“Arise, Shine,” Blazing Glory, Compelling Times
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Today we shall look at a very important set of scripture texts that tell us what to expect during the very last moments of earth’s history. We’re living on the edge of eternity and we need to know God’s will for His people in these compelling times of trouble and difficulty.
But before I begin, I want to urge you to invite your friends to join Keep the Faith Ministry. They need to hear the messages of preparation for the end times. Most of God’s people are sound asleep. They do not want to be disturbed. But something has to stir them up, my friends, and you may be God’s messenger to give them an opportunity to wake out of slumber and join the ranks of those who are preparing for the second coming of Christ. Please order some of our “confused dog cards” so that you can give them away to those who are not yet subscribers. We have plenty on hand for you to give away.
Also, we urge you to order your copy of the 12 part series of sermons called the “Prophetic Secrets of the New World Order” from Keep the Faith. You will find them very enlightening and helpful in your spiritual journey. They will help you understand how to interpret the events of our times, in light of the trajectory of prophecy. I expect 2017 to be rather volatile and unpredictable. There will be very sad things that happen, but there will also be some wonderful victories in Christ. I hope you will be a partaker of His righteousness and gain the experience we are going to talk about today to prepare you for your final work on earth.
And thank you for your support for Keep the Faith ministry. Your gifts mean so much to us as we try to get the message out to as many people as possible all around the world. Anything you send is greatly appreciated.
Let us begin with prayer. Our Father in heaven, thank you for Jesus who loves us beyond measure. When we think about the Love of Christ we are impressed with a small sense of Your own deep sacrifice in sending Your son to our rebellious planet to redeem fallen man. What a privilege we will have as Your witnesses in these perilous times. Please grant us Your mercy and give us of Your Holy Spirit. We need the character of Christ in our lives so that we may become what You plan for us to become. Now as we begin our study today, we plead with You to bless us immensely as we open Your word. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let us open our Bibles to a very familiar verse of scripture, Matthew 24:9, 10, 21 and 22. Listen carefully to what it says. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake… And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
The end times are predicted in scripture to be very difficult and challenging for anyone who will go through them. The world will be devastated by natural and man-made disasters, wars, conflict, violence, hatred and many deceptions. They will be compelling. And we certainly see these things today, don’t we, my friends?
We also expect persecutions and hostility to the truth of God as men and women turn their backs on the Holy Spirit and spur His powerful and earnest appeals. Some of God’s people will even lose their lives as witnesses to His power to sustain them in the midst of great trial and persecution.
Then we also have this verse in John, chapter 16:2. “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
These words of Christ tell us that we are in for quite a ride as the nations of the earth try to justify themselves in their rebellion and blame God’s people for all the trouble that has come upon them. Your life will be in danger if you are a follower of Jesus. Yet God’s people cannot give up their faith. In fact, God has given them so much evidence of His power and love that they cling to His promises to deliver them from the demons that seek to unhinge their faith and destroy them.
Many people think that end time prophecies are rather frightening. They fear them so much that they don’t want to talk about them. They do not want to hear messages from their pulpits in church about them because they think it is just too scary. People want a smooth message today, my friends. You can see it and hear it in the sermons of most pulpits. Even among God’s people, they want soft, velvety messages that keep them in their slumber, dozing along as if there is no concern for the future.
But friends, I’ve said it many times. In Christ there is no fear. Yes, they will go through compelling times. They will be tested. But in Christ we do not need to be afraid of the end times. Nor do we need to avoid listening to the sermons that need to be preached for we need our minds developed on these themes so we will be prepared for them when they do come. May God have mercy on us!
Please, my friends, let the message of truth sink into your soul. Listen again to the message that I sent out in December on the Investigative Judgment and the need to prepare to live in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. It’s one thing to understand the theory of the truth, but it is quite another thing to have Christ the truth in your heart. To have a love of the truth, or a love of Christ, is the most important treasure you can pursue. You may have all knowledge, but not having the love of Jesus in your soul, you are just as lost as the man in the gutter.
