There is a chosen race. However, this race is not born of ethnicity or fleshly pride; its origin is heavenly. It is spiritual and its citizens come from every “tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). Individuals who have been purchased by the Lamb of God and are now united by His blood. Their homeland is Heaven, and in their love for each other, they display Christ as God’s answer for ethnic strife and conflicts.
Exodus of the Gentiles
While the return of the Jews to Israel is last century’s most remarkable exodus, it is not the only restoration of ethnic peoples in recent years. Indeed, Israel’s restoration is but one of scores of cultures resurfacing in today’s world, each seeking to be defined by the best aspects of its heritage.
In this “Gentile Exodus,” nations are not only returning to their native identities but, like Israel, many are reclaiming their original homelands as well. From the cessation of colonialism in African, Asian and the Middle Eastern countries to the emergence of dozens of ethnic peoples at the fall of communism, nations are returning to their ethnic ancestry.
I believe this desire to return is, in part, the result of a divine decree. The Lord says in Zephaniah, “Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms…” (3:8). The separation of Czechoslovakia into two ethnic peoples and the restoration of Germany into one nation were not just political decisions; they were the fulfillment of a decree from above.
Never in history has there been a time when nations and peoples were so universally drawn toward their ancestral distinctions. Incredibly, since World War II there have been over 100 new republics established, sixty percent of all nations. Most of these were secured through warfare and bloodshed. In the last fifty years more national identities and borders were replaced than were changed by all the previous wars in history.
Yet, awakening simultaneously with these new nations, as though foreign occupation were but a dream in the night, are ancient hatreds and conflicts. And it is where neighboring peoples have occupied the same land during different eras, as with the breakup of Yugoslavia, that the fires of ethnic and racial clashes are most consuming.
Jesus warned His disciples of this day, saying, “Nation will rise against nation” (Matt. 24:7). Thus, it should be no surprise that, in the original language of the Scriptures, the Greek word for “nation” is ethnos, from which we derive our word ethnic. Christ foresaw that ethnic conflicts, racially-based violence and religious wars would reach unparalleled heights at the consummation of this age.
America: A Nation of Nations
It is not hard to image a time in the near future when race riots again break out in America’s cities. With a sober eye let us realize that apart from a revival of pure Christianity (not just Christian traditions, but eternal heavenly values), there will never be lasting remedies for racial injustice before Jesus comes. In fact, the Lord warned about these very days. He said that “nation will rise against nation”—ethnic group against ethnic group. Recall also: America, the so-called “melting pot” of the world, is actually a nation of nations.
One thing we must not do, however, is to allow ourselves to be moved by fear or unbelief. Increased wars, lawlessness and ethnic conflicts are signs that point to something more significant than themselves. Jesus said, “So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke [21:31]). Indeed, the turbulence we behold in the sea of humanity is caused by a storm in the heavenly places: The Kingdom of Heaven is drawing close! The signs around us are actually the effects of a confrontation between the Kingdom of God and the domain of hell.
And while ethnic peoples are struggling toward their ancient identities, so there is another people drawn out from every nation and tribe and tongue who, in their hearts and minds, are returning to their homeland: the Kingdom of God. For while great pressure is being exerted upon nations to exalt their ethnicity, so also there is a return in the true church to the purity and power of our origins in Christ. Like no other time in history, our identity in Christ must be greater, more compelling, and more real to us than any natural bonding we have in the world.
Remember, it was in this very context of international upheaval that Jesus said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come” (Matt. [24:14]).
Why did Jesus speak of the Gospel of the Kingdom being preached at the end of the age? The answer is at least twofold. First, we proclaim the kingdom because it truly will be “at hand.” In His great mercy God is going to give all nations one last legitimate opportunity to choose, not merely between the church and the world, but between Heaven or hell. The nations will be given a “witness. . .” of heaven, “… and then the end shall come.” Those who call upon the Lord will become part of the Great Harvest. Those who reject Him, however, will have become so hardened they will earn for themselves the fierceness of God’s wrath.
