“The Healing of the Nations”
“And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations….” Revelation 22:2
If one takes a good look at the nations of the world today — each nation seems to be faced with all types of troubled tumult and turmoil. Virtually every nation desperately needs a remedy, — a fix — to resolve their problems. The peoples of all nations need to be healed!
As graduates moved on to face the challenges of the 21st Century, the incredibly successful Bill Gates gave some unsolicited comments and advice to the graduating class of 2017. He reflected back to his trip with his wife Melinda to several counties in Africa. He expressed their personal shock.
"We were shocked by what we saw. When we came back, we began learning more. It blew our minds that millions of children there were dying from diseases that no one in rich countries even worried about…."
But coming back to the US their further education galvanized them into serious action — action that they hoped would lighten the burdens of millions of children — opening up for the children opportunity for a more healthy life presently unattainable. So he urged the grads to consider the paths they would follow and the part they might play in making a difference.
Reflecting on what Gates said brings to mind the nobility and personal sacrifice of ones like (1) Mennonites who combed the fields of Laos in search of small bomblet-mines that were dropped during the Vietnam War. Why? Farmers hoeing fields and children playing were accidentally activating those mines. Those Mennonites literally risked life and limb to save others. (2) Humanitarian doctors, nurses and others of Médecins Sans Frontières (“Doctors Without Borders”), who work in the most dangerous places on earth, risk contracting disease and becoming the victims of violence just to heal others. Such people continue to set the pace for a world in need of good role models — a world in need of healing. But, after all, they can really do just so much and no more.
Anticipating the possibilities of worldwide calamity, mindful individuals and a few nations have set up what are called “doomsday vaults” to store seeds for future generations if a catastrophe occurs destroying the earth’s sources of food. Unfortunately, the winter of 2016-2017 has created its own doomsday for one secure vault in Svalbard, Norway. Runoff of the melting (yards deep) permafrost has penetrated the vault. While none of the seeds have been damaged so far, the event reveals just how susceptible even the best of plans may be to failure.
Social & Religious Unrest & Conflict
Following the events of 1989-1991 and the collapse of the Communist Bloc came the revival of nationalism and ethnic and religious strife. One example occurred in what was Yugoslavia. That country’s breakup and destabilization unleashed restrained hostilities between the Catholic, the Orthodox as well as the Muslim communities. Bosnian Moslems suffered genocide at the hands of their neighbors. In 1994 in Rwanda genocide took the lives of over 70% of the Tutsi and 30% of the Pygmy Batwa populations. Jonah Daniel Goldhagen reported in his book and documentary Worse than War, that rehabilitation efforts for the healing of those ethnic wounds were underway. The Guardian, published an article 20 years after the genocide and described the Rwandan’s situation: “They can never forget their tragic past but do not want to be defined by it. The older generation already know all too well the cost of failure, but a majority of the population, born post-genocide, has inherited the possibility of a different future.” Rwandans appear to have truly learned “the evil of evil” — and do not want to repeat it.
Residual Cold War nation-state divisions are few. However, at the heart of one of them is the current tragic specter that is looming over the borders between North and South Korea. The fate of millions may rest in the mind of a willful whimsical total autocrat (the Supreme Leader) of North Korea. As with others who have held the reigns of power, he has been swift to eliminate any suspected competition for power in his country. However, within 50 miles, 10 million people of Seoul, South Korea, still live in imminent danger of his traditional weapons.
The social media communication revolution aided and abetted the “Arab Spring” phenomenon that has toppled governments. Although that movement has apparently quieted, it nevertheless added an indelible chapter to the handbook of “how to quickly start a protest or revolution.” Communication can be a blessing. It can bring to light what is darkness. How it is used, however, has proven to be malicious as well as beneficial.
Radical Religiously Inspired Terrorism
Throughout the world, Religion has played a major roll in jeopardizing the lives of millions. Virtually all religious groups teach their followers the principles of decency. In spite of those good teachings, the fundamental calls to martyrdom are taught even to the very youngest children.
Post Cold War?
Use of nuclear weaponry once posed a high potential risk of human extinction because of the possibilities of a “nuclear winter,” the results of which would mean a collapse of society with no human means of recovery. Some wonder if there is a renewal of the cold war. But if a big “storm” is gathering, what happens in one part of the world almost certainly will affect other parts of the world because we are so inter-connected. Temporary patches on old problems do not seem to work. The world needs to be rescued!
Even though the whole world “groans” (Romans 8:22)— they still struggle with the ills of their own selfishness, and do not seem ready or willingly to allow the hands of Divine intervention to heal them.
