Prayer And Fervency

“St. Teresa rose off her deathbed to finish her work. She inspected, with all her quickness of eye and love of order the whole of the house in which she had been carried to die.

She saw everything put into its proper place, and every one answering to their proper order, after which she attended the divine offices of the day.

She then went back to her bed, summoned her daughters around her . . . and, with the most penitential of David’s penitential prayers upon her tongue, Teresa of Jesus went forth to meet her Bridegroom.” — ALEXANDER WHYTE.

Prayer, without fervour, stakes nothing on the issue, because it has nothing to stake. It comes with empty hands. Hands which are listless, as well as empty, which have never learned the lesson of clinging to the Cross.

Fervourless prayer has no heart in it; it is an empty thing, an unfit vessel. Heart, soul, and life, must find place in all real praying. Heaven must be made to feel the force of this crying unto God.

Paul was a notable example of the man who possessed a fervent spirit of prayer. His petitioning was all-consuming, centered immovably upon the object of his desire, and the God who was able to meet it.

Prayers must be red hot. It is the fervent prayer that is effectual and that avail. Coldness of spirit hinders praying; prayer cannot live in a wintry atmosphere. Chilly surroundings freeze out petitioning; and dry up the springs of supplication. It takes fire to make prayers go. Warmth of soul creates an atmosphere favourable to prayer, because it is favourable to fervency. By flame, prayer ascends to heaven. Yet fire is not fuss, nor heat, noise. Heat is intensity — something that glows and burns. Heaven is a mighty poor market for ice.

God wants warm-hearted servants. The Holy Spirit comes as a fire, to dwell in us; we are to be baptized, with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Fervency is warmth of soul. A luke-warm temperament is strongly opposed to vital experience. If our religion does not set us on fire, it is because we have frozen hearts. God dwells in a flame; the Holy Spirit descends in fire. To be absorbed in God’s will, to be so greatly in earnest about doing it that our whole being takes fire, is the qualifying condition of the man who would engage in effectual prayer.

Our Lord warns us against feeble praying. “Men ought always to pray,” He declares, “and not to faint.” That means, that we are to possess sufficient fervency to carry us through the severe and long periods of pleading prayer. Fire makes one alert and vigilant, and brings him off, more than conqueror. The atmosphere about us is too heavily charged with resisting forces for limp prayers to make headway. It takes heat, and fervency and meteoric fire, to push through, to the upper heavens, where God dwells with His saints, in light.

Many of the great Bible characters were notable examples of fervency of spirit when seeking God. The Psalmist declares with great earnestness:

“My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” (Psalm 119:20)

What strong desires of heart are here! What earnest soul longings for the Word of the living God! An even greater fervency is expressed by him in another place:

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2)

That is the word of a man who lived in a state of grace, which had been deeply and supernaturally wrought in his soul.

Fervency before God counts in the hour of prayer, and finds a speedy and rich reward at His hands. The Psalmist gives us this statement of what God had done for the king, as his heart turned toward his Lord:

“You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.”

At another time, he thus expresses himself directly to God in preferring his request:

“Lord, all my desire are before You; and my groaning is not hid from You.”

What a cheering thought! Our inward groanings, our secret desires, our heart-longings, are not hidden from the eyes of Him with whom we have to deal in prayer.

The incentive to fervency of spirit before God, is precisely the same as it is for continued and earnest prayer. While fervency is not prayer, yet it derives from an earnest soul, and is precious in the sight of God. Fervency in prayer is the precursor of what God will do by way of answer. God stands pledged to give us the desire of our hearts in proportion to the fervency of spirit we exhibit, when seeking His face in prayer.

Fervency has its seat in the heart, not in the brain, nor in the intellectual faculties of the mind. Fervency therefore, is not an expression of the intellect. Fervency of spirit is something far transcending poetical fancy or sentimental imagery. It is something else besides mere preference, the contrasting of like with dislike. Fervency is the throb and gesture of the emotional nature.

It is not in our power, perhaps, to create fervency of spirit at will, but we can pray God to implant it. It is ours, then, to nourish and cherish it, to guard it against extinction, to prevent its abatement or decline. The process of personal salvation is not only to pray, to express our desires to God, but to acquire a fervent spirit and seek, by all proper means, to cultivate it. It is never out of place to pray God to beget within us, and to keep alive the spirit of fervent prayer.

Fervency has to do with God, just as prayer has to do with Him. Desire always has an objective. If we desire at all, we desire something. The degree of fervency with which we fashion our spiritual desires, will always serve to determine the earnestness of our praying. In this relation, Adoniram Judson says:

“A travailing spirit, the throes of a great burdened desire, belongs to prayer. A fervency strong enough to drive away sleep, which devotes and inflames the spirit, and which retires all earthly ties, all this belongs to wrestling, prevailing prayer. The Spirit, the power, the air, and food of prayer is in such a spirit.”

Prayer must be clothed with fervency, strength and power. It is the force which, centered on God, determines the outlay of Himself for earthly good. Men who are fervent in spirit are bent on attaining to righteousness, truth, grace, and all other sublime and powerful graces which adorn the character of the authentic, unquestioned child of God.

God once declared, by the mouth of a brave prophet, to a king who, at one time, had been true to God, but, by the incoming of success and material prosperity, had lost his faith, the following message:

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war” (2 Chr. 16:9)

God had heard Asa’s prayer in early life, but disaster came and trouble was sent, because he had given up the life of prayer and simple faith.

In Romans 15:30, we have the word, “strive,” occurring, in the request which Paul made for prayerful cooperation.

In Colossians 4:12, we have the same word, but translated differently: “Epaphras always labouring fervently for you in prayer.” Paul charged the Romans to “strive together with him in prayer,” that is, to help him in his struggle of prayer. The word means to enter into a contest, to fight against adversaries. It means, moreover, to engage with fervent zeal to endeavour to obtain.

These recorded instances of the exercise and reward of faith, give us easily to see that, in almost every instance, faith was blended with trust until it is not too much to say that the former was swallowed up in the latter. It is hard to properly distinguish the specific activities of these two qualities, faith and trust. But there is a point, beyond all peradventure, at which faith is relieved of its burden, so to speak; where trust comes along and says: “You have done your part, the rest is mine!”

In the incident of the barren fig tree, our Lord transfers the marvellous power of faith to His disciples. To their exclamation, “How soon is the fig tree withered alway!” He said:

“If you have faith, and doubt not, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you shall say to this mountain, Be removed, and be cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”

When a Christian believer attains to faith of such magnificent proportions as these, he steps into the realm of implicit trust. He stands without a tremor on the apex of his spiritual outreaching. He has attained faith’s veritable top stone which is unswerving, unalterable, unalienable trust in the power of the living God.

– E.M. Bounds

Prayer And Desire

“There are those who will mock me, and tell me to stick to my trade as a cobbler, and not trouble my mind with philosophy and theology. But the truth of God did so burn in my bones, that I took my pen in hand and began to set down what I had seen.” — Jacob Behmen

Desire is not merely a simple wish; it is a deep seated craving; an intense longing, for attainment. In the realm of spiritual affairs, it is an important adjunct to prayer. So important is it, that one might say, almost, that desire is an absolute essential of prayer. Desire precedes prayer, accompanies it, is followed by it. Desire goes before prayer, and by it, created and intensified. Prayer is the oral expression of desire. If prayer is asking God for something, then prayer must be expressed. Prayer comes out into the open. Desire is silent. Prayer is heard; desire, unheard. The deeper the desire, the stronger the prayer. Without desire, prayer is a meaningless mumble of words. Such perfunctory, formal praying, with no heart, no feeling, no real desire accompanying it, is to be shunned like a pestilence. Its exercise is a waste of precious time, and from it, no real blessing accrues.

