Most Christians today have been indoctrinated by their pastors to cite Revelation 7:9 in order to justify their universal, unqualified scope of salvation offered by Jesus Christ:
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
If we superficially read and take this verse at face value, we will wrongly assume that everything we consider to be a tribe, or people or nation — and everyone who speaks any language at all — will be included in the Lord’s plan for salvation. As we will show here, if we thoughtlessly apply such modern concepts to the Scripture, we can unwittingly contribute to the confusion of the end times deception of Mystery Babylon.
A great confusion in Christian circles always arises over the question of who “the nations, tribes and peoples” are in Scripture. To clear up this confusion, we need to look at the modern usage of the words and compare them with how someone writing the Scripture would have used the words.
QUICK RECAP ON NATIONS AND COUNTRIES
Today, when we hear the word “nation,” we are likely to immediately think of a “country” — as the two words have become virtually synonymous.
A country is a modern geo-political entity with set geographical borders that is managed, administered and even defined by a governing body, such as a parliament or congress. The people living within a country’s borders are connected to each other only by their common citizenship in that country — not necessarily by any common ethnic identity, culture, or religion. This is the modern “nation-state.”
On the other hand, a true nation is a community of people with a common ancestry, language or culture — with a rulership that reflects and acts to preserve that ancestry and its values and heritage.
“COUNTRY” VS “NATION” IN SCRIPTURE
Because we moderns often use “country” and “nation” interchangeably, we’d like to look at how the term “country” is used in the Old and New Testaments — in order to demonstrate that it does not mean what we understand it to mean today — as a geo-political entity with borders.
Zechariah 6:6-8 says,
6 with one of which the black horses are going out to the north country; and the white ones are to go out after them, while the spotted ones are to go out to the south country.” 7 When the strong ones went out, they were eager to go to patrol the earth. And He said, “Go, patrol the earth.” So they patrolled the earth. 8 Then He called out to me and spoke to me, saying, “See, those who are going to the land of the north have appeased My wrath in the land of the north.”
Here all three bolded words — country, earth, and land — have been translated from the same Hebrew word — “erets” (Strong’s H776) — which generally refers to physical land — similar to how we would use “land” in English — especially land outside of town, which we call “the country” or “countryside.”
Genesis 32:3 says,
Then Jacob sent messengers ahead of himself to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
“Country” in this passage has been translated from a different Hebrew word — “sadeh” (Strong’s H7704) — which, like erets, seems to connote physical land as well, but with some kind of intentional use, such as farming. For example, the first time sadeh is used in the whole of Scripture is Genesis 2:5:
Now no shrub of the field [sadeh] was yet on the earth, and no plant of the field [sadeh] had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.
Another example of “sadeh” is Ruth 1:6,
Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the land of Moab, because she had heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them food.
By using sadeh here instead of erets, the writer of Ruth is clearly trying to convey to the reader that this “land of Moab” had a specific purpose — fields for farming. So here “land of Moab” means the farm fields of Moab, as opposed to the general physical land — or erets — occupied by the Moabites.
Then we have Leviticus 25:31 which says,
The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall, shall be regarded as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert in the jubilee.
Here the phrase “open fields” is translated from both Hebrew words — “sadeh” and “erets” — together, which could be literally translated as “field of the land.” We chose this verse as an example not because it is necessarily related to farming or cultivation, but rather because it refers to the land which surrounds the houses of the villages — what we would call the “countryside” in English.
Now let us move over to the New Testament and take a look at John 4:44,
For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
Here “country” is translated from the Greek word “patris” (Strong’s G3968) which comes from the root word “patér” (Strong’s G3962) — meaning “father” — from which we get the word “paternal” in English. So in relation to land, “patris” then refers to one’s “fatherland” — or the general land of one’s origin without any geopolitical connotations.
Another good example that uses “country” is Luke 15:15,
So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
While at first glance this translation may sound geopolitical, it’s really not at all. Here “country” has been translated from the Greek word “chóra” (Strong’s G5561) — which refers to a generic expanse or tract of land. But “citizen” here comes from the Greek word “polités” (Strong’s G4177) — which means “inhabitant” — so this verse would have been more accurately translated, “So he went and hired himself out to one of the inhabitants of the land…”
Hopefully, these examples of how “country” is used and misused in English translations show us just how hasty and ill-advised it would be to impose our superficial, modern understanding of the word “country” on to these verses.
