The “Escaped of the Nations”

“Draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations.”
—Isaiah 45:20

SPEAKING OF ISRAEL, which often represents the world of mankind, the Lord through the Prophet Jeremiah says, “I will make a full end of all the nations … but I will not make a full end of thee.”—Jer. 46:28

It is generally understood that the great conflict of Armageddon will bring about the fulfillment of this prophecy. The nations of earth as we have known them, with their physical boundaries and national characteristics, are to disappear: even differences of language will pass away during the early years of Messiah’s kingdom.

The pure language of Zephaniah 3:8,9 includes the thought of a pure message from God’s Word, as well as a single universal language. Thus, one of the principal barriers keeping separate the races of men will be broken down. In any case, many of the words which occur in the languages of men, applicable to the things of this ‘present evil world’, will, in the new dispensation, become obsolete.

The prophet, however, tells us that in this great tribulation which closes down the present dispensation, called by the Apostle Paul “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4), some will escape the work of destruction. To this class there are many references in Scripture. For instance, the Prophet Zephaniah says, “Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3) Again, the Master, referring to the destruction during Armageddon, says, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”—Matt. 24:22

Here we are clearly informed that Divine providence will operate for the shortening of these days of tribulation. The intimation is that all flesh will not die in the overwhelming destruction, and the survivors will be permitted to pass over into the new dispensation of Messiah’s kingdom. This will be the glad day when the curse of death is to be lifted, and the blessings of everlasting life offered to all the willing and obedient of mankind.

The question will arise with some, “Will it not be necessary that every member of the human family die before experiencing the power of the resurrection?” We answer that it will be necessary for all those who will have part in the ‘first resurrection’ to go down into actual death before participating in the blessings of that resurrection, because such was their covenant, and such was the Lord’s promise to them: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) But as concerns the world of mankind, it is not necessary that they should all go first into the tomb before participating in the ‘resurrection’.

From the Divine standpoint, mankind has been reckoned as dead ever since the condemnation came upon Adam because of disobedience. The whole world is in prison at the present time—shackled, in a sense—with mental, physical and moral weakness. There are different ‘wards’ in this prison; but those whom men call alive, God calls dead in trespasses and sins, and under Divine sentence. These are, so to speak, still walking in the prison yard and have not yet been shut up in their cells, the tomb. But they are in prison, and none of them can escape.

If the order for release of all prisoners were sent to a jailer, we would understand it to apply not only to those who were shut up in their cells, but to all who were in any sense of the word behind the prison bars and under his power and control as the jailer. Just so it is with death—the great jailer. It has committed millions of the race to the tomb, and other hundreds of millions are still at partial liberty in the prison yard, but firmly and securely kept and doing service with groaning and travailing, waiting for their deliverance.

In order for the opening of this prison to occur, the great Restorer and Lifegiver is represented by the Revelator as having two keys to unlock death and the grave. (Rev. 1:18) It would seem that the key of ‘death’ will be used first: Divine power being exercised upon those who will survive the great tribulation. Later, the key of the ‘grave’ will come into operation—a symbol of Messiah’s power and authority to unlock the great prison-house (the tomb) and set at liberty the captives.—Isa. 61:1

The Scriptures positively assure us that some will be carried through the symbolic ‘fire’ of trouble, and to these God will turn a “pure language”—the pure message of the Gospel, “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Zeph. 3:8,9; Luke 2:10) But this blessing of being among the ‘escaped of the nations’ is conditional, like so many other blessings promised in the Word of God. The Prophet Zephaniah writes to those who are turning toward God: “Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.”—Zeph. 2:3

There have been millions throughout the ages who have made some progress toward God and righteousness, even as there are today. All of these will be better off when the kingdom is established. Most of them will be glad to give their hearts to the Lord and make rapid progress over the “highway” that leads to holiness, and to God.—Isa. 35:8

Dawn Bible Students Association
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