Would you be surprised if I told you that the Bible prophesies that people from Libya, Turkey and Greece will be great Gospel evangelists of the last days? Just a few verses above our beloved “new heavens and new earth, . . . and from one Sabbath to another” prophecy, Isaiah 66:18, 19 says, “For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.”
This prophecy is of interest to me because ancient Lud is where I live, and Javan covers the coasts of Turkey and Greece. While we can’t precisely identify all the other places today, this prophecy is clear that peoples in some far-flung, exotic locations are going to receive the message and declare God’s glory even more widely to other unreached people.
Islam teaches that on the last day, the sun will rise in the west. I don’t believe this, but I do believe that in the last days we will see remarkable things. The mission world is going to be stood on end. I believe countries that have been missions’ greatest challenge, countries like Iran and North Korea, are going to become great missionary-sending nations.
This is already beginning to happen. Did you know that in 1900 there were no Protestant churches in Korea? Today, Korea is 30 percent Christian! Did you know that in 1900 Africa was only three percent Christian? Today Sub-Saharan Africa is 50 percent Christian and growing. Would you believe that in South America in 1900 there were only 50,000 Protestants? Now there are more than 100 million. Would you believe that China is now seeing more than 30,000 people come to Jesus every day? The world is turning upside down!
Question: What do Brazil, Korea, Argentina, Rwanda, Swaziland and Mexico have in common? Answer: These countries have sent Adventist youth to witness on secular university campuses in the Middle East! Last month, I taught 25 of those students. (The United States and Canada didn’t even have one student representative!) It seems the missionary task has come full circle, and the countries that were receiving missionaries only 30 years ago are now sending them! A few years ago, I remember meeting an Adventist couple preparing for foreign missionary service. They were from Mongolia! That is astounding when you realize that, in 1990, when AFM first launched Brad and Cathie Jolly to Mongolia, there were no Adventists there at all. There wasn’t even a Mongolian Bible!
The conference of 25 young adults I helped teach was focused on reaching the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey and several Muslim cities in Northern Africa. Half of them had committed to working for five years! I was very impressed with this group’s determination and zeal. With the help of the Middle East North Africa Union (MENA), they have enrolled themselves in universities. Truly, these are World Changers.
One group of eight youth, with an older pastor and his wife, have moved together from the Far East to a Muslim nation. For 16 years, the pastor worked underground in China to win thousands to Christ. Then he felt God leading him to the Middle East. He said to me, “Things are well on their way in China. I have come to the Islamic area where God will make His next big move.” The eight students call him their mentor. They are diligently studying the local language and are working a comprehensive daily strategy, including aggressive prayer.
For the last several months we have had an Iranian family living in our home. God is turning things upside down in Iran, too. A tidal wave is building. Despite persecution, thousands are coming into the Way. I predict that within 10 years a great wave of Iranians will begin evangelizing other nations.
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:6, 7).