ORIGIN AND MEANING OF THE WORD NATION IN SCRIPTURE
The term “nation” is used widely in the Scripture — but its meaning is nothing like how we understand it today. In the Hebrew version of the Old Testament — the Masoretic text — the word used for nation is “goy” — from Strong’s Concordance H1471. This term first appears in the Old Testament in Genesis 10, which begins,
Now these are the records of the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and sons were born to them after the flood.
Genesis 10 proceeds with a genealogical account of Noah’s children — the families which were derived from Noah’s descendants up to six generations down. We are shown how each son of Noah gave rise to a “family” or “nation,” translated from the Hebrew word “goy.” The chapter is divided into three sections — Japheth, then Ham and then Shem — according to their language, families and nations (Genesis 10:4,20,31).
In this context, the words for “nation” and “family” are used interchangeably given that it was a literal family — kindred connected by blood with a common patriarch — who gave rise to these nations. The first time the Abrahamic covenant is given in Genesis 12:3, it is these “families” or nations of Noah who will receive the blessings,
And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
The blessing is mentioned a second time in Genesis 18:18,
…since Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?
A third time in Genesis 22:18,
And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.
A fourth time it is spoken to Isaac in Genesis 26:4,
I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,
The fifth time it is spoken to Jacob by Isaac in Genesis 27:29,
Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
And the sixth time it is spoken to Jacob in Genesis 28:14,
Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
We can see that family is used three times and nations is used three times — clearly, for all intents and purposes, they are all referring specifically to the Genesis 10 nations. Genesis 10:32 ends off by saying,
These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their descendants, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.
This verse is crucial to our correct understanding of how “the nations” were separated — in light of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, verse 9,
Therefore it was named Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
We can see here in Genesis 11 that language was the mechanism used to split them by their families into nations — or “goy” as specified in Genesis 10 — with a common ancestry.
EXAMPLES OF NATIONS IN SCRIPTURE
Now let us look at some examples of these nations — starting with Mizraim, mentioned in Genesis 10:6:
The sons of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.
Mizraim was Ham’s son — and note that literally every single time the word “Egypt” appears the Scripture, it is translated from the original Hebrew word for “Mizraim.” The modern word “Egypt” doesn’t exist at all in the original Hebrew Scriptures — and its inappropriate usage serves only to create confusion.
The modern country of Egypt, of course, a geo-political country whose inhabitants are in no way the same people as the original Tribe of Mizraim. Therefore, whenever we read “Egypt” in the Scriptures, we must make a mental note that it is referring to the nation of people who have Mizraim as a common ancestor — not the modern arabic peoples who now occupy the former land of Mizraim.
As it is used in the Scriptures, Mizraim is a nation in the purest sense of the word — it is not a country at all — and it has absolutely nothing to do with the geographical location they inhabited, but rather it has everything to do with their family and descent.
As an interesting side note, Genesis 10:13 tells us that the Philistines — whose father’s name was “Casluhim” — were actually descendants of Mizraim.
Another prime example of a biblical nation is Asshur, of whom Genesis 10:22 says,
The sons of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.
Asshur was Shem’s son — and you will note that literally every single time the word “Assyria” is used in the Scripture, it is translated from the original Hebrew word for “Asshur.” As with the word “Egypt,” the word “Assyria” does not exist at all in the original Hebrew Scriptures — because it is a people with a common ancestor, not a country.
INHERITANCES OF THE NATIONS
At face value, the only connection between the Scriptural nation of Mizraim and the modern country of Egypt is that today’s Egypt occupies the same general location that the ancient people of Mizraim spent most of their time. In fact, these biblical nations like Mizraim rarely moved from the lands where they traditionally dwelt — which is why these lands became synonymous with those nations.
Genesis 12:10 tells us,
Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt [Mizraim] to live there for a time, because the famine was severe in the land.