And yet even if it be discovered that desire is honestly absent, we should pray, anyway. We ought to pray. The “ought” comes in, in order that both desire and expression be cultivated. God’s Word commands it. Our judgment tells us we ought to pray — to pray whether we feel like it or not — and not to allow our feelings to determine our habits of prayer. In such circumstance, we ought to pray for the desire to pray; for such a desire is God-given and heaven-born. We should pray for desire; then, when desire has been given, we should pray according to its dictates. Lack of spiritual desire should grieve us, and lead us to lament its absence, to seek earnestly for its bestowal, so that our praying, henceforth, should be an expression of “the soul’s sincere desire.”

A sense of need creates or should create, earnest desire. The stronger the sense of need, before God, the greater should be the desire, the more earnest the praying. The “poor in spirit” are eminently competent to pray.

Hunger is an active sense of physical need. It prompts the request for bread. In like manner, the inward consciousness of spiritual need creates desire, and desire breaks forth in prayer. Desire is an inward longing for something of which we are not possessed, of which we stand in need — something which God has promised, and which may be secured by an earnest supplication of His throne of grace.

Spiritual desire, carried to a higher degree, is the evidence of the new birth. It is born in the renewed soul:

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” – 1 Peter 2:2

The absence of this holy desire in the heart is presumptive proof, either of a decline in spiritual ecstasy, or, that the new birth has never taken place.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” – Matthew 5:6

These heaven-given appetites are the proof of a renewed heart, the evidence of a stirring spiritual life. Physical appetites are the attributes of a living body, not of a corpse, and spiritual desires belong to a soul made alive to God. And as the renewed soul hungers and thirsts after righteousness, these holy inward desires break out into earnest, supplicating prayer.

In prayer, we are shut up to the Name, merit and intercessory virtue of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest. Probing down, below the accompanying conditions and forces in prayer, we come to its vital basis, which is seated in the human heart. It is not simply our need; it is the heart’s yearning for what we need, and for which we feel impelled to pray. Desire is the will in action; a strong, conscious longing, excited in the inner nature, for some great good. Desire exalts the object of its longing, and fixes the mind on it. It has choice, and fixedness, and flame in it, and prayer, based thereon, is explicit and specific. It knows its need, feels and sees the thing that will meet it, and hastens to acquire it.

Holy desire is much helped by devout contemplation. Meditation on our spiritual need, and on God’s readiness and ability to correct it, aids desire to grow. Serious thought engaged in before praying, increases desire, makes it more insistent, and tends to save us from the menace of private prayer — wandering thought. We fail much more in desire, than in its outward expression. We retain the form, while the inner life fades and almost dies.

One might well ask, whether the feebleness of our desires for God, the Holy Spirit, and for all the fulness of Christ, is not the cause of our so little praying, and of our languishing in the exercise of prayer? Do we really feel these inward pantings of desire after heavenly treasures? Do the inbred groanings of desire stir our souls to mighty wrestlings? Alas for us! The fire burns altogether too low. The flaming heat of soul has been tempered down to a tepid lukewarmness. This, it should be remembered, was the central cause of the sad and desperate condition of the Laodicean Christians, of whom the awful condemnation is written that they were “rich, and increased in goods and had need of nothing,” and knew not that they “were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind.”

Again: we might well inquire — have we that desire which presses us to close communion with God, which is filled with unutterable burnings, and holds us there through the agony of an intense and soul-stirred supplication? Our hearts need much to be worked over, not only to get the evil out of them, but to get the good into them. And the foundation and inspiration to the incoming good, is strong, propelling desire. This holy and fervid flame in the soul awakens the interest of heaven, attracts the attention of God, and places at the disposal of those who exercise it, the exhaustless riches of Divine grace.

The dampening of the flame of holy desire, is destructive of the vital and aggressive forces in church life. God requires to be represented by a fiery Church, or He is not in any proper sense, represented at all. God, Himself, is all on fire, and His Church, if it is to be like Him, must also be at white heat. The great and eternal interests of heaven-born, God-given religion are the only things about which His Church can afford to be on fire. Yet holy zeal need not to be fussy in order to be consuming. Our Lord was the incarnate antithesis of nervous excitability, the absolute opposite of intolerant or clamorous declamation, yet the zeal of God’s house consumed Him; and the world is still feeling the glow of His fierce, consuming flame and responding to it, with an ever-increasing readiness and an ever-enlarging response.

A lack of zeal in prayer is the sure sign of a lack of depth and of intensity of desire; and the absence of intense desire is a sure sign of God’s absence from the heart! To abate fervour is to retire from God. He can, and does, tolerate many things in the way of infirmity and error in His children. He can, and will pardon sin when the penitent prays, but two things are intolerable to Him — insincerity and lukewarmness. Lack of heart and lack of heat are two things He loathes, and to the Laodiceans He said, in terms of unmistakable severity and condemnation:

“I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.”

– E.M. Bounds

Prayer And Trust

“One evening I left my office in New York, with a bitterly cold wind in my face. I had with me, (as I thought) my thick, warm muffler, but when I proceeded to button-up against the storm, I found that it was gone.

I turned back, looked along the streets, searched my office, but in vain. I realized, then, that I must have dropped it, and prayed God that I might find it; for such was the state of the weather, that it would be running a great risk to proceed without it. I looked, again, up and down the surrounding streets, but without success.

Sudden]y, I saw a man on the opposite side of the road holding out something in his hand. I crossed over and asked him if that were my muffler? He handed it to me saying, ‘It was blown to me by the wind.’ He who rides upon the storm, had used the wind as a means of answering prayer.” — William Horst

Prayer does not stand alone. It is not an isolated duty and independent principle. It lives in association with other Christian duties, is wedded to other principles, is a partner with other graces. But to faith, prayer is indissolubly joined. Faith gives it colour and tone, shapes its character, and secures its results.

Trust is faith become absolute, ratified, consummated. There is, when all is said and done, a sort of venture in faith and its exercise. But trust is firm belief, it is faith in full flower. Trust is a conscious act, a fact of which we are sensible. According to the Scriptural concept it is the eye of the new-born soul, and the ear of the renewed soul. It is the feeling of the soul, the spiritual eye, the ear, the taste, the feeling — these one and all have to do with trust. How luminous, how distinct, how conscious, how powerful, and more than all, how Scriptural is such a trust! How different from many forms of modern belief, so feeble, dry, and cold! These new phases of belief bring no consciousness of their presence, no “Joy unspeakable and full of glory” results from their exercise. They are, for the most part, adventures in the peradventures of the soul. There is no safe, sure trust in anything. The whole transaction takes place in the realm of Maybe and Perhaps.

Trust like life, is feeling, though much more than feeling. An unfelt life is a contradiction; an unfelt trust is a misnomer, a delusion, a contradiction. Trust is the most felt of all attributes. It is all feeling, and it works only by love. An unfelt love is as impossible as an unfelt trust. The trust of which we are now speaking is a conviction. An unfelt conviction? How absurd!