But my message today should take your breath away. I want to take your thinking to the next level. As much of that fearful stuff is going on in the last moments of earth’s history, there is another development that is just as important as the Sunday law; just as important as the no-buy, no-sell law; just as important as the predictions of dungeons and martyrdoms. It is a parallel movement that overwhelms the true people of God with something so powerful that they can hardly contain themselves. They will speak the words of God. They will act as Christ would act. This is a testimony to the wicked of the wickedness of their lives. It is a testimony to the power of Christ to overcome the enemy and have victory over your temper and your impatience, and all those other things that we fall into so easily. This movement happens before the close of probation. It is a soul-saving movement that will sweep away the bondage and chains of those who have been held back by their own circumstances. It will be a powerful and inspiring time for God’s people who refuse to go along with magistrates and religious leaders in violating the law of God.
Listen to this inspiring statement from Great Controversy, page 612.
“The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.”
But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. We need to understand the background of this statement. So, let us delve into the word of God for a bit more light.
Turn with me in your Bibles to Isaiah 60. This chapter leads us through this time in very powerful language. We need to break it down so that we can think carefully about these verses and understand them in a fresh, new way. Some of these verses are familiar to us and we have probably read them many times. But we brush over them as nice devotional instruction or encouragement. But the fact is, they are telling us something truly amazing that we must understand.
So, let us start reading verse one. Listen carefully. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.”
What is the glory of the Lord? This is an important question. The Bible defines glory as character. It’s found in Exodus 33 and 34. In Exodus 33:18 Moses’ begs God, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” But God cannot do that without serious consequences. In verse 20 God says, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” Moses would be consumed if he saw God’s glory as it is face to face. Moses could talk to God “face to face” as with a friend, but he could not actually see God’s face and survive for he was a terrible sinner. He had killed a man and who knows what else he had done. But, even though Moses was a forgiven sinner, he was still mortal and would not survive seeing God’s face.
So, God said to Moses in verses 21-23, “Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”
Moses was privileged to climb up on Mount Sinai and see God’s back parts. What a powerful moment for him. God said he would proclaim the name of the Lord to him.
Chapter 34:6-7 say, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”
Did you hear all those wonderful character qualities that God has? So, the name of God, the glory of God and His character are all the same. And what wonderful qualities these are. He’s merciful. He’s gracious. He’s longsuffering. He’s abundant in goodness and truth. He is forgiving of iniquity, transgression and sin. But He’s also just and will permit the consequences of sin to be played out on unrepentant sinners.
Think about these qualities a little bit, my friends. These are wonderful! They are a promise to those who love God. Do you have those qualities? Often when we exercise something like these qualities, they are self-serving. They may be expedient or convenient at times, but not always. And when it is not expedient or convenient, you don’t have them. We are inconsistent. We tend to be unstable. But God is those qualities no matter what! He does not change. He is always the same. So those qualities in God are different from those qualities in us and yet God wants to develop His qualities in us. This is His glory! He wants to manifest His actual character traits in our lives consistently through the most difficult and compelling time in history.
And that’s what verse one in Isaiah 60 actually says. “For the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” That means that God’s character has been developed in your life so that He can shine light on it and it will expose His character to the world around you.
What does the word “risen” mean? Is it like turning on the light switch and all of a sudden the light comes on and the darkness flees? No, it is not like turning on a light switch. “Risen” suggests to us that the character of Christ is not produced in us instantaneously. It must be developed over time, like the sun rising in the east. The sky gradually gets brighter and brighter until it is as bright as noonday in blazing glory. Friends, we must develop maturity in Christ. That’s what this is talking about. You cannot remain eating the milk of the word. You must grow to understand and digest the meat of the word. Your experience must increase in all the Christian virtues as found in 2 Peter 1:5-8, which says, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
You see my friends, when you have Christ in you, He forgives you of your sin, but that’s not all. He has longing desire to make you like Himself. And at the very end time, when everyone seems to be saying it can’t be done, that you can never be completely like Christ, you can never overcome your sins, Jesus is saying that He will work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure. He will accomplish the victories that you need. He will bring you to maturity in Christ.
Listen to these verses, 1 John 3:2. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Jude 24, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy…”
Ephesians 5:27, Paul is talking about the church, a group of people in the last days who will be pure and holy. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
And there are many other verses of scripture along these lines as well. It is possible, my friends, to overcome sin. Why would Christ offer wonderful benefits to the overcomers in Revelation 2 and 3 if it were not possible? To “him that overcometh,” is repeated over and over again. Either the Bible is a big lie, or it is the truth. And if you believe it to be the truth, then you have to accept that Christ will make you an overcomer over all the enemy’s temptations. Christ is not half-hearted in His support for His people. He’s serious. And we must be serious also, if we are going to experience the Holy Spirit in latter rain power and eternal life in Christ.