Are there Words of Hope in the Bible?
If the nations are unwilling, how would the “healing of the nations” ever come about? Who would be doing the healing? Who would actually be healed? Would some groups be helped and not others? Is “the healing of the nations” only a Biblical symbolism or figure of speech, or will whole nations actually be healed or blessed in God’s arrangement?
Messianic Kingdom promised to Israel
“And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 14:8)
The prophecies of Zechariah 14:8,and Isaiah 35 spoke of the time God would bring “healing” to Israel, when the ransomed of the LORD would return.
Does the mention of “healing” found also in the final book of the Bible actually give real hope for the nations? Isn’t Revelation about “plagues,” “beasts” and “war”? Yes it is, but only in part. Although Revelation forecasts the climax of the old world order — it also concludes with offering the “water of life” for all mankind through the Kingdom of Jesus Christ “on earth.”
"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.”
“The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”
Virtually every Christian has heard, read or prayed “the Lord’s Prayer.” And that is exactly what the prayer asks of God: “Thy will be done on EARTH as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2).
The Bible is clear about the fact that Jesus will be at the helm of the monumental work on behalf of our Heavenly Father. But Jesus said that his followers would also be sources of living waters, and it should be assumed that the healers are going to include the “little flock” of his sheep. But Jesus said, “other sheep have I, which are not of this fold.” Those “other sheep” are the very ones his little flock will be “healing.”
To clarify, “The Lamb of God” is none other than Jesus. But who is the Bride? The Bride is none other than “The Church,” otherwise called the Body of The Christ, the Head of which is Jesus.
Faithful Christians reigning as the “Bride” in Christ Jesus’ Kingdom (2 Timothy 2:12) are also symbolically referred to as a “holy city” out of which flows these living waters. Revelation also discusses Satan, the Devil, being bound “to deceive the nations no more” (Revelation 20:1-3), during which time mankind as a whole will have their first real opportunity to choose righteousness and live forever freed from the penalty of death.
Revelation 21:1-4 NAS
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband….and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."
Besides these hopeful, glorious promises climaxing the Book of Revelation, the fact is that the Old Testament clearly laid out God’s intentions to bless mankind.
The Old Testament also provided a “shadow” or picture of how God’s justice would work by using animal sacrifices as “types” to portray the removal of sin guilt.
“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near….For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” NAS
Those sacrifices showed how an atonement for the sin that brought man’s death penalty and its downfall would be provided.
New Testament Fulfillment—a Growing Reality.
When Jesus came, although he healed many people of their diseases, cast out demons and raised the dead, yet he did not resolve all sin-caused problems. What he did was: 1) to show his authority as the Messiah sent of God, and 2) to demonstrate the coming powers of his Kingdom reign when the nations, not just Israel, would be healed.
But then, Jesus fully submitted himself to actually die as one considered “cursed” by the Law of Israel (Galatians 3:13) — and also as one condemned as a criminal under Roman law being inhumanely crucified on a wooden cross. (see Deuteronomy 21:18-23.) But most importantly, as “holy harmless and undefiled,” he could provide a ransom (antilutron, a corresponding price) to lift the burden of Adam’s penalty for sin. “As in Adam all die,even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”(1 Corinthians 15:22
As the Scriptures truly teach, Jesus died for “all” under the penalty of death passed down from father Adam. But also he redeemed the Jewish people under the Law Covenant— which added to their condemnation.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted .... But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Thus, Jesus not only kept the Law perfectly — but he fulfilled the role which was prophesied. He clearly said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Mathew 5:17). Of course, Jesus also fulfilled many other prophecies as well. — Isaiah 53:3-5
Finally, are Only Believing Christians to be Healed? No! They are only the first of all! They have been and are being healed spiritually first before all others. During the Christian Age since the resurrection of Jesus, only Christians have actually been being “healed.” Why? Because they by faith in Christ’s sacrifice have had their sins covered. They have been and are still being Justified by faith. By their faith and commitment to God, they are accepted and considered as “holy.”
They present their bodies “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1), and thus are considered prospective members of the future glorious Body of The Christ. These Christians, when “faithful unto death” under the covenant they make with God, will be the first (as that “body” of Christ) to experience resurrection. Next, and after that “first resurrection” of the “first fruits from the grave” is complete, Jesus will fully set up his Kingdom on earth.
Finally, “all” the rest of humanity will be “called forth” (i.e., raised from the dead), and gradually throughout the Millennial Kingdom be educated, mentored, healed and have full opportunity to blessed for eternity.
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