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The Review and Herald

June 24, 1915

Hope for the Heathen

Mrs. E. G. White

(Concluded.)

The prophet was permitted to look down the centuries to the time of the advent of the promised Messiah. At first he beheld only “trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish.” Isaiah 8:22. Many who were longing for the light of truth were being led astray by false teachers into the bewildering mazes of philosophy and spiritism; others were placing their trust in a form of godliness, but were not bringing true holiness into the life practice. The outlook seemed hopeless; but soon the scene changed, and before the eyes of the prophet was spread a wondrous vision. He saw the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and, lost in admiration, he exclaimed: “The dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Isaiah 9:1, 2.

This glorious Light of the world was to bring salvation to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Of the work before Him, the prophet heard the Eternal Father declare: “It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.... In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.... Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.” Isaiah 49:6-12.

Looking on still farther through the ages, the prophet beheld the literal fulfillment of these glorious promises. He saw the bearers of the glad tidings of salvation going to the ends of the earth, to every kindred and people. He heard the Lord saying of the gospel church, “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream” (Isaiah 66:12); and he heard the commission, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles.” Isaiah 54:2, 3.

Jehovah declared to the prophet that he would send his witnesses “unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, ... to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off.” “They shall declare my glory among the Gentiles,” the prophet was assured by the divine messenger; “and they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations ... to my holy mountain Jerusalem.... And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites.” Isaiah 66:19-21.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Isaiah 52:7.

The prophet heard the voice of God calling his church to her appointed work, that the way might be prepared for the ushering in of his everlasting kingdom. The message was unmistakably plain:

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

“For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

“Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

“Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.... They shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord.”

“Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.

“And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favor have I had mercy on thee. Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.” Isaiah 60:1-6, 8-11.

“Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.”

“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:8, 22.

These prophecies of a great spiritual awakening in a time of gross darkness are today meeting fulfillment in the advancing lines of mission stations that are reaching out into the benighted regions of earth. The groups of missionaries in heathen lands have been likened by the prophet to ensigns set up for the guidance of those who are looking for the light of truth.

“In that day,” says Isaiah, “there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people.... And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:10-12.

The day of deliverance is at hand. “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9. Among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, he sees men and women who are praying for light and knowledge. Their souls are unsatisfied: long have they fed on ashes. See Isaiah 44:20. The enemy of all righteousness has turned them aside, and they grope as blind men. But they are honest in heart, and desire to learn a better way. Although in the depths of heathenism, with no knowledge of the written law of God or of his Son Jesus, they have revealed in manifold ways the working of a divine power on mind and character.

At times those who have no knowledge of God aside from that which they have received under the operations of divine grace, have been kind to his servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. The Holy Spirit is implanting the grace of Christ in the heart of many a noble seeker after truth, quickening his sympathies contrary to his nature, contrary to his former education. The “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9), is shining in his soul; and this Light, if heeded, will guide his feet to the kingdom of God. The prophet Micah said, “When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Micah 7:8.

Heaven's plan of salvation is broad enough to embrace the whole world. God longs to breathe into prostrate humanity the breath of life. And he will not permit any soul to be disappointed who is sincere in his longing for something higher and nobler than anything the world can offer. Constantly he is sending his angels to those who, while surrounded by circumstances the most discouraging, pray in faith for some power higher than themselves to take possession of them, and bring deliverance and peace. In various ways God will reveal himself to them, and will place them in touch with providences that will establish their confidence in the One who has given himself a ransom for all, “that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” Psalm 78:7.

“Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered.” Isaiah 49:24, 25. “They shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.” Isaiah 42:17.

“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Psalm 146:5. “Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope.” Zechariah 9:12. Unto all the honest in heart in heathen lands- “the upright” in the sight of heaven—“there ariseth light in the darkness.” Psalm 112:4. God hath spoken: “I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16.

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