But most of us resist this powerful experience. We still want to sin. We still want to go our own way. We still want to live for self and polish self so it looks real nice. But God says this is all filthy rags. You must have the righteousness of Christ, my friend. It is the spotless robe woven in the loom of heaven. It is imparted to the repentant sinner who is forgiven of his sins and made white in Christ’s blood that was spilt for him on Calvary. That’s justification. But Christ doesn’t want to leave you there. You must grow in Christ and develop that Character that Moses saw on the mount. It must be tested and tried and strengthened and made bright in the beauty of Christ’s love and power.
Notice that Isaiah 60:1 also says that, “Thy light is come.” Is that your light, or Christ’s light? Its Christ’s light that has been put in your heart, and now it is also your light. If Christ’s character is your possession; if you are partnered with Christ, then Christ’s light is shining out of your countenance. That’s why the Bible says “Thy light has come.” It has come into you and now it is yours too in all its blazing glory.
If you have the character of Christ in you, you will shine brilliantly. Your countenance will shine like Moses’ when he came down from the mount. When Moses had seen God, the Bible tells us that his face shone. At first they could not look at it. So “till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face,” Exodus 34:33. But later, when Moses went to speak with God in the tabernacle, the Bible says in verse 34, that he took the veil off. But when he came out, verse 35 says, “And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.”
Can you imagine your skin shining? Well, that’s often the way it is with a true Christian. His face shines with a brightness that is seen by others. But my guess is that the shining smile on most Christian’s faces is only a faint reflection of the blazing brightness of Christ that will light up His people. “Thy light has come, and the character of God has risen upon thee.”
So, the command to arise and shine is not something that you can obey without the character of Christ deeply embedded in your soul. In order to shine you must have power of the Holy Spirit in your life to give you Christ’s power to overcome your sins. Notice that it is not your power. It is Christ’s power. It is not partly your power and partly Christ’s power. It is all Christ’s power that can overcome your gross humanity and perverse ways. The Holy Spirit must gradually fill your life as you throw out the enemy’s temptations one by one. When Christ takes over your life, He brings you freedom from sin, not just freedom from guilt. But you still must mature in your experience with Christ. That’s sanctification. So, by keeping free of sin, Christ gives you experiences that strengthen your resistance to temptation and also gives you an advanced spiritual outlook so that you are not a spiritual child any more. The more victories you gain, the more complete your understanding and love of God will become.
But Isaiah 60 is not just talking about the normal way in which the Holy Spirit manifests Himself and matures His children. Isaiah 60 is talking about what happens after you have been mature. It is, in fact, talking about the latter rain. Yes, that’s right. If you are going to have the latter rain, you must have the character of Christ, otherwise heaven cannot trust you. The latter rain is poured out only on those whom heaven can trust with the power. And it will be a mighty power. You may even be able to do miracles by that power.
Friends, why don’t we have the bright light today, like that? Why don’t we have that power? It’s because we are still living in sin. God is not going to pour out his Holy Spirit on those who are living in sin. He can’t trust them. And He’s not going to give power to those whom He cannot trust. So, the first step in getting ready for the latter rain is to deal with sin in your life, through the love and power of Christ.
Now let us look at Isaiah 60:2. “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.”
So, this is saying that the character of God will be seen by others. But who is it that is going to see the character of God in you? The verse is talking about people in darkness, gross darkness.
What is this gross darkness and how did the earth become so dark? Let me read you a statement from the book Christ’s Object Lessons, page 415. “It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth.”
In other words, the problem is that the people of the world do not understand the character of God. They have been so confused by so many professors of religion that do not really live Christ. Notice that the author says, “men are losing their knowledge of His character.” This doesn’t happen all at once. When you sin, your heart is a little more hardened to the Holy Spirit. You cannot hear Him as well. When you persist in sin, you lose more of the ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
This is what happens to worldly people that become so hardened in sin that they cannot hear or respond to the gentle, still, small voice of the Spirit of God. God will never overthrow the power of choice even for the wicked. But if they choose to go their own way persistently enough, He will then have only one option, and that is for them to destroy themselves. Sometimes, He advances the cause and effect of it, to protect His work and His interests, by bringing destruction upon the unrepentant, such as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah, or in the flood brought upon the world in Noah’s day.
