Shepherding the Nations

Jesus is the promised ruler from the line of David, the King who is shepherding the nations to New JerusalemThe “Son” who is born of the “woman clothed with the sun” in Chapter 12 of Revelation is the Messiah of Israel, the one who is destined to “shepherd the nations.” Following his enthronement, heaven declares that “now is come the kingdom of God and the authority of His Christ.” And his victory over the “Dragon” results in the commencement of his reign over the “nations” from his Father’s throne.

But the Book of Revelation adds a new twist to the prophetic story. The “Son” rules the “nations” by “shepherding” them, and not through force, subjugation, or violence.

  • (Revelation 12:5) – “And she brought forth a son, a male, who was to shepherd all the nations with a scepter of iron; and her child was caught away to God and to his throne.”

This female figure “brought forth a son, a male” - (eteken huion arsen). The Greek clause echoes the prophecy in the version of Isaiah found in the Greek Septuagint where “Zion” is a female figure who “brings forth a male” - (eteken arsen - Isaiah 66:5-8).

In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation, the label “Son” is added to the promise, making his identity clear – He is the “Son” who is “caught up to the Throne of God.” And this “Son” is destined to “shepherd all the nations with a scepter of iron,” a clear allusion to the second Psalm:

  • (Psalm 2:6-9) - “Yet I have installed my king on Zion my holy mountain. Let me tell of a decree; Yahweh said to me, You are My son; I, today, have begotten you. Ask of me and let me give nations as your inheritance, and as your possession the ends of the earth. YOU WILL SHEPHERD THEM WITH A SCEPTER OF IRON, as a potter’s vessel you will dash them in pieces.”

Moreover, Revelation follows the Greek text from the Septuagint translation of the Psalm where the Hebrew verb for “break” or “crush” is replaced by the Greek verb that means “to shepherd.”

Thus, the messianic mission of the “Son” is to “shepherd” the nations, NOT to grind them into dust. In the end, judgment and destruction may come, but not before he completes his task of filling “New Jerusalem” with multitudes of redeemed men and women from ALL nations, including “nations” and “kings.” God fully intends for the city to be inhabited - (Revelation 21:24-26, 22:1-3).

And this same Psalm is employed at the start of the Book of Revelation where Jesus is declared the “Ruler of the kings of the earth.” Because of his death and resurrection, he has reigned supreme since his exaltation to the Throne of God - (Revelation 1:5, 5:6-14).

  • The KINGS OF THE EARTH set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Yahweh and against his Christ…I have set my king on my holy hill of Zion. I will tell of the decree: Yahweh said to me: You are my son; This day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I WILL GIVE YOU THE NATIONS FOR YOUR INHERITANCE, And the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.” - (Psalm 2:2-8).

The Psalm is applied to him several more times in Revelation, including its promise that he will “shepherd the nations” - (Revelation 2:26-27, 19:15-16).


And when did his enthronement occur? Following his arrival at the Throne, Satan was expelled from heaven and a voice declared, “NOW is come…the authority of His Christ!

The term “now” is emphatic in the Greek clause, and the same event was portrayed previously when the “slain Lamb” approached the throne, and all creation declared him “worthy” to receive all power because by his death he redeemed men from every tribe, nation, people, and linguistic group - (Revelation 5:7-12).

Thus, the enthronement of the “Son” took place following his death and resurrection. As stated at the start of the Book, Jesus is, present tense, the “Ruler of the kings of the earth.” That is Good News for the nations since he is, even now, “shepherding them” from the Throne at the center of the Cosmos.

The marginalized churches described in the Book form its starting point. With Jesus reigning on the throne, the trickle of converts to the new faith would become a flood. At the end of Revelation, a vast innumerable multitude” of men from every nation, including the “kings of the earth” is seen standing before the Lamb” in the city of New Jerusalem.” And the “son” will accomplish this feat by “shepherding the nations,” not by hammering them into the ground with his great “iron scepter.”



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