a scriptural study of this vision
At the root of this entire thesis is a brief treatment of our authoritative Scripture, from which I sense a strong heartbeat of God and his passions for this age. I start at the end and move backward in time, to the beginning. If you'd like to learn more, watch the second video in the Missio Dei series.
We start at the Apostle John's portrait of the end of the age, then, to the writing of the great "apostle to the Gentiles," Paul; then on to Paul's calling and career in the book of Acts; then to Christ's words in Matthew 28, with a short glimpse of the life of Christ–in light of the Kingdom and king-ship of "the Anointed One;" and finally, one of the early Messianic prophecies given. All of this scripture points to "obedient nations."
Revelations 21:24-26 (NIV)
24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
Romans 16:25-26 (NIV '86)
25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations (panta ta ethne in Greek) might believe and obey him.
Acts 9:15 (NIV)
Paul's missionary call:
But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles (ethne) and their kings and before the people of Israel...."
I see this exchange as a small vista of the entire flow of the book of Acts. It's almost as though Luke stepped back and decided to structure the entire book around three audiences. The first few chapters is almost strictly about the Jews. The middle chapters addresses those ethne to which Paul took his three missionary journeys. And the last six chapters really center around the Gentile kings: Felix, Festus, Agrippa, the governor of Malta, and finally, Caesar's household.
Now, the commission itself.
Matt. 28:18-20 (NIV)
18 "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
If we were to just glance at the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:2), his temptation (Luke 4:5-8), introduction to ministry, sermon on the Mount, main teaching, trial and final days (like his conversation with Pilate in John 18:37), these all point rather plainly to one primary theme: the rulership of God, his own appointment as king, and the re-inauguration of that divine authority on this earth.
Finally, let's take just one glimpse at an early, messianic prophecy:
Gen 49:10 (NIV)
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.