But listen to the following statement from the book Great Controversy, page 614. “When [Jesus] leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old.”
While that is talking about the time after the close of human probation, the point is that the Holy Spirit is not withdrawn all at once. As wickedness increases, so does the darkness, as God’s spirit is withdrawn from the earth. So as men of the world turn their backs on God, they grope in deeper and deeper darkness until they are in gross darkness, as Isaiah 60 says. And the restraint that the Holy Spirit places on wickedness gradually disappears and men become increasingly violent and corrupt. The earth becomes more wicked and corrupt, and its inhabitants more cruel and violent. They descend to the bottom of the barrel of moral worth. They may be in high positions of trust and responsibility. But they are immoral, selfish and lustful. Many of them live for sex, or for gluttony, or for violence. Just look at the political leaders in nations of today. And it even infiltrates into the churches. Just look at some religious leaders today. This is the way it was before the flood and it is the way it is now, just before the close of probation. How many days do you wake up and read the news, and NOT hear anything about violence, murder, or other crimes? I dare say you don’t get any days like that now.
The darkness is pressed upon us from everywhere. It is pushed on us by Hollywood, by the music industry, by the internet, even by government and society in general. For as society becomes more wicked, so does the government. Those people grope in darkness, which leads to a fanatical passion to make themselves happy by any means available to them. They fill their minds with rubbish from the television, from their electronic devices, and by self-medication. You know what that is, right? Self-medication is the use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and every form of food addiction. They get a little dopamine hit, and it makes them feel so good that they want more. So, they clamor for another and another until they are addicted. They try sex of whatever variety, hoping to find love and happiness. When that fails, they abuse themselves to at least get the rush. Oh friends, what an age to live in. What a dangerous, immoral and depraved world!
This is what happens when the Spirit of God is withdrawn from the wicked. They go crazy. They push the boundaries of morality and wickedness even further out. They do everything they can to force the pure holy ones to join them in their rebellion because they do not want the voice or the example of purity. They will even become violent. In fact, they are being conditioned to react in violence to anything they don’t like.
And that’s the issue today, my friends. Moral purity is at the core of it all. In Christ, you have moral purity, and outside of Him you do not. It’s that simple. And there are many church members today who are living outside of Christ even though they call themselves Christians. They are in darkness.
Isaiah 60:2 says, “the Lord shall arise upon thee.” In other words, as the spirit of God departs from the wicked, He will concentrate His power and put it on the pure ones, the Holy ones who have overcome their sins by Christ’s power and blood. Those who are preparing to live in the sight of a Holy God without a mediator or intercessor are the ones who get the Holy Spirit in latter rain power. No one else can be trusted with that much power. Isaiah 60 is about what happens to those who have purified their lives in Christ.
As they receive more and more of the Spirit of God, it “arises” upon them. Not only does it strengthen them to resist the most deceptive temptations of the enemy, but it empowers them to win souls like never before. As people see their light they are amazed by its contrast with their own darkness, and while some turn from it and angrily turn on those who have it, making Sunday laws and other oppressive enactments to restrict their witness, God’s Spirit breaks through and many see the light. They see the contrast between their confused and depressed lives, and the clear light and confidence of God’s people. They see their peace and joy, their hope and their certainty in Christ. They see the sense of destiny they have on their faces, and they long for the same peace, satisfaction and joy that the overcomers have.
And look what happens. Listen to verse three. “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
So, the Bible clearly tells us that at least some of these people in darkness will see the great light of the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s trustworthy saints, and they come to them begging them to show them the way of peace. And God’s true people have the opportunity to open their Bibles and teach them about Christ who loved them from everlasting even before they knew of Him, even while they were yet sinners.
Notice this amazing passage from Great Controversy, page 612. “The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.”
What a powerful witness that will be! And it will change the lives of thousands. But did you notice that kings will come “to the brightness of thy rising?” Who does the Bible describe as the kings of the earth? These are the rulers like presidents, prime ministers, dictators and monarchs. But there are also kings of smaller territories, like states governors, county magistrates, legislative councils, city mayors and other territories. Some of these, moved by the Spirit of God, which shall be poured out on all flesh, will see the light on the countenances of the righteous, as God brings them into contact with these “kings of the earth.” And they will respond and open their hearts to God’s call. Some of them will work to protect God’s people in legislative halls, in courtrooms and economic councils and other places of danger for God’s people. Some of them will surrender their lives to Jesus and become humble servants of the Most High. These are the 11th hour workers Jesus told about in His parable of the vineyard.
