Questions About Nations

Q. In the Bible when it talks about all the nations of the earth will turn against Israel, is that the nations known at the time or literally every nation. If literal what does the Lord mean when He says He will separate the Sheep from the goats, which seems to be a reference to nations.

A. A literal interpretation of Zechariah 12:3 would require that when the Lord says all the nations of the Earth, He means all the nations on Earth at the time the prophecy is fulfilled.

In the sheep and goat judgment the word translated nations in Matt. 25:32 means tribes or people groups. It’s often used in reference to gentiles. Therefore the people of every gentile tribe or people group will be gathered for judgment. But the actual judgment concerns the behavior of individuals, not countries. You can tell this by the fact that the judgment is based on individual behavior. For instance, it’s unlikely that every person in a nation would join together to visit a person in jail, or that a whole nation would be condemned if some people didn’t.

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