To state that Abraham was simply going to a geographical location would not do justice to the accounts given in Genesis 10 and 11. However, the Scripture is clear that these nations have been given heritages — which explains why they were so static in practice.
These apportionments of the nations’ lands were predetermined, as Paul says to the Athenians in Acts 17:26,
…and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation
Deuteronomy 32:8 says,
When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of mankind, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.
It is important to understand that it is the nation — the people — which defines the land — and not the land which defines the nation. Just because a nation has been given a certain land an inheritance does not mean that the land itself is forever associated with the nation. Job 12:23 says,
He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
Here we see how a nation of people can be led away from the physical land of its inheritance — yet they remain a nation. Being removed from their land doesn’t change what made them a nation in the first place — which is having a common ancestor.
Probably the most sure example of this concept in the whole of Scripture is Israel itself — a family of Jacob’s children — who was called Israel (Genesis 32:28). The nation of Israel is named after its father just as the nation of Mizraim is named after its father.
Therefore, Israel is not a physical place — but rather, it is a people — and no matter where they are, they remain Israelites — independent of their geographical location.
We know that Israel was indeed removed from the land of its own inheritance — and in spite of being in other nations’ lands, they are still called Israel. Similarly, in Jeremiah 38 when Ebed-melech the Cushite — son of Ham (Genesis 10:6) — was among the nation of Israel in their own land, he is still referred to as a Cushite. Likewise, when Uriah the Hittite — son of Canaan, son of Ham (Genesis 10:15) — was among the nation of Israel in their own land, he is still referred to as a Hittite. There are many such examples in the Scripture.
THE NATIONS AND SALVATION
What becomes yet more obvious — given the Abrahamic covenant with the nations cited above — is that only these Genesis 10 nations are eligible to benefit from the Abrahamic covenant, which was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus. The salvation of the Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, as Paul states in Galatians 3:16,
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as one would in referring to many, but rather as in referring to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.
In other words, one may attain to eternal salvation through Jesus Christ only if one is a descendant of Noah — because the promise to Noah fulfilled in the Lord Jesus was promised only to the Genesis 10 nations. Noah and those who came with him were also the only descendants of Adam and Eve, who was the mother of all Adam’s descendants as Genesis 3:20 says,
Now the man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
Therefore, if all of Noah’s descendants are from Adam — and if all of Adam’s surviving descendants are found in Noah and his family — and if salvation is promised only to the Genesis 10 nations — then it stands to reason that salvation is also eligible only to the descendants of Adam.
As we showed in our essay on Deuteronomy 23, one must also be a pure descendant of Noah and Adam — without any ancestors who were not descendants of Adam through Noah.
Revelation 5:9 says of the Lord’s salvation,
Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation.
Revelation 7:9 says the same thing,
After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages…
Let us consider each of the words which have been used in these two oft-cited — and almost universally misunderstood — verses. The word for “tribe” is the Greek word “phulé” (Strong’s G5443), which refers to a group of people who have a common ancestor. It is also the word which is used to refer to the tribes of Israel in the New Testament. This makes a lot of sense, because the tribes of Israel are exactly that — groups of people sharing a common ancestor — Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, etc.
The word for “nation” is the Greek word “ethnos” (Strong’s G1484). The meaning of the word is a community based on a common ethnos — the word we get “ethnicity” from. Therefore, the word for nation is referring to a nation in the truest sense — and not a country. It is also the word that the Greek Septuagint uses to translate the Hebrew word for nation (goy).
“Ethnos” is often also wrongly translated into the word “gentile” — which comes from the Latin word “gentillis,” which refers to someone who is not of one’s own nation. This is a very subjective term, and so it doesn’t accurately fit the word for ethnos, which refers to nations in the objective sense. The Romans used “gentile” to refer to non-Romans — so clearly they did not understand it to mean “non-Jew” as most Christians mistakenly understand it today.
Literally every time one sees the word “gentile” in the Scripture, it is either translated from “ethnos” in the Greek, or from “goy” in the Hebrew. Unfortunately the translators have retroactively fitted a modern concept to a word which in the Greek which fundamentally does not mean the same thing.
