Shepherd of the Nations

SYNOPSIS – Jesus is the promised ruler from the line of David, the Shepherd of ALL nations – Revelation 12:5

Shepherd - Photo by Pawan Sharma on Unsplash
The woman “
clothed with the sun” gave birth to a “son.” The passage leaves no doubt about his identity. He is the promised Messiah destined to “shepherd the nations.” Following his enthronement, heaven declared victory - “Now is come the kingdom of God and the authority of His Christ.” His triumph over the “Dragon” means he now rules over the “whole habitable earth” to “shepherd” the nations to “New Jerusalem.” The “city” will be inhabited by an “innumerable multitude” redeemed from EVERY nation. - [Shepherd - Photo by Pawan Sharma on Unsplash].
  • (Revelation 12:5) – “And she brought forth a son, a male, who was to shepherd all the nations with a scepter of iron; and her child was caught away to God and to his throne.”
She brought forth a son, a male” - (eteken huion arsen). This clause echoes a prophecy from the book of Isaiah where “Zion” represented as a female figure who “brought forth a male” - (Greek Septuagint - eteken arsen). Revelation adds “son” to the promise, which makes his identity clear – He is the “son” who was “caught up to the Throne of God” - (Isaiah 66:5-8).

This “son” was destined to “shepherd all the nations with a scepter of iron,” a clear allusion to the second Psalm, a messianic prophecy:
  • (Psalm 2:6-9) - “Yet I have installed my king on Zion my holy mountain. Let me tell of a decree; Yahweh said to me, You are My son; I, today, have begotten you. Ask of me and let me give nations as your inheritance, and as your possession the ends of the earth. YOU WILL SHEPHERD THEM WITH A SCEPTER OF IRON, as a potter’s vessel you will dash them in pieces.”
The passage follows the Greek text from the Septuagint version of the Psalm where the Hebrew verb for “break” has been replaced by the Greek verb for “shepherd.” The mission of the “son” is to “shepherd” the nations, NOT to crush them. In the end, judgment may come, but not before the “son” completes his task of filling “New Jerusalem” with multitudes of redeemed men and women from ALL nations:
  • (Revelation 21:24-26) – “And the nations will walk amidst the light thereof: and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. And the gates thereof will in no wise be shut by day (for there will be no night there): and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
  • (Revelation 22:1-3) - “And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of the street thereof. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there will be no curse anymore: and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be therein: and his servants will serve him.
The second Psalm was employed at the start of the book when Jesus was declared the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” Because of his death and resurrection, he reigns supreme even now:
  • Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us and loosed us from our sins by his blood.” - (Revelation 1:5).
  • The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Yahweh and against his Christ…I have set my king on my holy hill of Zion. I will tell of the decree: Yahweh said to me, You are my son; This day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.” - (Psalm 2:2-8).
Elsewhere in Revelation, the same Psalm is applied to Jesus, the one who “shepherds the nations”:
  • (Revelation 2:26-27) - “And he that overcomes and keeps my works to the end, to him will I give authority over the nations: and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also have received of my Father.
  • (Revelation 19:15-16) - “And out of his mouth proceeds a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he will shepherd them with a rod of iron…And he has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 
The immediate result of the enthronement of the “son” was the expulsion of the “Dragon” from heaven. In response, a “great voice” from heaven declared:
  • (Revelation 12:10) – “Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down.
When did his enthronement occur? In the past, or is it a yet future event? The declaration of victory begins with the Greek adverb arti, meaning “just now, now, this day,” which is quite emphatic in the original sentence. This event was portrayed previously when the “slain Lamb” approached the Throne to receive the “sealed scroll.” At that time, all creation declared the “Lamb” worthy:
  • (Revelation 5:7-12) – “Anthe Lamb came and took the scroll out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne…And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and purchased for God with your blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation…Worthy is the Lamb that has been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
Thus, the victory and exaltation of the “son” took place following his death and resurrection. As stated at the start of the book, Jesus is the “ruler of the kings of the earth,” present tense. This is good news for the nations, for, even now, Jesus is “shepherding them” from the Throne of God.

The tiny and marginalized churches of Asia only formed a starting point. With Jesus reigning on the Throne, the trickle becomes a flood. In the end, a vast innumerable multitude” of men and women from every nation will stand before the Lamb and the Throne in “New Jerusalem:
  • They will hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither will the sun strike upon them, nor any heat: for the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd and guide them to fountains of waters of life: and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.


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