God appointed Jeremiah “a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5), and he spoke God’s word concerning the following nations.
Egypt was vying with Babylon over control of the land bridge of Palestine (Jer. 46:2). The Philistines were centuries old enemies who occupied Gaza (Jer. 47:1). The modern name Palestine comes from the Hebrew for Philistia and Philistine. Some things never change.
Moab (Jer. 48:1) was the son of Lot by his eldest daughter (Gen. 19:37). Ammon (Jer. 49:1) was Lot’s younger son by his younger daughter (Gen 19:38). Both were children of incest. The Edomites (Jer. 49:7) were the descendants of Esau and perpetuated the family division between Jacob and Esau.
Damascus (Jer. 49:23), the capital of Syria, destroyed Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and continually threatened Judah. Kedar (Jer. 49:28) was one of the sons of Ishmael (Gen. 25:13) who became a powerful tribe of bowmen (Isa. 21:16-17). Elam (Jer. 49:34) may have been a son of Shem (Gen. 10:22). Elam and others raided Sodom, kidnapped Lot and was then defeated by Abraham and his allies (Gen. 14). Isaiah calls Elam, then part of Persia, to lay siege to Babylon (Isa. 21:2). And of course, there is Babylon (Jer. 50:1-2).
Jeremiah is not the only prophet to speak concerning the nations. Jonah goes to Nineveh (Jon. 3:2) and Nahum later pronounces Nineveh’s doom (Nah. 1:1). Obadiah speaks against Edom (Oba. 1:1). Isaiah predicts the demise of Babylon as does Habakkuk (Isa. 47:1, Hab. 2:6ff). Daniel discusses the destruction of world powers epitomized in the pagan nations such as Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome (Daniel 2).
By what Spirit do these prophets speak? Peter is clear. They speak by “the Spirit of Christ within them” (1 Pet. 1:11). Jesus Christ is not only the prophet like Moses foreshadowed by Moses (Deu. 18:15, 18). Jesus Christ is the Prophet to the Nations, par excellence. Why all this prophecy, and much more, concerning the nations? Christ declares, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Mat. 28:18-19). Because Christ is King of the Nations, His prophetic word penetrates the nations; He is Prophet to the Nations.
His prophetic ministry to the nations continues in the New Testament church. Witness the ministry of the apostle Paul. He addressed the “Men of Athens” (Act. 17:22). He gladly set forth the gospel to Governor Felix (Act. 24:10). After more than two years (Act. 24:27), he stood before the new governor, Festus, and appealed to Caesar (Act. 25:10). He then set the gospel before King Agippa (Act. 25:36-26:32). In Rome, Paul continued to proclaim the Kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ (Act. 28:31).
We trust Christ as the Prophet to the Nations because He is the King of the Nations. He becomes known as King of the Nations as He carries out His office as Prophet to the Nations. He carries out this office by His Word and Spirit. We are heirs of the prophetic Spirit of Christ. Political spin, deceit, fraud, and hypocrisy are rampant. Justice is often perverted. Murder of the unborn continues. Christ is King of the Nations, including our own. Christ is Prophet to the Nations, including our own. Given opportunity, Paul discussed “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come” with the governing authorities (Act. 24:25). We can do no less.