After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands (Revelation 7:9).
It has been estimated that there are from 12,000 to 17,000 ethnic groups in the world, including all the cultural groups with distinct dialects of their own. According to the great prophecy in our text, some from each of these will one day stand before the Lord Jesus Christ in salvation. Yet only about 5000 of these groups have been reached with some kind of meaningful and fruitful witness to date, at least in terms of their own dialects.
The Lord has commanded that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations (Luke 24:47) and has also promised that this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations (Matthew 24:14).
Although there are different interpretations as to how and when these prophecies will be fulfilled, they have not yet been fulfilled, for the end has not yet come. It is clear that the Lord desires every group to hear the gospel message, for some in each must eventually be saved. He hast made of one blood all nations of men. . . . That they should seek the Lord (Acts 17:26,27).
With millions of Christians today, as well as hundreds of mission societies and thousands of full-time missionaries, it should at least be possible to establish in each ethnic group an effective witness for Christ in this present generation.
It will be a wonderful day when, gathered at His throne, we can sing praises with all the nations to Him, saying: Thou art worthy . . . for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9). HMM