The Signs of the Times


December 10, 1894

The Sending Out of the Seventy


“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” The seventy were appointed to go on their missionary journeys some months after the twelve had been appointed to visit the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When the twelve were sent forth, they were restricted to the tribes of Israel, lest their missionary efforts should create prejudice among the Jews, whose teaching had been of such a character as to make them narrow in their ideas in regard to the extension of the gospel to other nationalities. The disciples themselves could scarcely comprehend the fact that the blessings of God were for the Gentiles as well as for the Jews, and had to unlearn many lessons that made them conservative in their views concerning the mission and work of the Messiah. But evidences were given them that prepared them to understand that the tidings of the kingdom of Christ were to be preached to all nations. Now that their sympathies were broadening, and their ideas expanding in regard to the purpose of God, Christ desired them to act out their faith before he should be removed from them, that there might be no misunderstanding in regard to the extension of the gospel. ST December 10, 1894, par. 1

Jesus’ great heart of love was filled with longing to proclaim the words of life to all nationalities, and he did this in a large measure. He placed himself in the great thoroughfares of travel, where the crowds passed to and fro, and preached to large concourses of different peoples. But he saw numerous fields opening up for missionary labor. There was abundant opportunity for the twelve disciples to work, and not only for them, but for a very large number of workers. He educated a larger number to employ in missionary work, and, as he sent forth seventy more laborers into the harvest field, he said, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.” In giving his laborers direction as they began this most important work, he said, “Salute no man by the way.” The salutation to which he referred was not that of giving a friendly grasp to the hand, but was a long series of ceremonies, that consumed time to no profit, and their business was too urgent to trifle away precious moments in unnecessary forms. They were bearing a message that was to be as a savor of life unto life to those who received it, and as a savor of death unto death to those who rejected it; and all these superstitious positions and ceremonies of salutation, if performed, would lessen the importance of the message, and seem to make it of little moment. ST December 10, 1894, par. 2

The sending out of the disciples on a missionary tour was a most important movement, as it was a breaking away from the old, narrow conservatism of the Jews, and would have a tendency to lead them away from their prejudices against other nations, and establish them in a larger charity. He wished them to be impressed with the necessity of planting the truth in the hearts of all men, with the thought that all who would come might come to him, and by believing in him have life through his name. The time was approaching when he should leave his followers, but he promised them that the Spirit should come to lead them into all truth, to illuminate to their minds the Scriptures which he had himself given to patriarchs and prophets. No longer were the Gentiles to be kept in heathenism, or, as it were, in the outer courts of the temple. ST December 10, 1894, par. 3

The Pharisees were daily plotting to stop the spread of the gospel of Christ, and were misinterpreting God's word, by threatening the people, and seeking to intimidate them, and they deepened the darkness that enveloped the souls of men, and bound more firmly the chains of superstition and error that Jesus was breaking from those who believed in him. The Pharisees and rulers and rabbis sought to controvert the truth by their assertions, and manifested great zeal in pursuing their evil course. They hesitated at nothing that would carry out their hatred of Christ. The seventy were sent out with the warning, “Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.” But though sent out to meet opposition, they were not to be spiritless, powerless, and feeble. They were to exercise every proper means that was consistent with the commission they were given, and spend and be spent in seeking to win souls to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. A new and mighty movement was to be inaugurated, a new epoch was to be ushered in, advancing the truth to the world. ST December 10, 1894, par. 4

The world's Redeemer marks out the course the disciples were to pursue. There must be no betraying of sacred trusts on the part of those intrusted with the work, no yielding save to one Guide. Christ laid out before them the rules of action they were to follow, the manner in which they were to pursue their work, and there must be no swerving from God's word. He sent them forth two and two. This was the order in which the laborers were to go forth. He was about to leave the work, and he determined to put it in the hands of faithful men, who would teach others also to carry forward and proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to all nations, tongues, and peoples. He had revealed to his followers invisible realities, and had told them of coming events, reaching down to the end of earth's history. He had opened up to them principles concerning redemption and moral government by holding forth to them the words of life, and all these great truths which he had communicated to them were not only for their enlightenment, but that they also might communicate truth to others who were in darkness. The seventy were to go forth to do a work similar to that which was being done by the twelve. They were all endowed with supernatural endowments as the seal of their heavenly calling. They were ordained to proclaim that which Jesus at the beginning of his ministry had bidden them to keep secret. Repeatedly Jesus had charged them not to proclaim his Messiahship, but to let the people receive him upon the testimony of his words and works. His works presented the divine credentials that bore sufficient evidence of his claims. But before the close of his earthly ministry, it was his purpose to give men unmistakable evidence of the fact that he was the Sent of God, that he was the center and soul of the kingdom of Israel; and this fact was to be proclaimed throughout all the borders of Judea; and in his last journey toward Jerusalem, prophecy should be so publicly fulfilled that no student of Scripture need be in doubt concerning his character and mission. The specifications of prophecy were to be fulfilled to the letter. ST December 10, 1894, par. 5

It was the work of the seventy disciples to give publicity to his work. They were his delegated forerunners, sent forth to create an interest in him, and to bear their message heralding his approach. The Saviour gave them special instruction as to how they were to conduct themselves, and what preliminary work must be done by them. The instruction was after the same order as he gave to the twelve when he sent them forth. “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” They were not to keep their goods, bind them up in a napkin, and hide them in the earth. The Lord would have them put to use the talents he had given them, and put them out to the exchangers, by using every ability of money, mind, or influence in furthering the communication of the light of truth to souls who sat in darkness. ST December 10, 1894, par. 6

He said to them, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” ST December 10, 1894, par. 7

The spirit of prophecy had distinctly predicted that God would raise up an inspired Teacher, who should instruct the people. This great Teacher had appeared among men, but they knew him not. Christ, the foundation of the whole Jewish economy, who had been prefigured in sacrifices and offerings, had appeared in the Jewish nation, but their eyes were blinded. He had himself inspired the prophets to testify of the manner of his coming, and at sundry times and in divers places Christ himself had spoken to man. There had been no time when he was not in communication with his chosen people. The Jewish services all testify of him, pointing out the attributes of his divine character. Important truth concerning him was veiled in types and shadows and symbols, and was to be fulfilled in Christ's mission and ministry. From time to time the veil had been lifted and the mystery had been revealed concerning the plan of salvation. The reality had been made plain, the substance had appeared, explaining the shadow. Jesus Christ was revealed, the One who was to give his life for the redemption of the world. Those who believed in him in the ages before his personal advent, “died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” ST December 10, 1894, par. 8

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.” Here is plain evidence that Moses understood the mission of Christ and the work he was to do. He expected the substance to be revealed, and the unfinished economy of the Jewish nation would be completed in perfect fulfillment of every specification that God had given in types and shadows. He would bring his own system of arrangements to perfection. For Moses truly said unto the fathers: “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” ST December 10, 1894, par. 9

The work of the chosen twelve, and of the seventy who were sent out, was to proclaim the Messiahship of Jesus, and to herald his personal coming wheresoever they should go. They were to say, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” ST December 10, 1894, par. 10