Business as Mission (BAM) is a global movement of business leaders and entrepreneurs following God’s call to fulfill the Great Commission and obey the Great Commandment through God-honoring businesses all over the world.
A key organization in this movement is BAM Global, and a key event is the online BAM Global Conference, a time to learn from and connect with BAM leaders and practitioners from around the world. The next BAM Global Conference is coming up in about a month. We at US Navigators Missional Enterprise regularly participate in these events and are greatly encouraged and blessed by them.
The end of the Book of Revelation describes THE great global gathering that should be an encouragement to those engaging in business to make disciples and make a difference!
In chapters 21-22 of Revelation, John describes the new heaven and the new earth as well as the new Jerusalem, with no temple and neither sun nor moon, because “the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (21:23)
The passage goes on to describe the kings of the earth coming into the city:
By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. Revelation 21:24-26 (ESV)
In the commentary on the Book of Revelation, the Theology of Work Project provides background to the passage:
There is, for instance, still meaningful human participation in the life of the celestial city come to earth. Central to this, of course, is the worship people bring to God and the Lamb. But there seems to be more than this in the note that “people will bring into [the New Jerusalem] the glory and honor of the nations” (Rev. 21:24–26). In the ancient world, it was desirable to build a temple with the best materials from all over the world; this is what Solomon did for the temple in Jerusalem. More than that, people would bring gifts from far and wide to adorn the temple after its completion. It is probable that the image of kings bringing their gifts to the New Jerusalem flows from this background. It does not seem too much of a stretch to imagine that these gifts are the products of human culture, devoted now to the glory of God.
Pastor Scotty Smith, in an article for The Gospel Coalition, points out the echoes in this passage back to both the prophecies of Isaiah and even the first chapters of Genesis:
John’s vision of the New Jerusalem includes the fulfillment of prophecies spoken by the prophet Isaiah (chapter 60) which anticipate the gathering and redeeming of “splendor of the kings” and the “glory and honor of the nations.” These words of hope take us back to the Garden of Eden where God first gave Adam and Eve (and their posterity), what we call the creation, or “cultural” mandate-that is, the charge to take the raw stuff of creation and make “culture” from it. “Culture,” in essence, is how a people group organizes and celebrates itself for life in the world-how they dress, how they prepare food, their music and art, their architecture, their mores, traditions, etc.
Our hope-filled, joy-producing take-a-way from this aspect of John’s vision of life in the new heaven and new earth is this: We will forever enjoy aspects of the cultures of every people group represented in the family of God, AND, we will make new culture forever as the pan-national family of God inhabiting the new heaven and new earth!
Our culture-making and even our work in this world can and should be glorifying to God! Imagine the God-glorifying beauty that will be expressed as the nations gather!
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10 ESV
Let’s meditate on the great honor it is to be able to cry out in praise to God and to the Lamb, along with those from every nation, tribe, and tongue!
These passages are also addressed in the book Garden City by pastor John Mark Comer (reviewed in a previous M3 Weekly edition).