 God will bless both the Abrahamic nation and ALL the nations of Earth. Both references to nation use H1471, goy. Some might consider this unjust. Why the preeminence for the Abrahamic nation? Well, as many examples reveal, there has to be a first in any group or sequence. Christ is the first of the firstfruits, those who will be with Him at His Return. It’s not possible to develop anything like a family, school, business, association, government unless you have a founder or founders. There are always those that come first to set the pace and show the way.
History shows us, these founders, in whatever venture, whether secular or Biblical, have the MOST trials and the MOST responsibility. It is NOT given to every person or every nation to be a leader. Much more can be said about this point, but that’s another story.
As I present this history of the beginning of nations to you, there’s a gnawing thought going through my mind. Many Bible scholars, Christian preachers, even Jewish Rabbis reject the Bible as history. I don’t feel like giving you any references, but you can do a Google search using scholars reject bible history if you like.
The Explanation devoted many pages of Origin of the Universe to explaining the Biblical Hebrew as the basis of God’s Word. It expounded scientific findings and shows how it all assembles together with the Creation narrative in Genesis. Yes, I quote scripture about history, Noah, his sons, Abraham, Moses, Egypt and the Exodus. No, I don’t have proof, although there is evidence for some of these narratives as indicated by the Biblical Archaeological Society above.
The question is, Is God at the controls of history? Is He a present or a distant God? Is He interested in His Creation? All the Universe, down to Earth and ALL its inhabitants and their doings? I believe the answer is yes to all those questions. I read the other day, a writer’s definition of Theology, “analyzing God’s Word.” The Explanation discussed at length true theology. “Studying to see what God says and how it applies to us.” God’s Word is God’s Word and John 10:10 states, it’s truth, including the history.
If you’re reading this for the first time, please click on the links above regarding theology, Science and Genesis. I cannot go back each time and REexplain these concepts. Among others, these are the reason The Explanation takes God’s Word at face value.
God and Goyim – Nations
God is not only interested in the nations, but individuals in those nations. Abraham was the father of the faithful, in that God made a covenant with him. An important aspect of God’s plan was to INCLUDE non-Abrahamic people IN that covenant.
11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of your seed.
13 He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with your money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
This is not the place to discuss circumcision. Abraham had hundreds of servants (Gen. 14:14 mentions 318) who were all circumcised. They had been in Abraham’s service for some time and witnessed the presence of God in his life. God INCLUDED these foreigners in the covenant. They are part of the faithful.
Another lesser known of the Bible references about the Exodus from Egypt includes the same principle as Abraham. God takes care of His nation, but He also brings people from other nations along. God is preparing people from ALL nations for an incredible future. As we saw, ALL nations will be blessed in Abraham.
37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
This mixed multitude refers to people in Egypt who were not descendants Abraham. They had witnessed the ten plagues and were well aware of God’s power of intervention. It doesn’t say whether they too were slaves nor whether there were any Egyptians among this mixed multitude. God’s concern for other nations is a theme running throughout the Bible.
Here is a verse The Explanation quotes a fair amount of times. For a reason. We need to understand the relationship between God’s people and everyone else, including other nations.
5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land whither you go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who has God so near to them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that has statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
Those verses reveal that the statutes and judgments in the OLD Testament are righteous. The other NATIONS would come to see God through the peace and prosperity the application of these laws would bring the Israelites. To use NEW Testament terminology, remember these other nations were IN this world. The OLD Testament laws were a witness to UNconverted NATIONS. As The Explanation points out these same laws should serve the SAME PURPOSE today, but our nations, our leaders, even our religious leaders feel these laws are abrogated and of little or no value. Read these chapters about the laws in Exodus and Deuteronomy as well as Proverbs. These are needed today to provide stability for all nations.
They were beacons to the nations. Here’s a short list of God’s servants who marked the history of non-Israelite NATIONS and EMPIRES. Joseph > Egypt, Solomon > Queen of Sheba in Africa, Jonah > Nineveh, Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, Daniel > Babylon, Cyrus in Persia. The Old Testament is the history of the descendants of Abraham but NOT to the exclusion of other peoples’ history. I leave you to dig for more Bible meaning by reading these narratives.
New Testament countries and nations
God is the God of ALL individuals and ALL countries and nations. Today bordering countries fight over land and religion. Religious minorities within countries suffer at the hand of religious majorities. They are fractured countries and God allows it so they learn lessons. Agony of Humankind explained WHY God lets people and nations follow their own ways, which is eating of the Tree of Good and Evil.
Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
God isn’t some distant, uninterested Entity. He knows exactly what He’s doing. Yes, it may appear God has withdrawn Himself, but no, His plan calls for letting nations and individuals do their own thing (Acts 14:16). Notice, He’s appointed a TIMEFRAME and LOCATION for each NATION. As we move into our second confinement here in France and as miserable as the European scene and worldwide countries appear, God knows it is in their best interest to experience these trials for a TIME. The World’s nations need to learn lessons; they haven’t yet. God cannot intervene too soon or He’ll defeat His purpose. These following verses make it abundantly clear the history of nations is in God’s hands.
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:
Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed.
Revelation 2:26 And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
That last verse in Revelation indicates the future of all the goyim – nations. They too will benefit from all the blessings of salvation. God is well aware of all individuals and all nations. The Bible, God’s Word, is both their history and their future.
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