For lack of a better name, Indians call them Sentinelese. They are primitive – not like we are Primitive, but in the true sense of the word, pre-Neolithic. They are the most isolated people on the face of the earth. They have mostly gone un-contacted by outsiders for centuries if not thousands of years. They do not take kindly to visitors.
A 1967 attempt by Indian authorities to engage them failed.
In the 1970s, a film crew and anthropologist tied to initiate contact with gifts, toys, fruit, pigs, pots and pans. The film’s director was shot in the thigh with an arrow, halting any plans for a documentary. India eventually decided it best not to expose this group to outside disease or invaders. A previous island group was introduced to modern illness by man’s intrusion. It almost wiped them out, destroying their culture in the process.
As recent as 2006, illegal fishermen near the island were killed by archers. A helicopter sent to retrieve the bodies of the fishermen was met with such a barrage of arrows, the recovery effort was called off. The power of the helicopters blades uncovered shallow graves, telling us they are not cannibals and they bury their dead.
Almost all other knowledge about them is based on educated guessing. It’s assumed they live in huts and are hunter-gatherers; they have been observed using wooden javelins, bows and arrows, and harpoons. They speak a language unique to them which we have no way of translating. The Sentinelese appear to use pig skulls as ornaments of some sort, and have been observed to use some form of red dye in clothing and decoration.
Why do I tell you all this? Because I’m convinced you’re going to meet some of these people in eternity. My book tells me the Lord chose – in an everlasting covenant, before the foundation of the world, a bride, out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation. That covers every possible group - not in a universal sense, but it tells us a representative from every group will be in heaven’s glory world.
Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Gen 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.
They have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that entire civilizations have lived and died never having heard the name of Jesus. Yet representatives from those civilizations are encompassed in those four groups in Revelation (kindred, tongue, people, and nation). Though covered by the everlasting covenant, some have never heard the name of the one who died for them and secured them a home in eternity.
It’s a privilege you’ve been given to hear that name, to rehearse that story, and to understand great details about redemption, and eternal life.
Jhn 10:24-28 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.
If your name was penned in the lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world, and you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, then you have heard his voice in the new birth, and, HE has told you plainly that HE is the Christ.
Saving Mission or Suicide Mission?
The world talks about men, missions, money, and machines to get the gospel to the fallen world, where they can coax and scare people into a state of righteousness by repentance. But there aren’t any volunteers headed to the Andaman Islands to save the Sentinelese people. Modern missionaries may be willing to sacrifice comfort for the sake of making converts, but who willingly takes on a suicide mission?
Even if they could get onto the island without dying, they couldn’t speak their language. The Sentinelese can’t read any bibles or tracts given them and they absolutely aren’t going to allow a stranger to immerse them under water, however briefly.
When we examine the plight of these isolated people, how grateful should we be that salvation, the task of saving sinful man is not laid at the feet of one of Adam’s prosperity?
If I offend my brother in some way – and no doubt, that’s happened in the past - if we’re not speaking, because of something I have done, I can’t go to him and say “Look – here’s how we fix this. You accept my terms.”
My brother is the offended party. He has to set the terms for reconciliation. Otherwise, it won’t work. I have relationships long in need of repair that cannot be fixed because the offended party refuses to set terms.
God is the offended party in our scenario. Our fall in Adam and our continuation in sin make us the offenders. God set the terms for reconciliation. And, because we aren’t capable of meeting the terms – again, because of our sin and sinful nature, we needed a substitute to take our place. Perfection stood in our room and stead. God set the terms, and met the terms.
1Jo 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Propitiation is one of those complicated words that get harder as you try to define it. I’ve settled on the term satisfaction to explain propitiation. God was satisfied in both the sinless perfection and perfect sacrifice of His son.
How are these isolated people born again? The same way you are. The same way Adam, Noah, David and Daniel were born again. Each heard and experienced the life giving voice of the Son of God. John 5:25
Primitive Baptists are an isolated people. Among the various religions of the world, we are indeed a “little flock” But our weak numbers don’t stop us from even further reductions: – conservative, progressive, absoluter, and so on. Even a group of two can divide when personal interpretation takes precedence over ‘thus sayeth the Lord.’ By comparison, it makes the handful of Sentinelese appear to be a mighty nation.
Death, Devastation, Depravity – The Sentinelese are just like us.
God gave his only son for you – to bring you back from the death and devastation of the fall in Adam’s transgression. In so doing, he redeemed you, gave you eternal life and prepares you for a position in eternity as the bride.
It makes you special in the eyes of God. God has called you not only out of darkness into the light and a new life, but into service.
Jesus says in John 4 God seeketh such to worship Him. I believe, from that small isolated group, God has sought you and called you to serve Him in this lifetime. How is that service progressing? Do you ever wonder if God uses performance evaluations? He does.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Not everyone is blessed to hear about Jesus, let alone the TRUE gospel. 1 Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
While the world debates the value of hearing the preached word and eternal salvation, we can rest knowing that even among the Sentinelese isolated on that island, the Lord knoweth them that are His.
Brother Royce Ellis