For the earth shall be filled - This is a singular and important verse. It may be first applied to Babylon. God's power and providence shall be widely displayed in the destruction of this city and empire, in the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 4:37, and in the captivity and restoration of his people. See Newcome, and see Isaiah 11:9.
Secondly. It may be applied to the glorious days of the Messiah. The land of Judea should by his preaching, and that of his disciples, be filled with the knowledge of God. God's great design fully discovered, and the scheme of salvation amply explained.
Thirdly. It may be applied to the universal spread of the Gospel over the habitable globe; when the fullness of the Gentiles should be brought in, and the Jews gathered in with that fullness. The earth cannot perish till every continent, island, and inhabitant, is illuminated with the light of the Gospel.
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord - Habakkuk modifies in a degree the words of Isaiah which he embodies, marking that the destruction of Babylon was a stage only toward the coming of those good things which God taught His people to long for, not their very coming. All the world should be then full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, not, as yet, wholly of Himself Jerome: “When Babylon shall be overthrown, then shall the power of the might of the Lord be known unto all. So shall the whole earth be filled with the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the bottom of the sea. This as to the letter. But it is plain, that the Devil also and antichrist, and the perverse teaching of heretics, built a city in blood; i. e, their own Church, with the destruction of those whom they deceive But when they fail in the fire (either this fire which is felt, or consumed in the fire of the devil their prince, or burned up with the fire whereof the Lord says, ‹I came to send a fire upon the earth,‘ and so brought back from their former course, and doing penitence), the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, when, at the preaching of the apostles, their ‹sound shall go out into all the world,‘ as waters covering the sea, i. e., all the saltness and bitterness of the world which Satan had rained down and the earth had drunk, the waters of the Lord shall cover, and cause the place of their ancient bitterness not to appear.”
Rup.: “‹For the Spirit of the Lord filled the earth,‘ and when He filled it, ‹the earth was filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,‘ so that unlearned and ignorant men became wise and eloquent, and earthly became heavenly, yea, they who were earth became heaven, knowing the glory of the Lord, declaring the glory of God, not any how, but as waters cover the sea. Great as must be waters, which would cover the sea, or compared to which the sea were nothing, far greater is the miracle, when the abundance of heavenly wisdom, given to the simple, surpassed the sea, i. e., the wisdom of all mankind.” This verse being already a received image of the spread of the gospel Isaiah 11:9, it would of itself be understood to include this also; but more generally, it declares how upon all the judgments of God, a larger knowledge of Him would follow Cyril: “All things are full of Christ, who is the Glory of the Father; wherefore also He said John 17:4, I have glorified Thee on earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.”
My dear brethren and sisters, I speak to you in words of love and tenderness. Arouse and consecrate yourselves unreservedly to the work of giving the light of truth for this time to those in darkness. Catch the spirit of the great Master Worker. Learn from the Friend of sinners how to minister to sin-sick souls. Remember that in the lives of His followers must be seen the same devotion, the same subjection to God's work, of every social claim, every earthly affection, that was seen in His life. God's claims must always be made paramount. Christ's example is to inspire us to put forth unceasing effort for the good of others. 8T 47.1
God calls upon every church member to enter His service. Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted to others, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Everyone must learn to work and to stand in his place as a burden bearer. Every addition to the church should be one more agency for the carrying out of the great plan of redemption. The entire church, acting as one, blending in perfect union, is to be a living, active missionary agency, moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit. 8T 47.2
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These interests should be broken up into many parts in order that the work may start in cities which it will be necessary to make centers of interest. Buildings should be erected and responsibilities centered in many localities that are now robbed of vital, spiritual interest in order to swell the overplus already in Battle Creek. The Lord is not glorified by this management on the part of those who are in responsible positions. “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” Habakkuk 2:14; John 17:3. 8T 60.1
The salvation of the heathen has long been deemed a matter that should engage the interest of Christians, and it is not more than justice to bring light to their dark borders. But home missionary work is just as much needed. The heathen are brought to our very doors. Idolatrous ignorance is within the very shadow of our homes. Something is being done for the colored people, but next to nothing compared with what others receive who already have a knowledge of the truth, who have had opportunities innumerable, but who have not half appreciated their advantages. To those who know not the truth, let the love of Jesus be presented, and it will work like leaven for the transformation of character. 8T 60.2
What are we doing for the Southern field? I have looked most anxiously to see if some plan would not be set in operation to redeem the sinful neglect of that field, but I see not a proposition or a resolution to do anything. Perhaps something has been planned that I have not seen. I hope so, and praise the Lord if it is so. But though for years our duty has been laid out in a most decided manner, yet the Southern field has been touched only with the tips of our fingers. I now feel deeply in earnest in again bringing before you this neglected portion of the Lord's vineyard. This matter is brought before me again and again. I have been awakened in the night season, and the command has come: Write the things that I have opened before you, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. 8T 60.3Read in context »