Trust sees God doing things here and now. Yea, more. It rises to a lofty eminence, and looking into the invisible and the eternal, realizes that God has done things, and regards them as being already done. Trust brings eternity into the annals and happenings of time, transmutes the substance of hope into the reality of fruition, and changes promise into present possession. We know when we trust just as we know when we see, just as we are conscious of our sense of touch. Trust sees, receives, holds. Trust is its own witness.

Yet, quite often, faith is too weak to obtain God’s greatest good, immediately; so it has to wait in loving, strong, prayerful, pressing obedience, until it grows in strength, and is able to bring down the eternal, into the realms of experience and time.

To this point, trust masses all its forces. Here it holds. And in the struggle, trust’s grasp becomes mightier, and grasps, for itself, all that God has done for it in His eternal wisdom and plenitude of grace.

In the matter of waiting in prayer, mightiest prayer, faith rises to its highest plane and becomes indeed the gift of God. It becomes the blessed disposition and expression of the soul which is secured by a constant intercourse with, and unwearied application to God.

Jesus Christ clearly taught that faith was the condition on which prayer was answered. When our Lord had cursed the fig-tree, the disciples were much surprised that its withering had actually taken place. It was then that Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God.”

“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore, I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Trust grows nowhere so readily and richly as in the prayer-chamber. Its unfolding and development are rapid and wholesome when they are regularly and well kept. When these engagements are hearty and full and free, trust flourishes exceedingly. The eye and presence of God give vigorous life to trust, just as the eye and the presence of the sun make fruit and flower to grow, and all things glad and bright with fuller life.

“Have faith in God,” “Trust in the Lord” form the keynote and foundation of prayer. Primarily, it is not trust in the Word of God, but rather trust in the Person of God. For trust in the Person of God must precede trust in the Word of God. “Ye believe in God, believe also in Me,” is the demand our Lord makes on the personal trust of His disciples. The person of Jesus Christ must be central, to the eye of trust. This great truth Jesus sought to impress upon Martha, when her brother lay dead, in the home at Bethany. Martha asserted her belief in the fact of the resurrection of her brother:

“Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus lifts her trust clear above the mere fact of the resurrection, to His own Person, by saying:

“I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me, shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto Him, Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”

Trust, in an historical fact or in a mere record may be a very passive thing, but trust in a person vitalizes the quality, fructifies it, informs it with love. The trust which informs prayer centres in a Person.

Trust goes even further than this. The trust which inspires our prayer must be not only trust in the Person of God, and of Christ, but in their ability and willingness to grant the thing prayed for. It is not only, “Trust, ye, in the Lord,” but, also, “for in the Lord Jehovah, is everlasting strength.”

The trust which our Lord taught as a condition of effectual prayer, is not of the head but of the heart. It is trust which “doubteth not in his heart.” Such trust has the Divine assurance that it shall be honoured with large and satisfying answers. The strong promise of our Lord brings faith down to the present, and counts on a present answer.

– E.M. Bounds

More On Prayer And Trust

“The guests at a certain hotel were being rendered uncomfortable by repeated strumming on a piano, done by a little girl who possessed no knowledge of music.

They complained to the proprietor with a view to having the annoyance stopped. ‘I am sorry you are annoyed,’ he said. ‘But the girl is the child of one of my very best guests. I can scarcely ask her not to touch the piano. But her father, who is away for a day or so, will return tomorrow.

You can then approach him, and have the matter set right.’ When the father returned, he found his daughter in the reception-room and, as usual, thumping on the piano. He walked up behind the child and, putting his arms over her shoulders, took her hands in his, and produced some most beautiful music. Thus it may be with us, and thus it will be, some coming day. Just now, we can produce little but clamour and disharmony; but, one day, the Lord Jesus will take hold of our hands of faith and prayer, and use them to bring forth the music of the skies.” — Anon

Genuine, authentic faith must be definite and free of doubt. Not simply general in character; not a mere belief in the being, goodness and power of God, but a faith which believes that the things which “he saith, shall come to pass.” As the faith is specific, so the answer likewise will be definite: “He shall have whatsoever he saith.” Faith and prayer select the things, and God commits Himself to do the very things which faith and persevering prayer nominate, and petition Him to accomplish.

The American Revised Version renders Mark 24:11, thus: “Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Perfect faith has always in its keeping what perfect prayer asks for. How large and unqualified is the area of operation — the “All things whatsoever!” How definite and specific the promise — “Ye shall have them!”

Our chief concern is with our faith, — the problems of its growth, and the activities of its vigorous maturity. A faith which grasps and holds in its keeping the very things it asks for, without wavering, doubt or fear — that is the faith we need — faith, such as is a pearl of great price, in the process and practise of prayer.

The statement of our Lord about faith and prayer quoted above is of supreme importance. Faith must be definite, specific; an unqualified, unmistakable request for the things asked for. It is not to be a vague, indefinite, shadowy thing; it must be something more than an abstract belief in God’s willingness and ability to do for us. It is to be a definite, specific, asking for, and expecting the things for which we ask. Note the reading of Mark 11:23:

“And shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatever he saith.”

Just so far as the faith and the asking is definite, so also will the answer be. The giving is not to be something other than the things prayed for, but the actual things sought and named. “He shall have whatsoever he saith.” It is all imperative, “He shall have.” The granting is to be unlimited, both in quality and in quantity.

Faith and prayer select the subjects for petition, thereby determining what God is to do. “He shall have whatsoever he saith.” Christ holds Himself ready to supply exactly, and fully, all the demands of faith and prayer. If the order on God be made clear, specific and definite, God will fill it, exactly in accordance with the presented terms.

Faith is not an abstract belief in the Word of God, nor a mere mental credence, nor a simple assent of the understanding and will; nor is it a passive acceptance of facts, however sacred or thorough. Faith is an operation of God, a Divine illumination, a holy energy implanted by the Word of God and the Spirit in the human soul — a spiritual, Divine principle which takes of the Supernatural and makes it a thing apprehendable by the faculties of time and sense.

Faith deals with God, and is conscious of God. It deals with the Lord Jesus Christ and sees in Him a Saviour; it deals with God’s Word, and lays hold of the truth; it deals with the Spirit of God, and is energized and inspired by its holy fire. God is the great objective of faith; for faith rests its whole weight on His Word. Faith is not an aimless act of the soul, but a looking to God and a resting upon His promises. Just as love and hope have always an objective so, also, has faith. Faith is not believing just anything; it is believing God, resting in Him, trusting His Word.

Faith gives birth to prayer, and grows stronger, strikes deeper, rises higher, in the struggles and wrestlings of mighty petitioning. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the assurance and realization of the inheritance of the saints. Faith, too, is humble and persevering. It can wait and pray; it can stay on its knees, or lie in the dust. It is the one great condition of prayer; the lack of it lies at the root of all poor praying, feeble praying, little praying, unanswered praying.

The nature and meaning of faith is more demonstrable in what it does, than it is by reason of any definition given it. Thus, if we turn to the record of faith given us in that great honour roll, which constitutes the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, we see something of the wonderful results of faith. What a glorious list it is — that of these men and women of faith! What marvellous achievements are there recorded, and set to the credit of faith! The inspired writer, exhausting his resources in cataloguing the Old Testament saints, who were such notable examples of wonderful faith, finally exclaims:

“And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets.”

And then the writer of Hebrews goes on again, in a wonderful strain, telling of the unrecorded exploits wrought through the faith of the men of old, “of whom the world was not worthy.” “All these,” he says, “obtained a good report through faith.”