The word for “people” is the Greek word “laos” (Strong’s G2992), which is used for a specific people usually unified by some commonality — a generic term which needs context to give it specific meaning. The Greeks fundamentally would not use it to refer to all people everywhere, as we do today — rather, they would use the word “laos” to refer to a population within a national context.
“Laos” is the very same word used in the Greek version of the Old Testament and the New Testament when referring to the people of Israel. It refers to the population of Israel as a nation — children of Jacob/Israel. That is not to say that “people” in Revelation 5:9 and Revelation 7:9 refers only to Israelites — but rather that it refers to specific peoples tied together by a particular commonality — depending on the context.
The word for “languages” is the Greek word “glóssa” (Strong’s G1100), which refers either to literal tongues or the language which one speaks.
So far when we compare these four concepts — tribe, nation, people and language — we can conclude that these passages are actually quoting Genesis 10, which says that the descendants of Noah were divided into family, nation and language. Revelation 5:9, Revelation 7:9 and Genesis 10 are literally referring to the same thing. These passages in the Revelation are stating that the Lord Jesus has the power to save all of Noah’s descendants.
THE NATIONS OF “ALL THE EARTH”
While Genesis 11:9 states that the nations were “scattered… abroad over the face of all the earth,” Genesis 41:56-57 tells us,
56 When the famine was spread over the entire face of the earth, then Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians; and the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Then all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth.
When we read, “all the earth came to Egypt,” we should not presume that it means literally everything in the earth — including, say, koalas and jaguars — came to buy grain in Egypt. Obviously this verse means to say that all of the nations who were scattered over the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from them.
Therefore, all of the nations must have been within reasonable distance from Egypt in order to have bought from them. We know that the reach of such endeavor’s was quite far, as the Hittite nation in Anatolia — modern day Turkey — not the Canaanites — were able to buy grain from Egypt and have it shipped over. This is commonly known and not controversial in the slightest.
However, it is unreasonable to assume that in such a short time one could ship grain to Australia or South America. Similarly, Acts 2:5 says,
Now there were Judeans residing in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
This passage refers to the dispersions of Israelites who had been living with other nations. Because of this, they had come to adopt the cultures and languages of those nations — hence the need for the Spiritual gift of speaking in diverse languages, which was seen in Acts 2.
If the Israelites came from every nation to be present at the Pentecost, it is reasonable to assume that “every nation” must be within reasonable distance from Jerusalem to have made the journey. Again, the travel routes of those times were actually quite far — as one could even have traveled to the British Isles during the Lord’s time on earth. This is also commonly known and not controversial.
However, again it is unreasonable to assume that in such a short time one could travel from somewhere like Australia or South America to be present at the Pentecost. It is even unreasonable to assume that one could travel to those places at all during that time — considering they had no idea these places even existed.
With the examples of Genesis 41 and Acts 2 given above, we can safely conclude that whatever the Genesis 10 nations were, they must have been within normal traveling distance of Egypt and Jerusalem in ancient times.
Flavius Josephus — the Judean historian — wrote in the work Antiquities of the Jews his own full account of the Bible histories for a Greek audience just before the end of the first century AD. It seems little known or oft-ignored that within this account, Josephus specifically covers the topic of Genesis 10 — and attempts to take account of every nation in Genesis 10, and specifies to which contemporary nations these Genesis 10 nations were associated (Antiquities 1, 6).
Josephus attempted to identify all of Noah’s second generation children as well is most of his third generation children. The import of this history shouldn’t be underestimated — Josephus took account of every great nation which existed on the planet according to Noah’s second and third generation children.
It is worth noting the eminence Josephus has to this day as a historian. His work is in all likelihood the primary source for our knowledge of Biblical-related history — it is still used in scholarly Christian works worldwide. That being said, we shouldn’t presume that Josephus’s work in this regard was completely perfect; however, it would be foolish to discard his work outright.
That said, does Josephus’s account line up with Scripture? Every single nation identified by Josephus was within the Roman Empire or on its outskirts. We would propose that this lines up exactly with Acts 2:5 which we discussed above — and therefore Josephus’s account of the Genesis 10 nations does in fact line up with the Scripture.
