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"They will declare My glory
'God's Ability to Glorify His Name among the Nations' (Isaiah 66:19) is part 2 to a four part series on Isaiah 66:18-22. God is not frustrated with man's unwillingness to do His will or even the reluctancy of Israel, His people to do His will. God gives us a worldwide sign that proves His will shall be accomplished. You might be surprised where that sign will show itself fulfilled! Stay reading.
“And I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tubal, and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.
Man might get frustrated, but ￼God never is. He has a plan within a plan. Remember, God purposed to bring His glory to the nations through His people. There is perhaps no greater sin than not to share what one has received from another. The israelites received God’s light but refused to share it. They instead got prideful that they had God’s truth and no one else did.
As we look at the New Testament, we see the amazing way God works out His plan within a plan. The New Testament is essentially how God carried out His plan despite the stubbornness of His people. This is what we find in the Book of Acts.
Judgment would come to those who resisted His purpose. But from that judged nation of Israel, God will send forth ‘survivors’ who would go throughout the world declaring God’s glory. He speaks about how they will specifically go to Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Rosh, Tubal, Javan and the distant coastlands. These names are unfamiliar to us but common in Isaiah’s time around 600 years before Christ.
These survivors, spoken of in this passage, were the Jewish believers in the early church. We see them going to all parts of the world. Where did Stephen go? He met the Ethiopian eunuch that was going down to Africa. Tarshish refers to most likely refers to Crete, which at one time had great fleets (as the OT indicates).
Paul wrote to Titus who was stationed in Crete. Tubal refers probably to northeast Asia Minor. The Spirit led Paul over to Macedonia and Achaia which make up modern Greece. Javan is Greece. The above map shows how Paul the Apostle’s 3rd missionary journey and trip to Rome actually fulfilled most of the prophecies of this passage. These things were just a sign though, as verse 66:19 says.
A sign is a significant event that is said to happen beforetime. Its fulfillment becomes a mark that the one who gave the sign has sufficient knowledge, wisdom and power to carry out all his purpose. In this case, God said He would actually use the Jews who survived judgment to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles around the Mediterranean.But this was not the end. It was the beginning.It was a mere sign to prove all the other things that would happen.￼ In this case, the glory of God would indeed go to the end of the nations. Paul seemed to think that the Mediterranean was the end of the world but his assumption was wrong. That was merely the beginning, a sign.
God is able to carry out His mission to the whole world that His glory be known everywhere. There is a power flowing behind missions. It is God’s purpose to make it happen. In just the recent thirty years, more has happened in the area of world missions than previous centuries of Christian church history.
We might be concerned with N. Korea’s nuclear explosion, but it is much more important to recognize Jesus exercising His authority to carry out His mission through His people. This is why the world today is so exciting. If God wants to do something, what will stop Him? Absolutely nothing. It is incredible. Let me give you two pictures of what God has recently done. This is a picture of God’s ability to bring His glory to the nations.
This first picture was taken when I was in college. In the 1970s China was a hardened communistic nation. Little accurate information went in or out. People were praying for Red China, but we could not do much more. Going to China was not an option for me even in the early 80s. ￼We instead chose to go to Taiwan and start churches there. About that time, information started to leak out that the church had survived one of the worst persecutions in history. I was very interested in China. I studied East Asian studies. I wanted so much to share the Gospel with those from there, but the only place I could find those from mainland China were in a communist store in Chicago along with Mao’s little red book.
Could God open China? Back then, we would not have believed so. Could we imagine or dream of CEOs in hugo companies, generals in the army and many top professors, or hundreds of thousands, many millions of farmers, coming to know the Lord? Probably not. And even more, it is incredible to think of how thousands of students from China have come to know the Lord while overseas.
At one point, the church was locked out, except in her prayers. But now many believe that the believers in nations like this will lead the thrust into the final harvest. This is a mere thirty years. At one point we were locked out, but now the Gospel is flourishing. God is in charge. His purpose is to break down walls and let the Gospel penetrate for it is there the glory of God is made known.
In 1950 there were a million Christians in China. Now there are more than 85 million. More than 30,000 people in China are coming to know the Lord each and every day. Notice how China went from being a closed country to a fairly open one in just one generation. God has purposed Himself. God is able.
There are not too many places where the Gospel has not gone forth bringing in its harvest. The Muslim world has for centuries has been one of these closed people groups. The Muslims are a hard culture. If a person believes in Jesus, then the family is responsible to kill the believer. But God is creating another picture in our very generation. The door to the Muslim world is now opening. ￼
This comes about by no plan of some mission agency, but by the many hundreds of thousands of prayers said on behalf of the Muslim world. God is breaking down this wall. God has taken significant calculated steps to open up the world.
Just think what a tremendous work God has done even in the last five years. God uses great earthquakes, tsunamis and even war to open up countries. I am not at all saying that the Gospel should ever justify war, but we are fools to not see how God has and is using such things as the evil of men and upsets of nature to change the way people groups respond to the Gospel.
The church is growing ever so quickly in Indonesia. Guess where a lot of the growth is taking place? Right where the disasters hit the hardest. Singapore does not allow the evangelization of the Muslims. But praise God, one or more Muslim churches are starting up there. There are many substantial reports of many people coming to know the Lord in Iran and Iraq. In many cases, a Muslim will have a dream and then try to figure out what it means. God arranges an evangelist for them, usually in thedisguise of a teacher or social worker, to share the Gospel with them.
He can breakdown any wall of resistance. We only took a quick look at two fields but in fact there are many more examples of what God is doing. Just think of the breakdown of the Soviet bloc and the way the gospel penetrated countries like Ukraine. The Christians in that country are now poised to send out missions to their neighboring countries including Russia itself. Jesus has all authority on heaven and earth. He is using it. This is the third thing that we find prophesied in this passage. We will look more at that, but first, in what ways are you mobilized to use your resources to accelerate the Lord’s cause?
Have you ever canoed down a stream. In certain places there are dead spots. That is, there is no current there. The water is stale and mucky. There is no movement. This is like a Christian that is not taking part in God’s mission. You might be like that and wondering how you can become part. If you are in a dead spot, all you need to do is deliberately paddle out to where the current is. You need to take a few steps of action to get involved and then you will see God’s power working in your life. Once there, you will paddle, but you will see and feel God working. You will marvel at His ways.