God’s Light and Salvation Through History
November 16, 2021
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
Man has no excuse for not being saved. God planned salvation before the world was made and has worked it out in history. Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Re. 13:8). God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” and Christ “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Ti. 2-3-6).

God sought Adam and Eve after their fall and personally taught them about the coming Saviour through prophecy (Ge. 3:15) and through the typology of clothing them in the skins that were acquired through the slaying of innocent animals (Ge. 3:21).

Abel, Adam’s second son, was a prophet who preached salvation by grace through faith in the blood and death of an innocent substitute (Lu. 11:50-51).

After God rejected Cain’s self-willed offering, He graciously reasoned with Cain and exhorted him not to let sin rule over him (Ge. 4:5-7).

All of the men mentioned in Genesis 5 except for Noah and his sons lived during the lifetime of Adam. Noah was born only about 150 years after Adam died. Thus the knowledge of the truth was readily available.

Enoch was a prophet who proclaimed the Second Coming of Christ and the end-time judgment (Ge. 5:24; Jude 14-15).

Methuselah was given his name by prophecy by his father Enoch (Ge. 5:21, 27). It means “it will come” and was a prophecy of the coming flood. He died that same year.

Noah was a preacher of righteousness and preached as he was building the Ark before the Flood (2 Pe. 2:5).

After the Flood, Noah lived for 350 years and Shem lived for 500 years. They knew about the true God and salvation, yet most men rejected the truth and followed the rebellion of the Tower of Babel.

Melchizedek was a priest who preached the Word of God in Abraham’s day (Ge. 14:17-20). The writer of Hebrews said that there are many things that we don’t know about Melchizedek (Heb. 5:10-11), but we do know that he was a priest of the true God, which means that he served God and brought men to God. He received tithes from God’s people.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were prophets and knew about Christ’s coming kingdom (Ac. 3:21). The “restitution of all things” refers to this kingdom. Abraham saw Christ (Joh. 8:56).

Israel was a great light to the nations. God’s dealings with Israel were world renowned. See Ex. 18:11; Nu. 14:13-14; Jos. 2:9-11; 1 Sa. 4:8; 6:6; 1 Ch. 17:21; Jer. 32:20-21; Da. 9:15.

The temple in Jerusalem was built to be a light to the nations. On the day of its dedication, Solomon prayed, “That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD
is God, and that there is none else” (1 Ki. 8:60), “... that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel” (2 Ch. 6:33). Solomon spoke of strangers who would come to Israel “from a far country for thy great name’s sake” (2 Ch. 6:32). This happened on a wide scale in that day. “And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart” (2 Ch. 9:23).

The queen of Sheba is an example. She was from an idolatrous kingdom that worshiped the moon god, but she put her faith in Jehovah (1 Ki. 10:5). She came to Israel for the very purpose of “the name of the LORD” (1 KI. 10:1). The fact that she will condemn unbelievers is clear evidence that she put her faith in the true God (Mt. 12:42).

In the days of Hiram, king of Tyre, the Phoenician trading empire was closely aligned with Israel. Thus it is certain that some light of Old Testament Scripture was disseminated across the Mesopotamian region and beyond. Hiram was a friend of David and of Solomon and helped build David’s palace (2 Sa. 5:11) and the LORD’S temple (1 Ki. 5:1-12). Hiram personally blessed the LORD (1 Ki. 5:7; 2 Ch. 2:12). Hiram was aligned with Solomon in international trading. Phoenician sailors and navigators worked in Solomon’s navy (1 Ki. 9:26-28), traveling as far as Ophir for gold. The exact location of Ophir is unknown, but it was probably in India or Africa. It appears that it was a three-year journey by ship from Eziongeber (1 Ki. 10:22). Ophir was also the source of almug wood, which could be the sandlewood of India (1 Ki. 10:11). “This large timber was most likely a sandalwood or ‘grecian juniper’ that originated in Ceylon or India. Biblical and ancient Near Easter sources indicate that it was used in the construction of large buildings and musical instruments alike” (
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds). We know that almug was used in Israel to make harps (1 Ki. 10:12). Solomon’s navy also journeyed to Tarshish (1 Ki. 10:22), which was the region of Spain in the western Mediterranean.

We know of Gentiles who had faith in the living God before the time of Christ, and these are only those mentioned in Scripture. These include Rahab (Jos. 2), Ruth (Ru. 1), the queen of Sheba (1 Ki. 10:9; Mt. 12:42), Naaman (2 Ki. 5:15), Hiram king of Tyre (2 Ch. 2:12), Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (Da. 4), Darius king of Persia (Da. 6), and the Ninevites who repented at Jonas’ preaching (Jon. 1:3).

The Ethiopian eunuch’s journey to Jerusalem and experience with the book of Isaiah is a glimpse into how the Scriptures traveled before Christ (Ac. 8:26-40). The eunuch lived in the time of Christ, but he had not heard the gospel. He obtained a copy of Isaiah or at least a portion thereof and was trying to understand it. He was taking it back to Africa with his entourage when God sent Philip to preach the gospel to him. Only the Lord knows how many copies of precious Scripture portions journeyed across the earth from Israel and bore fruit for God’s glory in Old Testament times!

The gospel was preached far and wide in the days of the apostles (Col. 1:23). Over the past 2,000 years the gospel has been preached to every nation and the Bible has been translated into every major language, yet the world remains in darkness because the vast majority of people have rejected it.

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded that the gospel be preached to every nation and every soul (Mt. 28:19; Mr. 16:15). It was preached far and wide even in the days of the apostles (Col. 1:23). Over the past 2,000 years the gospel has been preached to every nation and the Bible has been translated into every major language, yet the world remains in darkness because the vast majority of people have rejected it.

The Bible says that Christ lights every man (Joh. 1:9). Every man has the light of creation (Ro. 1:18) and the light of conscience (Ro. 2:14-16). It is man’s responsibility to seek God (Ac. 17:26-27). When men respond to the light that they have, God gives more light. We see this in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch (Ac. 8:26-40), and Cornelius (Ac. 10-11). God is working in men’s hearts, using the light that they have, and sending more light when they respond

God has made every attempt to fill the world with light, but men love darkness rather than the light. See Jer. 7:25-26; 25:4; Mt. 23:37; Joh. 3:19.

Men do not perish because they are not sovereignly chosen for salvation. They perish because they do not respond to the light God has graciously and mercifully given.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Th. 2:11-12).

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