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"The Land Shadowing
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“The Land Shadowing with Wings”

Isa 18:1  Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:

      Woe — Ho (Young’s translation).
To the land — By many, supposed to refer to the United States of America.
Shadowing with wings — Sheltered by divine providence as an asylum for the liberty lovers and truth lovers of the world.
Which is beyond — A fitting description of the location of the United States.
Rivers of Ethiopia — Beyond the waters of the ends of the earth.

Isa 18:2  That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!

Isa 18:2Sendeth ambassadors — God’s messages of Present Truth.
Vessels of bulrushes — Papyrus, paper.
Ye swift messengers — God’s message going forth in literature, books, tracts, etc.
To a nation scattered — “A Holy Nation, a Royal Priesthood.” (1 Pet. 2:9)
And peeled — Polished.
A people terrible — In their experiences hitherto.
A nation meted out — Whose course and experiences in life the Lord has measured out for them, for their own highest welfare.
And trodden down — As a part of their necessary experiences.
The rivers — Either of death or as in Psa. 46:4.
Have spoiled — Divided. The river of death separates this Holy Nation from its inheritance on the other side of Jordan.

Isa 18:3  All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.

Isa 18:4  For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.

Isa 18:5  For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.

Isa 18:6  They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.

Isa 18:7  In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion.

Isa 18:7In that time — The time when the message of the swift messengers goes forth.
Shall the present — The Holy Nation, brought as a present to Jehovah.
The mount Zion — The heavenly Kingdom.


“Go, Ye Swift Messengers!”

The latter part of Isaiah Chapter 18 —verses 3 to 7— seems to apply to our day only, thus justifying a similar application of verses 1 and 2. In other words, it is evidently proper for us to expect a fulfilment of this prophecy at the present time.

The first word of the chapter, “Woe,” should more properly be translated “Ho!” Thus Prof. Young’s translation reads, “Ho! to the land shadowed with wings.” This is by many supposed to refer to the United States of America, and the wings are supposed by some to represent the eagle wings so conspicuous on its coins, seals, bank-notes, etc., in its emblem of liberty.

To us, however, the wings would more particularly symbolize divine providence caring for this land. God frequently uses the eagle and its wings as symbolical of divine care and protection. True, the promise “He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Psa. 91:4), is not made to the United States nor to any earthly nation, but to the Church, the “holy nation”: nevertheless, in a sense the affairs of earthly nations are supervised in the interest of the “peculiar people” whom God is now gathering out of all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues to be the Bride of Christ.

Glance briefly at the facts. This favored land was unknown to civilization, kept hidden, as it were, until the due time—until it was needed as a home, an outlet for the rapidly overcrowding masses of Europe. More than this, it opened at a time when the Reformation movement was agitating “Christendom” so called, when the study of the Bible was awakening conscience and character and Christian common sense. The awakened class was not generally the rich or the titled or the very comfortable, neither was it the very degraded and ignorant and helplessly poor, but the middle class of European society. These did the thinking and the protesting, and in turn endured the suffering under the persecution engendered. And these were the ones who needed an asylum and who found one in this land shadowed, cared for, by the “wings” of divine providence.

What has been true of the “Pilgrim fathers” and their reasons for settlement here has been true also of others. Of course all have not fled from religious persecution. On the contrary, the majority have sought a new home for the betterment of their temporal interests. But were not even these seeking escape from social and financial oppressions more or less burdensome? Although many feared the influx of so many of the middle and lower classes, yet natural laws and legislation have hindered the coming of the most degraded. Under divine providence the assimilating process has kept pace with the immigration, so that the vast improvement in the manners and appearance is phenomenal. This suggests to us what may be expected on a still broader and deeper scale under the blessed “times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.”— Acts 3:19-21.

Look, too, at the history of this nation. We are far from claiming that it is perfect: we can see much room for improvement in every direction, and are willing to admit that Americans can still learn some things from other parts of the world. Nevertheless, no other nation on earth has such a history. We, as Christians, are opposed to war on general principles, and yet we must acknowledge that some causes of war are more just than others. True, selfishness has its firm hold upon all the people, and no doubt certain ignoble aims have actuated some of the people in connection with these wars.

The prosperity of this land is so phenomenal as to be the constant surprise of the world. The poor from all nations have become the wealthiest nation on earth. Whatever may yet become true, under the changing conditions by which the trusts are obtaining so great a control, this land hitherto has certainly been well illustrated by the statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World” in the harbor of New York City—the gift of that clear-sighted Frenchman, Bartholdi.