Think about it, you might have the opportunity to explain the truth to President Trump, or Prime Minister Turnbull, or Chancellor Merkel. Maybe these are not the ones who will respond, but you will have opportunity to give the message to some kings of the earth. If you love Jesus with all your heart, you will be given the grace and power to live fully in harmony with His law. And this will cause the Spirit of God to fall upon you and concentrate His power in your life, so that you will offset the power of the evil angels around you. You will have an irresistible witness to the love and power of Christ even to the kings of the earth.
My guess is that you will be greatly surprised at who God will send to you seeking His truth. It may be as much of a surprise as Ananias to whom God sent Saul after he met Christ on the road to Damascus. Do you remember what had happened to Paul? He was blinded by the light of Christ! He was in such darkness that the light was so bright that it temporarily blinded him.
Here are the verses from Acts 9:10-16. “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.”
Do you hear the surprise in Ananias’ voice? I do. What? How can this be? But God was just getting started with the greatest champion of truth the world ever witnessed other than Christ.
Verse 15, “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
Friends, this is the way it will be when the Holy Spirit is poured out on you. God’s people will be astonished at how God will use them to reach lost souls and bring them to Christ. Notice that God brought Saul into connection with this godly man, Ananias to open Saul’s eyes and teach him the principles of Christianity. Now Paul, whose name was changed, could see both literally and spiritually.
Now notice Isaiah 60 verse four. “Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee…”
So, it’s not just one or two. It is many, perhaps thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands. Some will come out of curiosity. Some will come out of longing for light and truth. Some will come with an uncontrollable desire to shed their miserable dark lives, and turn to the Son of Righteousness who arises with healing in His wings, Malachi 4:2. They long for healing. They long for love. They long to have their darkness dispelled, and they beg of you to tell them the truth. They have been running from the truth for so long, but they now turn and seek for it with all their hearts.
You may have so many requests for light that you’ll have to hire a meeting hall, or even a stadium or convention center to preach the word to the people. How much would that cost? Notice that the verse says “they gather themselves together. They come to thee.” How many will it be? We don’t know. Only God knows, but when they see the light, they say, “Hey, look over there. See that? They have so much peace and light and love. Let’s go over and find out how they got that. More and more join them until they have gathered a large crowd, perhaps a crowd like Jesus had on the shores of Galilee. They will hungrily feed on the word of God, and will be quickly prepared for service as 11th hour workers. They will then take the message of the power of Christ to give victory over all sin so that He can leave the sanctuary in heaven and end this night of sin. They surrender their lives to it, and start working to win more souls to the saving grace of Christ.
Notice the rest of the verse, “thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.” Friends, if you have children that have wandered far from God, don’t stop praying for them. He will do everything He can to bring them back to himself. They may well be part of the 11th hour workers. You can give him permission to intervene in their lives. He will appeal to their hearts in their own way.
Now look at the amazing verse five. “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.”
What does it mean when it says, “thine heart shall fear?” Does that mean you will be afraid of something? Not in this use of the term. It means that you will stand in awe of what God is doing to those around you. So many will suddenly see the light? So many that you have prayed for, labored with, and even plead with shedding tears will come to the truth that you will be in awe. And strangers too, so many that you are shocked at those you never thought would come to Christ. It will be such an awesome experience that you can only humble your heart before God and thank Him for what He has done through you.
Also it says, “thine heart shall be enlarged.” Is this talking about congestive heart failure? Not in the least. When the Bible talks about an enlarged heart, it is talking about great joy and happiness. And in this case, it’s talking about the overwhelming joy that will come into the hearts of those who watch souls won to Christ.
But now watch this. The verse also says the reason why your heart will be overflowing with joy. “…because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee…”
What is this talking about? How can fishes and dolphins and whales be converted unto thee? It’s not talking about literal fish and creatures of the sea. This is a Bible prophecy. What does the sea represent? In Luke 21:25 Jesus is discussing the end times again, as He frequently did. He said, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” Those nations filled with distress and perplexity, strife and commotion, are represented as the sea and the waves roaring. And here’s another one. Revelation 17:15 says “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.”