That is, Josephus made the fundamental assumption that all of the Genesis 10 nations could be known — and should be known — as opposed to living in tents or huts on the other side of the planet.
THE PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE NATIONS
Elsewhere in Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus relates the appearances of the Judeans in relation to the Greeks. When the Greek Seleucid Empire took Jerusalem around 170BC, the Judeans were facing pressure and temptation to follow the Greek way of living. Josephus relates a peculiar practice among the Judeans,
…they were desirous to leave the laws of their countrey, and the Jewish way of living according to them; and to follow the King’s laws, and the Grecian way of living. Wherefore they desired his permission to build them a Gymnasium at Jerusalem. And when he had given them leave, they also hid the circumcision of their genitals; that even when they were naked they might appear to be Greeks. Accordingly they left off all the customs that belonged to their own countrey, and imitated the practices of the other nations.Antiquities of the Jews, chapter 12, book 5, section 1
Josephus has stated that the Judeans looked so alike to the Greeks, that the only defining physical characteristic which could separate them was their circumcision. Bear in mind that Greeks are sons of Javan, son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2). This is most clear in Daniel 8:20-21, where Daniel is prophesying how Media and Persia will be replaced by Greece,
20 The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
The word for “Media” — the Medes — in the original Hebrew is “Madai” (Strong’s H4074). Madai was also a son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2). The word for “Persia” is strangely a geographical term in the original Hebrew — “Paras” (Strong’s H6539). However, Isaiah 21:2 prophesies of the destruction of ancient Babylon,
A harsh vision has been shown to me; The treacherous one still deals treacherously, and the destroyer still destroys. Go up, Elam, lay siege, Media; I have put an end to all the groaning she has caused.
Media again is “Madai”, while “Elam” (Strong’s H5867) is the son of Shem (Genesis 10:22). We know from Daniel’s prophecies — and from history — that it was the Medes and Persians who took Babylon — and therefore we can conclude that Persia were the sons of Elam.
Going back to Daniel 8:21, we know from history that it was the Greeks under Alexander the Great who overcame the Medes and the Persians — and that is why in Daniel 8:21 the word for “Greece” in the original Hebrew is actually “Javan” (Strong’s H3120), who was the son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2).
Consider these facts when reading Josephus’s account of the Judeans hiding their circumcision so that they could look like Greeks. The Greeks were Javanites and by extension children of Japheth — while the Judeans were children of Shem.
By comparing this information with Josephus’s account, we can conclude that children of Japheth and children of Shem looked exactly the same — to the point where if only the Judeans weren’t circumcised, they could pass as Greeks.
Another witness of the sameness of the physical appearances between Japhethites and Shemites is found in the first book of the Maccabees — which is more or less an historical account of the Maccabean revolts found in the Apocrypha.
During these revolts, the high priest Jonathan sent a letter to the Lacedemonians — the Spartans — reaffirming their bonds as brethren, even sending proof of their kinship. A copy of the Spartans’ reply in 1 Maccabees 12:21-23 says something rather interesting,
21 It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians and Judeans are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham: 22 Now therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, ye shall do well to write unto us of your prosperity. 23 We do write back again to you, that your cattle and goods are our’s, and our’s are your’s We do command therefore our ambassadors to make report unto you on this wise.
The Spartans literally confirm that they are sons of Abraham. In all likelihood, the Spartans are actually confirming that they are Israelites — which should come as no surprise since many Israelites were deported and dispersed when the Assyrians conquered the northern house of Israel.
The Spartans are even using the same idiom — “mine are yours” — which Jehoshaphat — king of the southern house of Judah — was wont to say to the king of the house of Israel in 1 Kings 22:4 and 2 Kings 3:7. Except this time it is Sparta — a kingdom of the deported house of Israel — which is saying it to the house of Judah. We are sure that the thoughtfulness of this gesture would not be lost on anyone who was familiar with their common history.