What an era of glorious achievements would dawn for the Church and the world, if only there could be reproduced a race of saints of like mighty faith, of like wonderful praying! It is not the intellectually great that the Church needs; nor is it men of wealth that the times demand. It is not people of great social influence that this day requires. Above everybody and everything else, it is men of faith, men of mighty prayer, men and women after the fashion of the saints and heroes enumerated in Hebrews, who “obtained a good report through faith,” that the Church and the whole wide world of humanity needs.

– E.M. Bounds

Prayer and Faith

“A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry.

Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood.

A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.” — A. C. Dixon.

In any study of the principles, and procedure of prayer, of its activities and enterprises, first place, must be given to faith. It is the initial quality in the heart of any man who essays to talk to the Unseen. He must, out of sheer helplessness, stretch forth hands of faith. He must believe, where he cannot prove. In the ultimate issue, prayer is simply faith, claiming its natural yet marvellous prerogatives — faith taking possession of its illimitable inheritance. True godliness is just as true, steady, and persevering in the realm of faith as it is in the province of prayer. Moreover: when faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live.

Faith does the impossible because it brings God to undertake for us, and nothing is impossible with God. How great — without qualification or limitation — is the power of faith! If doubt be banished from the heart, and unbelief made stranger there, what we ask of God shall surely come to pass, and a believer hath vouchsafed to him “whatsoever he saith.”

Prayer projects faith on God, and God on the world. Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God. In His cursing of the fig-tree our Lord demonstrated His power. Following that, He proceeded to declare, that large powers were committed to faith and prayer, not in order to kill but to make alive, not to blast but to bless.

At this point in our study, we turn to a saying of our Lord, which there is need to emphasize, since it is the very keystone of the arch of faith and prayer.

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

We should ponder well that statement — “Believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Here is described a faith which realizes, which appropriates, which takes. Such faith is a consciousness of the Divine, an experienced communion, a realized certainty.

Is faith growing or declining as the years go by? Does faith stand strong and four square, these days, as iniquity abounds and the love of many grows cold? Does faith maintain its hold, as religion tends to become a mere formality and worldliness increasingly prevails? The enquiry of our Lord, may, with great appropriateness, be ours. “When the Son of Man cometh,” He asks, “shall He find faith on the earth?” We believe that He will, and it is ours, in this our day, to see to it that the lamp of faith is trimmed and burning, lest He come who shall come, and that right early.

Faith is the foundation of Christian character and the security of the soul. When Jesus was looking forward to Peter’s denial, and cautioning him against it, He said unto His disciple:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, to sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fall not.”

Our Lord was declaring a central truth; it was Peter’s faith He was seeking to guard; for well He knew that when faith is broken down, the foundations of spiritual life give way, and the entire structure of religious experience falls. It was Peter’s faith which needed guarding. Hence Christ’s solicitude for the welfare of His disciple’s soul and His determination to fortify Peter’s faith by His own all-prevailing prayer.

In his Second Epistle, Peter has this idea in mind when speaking of growth in grace as a measure of safety in the Christian life, and as implying fruitfulness.

“And besides this,” he declares, “giving diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.”

Of this additioning process, faith was the starting-point — the basis of the other graces of the Spirit. Faith was the foundation on which other things were to be built. Peter does not enjoin his readers to add to works or gifts or virtues but to faith. Much depends on starting right in this business of growing in grace. There is a Divine order, of which Peter was aware; and so he goes on to declare that we are to give diligence to making our calling and election sure, which election is rendered certain adding to faith which, in turn, is done by constant, earnest praying. Thus faith is kept alive by prayer, and every step taken, in this adding of grace to grace, is accompanied by prayer.

The faith which invokes powerful praying is the faith which centers itself on a powerful Person. Faith in Christ’s ability to do and to do greatly, is the faith which prays greatly. Thus the leper lay hold upon the power of Christ. “Lord, if Thou wilt,” he cried, “Thou canst make me clean.” In this instance, we are shown how faith centered in Christ’s ability to do, and how it secured the healing power.

It was concerning this very point, that Jesus questioned the blind men who came to Him for healing:

“Believe ye that I am able to do this?” He asks. “They said unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.”

It was to inspire faith in His ability to do that Jesus left behind Him, that last, great statement, which, in the final analysis, is a ringing challenge to faith. “All power,” He declared, “is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.”

– E.M. Bounds

How To Recognize A Cult

by Terry James

Perhaps no end-time signal is more prominent today than current activities by false teachers and false prophets. Jesus clearly warned of these people and their deluding work.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5).

This is the very first warning Jesus gave in answer to His disciples’ question: “What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” The Lord put this signal at the very front of the list of things for which we should watch. There must be great significance in the placement of His answer.

Later, in the Matthew 24 account of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus said: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not” (Matt. 24: 23-24).

We know from sensational reports in recent history that this phenomenon is with us today. Think on Jim Jones, David Koresh, and those who thought they could hitch a ride on the Hale-Bopp Comet if they committed suicide. However, those are the fringe, radical elements of what Jesus called “false teachers,” and “false prophets.” There are far more subtle, seemingly loving, caring false teachers, and false prophets in our midst today, just as dangerous, and as deadly, as were these just mentioned.

There is nothing more important than for Christians to recognize these evil organizations. It is so important to recognize them, because they usually have just enough truth in their deceptive messages to keep their victims from coming to know Christ as Savior and Lord.

I am personally acquainted with a couple that was deeply involved in such a soul-destroying cult before Christ rescued them, and brought them into God’s true family.

Dan and Agusta Harting have, for years, worked tirelessly in their counter-cult ministry, exposing at every opportunity the truth about cults while lifting the name of Jesus so many will be drawn to Him by the Holy Spirit. (Their ministry is Families Against Cults. Their contact information is at the bottom of this column.)

The Hartings have spoken in 600 church of all denominations, both here and in Europe. The thrust of these talks is to warn the Body of Christ about the pernicious doctrines of the cults, and to teach people how to witness to those caught up in cults.

Dan and Agusta have been dear friends of mine for many years, and I can heartily recommend them to any church concerned with this last-days cult plague.

Recently, they have dealt with someone who is within the grasp of a cult organization. Although he believes he is right and they are wrong, they continue to deal lovingly with him, trying to explain the dangers of his position with regard to his soul’s relationship to Christ.

Agusta presented to him the following ways to recognize a cult, and to determine whether the organization to which he is a member belongs in the cult category.

Agusta put together a cult ‘recipe’ from a Christian standpoint; I hope it helps!

– A strong and charismatic leader, who professes to be God’s spokesman/woman on the Earth for today. This is allegedly because he/she was called by dreams, visions, voices, angels, revelation, etc.

– The Bible is allegedly not enough (in spite of its claims that it is completely sufficient!). It is “missing books,” “incorrectly translated,” “not reliable for today,” needs the leader’s interpretation, etc.

– Other writings (usually by the leader) are put on par with, or even higher, than the Bible. Magazines from headquarters are often binding as “scripture” or inspired by God.

– Fanatical control is exercised over members. They must report to their “superiors” frequently. Interviews are set up to see how “worthy” they are.

– Demands for total obedience are exercised. Tabs are kept on the members as to their meeting attendance, as well as other issued callings that the cult demands.

– Mind control; food and drink control; what to wear; what not to wear; underwear; hair length; where and how members should serve God (according to the cult authorities), and how much money should be given, etc. Even marriages are null and void if not performed by the leader’s “authority.”