Yes, that’s multitudes of people. And it’s going to be an amazing time as multitudes of people, the abundance of the sea will be converted. Now notice that it says they will be “converted unto thee.” Does this mean that these people are really converted to you instead of Christ? No, since the character of Christ is in you, you are His representative. They are converted to Christ, but because you are like Him, you are partnering with Him, and therefore He shares the glory with His people. O my friends, what a glorious day that will be. The time of the latter rain will be absolutely amazing.
But that’s not all. There is one more phrase in verse five. Notice that it says, “The forces of the gentiles shall come unto thee.” What are the forces of the gentiles? If you look in a Spanish Bible, or a Portuguese Bible or many other Bibles in various languages, it says the “riches of the gentiles.” And in the margin, the King James Bible says the “wealth” of the gentiles. Oh my! What a promise that is!
Do you have enough money right now? No. Ok, just wait until these verses are fulfilled. So, let’s imagine a realistic scenario. Suppose one of those people who comes to you begging for light is one of the superrich, as they are called. They are desperate for light and truth. They’ve been selfishly hording their money for many years. They’ve been hiding it in some island somewhere, and have been dealing with shell companies to keep it hidden. You know, we’ve talked about that over the last year or two. These people have a shell company where they place their assets, land, buildings and cash. They have another shell company that owns the one with the assets, and another shell company that owns that shell company, etc., like so many Russian dolls.
But they are not happy. The have been selfish and as the Bible says they have been wanton. Here it is in James 5:1-5. Listen to this. “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.”
Some of these people are probably like Nicodemus. They have been living licentious and luxurious lives. But they are suddenly open to hear the gospel. Their circumstances, family, colleagues and friends, have held them back. God knows their hearts and He knows how to reach them. Nicodemus was one of the superrich in Israel. He had immense wealth. Yet, he was willing to give his life to Christ. And when Christ had returned to heaven, Nicodemus helped to fund the New Testament church with his enormous wealth.
These superrich have tried everything; especially the accumulation of assets, thinking it will make them happy. But it doesn’t. Now they see the countenance that has the confidence of Christ in others and they see that they do not have it. They come to you begging for truth. You open your Bible and show them the way of life. They fall in love with Christ and they are baptized into His truth.
But then one day soon afterward, they come to you and say, “I have more money than I know what to do with. Can you use some of it to help other souls come to know Jesus?”
“Of course, I can use money to win souls,” you say. “How much will it cost to cover the whole country with Great Controversy books? Every family?”
“About $20 million, you say.” Then he writes a check, or makes a bank transfer and you instantly have the $20 million.”
Then he comes to you again and says, with all this interest in the gospel, how can we offer the people an opportunity to hear the light? Can we hire a stadium for three weeks and invite the masses?
“Sure,” you say.
“Well,” he asks, “what will that cost?”
“Oh, probably a million or two,” you respond.
“Ok, here’s a check for $2 million. Let’s do it.”
And so it goes. The forces or wealth of the gentiles is brought in to God’s work to finish it off similar to what Nicodemus did during the early rain.
Now notice verse six. “The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the LORD.”
Let me ask you, what is a dromedary? That’s right; it’s a certain type of camel. But what were camels used for in ancient times? You’re right again, transportation. In fact, traders would use camels to transport their trading goods from one place to another. They were beasts of burden. And who was given the gift of business and trade? Ah, that’s a bit more difficult…
However, the verse actually tells us the answer to that question. These are the sons of Midian and Ephah. Oh, so, who are these? Well, Midian and Ephah were the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s wife after Sarah died (Genesis 24:67, 25:1-4). Abraham gave all his substance to Isaac (Genesis 25:5) and that left little or nothing for the rest. So these children of Keturah went out and made themselves singularly wealthy by trading. They were not the children of promise, but God looked after them. The same is true for Ishmael. He too was given the gift of making a profit by trading. Ishmael was the son of Hagar.
Let us also notice something else. Turn to Genesis 37:26-28. I want you to see this. This is the chapter about Joseph being sold into slavery by his brethren. Listen to these verses. “And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.”
Did you notice that the Midianites and the Ishmaeelites were used interchangeably in this last verse? That’s because through intermarriage and collaborative trading, they became one and the same people. But who are these people today? That’s right, these are the Arabs. And what religion are they? That’s right, they are Muslims.
