Shepherding the Nations

The “Son” in the twelfth chapter of Revelation represents the Messianic figure from the Second Psalm whom God declared would “shepherd the nations.” Following the enthronement of the “slain Lamb,” heaven declared, “Now is come the Kingdom of God and the authority of His Christ.” His “faithful testimony” in death and his victory through resurrection marked the start of his reign over the “nations.” However, he rules by “shepherding” them, and not through conquest and tyranny - (Revelation 5:6-14, 12:5).

In Chapter 12, he is described as “a son, a male” - (eteken huion arsen). The Greek clause echoes the prophecy in Isaiah using the Greek Septuagint version where “Zion” becomes a female figure who “brought forth a male” - (eteken arsen - Isaiah 66:5-8).

Shepherding Sheep - Photo by Mohamad Babayan on Unsplash
[Photo by Mohamad Babayan on Unsplash]

The term “
Son” is added to the promise by Revelation, making his identity clear. He is the Messianic “Son” who was “caught up to the Throne of God” and destined to “shepherd all the nations with a scepter of iron,” a clear allusion to the Second Psalm- (Revelation 12:5):

  • (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.”

Moreover, Revelation continues to follow the Greek text of the Septuagint in which the Hebrew verb for “break” or “crush” is replaced by the Greek verb that means “to shepherd.”

Thus, the mission of the “Son” is to “shepherd” the nations, NOT to grind them into powder. Judgment and destruction may come, but not before he completes his task of populating the city of “New Jerusalem” with multitudes of redeemed men and women from every nation. His Father always intended for the city to be fully inhabited - (Revelation 21:24-26, 22:1-3).

The same Psalm was employed at the start of the Book where Jesus was identified as the “Ruler of the kings of the Earth.” Because of his death and resurrection, he reigns supreme over the Earth and its nations - (Revelation 1:5, 5:6-14).

  • 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).


When did his enthronement occur? Following his arrival at the Throne as described in Chapter 12, Satan was expelled from heaven and a voice declared, “NOW is come…the authority of His Christ!” The term “now” is emphatic in the Greek clause and pinpoints the moment in time when his reign began – His resurrection and exaltation to the Throne of God.

The same event is portrayed in Chapter 5 when the “slain Lamb” approaches the Throne, and all creation declares him “worthy” to reign since by his death he redeemed men from every tribe, nation, people, and linguistic group - (Revelation 5:7-12, 12:5-11).

Hence, his enthronement took place following his death and resurrection. As stated in the Book’s opening salutation, he is, present tense, the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth.”

This is Good News for them since from now on he is using his power and royal authority to “shepherd the nations” until they reach the “Holy City, New Jerusalem.”

  • The city has no need of the sun nor of the moon, that they should shine therein; for the glory of God illuminated it, and the lamp thereof was the Lamb. And the NATIONS will walk through her light, and the KINGS OF THE EARTH do bring their glory into it” – (Revelation 21:23-24).

Rainbow Panorama - Photo by Andi Kleeli on Unsplash
[Photo by Andi Kleeli on Unsplash]

 marginalized congregations of Asia” described in chapters 2 and 3 of the Book are the starting point of this process. With Jesus reigning on the Throne, the trickle of converts to the new faith will become a flood.

At the end of Revelation, a vast innumerable multitude” of men from every nation, including the “Kings of the Earth” is found standing and worshipping before the Lamb” and the Throne in the city of New Jerusalem.”

Jesus, the “slain Lamb” and the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth” will accomplish all this by “shepherding the nations,” not by hammering them into the ground with his great “iron scepter.” He is a Shepherd King who gathers and redeems his people.




The Living Word

The Suffering Servant