– Threats of dis-fellowshipping, ex-communication, or discipline are very common. Spy systems are set up, such as surprise visits.

– Former members are maligned, persecuted, and ridiculed, and said to be “sinners,” “unworthy,” or suspect in some character shortcomings.

– Reading of literature opposing the cult is often discouraged or forbidden. It is said to be “lies,” “anti truth,” “out of context,” “spiritual pornography,” “half-truths,” etc.

– Leaders are engaged in some sexual deviation, adultery, spiritual wifery, polygamy, homosexuality, etc.

– Jesus’ name is profusely used to legitimize the group, but His Person and nature have been altered to suit the doctrine of the cult. He is no longer the Eternal, Almighty God of the Bible.

– God is supposedly not the triune God that Christians have believed in from the beginning. The Trinity is said to be “pagan.”

– Salvation is not by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. Rather, it is by a long list of commandment keeping, rituals, and especially loyalty to and membership in the group. One can never know if he/she has eternal life until death.

– “New truths,” “lost truths,” or “restored doctrines” are frequently professed. Secret rituals are practiced in many cults.

– Reverence for the cross is discouraged. No crosses are found in or on the cult buildings; members are not allowed to wear crosses (but in some cults this is not so).

– All other churches are “false.” Membership in another church warrants excommunication, or disfellowshipping. Leaving the cult equals being “eternally lost.”

Agusta continued in her note to this man:

“…How does [cult to which he belongs] stack up to this list? Please think hard and objectively before you deny that it fits like a kidskin glove! How old are you…? I suspect that perhaps you are very young, and that you do not know enough doctrine and history of [cult to which he belongs] in order to be able to discuss it in any depth…

I want you to know that Jesus Christ (the REAL ONE) loves and died for you. If you put your whole trust in Him, and His gift to you of eternal life, without any of your own righteousness, you will be saved! This is the Good News! My prayer for you, my friend, is that you will repent and cast all your cares on Him who cares for you.”

Again, I can’t recommend the Hartings in strong enough terms when it comes to dealing effectively with the plague of last-days false teachers, false prophets, and their anti-Christ, anti-God organizations.

Their mailing address is:

Families Against Cults
e-mail: daharting@aol.com
PO Box 491, CARMEL, IN 46082-0491
Phone: 317-844-8055
Web site: IBAE.ORG (click on FAMILIES AGAINST CULTS)

Mistakes Concerning The Trinity

Arianism

Arianism was named for its founder, Arius, who was a 4th century priest in Alexandria, Egypt. Arias taught that Jesus was a created being, who is neither equal nor co-eternal to the Father. In denying the deity of Christ, yet advocating that he is to be worshipped, Arians are in truth promoting idol worship. This belief has found its way into many current Christian Identity and white supremacist groups like Shepherd’s Chapel, and countless “Hebrew Roots” groups.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: Jesus is not a created being, He is the Creator, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made,” (John 1:3) who is equal with the Father, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30)

Adoptionism (also known as Dynamic Monarchianism)

Adoptionism is a belief similar to Arianism, but arose a century later. Its teaching is that Jesus was a created being who did not pre-exist time, and after passing a test and completing his baptism, he was awarded supernatural powers by God and “adopted” as the Son. This belief is basis for the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: God the Son Jesus has always existed, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God,” (John 1:1-2) and always will exist, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

Modalism (also known as Modalistic Monarchianism or Sabellianism)

Modalism is the teaching that God can only exist in a single role at a given time. It maintains that God was in the role of the Father in the Old Testament days, the Son in the Gospels, and upon the ascension, took on the role of the Holy Spirit, which is not God, but the spirit of God. Modalists claim that those who believe in the trinity believe in 3 separate Gods, but this is an inaccurate statement and more accurately describes another error known as Tritheism (see below). Modalism is a mainstay of the UPC.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are 3 co-eternal, co-existing manifestations of the same being. “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

Tritheism

Tritheism is the belief that the Godhead is in reality 3 separate beings, with 3 separate wills, in violation of scripture that says God is one. While maintaining the deity of Christ, schisms of this belief (such as those taught by Word of Faith proponents) diminishes him to born again status and maintains that he was the first born again man, a sinner in need of a savior. Mormons are also tritheistic with the extra wrinkle of polytheism thrown in (see below).

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: Jesus was sinless, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

Polytheism

Polytheism is the belief in many Gods, in violation of Deuteronomy 6:4 and Isaiah 43:10, 44:6. This is a schism of Tritheism and is a belief maintained by the Mormon church. They maintain that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are the 3 gods of this world, and that the best Mormons will become Gods to populate their own world in the afterlife, where with the assistance of a goddess mother, they can give birth to their own Jesus and their Spirit will reign.

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES: There is only one God, “Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.” (Isaiah 43:10) and in eternity we will worship only Him “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

Why Jesus Must Return

by A.W. Pink

Is there any real need for Christ to return? So far as God’s children are concerned only one answer is possible to this question – “yes”.

Christians of every shade of religious belief are agreed that there is an imperative need for our Lord to come back again. As to the precise character of that need, as to the particular urgency of that need, opinions may vary, but concerning the need itself this is universally admitted.

Even post-millennialist (Those who believe Jesus will come back for His Church after the Tribulation) teach that Christ must come back at the end of time to judge the wicked and reward the righteous. But we hope to show that the need for His return is much deeper and much wider than the reason put forth by the post-millennialist.

Suppose Christ never returns–then what? The present order of things cannot continue indefinitely; such a thought is unthinkable. No one is satisfied with present conditions. Even those who despise the teachings of God’s Word hope for a better day, a Golden Age, an era of blessedness, such as this earth has never yet witnessed. And pre- millennialist (Those who believe Jesus will come back for His Church before the Tribulation) believe that this Golden Age can be ushered in by nothing short of the personal return of Christ Himself. Here then are a few reasons why we believe the Redeemer (Jesus Christ) must come back again.

CHRIST’S RETURN IS NECESSARY BECAUSE OF OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY…
It is very apparent to any one who has read thoughtfully through the Old Testament that the First Advent (Jesus first coming) of our Lord did not exhaust the burden and scope of the numerous predictions which had been made concerning Him.

Many of the things foretold of Israel’s Messiah were not accomplished during the days when He dwelt among men. Many of the promises found in God’s Word connected with the Person of Christ, still await their ratification. While it is true that the First Advent of the Lord Jesus literally and remarkable fulfilled many of the Old Testament prophecies concerning Him, yet, it is also true that many others were not then fulfilled. To several of these we shall now call our readers attention.

“And I will put enmity between you (the “serpent”) and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” – Genesis 3:15

Genesis 3:15 is not a single prophecy but a compound one and at least seven separate predictions are included in it. Let’s look a little more closely:

The woman is to have a seed: as we know, this pointed forward to our Lord’s humanity.
He was to be peculiarly the woman’s “seed,” not the man’s, hence we read, “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman” (Galations 4:4).

The woman’s “Seed” was to bruise the Serpent: in other words, Satan was to be His particular antagonist.
He was to bruise the Serpent’s head.

He Himself was to be bruised in the “heel” by the Serpent; and hence it is written, He was “bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5)

There was to be “enmity” between the Serpent and the one who gave birth to the “Seed,” namely Israel (Revelation 12:1-6). And then, after making mention of the enmity between the Serpent and the woman, we read,

“And between thy seed–the Serpent’s “seed,” i.e., the Son of Perdition–and her “Seed.” In other words, this age long “enmity” was to head up in a conflict between the Antichrist and the true Christ.
For this study it is sufficient to single out the fourth and fifth of the above items, which, in their historical order, have been reversed.