So, let us now go back to Isaiah 60 and have another look at verse six. What did the verse say about these Muslims? It says that Midian, Ephah and Sheba shall come. Where will they come? They will come to God’s people. They will see their light, and they will compare it with their own darkness, their own confusion and misunderstanding. They will come to God’s people and beg them to tell them the truth.
“You are the people of the Book,” they will likely say. “The Quran tells us to find and follow the people of the Book. Please show us what we need to know. We want the peace and happiness that is on your face. We want the settled confidence in God that you have. Please help us find what is right.”
And you will open the Bible and you will show them the book of God. You will show them the way of life.
Friends, this is already happening. I have a friend in Perth, Australia who came to me after I preached this sermon over there. She said, “Pastor Mayer, we are experiencing this in our own home.”
I said, “Really? Tell me.”
Then she told me this story, “A Muslim family bought a house across the street. We helped them move in, and then invited them for dinner one night.”
“They observed everything including the prayer before the meal. They noticed that it was vegetarian, and that there was no alcohol served. Then they asked, ‘are you people of the book?’
“Yes, we are,” they said.
“We thought so,” they responded. “You don’t eat pork, or drink alcohol like most Christians.”
Then she told me that they had started Bible studies in their home with these Muslim people.
Friends, when you live for God, you become people of the Book. This will impress those Muslims around you and you can witness to them. Don’t you want to become a follower of the Book?
Now just imagine what can happen. Notice that the verse says that “they shall bring gold and incense…”
So, Muslims in gross darkness are not happy. Like most others they do not have peace in their heart even though they think they do. They are confused and off on many tangents. Business and trade consumes them as does other foolish pursuits that cannot satisfy the soul. Some of them are filthy rich. They have horded their wealth thinking that will bring them security and favor with heaven.
But when they see the shining countenances of God’s people, they realize what a terrible life they have. They come begging for light and truth, pleading with you to show them how to follow the Book (which is the Bible). You introduce them to Christ, and they surrender their lives to His power.
Then they come to you and say, “We have more money than we know what to do with. Can we use it to help Muslims come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ?”
“Of course we can,” you say. “We could translate Great Controversy into Arabic and print up hundreds of thousands of copies in Lebanon, or wherever and spread them all over the Middle East, perhaps even by camels. It is the camels that will provide cover for you, you know.”
“Well, how much money do you need?” Oh perhaps $100 million. A few clicks on the computer and a few seconds and the $100 million is in the bank.
“Then they say, we want to start a health retreat for Muslims in the Middle East. Can you help us?”
“Sure,” you say. You see, my friends, you need to understand medical missionary work. There are a lot of sick people out there that need the healing touch of Christ through your hands in conjunction with your character and the power of Christ.
“How much will you need to start a really nice health retreat?” they ask. “Muslims don’t like second class places.”
“Oh, perhaps $5 million”
“Ok, here it is.” And the next thing you know, there is $5 million in the bank. You get on a plane and fly to Lebanon. Then you start looking for a place. You find the perfect health retreat spot. It’s a very nice rural hotel with all the amenities you need and its for sale. Only a few modifications required. You buy it, renovate what needs renovation and off you go.
Muslims who come to the health retreat love it. All of them get help. Some of them yield their lives to Christ. And so it goes.
Friends, do you think God will pour out all this wealth on those whom He cannot trust? No. God can’t do this for people who are selfish and living a half-hearted religious experience. He cannot pour out his power or the wealth of the gentiles on them if they will spend it on fancy houses, or to buy yachts and planes and vacation properties, and all that? No, no. God will not do that. He cannot pour out the wealth of the gentiles on anyone that is not living as God wants them to live. God can only pour out his Holy Spirit in power upon those who are living by all His commandments all of the time. This is important to understand.
There are many Christians who like power. They think that because they have some measure of success that God is blessing them, and maybe He is to a certain extent. But they like political power. They want to control things, governments, and people. But they don’t follow on to know all of God’s ways and all of God’s thinking. They are satisfied with their level of growth and they don’t want to press on. There are many like this. They are happy that they have found the Sabbath, for instance. But they’ve lost their first love and have become stagnant in it. They begin to compromise in other areas of their lives and gradually they lose the light of Christ’s countenance in their faces, and they are unprepared when an opportunity comes along for them to show someone else the love of Jesus.
