Revelation 7:9 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes holding palm branches in their hands.”
Back in college we had an annual missions conference. One year the theme was “Hidden Peoples.” We placed posters all over campus, depicting people from various ethnicities and cultures. At the conference we learned about mission efforts focused on people groups who had not yet been exposed to the Gospel. Years later, many of these tribes still face significant and multiple barriers included inaccessible geography, languages unspoken by anyone else on earth and cultural practices that are foreign even to other groups around them.
It is estimated by Frontier Ventures (formerly US Center for World Mission) that there are still 7000 unreached people groups “who have yet to receive a culturally relevant witness in their language.” https://www.frontierventures.org/blog/a
The Bible is clear that people from EVERY tribe, people and language will be present in that multitude that stands before the lamb. So given the seemingly insurmountable obstacles, how will this happen?
Historically it was daunting to reach these groups. The image of a missionary in a pith helmet bushwhacking his way through the jungle isn’t such a distant a memory and in some parts of the world still a reality.
But the technology of the last 100 years has enabled and transformed mission work. Small airplanes now make regular treks into areas that took weeks to reach. Radio broadcasts reach into countries that traditional missionaries can’t. Computers have made painstaking Bible translation a less onerous undertaking and now we have the internet, arguably the greatest game-changer of all time.
Not only has technology changed things for the missionary in the foreign field, but unprecedented migration of refugees fleeing wars and famine is bringing the world to our doorstep of the Western world. The way is being paved for representatives from each people group in the world to stand before the throne. It is thrilling to read of God’s work around the world in light of what his plans are in the book of Revelation.
Like most of you I will probably not be whacking my way through the jungle in the near future, but I often wonder how I can be more involved in sharing life giving Gospel truth. It appears that my main participation in the Great Commission at present is writing. In fact I am finding it difficult to write anything that doesn’t somehow bring the gospel and a Christian perspective into it, even when attempting to write for a more secular audience!
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14. The gospel WILL be preached. If we have been reached with the life-changing words of Jesus, we are part of this and cannot just sit back and wait for His kingdom to come.
Not only should we uphold in prayer and financial support those who work on the front lines of spiritually dark areas in the world, but we all have a part to play fulfilling the great commission in whatever forum is before us- our workplace, our schools, neighborhoods and even our online interactions.
The BSF notes from Lesson 12 state “our challenge is to know God’s truth, believe the Gospel, share it with others and stand firm for Christ in the world.”
Let’s start and end 2016 with this challenge!
Note: This series of blogs, while growing out of a “Bible Study Fellowship” (BSF) study of Revelation, is not affiliated or endorsed by BSF. Nor are these blog any sort of definitive theological commentary. The opinions expressed here are simply my own thoughts and reflections on the book and what I am learning from the study.
Unless otherwise noted, all references are quoted from the New International Version.
Photo Attributions l to r
1) By Swiss Federal Council [Attribution], via Wikimedia Common 2) By Yann (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons 3) Public Domain 4) By Swiss Federal Council [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons 5) By Richard F Jones, Market Day in Meo Vac https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/