God’s Plan for the Nations Revealed

All of Scripture testifies of God’s plan to redeem people from every nation.

“[F]or you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9b-10)

In the story of the Tower of Babel, we observed the principle that God’s plan for the nations cannot be thwarted. This leads us to the necessary question: what is God’s ultimate plan for the nations of the earth?

We can see the beginning of God’s plan for the nations unfold in the first books of the Old Testament, and additional aspects of the plan are revealed by the prophets before the birth of Christ. But it is in the New Testament that the mystery of God’s plan is fully revealed and proclaimed. The Apostle John especially highlights this theme in both his Gospel and the book of Revelation. Starting at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he emphasizes Jesus’ relationship to all the nations of the earth, not just the nation of Israel. He includes a clear declaration from John the Baptist:

The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29, emphasis added)

When John the Baptist proclaimed the arrival of the Messiah, he recognized that Jesus would be the substitutionary sacrifice for the entire world. The original audience of this statement, the Jews of that region, would likely have noted John the Baptist’s emphasis on all peoples because, up to that point, all the sacrificial lambs given for atonement had been given on behalf of the people of Israel alone and not for the people of other nations. John the Baptist did not proclaim Jesus as the Lamb who would only take away the sins of the people of Israel but as the one who takes away the sins of the world.

This principle was further solidified early in Jesus’ ministry when he visited a Samaritan town and revealed himself as the Savior—not just of the people of Israel but of the world.

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42, emphasis added)

While John’s gospel account emphasizes God’s plan for Jesus’ redemption of the nations of the earth through stories and testimonies, Matthew’s gospel underscores it through Jesus’ direct teachings and declarations. Jesus rightfully claimed authority over every nation of the earth through both the act of creation and his obedience to the Father in the act of atonement. It is this authority that serves as the foundation for sending his apostles and disciples to every nation.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

After Jesus’ ascension to heaven, the Apostle Peter gives testimony to God’s plan among the nations when the Holy Spirit leads him in a dream to minister to the household of Cornelius, a family of Gentiles, and he witnesses the Spirit of God working among them.

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:34-35, emphasis added)

The Apostle Paul further explains the mystery of the redemption and adoption of Gentile believers from the nations of the earth. He teaches us how, through faith like that of Abraham, Gentile believers become recipients of the blessings and promises of God that are found throughout the Bible—all the way back to the book of Genesis. God had always planned to bless the nations of the earth through Abraham’s seed, the Messiah.

[W]hich was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:5-6, emphasis added)

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:27-29, emphasis added)

Finally, in Revelation we see the fulfillment of God’s plan for the nations of the earth. We see that Jesus alone is worthy to open the scroll. He is the lamb seated on the throne of heaven that is worshiped by the redeemed, and he will reign forever—all of which is part of God’s plan for the nations. Not only will Jesus redeem people from every nation, but the entire earth will become his eternal kingdom.

“[F]or you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9b-10, emphasis added)

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)


Lord, you are the only one worthy of all glory and honor. Thank you for extending the blessings of Abraham to the Gentile nations through Christ Jesus. We pray that people from every nation would have the same faith as Abraham.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer Requests:

  • Just as those in Jesus’ day testified of his work in their lives, pray that you and other believers in your church would be emboldened to testify of God’s saving grace in your life.
  • Pray that people from all nations would have opportunities to hear the gospel and that they would respond in faith.  
  • Pray for new missionaries preparing to take the gospel to different nations throughout the world.