Here is an important statement found in Counsels on Health, page, 274. “As the chosen people of God, we cannot copy the habits, aims, practices, or fashions of the world. We are not left in darkness, to pattern after worldly models and to depend on outward appearance for success. The Lord has told us whence comes our strength. “This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6. As the Lord sees fit He imparts, to those who keep His way, power that enables them to exert a strong influence for good. On God they are dependent, and to Him they must give an account of the way in which they use the talents He has entrusted to them. They are to realize that they are God’s stewards and are to seek to magnify His name.
Listen to the last phrase of verse six. “And they shall show forth the praises of the LORD.” These Muslims are so amazed at their new life. Their joy knows no bounds and they continually praise the Lord, even when their lives are in danger because of it. They cannot stop praising God. They advance farther and faster than most Christians. And many Christians stand amazed at what is happening to them.
If you thought there was a shortage of money in God’s work throughout your life, you’re probably right. But I tell you there will be no shortage then. As these gentiles come into God’s truth, their wealth comes with them. But they will use it to glorify God and win more souls.
Now notice verse seven. “All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.”
What are the rams of Nebaioth? Well, Nebaioth was the first-born son of Ishmael. That means that he and his descendants are Muslims too. The rams represent the wealth of Nebaioth that will minister to you in your work for the Lord.
The verse also says that “they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar.” These are the 11th hour workers, my friends. It is these that God accepts because they are faithful where many of his professed people have slacked off, or backslidden. These will go through the time of trouble with Christ by their side, as many of God’s people forsake the truth and join the ranks of the enemy.
Listen to this statement. Speaking of the backsliding of the people of Israel during the time of the prophet Jeremiah, we read from the Paulson Collection, page 78. “As a people we need to study this portion of sacred history: for these experiences are being brought into the lives of the people of God in these last days. A people who have had great light and every evidence of truth are turning away from the light, and following their own impulses. The instruction God has given in the record of His people in early days is not regarded. The mistakes and sins of His early people are being repeated in His people today: warnings and admonitions given in that day are not being heeded in this. Notwithstanding all the warnings that have been given, they see not their danger, but join the ranks of the enemy, and fight on his side. They choose to entertain their own ideas and to follow the suggestions of their own minds. The Lord is greatly dishonored by their course, and he is removing His Spirit from them. ‘Shall I not judge them for these things,’ saith the Lord, ‘unless they repent?’”
Did you hear that about joining the ranks of the enemy? If you choose to go your own way; even if you choose to not pursue righteousness with all your heart, you will decline in spirituality and moral worth. God removes His Spirit from these people and He places it on those who are earnestly praying for light and understanding.
The last part of the verse says, “and I will glorify the house of my glory.”
What is the house of God’s glory? That’s the house of God’s character. And what is that? Well, that’s the church; the purified church. The testing time will shake out the half-hearted, the backslidden and the spiritually unready. What will be left will be pure wheat that have overcome all their sins by the blood of Jesus.
Oh my friends, you have no time to lose. Just think what could happen over the next few years. Prophetic things have been fulfilling at such a rapid pace that it seems that we’re very close to these very events happening. Friends, if you lose heaven you’ve lost everything. If you gain heaven, you’ve gained everything. Now is the time to get ready for the coming of the Lord. Now is the time to get ready for the latter rain so that you can be part of this amazing series of events. Don’t pass it up. You need your faith strengthened. You need it anchored in Christ.
Let the Lord take your life today and let it be a fulfillment of these prophetic verses found in Isaiah 60. If it isn’t going to be you, God will surely find someone. So arise and shine. Light up the world around you with the blazing glory of Christ’s character in these compelling times in which we live.
Let us pray. Dear Father, thank You for Jesus who promises to empower us with overcoming victory. We want the enemy to have no power over us and we want to be trustworthy so that all of heaven will be able to pour out heaven’s power on us through the Holy Spirit. Please Father, show us how to be overcomers. We want to be so pure that Jesus can leave the heavenly sanctuary and return to take His people home. Thank You for promising us His character if we let Him develop it in our lives. Forgive us for our neglect to know Jesus. Forgive us for our indolence in pursuing His righteousness. And forgive us for not living by the Ten Commandments in our lives. Thank You for Your grace and power that overcomes all the enemy’s temptations. May His power be ours. In Jesus’ name, amen.