Incidentally, Josephus records a copy of the same letter which the Spartans sent to the Judeans,
We have met with a certain writing, whereby we have discovered, that both the Judeans and the Lacedemonians are of one stock; and are derived from the kindred of Abraham: It is but just therefore, that you, who are our brethren, should send to us about any of your concerns as you please. We will also do the same thing; and esteem your concerns as our own: and will look upon our concerns as in common with yours. Demoteles, who brings you this letter, will bring your answer back to us. This letter is foursquare: and the seal is an eagle, with a dragon in his claws.Antiquities of the Jews, book 13, chapter 4, section 10
Modern scholars reel over these letters — because they cannot fathom that Spartans may be Israelites. They continually look for reasons to doubt this account in the Maccabees and in Josephus’s own writing. Yet we have two historical witnesses which confirm that the Judeans own records and the Spartan’s own records affirmed their common heritage.
In other words, upon receiving the Judean’s proof that they were of common heritage, the Spartans consulted their own records and discovered the very same connection.
The point is that the Spartans were Shemites — and yet no one would even think to question whether or not the Spartans looked different from the Greeks who surrounded them. This again shows that Shemites and Japhethites looked the same — and also shows that some nations in those times were not Genesis 10 nations, but rather were offshoots from the Israelites themselves.
In this regard, some will immediately be tempted to quote Colossians 3:11 — a go-to verse for dispensationalist Christians everywhere,
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Christians have been taught to believe that this verse is all-inclusive; however just the opposite is true. Paul is literally affirming everything we have been saying thus far — that regardless of where — or under what circumstances — members of those original Genesis 10 nations may find themselves, they are potential members of the body of Christ.
A simple word study of Colossians 3:11 bears this identity out. The word for “Greek” is “hellén” (Strong’s G1672), which refers broadly to any of the nations who had learned to speak the Greek language. While “Jew” here comes from “Ioudiaos” (Strong’s 2453), which refers to those living in Judea — or showing Judean cultural norms (as opposed to Greece). And we know that “Ioudiaos” does not necessarily mean just Israelites in Judea because Josephus uses this term to describe Idumean converts who lived in Judea.
When we read the word “barbarian,” which comes from the Greek “barbaros” (Strong’s G915), we tend to take a modern conception of the word “barbarian” — such as a “savage” or someone without manners — and retroactively apply it to Paul’s words. However, “barbaros” is a Greco-centric term that simply refers to anyone who could not speak Greek — and did not necessarily adopt Greek customs.
Paul says in Romans 1:14,
I am under obligation both to Greeks [hellén] and to the uncultured [barbaros], both to the wise and to the foolish.
Paul states that he is under obligation to the barbarians, and we expect that he would have ministered to them in his lifetime. Yet we know the scope of Paul’s ministry over his life was from Palestine, through Asia Minor, all the way along the northern coast of the Mediterranean and into Spain. Did Paul meet “barbarians” along the way? Acts 28:2 says,
The natives [barbaros] showed us extraordinary kindness, for they kindled a fire and took us all in because of the rain that had started and because of the cold.
As we have stated, the “barbarians” are not “barbaric” in the modern sense of the word — rather, these “barbarians” on the island of Malta were mild-mannered people who simply didn’t speak Greek.
As for the Scythians whom Paul mentions in Colossians 3:11, Josephus identifies them as the children of Magog (Antiquities, 1, 6, 1) — the son of Japheth.
The fact that all of these peoples looked the same may be surprising to many today. The world has been deluded into looking at the current population of a country and assuming that the people who lived there in ancient times looked the same as those who live there now.
Remember Job 12:23: “He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.”
Just because people who live in certain countries today look a certain way now — such as the Egyptians or Persians — does not mean that they always looked that way. In the same way, modern countries do not represent the nations spoken of in the Scripture.
THE CONFUSION OF THE NATIONS
Given all these historical facts about the Genesis 10 nations, why is it so common for Christians to use Revelation 7:9 to apply salvation to those for whom the Scripture never intended it?
