What’s the big deal about people groups ?
To answer that, let’s look at where there Great Commission comes from:
- Why is the Great Commission the Great Commission?
- Why did Jesus strategically place emphasis on people groups?
The Great Commission traces all the way back to the Towel of Babel in Genesis 11. In Genesis 1-9, Satan tries numerous times to corrupt the human race. We have the Fall in Genesis 3, the first murder in Genesis 4, the Flood in Genesis 6-9. Then in Genesis 10 – The Table of Nations – it the narrative pauses and we see that the people of the world can be categorized into different “nations” or “people groups”.
The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11
The Tower of Babel was built while the people on earth had one language, were generally in one location, and it was built with one purpose – to glorify man (sounds like Satan is behind this one to me!). In response God says,
“OK Satan, you can attempt to build a corrupt city while these people speak one language and are in one location, that’s easy. I’m going demonstrate my power over you by scattering these people, giving them different languages, and then gathering these people back into one city – the New Jerusalem – to the glory of My Name, where I will have people worshiping Me from every one of these tribes, tongues (languages), and nations (people groups).”
God’s Plan to Use Abraham in Genesis 12:3
In the next chapter, Genesis 12, we get a glimpse into how God intends to do this. God promises in Genesis 12:3 that all the peoples (Hebrew “mispaha” or families, tribes, or clans) on earth will be blessed through Abraham.
“and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Abraham)”
God’s Promise Extended to Us in Galatians 3:29
This promise to Abraham is then extended to us, those who are Christ, in Galatians 3:29 –
“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.”
God’s Promise Fulfilled on Earth in Matthew 24:14
And check out what will happen when we fulfill this promise,
“This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations (ethne). And then the end will come.”
Once the Great Commission is complete and God’s people have made disciples in every people group, the end will come, Jesus will come back, and God will gather us all into the New Jerusalem! (see Revelation 21 esp verses 24-26 and think about it’s dimensions of 1,400 miles tall and compare that to the Tower of Babel reaching to the heavens!)
God’s Promise Fulfilled in Heaven in Revelation 5:9 & 7:9
We see this emphasis on every people group in Revelation 5:9 and 7:9:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; because you were slaughtered, and you redeemed people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (5:9)
“After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (7:9)