Now let’s consider how the rest of Scripture develops the table of nations. The apostle Paul clearly indicates that the dispersion of the nations was God’s plan all along. “And he made from one man, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:26).
God’ sovereign plan from the beginning was to fill the earth with human creatures — image bearers who would obey him by multiplying and filling the earth and by following the creation mandate in order to reflect the creator’s glory. Even after the fall, his purpose was that human creatures spread all over the globe and glorify his name — but of course now that would have to come through the redemption provided by Christ, the one who fulfills God’s promise to Abraham that he would be a blessing to all the nations (Genesis 12:3).
This is made plain in Matthew 28:18–20, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.” Go into all the nations. Scripture is abundantly clear on this:
Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Luke 24:46, “Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning in Jerusalem.”
Acts 1:8, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in all Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
So this great story of Scripture — the story the Bible tells that no one else is going to — tells us that God’s plan from the beginning was the dispersion of peoples. His judgment sowed confusion among those peoples because of their sin. And yet, Christ’s response was to say to his own, you are to go to all the nations. Repentance and the forgiveness of sins are to be declared in his name to all the nations. That task is complexified by the confusion of languages. But in the gospel, while we may not have the same language or the same ethnic heritage but we will have the same Christ. This is the glory of the gospel. God dispersed the nations into confusion. But Christ dispersed his disciples to save the nations. Out of these many nations God is making one new humanity. The real issue is not how people look but what people believe or more appropriate, in who they believe. The Table and the Tower ultimately point us to the necessity of thecross and the power of the gospel.