Clearly, we cannot take our modern concepts of “tribes, nations, peoples and tongues” — or even Greeks, barbarians and Scythians — and retroactively apply them to the Scripture without creating confusion. The Scripture must explain to us what its meaning is — and we cannot explain to the Scripture what its meaning is. If we do not allow the Scripture tell us whom the Lord Jesus has saved, then we are presuming the Lord Jesus has saved those whom the Scripture does not say that He saved. And by doing this, we follow and promote a “false Jesus” (Mark 13:22, Matthew 24:24)
To apply our own contemporary and biased understanding to these words — as the vast majority of Christians today are wont to do — without the understanding the historical and biblical context which the Scripture requires throws the whole matter into utter confusion. Genesis 11:9 says,
Therefore it was named Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
The Scripture has stated that the word for “Babel” (Strong’s H894) is associated with confusion — which likely comes from the Hebrew word “balal” (Strong’s H1101), which can also refer to confusion. Even though according to the Babylonians, “Babylon” meant “Gate Of God,” it is almost the same as the Hebrew word for confusion.
Revelation 17:5 refers to the great end time system of evil,
…and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery: “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
If Babylon refers to confusion, then Mystery Babylon is a mystery of confusion. People have become confused because they are applying their own subjective and modern concepts of these essential terms to the Scripture, yet they have no idea that they are confused — and the “abominations of the Earth” are the result of this confusion.
Paul refers to this same system as a “mystery of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 — confusion necessarily leads to lawlessness. Paul concludes in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12,
10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
Paul states that they will be confused because they did not have a love of truth — and because of this, they are made to suffer a delusion of confusion which they are not even aware of — that they may believe that which is false. The truth is in the Scripture — which is in Genesis 10, but it is ignored outright.
Judeo-Christians have been brainwashed into believing that only those people who do not believe as they do are part of the “confusion” of “Mystery Babylon” — never themselves.
In the law of Moses, there are two particular sins which lead specifically to confusion, and they are both related to the progeny of sexual sin. Leviticus 18:23 says,
Also you shall not have sexual intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.
Leviticus 20:12 says,
If there is a man who sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. They have committed incest, and have brought their own deaths upon themselves.
The word for “perversion” in Leviticus 18:23 and the word for “incest” in Leviticus 20:12 are both “tebel” (Strong’s H8937) in the Hebrew. The Brown-Driver-Briggs definition is,
confusion, violation of nature, or the divine order
The Strong’s Concordance and the NAS Exhaustive Concordance agree that the root word of “tebel” is “balal,” which as we have already discussed means “confusion” — and the reason why “Babylon” means confusion.
Why would the Scripture call a man sleeping with his daughter-in-law “confusion?” The answer is simple: because whose child would the offspring be? Would the father be the wife’s husband, or would it be the wife’s husband’s father? It is confusion.
Likewise, if a woman had to produce children from an animal, what is the resulting offspring? Is it a person or an animal? As we have shown in our article Ruth Was A Moabite — But Does It Even Matter, there were giants known as “Rephaim” who had offspring with some of the Canaanites in Hebron. Goliath whom David slew was the product of such a union.
This is proof and precedent that something which is not a man from Adam — the giants — can produce hybridized offspring with people. Despite this precedent, some Christians, however, will try to argue that if a sexual union can produce children, then it necessarily means that both parents are people — pure descendants of Adam.
The children produced between the Canaanites and the giants are proof that such an assumption is not true.
The Israelites were commanded in Deuteronomy 23 that those who had such mixed ancestry were not allowed into the assembly of the Lord. Thankfully those ancient Israelites took special note of the different physical characteristics which the giant/people hybrids had, such as in 1 Chronicles 20.
They also drove these hybrids out of the land of the Israelite inheritance before they could breed back in with people to the point where someone with Rephaim ancestry would become indistinguishable from someone with pure Adamic ancestry. That would be very confusing indeed.
We don’t imagine that it was the Lord’s intention to save the giants or their hybridized children, do we? Therefore, we can see that this confusion comes from sexual sin, and the misidentification of who — or what — it is that the Lord Jesus came to save.
THE EMPIRE OF THE LATTER DAYS
In these modern times, there is a taboo surrounding the existence of nations — especially when white Western nations begin to mobilize around their common ancestry. But when we read the Scripture, we can clearly see that nations and nationalism is ordained by God Himself.
