Today, we have forgotten the great works of God in our land. The prophets of doom and the escapist theologians tell us that our nation is destined for destruction and that there is not much we can do about it. The church awaits the rapture which is surely to come soon and we will leave all of this behind. Yet, we conveniently forget the great things that God has done in our nation in the past. Instead of giving up the land and leaving it to Satan and his forces, we need to remember God’s great works of the past and to pray that He will visit us again. This is exactly what Habakkuk did. We read in Habakkuk 3:2 – “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make known; in wrath remember mercy.” The King James Version puts it this way: “O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O, Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk was living in a day of spiritual decline in Judah. Sin was reigning in the land. Judgements were beginning to fall. Yet, Habakkuk calls on the Lord to renew His great works of old and in wrath to remember mercy.
Today, we live in a time of great moral and spiritual decline in our nation. The church, itself, is weak and worldly. Our sins as a nation are piled up to heaven and even now God is pouring out His warning judgements upon us. Even greater judgments may come in the future if we do not repent. Yet, we must not forget that God has blessed this nation in the past and in times of decline, He has visited the nation with great spiritual revivals. Like Habakkuk, we must remember His works of old and in the midst of dark times we must cry out like Habakkuk, “Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”(3:2b) The Psalmist also cries out to God in a similar way in Psalm 85:5-7 (Geneva Bible) – “Wilt thou be angry with us forever? And wilt thou prolong thy wrath from one generation to another? Wilt thou not turn again and quicken us, that thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.” Today, we need to be praying for the Lord to come down among us and restore the nation as He has in times past.
In July of 1741, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon in Enfield, Connecticut entitled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. His text was Deuteronomy 32:35 – “Their foot shall slide in due time.” He had preached this same sermon in his own church in Northampton, Massachusetts shortly before and nothing unusual happened. Yet, on this day in Enfield, God came down. Like on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came as a rushing mighty wind upon the congregation. Eleazer Wheelock reported that the people who were normally “thoughtless and vain”, were so changed by the time the sermon was ended they they were “bowed down with an awful conviction of their sin and danger.” (Iain Murray – Jonathan Edwards, A New Biography, p. 168) Another witness reported, “We went over to Enfield where we met dear Mr. Edwards of Northampton who preached a most awakening sermon from these words, Deuteronomy 32:35, and before the sermon was done, there was a great moaning and crying out through the whole house….” (Murray, p. 169) Murray writes, “Edwards himself says nothing of the Enfield sermon although it proved, says Trumbull, ‘the beginning of the same great and prevailing concern in that place with which the colony in general was visited’. There were, after all, many similar days in the year 1741. Writing, for example, of what happened at Wethersfield at the end of the same year, Wheelock reported to a friend, ‘The whole town seems to be shaken….Last Monday night the Lord bowed the heavens and came down upon a large assembly in one of the parishes of the town, the whole assembly seemed alive with distress, the groans and outcries of the wounded were such that my voice could not be heard’.” (Murray, p. 169) Jonathan Edwards wrote on January 21, 1742 concerning the country as a whole, “Neither earth nor hell can hinder God’s work that is going on in the country. Christ gloriously triumphs at this day….By what I can understand, the work of God is greater at this day in the land than it has been at any time. O what cause have we, with exulting hearts, to agree to give glory to him who thus rides forth in the chariot of his salvation, conquering and to conquer…” (Murray, p. 171) Through the preaching of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield and others, the Great Awakening spread throughout the colonies. It affected the whole nation. Thousands were brought to Christ and thousands of Christians were revived in their faith. Murray writes, “Certainly the increase in church membership was impressive but much more so was the religious and moral change which the Awakening brought to the colonies in general. Speaking of this period, the cautious Samuel Miller of Princeton had no hesitation in writing in 1837, ‘A revival of religion more extensive and powerful than ever occurred before or since, was vouchsafed to the American churches.’” (Murray, p. 176)
Within a year, revival began to break out in his churches. The revival began in July of 1799 and continued to break out. In June of 1800, more than five hundred people showed up at one of his churches some traveling as far as a hundred miles away. Concerning the summer of 1800, McGready wrote, “The present summer has been the most glorious time that our guilty eyes have ever beheld. All the blessed displays of Almighty power and grace, all the sweet gales of the divine Spirit and soul-reviving showers of the blessings of heaven which we enjoyed before, and which we considered wonderful beyond conception, were but like a few scattering drops before the mighty rain which Jehovah has poured out like a mighty river upon this, our guilty, unworthy country…” (From Sea to Shining Sea, p. 64) The revival spread and in the summer of 1801 twenty-five thousand showed up for a meeting at Cane Ridge, Kentucky. Many were converted and Christians were renewed and there was much fruit to be seen. Dr. George Baxter of Washington Academy in Virginia after journeying to Kentucky to investigate the revival wrote, “The power with which this revival has spread, and its influence in moralizing the people, are difficult for you to conceive, and more so for me to describe….I found Kentucky, to appearance, the most moral place I had ever seen. A profane expression was hardly ever heard. A religious awe seemed to pervade the country….Never in my life have I seen more genuine marks of that humility which…looks to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of acceptance with God….” (From Sea to Shining Sea, p. 69)
Daniel gave a tremendous prophecy of a rock that struck a large statue and broke it to pieces. The rock grew and became a huge mountain that filled the whole earth. Later, Daniel interpreted this as the kingdom of God destroying the kingdoms of this world and replacing them. The kingdom of God would crush all other kingdoms and would last forever. It starts out as a rock but grows into a huge mountain and fills the whole earth. The rock was cut out of a mountain without human hands. This kingdom would have its origin in God and be a spiritual kingdom. (See Daniel 3) This prophecy began its fulfillment when Jesus came into this world and announced, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15 KJV) This then was the beginning of a kingdom that would grow into a huge mountain and fill the whole earth.
Today, the popular dispensational view of Christ’s Second Coming includes a period of time called the great tribulation. This is said to last seven years. It is preceded by the rapture of the church. After this tribulation which effects primarily Israel and the Jews and the end time world, the millennium begins with Jesus reigning on his throne from Jerusalem. This view is very popular today and is reflected in such publications as the Left Behind series. All evangelical Christians believe in the Second Coming of Christ. This is not in question. The question this article is concerned with is this popular view of the great tribulation. Is the popular view correct? What exactly does the Bible say? Is it possible to have a different view of this great tribulation than the popular view stated above and still be biblical?
This picture shows our coworker preparing radio messages for China. Not only do we seek to reach the unreached in China but many other countries including Nepal, India, and Bhutan. In November and December, contributions to Watchmen Radio Ministries International are being matched dollar for dollar and designation for designation up to $20,000. Would you prayerfully consider giving a donation to radio missions during these two months. It would greatly help us to put strategic language programs on the air in the coming new year.