“Thou shalt bruise His heel.” That old Serpent the Devil was to be permitted to attack the wound the only vulnerable part of our Lord’s person–His humanity, here intimated by the word “heel.” This portion of prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified. No sooner was the Lord Jesus born in Bethlehem of Judea than the “Dragon” (Satan) sought to encompass His destruction (Revelation 12:4). Immediately following His baptism, which was the inauguration of His public ministry, He was tempted or “tried” by the Devil for forty days (Mark 1:13). On the eve of His crucifixion our Lord expressly declared, “This is your hour, and the Power of Darkness: (Luke 22:53). Thus was Satan allowed to bruise the “heel” of the woman’s Seed.

But we also read, “It shall bruise your head,” that is, Christ shall bruise Satan’s “head.” The head is the seat and source of power, and in the Scripture we are now considering is placed in sharp antithesis with the “heel” of the woman’s Seed. Stripped of its prophetic symbolism, it can only mean that Christ is to depose Satan and reduce him to a state of impotency. This interpretation is fully confirmed in Revelation 20 where we learn that a day is coming when the Devil shall be bound and cast into the Bottomless Pit to remain there securely confined throughout the Millennial Era. What we now desire to emphasize is, that, this part of the prophecy was not fulfilled when our Lord was upon earth before, and has not yet been fulfilled. Therefore, if this prophecy is be realized our Lord must return to this earth and deprive the Devil of his power, for He alone is competent for such a task. Again; we read in Isaiah 9:6-7

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”

Here again we meet with a prophecy which has already received a partial fulfillment, but which has not yet been completely realized. Unto Israel a Child was “born,” unto Israel a Son was “given;” but, during the days of His First Advent the “government” for He is not yet seated upon His own “throne: (Revelation 3:21). Notice that, above, it is repeated “of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” His “government” and “peace” are inseparably connected. The latter part of this prophecy therefore looks forward to the time of His Second Advent (Christ’s Second Coming), for “When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory” (Matthew 25:31). Then will it be that He shall inaugurate a Reign of Peace, for then it shall be (and not till then) that “He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Micah 4:3). Thus we see that the declarations of the Prophetic Word require and necessitate the personal return of Christ to this earth, for only then will they be literally and completely fulfilled. Many other Old Testament predictions could be cited to the same effect, but we’ll look at only one more.

“Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:5-7)

First notice that unto David (Israel) God promised to raise up a King who should reign and prosper. Without a doubt this prophecy refers to our Lord Jesus Christ who was born “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2), for it was uttered shortly after the Jews were carried down into Babylon, since which they have had no human King. It needs no argument to prove that the terms of this prophecy were certainly not fulfilled at the time of our Lord’s First Advent, for then, the Jews would not own Him, but demanded His death, and when Pilate inquired of them, “Shall I crucify your King?” (John 19:15), the leaders of the nation answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

Furthermore, this prophecy was not fulfilled when our Lord took His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, for note, it says that Israel’s King shall “execute judgment and justice in the earth,” not “from the heavens.” Again; we observe that it declares, “In His days Judah (the two tribes) shall be saved, and Israel (the ten tribes) shall dwell safely” which certainly did not come to pass during the days of our Lord’s humiliation. No, this prophecy, like scores of other Messianic predictions recorded in the Old Testament, looks forward to the time of our Lord’s Second Coming to the earth, which is imperative if the terms of this prophecy are to be realized.

Even so, come Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

Old Testament Types of Antichrist

by A.W. Pink

(NOTE: This study is an edited version from A.W. Pink’s book “Antichrist”)

“In the volume of the book it is written of Me” (Heb. 10:7), said the Lord Jesus. Christ is the key to the Scriptures — “Search the Scriptures they are they which testify of Me,” are His words; and the Scriptures to which He had reference were not the four Gospels, for they were not then written, but the writings of Moses and the prophets. The Old Testament Scriptures, then, are something more than a compilation of historical narratives, something more than the record of a system of social and religious legislation, or a code of ethics.

The Old Testament Scriptures are, fundamentally, a stage on which we’re shown, in vivid symbolism, stupendous events of the future. The events recorded in the Old Testament were actual occurrences, yet were they also types. (A type is an example or illustration that points to a person or an event). Throughout the Old Testament dispensations God caused to be shadowed forth things which must yet come to pass.

This is in full accord with a basic law in the economy of God. Nothing is brought to maturity at once. As it is in the natural world, so it is in the spiritual: there is first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. So there is first the shadow, and then the substance; the type, and then the antitype.

“Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4). Israel’s tabernacle was “a figure for the time then present” (Heb. 9:8, 9), as well as the example and “shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5).

Concerning the history of Abraham, his wives and his children, the apostle was inspired to write “which things are an allegory” (Gal. 4:24). These and other passages which might be quoted witness plainly to the typical meaning of portions of the Old Testament.

Many of God’s servants have written at length upon the Passover, the brazen serpent, the Tabernacle, etc., as well as upon the many ways in which such men as Abel, Noah, Isaac, Moses, David, etc. prefigured the Savior. But strange to say, very little seems to have been written upon those who prefigure the Antichrist.

So far as we are aware practically nothing has been given out concerning the many Bible characters of ill fame, who foreshadowed that coming one, that occupies such a prominent place in the prophetic scriptures. A wide field is here opened for study, and we take pleasure in now submitting to the careful perusal of the reader the results of our own imperfect researches, hoping that it may lead others to make a more complete examination of the subject for themselves.

Besides the plain and literal sense of Scripture, there is also a mystical sense, hidden beneath the surface and which can only be discovered as we, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, diligently compare scripture with scripture. In pursuing the latter we need not only to proceed with due caution, but in “fear and trembling,” lest we devise mysteries of our own imagination, and thus pervert to one use what belongs to another. The principle which will safeguard us is to thoroughly acquaint ourselves with the antitypes.

Let nothing be regarded as a type unless we are sure there is an exact correspondence with the antitype. This will preserve us from erroneously supposing that any person who is clearly a type of either Christ or the Antichrist is so in every detail of his life.

Thus Moses was plainly a type of Christ as our Mediator, and in many other respects too, but in his failures and in other details of his personal history he was not a type of Christ. So, too, with those who foreshadowed the Antichrist: not everything recorded of them prefigured the character or deeds of the Man of Sin.

We shall now look at six Bible characters, each of which strikingly typified the Antichrist.

CAIN…

It is indeed solemn to discover that the very first man born into this world prefigured the Man of Sin. He did so in a least seven respects.

– First, we may observe that in 1 John 3:12 we are told “Cain was of that Wicked One,” (the Devil). Of none other is this particular expression used. The Antichrist will also, in a special sense, be “of that Wicked one,” for the Devil is said to be his father (John 8:44).

– Second, Cain was a religious hypocrite. This is seen in the fact that at first he posed as a worshipper of God, but the emptiness of his pretensions were quickly evidenced; for, when the Lord refused his offering, Cain was “very wroth” (Gen. 4:5). As such he clearly prefigured that one who will first claim to be the Christ, only to stand forth later as His denier (1 John 2:22).