The Lord’s second motive in calling for the proclamation of His kingdom is to spare His people from ethnic violence. He seeks to guide us out of our individual ethnic mentality into the eternal life of His kingdom. For the Kingdom of God is free from racism and cultural pride. In truth, if the Christians of opposing ethnic peoples humble themselves and unite in prayer; if, instead of allowing offenses to escalate, they confess their sins and forgive each other, they will preserve themselves and their communities during this time of great upheaval.
It is vital for us, as Christ’s church, to return to what Jesus called the “Gospel of the Kingdom.” What is this message? It is the teaching of Christ. It is more penetrating than our typical salvation message. The Gospel of the Kingdom makes disciples, not just converts. It is more demanding than the prosperity gospel; for this, truly, will cost you everything. But while the Gospel of the Kingdom requires more, it gives more. For it is the gospel as Jesus lived it—full of power, love and reconciliation. And its “good news” is not simply that someday we will go to Heaven, but that this day Heaven is coming to us.
One Answer for Ethnic Clashes
The pressures which ultimately thrust the world into accepting the antichrist and his government will not eradicate ethnicity among the peoples. Beneath the surface of a one-world government, ethnic cultures will remain intact and in conflict with one another. This is an unending judgment that God Himself uttered at mankind’s first attempt at ethnic unity: ancient Babylon. The Lord decreed that, apart from uniting in Him, men will “not understand one another…” (Gen. 11:7).
There are too many wounds, too many ancient, unreconciled conflicts, too long a history of injustice, hatreds and fears for mankind to unite apart from the forgiveness of Christ. In describing these last days, especially the last kingdom on earth, Daniel reveals an intriguing fact: “it will be a divided kingdom.” Although divided, “they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another” (Dan. [2:41],43).
He said, “They will combine with one another in the seed of men.” At the end of the age, ethnic issues will continue to compel mankind to extreme remedies, even uniting the seed of men (genetic engineering?). The word seed means “offspring, family, race.” Humanistic man will do everything possible to deal with ethnic crises; but, as Daniel continues, “They will not adhere to one another.”
There will be no enduring solution offered to mankind’s racial and ethnic problems apart from Christ in the Kingdom of God. But Daniel had more to say concerning the future. Directly linked to his prophecy of man’s divided kingdom, Daniel also revealed that “in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever” (Dan. [2:44]).
Daniel spoke of an unprecedented time at the end of the age, a time when the people of God would be strong and do exploits. Both Jesus and Daniel speak of the Kingdom of God beginning to be displayed while the world experiences ethnic and geophysical conflicts.
As the Church Becomes God’s Kingdom
Before we spend another trillion dollars on irreconcilable ethnic problems, we, the church, need to position ourselves as agents of redemption and healing, as it is revealed in the Kingdom of God.
I readily admit, not all unity is born of God. For some, unity means emptying one’s faith of core truths of the Christian message. We do not want unity without faith. But there is a realm Paul describes as maintaining “the unity of the Spirit . . . until we all attain to the unity of the faith” (Eph. 4:3, 13). And in the building, healing process that is occurring among leaders, we can extend grace as we submit to one another and learn from each other.
Here is what we agree upon: Jesus Christ is our Lord and savior. Our lives are rooted in the soil of His heart. His word defines our way and God’s kingdom is our homeland. Together, we are corporately beginning to manifest the Kingdom of God. This is exactly what was revealed to John. He wrote,
“Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10).
We were purchased by Christ for God, not to be isolated from each other by religious pride but to become a “kingdom and priests to our God.” We are a new creation; God has begun a second Genesis—a culture whose DNA consists of men from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation,” hand picked, called by name by the good Shepherd, and united with each other with values that transcend the boundaries of our ethnicity.
Is there a chosen race? Yes. As citizens of His kingdom, we “are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…” (1 Pet. 2:9). We are a race of every color, a people whose Father is God and whose homeland is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Written by by Francis Frangipane, for more, please visit http://frangipane.org/