Prophesying to the Nations (1)
God made a covenant with Israel through Moses that promised blessings on obedience and curses on disobedience (Deut 28). The covenant provided spiritual protection and cleansing of sin through the tabernacle sacrifices. The curse produced agricultural failure and military defeat. The ultimate curse was exile from the land.
The Old Testament prophets challenged the children of Israel to keep the covenant and warned that the curse of the covenant would come upon them if they continued to reject God and lived like the surrounding the nations.
The other nations never signed up to the Mosaic covenant, so the curses and blessing it specifies do not apply to them. The Old Testament prophets never challenged the nations to comply with the covenant and never warned of the curses that it specifies.
The only covenant that God made with all the nations was the Adamic covenant that promised that the people of the world would be safe if they trusted in him, but warned that they would be enslaved by the spiritual powers of evil if they rejected him. The nations of the world continuously rejected God, so they are under the authority of the spiritual powers of evil. These powers have authority to harm these disobedient nations and to attack and destroy them if they choose.
The other covenant that applies to all the nations is the Rainbow Covenant made with Noah that gives God authority to destroy any nation that becomes so powerful and so evil that it begins to seriously harm his earth, putting its survival in jeopardy. In this situation, God can judge and destroy the political leaders of these nations to prevent them from continuing to harm the earth.
When the Old Testament prophets prophesied against a nation (other than Israel), they challenged them on the basis of these two covenants. Reading through prophecies against nations recorded by the Old Testament prophets reveals four basic messages.
Describes how God will use nations against each other to accomplish his purposes – stirring up nation against nation, or stirring up people within a nation against its rulers.
Describes how he will use the nations to bring judgment against his people: Israel and the church.
Describes what the spiritual powers of evil want to do, because, or when, they hold power over the nation.
Describes how God will destroy a nation because its rulers have raised themselves up as gods, or because they have begun to do too much harm on the earth (This was Jeremiah’s message to Babylon — Jer 50,51).
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