Yet Christians applaud countries and patriotism — which is rulership for its own sake — and condemn nations and nationalism — which is a basis for rulership ordained by God. Given a basic understanding of contemporary history, we would argue that any Bible-believing Christian ought to see the evil shift in the governance of the nations for what it is.
Yet this evil goes entirely unnoticed. As we mentioned, it is a mystery of confusion. As time goes by, Western nations are turning more and more into countries as their common ancestry becomes confused and mixed with peoples imported specifically from the Third World.
Remember how earlier we referred to another category of rulership — the empire. In these modern times it seems that not only are more nations becoming countries, but we have had an empire foisted upon us seemingly without us even knowing about it.
The rule, authority and geographical bounds of modern countries is recognized by the “international community.” If any country presumes to act outside of those bounds, the “community” will step in and restore the rulership to a country which is approved of by that “community”. The “community” actively enforces the existence of countries which suit the interests of that “community” — to the exclusion and vilification of true nations.
That “community” is ruled and controlled by none other than the United Nations — a paradox if there ever was one. At the time of writing of this essay, almost every single country in the entire world is a member of the United Nations — including Russia and China. This explains why so many nations have become countries — rulership for its own sake. They must necessarily become countries so that they may serve the interests of the United Nations. They are proxy governments which serve international interests instead of the interests of whichever nations may be within their borders.
This fits the exact pattern of an empire. When the ancient Israelites were under the rulership of the Roman empire, the Romans would set up and allow leaders within Judea only so long as those leaders suited the interests of the Romans. Likewise, governments today are allowed to rule their countries only so long as they suit the interests of the United Nations.
International interests are naturally antithetical to national interests, as international interests must necessarily amalgamate everyone’s interests toward something which is fundamentally not national. If it is antithetical to national interests, then it is antithetical to the Scriptural, ordained rulership of God. Yet Christians welcome this system and even pursue it in their confusion.
Daniel 2:41-42 says of the Roman Empire,
42 And just as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong, and part of it will be fragile. 43 In that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not combine with pottery.
The prophecy shows how this Empire of Rome was doomed to fail — as the nations under the purview of empires cannot adhere together — just as clay does not adhere to iron. Over the course of hundreds of years the Roman Empire did indeed fragment and divide until there was no empire left to speak of.
Yet the empire under which we find ourselves in the present day adheres to itself by means of its whoredoms and international commerce, as is related in Revelation 18. Verse 3 says,
For all the nations have fallen because of the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich from the excessive wealth of her luxury.
All the nations have fallen indeed, as today there are no nations to speak of. There are only countries ruled by international interests. This is no surprise, as Revelation 12:9 says that Satan “deceives the whole world.” It is a wonder that the Christian world somehow imagines itself not to be deceived, even though the Scripture has stated in no uncertain terms that the whole world would indeed be deceived.
As we stated, it is a mystery of confusion.
Yet we understand that the current state of our confusion and the state of the world is the chastisement of our Lord, as Jeremiah 31:27 reveals to us,
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of mankind and the seed of animals.”
This short vision of a few verses in Jeremiah 31 shows that being sown among men and beasts will be a step on the path of Israel’s punishment and ultimate restoration. This sowing is the fulfillment of a great and terrible world empire which we see before us today. As we have shown before, this mass confusion — and being desolated by animals per Leviticus 18:23 — was always in the prophetic plan for a disobedient Israel.
Revelation 13:7 attests to the terrible power which this beast has over the Earth,
It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority was given to him over every tribe, people, language, and nation.
The empire under which we find ourselves today certainly does exercise this authority, and it bears all the signs:
- No nations or national authority
- International commerce
- The scattering of the seed of men and animals among one another
- An overarching authority which none dare challenge
With this state of oppression and confusion, when Christians try to apply Revelation 7:9 to fit a scope which has been forced upon them, all they are doing is trying to fit Mystery Babylon into their Bibles. They are trying to trace the empire of the United Nations back through the Scriptures. And by doing so, they ultimately come to believe that the “beasts” of Mystery Babylon are part of the Lord’s plan of salvation.
It is confusion, and it is sin.