– Third, Cain occupied the position of ruler. Said the Lord to him, “Unto to thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him,” that is, over Abel (Gen. 4:7). Such, too, will be the position filled by the Antichrist — he shall be a Ruler over men (Rev 13:3).

– Fourth, in murdering his brother Abel, Cain foreshadowed the wicked martyrdom of the Tribulation saints by the Son of Perdition.

– Fifth, Cain was a liar. After the murder of Abel, when the Lord asked Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” he answered, “I know not” (Gen. 4:9). In like manner deceit and falsehood will characterize him who is appropriately named “the Lie” (2 Thess. 2:11).

– Sixth, God’s judgment descended upon Cain. So far as we know from the Scripture record, no human eye witnessed the dastardly murder of Abel, and doubtless Cain deemed himself secure from any penal consequences. But if so, he reckoned without God. The Lord announced to him, “Thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground,” and then He declared, “And now art thou cursed from the earth” (Gen. 4:10). So, too, in his reckless conceit, the Antichrist will imagine that he can defy God and slay His people. But his blasphemous delusions will be quickly dispelled.

– Seventh, Cain was made to exclaim, “My punishment is greater than I can bear” (Gen. 4:13). Such indeed will be the awful portion meted out to the Antichrist — he shall be “cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19:20)

LAMECH…

“And Lamech said unto his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: For I have slain a man for wounding me, and a young man for bruising me. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Truly Lamech seventy and seven fold” (Gen. 4:23, 24).

The record of this man’s life is exceedingly brief, but from the little that is recorded about him we may discover at least seven parallelisms between him and the Antichrist.

– First, the meaning of his name. Lamech signifies “powerful.” This was an appropriate name for one who foreshadowed the Man of Sin who, as the Head of the United States of the World, will be powerful governmentally. He will also be mighty in his person, for we are told that the Dragon shall give power unto him (Rev. 13:4).

– Second, in the fact that Lamech was a descendant of Cain (Gen. 4:17-19), not Seth, we see that he sprang from the evil line.

– Third, he was the seventh from fallen Adam, as though to intimate that the cycle of depravity was completed in him. So the Antichrist will be not only the culmination of satanic craft and power, but as well, the climax of human wickedness — the Man of Sin.

– Fourth, the first thing predicted of Lamech is his “lawlessness.” “Lamech took unto him two wives” (Gen. 4:19). As such he violated the marriage law and disobeyed the command of God (Gen. 2:24). Clearly, then, he foreshadowed the “Lawless One” (2 Thess. 2:8).

– Fifth, like Cain before him, Lamech was a murderer. His confession is, “I have slain a man for wounding me, and a young man for bruising me” (Gen. 4:23). In this, too, he foreshadowed the Man of blood and of violence.

– Sixth, he was filled with pride. This comes out in two details. First, he says to his wives, “Hear my voice; Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech” (Gen. 4:23). Second, in his arrogant self-importance — “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly LAMECH seventy and seven fold” (Gen. 4:24). This appears to mean that Lamech had slain a man for wounding him, and mad with passion, he jeered ironically at God’s dealings with Cain.

– Seventh, in the fact that the very next thing recorded after the brief notice of Lamech is the birth of Seth (the one from whom, according to the flesh, Christ descended) who set aside the line of Cain — for on his birth Eve exclaimed, “God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew” (Gen. 4:25) — thus we have a beautiful foreshadowing of the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus following the overthrow of the Antichrist.

NIMROD…

This personal type of the Antichrist is deeply interesting and remarkable full in its details. His exploits are recorded in Gen. 10 and 11, and it is most significant that his person and history are there introduced at the point immediately preceding God’s call of Abraham from among the Gentiles and His bringing him into the promised land. Thus history repeats itself. Just before God again gathers Abraham’s descendants from out of the lands of the Gentiles there will arise one who will fill out the picture here typically outlined by Nimrod. Let us examine the details of this type.

– First, the meaning of his name is most suggestive. Nimrod signifies “The Rebel.” A fit designation was this for a man that foreshadowed the Lawless One, who shall oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God (2 Thess. 2:4), and who shall “stand up against the Prince of princes” (Dan. 8:25).

– Second, we are told that he was a son of Cush — “And Cush begat Nimrod” (Gen. 10:8), and Cush was a son of Ham, who was cursed by Noah. Nimrod, then, was not a descendant of Shem, from whom Christ sprang, nor of Japheth; but he came from Ham. It is remarkable that these men who typified the Antichrist came from the evil line.

– Third, we are told that Nimrod “began to be a mighty one in the earth” (Gen. 10:8). Four times over is this term “mighty” connected with this one who prefigured him “whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9). But observe that it is first said, “He began to be mighty,” which seems to suggest the idea that he struggled for the pre-eminence and obtained it by mere force of will.

How this corresponds with the fact that the Man of Sin first appears as “the little horn” and by force of conquest attains to the position of King of kings needs only to be pointed out. It is also significant that the Hebrew word for “mighty” in Gen. 10:9 is “gibbor” which is translated several times “Chief” and “Chieftain.”

– Fourth, it is also added, “Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord” which means that he pushed his designs in brazen defiance of his Maker. The words “mighty hunter before the Lord” are found twice in Gen. 10:9. This repetition in so short a narrative is highly significant. If we compare the expression with a similar one in Gen. 6:11, — “The earth also (in the days of Noah) was corrupt before God” — the impression conveyed is that this “Rebel” pursued his impious designs in open defiance of the Almighty. The contents of Gen. 11 abundantly confirm this interpretation. In like manner, of the Antichrist it is written, “And the King shall do according to his will, and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god (ruler), and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods” (Dan. 11:36).

– Fifth, Nimrod was a “Man of Blood.” In 1 Chron. 1:10 — “And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be mighty upon the earth.” The Chaldea paraphrase of this verse says, “Cush begat Nimrod who began to prevail in wickedness for he slew innocent blood and rebelled against Jehovah.” This, coupled with the expression “a mighty Hunter before the Lord,” suggests that he relentlessly sought out and slew God’s people. As such, he accurately portrayed the bloody and deceitful Man (Psa. 5:6), the violent Man (Psa. 140:1).

– Sixth, Nimrod was a King — “the beginning of his kingdom was Babel” (Gen. 10:10. Thus he was King of Babylon, which is also one of the many titles of the Antichrist (Isa. 14:4). In the verses which follow in Gen. 10 we read, “He went out into Assyria and built Ninevah, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,” etc. (Gen. 10:11). From these statements it is evident that Nimrod’s ambition was to establish a world empire.

– Seventh, mark his inordinate desire for fame. His consuming desire was to make for himself a name. Here again the antitype marvelously corresponds with the type, for the Man of Sin is expressly denominated “King over all the children of pride” (Job 41:34).

What is recorded in Gen. 10 about Nimrod supplies the key to the first half of Gen. 11 which tells of the building of the Tower of Babel. Gen. 10:10 informs us that the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom was Babel. In the language of that day Babel meant “the gate of God,” but afterwards, because of the judgment which the Lord there inflicted, it came to mean “Confusion.” That at the time Nimrod founded Babel this word signified “the gate (the figure of official position) of God,” intimates that he not only organized an imperial government over which he presided as king, but that he also instituted a new and idolatrous system of worship. If the type be perfect, and we are fully assured it is so, then, as the Lawless One will yet do, Nimrod demanded and received Divine honors. In all probability, it was at this point that idolatry was introduced.

