In 1835, Samuel Miller (1769-1850) preached a sermon before the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in Baltimore, Maryland. His text was that from Numbers 14:21: "...all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord." It is a great promise that gives hope to Christians concerning the expansion of Christ's kingdom on earth. But it does not stand alone in God's Word. A significant portion of his sermon involves the assembling together of other Scriptures which only serve to undergird this promise.
"1. First of all, and above all, our hope is founded on JEHOVAH'S FAITHFUL AND UNERRING PROMISE. This is, undoubtedly, the chief ground of confidence. For that a religion which has been preached for eighteen, centuries, and which has been as yet received, even nominally, by less than a fourth part of mankind, will one day, and, at most, in a century or two from this hour, pervade and govern the world, we can expect with confidence only on the promise of Him who is Almighty, and who cannot lie. But this promise is surely enough for the most unwavering confidence. Hath he said, and shall he not do it? Hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Jehovah is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but one jot or tittle of all that has gone out of the mouth of Jehovah shall not pass away, until all be fulfilled.
Let us attend, then, to some of the promises on this subject with which the word of God abounds. Take the following as a small specimen of the 'exceeding great and precious' catalogue found in the inspired volume.
- The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ, Rev. 11:15.
- Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession, Ps. 2:8.
- All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him, Ps. 22.27.
- From the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place shall incense be offered unto my name, and a pure offering; for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts, Mal. 1.11.
- And I will gather all nations, and tongues, and cause them to come and see my glory, Isa. 56.18.
- And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it, Isa. 2:2.
- His name shall be continued as long as the sun; men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed, Ps. 72:17.
- The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God, Isa. 35:1-2.
- And the kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; and all dominions shall serve and obey him, Dan. 7:27.
- He shall say to the North, Give up; and to the South, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth, Isa. 43:6.
- His way shall be known upon earth, and his saving health among all nations, Ps. 67:2.
- And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, Isa. 40:5.
- Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands unto God, Ps. 68:31.
- The isles shall wait for his law, Isa. 13:4.
- He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth, Zech. 9:10.
- All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God, Isa. 52:10.
- We see not yet all things put under Him, Heb. 2:8.
- But he must reign, until all enemies shall be put under his feet, 1 Cor. 15:25.
- At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that he is Christ to the glory of God the Father, Phil. 1:10-11.
- For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea, Hab. 2:14.
Such is a specimen of Jehovah's promises respecting the future prevalence and power of the gospel. Read them, Christians, with joy and confidence. Ponder them daily and well in your hearts, as a source of continual encouragement. And remember that they shall all, without failure, be gloriously accomplished. I cannot tell you precisely when this happy period shall arrive; but I can tell you, on authority not to be questioned, that, at the appointed time, this earth, so long the abode of sin and sorrow, shall be restored from its desolations, and made to bloom like 'the garden of the Lord.' I can tell you, that her Almighty King will yet, notwithstanding every unfavorable appearance, make Zion beautiful through his own comeliness put upon her; that he will yet cause her righteousness to go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth, Isa. lxii. 1. These promises may not, indeed, be all fully accomplished, until we, who now listen to their recital, shall be all sleeping in the dust; or, rather, if by the grace of God, we be made meet for it, -- rejoicing before the throne, in possession of still brighter glory. But, 'though we die, God shall surely visit his people' in mercy. Though neither we, nor even the next generation shall be permitted to witness on earth the complete development of 'the latter day glory;' yet let us rejoice in the assurance that it will come in due time, and in all its promised blessedness. The vision is yet for an appointed time; but in the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry, Hab. ii. 3."
This powerful sermon has inspired many over the years to pray and labor for the pouring out of God's Spirit upon the nations, as should we all. There is a similar text in Psalm 72, to which Samuel Miller also refers in his Thoughts on Public Prayer:
"I once heard of a minister who, in a time of revival, when his own heart, as well as the hearts of his hearers were unusually warmed with the power of the Holy Spirit, closed a prayer in the midst of the revival, with great acceptance, in the words of the Psalmist (72:18-19): 'Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things; and blessed be his glorious name forever; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen! The effect was electric in suddenness, and most happy."