Nation Versus Nation (Ethnos Vs. Ethnos)
One of the last things that Jesus told His disciples to do was to go and ‘make disciples of nations. He, in essence, was telling them, as Jewish, followers themselves, to fulfill the call that Israel had failed to carry out. That call was to be ‘a light to the nations.’ Now it all hinges on twelve Jewish men who will go forth with the good news of the Kingdom of God to the nations. Later, men like Paul would answer the call and the gospel would eventually be spread to the nations.
One of the things that Jesus said would have to take place before his return was that the gospel of The Kingdom would be preached in all of the world as a witness and then the end would come. This has not yet happened as there are still at least five thousand people groups unreached by the gospel. Many of these do not have a Bible in their language. The race is on to see this accomplished soon as events around the world are intensifying and we will soon see Jesus’ return.
However, one of the things that Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 24 that would happen before He returned was in verse 7 where it says, “nation will rise against nation.” The word nation is translated from the Greek word, ‘ethnos’ from where we derive the word ethnicity. It also refers to peoples or people groups, language groups, tribes, etc. So we see that Jesus sent His disciples out to the nations yet, He warned them that nations or ethnos will rise against other nations or ethnos.
What then did Jesus mean by the term rise against when referring to the nations? The Greek word here is ‘egeiro’ and means to waken, rouse (from sleep), to awake, lift, raise, or stand up. In other words, nations or peoples will awaken and stand up and rouse other nations. So, various ethnos or people groups will arouse or awaken other people groups for different reasons. You may say that this sounds like ‘wars and rumors of wars.’ While wars are usually fought against other nations, that is not always the case.
Wars can be like the war on terrorism worldwide, or against a common enemy like organized crime. But, when it reads that nations will rise against other nations then what we see is one ethnicity or tribe against another but not necessarily in the form of war. Throughout history, various people groups have felt superior towards another one and used various means to demonstrate that and subject the inferior nation to their will. We see in the story of the Exodus that the Egyptians rose up against the Hebrews after Joseph died and another Pharoah came to power.
In America, there were peaceful Indian tribes that were conquered by other warring tribes. Perhaps they encroached on their hunting ground and they grabbed some of their people as slaves. Throughout history, we see these various forms or ‘racism’ as one people group seeks to exploit another. Racism doesn’t usually result in one people group being enslaved, or subjugated to another. Sometimes one race simply seeks to annihilate the other as the ‘Germans did to the Jews in WWII. I realize it wasn’t all Germans but was the state-sponsored Nazi party, however, the idea was that the Aryan race was superior and anything less had to go.
No matter the reason and how it plays out racism is the result of one ethnos feeling that they are superior to another ethnos. It is not limited to White or Black supremacy, and can even be among the same ‘race’. For instance, Irish and British are white or caucasian peoples but they are often at odds with one another. Many African tribes traditionally felt superior towards others. However, we see a resurgence in these days of ethnos rising up against ethnos, and the only answer is not found in training programs or similar educational methods.
The only answer to the race problem was the same answer that Jesus gave to His disciples. After all, they were supposed to disciple the ethnos, right? The answer then is following His commands and teachings and disciple the nations, or ethnos, black, white, yellow, red, brown, and any other color combination. The color doesn’t make the people group, but it is in their DNA, and also they have certain common cultural and social aspects that define them.
Finally, true justice is only found before the throne of God. There is then no justice without repentance, for in repentance we are able to stand before God and our fellow man. Injustice ultimately means that something is out of wack before God and the ultimate fix is repentance. Repentance is not just saying I’m sorry but it is an attitude or heart change that results in our character changing whereby we no longer act the same way, and in this case, we see all ethnos the same through the eyes of God.
The conclusion is that as a nation rises against another nation we still have a duty to see each nation, whether it is a people group or a nation called America discipled according to the teachings of Jesus. The best place to begin is in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. So go and ‘make disciples of nations’ as they will one day be judged by the Lord Jesus Himself.