Nimrod is not directly mentioned in Gen. 11, but from the statements made about him in chap. 10 there cannot be any doubt that he was the “Chief” and “King” who organized and headed the movement and rebellion there described: “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (11:4). Here we behold a most blatant defiance of God, a deliberate refusal to obey His commands given through Noah — “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (9:1).

But they said, “Let us make us a name lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.” As we have seen, Nimrod’s ambition was to establish a world-empire. To accomplish this, at least two things were necessary: First, a center, a great headquarters; and second, a motive for the inspiration and encouragement of his followers. The former was furnished in the city of Babylon: the latter was to be supplied in the “let us make us a name.” It was inordinate desire for fame. The idea of the Tower (considered in the light of its setting) seems that of strength, a stronghold, rather than eminence.

To sum up, in Nimrod and his schemes we behold Satan’s initial attempt to raise up an universal ruler of men. In his inordinate desire for fame, in the mighty power that he wielded, in his ruthless and brutal methods, in his blatant defiance of the Creator, in his founding of the kingdom of Babel, in his assuming to himself Divine honors, in the fact that the Holy Spirit has placed the record of these things just before the inspired account of God’s bringing Abraham into Canaan — pointing forward to the re-gathering of Israel in Palestine, immediately after the overthrows of the Lawless One — and finally, in the Divine destruction of his kingdom — described in the words, “Let Us go down and there confound their language” (Gen. 11:7), which so marvelously pictures the descent of Christ from heaven to vanquish His impious rival — we cannot fail to see that we have a wonderfully complete typical picture of the person, the work, and the destruction of the Antichrist.

PHARAOH…

We have in mind the Pharaoh of the book of Exodus. His history and character are described at much greater length than the other personal types of the Antichrist which have been before us, and therefore more parallelisms are to be found here. We shall aim to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.

– First, Pharaoh was king of Egypt which, in Scripture, is the lasting symbol of the world. In like manner, the one whom he so strikingly prefigured will be Head of the world-kingdom.

– Second, the Pharaoh of Exodus came from Assyria (Isa. 52:4); so also will the Antichrist first rise in that land.

– Third, Ex. 1 presents him to our view as the merciless persecutor of the Hebrews, embittering their lives by hard bondage.

– Fourth, he is next seen as the one who sought to cut off Israel from being a nation, giving orders that all the male children should be slain in infancy.

– Fifth, he blatantly defied God. When Moses and Aaron appeared before him and said, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness,” his arrogant reply was, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” (Ex. 5:1, 2).

– Sixth, God’s two witnesses performed miracles before Pharaoh (Ex. 7:10); so, too, will God’s two witnesses in the Tribulation period work miracles before the Beast (Rev. 11:6, 7).

– Seventh, Pharaoh had magical resources at his disposal (Ex. 7:11), as the Antichrist will have at his (2 Thess. 2:9).

– Eighth, Pharaoh made fair promises to the Hebrews, only to break them (Ex. 8:8, 15). In this, too, he foreshadowed the Antichrist in his perfidy and treachery toward Israel.

– Ninth, he met with a drastic end at the hands of God (Psa. 136:15).

– Tenth, he was overthrown at the time that Israel started out for the promised land: so Antichrist will be cast into the Lake of Fire just before Israel enters into everlasting possession of their promised inheritance.

In all of these ten respects (and in others which the student may search out for himself) Pharaoh was a striking and accurate type of the Antichrist.

GOLIATH…

– First, his name means “Soothsayer” which at once connects him with the powers of evil.

– Second, he was a giant, and thus, like Saul, prefigured the Super-man.

– Third, he was the enemy of Israel.

– Fourth, his consuming egotism was displayed in his blatant challenge, “I defy the armies of Israel” (1 Sam. 17:10).

– Fifth, the mysterious number 666 (the number of the Antichrist) is connected with Goliath. Note the three sixes. (a) He was six cubits high (1 Sam. 17:4). (b) Six pieces of armor are enumerated — helmet, coat of mail, greaves, target, staff, and shield (1 Sam. 17:5[ndash ]7). (c) His spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron (1 Sam. 17:7).

– Sixth, he was slain by the sword (see 1 Sam. 17:51).

– Seventh, he was slain by David — type of Christ. In each of these respects he foreshadowed the Antichrist.

ABSALOM…

– First, the meaning of his name is very significant. “Absalom” means “father of peace.” A careful reading of his history reveals the fact that, again and again, he posed as a man of peace, while war was in his heart. So the Antichrist will pose as the promised Prince of peace, and for a time it will appear that he has actually ushered in the Millennium. But ere long his violent and bloody character will be revealed.

– Second, Absalom was the son of David, and therefore a Jew. but Absalom was a son of David by Maacah, the daughter of the Gentile king of Jeshur (2 Sam. 3:3). So, too, will the Antichrist be a veritable king among men.

– Third, Absalom was a man of blood (2 Sam. 13, etc.).

– Fourth, Absalom sought to obtain the kingdom by flatteries (2 Sam. 15:2-6); cf Dan. 11:21, 23.

– Fifth, he cloaked his rebellion by a pretense of religion (read 2 Sam. 15:7, 8).

– Sixth, he was the immediate cause of the faithful followers of David being driven from Jerusalem into the wilderness (2 Sam. 15:14-16).

– Seventh, he reared up a pillar unto himself (2 Sam. 18:18), which clearly foreshadowed the image which the Antichrist will cause to be set up unto himself.

– Eighth, he met with a violent end (2 Sam. 18:14).

There are quite a number of others who foreshadowed the Antichrist in one or more of the outstanding features of his character and career. For instance, there is Balak who, accompanied by Baalam the prophet sought to curse and destroy Israel — a striking foreshadowing of the Beast with his ally the False Prophet. There is Adoni-zedek, mentioned in Joshua 10, and who headed a federation of ten kings; it is remarkable that his name signifies “lord of righteousness” which is what the Antichrist will claim to be as he comes forth on the white horse (Rev. 6).

Almost every prominent feature of the Antichrist’s person and career was foreshadowed by some Old Testament character. The subject is intensely interesting, and we trust that many of our readers will be encouraged to pursue it further for themselves.

His Resurrection Destiny

“Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” – Luke 24:26

Our Lord’s Cross is the gateway into His life. His resurrection means that He has the power to convey His life to me. When I was born again, I received the very life of the risen Lord from Jesus Himself. Christ’s resurrection destiny—His foreordained purpose—was to bring “many sons to glory” ( Hebrews 2:10 ).

The fulfilling of His destiny gives Him the right to make us sons and daughters of God. We never have exactly the same relationship to God that the Son of God has, but we are brought by the Son into the relation of sonship. When our Lord rose from the dead, He rose to an absolutely new life—a life He had never lived before He was God Incarnate. He rose to a life that had never been before. And what His resurrection means for us is that we are raised to His risen life, not to our old life.

One day we will have a body like His glorious body, but we can know here and now the power and effectiveness of His resurrection and can “walk in newness of life” ( Romans 6:4)). Paul’s determined purpose was to “know Him and the power of His resurrection” ( Philippians 3:10 ). Jesus prayed, “. . . as You have given Him authority over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” ( John 17:2 .

The term Holy Spirit is actually another name for the experience of eternal life working in human beings here and now. The Holy Spirit is the deity of God who continues to apply the power of the atonement by the Cross of Christ to our lives. Thank God for the glorious and majestic truth that His Spirit can work the very nature of Jesus into us, if we will only obey Him.