Revelation: The Ultimate Mystery
Who are the mysterious nations outside the New Jerusalem?
by Dr. David R. Reagan
Perhaps the greatest mystery of Bible prophecy is introduced in verse Revelation 21:24 where it states that "the nations shall walk by its light [the light emanating from the Shekinah glory in the city], and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it." Who are these nations and kings outside the New Jerusalem on the new earth? They must be in fleshly bodies, for we are told in chapter 22 that the leaves of the tree of life inside the city will be used "for the healing of the nations" (22:2).
We, the redeemed, are assured that we will reign with Jesus "forever" (Revelation 1:6, 11:15, and 22:5) In order to reign, there must be someone to reign over. We know who that will be during the Millennium. But who are these people on the new earth in the eternal state? Are they people who accepted Jesus during the Millennium? I ask that because we are never told what will become of those who receive Jesus during His millennial reign.
I once browsed through over 60 commentaries on the book of Revelation looking for an answer to this intriguing question. About 90% simply ignored the issue. Some tried to argue that this was a flashback to the Millennium, but that idea is clearly invalid for the whole context of Revelation 21 is the eternal state. A couple of writers suggested that these might be people saved during the Millennium who are brought into the eternal state in their fleshly bodies and allowed to propagate new beings over whom the Redeemed will reign.
I have this question at the top of a list that I intend to ask the Lord when we stand face-to-face.