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by Wayne Blank
Dennis, Willy and I are "foreigners" to one another, and yet we are family - we are of the same blood. The three of us, for example, have the same great-grandfather, Quirinius, who, if he were alive and saw the three of us together before him, might say "Hello, my sons," and would consider all three of us as Belgians, as he himself was, because that's where our roots are.
But the roots go deeper. Belgium has only existed as a country since 1831, when the southern provinces of the Netherlands split from the northern provinces of the Netherlands. Before then, our Belgian ancestors were Dutch ancestors (the language of northern Belgium, Flemish, is a variety of Dutch).
But the roots go even deeper than that, because the Dutch themselves were a tribe of the Germans - as were the people who later became the Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Finns, Austrians, Swiss, the English, among others (the Dutch and other "Germanic" languages share a common origin - Dutch is derived from Deutsch, the German word for a German i.e. Germans call Germany Deutschland). The Germans, the tribes of the Germans, migrated to central Europe from the Middle East in ancient times. The commanders of the mighty Roman legions were certainly well aware of them - the Romans never took Germany from the German "spear throwers."
The top branches of a tree, no matter how far they are from the roots, no matter how much younger they may be than the roots, are of the same stock as the roots. The fate of the roots is also the fate of the top branches. That's true of my family, and it's true of your family, and it's true for the family of every other human being. In terms of Bible prophecy, it's the roots, the nations that are spoken of, not the man-made "country" (although the country may also be identified based on what nation it has been assigned to, regardless of how many other nations of people that may also live there away from their own God-given lands) that have come into existence long after the Bible was written.
Country and Nation
Although nowadays they are often used interchangeably, the literal meanings of country and nation are actually very different. The difference that exists between country and nation is very important when studying Bible History, when people were scattered at various times, and Prophecy, which deals with, among many other things, a future time when people, including the so-called "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel," will be gathered home.
"As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out My sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on fat pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of My sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice." (Ezekiel 34:12-16 RSV)