How many Gentile "Nations" are there?

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Hello;


Puritan Covenanter posted this article in another thread:


William Kilgore...

Realized Millenialism

2. Satan was "bound" during this time (Matt. 12:22-29; 13:24-30,47-50; Luke 10:17-19; John 12:31-32; Eph. 4:8; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8) - implicitly foretold in Gen. 3:15. This is apocalyptically represented in Rev. 12:7-12 and 20:3. This is why Christ is so often presented as, quite literally, enlightenment for the entire world - i.e., all peoples/nations (John 1:9; 3:19; 6:14,33; 8:12; 9:5,39; 12:46; 14:31 - cf. Isa. 25:7 and 1 John 2:8). Before Christ's resurrection, Satan still had reign over the minds & hearts of the nations (Psalm 147:20; Matt. 4:8; Acts 14:16; 17:30; Eph. 2:11-12). Much of this influence was achieved through the widespread reality of idolatry (2 Kings 17:29; 1 Chron. 16:26; Ps. 96:5; Acts 19:27), which allowed the powers of darkness to enjoy great control over men's hearts (Lev. 17:7; Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37; 1 Cor. 10:19-20). This is the reason for the otherwise perplexing narratives of Matt. 10:5-6 and 15:22-28. Confusion reigned from Babel (Gen.11:9) to Pentecost (Acts 2:4-7) - but now God requires all to respond to Him. Although Satan does roam about on a long leash - "seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pe. 5:8) - he is restricted ("bound") during this present Gospel Age so that he is unable to "deceive the nations" (John 16:8-11; Acts 14:15-16; 17:30; Rev. 20:3) and the Gospel may progress (Matt. 24:14; 28:18-19; Mark 14:9; 16:15; John 4:35-38; 17:18-23; Rom. 16:25-26). I am convinced that by "nations" is meant "people groups" -- specifically 70 (as set forth in Genesis 10 and symbolized in Ex. 15:27; Num. 33:9; and Luke 10:1,17). The binding of Satan has opened all nations to the Gospel, thereby fulfilling the promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Acts 3:25 - see esp. Gal. 3:8). This is the actual meaning of the "world" passages (John 1:29; 3:16-17; 4:42; 6:51; 12:47; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:14). [3] God deals with "the world" - i.e., all peoples/ nations - through Jesus Christ. The situation of Matt. 4:8 has changed to that of Rev. 11:15. Now the Spirit convicts the world (John 16:18), and the Church is the "light of the world" (Phil'p. 2:15) - Satan is now "bound" so that we live the reality of John 4:4. The end result will be the beautiful scene revealed in Rev. 5:9 and 14:6 - the vast multi-ethnic One Body of Christ.

Of note is the part about there being 70 Nations... here (bolded below):


Although Satan does roam about on a long leash - "seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pe. 5:8) - he is restricted ("bound") during this present Gospel Age so that he is unable to "deceive the nations" (John 16:8-11; Acts 14:15-16; 17:30; Rev. 20:3) and the Gospel may progress (Matt. 24:14; 28:18-19; Mark 14:9; 16:15; John 4:35-38; 17:18-23; Rom. 16:25-26). I am convinced that by "nations" is meant "people groups" -- specifically 70 (as set forth in Genesis 10 and symbolized in Ex. 15:27; Num. 33:9; and Luke 10:1,17). The binding of Satan has opened all nations to the Gospel, thereby fulfilling the promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Acts 3:25 - see esp. Gal. 3:8). This is the actual meaning of the "world" passages (John 1:29; 3:16-17; 4:42; 6:51; 12:47; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:14). [3] God deals with "the world" - i.e., all peoples/ nations - through Jesus Christ.


I, too, am convinced that rather than merely winning as many individuals to Christ as posible, that there is also an emphasis on winning as many people(s) (not the plural) to Christ. This is what is meant by panta ta ethne in the Great Commission.

So, would these 70 Nations be in Paul's mind perhaps as he writes Romans and as he goes out towards the Nations? And is it only 70, or are these 70 merely prototypical, since ethnographers count thousands of people groups and countries like Indonesia alone have over 127 distinct ethno-linguistic people-groups that are still lacking any real solid Gospel foothold.


Does anyone know what the Jewish understanding was concerning the number of nations that existed among the Gentiles?

And, is the Great Commission "fulfilled in miniature" at Acts 2, since many of the peoples named were also the same ethne as the table of nations listed after the account of Babel in Genesis?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
It was exactly "fulfilled in miniature" at Pentecost. In principle, the fulfillment is done, complete. But naturally, we are not satisfied with merely a epitome ingathering, however stupendous it was, in fact. We want to see the multitude no man can number, not just the thousands added that day, in the days after, during the ministry of the Apostles, during the first few centuries, etc.

As far as 70 being the "total" number (exact) of the nations, I think that Genesis gives us basically a "full" accounting of the families of the nations, but it would also be "full" in that sense even if only the sons of Noah, and their immediate children were given (i.e. less than 70).

70 seems to be a nice, round figure. It is a "complete" number. But supposing that if one managed to subsume all the present people's of the world under one of the "named" nations of Scripture, that points to some explicit fulfillment of Christ's commission is in my mind misguided. How could we know anyway? This is not a goal Jesus has for us.

All the "nations" (70 or 7000) is no different from "every kindred, tongue, tribe, and nation." It is just pointing to "the whole world." There are divisions in the world, ever since Babel made those divisions forever obvious to the incidental observer. But out of the whole comes the one Forever People, united in Christ. E pluribus unum. The kingdomS of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.
 

itsreed

Puritan Board Freshman
If the list in Gn 10 is taken as complete, then 70 is the number.

It is interestinng to observe the syntatical relationships between the various words in this discussion (just start with the Hebrew here, and the Greek corollary). I would say that Paul's usage (NT usage) pretty much understands the Gn 10 list to be defining what "nations" has in view.

Regardless of the exact number, Bruce's observaton of fullness is on target. Even more interesting to me (your suggestions of "peoples"?) is the idea that the definition of nation here is not geopolitical, but familial. Very important covenant mindset marker.
 
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