“Every Nation, Tribe, People, and Languages”

Savior of All Mankind


Pastor Rich Knight
Central Congregational Church
Jan. 23, 2022


It’s been several weeks since we read from the Book of Revelation. So it’s time!


Revelation 5:8-10

When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sing a new song:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”


Revelation 7:9-10

 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.  They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”


Revelation 14:6-7

Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”



My sermon should be a lot shorter today, because I talk with my hands, and right now I can only use 1 arm, due to rotator cuff surgery. So, if I’m searching for a certain word and can’t find it, it may be that it’s stored in the wrong hand!


The point of today’s passages is that – God Loves Every Person and every Group of People, and there are No Exceptions!

The Apostle John was Jesus’ closest friend while on earth. He understood Jesus’ heart the best. At the Last Supper, as they reclined around the table, John rested his head on Jesus’ shoulder. You’d have to be pretty close friends to do that! So, in the Book of Revelation when John describes his visions of Heaven, we should sit up and take notice.

And what one notices is that John has a favorite phrase.

Ch. 5 – Heaven will have, saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;

Ch. 7 – Heaven is so big that no one can even count all the people, and they come from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.

Ch. 14 – An angel proclaims the Good News, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 

He actually uses the phrase two other times, but the point is the same – God doesn’t have favorites.

“All God’s Children got a place in the choir!”

God Loves Every Person and every Group of People, and there are No Exceptions! – every nation, tribe, language and people.


You Need Some Good News


Racism of course is saying, acting or believing that one race is better than another. It sets up one group as superior and another group as inferior.

Racism has a long history, as you know.


Columbus' Confusion About the New World | Travel | Smithsonian Magazine


When Columbus landed he called the Natives “savages.” He thought they were not very bright, but that there were teachable and would make excellent servants and slaves. He wrote, “With 50 armed men we could subdue them all.” He was given 1,200 armed soldiers, and subdue them he did. 

If that’s not White Nationalism I don’t know what is.


Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts (Photos Prints Puzzles Posters...) #5877896


The Pilgrims of course did the same thing (I seldom mention this at Thanksgiving. It puts a damper on the celebration, and there is much to admire about the Pilgrims’ perseverance). They raided the food supplies that the Wampanoag’s had stored on Cape Cod. And then when they got to Plymouth they said, “Isn’t this wonderful that all this land has been cleared for us, and that most the savages have already died. God has made a way for us.”  

If that’s not White Nationalism I don’t know what is.

They knew their Bibles, but apparently, they hadn’t gotten to the last book of the Bible, where it says God loves people from every, tribe and language and people and nation;

Today, as you know, there are those who don’t think teachers should teach about America’s racial history. They say, “We shouldn’t discuss things that will make white kids uncomfortable.” 

If that’s not White Nationalism I don’t know what is.

A true education should make us uncomfortable at least once in a while, shouldn’t it? It’s like what they say about the job of a preacher. It’s “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” If we’re not uncomfortable every once in a while, we won’t grow.

Illustration. I started physical therapy this past week. The stretches and exercises are not comfortable. I don’t like them. I’d rather not do them, but I won’t heal if I can’t put up with being uncomfortable.

Speaking of uncomfortable . . .

I was at a Pastor’s Meeting about 8 years ago in another town, when one pastor said this: “America was destined by God to be founded as a Christian nation (and he was referring specifically to the Puritans). England didn’t lose a single ship in crossing the Atlantic to the New World. Spain lost dozens of ships. It was God-ordained.”

I’ve never seen a room full of pastors suddenly be so quiet. I was thinking to myself, “I think that the most racist thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” But I couldn’t find the right words to say, and I hoped that someone else would – but no one did, and the meeting went on as if nothing had happened.

And there’s at least 2 issues in that statement that are so offensive – America was founded by Native Americans! And then the other piece is the pastor seemed to be saying that God wanted more English people here than Spaniards.

If that’s not White Nationalism I don’t know what is.

But my Bible and yours say that God loves people from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.

I still feel bad about keeping silent that day. I should have simply said, “What are you implying?”



Martin Luther King, Jr.“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”

In 1963, King was arrested for violating Alabama’s law against mass public demonstrations. On the day of his arrest members of the clergy in Birmingham published a letter in the Birmingham News saying that they agreed with his principles, but he was going too fast and being too radical. He needed to use more common sense

He wrote Letter from the Birmingham Jail in his jail cell.

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

We can’t be lukewarm about this anymore!

If we say we don’t want to talk about race, we’re really saying that we want things to stay the same.

If we don’t want to have those hard conversations, we’re saying that everything is okay.

If we want to keep silent the way I did that day, then we’re saying that everything is fine.

But everything is not fine!

Racism & hate crimes have increased.

Racial injustice and inequalities aren’t getting better.

In 2016 a Boston University study compared life expectancy of the Back Bay area in Boston with that of Roxbury.

Back Bay life expectancy: 92 years.

Roxbury life expectancy: 59 years.

The two neighborhoods are 2 ½ miles apart, but the life expectancy difference is 33 years! Back Bay of course is mostly White, and Roxbury is of course mostly Black.



Clearly we have work to do to demonstrate God’s love to every tribe, every people, every language, every tongue.

Stephanie Paulsell, is a professor at Harvard Divinity School. She wrote a beautiful article recently entitled, “Made for Care,” in which she said this:

“Our fragile bodies and our vulnerable lives are signs that we have been placed in each other’s care. Giving and receiving . . . are what we’re made for.”

Our lives are fragile. This world is often a dangerous place. Nobody goes through life without their share of bumps and bruises. Fortunately, God made us to care for each other. We’re put here to care.

In closing, take that same principle and apply it to humanity’s rich diversity.

God has made human beings wonderful diverse and yet we’re one common humanity.

We’re made to embrace diversity, to celebrate diversity.

We’re made to love one another.

Think about it.

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