The great truth thus symbolized is appreciated by but few, however. Few see that the influence of liberty in the United States has been a potent factor in breaking the shackles of serfdom throughout the world. The practical illustration of people governing themselves so successfully, so prosperously, excited the admiration and the envy of their relatives and friends in every part of Europe, and led to the concession of greater liberties everywhere.

Great Britain long gave partial suffrage to her people, but only recently, under that influence of Liberty enlightening the world, she gave universal suffrage. The same was the lesson and its results in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria and elsewhere in Europe. Even Russia liberated her serfs and will yet be forced by the increasing light to give her people the ballot. On the whole, then, no other land could so well lay claim to being shadowed or protected by the wings of divine providence as can these United States—including Canada, really the same people in character, in interest, in freedom, in prosperity, and in divine favor.


This is the second statement of the prophecy. In ancient times little was known of the world’s size, etc., and Ethiopia was called “the ends of the earth.” As for instance, the Queen of Sheba came from Ethiopia, “from the ends of the earth,” to hear the wisdom of Solomon.

Interpreting the text from this standpoint it would mean: “beyond the waters of the ends of the earth”—a very fitting manner in which to describe America, as yet unknown and not intended to be pointed out particularly at that time. We have, then, the prophecy thus: “Ho! to the land shadowed by wings [divine providences], which is beyond the waters of the ends of the earth.” And the next declaration is,—“That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even upon the waters,

In Vessels of Bulrushes.”

No one ever heard of a vessel of “bulrushes,” or rather (literally) of “papyrus” or paper as the Revised Version renders the word. Are we to expect the fulfilment of this prophecy in the future—that the steamships of the future will be built of paper? We think not. The tendency is rather toward greater strength, so that wooden vessels are rapidly giving place to those built of steel.

Rather we should interpret the language as symbolical—as representing books and tracts going out in every direction bearing messages as God’s ambassadors to all who have an ear to hear their message. By these paper-messages, these divine embassies, all inhabitants of the earth who can see and hear are called upon to note the Lord’s ensign about to be set up in his Kingdom, and the trumpet of Jubilee now sounding and to grow more and more distinct as the Jubilee morning ushers in. See verse 3.

“Go, Ye Swift Messengers.”

This language is much more reasonable when applied to God’s message going forth in literature than to worldly ambassadors in paper boats, surely. It is astonishing to those who have any knowledge of the facts how the truth literature is going out as “swift messengers” to all parts of the earth and in many languages. These originate in the land shadowed by the wings of divine providence. Indeed, it is certain that from no other land could they so well be sent. Had it not been for “Liberty enlightening the world” other nations would not permit the publication of so glorious a “gospel of good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people.”

“To a Nation Scattered and Peeled.”

To what nation does the message go? We answer, it goes to the “Holy Nation,” the Royal Priesthood. (I Pet. 2:9.) Many people of various nations may handle and read these messages, but they are only for the one; and it is doubtful if others will be able to fully understand their message in the present time. Besides, the description fits no other nation. It is “a nation scattered and polished [R.V. “smooth”] —to a people terrible [in their experiences] hitherto; a nation meted out [whose course and experiences in life the Lord has measured out for them for their highest welfare] and trodden down [as a part of their necessary experience] whose land the rivers divide [R.V.].” The reference to the rivers may be taken either as suggesting that the river of death separates this “Holy Nation” from its inheritance on the other side of Jordan; or as in Psalm 46:4.

The swift messengers [or “light messengers”Young] have a message of special comfort and consolation, of interest to every member of this “holy nation” of terrible experiences hitherto; a message that the time of Zion’s travail is nearly ended—that soon the birth of the “New Creation” in the “first resurrection” will be complete and that forthwith all the nations of earth will see the Lord’s standard and hear the trumpet of Jubilee. This “holy nation” shall “at that time” be brought as a “present unto the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts”—to Mount Zion, the Heavenly Kingdom.—Verse 7.

Let us show the Lord more and more our zeal, our love for himself and his wonderful message by our cooperation in the sending forth of his swift paper messengers. “Go, ye swift messengers!” Every year adds to the number who by word and deed say, “Go!” and also adds to the number of these messengers sent forth. God speed them to the accomplishment of his glorious servicepresent and futureand God bless also the dear volunteers engaged with us as His ambassadors in this ministry!