Justice for Nations in a Globalized World: How does the Bible foresee it?

Globalization: Image by storyset on Freepik

With the advent of air travel followed by the internet with social media it seems that the world has shrunk. Now we can be in instant communication with anyone on the planet. We can travel to anywhere on the globe in 24 hours. Translation apps with Google and Bing have enabled people to communicate in different languages. Globalization is driven by advances in technology, transportation, communication, and economic integration. It has transformed the world into a global village, where events in one part of the world can have far-reaching consequences for others.

Globalization is a modern phenomenon, accelerating sharply after World War II. With internet and social media crossing national borders it seems like people in the nations are continually jostling with each other. We see the mass migrations at border crossings as people desperate to escape war, famine and to secure a brighter future for their children risk their lives to take planes, buses, and even trekking for days to reach security elsewhere.

Culturally, globalization has brought about the spread of ideas, values, and lifestyles. It has led to the popularity of global brands, the exchange of cultural practices, and the blending of traditions. However, it has also raised concerns about the loss of cultural diversity and the dominance of Western values. Critics argue that globalization exacerbates inequality, exploits workers, and undermines national sovereignty. They call for policies that protect local industries and workers.

Will there ever be justice for the poor in our roiled global village?

Foreseen in the Bible

Major Bible characters in Historical Timeline. The Bible in general, and Abraham in particular, is ancient compared to other historical events

Though an ancient book, the Bible has held the nations, and justice for them, continually in the center of its scope. This is remarkable considering the Bible was birthed by the Jews. Historically they have been very insular, concerned with their religious distinctives rather than with other nations. However, as far back as Abraham, 4000 years ago, God promised him:

I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.

Genesis 12:3

We see here that the Bible’s scope already 4000 years ago included ‘all peoples on earth’. God promised a global blessing. God later reiterated this promise later in Abraham’s life when he had just acted out the prophetic drama of his son’s sacrifice:

and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Genesis 22:18

‘Offspring’ here is in the singular. A single descendant from Abraham would bless ‘all nations on earth’. Globalism surely permeates that scope. But that vision was laid out long before internet. modern travel and globalization arrived. It is like a Mind could foresee the distant future back then and envisioned the globalization occurring today. Also, that vision was for the good of people, not for their exploitation.

Continued with Jacob

Jacob/Israel in Historical Timeline

Several hundred years later, Abraham’s grandson Jacob (or Israel) uttered this vision to his son Judah. Judah became the leading tribe of the Israelites such that the modern designation ‘Jew’ is attributed to this tribe.

The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
    and the obedience of the nations shall be his.

Genesis 49:10

This foresees a time among the nations when that single descendant who Abraham previously glimpsed would one day obtain the ‘obedience of the nations’.

And the Prophets

Isaiah in Historical Timeline

Hundreds of years later, around 700 BCE, the prophet Isaiah received this global vision for the world. In this vision God speaks to a coming Servant. This Servant would bring salvation to ‘the ends of the earth’.

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
    to restore the tribes of Jacob
    and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
    that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Isaiah 49:6

This same servant would also

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
    and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out,
    or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
    In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

Isaiah 42: 1-4

Justice ‘to the nations’ that are ‘on earth’ even to the ‘islands’. That surely is a global scope. And the vision is to ‘bring forth justice’.

Listen to me, my people;
    hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
    my justice will become a light to the nations.
My righteousness draws near speedily,
    my salvation is on the way,
    and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
    and wait in hope for my arm.

Isaiah 51:4-5

The nation that spawned this vision will see the spread of ‘justice to the nations’ even to ‘islands’ scattered across the world.

To Revelation at the Close of the Bible

Right down to the closing pages of the Bible, it holds healing and justice for the nations in view.

“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

Revelation 5:9

Speaking of the honor that will come forth in the New Zion, the Bible closes with

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.

Revelation 21: 24-26

The Biblical scriptures foresaw a coming globalization long before technology emerged that makes it possible. No other writing has been so prescient and so globally cross-cultural in its scope. We do not yet see the justice that the Bible foresaw. But the Servant who will bring it about has come and even now invites any who are thirsty for justice for all nations across the globe to come to him.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.

Isaiah 55:1-3

Isaiah foresaw and wrote down how the servant would accomplish this 2700 years ago. We examine it in detail here.